First, I have to ask myself: why am I sharing my natural birth story? I’m sharing my birth story because after the research I did, the current condition of our culture, and the experience I had, I thought it was necessary.
Necessary first, for myself on a personal level. I will always be able to reflect on each detail, and if and when I prepare for birth again, I’ll have encouragement for myself from experience.
Also, necessary for others on a personal level. So many women experience childbirth. The question is how? Under what circumstances? Not just emotionally, but also physically.
In the past, there was only one way to physically birth a baby. The way women were designed, naturally and vaginally. Today, there are many variations on the how. Medications, inductions, c-sections, etc. Thank heavens for the advancements of science and the time and place to use them.
But that’s not what I want to spend my time writing about in my natural birth story. Women need to know that birth is normal. Our bodies were made for this. In fact, it doesn’t have to be painful. Yeah, it can be painful, but it doesn’t have to be.
It does have to be labor. Hard labor. Is it easy to have a natural, pain-free birth? No, not really, especially if you have some obstacles. Everyone is different with different troubles to overcome, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible, especially when you are paying attention to what the Lord says about birth.
Who better to rely on and gain wisdom from than the Creator? He set this up. It works the way He intended. I’m writing my story because God brought me salvation in birth. He brought grace, peace, strength, and joy in labor and birth.
That’s worth sharing, because these days…people don’t believe in that.
Preparing for Natural Birth
I have to include that there was much preparation in my journey approaching birth. I chose to prepare my heart and my mind. There was research, discussion, birth class, etc. But there are a few things which made the most impact in giving my heart preparation.
Before mentioning those, I have to thank my husband. A man who constantly encourages me and lovingly harasses me about taking time to know and steward my own heart. I can be vulnerable with him about anything that scares me or frustrates me.
He encouraged me and believed in me during this entire process. Not to mention, this story and one of my deepest desires would not have come to pass without him. I’m so thankful for who he is and I’m so proud that he’s my husband and the father of my son.
I received many gifts from the Lord along the way in the journey of pregnancy. Although I wasn’t expecting pregnancy, I prophetically sang about new life (there being a child in me) weeks before I knew I was pregnant.
Interestingly enough, I did not think I was pregnant, but during worship and as I sang about it, I chuckled and thought…well that’s dangerous to sing prophetically. The good gifts started there: not at the place of sin, but at the loving kindness of a Father.
The first gift I received from the Lord was truth about myself and my son. The child in my womb was to be celebrated and so was I.
This seems obvious at first glance… but because I was impregnated without proper plan before marriage (and still ‘cleaning up paint’ from a heap of destruction in my fairly recent past), some friends around me wanted me to know that this gift might not be so pleasing in my life or to other people in my life.
They let me know in their kind, but condescending way, that there would be heavy and burdensome consequences.
I faced that condemnation and was mostly hurt by their judgement. Although they just wanted what was best for me, they were wrong. I mean, maybe there would be some aspects of it all that I might find challenging, etc. But this baby and this new season of my life was definitely to be recognized as a gift.
God is merciful, redeeming, and He always has good gifts for us at the table…many, many good gifts. Because I was in the first trimester and sorting through some life trauma, it took me a while to fully believe that right perspective…especially about myself.
It took me a little bit of time to rejoice. To let go of the things those ‘friends’ had told me and snap out of it. From these first moments, I took hold of God’s promise.
It was all a gift. I was a gift, my son was a gift. Even this birth would be a gift.
On one occasion, I was reading in the Gospel and on the account of Jesus telling the disciples He was going away. He compared His going and resurrection to a woman in labor and birth. She is burdened with labor when her time has come, but full of joy when that baby is born and the work is complete. For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross.
Jesus Himself compared His resurrection to birth! What joy! And how humbling and honoring to be an illustration of His resurrection in this way. In preparation for birth, one of the first scriptures the Lord gave me was in regard to my fear.
I think quite honestly my biggest fear was a fear of the unexpected, the unknown. After all, if resurrection is to birth, what does that make labor? And wondering what most women wonder…just a bunch of what-if questions and scenarios to make fear feel at home.
“Will I be able to do this? What will it be like? How will I respond to what I’m experiencing? What will people think of me? What will happen? How will it feel?” All those and more.
Did Jesus ask those questions in the garden? Would that have prepared him in any way for what He would face? These questions can only help us by loosening their fear origins with answers of truth.
In my preparation, there was a clear scripture that came to the surface of my heart.
My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness.
Then the Lord used a commonly known scripture to address my fear of the unexpected. Jeremiah 29:11 in a certain translation reads an ‘expected end’. Peace. Not only is His grace sufficient, power made perfect in weakness, but I have an expected end. Good plans, a hope, a future, an anointed birth. Full of grace. This was my expected end.
During my preparation, God continued to speak words of life about this expected end and how I could find myself there. And as I would learn…the Hebrew word, etzev, often used in the reference of childbirth, does not mean pain, but labor.
Labor…that’s just work! This revelation actually freed my heart of a question I’d even asked as a young girl. Proverbs says, “In all labor there is profit.” Well, I’m a hard worker. So I got my heart and mind ready to work harder than I ever had before.
Finally, there were two books that were crucial in preparation. I now recommend these two books on every occasion that the topic of childbirth arises. I recommend them in the order that they were read. Had I not read them, I would not have been prepared. At all.
First, Childbirth without Fear written by Grantly Dick Read. (You can click on my affiliate link to purchase on Amazon. If you’re going to have a baby, it should be the first item you purchase.) In the beginning of the book, his experience and knowledge is described, and he is incredible. Essentially, he coined the term ‘natural childbirth.’ I cannot recommend this book enough.
It has much medical jargon throughout. Sometimes it’s an easy read, but during the medical heavy chapters, I may have skimmed or skipped some paragraphs. My favorite sections include the history and influence of religion and the early church as well as the appropriate translation of the Hebrew word ‘etzev,’ which more effectively translates ‘labor’ instead of ‘pain.’
Questions of theology that I had even as a young girl began to reveal God’s heart through this man’s book. I thank God for this man’s life and ministry to empower women through birth and transform their experience.
He addresses birth that is possible without pain, and from a medical standpoint, it is in fact possible and should be normal. The process he explains, varying among women and circumstances, is absolutely the best outcome, surpassing all medicine and means outside of natural birthing. I highly recommend this resource.
The book to follow was Supernatural Childbirth, by a woman named Jackie. (Click on my affiliate link to purchase on Amazon. If you need scriptures to meditate on, have had trouble with miscarriage or just need testimonies of pain-free childbirth…THIS book is for YOU.) The most profound statement I gathered from the writing was ‘according to thy faith.’ The book addresses many areas of pregnancy and childbirth, including the sorrow of miscarriage and inability to conceive, from a faith perspective.
In the most power-packed way of faith, her and her husband challenge you to believe, and they do an incredible job of giving you tools to make it applicable. They give any person the ability to be met where they are, according to their faith and grow gracefully, sowing from that place.
The book is full of testimony and accompanied with prayers of confession and a ton of scripture. Every word is written from a finished work place. That meaning, Jesus addressed the curse when He died on the cross.
I read this book in the final weeks of pregnancy, and it enforced the teaching in Childbirth without Fear, and encouraged my heart in faith through the truth of God and His desire for me. Especially when events started turning and things got hard. You will face trial…don’t lose heart.
Pregnancy and Problems
Overall, I had a fairly easy and enjoyable pregnancy. I struggled with a tolerable amount of morning sickness, but mostly sinus infections and allergy-related junk in the first trimester.
Obviously I was tired and cranky when Chik-fil-a came too slow, but after that and aside from being borderline gestational diabetic, it was smooth sailing. Trying to ‘eat clean’ made me really grouchy. I fought with my husband about it every now and then, because I like sugar and carbs.
I started receiving care from the midwives at Origins Birthing Center around 13 weeks or so. This was my ideal birth. No hospital, but a place where I could be easily transferred to a hospital. With this being my first birth, I had no idea what to expect and I wanted that safe guard available.
Also, I trusted that midwives are fully capable to deliver babies. They were helpful on informing me of the vitamins and supplements I needed, keeping me on track eating well and being overall optimistic about the coming birth.
However, we ultimately ended up being unhappy with their care. The official due date was August 2nd. At 41 weeks and some days, the midwives checked my cervix and thought that we needed to double check if he was head down. Not sure why they didn’t have us “double check” before since the last sonogram taken around 33 weeks had shown him breech (sonograms were taken outside of their office with a consulting doctor because they didn’t have the equipment).
I was completely unaware that he might be breech, because on several occasions, they were convinced he was head down. Now that I think about it, “Mom always knows best” seems applicable, because I definitely didn’t feel like that baby was head down.
I am so frustrated with myself for not taking precautionary measures sooner, but they were my care provider…it was their job. When we got the sonogram at 41 weeks, he was in fact breech. We attempted an aversion, but baby wouldn’t budge to rotate past the upright position. Also, it was kind of late in the game to be attempting a turn.
They helped us connect with an incredible doctor who is highly sought after and experienced in vaginal breech deliveries and was also recommended by our doula. If we had not found out baby was breech and the midwives were not skilled to deliver him breech, we would have been rushed to the hospital and probably in an emergency c section or a much more devastating situation.
Knowing he was breech at 33 weeks, they did not at all do well enough to ensure a safe delivery. Not to mention, we were not reimbursed in any amount for our need to transfer care, although we would have been able to receive reimbursements earlier, had they been helping us truly and accurately pay attention to baby’s position in a timely manner.
They also didn’t take any responsibility but comment, “this kind of thing just happens,” speaking condescendingly to my husband about how he should just admit to being an inexperienced, first-time dad and possibly they would ‘help us out…’
We did in fact try to resolve things well with them after the birth, but they basically shrugged us off with no accountability to their own mishaps and refusing to accept our constructive criticism to the benefit of their company.
Needless to say, we’ll not request their care again nor recommend them to others. At least not without disclaimer of how they failed to make clear their protocol for breech deliveries and the need to obtain sonograms outside of their facility without their proper initiative. If we had not had a breech positioned baby, things might have gone differently and we may have experienced the best of what they have to offer.
Baby’s breech position and the need to transfer care seemed like defeat at the time. We were discouraged and disappointed in the last minute turn of events. And frankly, we were a little scared about the new context. Everything we wanted was falling apart when we were told our baby was breech, which in some birthing languages means “c-section”.
In literally days leading up to the birth, it was extremely frustrating, stressful, and exhausting. Oh, did I mention I was 42 weeks pregnant by this time? Possibly only 41 weeks based on the earliest sonogram…but still. I was emotionally beyond ready to have a baby.
Tuesday, August 16th. A gush of water woke me up at 5:30am. It literally woke me from my sleep. Birth is not like the movies…but this was kinda like the movies.
I assumed my water broke, but of course I asked a million questions…’Was that really my water breaking? How much liquid is it supposed to be? Wait, was it clear or did it have an odor? I was supposed to pay attention. Should I wake up my husband yet?’
Everyone says go to the hospital immediately if your water breaks, but I wasn’t having any contractions, so I was kind of unsure about what my body was doing.
I texted my doula, Kiesha at 5:30am and asked her what she thought. She said it was probably your water, put on a pad and see if it continues to leak. If the pad is soaked, it’s your water. Well, I put on a pad and it did continue to leak, although most of it was released when it woke me up from a dead sleep.
30 minutes later at 6am, contractions started. These contractions just felt like cramps, coming and going really smoothly, hardly noticeable.
I tried, but I wasn’t sleeping after that. I had been in emotional turmoil waiting for this day. Waiting for a baby, after the 9 months is really hard. Possibly the hardest part of pregnancy. Keeping my peace in those last weeks was most of my battle.
I kept Kiesha updated and let my husband sleep. He was sleeping on the couch because (believe it or not) we had a stray kitten that we adopted just a day or two earlier. Paden had fallen asleep on the couch in attempts to keep the peace in our home with Bagheera kitten and Ellie cat. I was sure he was up late anyways, we’re both night owls.
I knew he would want me to wake him as soon as something happened, but I knew he needed sleep and I knew we had time. I was scheduled for a midwife appointment at 10am. We were already on course to have the baby at a hospital, but the midwives welcomed us to labor at the birthing center until it was time to go.
We were planning on meeting them for this appointment and requesting that our care be completely transferred to the doctor who would deliver. By this time, we were extremely disappointed and frustrated with them and uncomfortable with the idea of their presence at the birth. Aside from that, we had an incredible doula…what did we need them for anymore if they weren’t facilitating the birth?
I finally did wake him, and it was as if all was normal and once he was cognitive, I let him know my water broke and that we were having a baby! We made a decision about cancelling the midwife appointment. So, we transferred care…the morning I went into labor.
I continued to labor from the comfort of my own home while timing contractions. We had breakfast and laid in bed, trying to sleep, or at least rest, and then we made our list of things. Bags were packed, but we needed to ‘kill some alligators,’ as my husband likes to say. We still had a bill to pay, dishes to clean, car to clean, and a few other errands.
Looking back on it, none of these things mattered and not all of them got taken care of, but it kept us busy and I was able to quadruple-check the bags and add a few unnecessary items.
Contractions were consistent enough that I was timing or trying to time them with Paden. I became aware of their waves and could generally anticipate when one was coming and how it would feel as it came to its end.
We made up a system to keep them recorded, like yelling out a word at ones’ start and its end. Pineapple! Orange! I don’t know…I made those up. I don’t remember our entertaining but ridiculous code words. And often I would forget to tell him when one started or ended anyways.
We updated Kiesha regularly when we thought there was a notable shift in their intervals. I had a light lunch, a sandwich I think, but knew I would need some more fuel and nothing heavy. So, after lunch Paden went out to run some of the errands and grab me a protein smoothie. I think while I was home I cuddled with our kitten, pretended to do my hair, and probably checked the bags again.
Then sometime around 3 in the afternoon, meconium. Baby poop. I switched from pads to diapers, and let me tell you…I am SO glad I did. Meconium. All day long. This breech baby was making a mess and these diapers were the saving grace of my labor at home.
Upon the sight of meconium (even though baby was breech) we were directed to head to the hospital. My contractions were picking up intensity and the timer app was giving me a memo to call an ambulance. I knew we had some time, and I trusted my doula’s recommendation about when to arrive at the hospital. She knew Paden was out running errands and she said, “Grab some food, take your time, but head to the hospital.”
So I sat at the keyboard to worship until he came home. At this point, I was alone and my ‘get to the hospital’ mentality began to set in. I became increasingly antsy as contractions would come. Paden arrived in good time, but I was ready to pile into the car in out-of-town condition as he was preparing to leave the house.
The cats did need food, but I was starting to become cranky. And he might have been doing one of those last minute things where he goes through his CD collection before we walk out the door. Who knows, I probably have a skewed view of that window of time.
Finally, we got out the door. We had about a 45 minute drive and it was around 4pm when we started to the hospital. Paden was driving like a speed car racer with nerves and adrenaline as I was trying to keep my inner peace while reminding him that Kiesha said to TAKE OUR TIME.
However, at this point with rush hour traffic approaching, sitting still in the bumpy car ride while my contractions grew stronger was making me anxious and increasingly irritable. Contractions while sitting still in the car are no fun, and I began to think more closely on each one.
We had a small argument at this point, probably about the driving or maybe his music. He was playing some of his old-school stuff and I was about to blow a gasket. So I asked if we could put on worship music and I did my makeup for the rest of the car ride, slowly sipping on my protein smoothie.
We got to the hospital around 5pm and walked inside to get checked in. The woman at the front desk said, “Are you here for a c-section or induction?” We respond that we’re there for neither and I’m in labor.
Really confused, she asks the question again, and then explained that people only come in there with a scheduled induction or c section. I tried to be polite but kind of trailed off to let my husband talk to her and eventually she sent us to the first room in order to determine whether I should even be at the hospital.
Dilated…5cm. Thank the Lord. Already halfway there. What a relief.
They complimented me on how great it was that I was at 5cm upon arrival. I wasn’t nearly as flattered as relieved. Labor wasn’t hard at this point, but I wasn’t thrilled at the thought of a two or three day event either.
We got checked into the delivery room and were introduced to the first round of nurses. Shortly after we got in our room, Kiesha arrived. She’s a saint, because she was coming to our birth after directly leaving one at another hospital. This woman does this all the time for people, you guys. She’s an angel.
The nurses were all chatty-Cathy and hovered with a buzz, excited about my natural birth. Our nurse that was present during the birth had never seen a natural birth before.
I really struggled with all the extra people. Mostly I just kept my mouth shut and tried to pretend like I wasn’t completely irritated with them all. I was able to do intermittent monitoring, where they only hook you up to check heartbeat and contractions every hour or so. Being hooked up was so annoying. Getting vitals. Making me sit still or spending 30 minutes trying to find a vein for my “just in case” IV.
The nurses asking a million questions. Okay…I know everyone is doing their job, but all of you…stop talking now. That’s how I felt, I was so bothered.
After this “irritated, trying to be nice” stage….the real work started. They left us alone, and I could bounce on my birthing ball with the prepared worship playlist and Kiesha’s string lights. Just the lights, minus the fluorescents made a HUGE difference.
Kiesha suggested we walk the halls and do some lunges to speed up labor. Ugh. That sounds awful, but yes. Absolutely. So we ventured out and I was still considerably light-hearted, so when I saw my parents and brother, I was able to have a brief conversation about how it was going. They said I didn’t look like I was in labor at all. Thanks (hair flip), I just did my makeup like an hour ago.
I did a few leaning over lunges in the hall. These were more like stretches than lunges, so I wasn’t all that miserable. Once we got back to the room it was time for some monitoring again, and by this time the doctor was there to check in on things.
We told him where I was and he said “Good, I’ll come back later.” This doctor is incredibly supportive of the natural birthing process, so he didn’t hover, and in fact preferred that he not find me lying down in a bed. Who lays in a bed to work anyways?
Getting further along, the shaking began and increased. This was by far the HARDEST part. The shaking made me feel exhausted, even if I wasn’t. I wasn’t trying to fight it, I couldn’t. It was taking over my whole body. It would begin when a contraction was near and peak at the top. It felt like a seizure. I’ve never had one before, but I imagine that shaking uncontrollably is what that would feel like.
I was bouncing on my ball, or leaning against Paden while Kiesha applied some pressure on my back or shoulders. There was this one spot on my back that had more pressure, kind of in the middle, not down low like I expected. We were discussing what to do, go on one more walk or maybe sit in the shower under some water.
I needed a break. I needed some rest and the shaking was wearing me out more than the contractions. Kiesha said the shower will help with the shaking. So we took the birthing ball and the worship music and I sat underneath the hot water with a cold rag on the back of my neck, bouncing and resting through each contraction.
This was the most serene and calming part of labor…by far the most enjoyable. I was so glad I decided to rest during this time. It really recharged my body and I got refreshed from the presence of the Lord in the low lit, quiet space with hot water dulling contractions and dulling the shaking. I had energy to finish.
After this I stood in front of the mirror and took it in. I let the Lord speak to me more about who I was, about reflecting His glory and seeing myself strong, powerful, and confident. I saw myself in labor and encouraged my heart, leaning over the sink and keeping calm.
I went at my pace now, allowing others to wait on me if I needed a minute to allow a contraction passing through. Kiesha suggested one more walk and now I had the capacity for it. I didn’t want to, but we went on a short walk and came back to the room for one more round of monitoring. I was being monitored while I continued to squat through each contraction, making the nurses work around me now.
I was working and I was no longer distracted or annoyed. I was quiet and focused. Kiesha wanted to get things moving faster, so she made me sit on the toilet. Apparently this is what you do when you want a baby to come out. Sit on the toilet.
Contractions were pretty strong, and I’m convinced that this is where I transitioned. If it wasn’t transition, it was definitely the prelude. I sat on the toilet in the dark with intense contractions and Kiesha gave me quiet. She gave me space, and every now and then she would say something soft and gentle, encouraging me about where I was and gauging what work was left to do.
I was disheartened. My heart wanted rest. It was not over, but I was still working hard. How much more? I just felt stuck in the middle. I have to work harder, but my emotions are worn.
Then Kiesha had an idea. Let’s get a peanut ball, and you can lay down on your side. This was great – I was ready to lie down. Oh, but little did I know this was where everything changed and really, very fast. I laid down with that ball and like the flip of a switch I was throwing up my smoothie a second time and began yelling through the high point of contractions.
It was a yell, kind of like a power-lifter, if you will. This was the laying in the bed that was actually work. I had two of these yell-worthy contractions, and by this point, the nurses were hearing me and had the doctor come check on progress.
I was so fearful that I had a lot more time to labor. I needed him to say it was time to go. I encouraged myself with God’s promises and the things He had spoken to my heart. I didn’t let fear in. I knew that a woman would be saved in childbirth. I remembered my grace is sufficient, ‘according to thy faith,’ and I began telling the Lord I wanted to push and be done in 20 minutes.
The doctor came in and he said “Let’s go.” AH! Relief! Finally, here we go.
Because baby was breech, I had to deliver in the OR. So we got ready and they asked me if I wanted to ride in a chair or walk. Like with everything else, I looked to Kiesha as my consultant and she chuckled. So I was to walk. And I’m glad I did. I wasn’t done working.
Somehow, they all got dressed with their white outfits and in the blur of things I can remember, we were then on our way. As I walked, allowing the baby to continue dropping, I reminded myself that in all labor there is profit. And as I approached the doors to the OR, I changed my mind and told the Lord, no…15 minutes.
Once I got into the OR, the first thing I thought was “Geez it’s cold.” I laughed because I was pregnant still and it was no less difficult to hop up on the table. I think as they saw my hesitation, they grabbed my arms to give me a boost while everyone ran around doing something important. I appreciate you all, but is anyone besides me doing something important right now?
There were so many people, nurses I hadn’t yet seen, everyone in the white outfits with masks on their face. I had four recognizable people. Down below, Dr. Cummings. Up top, Husband. To my right, Kiesha. To my left, nurse Danielle. This was my team.
Somehow, Kiesha brought my music in and I’m SO glad she did. That was the Lord. Also, she managed to take photographs throughout. I have no idea how she did it, but she is a Godsend in more ways than one.
Dr. Cummings briefed me on how to push. I listened intently, believing that though I’d never done this before, everything he said was crucial. I began pushing. I watched his face and examined each expression, each emotion. I saw him working diligently and coaching me in between.
I aligned myself and every effort of my body to what he said, to what he displayed. If I saw a look of concern, I shut down fear and remembered that he was working intently as I was and that his expression reflected that, and not that there was something wrong.
Paden shouted to me in his excitement, “He’s here!” Although I knew that was unlikely, I curiously replied, “What? He’s here?” No, he’s here, but he’s not really here. Like he’s finally being born but he’s not born yet, you still have work to do.
Both Kiesha and the nurse encouraged me. Dr. Cummings told me I was doing great. He made a comment about how there was no pressure, he had all night. I was sure to reply that I did not. I still had some jokes. Let them laugh, and breath during the comedic relief. You’re almost done. You’re working hard and you’re doing great.
Sometime during the pushing, I became aware of one of the worship songs. It was a spontaneous worship song by Sean Frizzel. He sings…”make our praise like perfume.” In my ‘down time’ from pushing, I heard the song and uttered with a little bit of energy…“I love this song.”
Then a tear slowly made its way down my face. The presence of the Lord was so sweet, and He revealed to me that my work, my labor to bring His son, my son, into the earth…my destiny as a woman, my design and creation, my labor was the sweetest offering, the highest gift of praise I would ever offer to the King of the universe.
Birth is praise. Birth is a gift. This was the sweetest moment of birth. My offering. What would this have been like before the curse? What is it like now, allowing Jesus to redeem?
As I pushed, Jonah’s little body squirmed its way out. Dr. Cummings flipped it up into the air…Jonah upside down, head still inside, and where my eyes could see. That was an incredible moment. Birthing a baby became such a reality when his body swung above mine, and I finally saw him.
Then Kiesha reminded me. I knew exactly what she meant. She said, “Jade, push as hard as you can.” Time for the head.
Now…In a breech delivery, this is normally the moment of horror. Entrapment: the head could get stuck. This ‘truth,’ like a flashback, appeared and fled. I vanished fear with a short, sweet rebuke and cursed the lie that he would get stuck. He will not get stuck. And I determined that I would use all of my strength to push, as hard as I could.
I knew what Kiesha was saying, and I knew what Dr. Cummings was feeling. They were challenging me. They were pushing with me.
Bravely anticipating, fully expecting a head to emerge, I pushed and took a deep breath only to push again, with as little draw back as I could allow. With their coaching, with relentless strength… his head came out. AH! A flood of uncontrollable tears.
As I was overwhelmed with an astounded weeping, Dr. Cummings unwrapped Jonah’s twice wrapped head from the umbilical cord and handed him off for oxygen. At that time, I realized how absolutely freezing I was. Several times I told them I was freezing and everyone around me was attending to this new life. Finally they brought me a blanket and a nurse told me they needed to take him to the NICU.
Although I wanted him in my arms, my heart was grieved and worried that I might not even look at him before they swept him away. So I asked, “Can I see him?”
They brought him over and all I saw were his eyes. He had my eyes and a full head of dark hair. I looked at him as long as I could, crying again and kissing my husband. They reminded me that they were taking my baby and they bundled me up into a wheelchair and took me to my room.
I thanked the Lord for the labor and the compromise of 17 minutes pushing. Jonah Paden was born at 1:17am on August 17th, 2016. The first requests I made were warm clothes, blankets and some food to eat. I was full of energy, excited, joyful and completely awake after about 20 hours of labor.
It was nice to have a minute to collect myself and reflect on what just happened, but I wonder what those first few hours would have been like if I’d had Jonah from his first breath. We were able to send him some milk and get him to our room after just a few hours. Around 4:30am Wednesday morning, we finally got to sing him happy birthday.
After Jonah’s birth, a nurse came into our room and told us that she cried at his birth during the song that played as he was born, “I am a child of God.”
The hospital stay had its ups and downs. They equally are a bother and a help. But we were extremely glad that this breech baby of ours, whose cord wasn’t positioned right, was born into their care.
My recovery after getting home from the hospital was so simple. I felt too good after birth and had to remind myself to slow down. I had only a first degree tear and a second degree tear (probably from pushing to avoid that head trap thing), my arms were extremely sore, peeing hurt, and my butt hurt from sitting in the bed.
Also my posture was weird, and my body was overall tired. But after getting out of the three days in the hospital, all of that mostly subsided, and within just a few weeks, most things were normal again. I was so grateful for a natural process and a natural recovery.
A Letter to Expectant Mothers:
Guard your heart. You aren’t powerless in your birth experience. You have the ability to educate yourself, prepare yourself and position yourself for an incredible birth. And no matter what happens, don’t forget the truth and don’t reject it if you’re hurt or if you faced trauma.
Truth sets us free.
On another note, don’t forget about nursing. Unfortunately, no matter how much reading you do, breastfeeding doesn’t come learned. It’s very challenging. And for me, because I am lucky to have a nice sleepy baby, it was really the only challenging thing the first month or so, besides less consecutive sleep.
The best thing you can possibly do is have support. My doula was very helpful…but have someone. Anyone who knows a thing or two about breastfeeding. Reading and preparation can be helpful, but when you’re in the middle of it with a crying baby and hormones and a weary body, sleep deprivation, etc…it is extremely challenging.
My take away for next time was this: pump. Pump as soon as you possibly can for the sake of your supply.
Here’s my logic…first of all, if something happens to go wrong or becomes a challenge, your supply is protected. Not to mention, who can’t afford to stock up on breast milk? Second, if you do need a break, you’ll have a bottle ready. We never dealt with the nipple confusion thing when we would use a bottle. Granted, I would often still nurse in addition to the bottle.
Nursing doesn’t have to be a nightmare, but it takes a while for things to really happen smoothly, and as much as you hate hearing it (I know I did)…it really does get better. This too shall pass.
Lastly on the topic of nursing, having a lactation consultant helped identify some issues that are actually more common than you may realize. Everyone has a different situation, but in ours particularly, we had trouble with the milk transfer because of a tongue tie. This can also make nursing uncomfortable.
There’s a lot of hype around these procedures, and I wrestled with the decision for quite some time. But it truly did make a difference, and I no longer put in part time hours on a pump. For quite some time that was the stick up my…so have help ready. But it truly is worth it, in more ways than one.
Also, have people bring you food the first few weeks home. Know your boundaries across the board and communicate them (even to yourself), but GET THE FOOD. But mostly, be encouraged. It’s an incredible experience, and your baby is perfect.
A Letter to Myself after Natural Birth:
Jade, you birthed a baby backwards. Literally. It wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t as hard as you thought. People thought you were crazy if you mentioned a pain free birth, and they still do. But you did it.
Wanna know why? Because you were prepared. Don’t get lazy on this next one. And don’t allow the enemy to steal the truth from your heart. Having a baby will ALWAYS be a gift. Not just having the baby, but birthing the baby too. It’s a labor to endure, but it’s a sacrificial praise. And it will be more rewarding every time you do it.
Allow the next one to challenge you. Prepare more than you did for the first one, believe more, learn more, pray more and speak more life and more promises…the next one doesn’t have to be hard. And don’t pretend like you know how to do it now. Cause you don’t.
But you have seen the Lord’s faithfulness. And you have seen His salvation. And you will see it all again. Thank you for committing to the process. For learning and leaning on the Lord. For preparing in as many ways as you could. For trusting those around you who love you and for believing the Lord’s good intent for you.
Thank you for receiving the gifts. And be encouraged, because when the time comes to have a baby again, it’ll only be better.
Find the worship playlist I created for Jonah’s birth here.