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Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Adoring Christ in Every Birth

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18

I am honored to guest post for Redeeming Childbirth. I am blessed by Angie's vision to draw women to the Lord through their birthing experiences and unite Christian mothers. The good Lord has graced us with four children. Each birthing experience unique and each endeared me further to Christ. The privilege of motherhood has refined me and brought me greater joy than any other experience in life.
"He will love you and bless you and increase your numbers. He will bless the fruit of your womb,''
Deuteronomy 7:13
Our first birth started with my water breaking at 3am and contractions never progressing. Cue the Pitocin and the extreme pain. I got an epidural when I was dilated to a 2-3. I pushed for about 45 minutes. I didn't exactly know what I was supposed to be doing and I couldn't feel the contractions enough to know when to push. Finally, we experienced our first miracle of life. It was the most beautiful thing we had ever encountered. I sobbed tears of joy and cried, "It's a miracle."
And it was.

 For our second birth, the doctor suspected my water had already broken again and I was admitted at 7am and put on Pitocin. The doctor came in around 10:00 to see if I had progressed. He broke my water at this time. I told the OB I wanted to try to give birth without pain meds. 10 minutes later I quickly changed my tune and told him I wanted the epidural. He looked surprised as he left to order it. While he was gone the baby started making his way into the world. The nurse had to catch him but not before I begged for some pain relief. She gave me stadol. Had I only known how close I was to giving birth I would have refrained because it didn't do anything for the pain but made me feel peculiar. The song "How Great Though Art" popped into my head and I meditated on these words as my baby boy was born,
"Then sings my soul,
My Savior God to Thee.
How Great Thou Art,
How Great Though Art."
Indeed He is Great and as I looked at my little baby boy I sobbed uncontrollably and thanked the Lord for another safe delivery and healthy baby.

Unto us a son is given!

By my third pregnancy I was seeking to live a natural lifestyle. I taught water aerobics until the last month, ate clean and drank Red Raspberry Leaf Tea. I studied the Bradley method and remember seeing photos in a book of a husband behind his wife, holding her in his arms as she pushed. I put a lot of emphasis on my husband and worried that something might happen and he would not be able to be there to support me. It was at this time that I found this verse,
"For your husband is your Maker, Whose name is the LORD of hosts; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, Who is called the God of all the earth.
Isaiah 54:5
I was comforted by that verse. I memorized it and meditated on it. I found rest in Philippians 4:11, "I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me."
The day finally came and I labored at home. I waited until my contractions were 3 minutes apart and brewed a strong batch of Red Raspberry Leaf Tea then drank it as hot as I could stand it. My husband said it was time to go to the hospital now. We got to the hospital at 3:00pm. The nurses were skeptical that I was even in labor until one of them checked me. I was dilated to a 9.5. Baby was coming! I was surprisingly calm and felt the Lord was with me. The room was a frenzy with staff scurrying about and an administrator trying to get my information. A nurse attempted to administer a hep-lock but before she started the baby began to crown! It was painful but I remember thinking it was not as bad as with my other labors. I looked around the staff-filled room and thought of Mary giving birth to Jesus. I thought of her on a donkey, 9 months pregnant and giving birth in a humble stable. I felt comfort that the Lord was with me just as He was with her. My husband got behind me and held me just like in that picture :) My husband's arms enveloped me and the song "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms" was playing in my head.
I hadn't heard that song in ages and the only explanation I have as to why that song was in my head is that it was a gift from the Lord letting me know that He was with me.
I pushed about 4 times and that baby was out! It was 3:20 pm.

For the LORD is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations. Psalm 100:5

For our fourth baby, we chose to give birth at a birthing center. 
 The birthing center had a luxurious bed and breakfast feel. I never felt rushed and my children were always welcome. I felt complete freedom during my labor. They gave advice freely but were respectful of our wishes and gave us full control over our experience.

The center is about 45 minutes away from our home. As the day grew closer I began to get more anxious about the drive. The memory of my quick delivery with my last child was lingering in my mind and I was uneasy about arriving in time to give birth. The night before our baby's arrival my husband said we are all going to the birthing center in the morning to be "checked". I called ahead to inform the center of our arrival and our entire family loaded up and went in. I was dilated to a 4.

We called my father-in-law and the sweet man and his sweet wife took our children back to our home.  I was so happy to have our little family together in that birthing room as we prepared for the baby to come. As Psalm 8:2 says, "From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength..." I did draw strength from my joyous little ones that day.

  For this birth, I was not as concerned about any "method" although I did skim over my favorite Bradley Method book. I was more focused on drawing my strength from the Lord. It was more important to me to fill the room with worship music and Scripture so I could be constantly aware that the Lord was with me. My children traced their hands on the back of  Scriptures and wrote love notes which they lovingly placed around the room to encourage me during labor.
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
3 John 1:4
My midwife concocted three herbal tinctures and put me on the breast pump to see if that would regulate my contractions. Indeed it did. Thirty minutes later my contractions became stronger and more regular. I was encouraged to have the midwife break my water. I was not ready to take this step but as darkness began to fall, I decided it was time. I started the playlist of worship music I created for this very moment. I held my Scriptures with my children's' handprints in one hand and my husband's hand in my other. I recited Zephaniah 3:17, "The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing." 45 minutes passed and it was time to push. My husband called for the midwife and assistant. As they came in I asked if I should get into the birthing tub they prepared for me. One look and they knew there would be no time. I was in excruciating pain and I felt I could not go on. I remember crying out "Dear Jesus, please help me," over and over, like a broken record. I was told the baby was crowning and to push. I pushed with every fiber of my being. Twice. Our baby girl was born and my cries turned to praise.

 "Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world."
John 16:21

Our joy is complete.

I am thankful for the Lord's hand in all of our birthing experiences. I remember having that tremendous flood of tears of gratitude and joy after each precious blessing was brought into this world. I savored each experience in a different way. As promised in Joshua 1:5 ,"...As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you."
 I know the same promise is true for you, dear sisters. Draw near unto the Lord and He will draw near to you. Wishing  you many blessings as you journey and draw your strength and joy from our Prince of Peace.

Grace and peace,
Adoring Family

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