…You Make Me Strong

My Baby Girl was finally born on June 8th, 2011, at 7:34 in the evening!  Praise the Lord, my princess is here, the false labor is over, my recovery can begin… and we can officially start this new chapter as a family. This was an incredibly healthy birth, from start to finish — successful VBAC, healthy baby girl, healthy mama… amazing adventure.

Beautiful Baby Girl

What was also incredible to me was, in fact, that I still did not escape the traumatic birth experience.  My first child’s birth was emotionally traumatic… I struggled for months afterward to cope with c-section after laboring all day and night.

First Birth - Transition to Surgery

I worked hard to hand the real control of this pregnancy over to the Lord… to honor Him in my stewardship over this young Baby Girl.  I felt He put her in my life because he knew the way I would strive to take care of her was just the way she needed to be cared for.  I did as much preparation as I could, research, asking questions, making decisions, prayerfully considering what I needed.  I began to deal with all my fears as well.  I know that birth is just the beginning, but in my family’s background there have been a range of scary and unsuccessful experiences.  My first birth had shattered a lot of my confidence at being able to handle a second birth, no matter which way things went.  Something meant to be so joyful instead became a sour and hurtful area… a place of isolation in fear rather than celebration.  Yeah, Satan really got in there… for a while.

My Baby Boy

About a month before the baby was due, I was feeling a confidence and strength that has lacked up until now.  I began to look forward to this experience instead of fearing it.

Now, here I avoided making this pregnancy about any of those first-birth things, went all the way to vaginal birth and beyond, and still — this birth proved to be just as traumatic in its own way.

This go-round, my pain was mostly physical.  There was some emotion to it, but more than anything else was the shock to my body.  I have never done anything as hard as this.  Ever.  Not even climbing Mount Kilimanjaro can compare to it.

Thank you for praying for me and with me.  This has been an emotional, and physically traumatic, month or so for us.

I am so pleased and thrilled and thankful that the Lord saw fit to bless our VBAC attempt.  I had so much support while in labor.  When we finally got to the other side of delivery and they weighed Crystal in at 9 1/2 lbs, I was shocked.  There is nothing quite like knowing that the concerns about her size and health were not only in the hands of the Lord but that he took us to the opposite end of the spectrum from where we asked her to be (born May 20th — around 37-38 wks — at a dainty 7 lbs) to where she ended up (born June 8th — around 41-42 wks — at a hefty 9 1/2lbs).  It just goes to show that what we want and what God can do are often two very different things… and just because we don’t get what we ask for doesn’t mean we aren’t going to be incredibly blessed and wowed by the outcome.

My Hubby and Doula at Crystal's birth

I know that birth happens every day, and many of you have seen it or done it over and over in your lives or your families’ and friends’ lives, but for myself, this was a harrowing experience and I want to share about it as a testimony to God’s grace, sufficiency, and healing in my life.  I am so glad to be on this side of the whole ordeal, but knowing what Satan stole from me the first time around with Clay, how he invaded my sense of womanhood and confidence in myself, how he snatched a lot of peace from my family as a result, I now reclaim that — not with the VBAC, but with the process of leaning into God as I faced those fears and hurts again this time around.  I am so thankful that God is returning those things which were lost.  Again, not because the VBAC was successful, but through everything he did in me in the process.

Thanks for reading, Friends.  Hope it is an encouragement to you.

As I Wait…

I have waited so much longer for this baby’s arrival than I thought I would ever have to!  We are in the final stretch of waiting, however… I thought I would sit down, open a vein and write about my thoughts and feelings at this point.

The Lord has given me a number of small encouraging words in the past couple of weeks, to help me through each day.  Here are a few:

God has a wonderful plan for her birth, and He knows her birthday.    I had really struggled with feeling like this birth experience, no matter how healthy, might be as traumatic as my first birth experience.  So much labor, then a c-section anyway… or perhaps my body refusing to labor at all.  There was something about this “word” which encouraged me to remember that God has planned good for me and my baby, not evil.  This is not to say that bad can’t happen, but more to say that he can use it for good, like so many other times in my life.  I can stand on the truth of that and throw out those fears with much confidence.

She is worth it!  So many times when I hit a rough spot in life, I throw up my hands and say “I just want to be done!” or “Why do we have to go through this?!  I just want to be at home in heaven where there is no more pain, suffering, swollen feet, sore belly or body, or hormonal upheaval.”  I am learning to hold fast to that beautiful lyric “I am blessed beyond the curse” and claim that my daughter is worth it!  My children and family are worth it.  And, in doing that, I often find the grace that God talks about providing in these rough times.

One Day at a Time.  I have to let go sometimes of the “what if” or “when” of this pregnancy.  It’s not so much a control issue as a worry issue.  I really tend to fear too much and here God meets me in that and calls me out into trusting him and walking each moment… all on its own… am I in labor now?  No?  So why worry about it?

Those are just a couple.  I have many more, but in the interest of not boring you with my ongoing emotional preggo crap which, quite honestly, bores me at times… I will just say that I am looking forward to being on the other side of this.  Yes, and I am thankful that I can feel that feeling — so many times I have seen others walk through a storm which has no definite end in sight… and that takes even more grace and clinging to the truths that God provides us than I have had to do… I admire those “Job” hearts to no end.

Day 53.

06-01-11 Wednesday

Lord, thank you for the compassion you show me through your presence, my friends and your Word.  Also thank you for the compassion you are giving me for others through some of my experience.  I ask, God, that you would help me depend on you to the utmost throughout this time and the coming L&D.

Day 51.

05-30-11 Monday

Lord, thank you for progression if nothing else.  Every little thing helps.  The end is in sight — or should I say, the beginning!  I ask for L&D today, that Baby Girl would feel safe to come out, and know you are holding her, and we are anxious to meet her face to face.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Day 50.

05-29-11 Sunday

Thank you Lord, for a supportive community of women and men to help Scott and I cope with such a long and stressful process; thank you for embracing my daughter in your loving and protective arms before she has even left the womb.  We ask again, with hope, for L&D today/tonight, before midnight, In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Day 49.

05-28-11 Saturday

Lord, THANK  YOU for movement in a new direction for my family yesterday, our own business… YAY!  And thank you for great quality time with our teen.  I ask for LABOR AND DELIVERY, TODAY, that Baby Girl would hear your voice and ours, calling her FORWARD!  Thank you, In Jesus’ Name, Amen.