God's Sovereignty: A Reflection on Birthing My Sons

We've been in total celebration mode over here with Salem and Judah's birthdays in the past two weeks. Salem is officially three and Judah is one. I'm a super sentimental and emotional person, and birthdays tend to be a reflective time for me. I like looking back at where we were, the day they were born, and how much we've gone through to get to the next milestone. Brian definitely doesn't like doing those things. He'd rather be in the moment and just celebrate the day rather than sit a gush over pictures from the day they were born. I'm also a huge birth nerd. So if I can talk about birth, reflect on birth, listen or tell a birth story, I get pretty pumped. So today here, I want to talk a little bit about birthing my boys. Not a birth story including every single detail of labor and their delivery, but how God shifted my heart to trust him more through out the whole process of birth.

For as long as I can remember I've been pretty natural-minded person. I went vegetarian when I was 18, and 18 months later, vegan. I don't take drugs, whether OTC or prescription unless absolutely necessary, and I've always been pretty conscientious of what I put in my body. What it all boils down to is that I believe in and trust God's design of the human body, and I try to steward my heath well and live preventatively. So when I found out I was pregnant with Salem, it was almost a no-brainer for me that I was going to try to bring him into the world as naturally as possible. I did massive research for months (which I enjoyed), read tons (probably too much), watched documentaries, talked to other natural birthing moms, and tried to get everything perfectly aligned so that I would have the best natural birth possible. I drove further so that I could see a holistic midwife, who not only supported my birth plans, but also believed in bringing babies into the world this way, instead of the local OB. I labored and delivered at a renovated, 1800's Victorian home-turned-birthing center that was fully equipped with birthing tubs and everything imaginable to bring ease and comfort the the laboring mother. I was very well read on pain-coping techniques and felt extremely well prepared on bringing our little guy into the world. By God's grace, everything pretty much went according to plan. While it certainly wasn't easy, *ahem 36 hours of labor*, I had a totally natural birth. No drugs, no IVs, nothing other than my body doing what laboring bodies do and birthing my baby boy. We left the birth center the same day he was born. When it was over, I felt like I should give myself a pat on the back for making so many great decisions that led to the birth I wanted. I took a lot of pride in my birthing knowledge and also tried to take credit for how awesome his birth was, in my opinion anyway. But we also left with a pretty hefty bill. It would've been much cheaper to do the whole OB + hospital birth route... but I couldn't swallow my pride as a natural mama and do that.

When we finally got all of the bills from Salem's birth paid off, was saw two little blue lines on a pregnancy test and found out that Judah was on the way. We knew we would be moving to Sacramento soon, so I had to figure out where I was going to have him there. Our family dynamic had changed since we now had Salem, and Salem was going to be about two-years-old when Judah was born. I didn't really want to go with a birth center this time around because I didn't want to come home 6 hours after the birth (which is how most birth centers are) and have a two-year-old to take care of while trying to recover and bond with Judah. The more I researched, I became pretty settled on having a home birth, until I realized how much that was going to cost us out of pocket (around $10,000), but if we had him at one of the local hospitals it was going to be completely FREE. It was a teaching hospital, so I would have student-everything, doctors nurses, all of that. Being the natural birth guru I was, I felt like there was no way I could swallow that. But I felt God calling me to put my faith in Him, and not my circumstances, this time. He showed me how my desire to meticulously plan everything and research everything stemmed from a need to control my circumstances so that best possible outcome could happen, rather than to let go and trust Him for whatever outcome he may have. So I decided the student hospital it was, and canceled my plans for a home birth and started seeing the local OB resident. 

Though out my pregnancy, I struggled to keep trusting God and putting my faith in Him and not my environment or health care professionals. About a month before my due date I was up late one night worrying about how the birth would go. The hospital had a pretty high cesarean rate, didn't even have a birthing tub (which saved my life last time), and my doctor didn't even seem to care about my birth plan. I was so frustrated. I finally wrote everything down and just submitted it all to God.

I wrote this down in my journal that night:


"I will have a positive birth experience because...
I have the best, most trustworthy, like-minded care providers.
I'm giving birth in an environment that caters to natural childbirth.
My doctors are supportive of my decisions.
I'm completely well-read on pain coping techniques.
I have no complications.
I will have a positive birth experience because my God is GOOD and He is with me and within me, He is FOR me and He is FOR my baby. Whatever the outcome is, I know that He is in sovereign control of it, not my decisions or my heath care providers."

I let go and I really believed that. I felt at peace, even if that meant my birth wasn't totally natural.

But you know what? God was really good. He knew the desires of my heart. He could see the full picture that I couldn't. He was probably laughing as I sat and worried about whether or not my birth was going to go as planned. He was probably saying, "Daughter, if you even had a clue how good I am and how this is going to unfold you'd be so relaxed, so at peace. Just TRUST me!

Judah's birth was better and more natural than I could've ever planned it. I was in labor for 2-3 hours, got to the hospital, my water broke like a flood all over the labor and delivery check-in, I had 2 more contractions, pushed twice, and he was in my arms. That lasted about 5 minutes.

And I couldn't boast in myself for my excellent planning and controlling of all the factors that went into bringing a baby into the world. Because that didn't happen.

But, I could boast in the Lord, because he knew my heart better than I did, planned the circumstances better than I could have, and brought Judah into the world in a way that only He could've done. Which is much, MUCH better. All the glory goes to Him, for His excellent birth planning, not mine.

Whatever your situation is, if you try to control all the factors to lead to your desired outcome, in the end, it will only glorify yourself. When you let go of control and trust God, He'll show you an outcome that's only possible through him.