Saturday, July 21, 2012

My Birth Stories -- Behind the Scenes

There was a reason I sought so hard after a VBAC...

June 2010

I was near my due date with my first baby.  
I was still fully anticipating the easy natural labor I assumed I would have.  My mom had done it.  I would too.  

I got out of the bathtub, walked towards the sink,
and clearly heard:
"You are going to have a c-section."  

It wasn't scary, malicious, or ominous.  
It was peaceful.  

I was sure of my plans, though.  

So I said,
"God, I don't think that was you... 
 But if it was --- then I trust you."  

And that was the start of my journey.  

     The more overdue I got, the more I started to realize I wasn't getting my way.  I had no idea how to handle myself.  I still wasn't sure that it wasn't just some crazy passing thought.  I couldn't tell anyone ---  I felt like if I said it out loud it would HAVE to come true, and a c-section was my biggest fear.

     But having that clear statement from Him turned out to be a huge blessing.  I don't know when I started to believe it, I think I fought it with each pitocin-induced-contraction until they overwhelmed me; so having that still small voice lost in my heart made it ok for me to get my epidural (something I thought I'd rather die than do (the idea of it terrified me --- a needle in my spine!) --- I would have needed one later, but this way I got to ask for it).  (And let me tell you, when it kicked in -- I loved it!)  When the midwife said it was time to push I was so surprised because it didn't feel like the end (and that's because it wasn't).  So as I pushed (and pushed...) with no progress, I felt (well, other than crazy exhausted, etc.) calm because I knew where I was headed.  And strangely it didn't feel fruitless, it felt like part of my journey.  I felt blessed to have the chance to give of myself even if I knew it was probably to no avail.  It's really weird, I don't know how I could have felt that way, but I did.  And as I waited for the doctor to come in and check why we were stuck, I gave in and prayed for the c-section.  I didn't have an ounce left of myself --- physically or egotistically.  I was clinging to the bedrail and chanting the word "please" over and over --- as I was saying it I couldn't believe it, but I was praying for my worst fear.  So when the doctor came in and said, "I have no tricks for this" I knew it was going to be ok.
   But what I didn't know was if it was my fault.  I thought maybe I was being punished, after all I had a terrible attitude about my body through my whole pregnancy.  I thought I must have brought this on myself.  Plus I got the epidural --- those books all said this would happen.  As I clung to the bedrail, letting the IV subdue my contractions, I asked the midwife, with a tremor in my voice --- as if she would know, "Is this my fault?"  She said, "This is 100% the position of your baby and don't let anyone tell you otherwise."
    But I went a whole year still feeling like I did something to deserve it.  I worked each pound off with nearly a punishment mentality.  The longer I went to the pool, the more the locker room seemed to be nothing more than a room to be "beaten clean" in, as if I could painfully redeem myself.  (Of course, I didn't notice myself doing this until later.)
    And when June 2011 came along I nearly lost it.  I was having traumatic flash backs to June 2010, not the c-section, but the weeks before it --- the wait.  The days I could not change.  The days where I was facing down my greatest fear, feeling so alone.  I was afraid I would honestly need to get real help, I didn't want to get out of bed.  I was praying and didn't feel like I was getting anything back.  I was drowning.
    And then God came to my rescue again.  Our hallway floor was sagging towards our water heater (Blake has fixed that since.)  I was putting makeup on in the bathroom mirror and J was tottering down the hallway, when she fell down worse than normal and hit her head.  I went and scooped her up held her face to mine and said, "It's not your fault.  This floor is tilted."  And as the words became sound, they seemed less for J and instead like God's words to me.  It was a strange feeling.  But in an instant I heard it, and knew exactly what he meant --- the world is not the way He had intended it to be, and my heart felt that it really wasn't my fault.  And so J and I cried together.  And that June stopped haunting me.  I had been so afraid of facing her birthday.  But in an instant I was healed.  I didn't think it was possible.  A greater peace could never be given by anything but Him.  I was ready to live that day again, one year later.  (We all went to the zoo and had a wonderful and totally enjoyable day.)

But my healing wasn't a one day thing.

I started hashing it all out with God right away, after J's birth.

I was so raw.
I was so disappointed.
I was still always a bit at a loss for "why."

Nearly all my rocking chair sessions ended with J sleeping in my arms, and me baring my soul in silent questioning prayer before I would lay her down.
Over and over, I brought my thoughts before him.
Over and over I apologized for needing to talk about it again.

Over and over I asked, "Is it because..." and fill in something I did or didn't do.

One day He showed me how He had healed my heart with that c-section.
I had been so broken through my pregnancy.
It's so shallow, but I had been devastated by the way my body changed.  I seriously cried over it obsessively.
One day He showed me how during J's birth (during that break in the hallway on the way to our c-section), I was able to move past that fixation on my body.  He showed me that if I had not been able to do that, I would have never forgiven J for "ruining" me.  And how terrible would that have been?
Moving past a fixation on my looks also healed a large part of my woman-heart that had been hiding since hard moments in my life where I was made to feel "not good enough" beauty-wise --- moments that had broken me and left certain things rotting alone in the recesses of my heart.  God took those pieces, picked them up and held them, until his touch melted them right back to where they belonged.   He gave me my heart back, under a knife.  I was numb.  I didn't feel the knife.  But I felt his hands.

But wouldn't you know, that wasn't enough for me?
Wouldn't you know, I still asked again..."Why?"
"Couldn't you have healed me without a knife?"
"Couldn't you have walked me through in a way that didn't change the way I will have more children?"
"Didn't you know I'm not strong enough for this?"
"Didn't you see how fragile I would remain?"

One day I was reading to J her "Jesus Storybook Bible" (highly recommend it!) and we read the story about the lady with the issue of blood for twelve years.  After J fell asleep I spent some time praying, writing it out on paper.  J was only a few months old at this point.  After I wrote out my familiar pleas, "" I felt him responding to me.  And I wrote it down.  In that moment, I thought he told me that he would bring my next baby through (meaning a VBAC) and, that for the women in the story he healed her after twelve years, but for me it would be two years.
I was terrified.
I was so utterly afraid I had made it up.  I didn't know if I should believe it.

You see, when I heard, "You are going to have c-section" it was crystal clear.
I've had 3 other moments in my life where I was clearly told something like that ahead of time, and they all felt and sounded the same, and they all came true.  I could reference those.
This VBAC talk was not in the same nearly-aloud voice.  It was a still and small feeling, smeared into words --- stiller and smaller, than I was sure of.
And since it was the sound of my deepest desire, I was so scared that I was the source.  And I was afraid that if I clung to it and it didn't happen I will become embittered and broken and unable to trust God ever again.

But I had to do something.  I had to either say, "Okay I trust you." again, or just waste away in my heartache of disappointment.
I chose once more, "Okay, I'll trust you."

But this time was harder.
This time I questioned.
This time I struggled.
This time I ached.

And I wondered, "If you did it to me before, why wouldn't you do it again."
What if this is all a test.  Like Job.  To see if I will still trust even when more is taken from me.
And I didn't know how to cling to a hope I had been given, all while saying, "No matter what I will serve you."

{I was so worried about this whole thing being a figment of my imagination, that I only told Blake, a couple friends, and my parents that I thought God had spoken to me a promise of a VBAC.  (Spread out over time --- and very hesitantly.)  And I always included the idea that I wasn't sure it was Him.}

I have never struggled so deeply with my faith, as I have through these two years of waiting.
I have never wanted so badly to just believe, all while having nothing in me to trust with.

I didn't trust many days.
I didn't love many days.

I {my heart} screamed {in fear and anger} some days.
I cried over a million days.

I almost couldn't pray.
Even though I prayed all the time.
But they were broken prayers.
Prayers that endlessly asked, "Can I trust you?""Should I trust you?" "Do I like you?"

Church always made my heart ache incredibly.  I didn't know how to apply any sermon I heard to my life.  I just tried to breathe while I was there.  And I just tried to set everything back in His hands once I was home.

And over these two years, He would come back with quiet grace.  Patience.
He told me I was his little momma sheep, and that he understood my behavior --- He was my shepherd, He knew what we sheeps do.

Despite the heart-aching struggle to emotionally trust, I physically pursued what I hoped was His promise to me.

I wish I had the kind of faith that would have let me relax into it and just trust Him to make it happen, because He is big enough to do that.  But I had the kind of faith that wanted to trust him, so wrong or right, I set out to do my part of the equation, which is where my "Healthy Pregnancy Tips" came into play.  Long before I got pregnant again I was researching everything VBAC and all things pregnancy, including how long I should/need to wait to get pregnant again to even be eligible for a VBAC.

From what I could gather, most doctors want you to wait somewhere from 9 months to 15 months to get pregnant again after a c-section to allow for a VBAC (in order to cut down on the uterine rupture rate.)  (I did not research the validity of this idea, I just wanted to know a cut off to aim for since I didn't want to be turned down for a VBAC.)  So let me tell you, I was adamant about preventing pregnancy for at LEAST 9 months.  But I was pretty sure I would be waiting until exactly 15 months before we thought about anything.

Shortly after J turned one year old, all of a sudden I felt a tug at my heart.  It was the same tug I felt when it was time to get pregnant with J.  I suddenly knew there was a specific person that God was asking me to be willing to accept into our lives forever.  I knew God was offering me the chance to be blessed by them.  And I knew He was prompting me to allow for them to be exactly who He was calling them to be, by allowing just the right pieces of me and their dad to create them.
I was really caught off guard by this feeling.  I didn't think I was ready.  I didn't know if Blake was ready.  I also didn't know if my body was ready.  But I clearly felt the feeling that I needed to be open to our next family member.
I talked it through with Blake, and we prayed about it.
Before we knew it, we were leaving our next baby's arrival in the hands of God.  No more controlling it on our part.

Those were some emotional months for me.
At first I was scared.  Then I was excited.  Then I was overwhelmed.  Then I was impatient.
I hadn't even gotten my period back yet since having J.
I didn't know when to test for pregnancy.
That made it even more confusing.
Eventually I did get my period at 14 months postpartum.
I was flustered.  I didn't know if that was good or bad.  But it felt bad.
Then I got a second period.
I started to question where this baby I was called to was.  (It took us one month to get pregnant with J.)  I started getting worried about secondary infertility.  (I know, overdramatic --- that's just how I roll.)
I also started to question the idea that God would give me a VBAC in two years.
I wanted to take Him very literally on that one.  I knew that two years didn't mean to the exact day, but now that I had had two periods, I thought I was getting past the really-close-to-two-years apart mark.

Then magically, I ovulated early for the first time in my life.  I got pregnant.  And my due date was just a few days past J's birthday.

You would think this would boost my confidence.  And it did in a way.  But it also felt like a coincidence.  I never got to the point where I just trusted wholly.

You can see my wavering journey through my blogging.  Starting here --- in November 2011.

{What you can't see, because I didn't want to share it ahead of time (due to my wanting to avoid any unnecessary opinions), was how I chose my care provider.  I was going to include that in this post.  But it's already really long.  So I will give it it's own post.}  

Eventually, I saw God bring me through... bring this baby through.

You would think this would instantaneously bond me back to Him.
But to be honest with you, I'm still a work in progress.

Transitioning from a VBAC isn't really something you get lots of time to process.   By definition, you {more than likely} have an older child AND an infant.  You don't get a lot of time to think.

I know that if He has been patient enough to bring me through this, He will be loving enough to nurse me back to emotional health as I move forward.

As much as this (a VBAC) is what I wanted, there was still pain.
And in that I have to seek Him too.
Even still I need His healing.
But He did bring me through.
And for that I am amazed, and almost still too in shock to be grateful.
But I am grateful!

And I'm also still in shock that He was good enough to speak the truth over me, and to my heart, before each birth.

What amazing grace!


  1. I started reading at part 2 of your first birth story (I found you by googling full-panel maternity pants, just refreshing my memory on where to cut the pants and other details). Thank you for including the fact that birth is emotional. That God cares about us and our experiences and that He wants to help us heal even when we don't understand the direction He gives us. Very few birth stories involve the emotional, they're mostly "this happened and then that happened." That makes is very hard to connect with their experience and I'm left feeling judgmental about how their birth went (which I hate feeling!). I, like you, read the natural birth books and have been caught up in their bias. But I also don't appreciate the medical bias either. Very few sources acknowledge bias at all (unless it's coming from the opposite 'side') and very few acknowledge how very personal birth is and how much God will support us through it if we allow Him. Your emotional honesty and reliance on God for healing and understanding gives much more to identify with and I feel like giving you a great big hug through all my tears. I really appreciate reading your comments about and journey with God through each beginning of motherhood. For some reason, it just doesn't seem to get easier emotionally (I'm on my fourth). Thanks for sharing your struggle and your faith.

  2. If you need your ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend to come crawling back to you on their knees (no matter why you broke up) you have to watch this video
    right away...

    (VIDEO) Have your ex CRAWLING back to you...?


Link Within

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...