Kellers in Africa

our life in Zambia

A Daughter is Born

This is Part III of Olivia’s birth story (plus all those cute baby photos we just can’t get enough of!)

Part I and Part II

There’s something you should know about me. When it comes to labor, I’m picky. VERY picky. (Just ask poor Tim!) It’s beyond “Get me ice chips!”… and rather more like “IF YOU MAKE ME LIE DOWN I.WILL.STAKE.YOU!!!!” (I just assume that anyone who would do something so cruel as make an unmedicated laboring woman lie on her back MUST be a vampire or other-worldly monster of some kind). I spend hours preparing myself mentally and physically and make sure Tim has all the information and resources he’ll need to bring the baby safely into the world. What do I mean by unmedicated and no-intervention? My rules are simple: no drugs, no knives, no needles. Don’t get me wrong, we’d never stand in the way if Baby’s life was at stake… just don’t count on getting any scalpels near me to get an early lunch break, doc!

Ann Rachel and Page were my totally awesome doulas. I may have done something truly desperate without them! 🙂

When we interviewed the doctor at Fairview Hospital she assured me that she was completely happy to help me with a natural, unmedicated, no-intervention delivery. She even laughed at some of my questions as though to say, “Who would think of such a thing?” I figured since she was working in a second-world hospital maybe she was used to delivering babies the old-fashioned way.

(how does that saying go… when you assume, you make an… anyway:

Well, I could start ranting and raving or I can just summarize with a good “HUMPH, ARGH, GROAN, YEAH RIGHT!!!!!!!!” Let’s just say if there was a procedure she could think of, a drug within reach, a possible opportunity to use those scary looking metal scissors, she tried to convince/coerce Timothy and me into letting her do it- to the point that she almost allowed the midwife to scoot in between Timothy and me and cut Olivia’s umbilical cord before she was born. Yup, you read that right: before she was born! I have never been so incredibly thankful for Timothy’s commitment to do what is best for our kids (and for the fact that he’s so big and intimidating in a tiny delivery room, haha!)

A successful, natural birth thanks to God's grace, Timothy's diligence, and the kind friendship of Ann Rachel and Page (and the bath definitely deserves some limelight)

Olivia Alice Keller was born at 6-something am on Saturday, January 21st, 2012. We were incredibly blessed- in spite of the doctor’s best efforts we had an unmedicated, no-intervention birth, a healthy baby, and a short hospital stay. At the end of the day, the only downside to her delivery was that I missed the one and only yard sale that ever happened in Kabwe. Drat. (I’m a real addict- I miss yard sales almost as much as Starbucks!) 😉

one day old

Already preparing my “let me out after 24 hours” speech, I was flabber-gasted when they released me 3 hours after giving birth, provided we stay the night in Lusaka before traveling home to Kabwe. No problem! Get me out of here! We called some friends who manage a guesthouse just outside Lusaka and, unbelievably, it was EMPTY for the night so we got the whole place to ourselves: couch, bedrooms, coffee machine and all!

shortly after delivery

Thanks, everyone, for your prayers and encouragement. Olivia has been SUCH a “good baby” and is an incredible eater and night-sleeper already.

The lovely Keller ladies

Frederick with his 'Did-eeya'

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a wife, a mommy, a missionary, a teacher, a writer. I'm living a colorful life in Africa.

Latest posts by Ashley Keller (see all)


  1. You amaze me dear friend…..truly and African Momma…I am leaving my title and giving it to you! 🙂 I am SO sad to leave Africa, but am also very thankful that I had both children here in Botswana. I would have never had the birth stories that I do had I had them in the US. We too were very fortunate to have no intervention with both. You’re a rock star Ashley! So proud of you! 🙂

  2. I’m SO BUMMED we’ll “miss you” in Botswana! Getting over to visit you guys has long been on my “to do” list! I’m excited about your new opportunities though! God will do awesome things through you guys there!!

  3. Oh, what I would give to be released 3 hrs. after delivery!!

  4. Ashley, I’m late in looking at this but oh how wonderful. We miss you guys but thank God for the work you and Tim do out there. The kids are growing up!!! I wish we could come visit you for a short mission trip.

    Congratulations and give our love to Tim!

    May the grace and peace of God fill your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus!


  5. Such cute pics :).

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