This birth testimony is Abby’s story with her third child.
My pregnancy with Selah was one of the most difficult things I have been through, both physically and mentally. The Lord challenged me, taught me, and guided me so much in the months leading up to her birth, and her birth story is no different. I want to start by making it very clear that this story isn’t just a story of what I accomplished or did. It is not a story of an empowered birth. This is truly a story of God’s work during this experience. I was in no way just a strong person who powered through, I was weak (2 Cor 12:9) and the Lord met me and gave me what I needed. This is the birth testimony of Selah Glory.
I had been off of bed rest for 2 weeks and was waiting for my sweet girl to arrive. I knew my body was preparing and I felt very “off” on Friday, September 5th after having a few days of acupuncture. I told my husband I knew I would be going into labor soon. I was moody, emotional, crampy, and knew it was almost time.
I woke up Saturday morning, September 6th to some loose stool and overall crampiness. I had planned to take a castor oil milkshake that morning to try to urge labor on, because I was looking at a medical induction the following week due to my heart condition. I drank the milkshake around 8am and decided to lay down for a bit to keep it in. I played worship music and bounced on my exercise ball; around 11am, I felt my first mild contraction. They started out about every 5 minutes, but I could still easily talk through them. My accupunurist arrived around noon to give me another treatment. I was feeling good, contracting, but still wasn’t sure if it was labor or not.
Around 1:30pm, I texted my doula to update her that I felt them a bit stronger and lower, and I felt comfortable saying it was probably early labor. The contractions were about every 3 minutes or so and I still felt totally fine handling them while laying in bed, listening to worship music. The big kids played around me and came over during contractions to “pet” me. They were both so loving and sweet and knew something was up.
I texted my midwife around 2:30pm wondering about this “weird” contraction pattern. They were every minute or so; I thought it was really weird that they were so close, and I knew that she wasn’t posterior or anything. As an educated doula, I asked what that could mean and she responded with “active labor.” DUH! I just didn’t think it was true. My doula called me to listen to my contracting, and as I moaned through every contraction she said, “It’s time to go to the hospital, I’ll meet you there.” I was still in denial, and my husband still had no clue what was going on, as he was caring for the kids. I texted him from our bedroom to call my mom over: it was time to go. He was shocked, since our last birth was so long. I was still handling them just fine, but wanted to also make sure my heart was handling them well.
We arrived at the hospital around 3:30pm, and between contractions I was still happy and chatty. I was checked around 4 and was 4-5cm, 90% effaced. I was sent to walk around for an hour. So my husband, doula and I walked around the waiting room and I found it most comfortable to dangle on Tim and squat during the contractions. Between contractions I couldn’t believe I was in labor and felt great! By the grace of God, my heart was PERFECT! It felt just fine and I didn’t notice it at all. This was truly a miracle as every doctor told me I would need an epidural to help control my heart in labor. We went back around 5:15pm and I was about 5-6 and 90% effaced. We decided to stay and settle into our room because I knew it was about to pick up!
Once we got into our room, I got into the shower and stay there for a few hours. Tim joined me and sprayed my tummy during contractions while I swayed and squatted. It was a truly beautiful time of prayer and intimacy with Tim. The other labors I felt like he was a support, but more of an onlooker. During this labor, he was my center. He continued to remind me of Christ’s strength, read me verses, played worship music for me. I would need to look into his eyes during contractions, and we truly did each one together.
At 8:45pm, it was time to get out of the shower. I was checked again by my new midwife, Janice, and found to be about 6cm, 100% effaced with a very bulging bag of waters. I asked her to break my waters around 9:15pm. This is where things got real. Up until this point, I felt at peace and as though I was handling the contractions well. The following 54 minutes of my labor felt like days and I truly lost it. About 30 minutes after my waters were broken I was 8cm, 100% and Selah had moved down to 0 station. I felt so much pressure I thought I was going to die. I literally began begging for the epidural. I repeated after every contraction that I needed it, and everyone around me knew how close I was and just smiled back at me, telling me I was doing great. My doula-mind knew I was close, too close for an epidural but I continued to beg anyway. I repeated out loud “Lord just give me the strength for the next one.” The amount of change that took place in the next 20 minutes before Selah was born was so intense I thought I was losing my mind. I poured myself out to God and repeated “give me strength.”
My midwife suggested that I flip over onto my knees, leaning over the head of the bed. As soon as I did that, I reached 10cm, 100% effaced and Selah moved to +3 station and I began involuntarily pushing. These 14 minutes of pushing felt like years, and the pressure was unreal. Tim stayed up by my head and encouraged me in the Lord’s strength. I felt burning and knew she was beginning to crown. Everyone told me to slow down to stretch but Selah couldn’t wait. At 10:09pm she shot out of me with one push. I flipped over and she was handed right up to me. I couldn’t believe it was over and I was in love yet again! I suffered a rare and terrible tear, so the following hour of repair was quite painful, but it was wonderful to hold my sweet baby girl in my arms. The Lord carried me through and I survived one of the hardest times of my life, by His grace alone.
Selah Glory born 9/6/2014 10:09 p.m. weighing 6lbs 10 oz and 18 inches long
All photography done by Doula Dianne