They say every woman’s story of childbirth is different. I never really believed it, until it happened to me. I had done everything imaginable to prepare for the birth of our daughter—and more—yet nothing could have prepared me for the life-changing event that took place. In my story, I learned that God can perform miracles through unanswered prayers, and that life itself is a gift of God’s mercy.
When I reached full term, my husband and I anxiously awaited the arrival of our precious little one. Every day that passed by after my due date brought highs and lows as we tried to cope with the unknowns about her arrival. We prayed night and day for God to bring on labor, and after a week went by past her due date, we began to have concerns about why there was no progress. I was anointed that Sabbath, which rekindled my hope in God’s timing, but continued to wonder about the purpose for her delayed arrival and our unanswered prayers.
After a second week passed by my doctor recommended that labor be induced, since carrying on with the pregnancy imposed significant risks for the baby and myself. Though we feared having an induction and other medical interventions, we tried our best to trust that God was still involved even though we had our hopes on a natural delivery.
It was a Tuesday night when we checked into the hospital. We started with non-medicinal methods of inducing labor and waited to see if my body would respond. In the hours that we waited, I heard the woman in the room next door deliver her baby. Hearing her pain frightened me, but when I heard her baby scream for the very first time I began to cry with overwhelming joy for her! I’d take a deep breath through a contraction and remind myself that it was only a matter of time before our daughter would also scream her first beautiful breath of air.
In the middle of the night, I was started on Pitocin, a synthetic form of oxytocin to create stronger contractions. It was one of the longest nights I have ever experienced. The pain from the induced contractions made it nearly impossible to breathe.
By Wednesday afternoon, labor finally progressed into transition and my contractions began just 30 seconds apart, with only moments in between one ending and another beginning. I felt that at any moment I would faint from the pain I was experiencing. After 11 hours of labor, I asked for something to reduce the pain, and the medication they gave me helped ease the tension in my chest. Though I had always hoped and prayed for a natural delivery, this too became a blessing of an unanswered prayer.
After such a long night, I joked with my doctor about how nice it’d be if I could just “wake up” and my baby would be here. He and I discussed my fears of having a cesarean, and he reassured me that it would only be done if it was an absolute necessity—and anesthesia would not be used unless there was an emergency. I knew he meant it since his practice had an average of only two C-sections a year, and I felt confident that he knew how to coach me through every step of the delivery.
But then my water broke, and a rush of medical staff came running in. My baby’s heartbeat dropped from an average of 130 beats a minute to 50 bpm. My unborn child was in distress, and something was terribly wrong. Her umbilical cord had prolapsed, and her lifeline of oxygen was being cut off.
A nurse put an oxygen mask on to my face, and my doctor took every measure possible to try and relieve pressure off the cord. In shock, my body began shaking uncontrollably. My husband held my hand and we stared into each other’s eyes, with the most precious part of our lives hanging on by a thread. One of the nurses asked our doctor if our daughter’s umbilical cord was “still pulsing,” and in that moment I wished my heart would stop and beat for her.
After they successfully raised her heartbeat to 100 bpm, I was rushed into the surgery room. A nurse exclaimed, “We don’t have consent (to give the anesthesia)!” My doctor, given the previous conversation we just had, immediately replied, “Yes we do!” With just two breaths of anesthesia I was unconscious, and within three minutes my daughter was outside the womb.
Over an hour later, I became conscious, and through my fuzzy, dark vision I could see my husband holding our little girl. She made it. She was alive.
For days I cried with overwhelming gratefulness over her life. I have never experienced such joy in my entire life. There was no doubt in my mind that the reason God had not answered my prayers in the way that I had hoped for labor and delivery to take place naturally during the weeks I was overdue was because, if it had, our daughter would not have survived. If I had been at home when my water broke, it is possible our precious baby girl may not have made it.
God truly had mercy on us. He was involved in every aspect of her delivery. For instance, I don’t know why I felt the need to talk to my doctor about cesareans just moments before my water broke, giving him consent to take action in the most critical moments of my daughter’s life without any hesitation. Likewise, if I had not needed muscle relaxers from the contractions, I’m not sure that I would have been able to stay calm enough for the medical staff to take action as quickly and effectively as they did. Our prayers were for a natural delivery, without medical interventions. However, what God wanted was for our daughter to be brought safely into this world, and there is not a day that goes by for which I am not thankful God did not answer our prayers. “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalms 73:26 Psalms 73:26My flesh and my heart fails: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.
American King James Version×, New International Version).
No two stories are the same, yet every story of childbirth is a miracle. Life itself is a gift of God’s mercy. Ask a mom—she’ll tell you.