I can’t tell you how many Christian mamas I have talked to that have said “I just didn’t really think about inviting God into my birth.” This is really common, and even my experience during my first birth. This is why we want to share Birth Testimonies and tools to help you because Christ should be center, and we can encourage each other on in that. I just love Adrienne’s openness and honesty in sharing her birth testimony.
God was most evident to me during my pregnancy as I felt and learned about the baby growing inside me. I could not understand how anyone could feel the kicks of a baby and not believe that we were intricately designed by a loving and involved Creator. What a privilege it is to be included in the work of creation! God uses women to grow, birth and feed babies!
I did a terrible job combating modern, New Age type thinking during my pregnancy. I watched every birth video I could get my hands on. I read books. I convinced myself that I was capable of doing this work. That it was all in my hands, so to speak. I never gave much thought to God being in control, leading me. I see where my mindset should have been: “If God wills it, I will have a natural birth” instead of “I am strong enough to have a natural birth.”
During my pregnancy, I learned that I have a problem resting and relaxing. I felt constant guilt over my need to rest and be lazy during my first trimester. All I wanted to do was sleep, and I hated myself for it. I heard that was a normal feeling, and for good reason, but I was convinced that it was unacceptable for me and I was better than that. After Aly was born, it hit me that my body did the work of growing this intricate, perfect baby and that is it is absolutely acceptable to need to rest during this time.
The most challenging part of my pregnancy was the last month. The uncertainty of never knowing when the baby would come was unbearable for me. I understand why women elect induction and c-sections. I tend to go overboard with planning, wanting to be prepared for every situation, and the the fact that there was nothing I could do to control the onset of my labor was excruciating for me. I also struggled with the unknown of labor pains. I hated that I couldn’t prepare for them. As my due date came and went, I found it hard to be gracious as those around me seemed to endlessly ask when my baby would be born, as if I knew. I was convinced people around me were trying to torture me by asking about it, but I came to realize that they really just cared about me and was curious about my situation and what I would do. No one meant any harm, I just took it that way because I was so uncomfortable not knowing. God taught me through that situation that He and only He is the true creator and sustainer of life. I have never had to trust God moment-by-moment like that before, but when you’re sitting around waiting for a baby to come, that’s all you can do. Next time I hope to run to Him first, and not as a last resort at my wit’s end.
I planned a natural water birth at a birth center and ended up delivering via c-section in the hospital. This was the worst fear I could have possibly had about birth (besides something happening to my daughter). A c-section was always in the back of my head, but I thought, “that will never happen to me.”
The timing of my water breaking was all God. At 41 weeks, my midwife scheduled me for an NST. I was crushed and convinced myself that I was going to have to be induced, even though many women get to continue on for another week intervention free. The night before the NST, my water spontaneously broke without any contractions. I was convinced I would never go into labor on my own, and here I was calling the midwife and packing bags into the car! This little encouragement gave me the confidence to know my body was capable of natural birth and labor.
My midwife was a Christian. She was sweet, gentle, quiet, and like a mother to me. She was calm in the midst of my worst moments in labor and she was the voice of reassurance in that moment of huge disappointment when I consented to first going to the hospital and, second, consenting to the c-section. God used her in a time when I felt completely alone and unable to continue. I remember her saying to me when I consented to the c-section that I was being a good mom, that I was looking out for my baby and that I was acting out of love. I clung to those words when they wheeled me in for surgery. I would say God was most evident in my birth through the support of my midwife. She was His hands and feet in helping me not feel alone in that cold, impersonal hospital room.
The hardest part of my labor was transitioning to the hospital. I was 8 cm dilated and had been in labor for 30 hours. I believe I was in transition while arriving at the hospital and think if I had been given an epidural or allowed to continue to walk around and labor on my own terms, I may have birthed vaginally. I felt like the staff, although well-meaning, treated me like cattle, corralling me into the cookie-cutter process that made them feel comfortable. I was told I had to lie on my back, could not go to the bathroom, could not eat or drink, and that I would deliver on my back with my feet in stirrups when the doctor came in. When the nurse told me that, I knew I couldn’t do it. I labored for a few more hours before consenting to a c-section. I cried so hard. I watched the staff kind of give up on me, as if to say, “Finally, let’s get this over with.” Thankfully, my midwife was still there and encouraged me through it and asked the nurse to give me some pain medication.
My favorite memory from Aly’s birth was laying in the recovery room after my c-section, unable to move my arms due to the spinal tap, and seeing my husband say a blessing over our newborn daughter. He was talking to her as if they were the only two people in the world. He was head over heels in love with her. In this situation, I see how God redeemed the disappointment of having a c-section. If I had had a natural birth, that sweet moment may not have happened. He was the first person to bond with her, and I am okay with that.
Honestly, Scripture did not play a big role in my labor or birth. I remember reciting from the Psalm over and over again that “God is close to the broken hearted” after battling postpartum depression. I guess that says a lot about my relationship with God. I didn’t make His Word a priority until I was in crisis.
I seriously have no words to describe my thoughts when I first saw Alyosha. It was the most amazing, strange, new and wonderful experience I’ve ever had. It is the strangest feeling to see someone you’ve never met, who looks completely different than you could have ever imagined in your head, and love them so much and feel so close to them.
I know there were many moments where God turned bad situations into good in my actual birth process. As a whole, I’d honestly have to say it’s still in my mind as a disappointing experience. That’s not to say I’m not thrilled with the outcome: my healthy, precious daughter. The more I reflect on Aly’s birth, the more I see what God was trying to teach me in that experience, that He was always with me and never left me. I feel like God redeemed my birth experience through my breastfeeding journey. That was also full of challenges and disappointments; however, I was quickly able to see God’s hand giving me strength day-by-day to keep going. Birth and breastfeeding are both such miracles.