Friday, July 31, 2009

Wait Upon the Lord

As many know I had the awesome privilege of catching my beautiful granddaughter, Kensley. Jennifer and her husband Corey came to stay with us when she approached 40 weeks. We all thought baby would be here any day and the anticipation of her birth was on our minds constantly. Jennifer took all my advice to not be too consumed with a due date, after all most women when left alone, deliver around 41 weeks. She took walks daily, visited family, ate well, watched movies, relaxed in the hot tub and of course went shopping.

As the days wore on, tension grew, doubts crept in, fear took root and I worried. That is hard for me as a christian to admit as I am always the one who tells others that fear is of the devil and we are the trust in the Lord. One day, my Bible reading was in Psalms 27. In Verse 14, it says "wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. " The same God that David was speaking of is the same God we serve today. He still offers the same promises and gives the same comfort. That verse strengthened my heart in a difficult time. I still had anxiety, we still tried every trick known in the midwifery community to try to get labor started but in the end labor started on it's own and Jennifer's body, designed by God to work perfectly, did exactly what it needed to do to give birth naturally.

I was again tested when labor did start. Jennifer's labor was long and difficult. Watching your child suffer is heart wrenching even when you know it is the right thing to do. All the years of birth stories came back to me from my daughter as she never waivered from her goal of giving birth intervention free. Progress was very slow as she had to work hard to reposition Kensley so that she would come through the birth canal. Jennifer's strength and resolve were amazing. Again those words echoed in my mind...wait on the Lord.

Now lest anyone think I blindly sit back and do nothing in the face of crisis, let me assure you that we were constantly keeping track of warning signs that may indicate there was a problem. If there had been, action would have been taken immediately.

I am of the opinion that we go through events in our lives so that we can learn of God's mercy and grace and we can minister to others. Why is it that we have such a hard time waiting? I am beginning to believe due dates are evil and create much unnecessary stress. We all know babies do not have a calendar, they have no idea that someone came to the conclusion that gestation is 40 weeks, they don't care that the world has stopped to wait for their arrival or should they. What moms and babies do know is that there is a perfect balance and a intricate dance of hormones between them and they communicate with each other constantly. The two of them decide when is the best time to be born. The baby releases hormones that signal the mom to prepare for birth, the mom releases hormone that signal the baby's lungs to develop.

As a mom, what can you do benefit the most from this process?

  1. Meditate on the Word - take a quiet time each day and read the scriptures, apply them to your life, pray for understanding
  2. Stay active- take walks, visit with friends, go out with our husband, have fun
  3. Trust your body
  4. Surround yourself with supportive people- you are going to encounter those who are negative and create doubt in our mind, love them and accept that they don't know all the answers.

    As friends and family to an expectant mom, what can you do to help?

    1. Support their decisions- trust them
    2. Don't call and ask "have you had that baby yet?" or "aren't they going to induce you" or "you know that baby is getting too big for you to have" (I thought I would absolutely scream if I heard those phrases one more time and I wasn't even the one having the baby!!!) Calling and talking is fine, ask them about their day, how they are feeling, if there is anything you can do for them or any place they would like to go.
    3. Remember they are still a woman, even if they are carrying a baby within- pregnant women are very sensitive to comments. "you sure are big for x months", "your baby looks so small, are you sure he/she is growing ok?", "how much weight have you gained?"

Through this process I have learned to be more sensitive to women who are at the end of their pregnancy. I have an understanding of what it is like to field comments from well meaning friends, to wonder what the future holds, to wait and not be weary. I can encourage those moms who are struggling while at the same time informing them of their options and monitoring for anything abnormal. I feel blessed to have had this experience and know I am a better midwife because of it.

I will trust you Lord...and wait.