I’ve processed how things unfolded in my labor and delivery for a couple weeks.
I spent months preparing for the birth of my baby. I visualized, I prayed, I found Bible verses to meditate on, and I listened to birthing declarations daily. I even had dreams that my baby would come early. In the dreams, my labor was so easy, she slid right out at home with barely any labor or pain. My mom had quick, natural deliveries with my siblings and me. I just knew I was going to as well. I imagined the beauty of laboring and watching my baby crown. I imagined getting to feel her on my skin when they placed her on my chest right afterwards. I looked forward to getting to nurse her for the first time.
But this isn’t what happened.
The months leading up to delivery were confusing and discouraging too. I felt like the Lord told me she’d come early and my doctor suggested I move my baby shower dates up sooner. But she didn’t come early. She didn’t come at 37 weeks, 39, 40 or even 41. I woke up every morning wondering if that day was the day. It felt in limbo.
I experienced false labor for four weeks. I ached for her. I wanted to meet her, look into her eyes and hold her. Kris and I went on walks every night and talked and prayed about it. We felt confused and neither of us were hearing from God on what was going on. We couldn’t feel His presence. I felt abandoned in His silence.
My youngest sister came in the week of her due date to help with the baby, but baby didn’t come. Then, my mama came for a week after her due date, but baby still didn’t come.
At 40 weeks, my doctor brought up for the first time that I might need a C-section because it seemed my baby was too big to fit through my pelvis. For me, there was no possibility of that happening. On the inside, I smiled and just knew God was going to prove the doctor wrong. Women are made to naturally have babies, right? God designed me to birth her, so that’s what I’m going to do. Just wait and see. After all, if God can part the red sea, he can part my body for this baby.
My doctor let me go as long as I could in hopes I’d naturally go into labor. He checked me every two days. Finally, at our last appointment, he told me we couldn’t wait anymore. I had to be induced.
At 42 weeks, my cervix hadn’t made any progress and my placenta was calcifying. I felt so confused. How had none of my labor pains ripened or dilated me at all? It was frustrating to think that all of the labor pains over the last month were fruitless teasers.
I never thought it would come to the point that I’d have to be induced. I didn’t like the thought of taking childbirth out of God’s hands. After the doctor left the room, I broke down crying in Kris’s arms. I didn’t know where God was in this. The office manager comforted me and said, “Sweetie, you’ve given God plenty of time and now your baby is at risk. It’s okay, He’ll be with you in this.”
I went to the hospital that night at 7 pm. I was induced at 8 pm. The doctor said the entire process to become completely dilated and effaced would take at least 24 hours. I also couldn’t get the epidural until I was a few centimeters dilated. My family and friends were praying for my body to respond swiftly, quickly and smoothly and that baby would come by early morning.
I really had no idea what was coming.
I thought I was ready to experience labor and breeeeathe through the contractions. I was prepared to meditate on Bible verses in between. But no. That is not what happened at all. I still haven’t found the words to describe the pain that seared through my body like surges of lightning. I’d been through horrible pain in my life before…three ruptured ovarian cysts which doctors told me was worse than childbirth pain. Wrong.
Getting induced sends your body into forceful and fast contractions. I experienced full blown contractions 30 seconds to 1 minute apart for 3 hours straight…with no pain relief. The cute idea of “relaxing into” or “breathing through” contractions was not even an option. I finally channeled my blood curdling screams into more productive, deep warrior moans.
When they finally checked to see how dilated I was, I was already at a 6. I cried tears of relief when they told me. They gave me the epidural and I was completely relieved. My body was responding extremely well and quickly to the induction and I was progressing much faster than my doctor predicted.
I labored painlessly for the next three hours until they came to check me again. By 7:30 AM, my cervix was 100% complete. I was super giddy. I put on makeup to look pretty when I met my baby for the first time. What my doctor predicted would take 24 hours only took 11.5. Praise God for answering prayers! Baby was still high up though so I had to labor a few more hours for her to descend. At 11 AM, they woke me up to start pushing. I was so excited!
I started pushing and the nurse could see baby’s hair. She predicted she would make her arrival by noon. My husband, sister and friend Sherry were singing worship music and praying the whole time. But my doctor came in and said I hadn’t made any progress. I was confused.
To sum this part up, my doctor let me push for four hours until I got an infection and subsequently, a fever. The baby was also distressed. He let me push the last hour with the epidural completely turned off and it was absolutely brutal. Baby was stuck behind my pelvic bone. In tears of defeat and sadness, I signed the consent form for a C-section.
I was wheeled away to the Operating Room. No one could initially come with me. I laid there on the table feeling numb and abandoned by God. In my exhaustion from pushing, combined with the anesthesia, I passed out.
All of the imaginations of meeting my daughter for the first time were shattered. I didn’t see my daughter born. I didn’t get to see Kris cut the cord. I didn’t get to have her lay on my chest. I didn’t get to hold or touch her for hours. I went unconscious and woke up in a recovery room to the sound of Kris talking to our baby. Since I couldn’t do skin to skin bonding with her, he took over and held her for hours.
When I finally did get to hold her, I didn’t feel like myself. I didn’t recognize or connect with this tiny, red creature in my arms. (Babies born via C-section are usually red.)
When I woke up the next morning, everything came raining down and hit me. I broke down sobbing. I didn’t understand what just happened or why it went down the way it did. I thought, If God can part the red seas, why couldn’t he part my pelvis? Where was He? Why did He let me go through so much pain to end up in being cut open?
Everything I had believed, prayed and hoped for in my labor had gone out the window…except that I had a healthy baby, which I’m so grateful for. I had literally prayed and believed for quick, complication-free labor and deliveries for several of my friends and they all got just that. Why had God held out on me?
I never thought I’d be affected by postpartum blues, but I was. I cried every day for two weeks. I’ve never used the word, “gnarly” to describe anything in my life until now.
I’ve been seeking God on this the past few weeks, which is why it’s taken me until now to write this. It felt like He was silent for so long which made things even harder.
Now I think I understand. I’ll share why I feel like things unfolded the way they did in Part 2 of this blog coming later this week…and why any of us face trials and pain that don’t make sense when God seems like He’s turned away…
We all have a story with different outcomes. I realize that I am lucky in so many ways. Relatively, the severity in my birth story pales in comparison. But, it’s my process just the same and it was hard. Regardless of our trials and outcomes, the way we grieve and cope can’t be compared. I hope what He revealed to me will give some encouragement to you.
Stay tuned for Part 2.