I thought laying down was a difficult position to be in when enduring a contraction, but doing so in a moving car proved much more trying. As we neared the hospital, I screamed for Evan to pull over as soon as I felt the next contraction. Evan pulled over... but he slowly inched along the side of the road.
“STOP... THE CAR!!!!” I roared from an inner place that I usually don’t let out. I think the intensity of my yell, again, shocked me more than him.
Once entering the hospital, Evan and I had to stop a couple of times to allow the next contraction to pass before finally arriving at triage for labor and delivery. Thankfully, we were taken back immediately where I was seen by my midwife. My midwife quickly checked to see how far along I was, and to my and Evan’s surprise, I was already 6 cm dilated. I knew I wasn’t just being a baby. I was officially in active labor!
With that, Evan and I packed up our belongings and transitioned from triage to the labor room. Y’all, by this time, I was willing to do whatever it took to get this baby to come. I geared up mentally as if I were in the NFL about to go out on the field on super bowl Sunday. Once in the labor room, I changed into my gown, put my favorite flip flops on, and then headed out to the hallways to walk/squat in order to endure the remainder of the contractions.
After two hours of Evan and I walking the hallways and me squating at each onset of a contraction, he and I went back to the labor room. I then stepped into the labor tub (which felt SOOOO good!) . But I guess I felt too relaxed because my contractions completely stopped for a period of time. As a result, I jumped out of the tub and headed back out to the hallways for another set of squats.
From midnight until 9:00AM Friday morning, despite my efforts, I only increased in dilation by 1 centimeter. The midwives gave me the option to either rupture my membranes (i.e. break my water for me) or to get on pitocin. These options were given after being warned that I could be in labor for days at the rate that I was going. With no food since admittance to the hospital, I was deadbeat tired and working on a lack of sleep from the last 3 nights.
After hearing that I had only dilated by 1 more cm, I broke down into tears. No, it wasn't like a tear hear and there. I let the flood gates open. I felt physically, emotionally, and spiritually depleted. I had been trying to be strong all the way up until this point, and to be honest, it wasn’t the pain that broke me, but it was the lack of knowing when the end would draw near, and whether or not I could make it to that end, that left me discouraged and frustrated. My tears flowed into gentle sobbing as I fell over into Evan’s chest.
I looked at my good friend and asked if she could read scripture over me. The words that left her mouth were so refreshing to hear, but if I can be honest, I felt so far from the Lord. Up until this point, I hadn’t been in prayer throughout labor. And to be honest, I just wanted to use my own willpower to push this baby out. But despite all of the books I’d read, all of the supposed preparation I’d done, all of the knowledge I’d gathered, nothing was working. Nothing was going according to “my” plan.
Evan and I prayed regarding whether to get the pitocin or to have the midwife rupture my membranes. We sensed the Holy Spirit's leading and and decided to get the pitocin administered. While the nurses prepared to place an IV into my arm, Evan confided in me that the Lord spoke to him Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thine ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct thy paths.”
Up until that point, I had been leaning on my own understanding. This labor was already showing me just how weak I was and that I couldn’t just will myself to push this baby out. God was in control. Yes, I was about to have this baby, but even more so, looking back, the Lord was also teaching me a lesson about Himself and about me. He was humbling me and showing me that He desired for me to trust in His power and Sovereignty rather than leaning on my own strength and knowledge. I’ve asked the Lord several times since then how to do both. That is, how can I be a lover of knowledge and simultaneously lean on the Holy Spirit? Since then, He’s taught me that there is a difference between being a lover of knowledge, and being one who places her hope in knowledge. He wants me to acquire knowledge as much as possible, but He also wants me to be weary of placing my hope in it.