twelve stones: stone #1

“Natural childbirth?!?  You’re crazy!” I remember spouting off to my mom when she told me she had both my brother and I without pain medication.  I thought she was even crazier when I found out I was pregnant with my first child.  No way was I going to have this baby without the help of an epidural.  But that all quickly changed when I watched a documentary that transformed my ideas about childbirth.  I became very passionate about my desire for a natural birth.  So Garrett and I signed up for a 12 week course to prepare to do just this.  We were fully dedicated: reading, studying, and practicing our laboring positions and relaxation techniques each night.  We decided to commit to praying every single day for our baby’s life and the specific details surrounding our pregnancy and delivery.  We shared these requests with many of our friends and family and asked them to join us in praying for:

  1. first and foremost, a healthy baby
  2. that baby would stay in the womb until December (I was high risk for an early delivery)
  3. a natural delivery with no pain medications or Pitocin
  4. a quick labor (hey, if I was going natural, I was hoping for labor to be as quick as possible)
  5. that my placenta previa diagnosis would resolve so I could go naturally, instead of having a c-section

There were so many dramatic ups and downs during my pregnancy.  It seemed like every time we would receive good news, we were hit with another round of bad news.  I felt like I couldn’t leave the doctor’s office without some other thing that was wrong.  I just couldn’t wrap my mind around why my pregnancy had to be so difficult when I had specifically asked God to work on these details.  There was such a small percentage of women who had placenta previa.  Why did I have to be the one??  But we continued to cling to our faith and pray through these trials. 

At 37 weeks, I went in to have my placenta checked one last time before scheduling a c-section.  I was told there was NO way I was able to deliver naturally because I still had a serious level of placenta previa.  The placenta was down too low and my doctor and perinatologist said that it would not be moving this late in my pregnancy.  Although I was upset, I told my doctor I was still hopeful and still praying.  She laughed and said, “Honey, there’s no hope anymore. It’s not moving.  It’s not possible this late in the game.  You’re going to have to schedule a c-section.”

I wholeheartedly disagreed.  Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move.” So I knew if Jesus was talking mountain movement, He could easily make a little placenta movement.  I knew with God, all things are possible.  But ultimately, it was up to Him.  I really had no control.  All I could do was pray, and trust Him regardless of the circumstance.  Trust Him with the unknowns.  Trust Him even if He was writing a different story than I had in mind. 

The very next week, I had a technician check me again, during my routine monitoring.  He said he didn’t see any signs of my placenta previa diagnosis. Garrett and I beamed with excitement at what we just heard.  Did God really just answer our prayers??  Or did this technician have it wrong?  I had my doctor called, who said that was impossible, and that I needed to go to my perinatologist to get checked.  With all of his fancy equipment, my perinatologist took measurements and confirmed that I could deliver naturally without any concern at all.  He said had never seen anything like this in his 12 years of working in the profession.  We were over the moon!  The Lord heard us and answered our prayer. During the visit, we found out I had high blood pressure so I had to go to the hospital to get checked.  My doctor decided to induce me because she worried about a deceleration on the rate of the baby’s heartbeat during monitoring at the hospital.  I was induced around 6pm and told around 130am that I was still at one centimeter and I hadn’t made any progress towards active labor yet.  The doctor said, “You need to throw all your natural methods out and if we need to intervene, that’s what we’re going to do.” She went on to tell me I would get Pitocin at 6am and then she would break my water a little after that. 

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Shocked at all that had just transpired, I knew all we could do was pray and trust the Lord, despite this situation.  God had just shown us that things are hopeful, even when they don’t look hopeful.  So what did we do?  All we could.  We prayed and enlisted many people to continue to pray along with us.  After my doctor left the room, I started having extreme contractions very close together.  The nurses told me I was going into active labor.  I thought to myself, Wow, if this is only the beginning of childbirth, I won’t be able to make it without the medication!  But turns out it was so intense because I was nearing the end; another answer to prayer!  I was checked only an hour later and went from 1cm to 10cm dilated and was ready to push.  Talk about a quick labor (thank you Lord!)  Our precious baby was born at 4:04am on December 1st, just less than two hours before I was scheduled to receive Pitocin.  He was a healthy boy, scoring 9’s on every part of his APGAR test.  I love that Beckett was born in the early morning hours of December 1st.  It was like the cherry on top of the cake; every single request was answered!  God blessed us with a healthy baby boy born on the very first day of December by a very quick and natural labor and delivery.  God gifted me with such an amazing stone; an extraordinary altar of remembrance to His faithfulness and power.

Looking back on this story, I find it interesting to note that the rounds of bad news I had to endure throughout my pregnancy was ultimately a means to His glory.  During my pregnancy, I just couldn’t wrap my mind around why God was allowing such difficulties, when I had made my prayer requests so specific.  But because of the roadblocks, I was able to see God’s hand move in more powerful ways.  If I never was given the placenta previa diagnosis, I wouldn’t have been able to witness the power He displayed.  If I wasn’t told my baby had a risk of being born prematurely, I wouldn’t have prayed specifically for the baby to stay in the womb until December, and in turn, celebrated his birth date with such joy.  What a reminder it is for me, and I hope you too:  to remember God’s power and faithfulness, to trust Him when you have to suffer, to trust His plan over our own, and to know God can be intimately involved in our lives if we just ask him to.