Who doesn’t love a good ole childbirth story (I could read them all day) There’s just something amazing about a story that brings new life. I’ve learned something new in each of my birth experiences and every time, I walk away in absolute wonder at how God has shown me more of Him.
I had been amazingly blessed before becoming pregnant with our darling Aracely Luca, with two beautiful births and I was really looking forward to doing it again. My last birth ended up in shoulder dystocia where Lettie’s shoulder got stuck on my pelvis on her way out, and my doctor ended up having to go on in, twist her around and pull her out. Big. huge. OUCH. So at my first few appointments into my pregnancy with Aracely I was given the option of having a Cesarean or going natural again and risking another episode like the last. With a lot of careful consideration and Aracely’s size being monitored, plus seeing a specialist who was absolutely confident a natural birth would be fine, I decided to go natural.
Supernatural Childbirth! That’s exactly what I desired (because dah, who likes pain) but I so much wanted to experience childbirth the way God first intended it to be. I knew it didn’t have to be a daunting, scary and excruciating experience that it so often can be. This is where I learned so much. I remember getting towards the end of my pregnancy and feeling incredibly un-ready to give birth. I went for a walk one night and remember saying “God, I just don’t feel ready for this at all. I haven’t done enough, I haven’t prayed enough, I haven’t declared enough, haven’t prepared enough.” Silly me. His immediate response back was this, “That’s why your not ready, it’s not about you doing, it’s about what I’ve already done.” I stopped still in my tracks and relaxed straight away. Of course it’s not about me doing. My mind set turned completely from not feeling ready to being so rested and at peace…everything I desired for this birth had already been done. I didn’t have to DO anything except REST. I didn’t have to march around the house yelling out my list of what I wanted for this birth, I didn’t have to pray on my knees or my hands or my feet or my elbows 10 times a day, I didn’t even have to beg or plead. No no no, it wasn’t about me doing anything at all except trusting, resting and believing. Simple!
Every anticipating mother to be should know that trying to bring on labour absolutely does not work…unless of course your body is totally ready. But that didn’t stop us trying every darn thing we could think of to induce labour before my induction day…you know, just to humour us. It pretty much confirmed for the third time that nothing works though! To be honest, I was actually quite ok with being induced and it meant I could be pregnant for as long as possible!
I was pretty excited to walk into the maternity ward that morning. We got hooked up to the baby monitor machine to check her heart rate and movements were super duper great when we arrived, and then we waited for my doctor to show up and put that oh so magic cervix gel on. I’ve heard so many stories about that magic cervix gel, but 2 hours later I was still waiting for labour to start. Apart from my uterus having sporadic tightenings, it didn’t feel like much was happening…at all. No matter how much I bounced up and down on the bouncy ball or wished myself into contractions…everything was quiet…very quiet. While we were waiting for my doctor to come back, another lady came to the ward in cracking good labour so I was hurridly rushed out of the labour room into one of the ward rooms so that the other lady could go push her baby out in privacy and not in the hallway. Seeing as the hospital was a week away from moving into a new building, they only had one working labour room. Let’s be honest, it was a little bit entertaining – you know, hearing (not so much seeing) someone in labour and watching her doctor and the midwives race up and down the hallway trying to get her into the labour room before her baby arrived. You just can’t help but feel excited for this lady who gets to meet her baby in just mere moments. Plus, then it makes it feel more real that that will be you in a little while. It wasn’t long after they rushed her up the hallway, before we heard them gushing and aahing over her new baby and I couldn’t wait for it to be my turn.
Finally my doctor came back and broke my waters. My labour started immediately after that with contractions about 3ish minutes apart. They weren’t painful but they were very intense and really strong. Infact it wasn’t until I was almost at transition that they began to hurt. I laid down on the bed for my midwife to check them and didn’t get up after that, they were so strong by then! It wasn’t long after, that I asked Nic to call her back because I was starting to feel that much anticipated pushing feeling. My midwife came in and checked me and I was almost ready to go, so for the second time that day she began rushing around trying to get the other lady who had just given birth out of the labour room, and me into the labour room in time for our baby to be born. They wheeled me up the hallway and into the labour room where she checked me once more and I started pushing.
I was so prepared for the pushing part to be quick. I pushed for three hours in my labour with Chadd and one hour in my labour with Lettie, so I figured our third baby would have to almost fall out right? Wrong! I remember at one stage my doctor asking one of the midwives how long I had been pushing for. She replied “45 minutes.” I was so disheartened then. Every push felt like I was getting nowhere and I was so exhausted and sweaty and pretty gross looking by then. After another little while, My doctor tried to feel if her head was coming down when I pushed – which it wasn’t – and I’m pretty sure my heart completely deflated then. He told me that if I kept pushing for another half an hour we would see a head but he wasn’t sure if her shoulders would be a problem, seeing as her head was taking it’s sweet time to come out. He was trying to encourage me to keep going and it was about then I totally gave up and all but begged him to give me a cesarean. I was honestly in so much pain by then, the fact that even the thought of a cesarean terrified me didn’t matter to me, and all I could think of was how amazing it was going to feel to be numb. Totally and completely numb. I’m pretty sure I kept asking whoever was in the room when they were going to stab me in the back with that huge needle and take the pain away, and I was so mad I had to wait for their team to get together and for me to be taken to theatre to have it. I remember laying there thinking about how this isn’t how I had asked God for it to be, and why was it going this way. But right in that moment, I put all that care aside and completely gave up on God’s promises to me and all that I had trusted for.
I remember one thing I had asked God not long before that day was that I would be fully aware of what was going on around me and completely alert while I was in labour. With Chadd and Lettie’s births I went off into my own world and wasn’t really alert or aware of what was happening in the room and I wanted this time to be different. This time I was so aware. I was aware of almost everything going on around me and what was happening, and my doctor even commented on how alert and with it I was between contractions.
Finally they had a team, and they were ready to go, so they began to wheel me out of the delivery room to theatre. I remember suddenly having a determination to push followed by a big contraction with a really strong urge to push and FINALLY with that push I felt her head start to come down – right in that moment while they were wheeling me down the hallway towards theatre. They pushed me into a room that was on the way to theatre where I was met by a team of beautiful people who immediately began encouraging, coaching and cheering me on. My doctor came in all dressed in scrubs but soon realized he wouldn’t have to anything, and after a few more pushes, Aracely was born!
I was actually so disappointed that her birth didn’t go to my plan. I went through being so mad at myself for giving up and asking for a cesarean, instead of pushing through and not giving up. But after that, I became thankful, so thankful. There was so much joy in that dingy sterile room where Aracely was finally born. Every single person in there was laughing and smiling and chattering, and my bed was completeley surrounded by there happy faces. Every person there was encouraging me, and when I say cheering me on, they absolutely were doing just that. I’ve never experienced something like that. Think 5 year old child running there first ever race and there entire family – you know, mum, dad, siblings, cousins, grandparents, uncles, aunties, were right there on the sidelines, shouting wildly, cheering them on. I’m pretty sure I felt like that 5 year old kid. Until now, I had completely forgotten that I had also prayed for there to be immense joy – uncontainable joy – in the room when Aracely was born. Not that there wouldn’t have been if she was born how I had planned in the labour room with my doctor and midwife, but definitely not in that measure. I also realized that every other prayer I had was answered, I didn’t need stitches, even though after Aracely’s head was out, my midwife turned her shoulders around before delivering the rest of her to prevent shoulder dystocia. She told me after, that it was great I didn’t need stitches because generally you do after that. The placenta came out so quick and easy this time, and afterwards, apart from my still swollen but slightly less rounded belly, I was pretty much like a normal person. I had even prayed just two days before that my ‘you know where’ regions wouldn’t look like a huge blimp after Aracely was born and I didn’t even get swollen. The next day the only thing that was sore was my muscles, like I’d done a nice big workout at the gym (go figure) haha!
When Aracely was born she had a bulge on the side of her head, which I found out that night, showed them that Aracely’s head was turned sideways while I was pushing. That is why she wasn’t budging – she just wasn’t in the right position. So right at the last minute, as they were wheeling me out of the labour room, her head turned down and out she came. All up I was only in labour for one hour until I was ready to push, and the pushing part lasted just over two hours before she was finally born.
I love that I came to the realization, that even though I gave up while I was in labour. I gave up on everything I had asked God for, believed for and rested in, God didn’t once give up on me. He didn’t forget His promises to me, he didn’t give up on me because I threw it in and gave up on Him. He remained absolutely faithful through it all and delighted in giving me what I had asked of Him. And most importantly, in the end, we were blessed beyond measure, holding our beautiful baby girl – completely perfect from head to toe.