The Birth Blessing of Grace

Recently, Jade Chiu, ICD, hosted and photographed a Mother’s Blessing event for her friend and client, Grace Ausley. These events are a beautiful way to celebrate the beginning of a mother’s journey and chance for her friends to send her into the birth feeling fully pampered and supported. Please read about why we don’t call them Blessingway ceremonies here, and take a look one of our favorite events to plan and host!

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Jade and her guest-of-honor, Grace, at the beginning of the event.
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An array of dried herbs and flowers for a sweet-smelling foot soak.
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Positive affirmations and art to decorate the event, and then Grace’s birth space to remind her of the support she has in her circle of friends and family.
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A friend decorates one of Grace’s affirmation flags.
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A scripture verse made by Grace’s sister-in-law, Sarah.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A floral head wreath, premade for Grace so she can relax while her guests make ones for themselves to wear and take home as keepsakes.
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One of the guests making her own head wreath out of silk flowers, wire and floral tape.
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Delicious snacks, more affirming art and disposable table wear so our guest of honor can relax and not worry about clean up on her day of honor.
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Some of the beads brought by the guests to be made into a birth necklace for Grace to wear, hold, or display at her birth – a tangible reminder for her to hang on to while laboring.
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Grace’s finished necklace and belly, with art by the talented Jade Chiu.
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Grace with her friend Sara and Sara’s adorable son, Nehemiah.

For more information on Mother’s Blessing Events by The Labor Ladies, LLC, please visit our website.

 

 

 

A Doula’s Lesson in Surrender

Miss Fallon Brielle was born in April 2016. Yes, we’re just now publishing her birth story because between myself and Jamilla, there are two 4-year olds, a 2-year old and a baby who insists on getting teeth and crawling in her sleep. A brief history – I am Meredith, one of the co-owners/founders of The Labor Ladies, LLC. My oldest daughter, Gia, was born at Forsyth Medical Center, four years before the birth of my youngest, Fallon.

With Gia, I had an uncomplicated, unmedicated, natural hospital birth.  It was very nearly everything I wanted at the time.  I had prepared (I thought) and was not afraid.  I knew I could do it.  I relied on me…my will power, my stubbornness, my pride if I’m honest.  My husband was with me and was as helpful as I’d allow him to be.  My mom was there too and was also as helpful as she could be.  At the end of it all I felt like it was all up to me though.  I needed to do it because I said I would.  Then after I did do it I felt like I could do anything because of how strong and awesome I was.  Pride.  God has a funny way of reminding me to rely on Him.  After the first week or so postpartum set in and I realized I actually couldn’t do anything.  Natural birth or not I could barely make a sandwich.  Goodbye, Pride.  Thanks for nothing.

After three and a half years Seth and I decided to grow our family once more.  It wasn’t an easy decision.  I’m not a very gracious pregnant lady.  I’m hard on myself for gaining weight, I’m exhausted which makes me whine, and I really felt like I had a handle on the mom thing with my one little perfect preschooler.  (Remember me saying I’ve got issues with pride?)  After much prayer, discussion, and wise council we decided to give it a try and see if I got pregnant easily.  (Read that as I said I’d give it one try, thinking it would take longer.)

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Mother’s Day 2015 with my happy little tribe

I got pregnant the first month.  At this point I’d been a doula for about two years.  I had seen numerous births, I had been teaching The Labor Ladies’ Guide to Childbirth, and I was mentoring new doulas.  I had a greater experience base than I had when I was pregnant the first time.  I planned another natural birth but knew I didn’t want it to be at the hospital.  I also didn’t feel led to have a homebirth.  We visited Natural Beginnings Birth Center in Statesville, NC, a little less than halfway through my pregnancy and I immediately knew that was where I needed to be.

Does everyone have that one friend who knows what you need when you don’t even know you need it?  If you don’t, find one.  It’s the best.

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Last full day of my pregnancy

The Walkers and Tanners have a Christmas Eve brunch tradition.  At this point I was six-ish months pregnant at Christmas 2015, when sweet Jamilla gave me a beautifully wrapped package.  Inside was the best thing that could have happened to my pregnancy and birth.  She had created for me a pregnancy journal.  It was divided into sections with different writing prompts instructing me to think through my pregnancy and birth with Gia, what role everybody played, what my first postpartum time was like, what my prayers were for this pregnancy and birth, how I envisioned my birth strengthening my marriage and my relationship with Gia.  It was literally invaluable.  I would spend my mornings while Gia was at preschool working through each section.  It was through these writings that I realized what God was calling me to for this birth.  See, I really really really believe that birth is a spiritual thing and that God has something to say about the way you give birth.  And I don’t think He says the same thing to everyone, but I do think He has plenty to say.  I actually think he really cares about the way you give birth.  His Son didn’t just appear, He was born.   It was orchestrated.  Birth has been part of the Story since the Story began.  So He began to whisper to me, ever so gently because that is just the kind of Dad He is to me.  He began to call to me to use this birth to strengthen my marriage, to rely on my husband.  If you know me you know how stubborn I can be.  I like to be both taken care of and independent – a tricky combination for a Godly marriage.  As a girl I was raised to rely on God rather than a guy for my identity.  That translated, as I grew up and got married, into relying on God but not really letting my husband help me with much of anything.  Like Gia’s birth.  I knew I could do it.  Because God told me to have a natural birth so I knew I could.  It had nothing to do with Seth.  This time was going to be different.  Jesus was telling me to learn to need my husband and to use this birth as the catalyst for that.  We took a class.  You: Wait, don’t you teach the class? Me: Yup.  I do.  So that’s how I knew we needed a class.  Jamilla came over and we talked through comfort measures and what Seth could do to help me.  I knew what I needed, but I needed him to know because I needed to need him, and needed to be confident that he was ready to be needed.  Confused?  It’s okay…hang in there.

And so this is how it happened…

I was given a due date of April 15th.   Gia was born 3 days before her due date so obviously this baby would be born at least 3 days early.  Probably sooner.  (It’s okay, you can laugh at me if you’d like).  My pregnancy was uneventful minus a few positioning hiccups.  Fallon stayed head up until around 32 weeks when I finally stopped wearing my skinny jeans and gave her some space to fit her head down there.  (Vanity.  Another one of my vices.  Pride and vanity.  I can be honest here, right?) The week before my due date we determined that Fallon was posterior.  I told my chiropractor, he did the Webster technique and sent me on my way.  3 days before my due date I had some definite pre-labor signs.   I knew I’d have her that day.  And then I didn’t.  I went to bed that night a little (lot) grumpy because I was still pregnant but I knew I’d wake up that night with contractions.  And I did!  Two of them.  I woke up Thursday morning and told Seth I was having some contractions.  He contemplated staying home but they were really far apart.  After dropping Gia off for preschool I came home and began sobbing because I missed her…even though I had just left her and would be picking her back up in 2 hours.  Hi, hormones!!  The day went on as usual and contractions stayed spaced out.  I went to bed that night mad about still being pregnant.   Tomorrow was my due date and I was supposed to have her early!  I woke up on the morning of April 15th, my due date, mad as could be.  I got out of bed and stomped downstairs to make coffee.  Seth asked if I was ok and I snapped “Yes!  I’m OBVIOUSLY FINE! AND STILL PREGNANT!”  I grabbed my phone to text Jamilla.  I have two friends I can be painfully honest with.  One of them happens to be my business partner and birth guru so she was the unfortunate recipient of my daggers.  And like any good friend would, she told me to get my cries out, put on my big girl panties, and get on with life.  The baby would come when she’s ready.  Sigh.  Thank, Jam.  I had an appointment that morning at the Birth Center.   It was the appointment I told them I wouldn’t be at because I’d definitely have my baby by then.  Uh huh.  That’s the one I was getting ready for.  So my little family of three loaded up in the car and began the hour long drive to Statesville.  On the way there I had 2 contractions.  TWO CONTRACTIONS.  In an hour.  To say that the look on my face made me unapproachable would be an understatement.  At the appointment they determined that Fallon was head down, but transverse.  As a result of the previous week’s Webster she was just taking her time getting into position.  She had wiggled from facing the front of me, to facing my side.  So we got back in the car and drove another hour home.   As soon as we got home I started the Miles Circuit.  If you don’t know what it is, Google it!  It’s a dream maker for baby positioning.  A series of three “exercises,” by the last one I was having more regular contractions.  They didn’t hurt, and I didn’t have to focus, but I did notice them.  They were about 7 minutes apart.  I called Jamilla, who had already been at a birth all day, to let her know that even though I was certain I’d be pregnant FOREVER and this baby would NEVER come out, I was having somewhat of patterned contractions.  I called my parents and asked if they’d come get Gia and bring her to my nephew’s soccer game so I could focus and see if these contractions would intensify.  Once she left my contractions all but stopped.   I had about 3 in the hour she was gone.  So rude.  They came back to the house and everybody was in the living room talking to each other which all of a sudden became incredibly annoying.  I announced that I’d be upstairs showering since I wasn’t having a baby anytime soon.  I texted Jamilla to update her that nothing was happening, I’m 7 minutes apart still, and everybody is annoying.  Once I got upstairs I turned on the shower, got undressed, and suddenly had an incredibly hard contraction.  I called Seth upstairs right away and told him we needed to leave soon, called my mom upstairs to ask her to quickly devise a plan to get Gia to willingly leave the house with her, and called Jamilla.  All I could get out of my mouth was a very tiny, pitiful, and whiney “can you just come over please?”  I didn’t wait for 5 minutes apart.  I didn’t wait for anything.  I just knew this was it.

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My dad drove, as fast as possible despite us all telling him I was ok

So off we went, Dad driving as one would expect, occasionally threatening to “turn on the flashers” to get away from traffic, Jamilla in the front (because “what if Fallon shoots out on highway 40?!?“), with Seth and I in the back.

This is when I got to see prayer after prayer answered. I had written in my journal about how I wanted this birth to be a worshipful experience.  I had a playlist full of worship songs for Gia’s birth but couldn’t bear to listen to anything at all.  For this birth, I wanted to labor in His presence.  I wanted Fallon to come into the world with words of worship being sung over her.  Once we started down the road Seth turned on the playlist we had created and I began to pray and sing over her quietly, to myself.  My contractions were intense but they didn’t hurt like I remember Gia’s hurting.  I wasn’t too uncomfortable.  I was just really working.  I’d prayed that I’d need Seth during my labor.  During each contraction Seth would rub my back or hold my hand and I actually welcomed his support.  We believe that the husband wife relationship is a direct model of our relationship with Christ so I really wanted to rely on Seth as a testimony of that.  mt-hands

When we finally pulled into the Birth Center, they were waiting for me at the door. I was so worried they’d send me home, but when the student midwife checked me, I was already 8cm. Thank you, Jesus!! I continued laboring in the room, worship music playing, surrounded by Jesus and my husband, Jamilla prayerfully in the background snapping pictures.  When I think back to being there, in labor, the thought that continually comes to mind is “it just really wasn’t bad!”  I honestly felt pretty good! It

was work, but it was not this intense, maddening, cringe-worthy pain that my first labor had been.  I was able to talk and cut up a little in between contractions.   Each time I felt one coming I grabbed onto Seth’s hands, let my shoulders drop to release any tension, let my jaw relax, closed my eyes and breathed while focusing on the music. img_3537

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At one point, probably an hour in I casually mentioned that I didn’t “feel transition-y.”  I was supposedly 8cm but just didn’t feel like it.  Shortly after making that statement things began to change.  I went from loosely holding Seth’s hands to gripping his pockets and burying my head in his chest, but focusing on letting the words in the songs wash over me.

What became the song of my Fallon’s birth – the best song ever did the best job of keeping me relaxed:

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Holy Spirit, you are welcome here

Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere

Your glory Lord is what our hearts long for

To be overwhelmed by Your presence, Lord.

Let us become more aware of your presence

Let us experience the glory of Your goodness.

A.Men. If you’ve never labored with Jesus by your side I highly recommend it.  It was such a tangible answer to prayer to be standing there, in His presence, holding the hands of my husband, relying on his presence just as much, as my baby prepared to make her entrance.  If I could do it again I would.  A million times over.  I would absolutely experience every moment of that labor again.  Jesus cares about your birth.  I believe it with all I am.

Let’s continue.  Kudos to you for reading this long!  I knew I wanted to birth in the water.  I had no dreamy visions of a beautiful labor in water, but I did want to birth in water.  So I waited.  I waited until I felt that tell-tale pressure and then I stepped into glory.  And by glory I mean a tub full of the warmest of warm water.  Then glory went away, replaced by ALL THE PRESSURE and I immediately began pushing.  I distinctly remembered the
pressure and the pushing from Gia’s birth 4 years ago.  I wasn’t afraid of it, I just very much remembered it and how intense it was.  I knew it was coming so I just powered through it.  Seth was kneeling in front of me.  I remember thinking what a picture of Jesus that was.  My support, the one I was relying on and working through this with was kneeling. Kneeling is a sign of servitude.  The strong one, in that moment, was taking the form of servitude.  Just like Jesus does.  Birth, y’all.  Birth is so spiritual.

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Knowing how I remembered pushing with Gia, Jamilla asked how I was feeling emotionally.  This is typically a time in birth when emotional issues can be a stumbling block.  Thanks to the pre-birth work I had done I was good to go.  I replied that I was just tired.  (Great sign of the right hormones at work to birth this baby!)  She suggested I turn to more of a sitting position and when I did it was really game on.  I pushed three times, through two contractions.  Two. Contractions.  And my sweet Fallon was born.  It was just that simple.  She was born into clean water (another answer to prayer as that’s not usually the case with waterbirths) and I put her on my chest amazed that just like that I was a mommy of two.  I had two little girls now.  Phew!  I still can’t believe it.

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There are several morals to this story.  First is to pray.  I mean really pray about the birth you want.  I wrote down the most minor of details regarding my birth from the time of day it would occur to the day of the week to who would be where and more.  He won’t always say yes but He’ll never get mad at you for asking.  Next is that God really does care about your birth.  He has a plan for your birth.  He wants to be involved in your birth!  Maybe joining you in your birth reminds Him of the night He got to watch His Son be born!  Invite Him, welcome Him.  You won’t be disappointed that you did.  And finally, husbands rock.  In a day and age where dads are labeled the “other kid” in a family, let me just say that a
supportive, Godly husband is the jam.  Ladies, I think that when you make space for your husband to be needed nine times out of ten – he will gladly and confidently step into that space.  My marriage isn’t perfect just because I needed Seth at Fallon’s birth.  But I will never look back at this labor and birth and not be reminded of who and what he was for me that night.  I will never be able to retell this story without seeing him as my steady hand, my champion.

Curse You, Maternity Leggings!

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Dear Maternity Leggings,

You are the worst and we’re breaking up.  It’s not me, it is definitely you.  You lied to me for months!  Here’s the thing, Maternity Leggings, you were sooooo comfortable.  Literally the most comfortable “pants” I’ve ever worn.   And my love for you, it was gradual.  We moved at a slow, healthy pace.  At first you were just for wearing with long sweaters during the colder months of my pregnancy.  But as I continued to grow my baby my other clothes were less and less comfortable.  Not you, Maternity Leggings, you were always comfortable.  I don’t even know, from a scientific standpoint, how it’s possible that you didn’t get tighter, that you were never uncomfortable.  As I slowly became a “leggings as pants” person you seemed to grow right along with my pregnant self.  How could you do that to me, Maternity Leggings??  You told me you were real pants and I actually believed you!   No tunic to be found?  No problem!  Just throw on your leggings with a t-shirt!  It’s fine!  I mean it must be fine…these leggings that fit at 4 months pregnant still feel incredible.  Logic would submit that that must mean I am still the size I was when 4 months pregnant save for the growing belly.  But no, Maternity Leggings!  It wasn’t true.  I trusted you and you lied and so it’s over between us.  See after about 20 weeks of wearing you my baby actually entered the world.  I was no longer pregnant.  No longer in need of maternity clothes.  I went for my regular clothes.  But guess what, you deceitful “pants,” nothing fit!  You told me for months that only my stomach was growing but then the baby was born and I finally looked at my butt in the mirror.  So I’ve decided you’re a jerk.  And I blame you for my postpartum body.   That’s all.

Sincerely,

Meredith

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Meredith is one of the co-owners of The Labor Ladies, LLC. The adorable sleeping princess she’s wearing was born a little over six weeks ago. Luckily for us, Meredith was upset enough at her maternity leggings to let the world know. To learn more about Meredith and the birth services she provides click HERE.

 

How to Be the Perfect Mother

I have been known to say, “Give me a topic and three facts about it, and I can BS a five paragraph essay on the subject.” But it turns out, as I’ve gotten older, I have grown quite accustomed to being able to write whatever topic pops into my head, rather than being assigned a topic.

Jamilla asked me to write about motherhood, and the differences between mothering babies and toddlers…and older kids than that.

Oh brother. Where in the world to start?

I’ve hit some milestones in my journey of motherhood lately. I recently relinquished my rights as ‘butt-wiper’ for the last time. My 6-year-old tells everyone he meets that he is now 6 and can wipe his own butt. And all those people look at me like “Since you don’t have to spend time wiping his butt anymore, can you please teach him that it’s not appropriate to tell people about it.” And I look back at them like “Dude, I’ve been wiping one butt or another for the past 14 years. Take a second and celebrate my retirement with me, please.”

I’ve also arrived at the stage where I don’t have to wash anyone’s hair anymore. Granted, I still sniff the boys’ heads occasionally to make sure they aren’t lying when they say that they washed it, but I no longer have to squat down over the edge of the tub and say, “Lean your head back and close your eyes.”

With this new stage of “no more small children” comes other things, though.

Things like much larger clothing items to be washed, resulting in more laundry.

Or the finding of those larger dirty clothes items on the floor. Because when I used to bathe them, I also put their dirty clothes in the hamper…but I am fairly certain my boys don’t know what a hamper is, and if they do know, they are convinced that I need extra patience in my life and they want to help me obtain it by forgetting to make use of the hamper as often as possible.

Also, they have all begun to push the envelope in a whole different way than when they were small. They used to let their rebellion show by sneaking cookies from the pantry…now they come up with code words for inappropriate/curse words.

Example: “Mom! He called me a weasel!”

“Why does that bother you so much?”

“Weasel is code for penis.”

Really? In that moment I ACHED for the old days, when they said “bye-bye” and “mama” and “ball” and none of them knew the word weasel OR penis.

I straight up blew my cool with them. “LOOOOOOOK. No code words are allowed in this house. Any. More. You can say someone is a pain. You can say dang it. That’s it. No more “pain in the abs” or “son of a biscuit” and DEFINITELY no more ‘weasel.” Cut it out. Or I’ll kick your butts.”

So, as I’ve pondered what advice to share with the readers of The Labor Ladies on the subject of motherhood (and all that it implies) I have come up blank.

Because…and let’s be honest with ourselves and each other for a minute, if we can…

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS PERFECT MOTHERHOOD.

There’s no such thing as arriving at a stage where it’s smooth sailing. There’s no such thing as figuring it all out…and never wanting to pull out your hair…and never wanting to strangle your child ever again. There never has been. There never will be.

I understand that the news isn’t a shock to some, while it is an entirely appalling idea to others. Trust me. I have had all those feelings.

A few weeks ago, my sister (who is the person in the world (besides my husband) who knows me the best)(And she has three kids of her own) told me that she stopped after three kids because she saw what a crazy person I was with four.

Please take a moment to imagine my horror and humiliation.

Seriously…

I used to be the mom who played games with her kids whenever they asked. We had tea parties. We made homemade play dough. We learned Bible verses. We colored together.

But somehow, in the transitions of life (only one of which was adding a fourth child, and that child cannot be blamed for the crazy person his mother apparently became after his arrival) I grew into the kind of mother who spurred her own sister into deciding three kids were ENOUGH.

The depth of my self-recrimination knew no bounds…for several days, in fact.

And then Jamilla asked me to write on this subject, and as I had been stewing on it already, I felt certain I would have something monumental and life altering to share.

Instead, I have shared with you…stories of my failures.

But…maybe those aren’t really stories of failure, so much as stories of real life.

There’s no such thing as figuring it out. Obviously.

There can be seasons of minimal yelling and easy discipline and all vegetables being eaten on supper plates and all urine making it into the toilet all of the time…but those are only seasons. Everything is. It’s a fluid thing, motherhood, and what worked with one kid, in one season, won’t work forever, or for all kids. Expecting it to, and trying to cram who you are, and who your children are, and who your family is, into the mold that you fit prior to your current stage…well, it’ll just make you all cranky, and bruised, and feeling like failures all of the time.

I have so many more stories of how much of a failure I am as a mother…

But, I won’t share them all. You have your own, I’m sure. If you don’t yet…you will.

And it’s okay.

As I pondered a particularly rough day recently, where everyone was in timeout at least once and we had all cried and no one was allowed to touch an electronic device for the rest of their lives and I was hoarse from yelling, and had resorted to hiding from my children for a few precious seconds…

The Holy Spirit whispered to my heart.

“Let your striving cease.”

You see? He knows. He knows that we try so hard, and we fail so completely, and we feel utterly miserable and horrified and humiliated and mad and exhausted.

He sees you. He sees me. Our all-wise and all-knowing God didn’t give us the precious little ones by accident. He didn’t gamble that we would be good parents for the children He gave us. He wouldn’t entrust us with His treasures so frivolously.

HE KNOWS WE MESS IT UP. He knew we would before we ever even thought about having kids. And He still gave them to us.

Which says something pretty extraordinary about our God, for one thing. But, it also says something that I want you to HEAR, and remember, in your moments of freaking out and wanting to call everyone around you a weasel.

He will help you. He will help me.

That’s what it means. He gave us His Spirit along with the blessing of children, and His Spirit will strengthen you, and me, in our moments of total meltdown. And His Spirit will remind us to press into the One who is Peace, and Love, and Joy, and Hope, and Kindness, and Gentleness, and all the rest.

He doesn’t leave us to navigate motherhood alone, no matter our stage, no matter the place in life where we find ourselves, no matter how many times we screw it up and call someone a weasel. He’s still here. He’s enough. Let Him be enough.

So…that’s it. That’s all the advice I have. And it’s not mine. It’s His.

“Let your striving cease.”

 

 

 

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Charity L. Martin lives in Kernersville, NC with her husband, four children, and a cat. In between homeschooling and being generally fabulous, she’s managed to write a book, (His Life for Mine) and maintain a blog about attempting to stay afloat and Christ-centered in the midst of motherhood. We’re honored to have her guest blog for us!

A Reminder to Mothers

“You are chosen and highly favored.”

This week I attended a birth where this was so incredibly evident, it was absolutely beautiful.

It was a long labor followed by a Cesarean.

When I first became a doula, I thought a “successful birth” was one that ended with the mama triumphantly and naturally pushing her baby out into her own hands, those of her partner, or her trusted provider. When you first become a doula, it feels like it’s your job to prevent interventions. Interventions begin a cascade of unnecessary things that all stop the natural progression of labor and generally screw everything up. When I became a nurse, I learned why those interventions are performed and all the horrible things they’re used to prevent. Things like shoulder dystocia, HELLP syndrome, postpartum hemorrhage, and the very worst – fetal demise. As a nurse/doula, I’ve learned how to work with moms to prevent the need for interventions. How to keep themselves and their bodies healthy so the interventions can be kept in the cabinet. But this week – I got to see something really cool. This story is being shared with permission from the mama.

Tracy went into a slowish labor on Wednesday morning. Her contractions slowly progressed to being regular and intense, I joined she and her husband late that night. We made our way to the hospital. She appeared to be in transition – shaking, sweating, nauseated and working very hard. We were told she was only 4cm dilated. I was still upbeat – that just meant we had more walks to take. Hey, it’s my job to find the bright side. We worked for a couple of hours, but it became harder and harder for her to get out of one of two positions – laying on one of her sides, or on all fours. The baby wasn’t wanting to descend, but the pain was too great for her to stand up so gravity could help her. Every contraction would bring her to the floor, rocking and moaning. My gut was telling me to get her upright, but the force of this big muscle would drop her down every time. Another cervical exam revealed no progress.  We filled up the pool, hoping the warm water would help her relax, and allow for better positioning. It worked for maybe 10 minutes before she was back to the same position and level of pain.

By now it was deep into the early morning, and Tracy decided she needed some help and to rest. She opted for pain medicine and spent the next hour in the bed, rolled on to her side. The pain did not subside, she was just sleeping until the contractions slammed into her. We were hoping it would allow her to relax, praying for her body to cooperate and allow this baby to descend and be born.

Over 6 hours, she progressed one more centimeter of dilation.  She requested an epidural. As soon as she laid back after it was placed, the baby’s heart rate plummeted. It stayed down until Tracy got oxygen, fluids running in quickly and was flipped on to all fours, then laid on her side. From then on, the baby only tolerated labor if his mama was far on one of her sides. No laying on her back, no sitting up, no leaning toward her back. His heart rate would drop, the nurses would rush in and it would crawl back up. I began to see the writing on the wall and wondered where his cord was positioned. I began preparing Tracy for the difficult conversations she may end up having, the decisions that were on the horizon.

When the midwife arrived to explain that a Cesarean was necessary, it was clear that Tracy was disappointed. I reassured her that when these things happen, the reason is almost always apparent once they get into surgery.

When they pulled him out, Baby Bo was wrapped in his cord – tightly around his neck and one arm/hand. Now we know that nothing was coincidental.  Tracy was being pulled forward to keep him from descending, her body knew that laying back or sitting down would compromise his cord. Her cervix wasn’t opening because her body was protecting her son. The pain medicine didn’t work as well as it should have because her body was trying to keep her alert enough to stay off her back. What we (medical people) were seeing as dysfunctional, was actually quite purposeful. Her body was fighting to keep her son safe.

I’ve watched this mom since her son’s birth. She already knows him so well. She and her husband are already pros at reading his newborn behavior. They’re amazing advocates for him and love him so well. You know what I learned? She was chosen to be his mama, and highly favored in the process. God knew that she would listen to her body. That she would make decisions carefully, listening to her intuition. He knew it would be hard, and she would suffer, but He never leaves us. He is always with us.

“You are chosen, and highly favored. The Lord is with you.”

My pastor’s wife spoke these words to us today, as she bravely shared her recent struggles and talked to us about suffering. That sounds like a strange subject for Mother’s Day – but it was so perfect. Especially on the heels of her husband’s discussion LAST week when he basically said the “mommy wars” don’t matter. I backed him up online – I think people expected me to be upset because he listed several of my personal choices, but I wasn’t. He’s so right. None of that really matters.

What matters is that we use pregnancy and childbirth as an opportunity to get to know God. To learn how to lean on the Creator of the universe who loves us so much. He chooses every woman for her specific child or children. If we’ll turn to Him, He’ll empower us to be the best mother for our children. For my dear client this week, that meant giving up her plans and being ok with a surgical birth. For some moms it is homeschooling. Some choose to breastfeed for several years, others decide that formula is the very best thing for their child. I chose to have my daughter at home in a tub of water, pushing her out in the waiting hands of my midwife. One of my dearest friends had both of her babies with the help of beloved epidurals, and a really great physician. We both love our children dearly, and I know that we are both adored by God. We are chosen and highly favored.

Mama, YOU are chosen and HIGHLY. FAVORED.  The Lord your God will never leave or forsake you.  He is generous in grace in mercy. Walk in that. Hold your head high as you parent your children. And have a Happy Mother’s Day.

{Jamilla}

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Jamilla Walker is Co-Owner of The Labor Ladies, LLC. She is a doula, nurse, board certified lactation consultant and childbirth educator. Click here to read more about Jamilla.