Embracing the Pain & Letting Go of Fear in Childbirth

Originally posted on May 18, 2011. Republished as part of our top 10 celebration on PH!

In this day and age, childbearing is often considered a thing to be feared. There is this overarching anxiety that we won’t be able to manage the pain of it all. We fear the baby being too large, or too small. We fear losing control. My desire here is to stop this train of thought that birthing is a thing to fear, encourage us to step back, and reflect on the beauty of the birthing process.

Childbirth is certainly work, and the intensity of it has increased as a result of the fall (Genesis 3:16). But like any work, it is doable. God’s grace is extended to sustain us through it. What we often overlook is the fact that God created birth to be a beautiful process, as we embrace the work and strive to labor for His glory. He has created the female body to be able to give birth. We were designed to be life-givers. This is what you were created to do! God has specially designed this child, conceived in your womb, to be born into this world.

Please note, there can certainly be a place for interventions as we live in a fallen world and it may not go as naturally as desired, but ultimately if our heart is trusting in the Lord, it will be a beautiful experience,  and should not be a thing to be feared. If you had a rough first experience, may I encourage you that there is grace to cover your past experiences, grace to try again, and grace to trust the sovereignty of God with whatever the results.

Understanding the purpose of pain is essential for being able to conquer fear in our hearts.

Why Pain in Labor?

The quotes below are taken from the Christian Childbirth Handbook by Jennifer Vanderlaan:

Increases Endorphins = pain management

“Pain, by its very nature, is a call to action…Pain has a physiological purpose in childbirth. The increasing intensity of the pain or discomfort increase your body’s production of endorphins. Endorphins are natural opiates that are responsible for ‘runners high’. They are also produced during sexual intimacy. Endorphins are at peak levels near the end of the labor helping you manage the pain of the contractions.”

Increases prolactin = breastfeeding success

“What is even more amazing is the endorphins your body is producing in response to the pain of labor are preparing your body to care for your child. The high endorphin levels cause your body to increase prolactin levels. Prolactin is a hormone necessary to breastfeed.”

Pain = movement = proper alignment

“Another important reason for discomfort or pain during labor is the way you naturally move your body in response to pain. It is very difficult to hold still while in pain, which works just perfectly for labor since movement is necessary for your baby to properly align in your pelvis. Without proper alignment, either you or your baby could suffer damage. Pain serves as a method of protection against a bad birth position.”

Pain = dependence upon the Lord

God often uses pain as a means of drawing our attention off ourselves and on to Him. It is a beautiful process for a woman to see this pain as a means of helping her refocus her attention on her Savior, who is her provider and source of strength. Therefore, focusing on worship, Scripture and prayer during labor are appropriate responses to the process. I believe this is all a part of the sanctifying process of childbirth. Jesus promises the peace that passes all understanding. This does not mean a perfect pain-free labor, but rather the calmness to embrace God as your strength.

“Peace is letting go of control, and letting God lead you through labor…Only God knows to what extent you will need to work during labor. You may give birth painlessly, or you may struggle through many challenges. You are only in control of how you respond to labor. It is how you handle yourself, where you turn for strength, which is important. God will give you the strength to manage whatever labor suits his purpose.”

Tips for Decreasing Pain

  • Keep your bladder empty.
  • Stay upright during labor.
  • Keep moving! Changing positions regularly.
  • Learn as much about labor as possible. Understand the process and the way your body works.
  • Chose an birthing environment where you are comfortable, safe, and relaxed.
  • Chose only people to surround you that you are comfortable with. Don’t be afraid to say “no” to all the in-laws.
  • Learn simple relaxation techniques: visualization, listening to music, relaxing each muscle in your body, deep breathing, and hydrotherapy. Practice these frequently before labor begins.
  • Keep your vocalization in labor low and deep. When we scream or yell in high pitched tones, this tightens the uterus. When we groan, we allow the cervix to open and relax.
  • Let go of fear. The more fear you have the more pain you will experience. Don’t hide it. Acknowledge it and turn to the Lord to help you with it.

Responding to Fear

It is important to first acknowledge your fear. We all have them. It is naturally a part of being human. But the important thing is to acknowledge and address your specific fears prior to labor. Labor is controlled by your sub-conscious mind, not your conscious mind. Fear in labor produces excess amounts of stress hormones in our body that can lock up your muscles and limit the supply of oxygen to your uterus and baby.

If you are experiencing fear, meditate upon Philippians 4:8 in the following manner (a valuable exercise offered in the Christian Childbirth Handbook):

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about these things.”

Write out your fear. My fear or concern is….

Now use the following questions to truly evaluate the source, motivation, and truth about your situation.

  1. What is true? (What is true about you and your situation?)
  2. What is noble? (How can you handle this situation in a noble way?)
  3. What is right? (Is there a righteous response to this fear?)
  4. What is pure? (How can you respond in a way to keep your heart devoted to God?)
  5. What is lovely? (How can this fear be worked for good?)
  6. What is admirable? (Who has overcome a similar fear: how did they do it?)
  7. What is excellent and praiseworthy? (How can you respond in a way that keeps you from sin and brings praise and glory to God?)

Philippians 4:6-7 – “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (NLT)

Focus on the Blessings

One of the true blessings of labor is that God designed it to process naturally and slowly (in most cases, as some births do go extremely fast). It actually takes two weeks or longer to go through the process. Contractions gradually increase in duration and intensity rather than all at once. And God gives us total breaks of pain-free times in between contractions. These points of rest, though short, help you to breath, relax, take in fresh oxygen and energy, all of which are essential for you and your baby’s health and well being.

Focus on the new precious life that will soon be entering your arms. Focus on the beauty of new life that is being birthed from your womb. Treasure that moment.

When we let go and allow our body to flow with the contractions, we experience a unique empowerment that is hard to describe. When we focus our minds on embracing the pain, the pain somehow becomes less severe. When we get up, move, and allow our body to flow with the contractions, we embrace the design of our bodies.

For further encouragement, please read Spiritual Encouragement for Preparing & Giving Birth that highlights specific verses that are excellent for preparing your heart for labor.

Photo Credit

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of three, homemaker, and writer. She is the editor of Passionate Homemaking since its beginning five years ago. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

130 Responses to Embracing the Pain & Letting Go of Fear in Childbirth

  1. Michelle H November 29, 2013 at 12:44 pm #

    WOW! This was right on time! My husband and I are pregnant with our 2nd child and are opting all natural this time! We are even planning to do a home birth! Thank you for increasing my awareness on how God intended for pregnancy and birth to be! God bless you!

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  3. Diana August 18, 2013 at 6:03 am #

    I would like to share a few things also. I have had 7 all natural home births, no drugs, no help except for a midwife for 6 of them. One of them was just my husband and I (a 9 lb, 15 oz. one). I used a birthing stool to deliver on and only sat on it when it was time to. The rest of the time I was upright, either sitting on the couch or moving about, talking with hubby and midwife. I did not desire to have others in the room and certainly no noise or anything to distract me. We fully trusted the Lord and believed His Word. We were trusting and not fearful and was very relaxed because of that. My second birth was totally painless! I had to tell the midwife when I was having a contraction and when it ended. All the babies were born usually in about 6 hours average and in the 8-9 lb. area. I very deliberately breathed deeply and slowly, keeping plenty of oxygen flowing, but staying relaxed. I concentrated on not pushing and letting gravity and muscle contractions push the baby out slowly so bones parted and flesh stretched as necessary without any tearing. I even lifted my ribcage (like for a big breath but still breathing) and kept the tension up there to keep all the lower part of my trunk without tension. In this way I avoided pushing. We waited for the baby to get the full amount of blood into him before clamping and cutting the cord. I sat on the birthing stool until the placenta delivered and then I was up and about and nursing the baby. After that I went to bed for a few hours rest and then life went on as usual. I very soon got my babies on a schedule for sleeping from midnight to 6am as soon as possible so I didn’t miss out on my sleep and become a zombie mom who would be impossible to live with. I had good nursing babies who would get their fill and go to sleep for at least 2 hours. For that I was thankful! Especially when I had a house full of very young kids. I also homeschooled them for a good number of years while I was still having babies. I was a very busy mom, a very protective mom, and I love my kids, but not more than the Lord. He always came first and through my relationship with Him and faith in His Word was where I drew my strength and peace. That can’t be emphasized enough.
    I say all this not to brag or condemn others, but to encourage young mothers to trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths. (Prov. 3: 5,6) It is possible to have NO pain in childbirth because I experienced it myself, but all mine weren’t totally painless. But walk with Him daily and you can lean on Him for support. All the other creatures give birth by themselves and they do it naturally, and usually silent unless groaning from the work of it all. Relax. Enjoy your pregnancies, enjoy your births, enjoy your kids. They pass on quickly and before you realize it, they are out of your house and on their own. Live each moment as if it were your last. Stay close to the Lord of Life.

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  9. Tiffany June 24, 2013 at 8:43 pm #

    This is a great post!! Unfortunately, I’ve had to take away my ability to have children. My first I labored for 26 hours. A short amount of time for a first time mom. I was pressured into an epidural (that didn’t work), and I stalled labor at 8cm for 4 hours, until they asked me to try and push anyways. I was blessed with a healthy baby girl…and found out that I am a bleed risk. I started hemorrhaging. We discovered then that I have a ITP (a clotting issue where my body doesn’t have enough platelets).

    My second, and last, I almost lost twice. She was born in the fall, and my body started trying to have her June 1. I made it to my due date, though it cost me most of my older daughter’s first half of her 3rd year of life. I came to the hospital at 6cm when my water started leaking again…and was there for 15 hours. I had stalled within an hour of arriving, so I had to have pitocin…By 6pm they had me on the maximum amount of pitocin they could give me. She wouldn’t drop, so my body wouldn’t move past 8-9cm. I can’t have a c-section. It would most likely kill me.The midwife finally came in and told me I had to have an epidural even though I wasn’t supposed to, because it was the only thing left to try. If we didn’t my daughter and I would die. Within 10 minutes of getting it, she was dropping, and within 15 I was pushing. I had another beautiful daughter, and I hemorrhaged again, probably because of the epidural.

    Our midwife, who was against drugs and unnatural birth controls, came to tell me the next morning that I had no business being in a delivery room myself ever again. She strongly advised I get a tubal ligation after I recovered, and my husband to get a vasectomy as well if we wanted to be doubly sure. It’s a miracle what modern medicine and God can do! There was no reason I should have made it to term with our second, but He got us there! We both survived the birth and are healthy today because of Him!

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  12. Kat February 22, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

    I have had the gamut of birthing experiences. From the first one where i was lied to and manipulated into a whole lot of harmful completely unnecessary medical interventions, to a peaceful waterbirth, to a medically necessary emergency c-section.

    I do believe that if you trust in the Lord, even a birth experience gone totally awry can teach you things you’d never have learned any other way. Sometimes that lesson is : doctors are human, and some of them LIE. Never trust blindly, ask questions, take responsibility, be proactive in your own care.
    Sometimes that lesson is: even when you’re experienced, educated, and completely “relaxed” about birthing, medical necessity leads to stuff you didn’t plan for. Like abdominal surgery and NICU time.

    Birth is hard work. Every type of drug and intervention carries risks, sometimes the benefits outweigh the risks. Sometimes, pain medications don’t work. Practicing relaxation and deep-breathing exercises is completely harmless, and may be effective enough for you to birth without drugs, so why not at least give them a try, right? :-) Personally, I find relaxation and deep breathing help with everything from stubbed toes and paper cuts, to headaches and menstrual pain. I’ve already started “brainwashing” my girls (and boys) to take deep breaths and relax when they have a scraped knee or something. Not only does it help with their pain, it’s easier to get a bandaid on a relaxed kid than a screaming moving target.

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  14. Erin February 1, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

    Thank you for the recent posts about childbirth, Lindsay. My sister-in-law just found out she’s pregnant with her first, and I plan to share all of this wisdom and encouragement with her.

  15. Alaina January 31, 2013 at 8:50 am #

    Great article! I had my son naturally and know it helped me ease into breastfeeding the way God created! Thank you for the facts about the endorphins and Increases prolactin, very useful!

  16. Jamie January 31, 2013 at 7:06 am #

    While I’m not afraid of the process, or going through this pain in a few weeks, I’m not exactly looking forward to it either. I am looking forward to the end result very much. Thankfully for us, labor is but a tiny millimeter on the yardstick that is our life on this side of eternity.

    • Maura February 2, 2013 at 12:20 am #

      @Jamie ~ God will see you through this. I have had children both with epidurals and without. Either is YOUR choice, but I can tell you from experience that without epidural, YOU are in control of you body. I chose natural child birth for #2 and #3. I had pain meds after delivery, but it is truly a more natural process without epidural. It IS painful and yes I demanded meds, but my doctor reminded me of my plan and we got through. After the baby comes out, the immediate pain stops instantly. Mild pain meds (vicodin/percocet) given after labor help with the discomfort. And yes. the age of saying that as soon as the baby arrives in your arms and all the pain fades away are so, so true. Trust me, God WILL be with you during your time of need no matter what nature demands. Practice breathing, relaxing, focusing, etc. You may need to kick everyone out of the room to do so…. thats OK!!!! It is a private and individual process. Labor is hard, but God gives us nothing more than we can bare.

  17. LuAnn Braley January 30, 2013 at 11:29 pm #

    I wish I would have read this oh, 17 years ago? More than that, I wish I had been stronger in my walk with the Lord then. I’ve had 3 children and medical intervention was necessary each time, even though I had started out wanting natural childbirth. But I know God has a purpose for me here on Earth…because I am still here. I know He has a purpose for each one of my children as well.

    My last child, my baby girl (who turns 10 on Saturday, BTW) was born at 32 weeks, weighing 3 lbs .4 oz. When she was 3 days old, I had some elders from my church come into the NICU to give her a blessing. She was able to go home at 22 days old, still weighing under 4 lbs, because as the NICU put it, she was just “too healthy” and they needed the space! And she is the one who will remind /me/ that she needs to say her prayers every night before she goes to sleep!

  18. Stephanie January 30, 2013 at 8:08 pm #

    I’m pro natural childbirth. I feel strongly that the medical industry leads women down an unnecessary path in childbirth that leads to so many unnecessary interventions. This is aside from when intervention is an absolute medical necessity, but that is a small percentage. My first baby was born after 34 hours of labor using a lot of relaxation techniques. However, after being stuck at 4 cm and then going backward to 3.5 cm after 24 hours of active labor and then hitting two hours of double and triple peaking contractions, I acquiesced to an epidural. Boom, that took me to 10 cm. 5.5 hours later after the epidural was turned off, baby was pushed out very easily. Looking back, I was told that those of us who are control people who are determined to do it the “right” way can keep our bodies from relaxing. Very possibly the case for me.

    Baby 2 was born with only 8 hours of labor and totally natural. The midwife warned me that pushing would hurt because I still had the effects of the epidural with the first. All I can say is that pushing (only 15 min.) hurt like heck (that’s putting it nicely). I remember thinking that I had a new respect for women who went for epidurals. Only those of us with strong convictions that natural is best for mom and baby will do this. So, as you would train for a marathon, train for your natural childbirth. All that was mentioned in this post is good, on target stuff. You can do it. Stick to your convictions. I now will not judge my “wimpy” friends though.

  19. Kate January 30, 2013 at 2:55 pm #

    Thank you for posting this as I am experiencing this fear currently and I focusing on holding on to the promises of the Lord to carry me through anything. Thank you for your thoughtfulness and the powerful verses I will be revisited daily to increase my faith! Due in 9 weeks, and the birth itself is constantly on my mind. I am also in a foreign country that doesn’t have the reputation of having as many technological advancements as the states, so I need God’s grace even more!

  20. Sheri January 30, 2013 at 11:07 am #

    I’m sure I read this when it was originally posted, but it is re-posted at a perfect time! I am due with #4 in a little under 2 weeks. I am trying for a VBAC after 3 c-sections. The first was an emergency from prolapsed cord and the other two ended up in repeats. I found a wonderful doctor and hospital that is very supportive of VBAC after 3. I would have chosen a natural birth anyway, but it is also the policy for them to not give an drugs or induction for VBAC. So it is either natural or c-section, good motivation for me to get my act together :) The whole pregnancy has been a process of me letting go of any fear I have, of pain, embarrassment, uterine-rupture, etc. so that I can give the natural birth the best chance possible. I feel very empowered now, through books and prayer, that I can do this and my body was made for it. I know I am not in ultimate control of the outcome, but if I do end up with a c-section I feel at peace that I gave it my best shot.

  21. Valentine December 30, 2012 at 7:44 pm #

    I was excited to read this article, I assumed it would be based on medicine. Pain in childbirth increasing since the fall? Yeah. I am definitely an out of place Buddhist here. I enjoyed reading the personal accounts though. We’re so lucky today to have a great combination of medicine and spirit in childbirth.

  22. Dana July 30, 2012 at 6:22 pm #

    I love this post! I am currently pregnant with baby number 3. With both of my children I had them naturally with the exception of pitocin, which was given to help my contractions along (first baby water broke and I was 5-6 cms dilated but contractions weren’t strong enough for the doc, second was due to preeclampsia but I was already 4 cms dilated and contracting when they started). I would have preferred not to have the pitocin but it was in the best interest of my babies. But I dealt with the pain on my own with the strength of God and the help of my hubby. And I wouldn’t do it any other way unless there was some danger to my baby or myself that required an alternate delivery. But I will say that there is a part of me that does get a bit nervous about the idea of going through it all again. But God is strong, and He will give me the strength I need to bring this gift into the world just as He gave me what I needed to conceive the child. I can do all things through Him who gives me strength!

  23. Marci July 3, 2012 at 4:33 am #

    You know, it’s very sad that on a powerful post like this – about letting go of fear in childbirth – people think this is the appropriate place to discuss the intimate details of their ‘births gone awry.’

    Lindsay made it very, VERY clear that there are situations where medical intervention is certainly needed. So why on earth would someone come on here to post a story of a birth that ‘didn’t work out’? We live in a culture SATURATED with stories of how birth is dangerous and to be feared, rather than stories that inspire us to believe that God created purposeful pain AND joy in birth.

    It’s almost as if those with less than smooth deliveries are saying, by a detailed post about an interventive birth, that Lindsay can say all she wants about needing to stop fearing childbirth, but the reality is that birth is often not easy or smooth.

    It’s saddening to see how many people can’t look outside their own difficult experience of birth and support the Biblical message here – that God’s intelligent design has purposefully ordained a wonderful system for pregnancy and birth, and only seldom are these interventions needed.

    If you believe that birth usually goes awry, or is highly likely to go awry…I’m sorry, but that view is NOT Biblical at all!. You can’t claim that God’s design is awesome and then, in the same breath, suggest that most of the time his design goes off tracks!

    Think about it ladies…..we can’t keep believing what the media tells us about birth. As Christians, we’re called to more than this…..

    • Anne February 9, 2013 at 2:57 pm #

      People tell their stories, because it’s healing. Trust me, I don’t think anyone is thinking, “I’m going to tell my story, because I want that person’s birth to go horribly and I want her to be afraid.” If they are, that’s pretty cruel. I have just as much right to tell my story as someone who had a perfect home birth. Is here the best place? Probably not, but when people feel like others think they didn’t “trust the Lord” enough, and that’s why this happened, they feel the need to defend themselves.

      Essentially, that’s what the author is saying. (Quote: “…ultimately if our heart is trusting in the Lord, it will be a beautiful experience…”) I did not have a beautiful experience. I won’t go into detail so as not to make you angry, but I did EVERYTHING right. I wanted a natural birth so badly. I did have faith in the Lord. Guess what? It still went badly.

      Do I think most births go badly? Of course not. I wouldn’t say they’re seldom either, though. That doesn’t reflect a lack of faith in God’s design. It reflects an understanding that we live in a sinful and fallen world. Did God design our bodies to die? No, but guess what? 100% of people eventually die.

      I think it’s great to have a natural birth. I think it’s great to have a fearless birth. I am not against these things at all. And most of the article (and comments) I don’t take issue with. But please understand, for someone like me, it stings, especially when people insinuate that their way of birth is “better” or that they worked harder than I did (43 hour labor, most natural), or that I didn’t trust God enough. It’s not a competition. I feel sad about the way my birth went, and I likely won’t get a chance to try again. I will probably feel this way forever. So all I ask is sensitivity for people like me. People who wanted with all their heart to have a natural birth, and it didn’t happen.

  24. Deb Mortvedt June 6, 2012 at 12:18 pm #

    I would like to encourage you to be sure and include your husbands in this. He should be included in each decision, as the leader and just as we submit to labor pain, we are protected by our husbands by our submission to them. I have rarely if ever seen anyone say “and my husband said…and I submitted to him”. I have my own stories about birth, death and the protection I had by having a c-section and it was because I had to think about what another vaginal delivery would do…and God blessed that. So, after God, before our experience in L&D our husbands should be included in each ot these…and not to the point where he will say whatever you want him to because you are the one “holding” the keys, but to the point where you husband knows what is best for you 2 too.

  25. Michaela July 18, 2011 at 8:01 pm #

    I plan on having a natural home birth with my first child that I am currently pregnant with but if something happens and I have to go to the hospital then thank God I have that option as well. As long as you have God to guide you and give you strength, I think that any birth can be amazing, even if it doesnt go the way you planned. God is good!

  26. Fifi @ www.fififrugality.blogspot.com June 15, 2011 at 7:03 pm #

    This post goes along with everything I believe. I cannot wait to experience child birth at home. A great movie that encourages these same thoughts is The bussiness of Being Born. Available on Netflix. Awesome movie.

    Fifi

  27. JoKasta May 28, 2011 at 4:13 pm #

    Thank you so much for this! It is encouraging to see women of faith not shy away from the pain and work of labor! I’ve had 3 natural births but my 3rd was a homebirth and by far my most relaxed, comfortable birth! I wouldn’t change anything about either of my daughter’s births because I learned so much through both of them! I learned to trust God’s plans for us, to trust my body as He created it, and to trust the pain! My 3rd labor, with my son, was amazing…sure it hurt but I was comfortable in my own home. I’ve learned so much about myself through labor and in some ways I’m thankful for the ability to feel the pain with every contraction…never thought I would have said that before becoming a mom!! :)

  28. Aleisha May 25, 2011 at 5:02 pm #

    Great post…unfortunitly for me I labored for 36 hours, (30 was completely natural), pushed for 3 hours (where I had HAD 2 epidurals & 5 boosters that completely did not take so it was natural anyway) In this time I was passing out between contractions and my body ran an infection. The whole time they could see the top of my beautiful baby girls head. Then the machines sounded and my sweet girl’s heart rate dropped. Out came the mask and then finally they told me we HAD to get her out…I was rushed to Emergency c-section where inside they found I have what is called a square pelvis. My body would not have been able to push her out (although it and I were trying VERY hard to!). I spent her first year feeling like a complete failure in the fact that I could not do what I was meant to do. I had the most beautiful angel before me and realized it didn’t matter HOW she came into this world that our Giver of Life…had this plan for me all along. My second and third children were scheduled c-sections. Each time I asked if there was a possibility I could try natural. My doctor was incredible and helped me to realize that it just wasn’t in the cards for me. (my doc is very PRO v-bac!) Either way is a miracle!

    • Joy May 26, 2011 at 3:19 am #

      Wow, thank God for medical science! Can you imagine if you had lived back before c-sections? Both you and your baby would have died. It IS a miracle!

      • Aleisha May 26, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

        That’s exactly what my nurses told me in recovery!

  29. Catherine May 25, 2011 at 6:12 am #

    Thank you for posting about all of this! Oh how amazing it was to get to experience the Lord’s gentle, powerful, loving strength through pregnancy, childbirth, and now motherhood. I was diagnosed with Lupus 3 years ago and was not sure if I would ever be able to have any biological children. Before my husband’s and my first anniversary, the Lord spoke boldly to my husband and said that now was the time to have a child. I was so afraid that my body might kill the baby but I trusted the Lord speaking through my husband and one month later, we found out we were pregnant. Praise God! We were filled with such excitement and hope. Our little girl grew healthy and strong, she was so active and got hiccups at least 4-5 times a day :) I loved her so much already! I had terrible morning sickness my entire pregnancy but the Lord was my strength and was my source of perseverance. I desperately wanted to have a homebirth but because I had Lupus I could not find even a midwife to take me on that worked in a birthing center connected to a hospital. During the first visit with my OB I left in tears. Everything that I cherished so much about natural childbirth this OB whole-heartedly did not believe. I knew I had to find a midwife. And guess what, I found one!!! They took me on and I was also able to get all of the extra monitoring to make sure the baby was healthy. When I was 35 1/2 weeks pregnant, I began to bleed and had a terrible pain in my upper abdomen (which later we found out was my liver about to erupt). They determined I was pre-eclamptic and within 12 hours, they discovered that I had HELLP syndrome. They rushed me to another hospital (bye-bye midwives) and induced me. There were no options for pain-killers (which I did not want anyways) because my platelet levels had dropped so low they were afraid I would bleed to death. (Also because of my low platelets a C-section would have taken my life too) I was basically strapped to the bed and had to labor completely on my side. The Lord was my strength. If for a second I stopped thinking of Him, I couldn’t bear the pain. He was my doula, my midwife, my physician, my strength (I had not slept, eaten, or had anything to drink for 3 days- just IV’s). Within 11 hours our sweet daughter was born and she was HEALTHY and STRONG! I honestly wouldn’t have changed a thing about our daughter’s birth. My family and I got to experience the Lord’s strength in a way that none of us had ever before. He stretched me almost to death, but He spared my life and gave me the opportunity to be a mother. DO NOT BE AFRAID of what lies before you. Rely on HIM and He will carry you through whatever your ordeal may be. Find JOY and HOPE in Him. Blessings to all of you who are expecting- It is an amazing journey of a lifetime.

    • Joy May 25, 2011 at 6:31 am #

      Wow, what an amazing story!

  30. Sarah Clifton May 22, 2011 at 2:45 pm #

    Great post! But it still brings a tinge of fear to think about laboring again, after 2 natural childbirths.
    The first was a good experience, with 2 midwives; the environment was very conducive to a relaxed labor, and everything went extremely well.
    The second, I had zero choice but to give birth in a hospital–being on an overseas base with no access to midwives/doulas. The amount of distraction and intrusion drove me to a great amount of pain!! I was treated like a job and a doctor even showed up during labor to ask me why I would not be vaccinating! Eventually, with all the strangers walking in an out and people jabbing me and forcing me to wear a monitor, my pain escalated to almost intolerable, and I found myself screaming in the end, in agony. My saving grace that delivery was the sweet nurse who came on right before I gave birth. Her voice alone kept me grounded, amidst all the chaos. I thank God for her.

    I think if there’s one thing a laboring mother can’t tolerate it is distraction. An unfamiliar environment filled with strangers is definitely a hindrance. But I imagine a woman with very strong faith would be able to better resist the temptation towards frustration and anger that I experienced with my second labor (although I started out very good and focused and determined to reserve all my energies for labor).