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Strength in the Unexpected

Each year Christa Desrosiers chooses a word, as many of us do, essentially to describe the theme or lesson of that season. Her word for 2017 was “Stronger”. Christa had grown up as a Christian, but had always felt hesitant in sharing her faith, story, or testimony. She was about to learn what the word “Stronger” would mean for her in a whole new way.

In September 2017, Christa and her husband Kevin were preparing for the birth of their second child. Their first daughter, Alexandra, was born a week before her due date in a whirlwind birth that left no time for medication or pain relief. Having experienced that unmedicated birth already, Christa felt more confident leading up to her second birth. Surely if she could do that, she could handle whatever this second birth would bring. On September 15th, 2017, about 38 weeks into her pregnancy, Christa started having what felt like Braxton Hicks contractions (or, what some call “false labor”). Blessed with a naturally high pain tolerance, Christa shrugged it off, breathing through it and going to work like any normal day. She remembers thinking to herself, “Maybe I should get the car seat out of storage.”

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The contractions continued through the day, and into the evening. Around 7 pm, Christa’s husband (and her intuition) encouraged her to check in with her Doula, a birth assistant that had been present at her first daughter’s birth. After listening to Christa explain the consistency and duration of her contractions, her doula responded confidently: “You’re definitely in labor. You probably have about 2 hours. Get ready.”

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Christa and Kevin began to prepare for the trip to the hospital; packing their bags and getting their daughter ready. As Christa gathered her things, she noticed that walking was getting more and more difficult. The contractions were getting intense and closer together- a sign that the baby could be coming very soon. As they were about to leave, Christa decided to use the restroom one last time before they departed for the hospital. In the bathroom, Christa knew things were much further along than they had first thought when she found herself unable to stand back up. She called to her husband and they got her doula on the phone again. “Can you rally?” the doula asked, wondering if Christa would be able to make it to the hospital before the baby came. Christa knew the answer and responded confidently with a, “Nope!” At the advice of her doula, Christa and Kevin called 911. The dispatcher began to talk them through the birth that was already well underway while the EMTs rushed to get to the Desrosiers home. But there was no waiting for the professionals. There on the bathroom floor, in three pushes, the miraculous took place; their daughter Riley was born.

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The lightning fast, ten-minute 911 call meant that the EMTs arrived shortly after the birth, where they were relieved to find an atmosphere of joy and peace. It is rare that first responders walk in to such a calm situation. “This is our favorite kind of call”, they all said with smiles. The air of celebration and relief forged a bond between the Desrosiers, the first responders, and the 911 dispatcher, who they were delighted to later meet. Little Riley continues to bring people together with her happy, peaceful and social personality. She is a miracle, one which Christa is grateful for every day. She sees how her theme “Stronger” for the year is so consistent through her story; God’s presence was strongly with her, she had more strength within her than she realized, and she now has a story that she can share with a confidence stronger than she’s ever had. When she reflects on her wild, miraculous experience, for Christa one thing is profoundly clear: God never left her side. “In the moment you may not always realize that God is there, but He is. You don’t always see it, but He is. In the joy and the struggle, He’s there.”

Written By: Kate Schaber || Photos By: Abi Aeur

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