Amanda’s Birth Testimony
I write this letter today, 17 days postpartum, after giving birth to Molly. Right away I feel the tears welling in my eyes, the pain in my throat, the flood of emotion as I come to terms yet again that her birth, as beautiful and amazing as it was, was according to Your plan and not mine. Sometimes my thoughts will wander through all of the events that happened that day, and I’ll find myself wishing I had made different choices, and then I wonder if things would have happened differently than they did. But that is silly to do, because I can’t change what has been done. I have to believe that for a greater purpose, it had to be this way.
What have I learned in all of this? Since the time I found out my midwife had a vacation leading up to my due date, I prayed often that it would work out for her to be with us. Sometimes I even prayed more about that than anything else concerning the birth. I don’t know why it was so important to me. I guess giving birth, that sacred time and moment, is just so dear to me. I wanted it to be only with people that loved, supported and cared about me. I knew she did. That was why I choose a hospital birth again, even though the idea of giving birth at the birth center was more in line with my thoughts and beliefs surrounding birth.
Once May 30th came and she left on her vacation, I really wrestled in prayer. Not only for her to be there and for my labor to hold off, but that if it was Your will for my baby to be born during that time while she was away, that I would have peace. I may have struggled to write or say the words “Not my will but Yours Lord,” but I meant it, knowing you have a greater plan and purpose than me. I still really hoped and prayed you would answer my prayer, even though I felt completely selfish and unworthy to ask for such a simple thing in comparison to things much more important in the world.
I got through those 10 days clinging to You. I was studying your Word and really trying to understand how to know if I was praying for and asking for something according to Your will. Night and day my thoughts were on you, asking that you would grant my prayer or give me peace if your will was otherwise.
And June 9th came: my due date. I was still pregnant. My midwife was home and I was so thankful that my body and my baby had waited. I think that a combination of being overly anxious, thankful, and excited is why I ended up going to the hospital with mild, spaced-out contractions. I was nervous I would progress too fast. Being GBS positive and the need for antibiotics had me nervous, and I reacted to all of that. I probably didn’t seek you that morning for wisdom if I should go or not. I wonder what would have happened if I had…
I was not ready to give birth. It may have been that day or the next, but my body was not ready yet. That is why things were moving slow. It was early labor, time for me to relax and wait, but I was ready. In my mind, nothing could go wrong now.
Twelve hours later with little progress, I was feeling exhausted, embarrassed and discouraged. I really did not want to have my water broken artificially. But in that moment, I lost confidence in my body. Resting seemed like a waste of my time. I was definitely more concerned about everyone else who was there with me than my own needs. I had planned to talk to my midwife that day at my appointment about not wanting to have my water broken, but I didn’t have that chance. At that moment, it felt like the only thing I could do.
About an hour and a half later, Molly was born. Just like Sam and Gracie, once my water broke, things picked up really fast. Transition hit like a freight train. And it was intense, overwhelming, and amazing all at the same time. I would do it again in a heartbeat if I could. The problem with this stage of labor is a woman is incapable of thinking too deeply. So I did not ask for what I needed. I did not voice what I knew to be true. I wish, knowing my history, that when I got to the tub I just had asked for the nurse to call my midwife to come down knowing it would be sooner than later. I wish…
But You had other plans. And I’m so very thankful my doula Gwen was with me. Her love, support and kindness give me so much strength as I wrestle with the events of that day. I see her servant’s heart in the photos as she tended to my needs and I remember her calm, loving and reassuring voice surrounding me not only that day, but the days leading up to it and those that followed. Thank you for allowing her to be with me, knowing it had to be her.
And Molly’s birth was not bad, it was beautiful. It is my sacred moment with her.
I find myself wondering, what if my midwife had arrived 2 minutes sooner and caught Molly; would that have changed how I felt about the experience, about the nurse? I think it may have felt a little better, but I still would have wanted her there with me that last 30 minutes or so like she was with my other babies. I need to keep letting go of that. I need to forgive the nurse for not listening to me or knowing enough to call much sooner than she did. I need to just accept that this was the way YOU willed it to be.
But what hurts so much is this: why would my body wait 10 days while she was out of the country, and then she misses the birth by moments when she was in the same building? It feels like a mean joke, yet I know that is not Your purpose, rather the enemy messing with my frail heart.
So what am I to learn from all of this? I know I need to learn that my hope is ONLY in you Lord. Maybe my hard lesson here is that I put too much hope in my midwife being at the birth rather than in You. Even now when I’m hurting, I still want people to hear my pain, to love me and hug me and understand. But I am reminded that people are sinners just like me. Everyone who is not YOU will let us down at one time or another. My hope, my strength, my healing has to be only from You. Yet I don’t want to go through it alone.
I think it’s getting better. I still don’t feel 100% like me. I love Molly so much. She is so precious. I love Sam & Gracie beyond words and am so thankful for Evan during this time. It’s hard though because this has not been easy for me to let go of and move on. If I guard my mind and don’t think too much about anything I can be okay, but then I also feel a little numb. Sometimes the tears are healing and make me feel better than not feeling anything at all.
I feel bad for people like my mom & sister that I know love me and care, but I can’t talk to them about this. It’s too personal and private, and if someone says something who does not get it, I just am not prepared to deal with that. Please forgive me for not opening up to them.
Please guide me, Lord, as I continue to move through this process. There are even emotions beyond the birth experience as I grieve not being pregnant anymore. All of the aches and pains are so quickly forgotten and I find myself missing the excitement, preparation and joy of awaiting the arrival of a new life. It’s such a build up for so many months, and then it’s over so quickly, and I’m left feeling like there is nothing left to look forward to. I know that’s not true as I have my family, my children to watch grow into the people You created them to be. But sometimes the knowledge in my head and the feelings in my heart don’t match up.
I know in the coming weeks and months I’ll start to feel like me again. I know and believe that all things work for good for those that love the Lord. I do love you Lord. I wish I was not so emotional. That I did not feel so deeply. But this is how You made me, the heart You gave me. I have to believe it’s for a purpose.
Thank you Lord for lessons learned, even hard ones that hurt deeply. May they be used to bring all honor, glory and praise to Your Name. Amen.