A big thank you to MD Turner Photography for all the amazing pictures!
Moriah's entry into this world wasn't just another day. In a crazy timeline that went from impossible, to maybe, to almost, to likely, to probably to "She's here! Baby #10,000" we feel like we have so many stories and memories to share from the special day that we wanted to document here. This will likely be long, so skim the post or read for all the details. Either way I hope you understand at the end of this the miracle of Moriah's life and the extravagant love of our Lord Jesus.
Becky's day started at 2:30 AM on Dec. 27th. So excited for the upcoming induction, she couldn't fall back asleep. We received a call from the hospital at 4:30 am that a room had opened up for us to come in at 7:15 am! Becky immediately started moving at a fast pace around the house, checking off packing lists, organizing activities for Karis for the next few days and briefing her Mom on what to expect. I hopped in the shower, turned on dance music and loaded the bags into the car. Soon we were off to meet our newest daughter, the details soon to move from hopes and dreams to facts and history.
At the hospital, we met our nurse Cathy. She was handpicked for us by our friend Devon Stites, who is also an L&D Nurse at Woman's Hospital. She also helped deliver our good friends, Joel & Emily Skagg's, little boy and they had the best reviews of her. We immediately loved how much of a Mama she was and how she helped Becky relax. She was a blessing to us and set the stage for a great experience.
We saw Dr. Cone shortly after we arrived. Almost without fail, when we would leave Becky's appointments with him and his staff (Angela, Becky & Lynne) I'd hear the words, "I just love them" from Becky. Dr. Cone's Becky feeds Karis' sucker craving every week, Lynne always comments on Karis' fashion style and Angela shares parenting stories from her son Cooper. We adore those three ladies and look forward to seeing them at each appointment. Dr. Cone answers every question either of us have, laughs at Becky when her questions border on ridiculous and gives Becky a hug every time he leaves. He cares for his patients and puts them in the best position to have a successful delivery... something we were about to understand more than ever before.
Around 1:30 pm Dr. Cone came in to break Becky's water. When Dr. Cone saw that the Texas A&M/La Tech football highlights were playing from earlier in the year on our TV, he stopped to explain his favorite play of the year. Johnny Manziel (QB) had chased down a La Tech defender after a fumble at the A&M 1 yd. line. He stripped the ball, then tackled the next La Tech player that picked it up. Wouldn't you know it no sooner were these words out of his mouth that they showed that exact play on the TV. To think how many things had to happen for that moment to happen. How specific is God that He would let us experience that moment with Dr. Cone and bond a little more with him. God showed me then how specific he could be with seemingly insignificant details to make a connection with someone. A fun lesson to learn.
At 3:55 pm Becky received her epidural. Maybe the term "glorious epidural" is more appropriate. Becky was at 4-5 cm at this point with the goal of being at a 10 before pushing. Dr. Cone didn't want to stall labor by getting one too soon but wanted to ensure Becky was in active labor beforehand so the contractions would move Moriah down like they should.
At 4:30 pm, I decided to take advantage of the break in the labor process to write Moriah a letter. I've posted it here and hope to give it to her one day to show her what we were thinking on the day she entered our lives.
At 5:20 pm our family started arriving in the waiting room. Deb Turner, with MD Turner Photography, offered to photograph Moriah's birth since Sarah Craig, with Fish Lips Photography, wasn't going to be able to make it. What a gift this ended up being that we would have the pictures below to share with you and treasure in our family for years to come. This was all after having her little girl Lillian just 4 weeks prior! We were 18 babies away from 10,000 at this point and the thought started creeping in that if labor stalled enough then we might at least be in the top 10. Becky had birthed a child before so Cathy and Dr. Cone both assured us that labor could speed up very quickly in a matter of 30-45 minutes so we shouldn't be surprised if we saw her face soon. The 10,000th baby contest was an after thought. Dr. Cone's prediction was that the 10,000th baby would come sometime between midnight and 6 am the next day and we would be resting in our room by then.
At 7:50 pm there were 7 babies to go until 10,000. About an hour later we had a hospital administrator (Sylvia) and the CEO of the hospital (Linda) come into our room to introduce themselves and to tell us about the 10,000th baby milestone that they were going to reach tonight. By looking at all the labors in progress they thought we might be in the final 2-3. They were going around to each family to sign a waiver that allowed the hospital to take pictures and use them in a press release. They couldn't have been more gracious and excited in that moment. Linda gave Becky a hug and even brought her granddaughter in to be a part of the big celebration to take place later that night.
|From L to R: Sylvia (Hospital Administration), Abigail (Linda's granddaughter), Linda (CEO of Woman's) and Becky|
Another interesting fact for the night… guess what Abigail (Linda's granddaughter) wanted to be when she grew up. The 13 year old had her eye set on a top level position… CEO of ExxonMobil. Since I work there I started to say, "Well maybe I can…" and quickly stopped myself. "Who am I kidding, I've never even seen Rex Tillerson face-to-face and I've been there 6 years. There's nothing I can do for you. I'm sorry." I told her how good of a company it was and how I looked forward to working for her one day.
Between 9:40 - 10:40 pm, Becky was between a 5 and a 7. Our new nurse Rachel (handpicked by Cathy) started getting us emotionally prepared for a possible C-section. Something was stalling Moriah's birth. What both Cathy and Rachel had thought is that Moriah's head had come down at an angle and was not fully engaging. We wondered what it could be and in all honesty started getting a little anxious about a C-section. We had experienced the same thing with Karis, except this time it seemed real. Knowing that we were still up for the 10,000th baby I think helped us calm down a little. It gave us hope for something and replaced the frustration or dissatisfaction we could've easily felt.
One of my best memories was carrying our daughter Karis back to the waiting room after visiting Mommy and "Riah". Before we got to the nurses station, she yelled out, "Where'd Cone go?". I then walked up to the station to see him sitting there with some other nurses and Linda (CEO) watching the monitors. We talked a little bit and then as we went to the waiting room she looks at me with a surprised look and says, "We found him!". She loves Dr. Cone as much as we do.
|Karis waiting on her little sister's historic arrival.|
We found out soon that Dr. Cone wasn't leaving even though he wasn't on-call so he could've easily passed us off to the on-call doctor and called it a night. But in his words, "I don't leave my patients". This is the kind of care we were under, with a doctor that not only cared about a healthy baby but my wife. He was patient, never once mentioning C-section but bound and determined to allow Becky to deliver Moriah naturally. What a blessing he was to have in the room with us the last couple of hours. He went above and beyond his responsibilities as our OB and we couldn't be more grateful.
At 11:30 pm, Becky was at a 7 and Moriah's head was now fully engaged where it should've been. We were thinking now that she could come within the hour. Progress! With some test pushes, we could tell that Moriah was somehow stuck. Not in distress, but something was keeping her from coming all the way down.
Here is where we got yet another glimpse of Moriah's personality. She was a breech baby for 37 weeks and proved her flare for the dramatic by flipping on her own, in the hospital, a mere 5-10 minutes before Dr. Cone came in to perform an external version. What could've topped this experience? And why in the world was she stuck? Something didn't add up.
Midnight was fast approaching and Becky had a secret impromptu celebration of her own about to play out. Rachel, our nurse, was about to celebrate her 28th birthday as soon as midnight struck to pass the date to December 28th. Her golden birthday. As Rachel, Dr. Cone and myself were helping with the test pushes, Becky breaks out in the "Happy Birthday" song with the rest of us joining in on the second verse. We were all in this together, not just focused on Moriah's upcoming birth but celebrating life in other ways. Soon after Rachel told Moriah she wanted only one thing for her birthday. "I want you to come see me Moriah. I want you to be the 10,000th baby this year."
Probably around 12:40 am is when Moriah made her move. Every time Dr. Cone (and the nurses) had been checking Becky, they had been slowly rotating Moriah's head to face down. She was "sunny side up" which was going to make labor incredibly difficult. Also around this time is when she more than likely cleared one of the last hurdles in the way to her making her entry into the world. Dr. Cone kept saying there was something keeping her higher in the womb and not allowing her to come down. No one really knew what it was, but given her steady heart rate around 150-170 it wasn't a cause for concern. However, we were about to find out.
The room buzzing with hearing that the 9,999th baby had just been born! I was excited that we could be next, but also aware that their family had gone through the same conversations that we had. I was disappointed for them, but sure they were experiencing unspeakable joy welcoming another member into their family.
At that point, since we were so close, the room started filling with people. Becky held off pushing through a couple of the contractions while Dr. Cone, Rachel, Bobbie and other staff members took their places. Becky then had 3 pushes through her next contraction and a moment of complete joy knowing that in a matter of minutes our girl would be here. Moriah Pearl Kiser came out on pushes 2 and 3, letting out a burst of screams while Dr. Cone cleaned her off and put her in position for me to cut the umbilical cord.
|Moriah and Becky's first moment together.|
Pure elation ensued. She had done it! Becky had avoided a C-section due to Dr. Cone's extreme care and patience with her and had delivered Moriah with the help of Rachel's coaching and the other staff member's assistance. There weren't any tears for us… just smiling and quiet laughs knowing we were doing this yet again. We're raising a second little girl in our world, with a thousand introductions ahead of us and too many firsts to count. What a gift from God that He would let us experience life. He brought Moriah into our world in a miraculous way, clearing so many pregnancy hurdles when it didn't seem like we'd make it through with her on the other side of them. From finding out she was a girl to "the flip" to the result of an 18 hour labor, one more milestone remained.
|From L to R: Jan Cross-Miller (Becky's Mom), Bobbie, Chris, Rachel, Dr. Cone, Moriah and Becky|
She was Woman's Hospital of Texas' 10,000th baby of 2012! The first time the milestone has been reached at the hospital during its more than 35 years of operation.
|From L to R: Bobbie, Chris, Dr. Cone, Moriah and Becky|
I followed Moriah over to the warming table while Rachel checked her vital signs and cleaned her off. As I was holding on to her right hand, the answer came as to why she had stalled. The very hand that I was holding was actually clenched in a fist right in front of her face as she came out. Was it a victory punch in the air? That's what we're calling it. We're telling stories now about her competitive nature and her drive to win. Maybe she was inspired by Dr. Cone's stories about the Aggies or maybe by Rachel's birthday present request. Either way, she earned the title of baby #10,000 and will be told the miraculous story of her birth for years to come.
God's love for our family in this moment was over the top extravagant. Life is a gift in itself. Through Moriah, God has indeed fulfilled through her life already the meaning of her name - "The Lord is my Teacher". He has taught us that He loves us faithfully and extravagantly. He's provided so many good stories and connected us with people that we will never forget through this experience. He had people all over glued to social media to find out when she was born and published snippets of her birth story in multiple states to testify to His goodness.
Becky experienced the fulfillment of a dream she first had as a college girl. All she wanted to be was a Mom and when medical issues threatened that dream, God's story of faithfulness to Abraham & Isaac gave her hope. Abraham hiked up Mount Moriah (Genesis 22:2) to sacrifice his son, only to find that God provided a ram as the sacrifice instead and spared Isaac's life. Can you imagine the joy that Abraham felt knowing he had the chance to be a father to his first born? I don't know that it's sunk in just what a miracle it is to see Moriah face-to-face just yet, but it's my prayer that we live, parent and love Moriah (and Karis) with that same type of joy. After all, that's the real gift. That we get to take her home and raise her together.
The night was filled with all kinds of celebrations. The first after her birth was held at the nurse's station, complete with a perfect champagne/grape juice toast by Dr. Cone and an imperfect balloon drop executed by me. I hugged Linda and gave her granddaughter Abigail a high five. We answered some questions for the press release to go out later that morning and ended it with a mini photo shoot for Miss Moriah in the room across the hall. Even at 45 minutes old she found a way to capture hearts with her smile wearing a gift from Linda. I went to check on Becky and enjoy some time with the 3 of us and soon went to our suite (provided for the 10,000th baby).
|From L to R: Chris, Glenn, Robin, Greg, Dr. Cone, Cristi (Photographer), Jan, Linda and other nurses.|
The reaction from friends and family was instant. So many emails were in my inbox showing me every comment that had been made on Facebook and Twitter. I had the pleasure of reliving Moriah's birth through their eyes, following all of their comments to each other rooting Moriah on to be number 10,000. Our twitter friends had a couple of hashtags going: #BCFBabyWatch for our church Bayou City Fellowship and #BabyKiser and #Baby10000. The tears started forming in my eyes during the moment when the website was updated to 10,000 but when it hadn't been announced by us who it was. I remember seeing a Facebook message from Emily asking if it was us pretty soon after she was born. I replied to it that it was indeed us and that Mama and Moriah had done it! The comments that followed were overwhelming. It made me tear up knowing that that many people loved our little family. People stayed up until 1 AM or later just to find out. They took the time to congratulate us and to tell us they were so excited for us. Becky read them the next day and started crying all over again.
Thank you doesn't do it justice, but know that your comments have meant the world to us.
Thank you doesn't do it justice, but know that your comments have meant the world to us.
After a couple hours of sleep, our busy day began. I don't think we went more than 20 minutes for the entire day (until 8 or 9 pm) without getting a knock at the door. We had a boatload of gifts delivered by the hospital, a photo shoot of Moriah for the billboard and some with our family of four, an hour long media session with TV and print and a 45 minute videographer session to capture some highlights from Moriah's birth story. We had a day full of family visitors not letting Moriah leave their arms. We got to witness Karis meeting her sister for the first time and see the look of extreme happiness in her face. She was instantly giving her kisses and saying hi to her in the sweetest high pitch voice. I can't wait to see them grow up together and watch their bond form.
We feel like we have 10,000 reasons to be thankful and grateful for Moriah Pearl Kiser entering our lives at the perfect time. It's been a pleasure being a part of her story and seeing the impact one life can have in just a matter of hours. The truth is there's nothing more special about Moriah's life when compared to the 9,999 other babies that were born before her. Each one is a small, significant bundle of possibility. They've each been designed for a specific purpose by their Creator and we pray that each will know what that is one day.
Becky, I couldn't love you more if I tried. I can't wait to see you be a mother of two little girls and I will pray consistently that they follow closely in your footsteps. I don't think they could have a better example for what a godly woman looks like or a more genuine follower of Christ to look to. You're special to me. I hope you're fully, uniquely yourself for as long as you live.
Karis, I'm so glad to give you a sister to form countless memories with over the years. Our love for you hasn't changed one bit and we've missed you so much being away from you in the hospital the past few days. I can't wait to hug you, kiss you and play with all of Moriah's new toys with you. We won't tell her, don't worry. Being your Daddy is the best job I've ever had.
Moriah, you've definitely picked up on how to get us to fall in love with you quickly. You've mastered the art of crying until we cuddle you. Way to go baby girl. We love you completely as you are and have loved the one-on-one time we've had with you here in the hospital to start forming our special bond. You're a Kiser now and we can't wait to see what your personality and character are like. You've handled the fame and lights so seamlessly… don't let it go to your head :).
Now let's go home and be a family. A family of four.
Now let's go home and be a family. A family of four.
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