Since Esther’s birth last February, I have had several people ask me what it was like to “go natural.” One friend recently shared with me that I will often talk about what a wonderful experience it was but haven’t ever gone into detail about it with her. I was convicted today that I have not given God enough glory for the experience I had. So here goes–and when I say details, I don’t mean those kind of details. 😉
Little background first. Liam was my first delivery. I labored naturally for 12 hours or so, got an epidural, and had a fairly uncomplicated birth. I loved being able to just chill while I was laboring, so I didn’t really think about going natural with Ariana at all. Ariana’s birth began with severe contractions 1 1/2 minutes apart. Yep, that’s how they began. We went to the hospital as quickly as we could, and I asked for an epidural almost immediately. After it was in, I had a short moment of relief and began feeling slight contractions again. When I mentioned this to the nurse, she said that was fairly normal and just to let her know if they got worse. Two minutes or so after she left the room, I clutched Bill’s arm (did I draw blood, baby?) and while weeping said, “Something’s wrong. Go get them. It feels like something is ripping.” They were back in the room in no time, and before I knew it they were yanking everything out of me, getting Bill in scrubs, and running me down the hall to the surgery room. Ariana was born 20 minutes later by emergency c-section. The placenta was tearing away from the uterine wall, and Ariana was being strangled by her own cord. By God’s amazing grace (thank you, Daddy!), they got my little girl breathing after a while, and she is perfectly healthy and happy today.
Because the complications I had with Ari were rare, there was no reason not to try for a VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section) with Esther; however, in order to decrease chances for another c-section or uterine rupture, I needed to go naturally. In case you didn’t get that, I wasn’t being super woman. I did it for safety reasons. I wasn’t looking forward to it. I knew what labor felt like, and I had experienced severe pain. Many times I said, “No thanks. I’ll take my chances,” and then realized my fear was a lack of faith. I finally plunged in to the idea but had many sobbing moments with Bill when I would succumb to fear, not to mention several nightmare filled nights. I was terrified but continued praying for a calm knowing God was in control.
Labor began one night in February, and everything went as smoothly as possible. I had been in the hospital for about an hour when the “witching hour” began (transition moment right before you begin to push). This is the worst bit. I did all the things I never thought I would do during labor–screamed, rudely pushed a nurses hand off me twice, and had to bite my tongue so I didn’t bite someone’s head off for telling me what to do. 🙂 Not to be discouraging to all you who are attempting this for the first time, but it was the worst pain I have known. During those minutes, though, something else was going on that no one knew about. Worship. Over and over in my head I kept repeating, “Oh God! This pain is so much less than I deserve. My sin is more wretched than this pain. I don’t understand your grace!” I was weeping and shouting half out of pain and half out of praise. I would not have been able to dwell on those things in that situation apart from the Holy Spirit, and I am still in awe of the beautiful way God comforted me during that time. I had never understood grace as fully as I did in that moment.
I plan to go naturally again when it’s this baby’s time, but this time I almost long for the difficult moments. They are a little taste of what I have been spared from and make my sweet, sweet Savior that much more glorious.
EDIT: Bill wanted me to share that the pain got better after the witching hour, and that time didn’t last long–only 30 minutes or so. He thought it wise to not scare anyone away from a natural birth, and he’s right. 😀 Thanks, Baby!