After 3 days in labor, I sat numb and exhausted on a surgical table as my chest burned. I felt every pull and tug in my abdomen, knowing that my insides were exposed as the smell of burning skin filled the room.
I was relieved that the pain of labor had ceased after the epidural kicked in. I was relieved that I would soon meet my baby boy. I was relieved to be resting.
As I held my baby boy for the first time, relief was all I felt. I didn’t feel the instant connection. I didn’t feel the joy of giving birth. I was just glad that it was over.Over the next three days of recovery in the hospital, my joy increased. Sleeping helped a lot. After the codeine kicked in, the newborn flutters came.
My baby boy was here! He was perfect. As family and friends came to visit baby Elijah, the celebration commenced. I was so happy.
After I arrived home from the hospital and the new birth excitement fizzled out, I was left with the raw reality that the c-section that I had was not the birth that I prayed for. I planned on having an all-natural, intervention-free, water birth at the Dallas Birth Center. My husband was going to catch the baby. There would be tears, laughter, and the accomplished thought, “wow, I just pushed a baby out.”Over time, I didn’t think about the birth anymore. I thanked God for my healthy son, my amazing stay in the hospital, and my supportive family. I was blessed.
It didn’t strike me that I still had unresolved feelings until I got pregnant again almost two years later. At my first prenatal appointment, the doctor asked me how my previous birth went. I told her that I was planning for an all-natural birth, and that I had an emergency c-section after having been in labor for three days.
Her face shifted in discomfort. She asked me what type of birth I’d like to try for this time around.
“I’m open to a c-section, but I would like to try for a VBAC.”She proceeded to inform me about the 1% chance of uterine rupture in women who attempt a VBAC, and how it can be fatal in some cases. She told me that her office only recently started performing VBACs, but that most women who ask for a VBAC don’t get approved by their board. She told me that my first baby was big, and that I would likely birth the same way that I did last time. I found this interesting because Elijah was 7 pounds 13 oz, which I never considered to be a “big baby.”
I continued to listen to her humbly, as a wise patient should. I swallowed my pain. I held back tears. I shared this experience with my pastor, Heather Lindsey. She shared with me her raving review about her doctor here in Atlanta. She said that he was kind, gentle, understanding, and performs VBACs regularly.
While I was already on the fence about whether or not I wanted to even try for a VBAC anymore, I decided to call her doctor.My first appointment with Dr. H was completely different than my appointment with the first doctor that I found. Dr. H was kind, gentle, and didn’t flinch at the thought of me trying for a VBAC. He even questioned my Dallas hospital’s decision to perform an emergency c-section.”Why did you have an emergency c-section?”
Dr. H asked me.”Elijah’s head was rotated, and it got stuck,” I replied, nervous to hear his response.”They didn’t just try to rotate the baby’s head?” He questioned.I was dumbfounded. I didn’t even know that a doctor could have attempted to rotate Elijah’s head before jumping to an emergency c-section. In that moment, I knew that Dr. H and his team of doctors would deliver my baby.
As the days passed, I didn’t pray for the birth that I wanted. I was scared. I prayed for a supernatural childbirth my first time around, and that ended in an emergency c-section. Why should I get my hopes up again, only for the strong possibility that my “big baby” would get “stuck” again? The thought of believing again made my heart ache. Weeks passed, and while I was planning for a VBAC, I wasn’t sure if it was possible. I still did not pray for the birth story that I wanted.Weeks continued to pass as the Holy Spirit would tug at my heart.
Whenever He encouraged me to pray for my next birth, I ignored Him. In attempts to protect myself, I didn’t even want to try. Then, my friend Chenise sent me a series of voice memos. Chenise doesn’t text me often, so when I saw that she had something to say, I knew that she had probably been hearing from the Lord.
Her words only confirmed exactly what the Holy Spirit had been telling me. They were in cahoots. She mentioned that God was powerful enough to bless me with the birth story that I prayed for, and that He would be more than happy to do that for me if I would just pray. A peace overcame me.
I knew that it was time to start praying. I knew that it was time to start believing.I began praying for my baby girl, Lily Blair Pittman. I prayed that she would be a healthy baby–not breech, no chord wrapped around her neck, no diseases or deformations, a strong heartbeat, a strong mind, and more. I declared that she would not be in distress during birth. She wouldn’t be rushed, but she would come in God’s perfect timing. I vowed not to ask for her to come early, that I wouldn’t take any supplements or make any labor-inducing recipes. I would take care of my body and believe in its capability to birth my on-time, healthy baby girl.
I’ve been praying even more powerful prayers over who Lily Blair will be–her character, her confidence, and her calling. She will be both gentle and strong, quick to obey her parents and the leading of the Holy Spirit. I can’t wait to meet her. I know she’s going to go further than I go, and that she will be an example to the girls and women of her generation.My prayers were challenged yesterday after failing my 50g glucose test, which tests for gestational diabetes. While this doesn’t mean that I have gestational diabetes, it does mean that my body may process glucose in a way that isn’t ideal. It also means that I have to return for my 100g glucose test next week to confirm whether or not I have gestational diabetes. Last pregnancy, I gained a large amount of weight and I almost failed my gestational diabetes testing. This pregnancy, I have been avoiding added sugars almost entirely.
I’ve been eating fruits, veggies, beans, healthy grains, and I occasionally splurge on chocolate almond milk or something nice and cheesy. I haven’t been giving in to my cravings, knowing that if I’m praying for a healthy pregnancy, I need to be a healthy pregnant woman. Hearing that my healthy efforts may not have changed how my body processes sugar did rock my confidence a bit.But I’m still praying. And I’m still believing. Whenever moments of doubt cross my mind, I’m reminded of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.
If you’re unfamiliar with the names, maybe you remember the story. These were the three courageous young men in the book of Daniel who refused to worship the image of gold erected by King Nebuchadnezzar. Because of their commitment to the only true God, they were threatened to be thrown into a burning furnace to be torched to death for their faith.
Right before their expected end, they said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Daniel 3:17).
I’m inspired by these men. They acknowledged that even if God does not rescue them from death, then they would still obey Him. This is the stance that I choose to take when it comes to believing and praying for a spirit-filled VBAC.
It’s as if I’m saying to the enemy, “When I go into labor, the God I serve is able to birth Lily safely without surgery; but even if He does not, I want you to know, enemy, that I will not bow down to fear, doubt or disappointment. I will not worship the god of unbelief.“
If you know how the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego ends, then you’ll know why I’m hopeful.So, despite my initial fears and doubts, I invite you into my story; I’m brave enough to allow you to watch it unfold.
VBAC or C-section, I choose to believe that my God is sovereign and that my God is good. What ever disappointments that you’ve faced in the past, dare to pray and believe again.
I dare you to pray bold prayers and even let others see your faith. And even if God does not give you what you ask for, dare to trust Him anyway. Despite our stories or circumstances, God is always good.