We’re closing in on the birth of this next baby. You’d think by now I’d be used to the waiting, but turns out I’m an extremely impatient person! Every time, I feel this impatience grow. Part of it is just wanting to be done being pregnant, part of it is wanting to meet this new little blessing, part of it is wanting to be past labor and on the other side.
But God. He’s been teaching me so much these last few weeks about enjoying the moment and being present where we’re placed. I’m definitely not good at that as I’m a planner by heart. I love to pull out my planner and write all the things for the week. I love to look ahead and see what’s coming this summer.
No matter how much you plan and look ahead and anticipate, you can’t make a baby come faster! They come when God ordains, at least for me they do. I don’t go the traditional route and let a doctor dictate inductions. I let my body and the baby decide, as long as we’re healthy and doing fine, of course. But in the midst of choosing that route, there’s the knowledge that I could be waiting much longer than I want to be waiting!
My first six babies came via c-sections and I never had to wait to 40 weeks or longer. My twin boys were at 36 weeks, unexpectedly because I got so sick. I had HELLP syndrome, where my liver was being adversely affected by high blood pressure, and PUPPS rash, where I itched all over my torso from an awful rash. There was no other choice than to take the babies out and let my body heal. It was so hard and so traumatic for all three of us.
My next 3 pregnancies were repeat c-sections because, well, that’s what you do, right? I’m not trying to downplay babies coming into this world via c-sections. They were still amazing experiences and I really knew no different so there was no expectation that wasn’t met.
At this point in our lives, we had six children under seven years old and to say we were overwhelmed would be an understatement. We were pressured into a tubal ligation, which I regretted from the moment I got it done. In fact it was a moment where the Holy Spirit was speaking very clearly to me and I disobeyed. (Another story for another day!)
Three years and a whole lot of hard life later, and I just knew we had to reverse the ligation. Two months after we did we found out we were pregnant! I knew I wanted something different this time around. I knew I didn’t want another c-section. What was interesting is that my OB actually mentioned that to me at an appointment. She wondered if we could somehow avoid another c-section. Of course, no hospital would even consider helping me with a VBAC after four c-sections.
I kept praying over it and taking care of my body with good food and exercise. I would search the internet, looking for a midwife that would be willing to help me. One day I prayed, Lord, if this is what you want for me and this baby, lead me to the right help. I googled midwives near me one more time and a new one came up. I emailed her without much hope, because all the others had turned me down. Much to my surprise, she responded with a yes, I’d be happy to meet with you and help you. Andrew still wasn’t totally on board with the idea of a home birth so as we were driving to meet her, he was praying the Lord would show him this was the right path. Believe it or not, the answer came in the form of a kid’s coloring book. We had our kids with us and she offered them coloring. They were arguing over who got to color first and she said, “I have one more coloring book but it’s a Bible one and I’m never sure if people will want their kids to have it or not.” Andrew knew right then that she was the help the Lord was sending us.
Heidi, David, Jacob, Lukas and Dottie have all been born with her help. We couldn’t ask for a better midwife and friend. She’s one of the family now! She’s been a true Godsend, giving me the opportunity to experience raw, beautiful birth. She’s helped me see the amazing ability of a woman’s body and encouraged me every step of the way. She’s been there to tell me, “You can do it!” when I think I can’t. She’s been there to save the life of my baby and me when things weren’t going well. She’s been there to experience the joy we feel when we add to our family.
Back to the decision to take this route. It comes with the knowledge of waiting for baby to come. My last five births have followed a pattern of sorts. While they’ve all been different, there are definitely similarities.
For instance, my water usually breaks right around my due date. But not a big break, just a small trickle. One that isn’t enough to send me into labor. From that point on, I labor overnight every night for 8 to 14 days. And then, the contractions stop as morning nears. Super fun. They are intense enough where I can’t sleep and I can’t stay laying down. So I walk. And sway. And pray. Then I get a few hours of sleep before the kids wake up and the day begins. It’s the most exhausting thing ever. I don’t ever feel the need to train for a marathon. Those nights are my marathon.
And then, finally contractions won’t stop and baby comes. Heidi was sweet and came in the evening. The rest came in the early morning hours so I was up all night laboring.
Waiting until 41 1/2 to 42 weeks is a trial. Waiting night after night, wondering if the contractions will continue or stop is a trial. Wondering when it’s real and when it’s not is a mind game.
Of course it’s all worth it when you hold that sweet newborn in your arms. And then in the blink of an eye, that baby is a week old, a month old, a year old. And I forget all that waiting.
This time around, I’m trying really hard to just be present in the day I’ve been given and I’m trying hard not to wish these days away. I don’t know if this baby will follow the same pattern or not. All I know is I’ve been given this time to wait. And I can learn from it and enjoy it. I can choose to wish the days away and speed up the time. Or I can choose to enjoy my kids and engage with them and be present in the time I’m given right now. It’s not easy and I have to continually make the choice over and over, day after day. Sometimes even moment by moment.
What are you waiting for? What are you anticipating? And what are you missing because of allowing your mind to dwell on what’s to come?
How do you choose to be present? I’m still learning this skill and I think I flounder more than succeed at it. I’d love to hear your ideas!
The Lord tells us, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34
I say each day has enough blessing to enjoy too! Find it, dwell on it, and leave tomorrow for tomorrow. As a good friend of mind often says, “That sounds like a tomorrow me problem!”