Natural childbirth has failed me. Twice! I wanted it so badly too. I read all the right books, met all the right people (well, mostly), but it still failed me. Two home births planned and two home births failed. That is when I decided to give up on the whole natural childbirth movement.
Now before you think I just threw in the towel on natural childbirth and opted for an epidural for my third labor, hear me out.
It all started with my first pregnancy, well actually before my first. I watched it on Netflix. The start of my desire for a natural childbirth. You know it, we all know it: “The Business of Being Born”. Wow! This film rocked my world. A mere year before I had mocked a friend who had a home water birth and was already planning my epidural. Now I wanted to know who would be attending my home birth to the baby I hadn’t even conceived.
I didn’t have to wait long, though. Within a couple of months I was finally (after 2 years and a miscarriage) pregnant. Through a recommendation I picked a midwife and started planning. Well, sort of. I read and watched every natural birth story I could get my hands on. I mocked every non-natural labor as either not trying hard enough or just stupidity (I’m serious). I remember commenting on an acquaintances C-section as “her fault”. I was lovely, let me tell you.
Finally my labor day arrived, two weeks late, but no inductions for me. I was going to trust my body and my midwife to do the rest. It might have been a good idea to read or watch anything on how labor was going to be or what to do and not to do.
Labor itself was fine, but despite my intuition, I chose a provider that did not share my beliefs which caused friction at my birth leading to a 9 cm transfer and a C-section. Not the plan. Okay… maybe it wasn’t that girl’s fault she had a C-section.
Despite this unthinkable outcome, the Lord used the whole event to teach me humility (me, in need of humbling?)
–Read my guest post on Super Rad Christian Writer Chick about my pride here—
Take two. Two years later, same verse, similar to the first. With more studying, a much better midwife, and a more humble stance, labor started. Labor was more difficult by far, fear was in the air (for me), and at 8 cm I decided to transfer to the hospital for an epidural. I made a very graceful exit from my home (half naked holding a chux between my legs while my midwife, doula, sister and husband tried to keep up) and an even more graceful entrance to the hospital (begging the nurse for drugs). Despite myself, the doctor walked in, checked me, and declared it was time to push (without the “juice”). Praise the Lord! Health baby boy # 2 was before vaginal and naturally. (Read the whole story here)
Despite the dramatic location change, the Lord taught me acceptance.
Now, during this time, I was actually studying a two year program to become a childbirth educator. I wanted to share my knowledge without the elitist shacklings that so easily follows the natural birth community. I still believed in natural childbirth with my whole heart and wanted to share it with those who cared to listen.
Fast forward 14 months later and I am pregnant with baby boy 3. I was given a gift from my previous midwife (whom I love and was supportive in my craziness of birth 2). She offered me a redo, which my husband was not because he was tired of paying for two births a child (home birth and hospital). I thoughtfully accepted and prepared yet again for a home birth.
Wait wait wait! Isn’t the definition on insanity doing the same thing over and over expecting different results?
As a Christian (for over 10 years at this point) I had really never given much thought to God in preparing for childbirth. I mean a prayer here and there, but not really to do anything more than grant MY wishes.
I finished my childbirth education certification and taught my first humble class (a mere three couple who all have a special place in my heart). But something was not right. The thing missing in my class was the same thing missing in my preparations.
Here I was at a crossroads. Do I really trust God to do the best for me? In this area of so much importance to me, can I lay it all down on Him?
Yes! I do. Yes! He can.
So I stopped. I stopped preparing and searching for the method to guarantee me a perfect natural childbirth (trust me; there are a lot out there).
I started to pray. Thanking and praising God for who he is and for gifting me another blessing (really the whole point of this pregnancy and childbirth thing anyway). I was not praying for a pain free natural home birth anymore. I just wanted to see God glorified. He knew how that was going to happen. He didn’t need my directions.
With only a few simply preparations, I let the matter go to God and just enjoyed my pregnancy.
When labor day # 3 arrived, it arrived in the exact same fashion the first two had (they call it labor for a reason). But this time I had a sound mind. I prayed and called out to the Lord to help me. To stand with me. To carry me. To do it for me. And He did. (Read the whole story here)
Labor wasn’t less painful, or shorter, but it was peaceful. I was with my God and He was with me. I pushed my healthy baby boy out at home and sang my praises to the Lord.
The question might come to mind, “would you still have given God praise if it hadn’t gone that way.” The answer is yes, and I already have. God used each pregnancy and delivery to teach me a lesson. Some had to be learned the hard way (no, not God’s doing, but he can still use our failings), and some the long way. I praise God for my C-section, my crazy VBAC transfer and my homebirth (followed by a 2 day NICU stay) because He is good. Not because things always go my way, but because all things can be used to glorify Him (for those who love Him and are called according to His will). He was all the satisfaction I needed. The natural childbirth was just a perk.
Yes, I am still teaching childbirth classes. I still believe in knowledge and preparation. But that is only secondary to knowing and loving God. That is why I designed my classes to encourage couples to focus on developing a deeper trusting and loving relationship with God. Not as an “I win” button to be pulled out at birth, but by knowing that when God is glorified, you are doing exactly what He had planned.