Friday, April 30, 2010

Joy in the Morning

Pretty much nothing about our birth story is typical...but then it must be that every birth is as unique as the people involved. We decided, after much prayer and thought, to fly in a more experienced midwife to join our birth team. God worked everything out as she was available and willing to come during our due date, and we were so blessed to have her. I had to work hard the last few weeks to avoid anything that might make me go into labor, especially my walking and yoga. I wish I could have done both of those things till the end, as I lost a lot of muscle and energy and felt far more uncomfortable when I couldn't exercise, but you do what you have to. After all the pieces were in place and we were sure everyone was ready, they induced me. I was fully dilated after it runs all together...a few hours I guess of focused relaxing and breathing (our mothers outside the birthing room wanted to know if anything was wrong because I wasn't screaming :) fully dilated that is except for the cervical lip, which took forever to go away. I had to labor on my back and couldn't move around much at all so the midwives could control what position the girls were in. There were many positions I was interested in trying to labor in and on my back was NOT one of them. But it was for good reason. Every time they would check me there was a different baby and a different presenting part, lol. I like to tell people we had a Jacob and Esau birth. I labored in candle light with classical music playing and slept between contractions all through the night. I had back labor, and "front" labor too, lol. I kept my red and white striped socks on through the whole thing, a semblance of modesty I guess. It's hard to say when labor started exactly but we had around 12 hours of it. Penelope was born feet first and Celia came an hour later with a bigger head and her hand next to her face. There isn't any way I can really describe it all. It was powerful, painful, an amazing gift.DSC_0052
For me our birth is something rather sacred, it was about God working through The Man and I to bring people into the world who simply "weren't" before and now they are here. God created people through us, through love; how powerful is that?! It thrills my heart to think of it even now. The girl's birth was about learning just how great and faithful my God is, and how with Him I can do SO much more than I ever thought possible, that even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I fear nothing because God is with me...and I repeated those words over and over to myself through that dark night.

The midwife told me in one of my dark moments, don't worry, the joy comes in the morning (Ps 30:5). And she was right. As the sun began to rise the four of us lay in bed together and all the hardships of the night melted away. I knew that this was the best way I could start motherhood, with the knowledge that I can do hardest things to protect and provide for my children, the knowledge that when my strength gives out God will pick me up and carry me to the finish line, and that no mater how dark the night gets, as children of God, we have the firm promise that joy WILL come in the morning. It's funny, even being a child of God has a different meaning for me now.

Here are some of the things I learned in our birth process, little and big.
  • Just because your baby is breech doesn't mean you need a c-section, though it might. There are other options out there, like in my case flying in someone who is knowledgeable and experienced in breech and twins births. Be your own health advocate and don't ignore your instincts. Do your own research. But most of all, seek God's face. C-section was not the best option for us. I believed it before the birth and I believe it now.
  • People always say how ugly you will be to your husband during birth, and I always hated the idea. I secretly (literally, I told no one) vowed I would prove them all wrong, and that I would not let pain make me turn on my best friend and the person I loved best in the world. I did prove them wrong. I never yelled at The Man even once in the 12 hours of labor. As hard as it is you can decide not to be hateful during's a waste of precious energy anyway.
  • Birth can make me an irrational coward. It my darkest moments I wanted what I fought so hard against: a c-section! Make sure you really trust your birth team and they have a clear understanding of your priorities and goals in a birth. I needed to be surrounded by people who really believed I could do this and would help me believe it too when I got lost in the pain.
  • The Man is no coward. 12 hours of labor. 12 of them. And he left my side only twice.
  • Hiding scripture in your heart is an unmeasurable blessing in life.
  • Drugs to dull the pain would really do me no good. It was hard enough to figure out how to push (since I never had the urge to push) it would have been impossible for me if those muscles were numb.
  • I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me, literally.
  • Good health through diet and exercise can make all the difference both for moms and babies.
  • The little details can really matter to me. Lip balm, drinking straws, and having my hair out of my face in a pony tail were all really important that night.
  • Saying WOW during contractions helps open the cervix. "Wwwwwooooooowwww" Don't be afraid to try things that you think other people might think are stupid if it helps you
  • Environment is VERY important to me: low light, music, no people i don't know coming in and out, and no tubes in my arm.
  • It won't last forever, even when your sure your are going to be in labor for the rest of your life, it won't last forever.
  • Natural birth makes for very healthy babies. Even with 12 hours of labor the girls came in the world bright eyed and lovely. The midwife said Penn smiled at her as she was coming out.
  • I can do what I must as a mom for the health and protection of my children without complaining.
  • Jello jigglers made with Knox jello, real fruit juice, and honey are my perfect labor food...and anyone who thinks you can go through 12 hours of labor without some food to give you energy is crazy in my book.
A day later The Man read to me as I lay in bed recovering and he came to this psalm, Ps 20, a psalm I had given to and prayed for so many friends in hard times. The Man and I wept together as we realized God had done just this for us:

May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble!
May the name of the God of Jacob protect you!
May he send you help from the sanctuary
and give you support from Zion!
May he remember all your offerings
and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices

May he grant you your heart’s desire
and fulfill all your plans!

May we shout for joy over your salvation,
and in the name of our God set up our banners!
May the LORD fulfill all your petitions!

Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed;
he will answer him from his holy heaven
with the saving might of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.

They collapse and fall,
but we rise and stand upright.

O LORD, save the king!
May he answer us when we call

1 comment:

  1. This was such a blessing to read! I can relate to soo many of the things you learned! One of the biggest things for me too was that I didn't want to lash out at Jacob or anyone for that matter with things that I would regret. I prayed so much about that while I was pregnant. Praise the Lord, He gave me the grace to focus on Him and His Word and not let me get irritated with anyone. I am so thankful.

    Have a wonderful day!