Brandon and I had the incredible honor to be in the room when Selah and Micah were born. I was with their birth mom as she labored with them and I’ll never forget the weight of the moment when they each took their first breath. It’s carved into my memory, and the emotion of that moment is seared forever on my heart. I’m forever grateful their birth mom invited us into such a holy space.
So with Aida, I knew the moment she entered the world, would be the same. A ten year longing and promise fulfilled, all experienced in one second. Throughout my pregnancy, I received numerous prophetic words about her birth. They all were about how the timing of her coming into the world was important, the peace that would be in the room, and how her birth story would be a prophetic picture. Of course in my head, I had imagined what all of these would look like. I really wanted to have her naturally with no pain medication, because throughout the decade waiting on her, the Father had walked so tenderly with me into the pain of my past, rather than stuffing it down or running away. As a testimony of what He had healed in me, I wanted to birth her naturally with Him. But I have also lived enough life to know that everything must be held in open hands. Although I wanted to have her natural, I also was very aware I might not be able to for whatever reason. So I always held this desire in tension, as I’ve learned we should with most everything. However, when I was pregnant with her, I read and watched every positive birth story I could find, and prepared my body and mind to deliver her naturally, if I was able.
I had a feeling she was going to be born early, despite everyone telling me she was my first pregnancy and normally they are always late. I had been in prodomal labor for two weeks. I would start to have consistent contractions for several hours and then they would suddenly just stop. It was exhausting but on the other hand so exciting because I knew my body was getting ready for us to meet her. I was two centimeters dilated and 100 percent effaced at 38 weeks. My sister had been so worried, because I hadn’t packed a bag for the hospital yet. Every day she would ask me if I had packed, and I would always just laugh at her. She is very prepared and always has things in order, but I kind of fly by the seat of my pants about most things. I finally listened to her and the night before Aida was born, I cleaned the house like a mad woman, packed my bag and Aida’s diaper bag. We were ready.
The morning she was born, I was getting ready after my kids went to school, and I felt Holy Spirit whispering, “Today is the day.” Now I know I hear from the Lord, but sometimes I wonder if it’s the pizza I ate the night before, or if I’m just making it up in my head sometimes, anyone else?! I wasn’t very confident I heard Him clearly, but smiled at the possibility. I sat down to have breakfast, which was one of my dear friend, Bailey’s pasta she had made the night before. It was so good that night before, I was craving it for breakfast. (It’s weird the things you eat during pregnancy.) As I was eating, I spent time in the Word and with Papa. I clearly heard Him ask me the question, “How do you want to deliver her?” I told Him, “Abba, you know how. I’ve been praying about having her natural this entire pregnancy.” But Holy Spirit prompted me with a fresh surrender, and I said, “But I don’t know what is best for us, like You do. Papa, I want your best, whatever that is.” I didn’t know at the time what a gift that would be.
Our church puts up a tent several times a year for 24 hour prayer and worship. We had made plans that night to worship at the tent with our home group family and I was so excited to go that night. Completely unaware that night I would meet our baby girl. When I got to the appointment, I told the nurse the swelling that I had experienced since week 28 had really gotten much worse in the last few days. My whole face was super swollen and my hands hurt they were so swollen. I hadn’t had any problems with high blood pressure my entire pregnancy, until that day. It was definitely high. The doctor I saw that morning was the husband of my general practitioner. He knew our entire story, all the loss we had experienced with Zion, and then the miracle this pregnancy was. He walked in the room and said, “Let’s have a baby today!” He told me with all we had walked through he didn’t want to risk anything and it was safest for me and Aida if she was born. I got in the car and called Brandon to tell him the news. He freaked out a little more than I expected. He was slightly frantic, which was hilarious to me because he had seen hundreds of babies be born because of his job.
We came home, finished packing. Picked up the kids from school and told them what was happening. My mother in law came over to stay with them for the weekend. We snapped a quick picture and we were on our way to the hospital…just kidding, to Chic-Fil-A. Because that’s what every mom needs before she gives birth, am I right?! I ate a large fry, chocolate milkshake with a large lemonade. I finally felt ready. HA! We got to the hospital right at 3:30pm.
We had previously planned if I had to be induced for whatever reason, I would get an epidural. The whole point of giving birth naturally was to do it unmedicated, so if they would induce me, that would be medicated. Internally I was slightly sad I wasn’t going to be able to have her natural, but Holy Spirit quickly reminded me of our conversation that morning. We settled in to our room. I immediately started my labor worship playlist and we welcomed and acknowledged Holy Spirit’s presence in the room. I started making decrees out loud because I’ve learned over the years, because of Holy Spirit inside of me, I have the authority to shift atmospheres. I had one moment with Papa before everything started, where I soaked in His nearness, and worshiped Him because of His faithfulness to me. I looked down at my socks, and realized I had put on Zion’s socks that morning. I know it’s such a small thing, but it felt special to have a part of him with me the day his sister was going to be born. I just knew he was watching from heaven with so much excitement and although that made me so happy, I felt such intense grief. My mom also was unable to be apart of this story and I was really grieving the loss of having her in that moment. I could sense the Father holding me, mothering me, crying with me over Zion, and at the same time full of excitement for what He knew was coming.
My favorite doctor was on call that weekend. I had only seen her twice in my pregnancy but really loved her. I was happy she would be delivering this miracle girl. They started me on Pitocin around 4:30pm. Because my body had already started getting ready, it responded really quickly to the medicine. Within an hour and a half, contractions were two to three minutes apart. Everything happened so quickly the timeline fades together for me. But around 6:30 or 7pm, Dr. Beck came in and broke my water. And let me tell you, it was like the movies. It gushed out everywhere like a fountain. The nurse and doctor were grabbing random towels from around the room getting it off the floor. When I thought it had stopped, it didn’t. We laughed so hard.
The contractions really got intense after she broke my water. I wasn’t laughing anymore. I totally lost track of time. And my phone was blowing up but I could have cared less who had texted me. It’s a holy feeling experiencing such intense pain for something so beautiful. For whatever reason, the only place I felt comfortable was on the toilet. So I labored for a few hours there (definitely didn’t see that coming). Brandon finally reminded me that we had agreed on an epidural if I had Pitocin, and he thought it was time. I did not argue and completely obliged. Around 8 or 8:30pm I got the epidural and was laid back in the bed, eating Italian ice, living my best life. I thought we had a while to go, I wasn’t in any pain, and Brandon hadn’t eaten all day, so I told him to go grab something to eat.
Annwen Stone has discipled me for the last three years. The first time I met her, my spirit immediately connected to hers. She was a midwife in the UK and had moved here to our church to build out discipleship and the home portion of our church family with her husband and kids. The night I met her, I heard the Father say, “She will help you birth many things.” And she surely has, both in the spirit and natural. I wouldn’t know the depth of the Father’s heart like I do without her invitation and challenge over the last three years. Her family is family to ours. She was at the tent that night and was going to come by the hospital. I texted her when Brandon was about to leave and told her she could come at that time or wait until worship was over at the tent. She texted me back immediately and said I think I’m supposed to come now. With Covid restrictions, I could only have one care partner in the room with me. So when Brandon left, he tagged her in.
Once she got there, she immediately started looking at the monitors. Brandon is in healthcare and does the same, so I didn’t think much of it. She never really sat down, and every few minutes kept checking the monitors. I knew she was excited. She had prayed and believed with me for this miracle girl more than most. This was her promise fulfilled too. Annwen asked me several times if the doctor had checked me recently. I wasn’t the least concerned, I just kept eating my Italian Ice. She finally said, “Jess, I think the doctor needs to check you.” And just at that very moment the doctor and nurse walked in. So the doctor started checking me. Have you ever been in a room where everyone knows what’s going on except for you? It kind of felt that way. They all three looked at each other and I was suddenly aware I didn’t know what was happening. Annwen reached for her phone to call Brandon. Dr. Beck looked at me in such tenderness and said, “Jessica, you cannot deliver her vaginally. It wouldn’t be safe for you or her.” Aida’s arm was in front of her head down the birth canal. When Dr. Beck checked me, she felt Aida grab her hand. Every time I contracted, Aida’s heart rate would decelerate because of the way she was positioned. I felt my eyes well up with tears. And Annwen reminded me again of the fresh surrender I had given Papa that morning. “This is His best, remember?” I was so thankful she was with me in that moment. Having her expertise of a midwife and her confirmation that this was the right call was so comforting.
They immediately started prepping me for an emergency c-section. I remember asking Dr. Beck if I could just have a minute to wrap my head around everything. She said calmly, “We don’t have a minute. We need to get her out.” Right at that time, Brandon rushed in the room. He made a joke about what happens when he leaves me for one second. And they wheeled me out of the room as they were throwing him scrubs.
I’ve had so many surgeries I cannot count them all. The OR didn’t intimidate me, I was just trying to wrap my head around meeting my little girl for the first time this way. It definitely wasn’t the birth story I had envisioned. As soon as she started the surgery, I was expecting there to be lots of pressure. I wasn’t prepared for the pain I felt. I’m not exactly sure what happened, but I had never experienced that amount of pain in my entire life. I remember I kept asking the anesthesiologist for pain medication. I asked her over and over how much longer and told her I didn’t think I could take the pain that long. I had tears running down my face because the pain was so intense, and right in that moment, I heard a cry.
Dr. Beck held up our little girl, a decade long promise fulfilled. My heart burst with joy seeing her with my very own eyes. She was here, the one we had been praying for all of these years.
And at that very same time, the pain I was feeling in my body was so intense the best smile I could muster was a grimace. I couldn’t even have her on my chest I was in so much pain. It was almost unbearable. They finally finished up the surgery and had given me so much pain medication I woke up and I was in recovery.
When I opened my eyes, Brandon was holding our little girl, the one I had carried for nine months after doctors told me I would never get pregnant. I saw in that moment, the goodness of God in the land of the living. He had been so faithful, so trustworthy, so good to me. He put her on my chest and she has stayed there every since. I’m holding a promise fulfilled. I get to look into the eyes of a testimony that says, “Nothing is impossible for God.” I get to nurse the evidence of the faithful Father. I’ll never get over the gifts He has given me in each of my children.
I couldn’t share this story several weeks after she was born without crying. I’ve really wrestled with the Father through why such a miracle story like hers was birthed in so much pain. I had already walked through so much pain. Why did the pain have to be so intense the moment she came into the world? I believe there is so much more He wants to show me through her birth. But I’ve realized a few things. I do know He is continuing to break idealism off of me. When I have an idea of the outcome, I’m trying to control the process and control is the opposite of trust. It’s why He started the morning asking me for a fresh surrender.
In our Christian culture, we’ve adapted a mindset that if you follow Jesus, it’s without pain. When the truth of the gospel is the exact opposite. We also believe the lie that if we step into our promise land, we will live happily ever after, without having to continue to take more land. When Joshua and the Israelites crossed over into the promised land, they still had to fight. The Bible says, the took the land “little by little.” Sometimes we believe the lie that when we cross our promise land there will be no more suffering. Heidi Baker says, “The deeper the cup of suffering, the deeper the joy.” This continues to be the thread woven throughout my life, a consistent journey of both/and. When the truth is, although the Father isn’t the author of it, we get to know Him in the fellowship of His sufferings. Just like we commune with Him in the power of His resurrection. Although it wasn’t the birth story I had hoped for, it was hers. We were both safe, and after all of these years, she was finally here.
At the end of that day in October, at 9:39 PM, I got to hold in my arms a ten year promise fulfilled.
I have truly seen the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. And I’ll spend the rest of my life sharing just how good He is.