Overcoming Fear by Surrender – Peter’s Birth Story (Heidi)
When we discovered that we were expecting another child, we were so happy-but I almost immediately started to worry about the birth process. Our firstborn came to us via C-section and with this next birth, I really wanted to try to deliver naturally- a “VBAC”-and it has its benefits and its risks.
As I researched, I became convinced that a VBAC was the safest, wisest and best choice for our family-and my husband Nathan was in full agreement.
As our son’s due date approached, support from our friends at Church In The City became so very precious. Especially so as my meetings with the midwives at our hospital often left me thinking about the “what ifs” or feeling anxious.
Lacy Lauber had so graciously volunteered to be our doula-and she really felt that God wanted this birth experience to be a healing/redeeming one for me.
With my first labor I had allowed fear to come in and even panic-and made some decisions without the peace of God-though I know His grace carried us through and we ended up with our beautiful, healthy daughter. I felt that some things in the birth experience itself had been “stolen” from me, though fear and lack of knowledge.
Well, with Peter’s birth, redemption became a theme as different friends would pray and bring up this word “redemption”. Karen Lyall, Lacy Lauber, Amy Miller…they all had words or impressions regarding redemption for this birth.
As my scheduled due date came and went the pressure from the hospital became even greater for me to go into labor. I went to my scheduled appointment on Monday morning, Nov. 10th, and was sent for an ultra sound to check amniotic fluid levels.
** I’m leaving out so many details! Friends that called that morning and said they would pray (JUST before my cell phone died)- etc. But anyway…
From the ultra sound room I was sent straight up to labor and delivery!
At this point my cell phone was dead so I couldn’t even call Nathan to let him know what was happening.
The midwife said that my amniotic fluid level was at 4.5 and if it is under 5 it is dangerous to the baby and they recommend an immediate C-section.
Long story short-Karen Lyall came to care for our Corrie, Nathan and Lacy came up to the hospital to be with me and together we fought off the pressure to have the unnecessary surgery with peace, prayer, good information and a bit of backbone. It was miraculous enough that they let me stay and be hydrated overnight and rechecked my levels in the morning. I believe being allowed to stay in the hospital overnight was a direct answer to prayer, as we learned that this was not the norm and had been pressured at first by the ob/gyn on duty to either have the C-section or sign an “Against Medical Consent” form and go home-(with the warning that this could be dangerous to the baby, etc.). Neither one was an option we liked.
So we were permitted to stay, and Tuesday morning I was sent home with completely normal fluid levels-(I had just been dehydrated). I was thankful, though, that they had realized I was dehydrated as that could have become a big problem had it not been checked.
So Tuesday morning-home from the hospital, and Tues night -went into labor naturally. 🙂 (HUGE answer to prayer!)
My labor with Peter went almost identical to how Corrie’s went-but this time I felt that at every turn, I was empowered & supported to make decisions in peace. I give all of the glory to God and thanks also to Nathan-always with me, and to Lacy-bringing birth knowledge, and peace.
I remember when my contractions stopped with Corrine, I was made to feel that I had “failed” and when it happened with Peter, Lacy was so positive and reassuring that this was normal and okay-and we could still fight for a natural birth. The sense of peace, relief and empowerment vs. fear and failure -in itself was a powerfully healing experience for me.
During labor, Lacy had asked Jessica Housley to come and as soon as she arrived she put on worship music. The atmosphere in that room was one of peace-and even joy, in the midst of pain.
The medical personnel were not all reassuring to us and one friend who was praying even texted saying she really sensed that THEY were making decisions in fear-but b/c of my little “labor support group” and those praying outside of it– in that labor room there was the presence and peace of God and I felt so supported by my husband and my friends. We even saw the attitude of the midwife/doctor seem to change, as we prayed, and began to feel that they were doing everything in their power to give us a go at this naturally.
As we approached 24 hours since my water had broken (a significant time for most hospitals ) my contractions had almost stopped and we were waiting to hear if I could have Pitocin to start up labor again. The only other option at that point was a C-section.
As I waited to hear-I felt so vulnerable, and I also felt afraid. I had had very poor sleep for going on 4 days and since the hospital would not allow me to eat while in labor, my energy level was depleted. I did not know how I was going to cope with Pitocin-induced contractions & then push a baby out, and I honestly felt afraid. Lacy asked me how I felt and I was honest-she, Nath and Jess prayed with me and I was able to surrender it to the Lord. I was being monitored this whole time and waiting to hear back from the doctor/midwife as to how we could move forward. Just before they came back in, Jessica said that she felt she had a word for me. She was reading a book I had loaned her-written by Corrie ten Boom. She felt to pick it up and that the Lord would highlight something to her, for me. It was a verse-and not a verse she expected, but she read it obediently.
She read it twice. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
In that moment I felt a sense of holiness. In my mind, I thought that the doctors were going to come in and say, “Ok, let’s try Pitocin now.” And in my heart, I felt afraid. But with that verse came a sense of release-this was God’s. Whether it meant pain and whether I could handle it-this was God’s business. Mine was to surrender my will and make the decision that I felt Him giving me peace for…what would give Him the most glory. If the doctor’s felt Pitocin was fine, than I would trust God one contraction at a time.
It was a sense of holiness and surrender-overcoming fear by surrendering it all to His keeping.
And then the doctor came in with the midwife and told us that she would not allow Pitocin at this point as our baby was showing signs of distress and she was concerned that my uterus could be tearing or in ‘distress’ itself, so to speak …this is the biggest risk of VBAC and can effect both baby and mother.
Though a 2nd C-section delivery was not the outcome that we were expecting-or praying for-Nathan and I both felt total peace and total agreement about it in that moment. And we made the decision to birth Peter through C-section.
Peter Nathan David Taljaard came to us just before 7pm on my 35th birthday.
Had Jess not read that verse I truly think I would have gone through a grieving process about not experiencing a natural birth-but there is the power of God’s Word. It cuts cleanly and you are able to heal quickly. I have no regrets about this labor and I have been able to surrender my desire for natural childbirth delivery completely to the Lord.
The verse that had helped me surrender my fear of natural childbirth also helped me surrender my grief for not experiencing it and undergoing major surgery again. (2 edged sword!)
Since being home Corrie, Nath and I have all been sick and the recovery from a C-section is much slower than from a natural delivery-but our son has shown no signs of any kind of ‘negative’ outcome through not experiencing natural birth. And my recovery physically has been much quicker than last time. I am so thankful.
Glory to God! And thanks also to His beautiful people who have been “Jesus with skin on” to me in this process. Nathan, Lacy, Jess and the Lyall family-also my Mom who came to help us the 1st week after he was born…Church In The City for over 2 weeks of meals!! And those who prayed and sent words…thank you, thank you, thank you.
Father, You are very good.