Friday, February 1, 2013

Transition

Over the past several months God has given me several ideas for blogs and I've got drafts waiting to be finished, but writing hasn't been a top priority for me. I was nearing the end of my third pregnancy, homeschooling our 6 year old daughter, entertaining a 2 year old with more energy than I remember EVER having, taking care of the books for my husband's business, among other things...in short, my attention was diverted; focused on all these tasks, as well as a mixture of several "transitions" going on in our lives.

For starters I was in the final months of an uncomfortable pregnancy (more on that later) with a very large baby (9lbs 10oz). Knowing the new baby would undoubtedly throw a wrench in our homeschool schedule we didn't take a summer break. Next, my husband was working so much between his business and pastoring that I was carrying an extremely heavy load...managing being mom, dad, disciplinarian, homemaker, teacher...you name it, I was wearing that hat this summer. With his jam packed schedule, I convinced him to offer Financial Peace University at our church on Wednesdays. I figured he could lead that and it wouldn't take nearly as much preparation as a sermon and that would be one less thing on his plate, but even that eventually fell into my lap as his job kept him continually absent from the class.

If you follow my blog, you know that in March of last year I lost my grandfather. He was my rock; a tremendous influence in my choosing to follow Christ. As much as that hurt, I knew I had to go on for my family. After his passing my parents began discussing moving to Knoxville. Of course I was thrilled with this prospect, I would love having them minutes away instead of hours. In July, they decided to make that move. My dad would arrive in September to begin his new job, right around the time the baby was to be born. Mom would follow in the next few months.

So why do I tell you all this? And what does any of it have to do with my writing a blog? Everything really and here's why...

My pregnancy was rather normal, as have been the other two. Of course with each pregnancy there is always a symptom that I seem to discover that makes me think twice about having more...with Genesis it was morning sickness from beginning to end for the most part. Asher inflated me like a balloon, so much so that a month before he was born I lost the sense of touch and it didn't come back until 8 weeks after he was born; and only after I tuned to my husband and asked him to pray over them because the doctor actually began discussing surgical options; not only that but the aching within my heart to be able  touch my newborn's soft, smooth skin was unbearable. Then there was Canaan, our newest addition. Of all the pregnancies, everything was more perfect than any other...with the exception of knowing I was going to be delivering a very large baby...that is until about 36 weeks. That's when it began. The itching. At first it was mild, but with every passing day it worsened. Imagine it like this, you have poison ivy or chicken pox from head to toe, only worse because you can't see it and there is no relief. No cream, no oatmeal bath, no pill, no lotion, nothing. You, and the itching, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Everyday began in tears and everyday ended in tears. Sleeping was impossible, not from the normal discomforts of pregnancy, but because of the itching. It truly became overpowering. So much so, that I honestly considered asking to be induced...which for me is unfathomable. Not only do I have a pretty high tolerance for pain, but I truly believe birth is a natural, normal process that GOD intended me to endure. HE made me to do it and I just don't see it as a medical condition needing treatment (that's not to say I don't think modern medicine isn't necessary...and no I don't judge those that turn to hospitals...it's your body and your baby...moving on now). For me,  I know, it's nearly impossible to break me mentally, so I choose to forgo the epidural and medical interventions of birth...I just have to find my happy place and go there. But when all you ever do is itch and scratch to the point where you have scabs all over you...it's virtually impossible to find anything to focus on except the itch!

It was 2 AM on Saturday night, three days past my due date and I was there...my breaking poing. I literally contemplated calling the midwife at that moment and asking to be induced as quickly as possible. Or even just waking my husband and getting him to rush me to the nearest hospital so it'd all be over. So I took a deep breath and began to run a lukewarm bath. When I did that so it brought an ever so slight and brief moment of relief (or not but it was better than laying in the bed scratching like a dog with fleas and disturbing my husband). I remember sitting there in the tub, crying. I begged and pleaded for GOD to allow labor to come...but it didn't and somehow in that prayer time I managed to regained my composure and decided I would give the pregnancy until my weekly checkup on Tuesday. After all I had dealt with the itching this long, what's two more days?

As I went to bed Monday night I knew I didn't want to ask what I was about to ask the next morning but I also knew I had given it all I had. The itching had to stop, I couldn't find a way to focus on anything else. Then about 5 AM I woke up with the urge to got to the bathroom and an ever so minuscule contraction...much like a Braxton hicks really, so I wasn't the least bit excited. While in the bathroom, I felt another contraction and noticed a possible sign of impending labor. I remember beginning to think...is this it? Could the end really be here? And sure enough the contractions kept coming. After a couple hours I phoned the birth center to let them know I was in labor. It was the best feeling ever...knowing that not only was about to meet my son...but the end of the itching was here! When I spoke to the midwife she still wanted me to come in for my appointment just to be sure, so I did. While there my water broke while I was lying on the exam table. I remember thinking "Yay! I'm going to have a baby at a decent hour of the day!" However, unfortunately for me, my labors are so weird and unpredictable! The first started with my water breaking and not a single hard contraction for 12 hours...then once I'm at the birth center (still without a contraction) I find out I'm only dilated to 3 cm and BAM! Suddenly 3 straight hours of hard labor. The second started normally. I labored at home all day and when I got to the birth center that night, they told me I was dilated 3 cm agin!  Only this time I had to endure 10 hours of intense back labor. So when I arrived for my 3rd child that evening my only prayer was to be beyond 3 cm. However, that's exactly where I was!  Talk about discouraging!!!! So I did the only thing I knew to do...pray. That was my only focus during the entire labor...the prayers...each contraction, they left my lips and landed at heavens gate...and it was during this time that GOD spoke to my soul.

When a woman is in labor, it's broken up into three stages:

1) Early labor: 

  • This is uncomfortable but not extremely painful and your cervix is dilating between 1 and 3 cm
2) Active Labor:

  • This is when contractions are really picking up and so is your breathing. It happens between 4-6 cm
Just before the birth of our 3rd child
3) Transition:

  • This is when the cervix dilates from 7-10 cm. It is the shortest yet most intense part of labor...just before you start pushing.

As I entered that final phase, I knew the time to push was drawing closer and closer, yet all I wanted to do was give up. I questioned why I trust GOD and my body enough to do this naturally a third time. And then I knew...my itching had been symbolic of my labor phases and everything else in life...it always gets the HARDEST just before the birth of something amazing! 

Suddenly my mind was drawn to the story of Joseph from the book of Genesis. The early stage for Joseph was the dreams GOD birthed within him, showing him that one day he would rule over his whole family. This lead to a necessary hatred of him by his brothers; so much so that they sold him into slavery. It was then that he began the active stage, laboring as a servant in Potiphar's house for 11 years...yet GOD made it bearable, allowing him to be favored by his master and treated with more grace and dignity than any slave could even begin to hope for. And finally he entered transition, accused of a crime he did not commit and thrown into prison, only to be forgotten about for a period of about 2 years. Can you imagine? From the favored son to the fortunate slave to the forsaken servant. Of the 13 years he spent in captivity, the last two were spent in a prison cell, no doubt surrounded by loud torturous cries for freedom. Can't you just see it...every night he closed his eyes, he must've longed for home...for relief...for freedom from all this heavy labor!!
He could hear his father, Jacob, in the distance, calling his name. "Joseph, Joseph, my precious son" How he missed those words...he was Joseph, the son of Rachel, Jacob's beloved wife. Tending to the flock was beneath him his father had told him...that job fell to his older brothers. Jacob made sure he was taught to read and write. In his father's eyes, he was no ordinary shepard boy...he was special...he was meant for greatness.

I imagine, the aching for home comforted him, yet haunted him at the same time. I'm sure there where many days when he thought, "How did I get here? Why have you put me here to rot away in a dirty Egyptian prison GOD?!?!?!? Why GOD?!?!?!?!?! Why?" 

But that's just it...had it not been for that last phase, Joseph never would've had the opportunity to progress from a dirty prisoner to the Pharaoh’s most trusted advisor. And without transition, I'd never have become a mother of three...or a stay at home mom...or homeschooler...or even a servant of GOD. 

Paul said, "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, [therewith] to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Phil 4:11-13 KJV

So whatever phase your in...just wait, your TRANSITION is coming and in the end, so is something AMAZING!!
Our miracle!!



3 comments:

  1. What a great post! I loved it - you are a great writer, Rachel. I love the comparison between the labor and Joseph.

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  2. Oh....wow !!! So many times, especially in the last three years, I have asked that "WHY" question. Haven't we all (at some time or another)asked God to give us clarity, relief ? It's so hard to see the purpose in our sufferings, the end result of our trials and hardships....
    Your blog is such a great blessing to me. God just keeps reminding me that I am not alone. That I am a child of the Most High God. That my favorite scripture, Romans 8:28,"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose," is STILL true, in my life and in the lives of all who are saved by the precious blood of Jesus <3

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  3. My sweet friend, you will never know how much of a blessing you are to me!!! God has richly blessed you beyond measure and He has richly blessed me to have your friendship!

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