Besides the fact that my first two labors and deliveries were long, exhausting, and painful, they were nothing I had interest in repeating anytime soon – like in this lifetime (the resulting adorable children notwithstanding). After our second child, I’d finally managed to lose much of the ‘baby weight’ I’d gained during the first pregnancy. We’re talking 60+ pounds gained, and then lost. Finally. So imagine my sheer terror when I discovered I was pregnant with #3.
And I knew this one was a girl. There was no sonogram – because those weren’t really done in that day and age – but my first pregnancy had resulted in 24 hour ‘morning’ sickness (whoever came up with the morning part hadn’t met me), and resulted in a girl.
My second pregnancy produced a little queasiness here and there, nothing to write home about, and I’d had a boy. This third one was a repeat of the first one – hence, I was pretty convinced it was another girl. My theory was that the hormones didn’t like each other. Unscientific, I know.
I do not use the term ‘terror’ loosely. I was panic-stricken and had no idea how I was mentally or physically going to endure another labor or delivery like the first two.
Not coincidentally, I joined a women’s Bible study once the all-day-sickness phase passed, and of course, shared my fears, asking for prayer from the small group I was assigned to. Not long afterwards, my Bible study group leader, a wonderfully inspiring, and quietly unassuming woman, came to me and said the Lord had given her a word for me out of 2 Chronicles.
It was the story of Jehoshaphat when he got word that a great army was coming against him. He declared a fast and sought the Lord. God told him (paraphrased version), “Do not fear or be dismayed. . .for the battle is not yours but God’s. . .You need not fight this battle. . .stand still and see the deliverance of the Lord on your behalf. . .for the Lord is with you”.
I clung to that passage like a drowning woman. I read it over and over. Though I still had trepidation, my heart was lightened with this promise.
My due date happened to be close to my husband’s 30th birthday, so I got the brilliant idea to have a surprise party for him the week before my due date, assuming that should be plenty early. My mother helped with the plans and preparations, and my mother-in-law took the two little ones for the day of the party. I recall that somewhere around 40-50 people were invited, and the majority of them intended to show up.
The morning of the party, as I was busily working on prepping for the evening (don’t ask me why my husband never figured it out – for some reason he was gone all day, but I don’t remember why), I began to notice something odd.
Every now and then I’d experience what felt like it might be a contraction in that my uterus was obviously gradually tightening up. But just at the point where it seemed like it might become uncomfortable, it disappeared – entirely. Just gone. It seemed a little odd, but I dismissed them as some variation of Braxton-Hicks contractions, especially since there was no pain or real discomfort.
As the day wore on, they became strong enough to cause me to pause whatever I was doing and wait them out, but again, no pain, no real discomfort. My mother suggested canceling the party but I wasn’t going for that idea at all. Too much work invested.
So, the guests arrived, quite a houseful, and eventually my husband came home and was (un)pleasantly surprised (he’s never much cared for parties) but enjoyed himself in spite of it. Several times during the evening I found the need to actually sit down through these odd ‘contractions’ (I was still refusing to call them that, though).
The party ended, my mother and others helped clean up, and I finally told my husband about the strange sensations. He agreed it didn’t sound like labor, so we went to bed. Off and on throughout the night I experienced the same ‘sensation,’ but it didn’t prevent a fairly decent night of sleep.
It’s not funny anymore
The next morning, the sensations were consistent enough that I thought maybe I should stay home from church but encouraged my husband to go on ahead, which he did. He came home to find nothing really changed, though just in case, I’d taken to pacing around the house and meditating on the promise, shortening it to “do not fear or be dismayed, this battle is not yours, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord”.
The afternoon wore on, but the ‘sensations’ never changed. They would begin to build in intensity just like a real contraction, but right at the point where things might start to seem serious, or painful, they simply disappeared.
Evening church time rolled around and again I encouraged my hubby to go on without me. He returned again and still nothing but these weird sensations. Finally around 9pm Bill suggested I call the midwife and at least check in, “just in case,” which I did, laughing and joking with her over the truly odd goings-on. Her advice was to call her back if things stopped seeming so funny.
Long about 11pm suddenly things didn’t seem very funny anymore.
We called the midwife back and she asked us to come on down to the birth home to get checked, though she seemed fairly certain she’d be sending us back home. Still, she said to bring all the supplies for the birth as a precaution. So poor Bill hauled all the paraphernalia out to the car: pillows, cooler, blankets, etc, etc. and we took off for the 15-minute trek down to the birth home. Just blocks down the road I realized I was freezing and nothing sounded better than a hot shower. I begged Bill to avoid all the bumps and potholes if he could, but even then, the ‘sensations’ never changed. Build, build, build…disappear. Weird.
We beat the midwife’s assistant to the birth home, so when she arrived, Bill hauled all of our stuff into the birth home while the assistant prepared to check me. Bill called his parents as soon as our stuff was inside, to let them know I was getting checked.
While he was talking to them, the assistant checked me and said, “Well, you’re dilated to about 8 but you’re fully effaced, so you can push anytime now.” Bill about dropped the phone. I didn’t even have the urge to push, but she quickly set everything up, I started to push, and 45 minutes after arriving at the birth home, Amy was born.
Literally the ONLY pain I experienced in the whole 2 days of labor (yes, I obviously had been in actual labor) was when she crowned and hit a nerve that runs down the inside of my leg, which of course lasted only seconds until her head popped out.
Around 2 a.m. we drove back in the driveway with a new baby in the car seat. We looked at each other and decided it felt like we’d gone to the grocery store and come home with a baby! NOTHING compares to the promise we have in Him! He was SO faithful and many years later He used that same passage to help us through another fiery trial with that same daughter.
Stand still and see the deliverance of the Lord!