Friday, October 24, 2008

"Whenever I am Afraid....

Red Riding Hood
by Jessie Wilcox-Smith

I will trust in You. I will trust in You. Let the weak say I am strong....."

This is a song I learned as a child. As I approach my last few months of pregnancy, and the braxton-hicks become stronger, my mind rushes forward (and back) to my FEAR OF LABOR.

My first son was 2 weeks late, and I was induced. I didn't really pay attention during child-birth classes, I don't know why, as if I'd done this before!?! Maybe I thought it would all come naturally to me and my husband. After a while when the contractions came and I had the first bit of discomfort, I was completely unprepared and begged for an epidural (at 2 cm mind you!) Thankfully, my body responds very well with an epidural, and labor does not slow down at all for me. My beautiful, healthy first born son was born about 8 hours after I began labor (pay attention to these times as I continue my story).

We did not have a digital camera when he was born, so today I took a picture of a picture.

I went into labor with my second son on his due date! What a blessing after being 2 weeks late with my first. Back up a little bit....that morning, I was having irregular contractions, and because a snow storm was coming that day, my doctor wanted to see me in case and before the roads became dangerous to drive. They monitored me, and said my son wasn't responding as well as they'd like (however, he seemed no different that day than any other. Looking back, I think he was fine.). Regardless, they sent me to the hospital to be induced again. As I waited there, I went into labor on my own. With my second born son, I had been 4 cm for a few weeks without pain. However, because I loved the epidural so much with my first, I didn't bother preparing while pregnant, and once the pain started, I again became afraid, and begged for an epidural. My healthy second born son was born about 6 hours after I began labor.

Going into labor with my daughter was fast and furious. I had not felt well all day, but with two busy boys (one being only 17 months), I did not have much time to think about it (I much prefer it this way, by the way!). When my husband came home from work that evening, I asked if he wouldn't mind taking the boys out to pizza as I needed to lay down with quiet. My husband wasn't even gone an hour when I realized I was in labor! In the 10-15 minutes that I called him to come home, and when he was actually home, I had to pace and stop and breathe through these difficult and painful contractions. We quickly loaded the boys in the car, grabbed their bags and ours, and drove to my friend's home who was to graciously watch our boys while I had the baby. Thankfully she lived 2 minutes from the hospital, and only about 15 minutes from our home. Well in this relatively short amount of time, the contractions were the most painful I'd ever felt, and, once again, I was terrified, and unprepared. My water broke at my friends' home, and the contractions were intense. From my friends' home to the hospital was a blur. I remember being whisked up in a wheelchair, and the first nurse I saw, I pleaded for an epidural. Again, because the epidurals worked fine for me with the boys, and because labor and delivery was still quick with them, I planned for it to go the same way with my daughter. I did not prepare or pray about labor for my daughter while I was pregnant with her. My healthy daughter was born 4 hours after I began labor.

Funny thing is the date on our camera was wrong, as she was not born on this day!

Do you see a pattern here? Yes, with each labor, I a. was not prepared, in anyway; and b. my labors became progressively shorter! If I continue in this same pattern, this baby will be born in 2 hours!

All throughout this pregnancy, I have felt a great urgency to be prepared and to bathe it in prayer. I have read and watched a DVD on breathing and relaxation techniques for labor and birth. I feel like a first-time mom! I have been under the care of a midwife this time rather than a doctor. What a difference, a positive one that I will write about another time.

Most importantly, I am understanding that what better of a time than this to truly lean on God and hand over to Him all my fears and worries? This morning, the Lord laid on my heart to memorize some Scripture to meditate on during the remainder of my pregnancy and labor and delivery. Here are the verses He lead me to, and which I will be memorizing these last two months:

Genesis 15:1 - "...the word of the Lord came...saying 'Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward."

Genesis 26:24 - "...I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee..."

II Timothy 1:7 - "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."

Hebrews 13:5 - "...I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."

I John 4:18 - "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear..."

Psalm 23 - "The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

Contrary to what some books have been telling me, I do not think I am a super, wonder woman whose body has spiritual powers to naturally get me through labor (its hard to weed through that when much of the child birth books are written by new-age, hippy people :) ). However, I do believe in a super, wonder GOD Who loves me, and Who loves this little girl growing inside me, more than either of us will ever imagine; and that He is more than able to sustain me, and give me strength and peace to deliver this baby.

I live in the north, it is entirely possible that we could get a whopper of a storm in January, when my little girl is due to be born. It could take me 2 hours just to get to the hospital which is only 20 minutes away (although my husband lovingly reassures me it won't take us that long no matter how bad the storm :) ) I must be prepared with Scripture in mind. I cannot rely on myself to do this, but must rely completely on God. What if I arrive at the hospital only in time to push? What if I don't make it all? Either way, I cannot be paralyzed by my fear, when what I am doing is something designed by God to bring His children in the world.

Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

I hope you have a blessed weekend with your family, one that has Christ in the center. That is my prayer for my family this weekend.

Before I end, I do want to say a special, from the bottom of my heart, thank you to my wonderful and amazing husband and children. With this large belly, it is very difficult to pick up things from the floor. They lovingly pick up things I've dropped, or anything that needs to be cleaned up from the floor. What love :)


Liz said...

Jen, your fears are so understood. Yes, it is so easy to fear the unknown....I have a spirit of fear...much with my children. I fear for Becca....her youth group at church was going to the cornmaze a couple of weeks the dark! I was so overwhelmed with fear, I didn't let her go. I was worried that something would happen to her...I wouldn't be there to protect her...tonight Becca is going to a school dance...and I'm dropping her and her girlfriends off, and one of the moms (whom I know) will be bringing her home when the dance is over...8:30pm..big deal. But I am worried...what if something happens on the way home...what if this...what if that. Like you said, I must give this fear to the Lord, and just pray and ask HIM to protect her from all harm and danger..and be confident knowing that HE alone will watch over my 12 year old tonight and always.....Thanks for sharing. I will continue to pray for you, that all will be will with your pregnacy.

Stay, stay at home, my heart, and rest;
Home-keeping hearts are happiest,
For those that wander they know not where
Are full of trouble and full of care;
To stay at home is best.

Weary and homesick and distressed,
They wander east, they wander west,
And are baffled and beaten and blown about
By the winds of the wilderness of doubt;
To stay at home is best.

Then stay at home, my heart, and rest;
The bird is safest in its nest;
O'er all that flutter their wings and fly
A hawk is hovering in the sky;
To stay at home is best.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow