Day 11: Labor of Love (January 11)

 

I can’t stop thinking about birth this morning.  I have experienced 3 births, and labored a total of 102 hours to bring those 3 lives into the world.  Looking at that number in total….102 hours….is completely overwhelming, but what I am struck by right now is that I didn’t experience all that in one fail swoop.  That truly may have been impossible for me.  No, God in His graciousness, spread out the time over 3 separate births and each birth was experienced one minute at a time.  One contraction at a time.  One breath at a time.

During my first labor process I totally lost control.  After my water broke, the flood of hormones, etc completely surprised me. From that point until my precious daughter was delivered, I blacked out repeatedly and nobody knew that was happening to me.  I lost my peace.  I didn’t realize exactly what was happening, so I didn’t know how to tell them I was blacking out.  It was a hard, hard experience.

Then when Naomi had crowned for an hour and a half, they decided to cut me so she would just come out.  I will never forget hearing the nurse ask, “Are you going to numb her first?”. To which the midwife replied, “No, she’s probably numb there already.”      Then there was a cut.  And I absolutely felt it.  I began to say, “I felt it! I felt it!”  The birth process up until that point had been hard, but not traumatic, but the unnatural cut by the midwife was so traumatic.  Then my baby came into the world and the experience and processing was cut short only to find myself a day later sitting in the bathtub sobbing because I was so traumatized. My husband sitting on the floor beside me wondering how to help me put myself back together.  All the while, this sweet new life needed everything I had to give her.  So I had to move forward.  Wounded.  Compartmentalized.  And oddly feeling like I must have done something wrong because why else would labor have been so hard and long?  On the flip side, I had this extravagant gift of Naomi Selah.  My beautiful song.  Her very presence brings me joy and I see God’s beauty every time I look into her eyes or hear her sing or watch her create anything.  So much creativity inside that beautiful princess.

During my second delivery I really began to find strength.  It was a completely different experience.  With every contraction I felt Holy Spirit and I felt peace.  Where in the first birth process I felt out of control, this time I felt solid.  One of the ladies that God told me to invite to my home birth prayed in tongues quietly every time I had a contraction.  A contraction would begin and I would crouch down and breathe deep and peacefully center myself in Holy Spirit and I would focus on my friend’s quiet utterance of prayers in languages that I didn’t consciously know, but my spirit knew and Holy Spirit inside of me knew.  Her presence there brought immeasurable peace during that time.  Isn’t that how God works?  He brings just who we need for exactly the time they are needed, especially if we are listening. When Micah was ready to be displayed to the world, God flung me to my knees and I immediately started trying to leave that position because it hurt so much, but my midwife said, “No stay that way.  That’s a good position for you to be in”.  So I stayed and he began to immerge.  Then my midwife said, “Stand up.  The cord is wrapped around his neck twice.”  In a brief moment the craziest things happened.  As if my midwife and I had rehearsed this moment many times, I stood up and she instructed me to hike up one leg so she could summersault him out so he didn’t get strangled or rip the cord from the placenta.  It was like a smooth dance we engaged in when he came out easily and almost gracefully to my midwife who then delivered him.  But there was no sound.  He wasn’t crying.  My midwife laid him on the bed in front of me and said, “Momma talk to him.  He needs to hear your voice.”  And she went back to work on me because, I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was bleeding….ALOT. All of my focus was on this new life laying in front of me and I let out a pathetic sounding, “Micah!” Then another while I rubbed his body with hands that longed to hold him.  All of the 27 hours of labor had culminated in this moment when, however brief it was, I didn’t know if Micah would live. It’s amazing how time can stop and the world cease to move around you when something so monumental is occurring. Praise Jesus, moments later he let out a good wail!

Micah was born on a Sunday morning.  This one who already had the Spirit over him while in my womb.  He is special.  He hears things.  Many times he prays over me exactly what I have been privately praying.  It’s so amazing.

My third birth process was covered from start to finish.  In the middle of that pregnancy we moved 2 hours away from my midwife.  We had a plan to head her way as soon as contractions started, but God’s graciousness is so much larger than that.  One day the whole family got into the car to head to the midwifes home for an appointment and as soon as we got on the road, the contractions started.  I love how He covers every detail, especially when we choose to live in peace.

We hoped labor would be shorter, but it wasn’t to be.  Chris and I spent the next 52 hours engaged in a long and exhausting and painful labor.  One where we tried many different positions and methods to get things moving forward, but to no avail.  Eventually, we began to discuss whether or not to go to the hospital.  My water had broken 24 hours earlier and I had been pushing for hours and hours. We had a group discussion about all of the options, then my midwife gave us privacy to talk and pray and decide.  Chris always left these decisions mostly to me…I am so grateful for that.  I prayed and felt like I needed to give it one more try and then if nothing had progressed, we would go to the hospital.  So we started one more round of it.  It was so hard and painful and at the end, Chris looked me straight in the eyes with compassion that seemed to rise from his very soul, and said, “I can’t watch you go through this anymore.”  Few times in my life have I felt as loved as I did in that moment.  He didn’t know it, but I had been waiting for “permission” to go to the hospital.  Going to the hospital and letting them intervene was absolutely the last thing I wanted, but in that moment I knew it was right.

When we arrived they informed me that a c-section was my only option.  If you are a “natural birth” mom then you know this is usually the last thing you want to hear, but at that moment I felt Holy Spirit peace all over me.  Chris, however, had gone through a c-section when Noah was born and it wasn’t pretty.  In fact, the experience had traumatized him, so when they said that, all of the color drained from his face and I saw something in him that I have never seen before and hope to never see again.  He was terrified.  Family gathered near him and prayed and he was able to rise to the occasion and during the whole process he stood as a guard by my left shoulder, all the while keeping a watchful eye on every move of the doctor and nurses as they brought our beloved Hannah Faith out of my womb.  That first cry from her lungs was the most beautiful moment.  They cleaned her up and handed her to Chris and he brought her to me for a quick kiss before he proudly walked out of the room to present her to our family.  What beauty.  God was even in the night that I had to spend at the hospital to recover.  Our nurse knew Chris from their hometown, so she was especially gracious to us.  They took Hannah to NICU because she needed a little extra attention.  I asked when I could go see her, and they said that I could as soon as I could feel my legs.  At midnight, I woke up and could feel my legs….but not my feet.  I called the nurse and said, “I can feel my legs.”  She asked, “Do you think you can walk down there on your own?” To which I replied, “No, I can’t feel my feet, but you said I only needed to feel my legs.”  To the chagrin of the other nurses, she relented and let me go to my baby.  I think she knew that I would accept nothing less.  I was kind about it all, but I am a momma, and a momma needs her baby. J   This was such a different experience, but it was so obviously covered and well within the realm of God’s plans for my life.  I just needed to surrender to whatever His process looked like, even though it was so very different from what I had in mind.

After Naomi’s birth broke me in, so to speak, I was able to find God in the following labors.  I almost think I needed to walk through it blindly before I could walk through it in God’s light, or maybe it just shows where I was in my walk with God during each birth.  An ever deepening walk that I will never reach the end of, this side of Heaven. In the middle of contractions, a woman must center her spirit.  I had to find my peace (God) in every contraction.  I felt my insides reaching down deep to find God’s peace inside of me, like a plant letting its roots stretch deeper into the earth so it receives full nourishment. Lately, I have felt life giving us strong contractions as God is birthing some great things in and around and through us.  I have felt myself reaching down really deep to establish a connection with the roots of Holy Spirit and to maintain that Peace that surpasses all understanding.

When I asked Jesus into my heart He gave me the gift of Holy Spirit and when I unwrapped the gift of Holy Spirit by receiving the second baptism I received the ability to “be still and know God” in a much deeper way and from right inside of myself.  Holy Spirit lives inside of me so I have constant access to all Holy Spirits resources at any time.  This is not only for physical birth processes, but also for spiritual births!  I am noticing a strong correlation between what is currently happening in our life and all of these birth stories.  There was a moment during the labor process for Micah’s birth that I was so so tired, and I was sitting down and talking and maybe complaining to God about it.  All of a sudden, I saw Jesus on the cross and God showed me that I wasn’t experiencing anything that He hadn’t experienced.  He showed me that I had to walk through this.  He reminded me that He didn’t stop Jesus from having to go through that painful process, but that process also brought life!  That moment gave me the courage to continue.  Right now, our family and business is going through a very intense birth process and at times I have felt like I didn’t know if I could endure it.  At other times, Chris has felt like he might not make it.  We’ve had to dig deep.  We’ve had to stretch our roots down deeper into His Spirit to endure times that, to our earthly eyes, seem impossible…but to our spirits God is calling us to something larger than settling.  Something bigger than being “like” everybody else.  God is calling us into the purpose or calling that He has on our lives and we are unwilling to not see it through.  We will not abort this “baby” that God is working to deliver into our lives, but we realize that (just as in actual labor) you don’t always see anything happening.  Sometimes during labor, you only know something is happening because of discomfort.  In life, it can be just like that sometimes.  I know God is doing something, but I don’t know fully what it is and sometimes the only way I know He is still working right now is because of our level of discomfort. Sometimes, things are only moving in the spirit and not in the physical world.  Those are the times when we must cling to God’s promises and any direction He has given us.  That is what sustains us.  That’s what can keep us moving in the right direction.  Knowing and believing His promises for me is what has made me relentless and unwilling to compromise.  God is a God of hope and dreams and life!  What are you hoping and dreaming and living for?  If you don’t know, then take some time and let yourself wander off into a dream and see where God takes you.  What do you have to lose?

 

Has life looked very different than you thought it would?  Do you feel the suffocation of disappointment?  Take a minute and reflect on the moments that you feel have defined your life.  If those are disappointing moments, then I encourage you….no I challenge you, to find God’s grace over that moment.  Look around that memory and ask Him to show you where He was when it happened and how He protected you.  I guarantee He was there.  I guarantee He was watching over you.  Without fail.  He is always attending to us.  Let go of disappointment and embrace the Father.  Let go of loss and failure and receive the One Who always succeeds.  When life looked most out of control, find His hand.  Walk into your memories and look for the calm in that storm.  He was there.  He is there still.  His watchful eye is on you.  He has never lost sight of you.

 

Keep me as the apple of you eye Psalm 17:8

 

The Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.  Psalm 1:6

 

My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on Your promises.            

Psalm 119:148

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