Relying in God During Pregnancy and Delivery

They say that babies aren’t born on due dates. They are born on birth dates.

That sounds comforting and respectful of life’s natural rhythms…..up until about 29 weeks of pregnancy.

With this third pregnancy, I wasn’t honouring my due date let alone a birth date. I was in Prangry mode from the first false labour and every day forward felt like a whole other trimester.

After weeks of on and off contractions, I was seeing that this was a lesson in waiting and patience after the ‘normal’ amount of waiting and patience had been exceeded.

Dear God It's me, still pregnant

At 38 weeks my sister stayed the night and laughed at me when she saw my search history: ‘trusting God’s timing in delivery’.

By this time I had been ‘mildly’ induced for a few days, was having contractions on and off all week and my kids were conveniently at their grandparents but ready to come home.  I had some definite thoughts on what was ‘proper’ timing for this baby to come and it included the words ‘flipping’ and ‘yesterday’.

The entire nine months of my pregnancy were like one big bad long hangover. Each day I felt like I had scraped together just enough energy to feed, dress and play with my kids. I felt like I was slugging by, dressed in a costume of my worst possible self.

Deep into the last trimester became a reflective time for me as I realized I could look at this as a time to grow some fruit or a time to shrink back and snark.

Reluctantly, I knew I should take it to God.

Reluctant because I didn’t want to give it to Him, I just wanted it to work in my timing and my ways.

I believe that pregnancy and delivery are times we can get very close to God. We can really hear him as he slows us down. As he makes us wait. As we go through all the stages of labour.

It starts with letting go of housework, of plans, of expectations on all we can get done. Then there is a halting of our day, making us lie down and rest in Him, turning off our brains to restore ourselves.

It moves into trusting His timing. Knowing that things might not mirror our plan on paper, but trusting He will still take care of the details that stress us out.

Then into the labour, the delivery. I am no hero that is for sure. My pain tolerance is embarrassingly low and paper cuts, let alone labour, scares the ish out of me.

With my first delivery I felt very calm, the contractions were slow and mild. Yet the labour was so long I eventually needed an epidural to get some rest.

I didn’t really need to go to a headspace designed for dealing with the overwhelming pain I would have with subsequent deliveries.

With my second delivery, I was so focused on having a VBAC that I would deny any epidural for fear it would lead to a C-Section. The contractions were like a hurt-tsunami knocking me down and drowning me.

My overarching emotion in all of it was fear. It almost felt like the pain was coming from an external force. I had no regard for the fact that this was MY body causing this and that it was for good. I believed it was Me vs the Pain and it was up to me to prove I could make it through.

Coming into this third delivery I wanted to reflect on ways I could let go of those fears. I wrote cards of scripture, I prayed, I read other mom’s stories.

Then, the morning the strongest contractions started and began to surge my resolve buried its head in the sand. I laid in my bed planning the scenario: I would walk into that maternity ward, sit on the bed and advise the nurses I would take the epidural and c-section now.

I was going to that scared place again.

But of course, that didn’t happen.

One by one, the contractions mounted higher and longer. I put in my headphones with music blaring, I breathed in the gas. I told myself each time ‘I can bear this one’. Each time ‘I can bear this one’. I wanted to stay focused on trusting in God’s strength in my weakness.  I wanted a distraction from the contractions.

I know birth is a very personal experience that each woman owns. I don’t think God expects us to all to have the same experience. For some trusting in God through delivery might mean doing it at home with absolutely no medication. For others, it might mean maintaining peace and making it through a C-section without feeling overwhelming anxiety. For me, it meant trying to get through it without an epidural. With the caveat that if I needed a C-Section again I could trust there would be supports enough to help me and my family through it.
We don’t have to be a hero. We don’t have to ‘prove’ ourselves to God. We can let our exhaustion seep its roots through our bodies and relax all the tension. We can ugly cry in our bathtub and pray for His mercy and grace. We can urge our hearts to believe the words that come out of our mouths when we repeat ‘not my way but yours’ ‘not in my time but yours’.
He prolongs us. He extends us to what we wish was the end, and then pushes a little a further, and a little further. To the point where we can’t deny that situations are beyond our strength and abilities and our rules. Because Jesus meets us at our point of NEED. Of need. The place we might hate being the most.

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