In October 2018, my sisters and I met for breakfast in a nearby café. As we laughed and shared our experiences of God’s grace, the topic of childbirth was discussed. My sisters openly shared their pregnancy journeys and their time in the delivery room. Being one of two persons around the table yet to experience the miracle of childbirth, I was slightly petrified by some of their stories. A few months later, your girl was pregnant!
I had an amazing pregnancy until week 39 ( 40 weeks is considered to be full-term). I had no experience of morning sickness or any other severe pains. You see, everyone’s experience of pregnancy will be different. Do not be turned off by someone else’s story if you are planning on having children in the future. God will give you a pregnancy which is designed just for you.
At 39 weeks, I was diagnosed with mild preeclampsia, which led to a scheduled induction. Preeclampsia is an illness which is characterised by swelling in one’s hands, face and feet due to water retention. It is also marked by high blood pressure and protein in one’s urine. While its exact cause is unknown, it is believed to stem from issues with the placenta.
According to BabyCenter UK, it causes the flow of blood through the placenta to be reduced and can mean that the baby won’t get enough oxygen and nutrients, which may restrict their growth . The only cure for preeclampsia is to have the baby as soon as it is safe to do so.
In my BC (Before Christ) days, I remember laughing at Kim Kardashian when she too was diagnosed with preeclampsia. Pictures of her swollen face and ankles painted the internet and your girl was loving it. She was induced at 34 weeks.
It’s great to know that we have such a merciful and forgiving God. He did not let me suffer because of my past, but showed that his grace was sufficient. Thank you Lord.
As I approached my induction date, I looked forward to feeling a contraction. I remember asking my best friend, “What does a contraction feel like?” She described it as a menstrual cramp, but ten times worse. I laughed, but she was spot on!
Following a 24 hours induction process, I was greeted with contractions. It was a pain I had never experienced before. They did warn that an induction was more painful than a normal labour, as with a normal labour, contractions are gradual. On the other hand, the contractions which stem from an induction are more intense, they go from 0 to 100. Throughout the pain, I called on God, but I did not feel his presence.
To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” Genesis 3:16 NIV
It’s interesting, God did say that childbirth was meant to be severe. However, I couldn’t imagine a pain of such nature. As a Christian, I am not immune from suffering. The difference between a believer and a nonbeliever should be how we cope with pain. How we use the Word to bring hope and peace through difficult times.
Nonetheless, even a believer can struggle to see God through physical pain. I struggled in the beginning of my labour. I was not like Job, who did not sin when he was faced with sores all over his body. He did not even wish death upon himself.
“Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes. His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!” He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.
Job 2:8-10 NIV
In the beginning of my labour, I was more like Paul who prayed for God to remove the thorn from his flesh.
“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
2 Corinthians 12:8-9 NIV
Throughout the pain, I called on God, but no response (so I thought). I felt that God had forsaken me. I searched for his presence; I needed him desperately.
As I reflect on my time in the delivery room. I knew that God was right there with me. As I turned to my right, I saw God’s love through my husband’s eyes. He held my hand and together we worked on my breathing techniques. When I lost all my strength, my husband reminded me of how to breathe. I was thankful that I had the support of my other half. Some women go through labour on their own, while others cannot cope with another person being around them.
As I turned to my left, I felt God’s presence. Through my mother’s touch, I experienced his love and saw His heart. Mother and I held hands and we prayed together. At times when I couldn’t pray, I heard her whispers. Mother was calm, positive and ever so reassuring. She only had three days left in the country, but God ensured that our little one arrived before her departure.
As I looked ahead, there He was, covered in scrubs. Through the words of the doctor, I knew that I was well looked after. She made decisions that were only based on God’s wisdom and insight. She did everything she could, to ensure that we were safe. Through the pain, I felt that God had placed a trusting spirit within her.
God dropped the miracle in, when I pleaded for an epidural to ease my pain. My family insisted for the doctor to perform an internal examination instead. I was 10cm dilated when she checked! Oh the room was filled with laughter when we heard the news. There was no need for an epidural! God knew that this was not his plan for me.
When I thought God was finished with me, He passed the baton to a midwife who had 18 years of experience. She came just in time for the third and final leg. She too was a Christian who was missing church on Sunday. She said, “God is right here with you.” God had used her to speak to me. He knew I needed this reminder; it gave me the strength I needed for the final hurdle. Our little one arrived at 8:45 am on that blessed Sunday, we left the hospital on that Sunday.
In that delivery room, God was truly at work. I was in a private room with the best technology. I had trained staff around me. Thanks to the National Health Service (NHS), I could leave the hospital without worrying about paying a hefty bill. No need to worry about health insurance! How blessed are we?
Sometimes in our suffering we can struggle to see God. God in the storm doesn’t always look like God. Sometimes it may take a few months or even years to realise it was all Him. If only we can learn to focus only on the good, how amazing would this be. It reminds me of this scripture,
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Philippians 4:8 NIV
Why does God permit us to suffer?
Perhaps you’re in a delivery room of your own at this present time. That place where you’re in extreme pain and you’re waiting to give birth to a new life, a new beginning or a new opportunity. You’re waiting for God to come through for you, but it’s taking some time. You’re wondering why did God allow this to happen. I asked questions as well. Why did God permit me to go through such a long labour? Why did God permit an induction?
I believe that God wants us to share our experiences of His love with others. He wants us to share our stories with others to provide comfort. He wants us to tell others how He provides comfort in our times of suffering. In times of suffering, His angels may be disguised, we just need to pay close attention.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV
Lord, thank you for remembering me in my time of suffering. Sometimes I may not be able to feel your presence, but I know that you are there.
Lord, teach me to be like Job in times of physical pain. Let my pain not cause me to sin, but let me lean on you instead.
Thank you God for always looking over me, for not leaving nor forsaking me. May you continue to provide opportunities for me to experience your loving presence. May you continue to comfort me, so I can learn to comfort others.
In Jesus name I PRAY, Amen
God bless you for reading.