Thursday, October 21, 2010

Birth Stories, Babies two and three

Three years later, my second pregnancy was in Austin Tx, and the climate was really different for natural birth. I had joined La Leche League after hearing Dr. Sears on the radio talk about it and learned a lot that made HUGE differences in how I now felt about childbirth. I wanted a homebirth. I took childbirth classes with the midwives we chose (Barb Christman and Melanie VanAkin from All God's Babies), and learned about the effective use of visualization. I ended up going into labor 3 weeks early. I remember feeling a little surprised and annoyed that I couldn’t concentrate on the Cosby show that evening because I felt so funky, and labor kicked in a couple of hours later. I gave birth after 3 1/2 hours of active labor to a 5 lb 12 oz little boy, and screamed several cuss words at the pain like a good Christian shouldn't. But I also employed the techniques we learned in class to imagine the cervix opening, and to let the contractions wash over me like waves of the sea, not fighting them, but letting them take me where they willed, and those two things really worked. I tore because I really fought opening at the very end. I had not experienced that feeling, that ring of fire feeling, with Anna, and wanted to either avoid it or push through it, like FAST, which isn't the best plan if you don't want to tear. And, I am sorry to say that I used my foot to push my midwife away quite fiercely while she was stitching me up, and that still haunts me as one of my less than finer moments. I remember looking at my son and just couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that I really had a boy. With a penis and everything to prove it. I kept wondering, how did that happen? Every time I changed his diaper I would think, oh my gosh, it really is a boy! He is Matthew, gift of God. One other byproduct from Austin was learning about circumcision and opted to NOT do that. Yikes!!!! was my general feeling about the subject.

For my third baby, again three years later, I was determined to prepare beforehand and to glorify the Lord in the process. I lay in bed every night for the last five months of the pregnancy, imaging contractions and how I would go limp, working with my body instead of tensing and fighting against the labor. But most importantly, I thought about how I wanted to have the fruit of the spirit to show through my approach to birthing this baby, so I thought about LOVE, and how I was going to express love the people at my birth, and JOY, how I was joyful about the gift God had given me and I wanted to exude joy in the process, and PEACE, how I wanted to have peace about God ordaining everything that was going to happen, and be peaceful as I walked through the valley of the shadow of labor, and have everyone present experience peace, too. And on through the fruits of the Spirit I went, praying and imagining this to prepare. Every night I did this. We were back in Fort Worth by this time, so I had new midwives: Donna Miller and Anne Crowell. I went into labor one evening after race walking our Labrador for a couple of miles. Not the smartest move when I wasn’t due for another week and a half. However, I labored easily, and sat on the toilet for most of the labor which was the best place to be if you want to OPEN and get the baby moving down faster. I was able to stay on top of the contractions well and prayed, relaxed, released, through all of it. My midwife asked me to move to the bed when she thought I was getting too close to having the baby in the toilet. I remember laying on the bed, and telling God that I couldn’t take much more, so please let the next contractions finish the dilation. And He did. I was amazed at how God was clearly with me through the whole labor and I never felt anxious or out of control. Pushing got a little intense because when my water broke there was some blood in it, so my midwife had me push more aggressively than I had planned. But as my daughter entered the world a few minutes before midnight, I was amazed that it was almost pain-free. What peace, what bliss. And that labor is still to this day the easiest labor I had. This baby was by far the prettiest baby I had ever seen, and everyone who saw her said the same thing, which further enveloped me with bliss. I didn’t realize I was setting myself up for an impossible standard. Her name is Leah Sharon, which means weary and forest. I loved the name Leah and wanted to give her a second name that for me was restful and a refuge when one is weary – thus, the forest, or being in God’s creation which testifies of Him.

Story continues in part three...


  1. Oh wow, you are just amazing. I feel like a rebel for not circumcising my son and you were doing it WHEN??? And I love Leah's story. She's the one that came to Bible Study when you spoke, right? She is lovely!

  2. @Mommypotamus

    Yes, Leah is the one who came to the Bible Study with me the first time. And I think I was always a bit of a rebel. I started eating whole foods when I was in 7th grade, my mom used to buy whole wheat bread for me and white for the rest of the family, LOL, and I decided to breastfeed my future babies when I ten years old. Yes, I was weird, even then.