This is something I've thought a lot about since October, when Judah was born.
I was looking at pictures of Megan Hutching's birthing experience (beautifully done by Kali Park, by the way. And congrats to the Hutchings on Eric's arrival!). And I know this sounds weird, but seeing those intimate and beautiful moments of labor and delivery makes me feel like I missed out on something amazing with my son. I know I shouldn't be complaining because in the end he is here with me, and he is healthy... but wow, this just got me thinking...
I really wish I could have had a natural birthing experience. I feel like I haven't gone through a rite of passage as a woman and mother because Judah was born premature by c-section. Even though I was 6cm dilated, I never felt contractions, and even though we made the best decision we knew to make at the time... I feel as if someone stole those precious memories from me... moments where my husband could support and encourage me through each wave of pressure and contraction. Where we can work as a team through the pain-- very intimate moments as we grow closer, minute by minute, to parenthood. Moments where I work my son through the birth canal and push him with my strength (and the strength of the Lord) to bring him into this world. Feeling, at the end of it, a great sense of accomplishment, relief, and overwhelming joy to finally see my son. My son. My son that I struggled to bring into this world. My son, that I met with sweat and tears and laughter.
I'm being a bit vulnerable here. I'm sure some who read this would throw up their hands and scoff while saying, "consider yourself blessed that you got to skip to the end without any pain!" But with pain comes a myriad of things that you might not otherwise see: A challenge to face and overcome, to see myself at my most difficult moments and see how I respond and handle the struggle. To become a stronger person, to persevere.
They say that you don't appreciate the mountaintops unless you've been in the valley, where you see them in their most glorious state. I feel like someone took the "skip" button and jumped over something I truly wanted to experience: climbing that mountain, if you will. Something that was robbed from me, and I am left to instantly become a mother, having carried my child more than half-way to term, but without that struggle to bring about the joyful end of his birth. Without that series of events that are naturally supposed to take place. My birth experience seems out of order, mixed up, half-done. There's a sense of guilt that I couldn't make it to the end, that I didn't have to go through the pain, that I took the 'easy way out'. I know most of those feelings aren't logical, but the creep up from time to time.
I don't blame God, and I'm not looking for pity. I know we had more than our fair share of struggle having a premature infant in the NICU for 3 months. But still, this is different. Perhaps a bit more personal than even all that.
Believe me, I am appreciative that things turned out the way they did. My son is a miracle, and I wouldn't trade these experiences for anything because they've made us better people, better parents, and gave me the opportunity to see God's provision and protection firsthand in Judah's little life and in our family.
You may think I'm crazy, but if I had the choice, if God had asked me how I wanted things to look at the end of my pregnancy... I would have chosen the pain of childbirth. I want to go through that experience, that rite of passage, that feeling of accomplishment, that miraculous and challenging moment.
And I pray and believe He will give me that chance some time in the future, if He blesses us with more children. I pray fervently that our future children will be full-term healthy babies, and I hope they come about naturally in His perfect timing.