I just had my second child. I did not expect to be pregnant for as long as I was. Even at my last appointment the doctor seemed to be baffled that I was still pregnant. My first daughter came at 38 weeks so this little one shouldn’t have been far behind. Well…she was. My due date passed and then days and then I started getting texts and calls and advice…lots of advice on how to make things move along quicker.
I tried basically everything except castor oil, the consumption of which expels everything from your body just short of vital organs. Then the induction was scheduled. The day before I decided to try to help Mother Nature along one more time. So, I went for a 2 hour walk. Oh, the waddling. I’m sure I was a sight to behold. Shortly after, I started having contractions. Not big ones, just steady. There was nothing telling me I was about to have a baby and needed to head to the hospital.
The next morning we got up and went to the hospital knowing that day we would be holding our little girl. That was a nice feeling. We waited for a bit and then we went into the labor and delivery room. The nurse, who was AMAZING, started hooking me up to stuff and asking me more questions than I remember being asked the first time.
Then she asked if I was planning to have an epidural. There is something you need to know; from the beginning of this pregnancy I was bound and determined NOT to have an epidural. When I would tell some people this they would give me a kind of understanding look like, “Oh that’s nice, we’ll see” and then there were others that were like, “Yeah! You can do it!”
One interesting thing about the hospital I was delivering at is that they require you to pre-register and put down a deposit for your epidural. If you don’t pre-register and you decide that you want an epidural while you are in the throes of labor, you have to sign some forms, whip out your computer between contractions, and put down the deposit before you can receive it. If you pre-registered and didn’t end up getting the epidural, you would get your deposit back. But I know me. I knew that if an epidural was an option, the likelihood that I would embrace it would be quite high. So I didn’t pre-register.
Bring it on, baby. Quite literally.
Why didn’t I want an epidural, you ask?
Well, I had one with the first kid I popped out. Sure the lack of sensation is nice when you know that there is all kinds of crazy going on down there, but I wondered why I should be afraid of the pain when my body was created for this very purpose, to give and sustain life? That is no small task, my friends. Why should I fear pain that is not going to kill me but is actually completely natural and, I know this sounds totally weird, but a privilege to experience? I didn’t want to get an epidural because I was afraid of experiencing something my body was created to handle.
Let me just say that this was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
Please hear me on this. If you choose to do things differently, good for you! You are welcoming new life into the world! The goal is healthy baby and healthy mom. In no way am I saying that this is the “right way” to have a baby. In fact, I’m sure there are plenty of people who think I’m nuts, but we don’t need to get into that.
While the contractions were getting pretty intense, I heard my husband tell the nurse that I had run a marathon, so of course I could have this baby without half of my body being numbed. She agreed, but I’m still not sure if that was just to make me feel better.
Labor went pretty smoothly. I moved around a lot but I mostly sat cross legged with closed eyes breathing like I was a ninja waiting to pounce…at least that’s how I saw myself. I was a ninja. A very pregnant ninja.
One time I opened my eyes to see Matt on his phone. In any other circumstance this would have been fine, except for when the mother of your child is sitting across the room contracting. So I asked him to put his phone away because if I’m in pain the least he could be was bored. Really, he was incredible. He was the best coach, best encourager, and super-understanding, because there were some points were I know I was not a joy to be around.
When the contractions became most intense, Matt said I made animal noises. Hey, do what ya gotta do. I had to moo. (Not really, I just liked that it rhymed.)
When the contractions got really painful, I did think about getting an epidural, but the point never came where I thought I couldn’t handle it. And when I couldn’t handle it, it was too late. That baby was coming.
I was in labor for 9 hours and I pushed for 10 minutes. My doctor said I had crazy eyes. He also made some comments about how big the baby’s head was. How sweet (*sarcasm). She was 10 pounds 5 ounces. She cooked WAY too long. I am so glad I didn’t know how big she was. I just never considered it. If I had known, things might not have gone the way they did. It was the craziest thing I’ve ever done. It was also one of the coolest and there is no other way I would have wanted to welcome Quinlynn into the world.
Fear could have played a huge role in this pregnancy and birth. From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I had to constantly guard my thoughts and encourage myself. I meditated on scripture, I did research (not the scary google-the-freakiest-thing-that-could-happen-to-you kind) and I prayed. I talked to God a lot. I asked Him to help me with fear. I asked Him to help me embrace the process. I could not have done it without Him. I could not have done it without knowing He loved me and He wouldn’t leave me.
During my pregnancy I found myself meditating on these two scriptures the most:
Since I was induced, Pitocin was used to get my contractions started. I wanted to go into labor naturally, but I knew this process was likely to make the contractions significantly more intense, hence I tried until the last second to go into labor by natural means but to no avail. The thought of being induced scared the daylights out of me. I wasn’t sure I could handle it.
When I would have a tough contraction I would whisper, “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you...” (Isaiah 26:3) When I was pushing and I knew there was no turning back. I started saying, “I can’t be afraid. I can’t be afraid”. Then I remember looking up at Matt’s face and saying, “I’m not afraid”. I looked at the doctor and said, “I’m not afraid” and then I pushed as hard as I could. Even though I wanted to be terrified, fear would not help me have a baby. Later on, I asked Matt if he heard me say it. He didn’t. I think it’s because I was whispering. It was something only I needed to hear.
Maybe you are facing a situation and you know you have to go through it and it’s going to be hard. Maybe you’re tempted to be afraid. Fear will never get you where you need to go. Fear will not fight your battle for you. Sometimes we have to walk straight through the fire and know that, with God, we will come out on the other side.
The funny thing is that when I wanted to give up I had no choice but to move forward. Fear could have caused me to stall out. At one point, I just wanted to scream at the doctor, not because of pain, but because I was scared to push. I had to choose to push. I had to embrace that moment of discomfort to come out on the other side.
Have you ever stalled out? Have you ever just decided to not do anything because the thought of moving on is just too much to bear? You can’t stay there forever. It’s debilitating. You have got to move forward and fear is going to try and stake it’s claim with all the “What if’s?” and “See what happened to so and so” but let me just remind you that this is your story and you can write fear out of it. But that only comes by knowing that you are loved by God. Because His love is perfect and that perfect love casts out fear. Fear cannot stay where perfect love abounds.
My story is not unique, but I hope it’s an encouragement. I only share it because I love hearing other people’s stories. I love the honesty and the beauty in it all. I firmly believe that in order to live life the way it’s meant be lived, it will require us to be utterly dependent upon God because that is the only way we can live fearless.