Shepherd's Birth Story
I've had intentions of writing down the full story of Shepherd's birth for months now, three to be exact.
I intended on including every single detail, from start to finish; but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I didn't want to share those details with just anyone who stumbles upon my blog. I'm so grateful for detailed birth stories as they helped me believe that I myself could brave an unmedicated birth. Though, rather than share the specifics of my contractions and labor positions, I want to tell you the thread of God's goodness that was providentially weaved throughout a birth that I did not plan for.
During my pregnancy I read book after book about the entire process of childbirth. It surprised me how little I knew about the intricacies of labor and how God gloriously made a woman's body to carry out the task of growing and birthing a tiny human being. I knew that I wanted to have an unmedicated birth for multiple reasons, but I don't feel compelled to explain those in great length in this post. I do, however, encourage all women to study labor & childbirth and to inform themselves about hospital procedures to decide the type of birthing experience they desire to have.
I also exhort them to hold those desires with an open hand to the Father who works all things together for His good pleasure. I know what you're thinking, "duh, of course". But you may not realize how difficult that can be until the rubber meets the road.
I had a birth plan going into labor, just not one written down on paper. My husband knew of all the things we wanted and didn't want, so he was able to help me at the hospital when it came down to it.
I labored from about 1am-3:30pm at home and once my contractions started getting stronger and closer together, we hopped in the car and headed to the hospital.
Shortly after we made it back to our labor & delivery room, we discovered that Shepherd was in the posterior position or commonly referred to as "sunny-side-up." This didn't really mean much to me at the time because I was fully in labor land and was trying my hardest to just make it through the next contraction. After hours of laboring, I was finally at 10cm dilated and a +2 station. It was time to push! I still remember the absolute relief I felt when my midwife told me that we could start pushing.
At this point I still had not gotten an epidural and I was feeling very proud of myself for making it that far. I pushed for two-plus hours with an hour break in between. Even through all that pushing, Shepherd was not moving any further down. Poor little guy had his head stuck in my pelvis. It was at that point that we decided the best decision moving forward would be for me to get an epidural so I could rest, regain some strength and try pushing again.
I was a little bummed about getting the epidural, but at that point I was so exhausted and I knew that there was no way I'd have the strength to push if I didn't get any relief from the pain. So I got an epidural and did another hour of pushing but still no progress. My midwife attempted to physically turn Shepherd's head to no avail. It was then that we agreed to a cesarean section and our baby boy was born at 4:57am.
Throughout my pregnancy, I repeatedly said to my husband, "I don't think I'll get an epidural, but I definitely don't think I'll be having a c-section."
And as it turns out, I got both. Plus a slew of other things that I had not planned on nor desired to have. There were also some good things I really did desire to have that I did not get. I dreamed day after day of the moment where I would push my son out, they would place him on my chest and I'd get to stare at the little face I'd been dreaming of for nine months. Instead, I didn't get to actually see him for about 5-10 minutes and didn't hold him until about 45 minutes to an hour after the birth.
Honestly, it was entirely too easy for me to fall into a pit of sadness and anger in the weeks following. Don't get me wrong, I was truly so grateful and so happy that our boy was here and we were both healthy! But my goodness, I felt such deep disappointment about the entire thing. Then came the unexpected recovery process after birth that just felt like the very bitter cherry on top of an "I didn't get anything I wanted" experience.
You don't see many of these stories on social media, huh? You don't find them in books about unmedicated childbirth because well, frankly, it ended up being the furthest thing from unmedicated.
While I did not have the birth experience I planned for or wanted, I was given the exact one that God had perfectly and sovereignly crafted for me. And that makes it good and glorious.
Now, three months later, I can confidently say that this is a positive birth story because it positively points to the goodness and mercy of our Lord. Christ kept me from beginning to end. Christ kept my baby through every moment. He gave my husband strength to endure a long labor and the calming presence he needed while holding his wife's hand as she underwent an unexpected surgery. He gave our nurse, midwife and doctor wisdom to perform their jobs efficiently. He surrounded us with so many wonderful people to take care of us while we adjusted to life with a baby. He granted us grace upon grace each and every day as my body healed and we discovered what it means to be parents.
My birth plan included what I thought was best for me and my baby. Sometimes we see our plans come to fruition and sometimes we don't. I was given the latter. But it just so happens that God knows what's best for me and uses all things for our good and His glory.
It was His good will that my baby was in the posterior position.
It was His good will that I got an epidural.
It was His good will that I labored unmedicated to completion, only for my son to be delivered via c-section.
It was His good will that I would endure more pain than expected after labor.
It was His good will that my husband had to very quickly learn how to swaddle a baby and change a diaper when I couldn't physically stand to do it.
It was His good will that many things did not go according to my plan, for to be submitted under His sovereignty is much more blessed than to be the god of my own life.
I don't regret having a plan and I will most certainly have one again should the Lord graciously give us more children. However, I will more joyfully submit to whatever the Lord has willed because I have tasted His goodness in the things unforeseen by me.
"For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure" Philippians 2:13
Our son, Shepherd, is the greatest gift we've ever been given. We praise the almighty God for his life and pray that he grows in the fear, wisdom, and love of our Lord Jesus Christ.