February 17, 2013

HE Will Fight For You- A Birth Story

Trust in the Lord,
And he will fight for you.
Exodus 14:14

Today we celebrated sweet Knox Driscoll's first birthday.

I have never been that normal mom that cries when I drop off my boys at a 5 hour Mother's Day Out or worries excessively when they are with a babysitter. In fact, when my oldest started Pre-K, I couldn't get him gone soon enough. But for some reason, with Knox's first birthday nearing, I am starting to be one of those sappy mom's I used to roll my eyes at in the pick up line. Maybe it's because I know he is my last? Maybe it's because through him, the Lord has taught me how truly sweet motherhood can be.

Before his conception, I had no idea we would even have another baby.  I have said before that I DESPISE being pregnant. There is nothing about it that I enjoy, well, except for eating more treats and wearing elastic waist pants all the time. Other than that, pregnancy does a whirlwind on my emotions. We have had some extreme marital problems during pregnancy. One day, I will be ready to expose those layers. From the outside, my doctor says I have normal boring pregnancies, but I hate how carrying another life brings me down. I hate getting fat. I hate not being able to be as active as I normally I am. I have varicose veins, from the waist down.  There is no comfort except sleeping. Knowing my body goes though all of that, I thought surely, since I am trusting the Lord fully this time, He will not make me go through all of these ailments. Surely, if I give it over to him, he will heal me of all these crazy things and allow me to have a normal pregnancy. Now I know it could've been worse. I could have that blood disease where I have to get a shot every day. Or I could've been on bed rest. Or I could've lost a baby. I praise the Lord every single day that I have never had to know that heartache of losing a baby. But for someone who loves exercise as much as I do and who lives such a full and active life, pregnancy is this borderline hell for me. So this last time, I prayed and prayed and tossed it all on the Lord, just like I am supposed to. And guess what, it was worse than the fist two. Yes. Worse.

So fast forward to closer to my due date. With the first 2 boys, I had vaginal births. I went in for scheduled inductions 3-5 days before my due date. My plan was to get every drug available and push a baby out feeling no pain.  I apparently have an odd spacing in my spine, because with older boy's labors, they had to redo my epidural 3 times, completely in and completely out. NOT FUN! A test dose would send my heart rate up to 200 and I would start to black out.  All that, all the extra meds made me nauseous so they gave me Finnergin, and I was zonked out and slept through all my labor. In fact, with my first, I fell asleep when I was at 5cm and the nurse woke me up to push and I asked for "10 more minutes" like she was my alarm clock. I was totally out of it.

With Knox being my last baby, I knew early on in my pregnancy that I wanted a different labor experience once the time came. I really had started to grow some trust in the Lord. I was really embracing what it meant to be a woman, a daughter of the King. The thought of a natural labor was starting to intrigue me. With the previous labor experiences and my not fun epidurals, I knew I desired something different. I knew the Lord had a different plan this time around. About 8 weeks in,  I remember tossing the idea out to my husband. "What if we do a natural labor this time?" I asked him.
He immediately shot me down. "No, absolutely not. There is no need for  you to feel pain if you don't have to." Every couple of weeks I would bring up the subject with Michael again. And every time, he would not discuss it. I was feeling pretty discouraged. How could he not see what the Lord had intended for me? Did he not realize the Lord made women's bodies to push out a baby?

A friend suggested the book Supernatural Childbirth. Now, I'm not going to lie, I thought the majority of it was hokey and most of the theology was completely off from how I believe. But it did give me some insight to how women have been having babies since the beginning of time. God created us and our bodies and the magical process of childbirth. It gave me a desire to put my trust in the Lord.
So I started praying, daily. Not necessarily for my birth or for my baby, but for my husband. I prayed that the Lord would soften his heart and open his eyes to the possibility of allowing God to carry me through the labor with no meds. I never saw natural childbirth as a badge of honor to earn, but more of a cross to carry. I wanted to experience everything He had created women to experience. We were only about 2 weeks away from my due date. I was scared that Michael would not jump on board and without his encouragement and support I knew there was no way I could do it.  I had told my OB that I was thinking about going natural and she said she would help me if that was my decision. But Michael still had not come around. Lucky for me, he loves watching documentaries on Netflix. So we turned on The Business of Being Born, a documentary on home birth by Ricki Lake.  I kid you not, ten minutes into the movie, and he was convinced! He had no idea the effects of all the drugs on the unborn babies. He had no idea the cycle that is created upon induction, pitocin, epidurals, etc and how all that can ultimately lead to Csection.  He saw all these women calm and relaxed with no tubes and big needles. He saw calm content babies being born. He said, "THAT is the way God intended us to have babies. We are going to have our baby like that. Is it too late to get a midwife?"

Oh Praise the Lord!!!! This was the desire of my heart. This was what I had been praying for. I knew with his support I could fully turn everything over to the Lord. No, we didn't get a midwife. We have an amazing OB, so amazing, in fact that we named Knox after her but we prayed that night over the baby and we prayed together about my upcoming delivery. We prayed that the Lord would work through our OB and we would trust her judgement.

It was my due date. February 16, 2012.  I went to a doctor's appointment. She did a sono, shot a glance over at the nurse,  then suggested we induce labor the next day. This was not part of my plan. I was supposed to go into labor naturally. I called my husband and he told me he thought we needed to trust the doctor, Dr. B. I reluctantly agreed with him. So I went home and ate cupcakes and bacon. I went to the acupuncturist for the 3rd time. I prayed and meditated constantly begging the Lord to send me into labor naturally. I got a pre-natal massage. I sat on the bouncy ball. I ate Greek food and played Wii. God, please please let this baby come naturally. 

We were supposed to be at the hospital for induction at 7am. At 5:30 they called me and said they were full and that I couldn't come in yet. Really???? This is supposed to be my labor day and you are cutting me off? We waited around the house. I ate an entire bag of Ghiradelli raspberry squares while sitting on my exercise ball and reading my Bible, searching for any Words I could find on trust. Finally, the hospital called around 11am and said I could come in at 1pm. It was here. I was going to have to be induced. I was totally against it. I begged and pleaded with the Lord, PLEASE let me go into labor now! Somehow I stumbled on Exodus 14:14 "Trust in the Lord and He will fight for you." I got what I like to call a 'Holy Spirit rib nudge'. There it was. That verse seemed to jump out and have little flashing lights around it. Maybe it was more of a 'Holy Spirit gut punch'. That was to be my mantra, if you will, for this process. I told Michael. He agreed and said, "Oh yeah. It's like *my Jesus with his tattoo and sword.'
*Side note- if you've ever seen the terrible Will Ferrell movie Talladega Nights, remember the dinner scene when they are praying over the meal and they all have a different version of Jesus? One talks about how he likes to think of Jesus laying there watching baby Einstein videos and the other likes to think of Jesus in swaddling golden diapers. Well, Michael and I each have our own 'Jesus'. His is the Jesus of Revelations, with a tattoo on his thigh and a big sword.
15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.
Rev 19:15-17

That day, I put my full most trust in that Jesus! I agreed and believed that I would surrender to Him and allow to Him to work in the nurses and doctors to give me the desires of my heart. We got to the hospital and I let them hook me up to the IVs to start pitocin, the medicine which induces labor contractions. I bounced on my ball, sat in the chair, laid in the bed. Four hours in and not much progression. I came to the hospital at 3cm and was sitting at about 4cm.  No pain. I could see a little action on the monitor, but nothing exciting. Not what I was hoping to hear. Around 7pm the nurses switched shifts and my doctor came to see me. She said "I think if you want to make this happen, I need to break your water." NO NO No! This was not what I wanted. I had already allowed them to hook me up to pitocin. I was not about to let them intervene any more. Part of it was fear. I knew that if I let her break my water, I was in it. There was no turning back. I was going to have this baby. I looked at Michael thinking for sure that he would feel the same way as me. We prayed and he said "Babe, we agreed to let God work through the doctors and nurses. Do you trust God? Do you trust me? Do you trust Dr B? I think we need to let her break your water and get this thing moving." I agreed. 
See my amusement?

Dr. B came in around 7:30 and broke my water. Not fun at all, but I immediately started saying "Trust in the Lord and he will fight for you" in my head and I made it through that. Once the water was broken, I immediately start to feel some relief from the pressure of the veins that had been ailing me. And I got this instant high, this adrenaline rush of being so free in the Lord. I mentioned before how amazing Dr. B is. After she broke the water, she sat at my bedside. She and Michael talked and I immediately started feeling contractions. I let them talk and each contraction came a little quicker and a little stronger than before. There was this sign in the room. I honestly can't remember what it said, but every time a contraction would come on, I would look over at that sign, and go to another place and "Trust in the Lord, he will fight for you." After an hour or so, the real pain started. Transitional labor, I believe is the correct term. I started pacing. I went to the bathroom. I actually wanted to stay in there all alone, well, me and my tattooed Jesus anyway. A contraction would come and I would start to imagine this wilderness of weeds and thorns and Jesus was trenching through it swiping out everything with his sword until he got to a clear meadow. Phew, rest. 1 minute later, there would be the woods again. Jesus was carrying me on his back and slaying dragons, beasts, and cutting down trees with that sword. Together, we made it through to a clearing. This went on for about 2 hours. 1 minute on 1 minute off. 
The Lord carrying me the entire time. Yes, it hurt. Yes, there was pain. I just focused on the Lord and allowed him to suffer it for me. It got time to push. I could do this. Michael was looking at me and being so encouraging and I just remember telling him to shut up and let me do my thing! I started pushing and started to chicken out. It was way too late for an epi and I was not having a Csection, so I guess I had to do it. I gave a good push and I kid you not, I thought someone was ripping me in half.  I screamed and screamed and yelled, squeezing all life out of Michael's hand. I looked at my little audience of nurses and screamed "GET IT OUT OF ME". Finally, out came this enormous baby, and he peed all over us! 

This sounds awful, and judge if you must, but I am not one to hold my baby straight from the womb. I like them to clean them up first. So they took him over to the scales. 8lbs 9oz. Wow!!! Dr. B looked at me and said "See, that is why I wanted to induce you today." She knew he was bigger than my others, she knew I desired to have a natural birth. She knew that if she told me he was big, I might chicken out and not go with my plan.

They cleaned him and wrapped him up and brought me my precious Knox Driscoll. He was beautiful and perfect. I snuggled that little baby, immediately attached him to the breast,  and thanked the Lord for carrying me. I thanked the Lord for fighting for me. It was with Knox that I really began to revel in the sweetness that the Lord intended motherhood to be. 
A year later, now on his 1st birthday, I am still growing and learning what the Lord has for me. I continue to use that verse in all difficult and painful situations. 

The beauty of all this is that the Lord wants to carry it all for us.  His desire is that we draw into Him, that we learn to lean on him in all situations, so that he can show us just how big He is. No matter how big or how small, God can and wants to carry you though it. What does your Jesus look like and will you let Him take over?