I think all pregnant women should consider attending a birthing class. Edric and I have always attended Chiqui Brosas-Hahn’s classes. She has five kids whom she delivered naturally and she has been a Doula to many others. So she knows what she is talking about. But more than that, I like her easy-going, matter of fact way of explaining everything. She is honest and not squeamish about describing exactly what is going to happen. Whether you give birth naturally or not, these classes are very practical.
As a mom-to-be, you need someone who can clearly explain what you are going to go through. I like that Chiqui combines theory and experiential knowledge when she prepares moms (and dads). It’s great when fathers-to-be recognize how challenging it is to bring a baby into this world, too!
Every time we give birth, Edric and I take a refresher course because most reputable hospitals will require a certificate to let a husband be present during labor and delivery as a coach. So even if this will be our fifth birth, it is important to have that certificate. And, with my horrible memory, it is always good to be reminded of what to expect. Well…I’ll be honest. I like knowing what to expect but at the same time, it terrifies me.
When Edric and I were at the most recent class, I looked around the room at the mostly newbie moms and thought, Oh my dears! This is going to be the hardest physical experience of your lives! Of course, I didn’t say that. I believe that women can do it and God has built us to endure pain like no man can. But, once that pain really starts to escalate, you can second-guess yourself and wonder, Can I really do this?! Listening to Chiqui talk about the whole process again made me think, Why am I doing this?!
I turned over to Edric while we were sitting in the class and told him, “I’m scared, hon. I’m starting to feel that same nervousness that I do at this stage.” Of course, Edric was very reassuring. But it was the quite reassurance of the Lord that really ministered to me. I will be there with you. Trust me. I will help you. We’ve done this together before.
At 30 weeks and into my third trimester, this is the home stretch for me. The anticipation often feels like the longest part of the pregnancy. And I am feeling that same fears that tend to trouble me when the weeks inch closer towards birth. I know the process that birth involves, but every one of my labor experiences has been different from the other.
Being pregnant reminds me that I am not control of anything. There is still a measure of uncertainty. I really don’t know what’s going to happen when the due day comes apart from counting the contractions and taking them on one at a time.
When I was in labor with Titus, my third son, my doctor informed me that he was “side-lying.” If he didn’t descend properly, I would have to opt for a C-section. Edric and I looked at each other and we were concerned. I had always done a combination Lamaze or Bradley for my previous births. C-section wasn’t something I was prepared for. My labor seemed to slow down when I hit 6 or 7 cm because I had only effaced on one side of my cervix.
We prayed hard and Edric called Chiqui who gave me some tips to try in the labor room. I rocked on all fours, swayed back and forth. I might have even hopped around for a bit. And the next time the doctor did an internal exam Titus’ head was down and engaged properly. It was really quite amazing.
However, at one point during my labor, during the transitional phase, I felt like I was going to die from the pain. My body started to tremble and I didn’t know if I could take it anymore. It was then that I really cried out to the Lord (not verbally, but in my heart), and I asked him to sustain me. God heard my prayers and I was able to give birth without anesthesia again.
In Genesis 4:1 it says, Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, “I have gotten a manchild with the help of the Lord.”
Author, Debbie Morris, in her book, “The Blessed Woman,” gives wonderful insight into this verse. She says that Eve acknowledged that it was through the Lord’s help that she gave birth to Cain, her first child. There was no mother, mother-in-law, sister or girl friend in her life to give her tips on childbirth. No birthing classes. No books to read. Not even Adam had a clue. He isn’t even mentioned as being helpful during her ordeal. This was an experience that she went through alone, with God.
This resonated with me because I have felt this way during every single labor and delivery. Edric is by my side physically and that makes a big difference, but it is an experience that I must endure by myself with only God to rely upon. His empowering presence gives me the peace and the will to finish.
Giving birth is one of the most grueling physical trials I go through. Yet, it is during these moments that I understand more fully how God is my only salvation. At the point where I feel like giving in, I am reassured that he will rescue me. And he does.
God will use experiences in our lives to awaken our spiritual consciousness to the reality of his beautiful presence and our need for it. And greater than the fear of abandonment, loneliness, or trials, will be the fear to move forward in this life without him.
The longer I am married, get to parent my children, and the more people I interact with, learn from, and journey alongside in the faith with, the more I realize that life begins and ends with God. I was made for him. And I believe that he allows us to be in predicaments where he is our only resource and help…where we feel a good kind of desperation. Pregnancy and most especially childbirth, makes me desperately dependent on him.
My encouragement is his promise, “I will never leave your or forsake you.” After four children, I can certainly attest to this. I go into labor and delivery with only one assurance – the Lord will help me – and that is enough security to know that I can do it by his grace and enablement!
Photos taken during childbirth class…