Josiah and I just started watching Hallmark Channel's Cedar Cove. It's about a small town with little to no crime, beautiful scenery, and friendly people. It made me think: "We all want that (or some variation of it)." We all want healthy babies born without pain. We all want our children to be healthy and strong and have no fear of violence. We all want true love. We long for a world without sickness, death, and pain--a world where we have a sense of belonging and our deepest needs are met.
The sad reality is that this world is not it. I don't have to tell you that. You see it all around you. Many people believe that this reality is contrary to the Christian God. A god of love? A god who cares? No way! Most of us, at one point or another, feel pain so acutely that we stare at the sky and wonder, "Where are you, God? Do you see this?"
For me, one of those moments was when I had my first emergency c-section. I knew that like most women, I would experience pain, and even that a c-section was a possibility. What I wasn't prepared for was what some call "birth trauma". Not everyone who has a surgical birth experiences this, nor is it limited to those specific circumstances. I love God deeply, and prayed many times for my upcoming birth. Many times I've felt the nearness of God like I feel an arm around my shoulders, but not this time. I didn't experience peace, only intense fear and anxiety, and a variety of physical symptoms, like my severe back pain, that confused my doctors. This time in my life was characterized by a spiritual darkness. I would pray and pray, but feel like I never really received answers.
Fast forward to Samuel, and while the spiritual darkness had lifted, there was still the question of how his birth would play out. (You can read about that in the archives and judge for yourself!) Certainly it was less traumatic, but my heart grieved the loss of a non-surgical birth. When I got pregnant with Lily, I was unsure of what path to take. I was still a candidate for VBAC, but was it the right choice for me? I knew in my heart that the easier path would be to just plan on a c-section, but I wanted to follow God's path for me. I began to pray for wisdom. Immediately following those prayers, God brought two women into my life who shared their stories of VBACs after two c-sections (one of them completely unprompted). Their stories gave me hope, and I knew in my heart then that I needed to at least try.
At this point I knew that I needed to pursue care providers who would support me in having more time to labor. I decided the best option would be a practice of midwives about an hour from my home who had hospital privileges. (In my home town, midwives did not.)
Thursday, July 12th, in the evening, I had some good, strong contractions. This was about one week after my Estimated Due Date. Over that weekend, they would disappear during the day, but return with a vengeance when I was trying to sleep at night. I was so grateful to have a doula to call on. She came to my house in the middle of the night and helped me to find a comfortable position when I thought none was possible, and I managed to sleep some--thank you, Jenn!!
Monday, July 16th was two weeks past my EDD and the day I was scheduled for induction. One thing I had not agreed to with Samuel was the use of pitocin, but I had been assured of its safety when used in a limited amount even during a VBAC. I knew then that Sam and Lily would have the same birthday most likely, because birth is not a quick thing for me. If I could go back, I would have asked for one more day, but that fight was not in me. Armed with my "labor journal" filled with verses and words of encouragement from friends and family, and Josiah driving our new minivan--that God had worked out just the week before--we headed to the hospital. Oh, this is not how I wanted things to go.