AWESOMELY AND WONDERFULLY MADE

God has designed us awesomely and wonderfully. He has created women with a phenomenal uterus. That we are able to conceive, carry a new life and then give birth is entirely according to His beautiful, awesome design.

We prayed earnestly for our little one's conception. We prayed more earnestly when at 12 weeks I had heavy placental bleeding and a low-lying placenta. I was booked off all activity and had to remain in bed for several weeks and any thoughts of a natural delivery had to be put on hold. It was with joy that we received the news that ours was no longer a high-risk pregnancy and we could transfer to midwives for their care with the view to having a water birth.

Unfortunately, our little one was then in a breech position and remained that way until his birth. Since our midwives do not deliver breech babies, a C-section became inevitable. On 1 June 2009, our precious son, Jonathan Ray, was born safely via a c-section.

Thankfully, our second pregnancy was less eventful and I cried tears of joy when our second little one turned into the correct birthing position and remained that way until her birth. I so wanted to have a God-glorifying birth. I so wanted to experience this powerful right-of-passage. I realised that even a good thing desired too much can become an idol and so I had to surrender this desire to the Lord.

At other times I gave in to fear that maybe I could not do it. Yet, in Christ we can do all things and that surely had to include giving birth. I surrendered my fears to the Lord. I had to surrender the logistics of the birth to the Lord. I rationalised, that if He could command the fickle Israelite armies, He could handle my comparatively small birth day.

En route to our 37th week check-up, I felt an intense pain in my back, which radiated around one side of my waist. I broke into a cold sweat and was concerned I would pass-out while driving. I figured that I had tweaked a nerve in my back. My midwife suggested I get my back attended to and assured me I would know when I was in labour. I called my husband in floods of tears. All I could muster was that I had hurt my back. He did telephonic flick-flacks to find a doctor who would see me as soon as possible. He figured it must be really bad as I am normally composed.

An osteopath was able to see us that afternoon. He could not say whether I was in labour or not, but said that there was some misalignment in my spine that he could correct. More and more we came to realise that this must be labour, yet figured it could still be a few days before the "real thing" was upon us.

We arrived home late in the afternoon after a very eventful day as I was trying to settle Jonathan for his overdue nap, "Pop," and my waters broke. My darling husband co-ordinated the last minute packing and we joined the evening throng of traffic to get to our clinic, which was a good half-hour's drive away in non-peak traffic. Until very recently this was the only clinic in our city that supported midwife deliveries and water births.

We praise God, that by 10 pm we welcomed a beautiful, healthy little Sarah Joy to our family. Sarah's heart rate was too high for our midwife's comfort. She was professional, yet knew how much we desired a natural birth and so after consultation with another professional agreed to try a Pethedine injection. Ray and I prayed quietly, trusting the Lord that He was completely in control and surrendering our will to His. He blessed us with the desire of our heart. Sarah's heartbeat normalised.

The labouring was intense, but uneventful. Just as Ray was intending to have a nap, the most intense need to push came over me. That was when we transferred back to the bath. It took about 45 minutes to deliver Sarah. I literally called out to the Lord and affirmed out loud, "The Lord has given me everything I need for life and godliness." While rather out of context, I held onto this truth that with God I could do this. Thankfully midwives have probably heard stranger affirmations in the birthing room before.

Ray said that from his perspective it was the most powerful thing he has ever witnessed, seeing the uterus contract according the Master's great design as all the components, great and small, worked together. He also had the small problem of a very sore arm and shoulder to deal with after I had pulled on it for a good 45 minutes. Thankfully he did not make a big deal of it!

The Lord undertook for our son too. His Nana and Papa told him stories until he eventually fell asleep at 11 pm! Having never slept away from my side, he did very well indeed and was delighted to meet his little sister the following morning. He was even more delighted to discover that she had brought back my milk supply or "Ba" as he named it when little and so he was very accepting of his baby sister. I have enjoyed tandem feeding them since.

DEBBIE STRYDOM
Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
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