I woke up last Sunday morning at 3:35 a.m. and wrote this post. I never found the time to edit and post it and at 10:14 p.m. the same day my baby was in my arms. I’m posting it now because it plays an important part in the story of my baby’s birth:
In my life right now, I’m surrounded by talk of faith. I’m being encouraged to have faith in my body, faith in my baby, faith in the birth process and to have faith that Heavenly Father loves me and has a plan for me and my baby. I hear it from my husband, my midwives, my doula and a good handful of beautiful, like-minded friends.
Our approach to this pregnancy and birth has been so vastly different than our last three experiences that it’s almost indescribable. We prayerfully researched the way we wanted this baby to come into the world and just as prayerfully selected a care provider who would support us in that plan. As we’ve hit bumps and snags and had concerns, our midwife has asked us, “What do you want to do?”, “What do you want me to do?”, and “What would you feel good about?” — prompting us to once again hit our knees in prayer, come to a decision and follow our chosen path in faith.
At points in this pregnancy my faith has been tested. Several weeks of pain and bleeding in the first trimester left me questioning myself, my faith and God—“Where is your faith?” My midwife asked me.
When we found out our baby may have a birth defect I floated home on the comforting fact that this was part of the plan for us and this baby and that we would get through it.
The day the news was confirmed was harder. It took time to get back on my feet and stop questioning God’s judgment in sending this trial to our family in an already trying time and in giving this child such a challenge to overcome before he has even graced the earth. “Have faith,” my midwife encouraged again and again.
Having been through three inductions in the past as a result of my body “not going into labor” one of my biggest fears this whole pregnancy has been for history to repeat itself. I have learned and come to believe that this is false… that we’ve never given me enough time, that most women will naturally be pregnant past the 40 week mark and that it’s not uncommon to need 41 weeks or more to deliver a fully-cooked baby.
For the first time ever, it was easy for me to see my due date come and go. Though the week before it was full of “dependable” signs of impending labor and I did have my hopes up that things were happening, I was able to focus and knew that I had always planned to go past 41 weeks this pregnancy.
Still, this point in pregnancy is “a mind game” according to my midwife so I started trying to avoid sources of negativity and anxiety and focus inward. I chose “Birth Faith” (the name of my friend, Lani’s, fantastic blog) as the phrase I wanted inscribed on the leather band some friends created for me at my blessingway.
I’ve been well-supported, I’ve felt good and I know that newborns are hard, so at 41 weeks it was still fairly easy to appreciate each day with my three older boys and all of the experiences I would be missing at home with a newborn. I was good.
A few days later the pain hit. It was an appropriately cold, gloomy day outside and I woke up with severe pain in places I hadn’t experienced yet this pregnancy. I hurt! I couldn’t walk or function. I had to lay down or sit on my ball and my spirits were in the gutter. I cried from the beginning of the day until it was over.
The next day was slightly better but ended with me questioning whether I had made the right decision to wait this out, if we were going about everything all wrong. It ended with me sobbing in my husband’s arms being reminded of all the things I really believe down deep beneath the pain.
The next day (day 41+6) started out shaky. I sat down at the computer and pounded out a message to a friend who just recently gave birth days past 42 weeks asking her (I’m ashamed to admit) how she did not throw herself in front of a bus. Gratefully, she understood.
Included in her response were her own feelings of pain, frustration and impatience and then her gratitude that she powered through it and honored her baby’s time. These words stood out to me: “You will be glad that you have an intact bond of trust with your baby because you had faith that he knew the time to come.”
That was what I needed to hear.
A couple of hours later my mom asked me, “Did you know in first Peter one, seven it says that our trials are more precious than gold?”
“No, it doesn’t,” I replied.
“Yes! I know!”
”I love it! What was that reference again?” I looked it up. Sure enough. There it is in black and white. I still have that tab up on my computer screen.
Later, as I walked through the house putting away laundry, thinking about the pearls of wisdom I’d been blessed with, I had a good chat with my unborn baby. I thanked him for helping me learn patience in which I am obviously, sorely lacking. I told him I was starting to realize that I will need, use, have tested every ounce of the patience, long-suffering and fortitude I will glean from this experience. Yes, there is pain. Yes, there is frustration. The unknown is a scary place. These are all facts of life and ones I don’t deal with very well.
My acquiring these attributes would be a gift to me and my other children. I need to be able to trust my kids and their decisions. I need to trust and have faith in who they are and that they will make the right choices and know when they are ready. I need to have faith that things can and will work out even when they are out of my control. I can’t put my selfish expectations on my kids. I can’t make them do things they’re not ready for. I do need to listen and honor their timing. Sometimes things are hard. What do I want my kids to see as they watch me get through those times?
The challenge this time is greater because in the past I haven’t waited. In the past I have taken control of the situation or let others take control. It’s hard to let go; to know that in reality it’s not something I should have control over
Later that night (Saturday), my sweet parents brought me dinner. I know they worry about me and the baby but they seem to have faith in me and my ability to make decisions because they ask questions and then move on. It is weird to sit with two people who live their lives by faith and who I turn to for spiritual guidance and to try to explain that I think that Heavenly Father created my body to do this job and created my baby to work with it and that it’s a perfect plan and I need to just let it happen. But my parents listen. Lots of like-minded faithful people don’t want to. That’s hard.
Of course things don’t always go perfectly and for that reason I’m glad I have armed myself with a birth team I can trust with mine and my baby’s lives. I have prayed and prayed about it and feel confident that I am making the right choice for myself and my baby to wait and to bring him to earth in his own home. I have faith that it will happen at the right time for me, my babe and our family and I start out this day, 42 weeks pregnant in peace and eager anticipation of the events to come.