This is the birth story of my third child and beautiful daughter. The story really begins far before her birth and I feel that it is important and an intricate part of it. I want to write it down to remember the spiritual journey of this pregnancy and to remember the abundant graces given to my family and me during this time.
This pregnancy tested me to limits I had never been brought to before. First with physical suffering, then with mental. I have already described some of the pelvic issues I had during pregnancy that almost made me lose my ability to walk. I cried out to God in desperation asking him why he would want a mother of two very active children to go through this. I was brought to my knees and to tears daily at having to depend on my husband and those around me for almost everything. And then answers came, through a small book that no one even knows exist. Through weeks of exercise I was nearly pain free and I knew it was nothing short of a miracle that I thanked God every day for.
Fast forward to 32 weeks into the pregnancy. I went to my midwife appointment and what I knew all along was confirmed. The baby was breech. For some this seems to be no big deal, but for me it was. Peanut was also breech and he never turned head down before they took him by c-section at 38 weeks. The memory of that experience came flashing into my head daily as I knew the routine way for breech babies to be delivered these days is by c-section. For those of you who may read this and don't know me very well, a c-section is not a small deal to me and I really only think they are necessary if the mother's or baby's life is in true danger.
For 6 weeks I spent much of the day trying to get the baby to turn head down. I hung upside down on my head, took homeopathic remedies, went swimming and did a headstand in the pool, spent an outrageous amount of money on chiropractic care and acupuncture and still the baby would not turn. Through the weeks I researched constantly about breech birth and finally made the decision that I wouldn't go in for a c-section unless something was wrong with me or the baby (that is what hospitals are for, after all). Before I continue, I think I should note that this decision wasn't made lightly. Every day I questioned it and felt Satan tempting me with doubt. I prayed constantly for peace and fought for it every day. Every time the baby moved I wondered if she was turning, only to find out that I could still feel her little head up in my ribs. I cried out to God telling him that this was His child and His birth and if a c-section was necessary I would do it. But I told Him that my children needed their mother and that was a lot harder to be after a major surgery.
This constant daily mental agony was filled with moments of peace only to be shattered again by thoughts of what could go wrong. I prayed novena after novena and cried out to God asking Him why he didn't just turn her! I am certain the only thing that kept me sane was the constant prayers I knew so so many people were praying for me. Often times when I was at the end of my ropes I heard God whisper in my heart, "I will take care of you". I didn't know at the time what that exactly meant, but I trusted in it.
On one particularly hard day, I thought that looking through my ultrasound pictures might bring me some comfort. Somehow, through the midst of suffering, I sometimes forgot that an actual baby comes at the end of all of this, and needed a small reminder of who was kicking around inside me. But that day, I wasn't even granted that comfort. I could not find the pictures anywhere. A few days later my sister invited me to adoration and I took her up on the offer. I grabbed a random book from my end table and set off for a much needed holy hour. That evening before the blessed Sacrament I told God that I laid it all on his altar. That I knew this wasn't the end of the hard days but whatever happened belonged to Him and I would trust Him for answers. That until I felt my instincts and His urgings tell me otherwise, I would continue forward with the plans for a breech vaginal delivery. As I sat down after my prayer and opened my book to read, I found my sweet ultrasound pictures laying within the pages. I couldn't help but cry at the physical sign that God had given me letting me know that everything would be ok.
Fast forward to 38 weeks pregnancy. As I was driving Peanut to pre-school I was pondering all that had happened during this pregnancy. I knew I would see my midwife that evening and was a bit nervous and relieved. I also knew it was the last day of a novena a dear friend had been saying for me to St. Giana. My friend had promised that the baby would either turn that day, or that I would be at peace about everything (she also said the angels told her she was praying for a baby girl but I didn't believe her). And then it hit me like a ton of bricks. I pray often to be a Godly woman. I say all the time, "Lord, mold me into the woman you want me to be. Purify my soul. Transform my heart. Help me be patient. Teach me to love." I pray all these things, and while I truly mean them, it didn't register till that day that through all of this suffering God was purifying my soul. He was answering my prayers. Did I really forget that often times we have to be purified through fire? Did I think it would be easy? Marriage and motherhood are my vocation and God will sanctify my soul through them if I let Him work. I felt great peace the rest of the day. Even when my midwife told me the baby was still breech. And that brings us to the evening of Thursday February 7. Stayed tuned for part 2.
Alive not Dead: an Adventure through Life
6 years ago