A pregnant friend of mine recently emailed me and asked about my birthing experience with the Happy Buddy. Would I do it again? What were my thoughts on the birthing process and did I have any advice for her?
Her questions awakened a bunch of thoughts in my heart that I felt the need to share here…
All through my pregnancy I was determined to have an all-natural, no meds, poop-my-baby-out-like-an-Amazon-woman kind of birth. I envisioned this super worshipful labor where I read Scriptures while enduring contractions, lovingly prayed with the Happy Hubby through the pain, and shared the Gospel with the nurses in between “hees” and “hoos”. And there would be absolutely NO mention of a C-section. No siree-bob.
For 9 months I clung to my plan like a kid to his lollipop.
Everywhere I went, people would ask me if I was carrying twins. My stomach had grown so large that I started to think that maybe there were twins in there and the three super 3D ultrasounds I had had just happened to miss an entire other little person in there.
When my due date came and went and the doctor said that nothing was going on down there to help a head squeeze out, I was referred for yet another ultrasound. This one was like the ultimate ultra-sound and would take about an hour to complete.
I was nervous. Why wasn’t I dilating? Where were those contractions I had so clearly envisioned?? What would the ultrasound reveal???
Well, that ultrasound revealed A LOT. 10 POUNDS OF A LOT! The Happy Buddy was measuring at 9 lbs 15 oz! The doctor took us to his office and quickly explained that unless I wanted to risk pushing out a watermelon on steroids, then I’d better go with a C-section. It was the best option for me and for baby.
No sooner were the words out of his mouth then my cheeks were covered with tears. I had this wall of expectations built around my heart as strong and tall as the Wall of Jericho. I had heard enough about C-sections to know that I didn’t want one. I’d never been admitted to a hospital before – let alone to have major abdominal surgery! There was no way this was happening! Where was the Lord and why wasn’t He making me dilate?!?
The Happy Hubby took me in the hall and prayed with me. I cried and cried through the whole prayer – the “What-ifs” bouncing around in my head like lottery balls. What if the anesthesia doesn’t work? What if they don’t sew me up right? What if they put one of my organs back in the wrong place? Or worse, what if one of the nurse’s contacts falls out and into the gaping hole of my uterus where it will forever grow and mutate into something that will prevent me from ever having any other kids? (I am a very imaginative person.)
Then I remembered something that one of my second grade students had prayed for me just a few weeks before school had let out and I was about 8 months pregnant. He prayed, “Dear Lord, please don’t let Mrs. B. feel any pain when her baby comes out.”
At the time I first heard that prayer, I had thought, “That is a C-section prayer, Lord. Please ignore it. I want the pain. Bring on the pain.”
But that little boy’s words came back to me like the sound of the trumpets before the Wall of Jericho came tumbling down. I was being stubborn and holding onto something that God clearly wanted me to release. In truth, it was fear. I was really afraid of all the unknowns about a procedure that I’d heard plenty of women in my life speak of as if it were the most horrible thing ever invented. But most of all I was afraid of feeling like a failure of a woman for not being “strong” enough to deliver our baby naturally.
“This is what the Lord says – your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.” Isaiah 48:17
My emphasis – who teaches you what is best for you. God knew that I needed that procedure – not just to protect my female parts from the excruciating pain of delivering a 10 pound Amazon baby, but also as a way to increase my faith – to cause me to truly rest in the ONE who does indeed know what is best for me. I had made such an idol out of my “birth plan” that when God called me to His plan, I crumbled like feta cheese. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that my reasons for wanting a natural birth were selfish – I wanted to be a hero. I wanted to be able to tell people that I survived childbirth and led a nurse to Christ at the same time. In His amazing way, God was actually blessing me by removing the things that would have actually caused more sin in my life, and replaced it with something that would actually draw me deeper in my trust of Him.
That C-section was one of my favorite days ever. I finally got to meet my Hulk Baby – who really was 9 lbs 15 oz exactly as the ultrasound predicted! I got to experience the most incredible peace of God like never before – seriously, as they rolled me into the surgery room I passed by the hospital bulletin board which had a poster on it that read Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” And my husband and I spoke Psalm 34:5, “I sought the Lord and He answered me, He delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to the Lord are radiant, their faces are never covered in shame,” right up until they placed the Happy Buddy in my arms.
When I wrote my friend’s email, I told her that the most important thing in the “birth process” is to be completely surrendered to the Lord our God who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. It’s good to have a plan, but ultimately the best plan is a heart surrendered to His good and perfect will.
The “What-ifs” are no longer bouncing around in my brain causing me to fear what’s ahead (will God even give us another baby? Will we try for a VBAC or another C-section??). I am confident in God’s hand of direction. I wouldn’t change a thing about the Happy Buddy’s birth because it taught me more about His love than anything else I’ve ever experienced.
And seriously, the Happy Buddy is here and he’s amazing and in light of eternity, thank you Jesus for a pain-free birth!P.S. The surgery went great – all of my organs are right where they are supposed to be and no one lost a contact. 🙂