I’ve completed 38 of 40 weeks, so the birth/life-giving process is understandably high in my mind. I want to write of how I gave physical birth two years ago, but relate it to how we give life to so many things—projects, inventions, programs, more. . . and the world would be better if we told our stories.
I waited a long time to find the person with whom I wanted to build a family, so I had already begun the fifth decade of my life when I became pregnant. And even through the nausea and anxiety of the first trimester, there was a deep undercurrent of joy as I partnered with God in bringing forth new life.
My second trimester was a delight, and though the third was tiring, it was happy enough to make me emotional at my six-week postpartum checkup, when I burst into tears looking at a pregnant woman, realizing that time had past for me.
I saw the midwife on a Monday night, and when she examined me, she stated I was already 2cm, so she stripped my membranes, hoping to bring about labor. I had cramps all night, and the contractions started the next day. They became painful and more regular at night, so we arrived at the hospital around 1:30am, Wednesday morning.
I was excited that the same midwife who I’d just seen was on call that night, and yet her exam disappointed me. Only one more centimeter? After this many contractions?? I should have realized then that it would be slow going, but I was still hoping the baby would come quickly.
Since I was planning for a fully natural birth, I started walking the halls, swaying with each contraction. It soon became clear that I was slowing, and my 6:30 am exam showed no more dilation. The nurse gave me a lavender oil handrub, and relaxing music soothed us, but there had been no progress.
She could break my water and we could have the baby that day, or I could go home. . . I figured that if the baby wasn’t ready to come, I’d go home. They gave me an hour before the final decision was made, and—lo and behold—the baby made that decision. With one of those contractions, I heard a pop and a whoosh—yes, my waters had broken, all over the floor. We were staying. The baby wanted to come.
The other midwife from my practice arrived, and I was hoping to get into that hydrotherapy tub soon to alleviate the pain, but I wasn’t 6 cm yet. I kept walking the halls. This was slow.
Finally, after about 12 hours in the hospital, I was allowed into the tub, though it wasn’t the beautiful relaxation I’d hoped for. I came out, feeling rather miserable, and began thinking about an epidural. I was exhausted and I didn’t think I could take the pain anymore.
The fantastic nurse made sure I was next for the anesthesiologist, and they sent my husband out so he wouldn’t witness the huge needle. They started the pitocin drip, I got sleepy, but woke, still experiencing some pain. So I got to see another anesthesiologist.
The nurse kept telling me that I should feel pressure and no pain, but I wasn’t sure I knew the difference, I was still uncomfortable. By that time, the second midwife had been replaced by the gynecologist from the practice, and he had an ultimatum when he examined me. The baby’s heart rate slowed too much when I was on my left, the head was not coming down, I was not progressing, so he’d give me an hour—if there was no progress, he’d take me to the O.R. for a C-section.
I was heartbroken. In about two hours, I went from being “all natural” to “I’ll give you an hour, and then we cut you open.” I texted my praying friends, cried a little, and then the third and final anesthesiologist came.
Within the hour, I knew what it meant to feel pressure without pain, the doctor returned and told me I was ready to push, and by that point, I didn’t care how the baby came—I just wanted that baby out!
I pushed for an hour, and brought a beautiful boy into the world! He was placed on my belly, still attached, and I watched his first cries, examined his perfect little body, and gave him his first meal. It was unforgettable and life-changing, and I can’t wait to do it again.
But, we’re aware that not everyone gets to physically give birth, and not everyone gets to do it twice, like me. Still, though, we’ve all been created to partner with the life-giving God by giving life (birth) to so many things besides a family.
And this is not some consolation prize for those who don’t do it physically; no, it’s a high calling to partner with God this way. Thing is, if we’re not paying attention, we may miss our opportunities.
Many of the things to which we give birth have a gestational process that may include nauseous anxiety. There are easier and harder times in this long stage of preparation. And then comes birth. It’s painful, traumatic, sometimes long and slow, and often with unexpected turns. And when we see that to which we gave life, we joyfully hold and nurture it. Problem is, we don’t tell these birth stories—we don’t tell about starting the project or inventing, or pioneering the program. We don’t think they’re as important as the physical ones.
I met with a few friends the other day, and we’re trying to birth what we think will be a world-changing project, we just don’t know how. We’re looking for someone who’s done something similar so that we can follow, but we can’t find a story.
Right now, I want to hear my friends’ birth stories. I want to hear them because I want to remember that many women have given life, and though there were challenges, it was all worth it. I want to be encouraged.
And others who are about to give life to a project or program or whatever need to hear birth stories, too, so that they will actually move through the process. It’s always time to tell the story.
We all give life, and we all need encouragement to do it. . .
What’s your story?