Trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) in the Lord and do good; so shall you dwell in the land and feed surely on His faithfulness, and truly you shall be fed. ~ Psalm 37:3 (Amplified Version)
Accompanied by delight and eagerness, I entered the doctor visit at 36-and-a-half weeks. I loved hearing the strong heartbeat God had placed in our little girls’ chest at each visit; almost like her way of saying a little hello. This day, however, strong concern plastered the face and voice of the doctor.
My blood pressure was 140/100. With no current signs of preeclampsia and no protein in my urine, they ordered immediate bed rest with a follow-up appointment and non-stress test in three days. Having been looking forward to the day at work, I instead headed home, confused and a bit concerned. I was healthy and feeling good, so what was my body doing? I started on our baby girls’ birth announcements to pass the time.
Three days later, my husband and I returned to the doctor at 8:00 a.m., ready for our non-stress test and ready for the possibility of our daughter’s birthday. Our bags were packed and our minds were prepared if the doctors decided today was the day. This time we were accompanied with calmness and eagerness as the doctor determined induction was necessary given my high blood pressure and baby’s moderate distress at 37 weeks.
Hooked up to monitors and in the oh-so-beautiful hospital gown, the doctor inserted a pill to begin the induction at 11:30 a.m. Within an hour, it was full-blown contractions every three to five minutes with incredible intensity. Having originally planned on a natural, med-free birth, I wanted to stick to our plan; reminding myself millions of women before me had found the strength to overcome the pain. Persistence endured as I anticipated the incredible moment of looking into our daughter’s eyes for the first time.
My husband was an incredibly compassionate coach as he encouraged me through each contraction. He would watch the monitors and announce, “You’ve reached the peek, it should be coming down now,” and after a minute of rest he’d say, “Okay, Ang, here comes another one. You can do this.”
By 6:00 p.m., I felt devastated when they told me I was still only dilated 3 cm. Calculating the math, I thought, “I can’t keep this up all night to reach 10 cm.” At that moment, I allowed myself permission to divert from our birth plan and receive an epidural at 7:00 p.m. All of the staff was so encouraging in saying they were impressed at how strong I had been for so long. It was slightly comforting in a moment of defeat.
An hour later, having allowed my muscles to relax enough from the epidural, I was at 10 cm. Ready to go! Having heard what seemed to be horror stories of pushing for two-plus hours, when it came time to push, I gave it all I had. Hence, I tore, but after three sets of only three pushes, the beautiful relief, both physically and mentally, of seeing our little Elliana Marie was amazing!
A head full of hair and healthy cries, she looked like a little Cabbage Patch doll. Our eyes locked, tears of joy overflowed and our hearts rejoiced in the Lord’s creativity and goodness! We had trusted in His faithfulness and our family had been fed.
Read Angela’s second birth story “Birth #2: I Knew My Body,” her third story “Birth #3: Having Learned a Few Things,” her fourth story “Birth #4: A New Way of Thinking” and “Birth #5: Finding Faith Through Adoption.”
Would you like to share your birth story? We’d love to hear it! Take a look at our “What’s Your Story?” post to find inspiration and direction.
Angela is a woman passionate about connected, committed families and encouraging others as a licensed counselor to intentionally choose ways to love well in marriage and parenting. She is grateful to have walked alongside her husband for 14 amazing years and feels privileged for being entrusted by God to care for their six kids. It’s a continuing journey of learning through the beauty of other people’s stories.