Byron's Birth Story

There is something you need to know about me. I used to believe I was a wimp. I used to dread labor. When I thought about ever giving birth, I would cringe and make the same weird face I make when people show me their strange injuries.  I thought I had a low pain tolerance, that labor would be something that I'd dread, that labor,  especially a natural one, would be an impossible mental hurdle. If you've ever seen me get a paper cut or stub my toe, you might be nodding right now. So when I got pregnant, I was anxious. Not about the cute baby bump, not about whether or not I'd get morning sickness, not about becoming a mother. I was anxious about pushing a baby out of my body. Actually, I was more than anxious, I was terrified.

So, I did what any rational person does in this situation. I found a midwife, and began preparing for a natural labor. Why? I'm not exactly sure. Part of it was that I believe, based on my research, that it is the ideal. I know, rationally, that women are made to give birth, and that God, our miraculous Creator, designed us for it. But when I really think about it, my drive to do it was spurred on by a need to not run away from anticipated pain/discomfort. I wanted to be able to truly trust God, and to trust myself to accomplish the (seemingly) impossible. So, I prayed, read a really great book by Ina May Gaskin, watched lots of videos on YouTube, and did so many, many squats. But most of all I prayed. Every day. 

When the time came to deliver my son, those feelings of anxiety (and sometimes the terror) came up. My son's due date was a Wednesday in late July. So it was around then that I began to feel excitement at his nearing arrival, and the sense of dread at what was to come. Despite the dread, there was nothing I could do but move forward. Wednesday came and went. I couldn’t wait to meet him, but I did feel nervous about labor, so I prayed and I waited, knowing Byron would come on his own time.

Thursday night I had steady contractions that I felt mostly in my lower back, and I was able to sleep through them, though my sleep was fitful and uncomfortable. I didn’t bother my husband, Connor, with this information because I wasn’t sure if they were real, and they went away pretty quickly after waking Friday morning. So, I lamented to my sister and she graciously took me on a long walk at the zoo, hoping to maybe get things going.

After the zoo, nothing seemed to have changed. I cleaned, took a nap, relaxed on the couch, and waited for Connor to get home. I felt restless, so I even made some blueberry hand pies to pass the time since Connor’s commute was a little over an hour. They were done baking at 7:00, just a few minutes after Connor got home. We ate dinner, relaxed, and at 8:20, my water broke.

It broke in a little gush, so there was no mistaking what it was, though Connor did ask, “Are you sure you didn’t pee?” LOL. I was sure. I began to feel shaky and nervous and contractions immediately began at five minutes apart, and were pretty intense. I called the midwife on call and she told me to see if I could wait it out for a bit so I could labor and rest at home before coming to the hospital. I think the excitement in my voice, added with the shakiness of all the nerves and hormones, made her think that I was a little hysterical and probably not in active labor yet. Connor set an alarm for six hours from when we called—the midwife said if my contractions hadn’t woken me by then I was coming in to the hospital.

I tried in vain to sleep through a few contractions. Connor timed them for 40 minutes and they were five minutes apart, almost a minute long each, and I was pacing the floors of our upstairs telling Connor there was no way I could continue doing this at home. I think my exact words were, "Why did I think I could do this, why did I think this was a good idea?" Connor still laughs about it.

He made me call the midwife again and we went to the hospital, getting checked in around 10:00 pm. The nurses were wonderful. They got us situated and checked to see how far along I was- I was already 4cm dilated, so they had my midwife head to the hospital. She got there, and the nurses showed her the heart rate monitor chart.

My midwife told me I needed to relax and breathe through my contractions because I was tensing up too much and it was hard on the baby. She coached me through a few contractions and then Connor took over helping me breathe. Then she and the nurses left the room to let me try to relax and get my breathing under control.

Luckily my husband is a marathon runner, and knows how to breathe when under duress, so he did an amazing job supporting me and coaching my breathing. I don’t think I could have done it without him. We got the breathing under control and I felt more confident, though the contractions were still super painful and I wished it could all be over. I would love to say that I handled all of this pain and agony with a serene and womanly grace, but I spent half of the time praying loudly to distract myself, and the other half begging Connor to "Help meeeeee!" Connor played a few worship songs, and those got me through a few tough contractions.

Some of the affirmations/prayers that helped me were: 

"Thank you Lord for this healthy boy"
"I will get to meet my son so soon"
"My body was designed for this"
"The pain won't last forever"

And when it got particularly bad, I looked my midwife in the eye and told her, "I don't think I can do this. I am afraid." She smartly told me, "Well, it's a little late now, so work it out in your mind." After that, I silently prayed to God to give me the strength to look past the pain of the moment.

After laboring in the shower for a while it was finally time to push. Remember the timer my husband had set? As I sat down on the birthing stool, my midwife and the nurses congratulated me for getting this far. And the alarm went off. We had a laugh about how quickly everything had gone. Then my midwife told me, “OK, now this part is going to be a lot of work so you’re going to rest as much as you can between contractions. Most first time moms can take a couple hours at the pushing stage.”

I did not believe her. My contractions were too intense for me to spend a couple hours pushing out my son. I am not sure if I just subconsciously knew he was coming or if my body kicked it into high gear, but in 19 minutes of pushing, my son was born. Then I was wrapped in a warm blanket, holding him in my arms, and squishing his cheeks in amazement. Hours later I remembered that I had left the blueberry hand pies out on the counter, and regretted not bringing them for a snack. They were, however, a delicious welcome-home treat. 

I will admit that one of my first thoughts after giving birth was, "Well I can never do that again." Which, to be fair, is a perfectly reasonable thought for anyone to have at that stage in the recovery process. It was the hardest thing I've ever done, physically and mentally. Sometimes I still doubt that it was me in that room, overcoming all that pain. Sometimes I still think maybe I am, deep down, a wimp. Too scared to get an epidural (needles, EW!) and too scared to push a baby out without medication. And maybe I am a wimp. Or would be, without the gracious help of God. Trusting in His goodness and perfection helped me through labor. 

I knew that if God is good and perfect, then His design for birth was one that could be more than just a painful, medical experience. It could be something that built up my faith and connected me to Him. And it was. I can trust that God had a plan for me when he wove Byron together in my womb, that He designed me to overcome the challenges of motherhood, and I will not be alone in any of it. Just as I wasn't alone in the delivery room. Just as I wasn't alone in the first weeks postpartum when everything around me was changing and I felt moments of deep hopelessness. Because I trusted Him, I saw yet again His goodness and faithfulness. I have felt fear before, and I no doubt will feel fear again. I can only trust that if I rely on my Maker, that He will be there. 

Everything since my birth story has been a blur. Six hours of labor and now my baby boy is nearly six months old. Motherhood is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I love my baby boy, and am so grateful for the day that I brought him into the world. God's design is so perfect. I am happy I got to experience birth in all its messiness, pain, and joy. It is incredible how all of those things can come together to create the most beautiful memory, one that I'll treasure forever.


  1. I laughed out loud at the mention of the forgotten blueberry hand pies. I'm glad they weren't a loss!


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