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At 35 Weeks

By Courtney Kendrick

Here was the revelation: Courtney, you will give birth at home.

When it was received: Years before now.

The only person I knew who homebirthed at the time: Sister Haight in my ward who had a penchant for being pregnant.

The surprise: I felt peace about it.

Then: People came into my life who also believed in homebirthing. A couple of friends and eventually my sisters.

I asked: How did you know that it was right for you?

They answered: We prayed about it.

My pregnancy test (finally) read: Positive!

Everyone asked: How will you have this baby?

I felt: Pressure.

I decided to: Pray.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I want to have this baby in a way that is right for me, the husband and most of all, the baby.

The answer: Nothing.

Everyone said: You need to see someone by eight weeks! Eight weeks! Eight weeks!

I felt: Pressure.

I read: Alma’s account of planting the seed.

Seed One: Go to the family OB/GYN.

Seed Two: Go the the Midwives.

Seed Three: Deliver at home with a direct entry midwife.

No seed: Grew.

So I: Went to the Doctor. Why not? It was safe.

First visit: Eight weeks! Eight weeks! Eight weeks!

Second visit: Cried when I heard my baby’s heartbeat. Nurse cried too.

Fell: In love.

Decided: Doctor not so bad.

But: I started having doubts. Something didn’t feel right.

Felt: Pressure.

So: We went to a homebirth midwife with a list of questions. What will you do if the baby isn’t breathing?

Midwife: It happens all the time. Very common. We come prepared. Here are my certificates. Here are my stories.

But: We played phone tag for awhile after our visit. No connection was made for two weeks. So I decided to stay with my Doctor(s).

I read: Many birthing arguments from mothers. Mostly epidural verses non-medicated birthing. What was right for me?

Hated: The heated argument.

Wanted to hear from the non-medicated: You can do it!

Instead I heard: It hurt! Really bad!

Wanted to hear from pro-epidural: It was something my husband and I chose after reflection.

Instead I heard: Comparisons to dental work and (heaven forbid!) microwaves.

Wondered: Could I plant another seed? Are there more options? Is this all there is?

Felt: Lonely.

Would: The Lord answer my prayer?

Could: I open my heart for more options?

Should: I accept responsibility if things went wrong?

Felt: Fear.

Decided: To pray one more time. Just one more time. How Lord? What Lord?

Here was the revelation: Courtney, you need to fulfill some requirements before your prayer is answered. Gain an open heart. Find courage. And, above all else, drown out the crowd.

Also revealed: This choice is to be made between a mother, father and The Lord. How a husband and wife decide to birth their children is as sacred as the act that allowed for the circumstance. The position of delivery should not be scrutinized anymore than the position of conception.

I planted: One more seed.

It: Grew.

About Courtney Kendrick


70 thoughts on “At 35 Weeks”

  1. I gave birth in a hospital both times. Once with an epidural and once without. I have no advice. Thinking about giving birth at home scares the crap out of me. I would love to work with a midwife though. Unfortunately my pregnancies and body are too crazy to allow that. I went to see a midwife once and after talking with me for a few minutes she marched right out into the hall to get the head MD, she handed me over to him right then and there.

    I do have to admit though that I was relieved. Only because the choice was taken away. And I didn't have to worry over it anymore. Sometimes limited options are a blessing.

  2. I'm pregnant and have been wondering the same things. I watched "The Business of Being Born" which gave me a whole new perspective to midwifery and homebirths. Watching the homebirths on this documentary truly made me cry! I still feel that I will use an OB GYN and have my baby in the hospital. That is how I personally feel comfortable. I have a good OB GYN who is not C-section crazy and listens to me. This is my first baby too so its all new and scary. But my sister has had epidurals with all 3 children and has had wonderful births with no C-sections and LOVES her labor experiences.

  3. I am super pro-homebirth, particularly for people who are most comfortable at home. In fact, I am so pro- that I have tried avidly to convince my husband that it was a good idea to attempt my VBAC (coming up in October) at home. He has put his foot down and so we are compromising by delivering at a hospital with the added help of a doula.

    There are scary stories out there, but if I could do my first birth over again I would seriously, SERIOUSLY have considered birthing at home, with a provider whose motivations were more closely aligned with mine. Unfortunately, I live in an area where the C-section rate is higher than almost anywhere else in the country, but I didn't really think about that before.

    Everyone is entitled to inspiration from the Spirit when it comes to her own family. So do what feels right to you and your husband!

    Definitely watch The Business of Being Born if you haven't already . . . and if you decide to give birth in a hospital, know what your rights are (basically . . . everything is your right–It's your body and they're not going to kick you out!) and make friends with your doctor and nurses so that you have a stronger voice when it comes to making big decisions, which truly are yours to make. Lots of people have smooth, easy births, but in case you don't, information is your friend. You can't be too prepared. Also, labor is really not that bad as long as you are comfortable in your environment and feel safe. Pushing, on the other hand, I'd skip over that if I could but that's just me.

    You'll be great! I totally don't know you but am excited to read about the whole experience! Long comment!

  4. By the way I think it's great that you have been prayerfully considering your options. That's what I wish was clear to everyone who wanted to give birth–not that there is one right way to do it but that there are so many options. It hasn't always been that way. But we're the ones paying for it and doing most of the work after all.

  5. I gave birth twice with a midwife, with no medication, in a very good hospital. It was wonderful. I loved the midwives but also the assurance of being in a hospital. I think you can do an unmedicated birth!

  6. After having four children I feel like I am cleaning all day long. Having a baby at home seems so beautiful but then I wonder, who's going to clean up afterwards? And before (so that the midwife doesn't think I'm a slob). The nice thing about hospitals: room service.

  7. I'm glad you asked the Lord instead of the blogging world. I think He's probably got the answer far more than I do. I'm proud of you too (even though I'm not one of your cute sisters.)

  8. First, I have to say how happy I am that you are posting at Segullah again!

    Now to the business at hand. I delivered my first two at the hospital without drugs. I loved every single minute of it. I am not kidding. Yes, it's painful. It's supposed to be! It's hard to describe the feeling of a contraction or pushing, but for me if I focused on the purpose of the pain, it was bareable. There is nothing that I have done in my life that has made me feel more alive, more accomplished, and closer to my husband and Father in Heaven.

    My third was a planned C-section by necessity because of Spina Bifida. The whole experience was so strange to me. Going from feeling everything in two births, to not feeling a thing and suddenly watching a baby come out was crazy to me. My recovery was so much worse than the vaginal births. (That could have also been because I had the added stress of my baby's condition)

    Just going by my experiences, I would hands down deliver naturally. I've never (even as a child) liked the feeling of medicine or drugs in my body. Especially in labor, I wanted to be in absolute control. If I am blessed again to be pregnant, I am seriously considering going with a midwife at home.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is, go with your feelings, and whatever you choose, YOU CAN DO IT!

  9. I'm with Jen — birth is messy, and I don't especially want that mess in my house. I kind of like being in the hospital, where they bring me a meal, a snack, or a drink all day, and they can take the baby for a little while so I can get some sleep. Of course, if you had a good enough support system, you'd have all of that at home, too.

    I've had four babies with no epidurals, and have loved the powerful feeling that gave me. But, it is a very personal decision and every woman and every labor is different. I'm glad you're pondering these things. I'm very bothered by people pushing their own decisions on others, when the situation is not always the same. Don't feel pressured, feel powerful!

  10. My parents had a horrible experience in the hospital with their first birth and so felt compelled to do home birth with their next (me). They had four home births and have said that they were all spiritual experiences. I don't remember it, but I was there for two of them.

    I felt spiritual experiences during both of my c-sections i the hospital, so I don't think that there's something inherently "better" about home birth for everyone, but I do think it can often be an environment more conducive to calm and privacy. And, most importantly, if it is what's right for you than that is the most important.

  11. Pregnancy, labor, and delivery are hard enough without the outside pressures of experience weighing in on everything, claiming that their way is Right. Good for you for making your decision based on faith and situation–not because someone was overly persuasive.

  12. I am truly impressed at the thought and prayer put into your decision. What wonderful things the Lord has reveled to you. No matter what way you choose, it will be an unforgetable experience And worth everything, because you will have your little Chief.

  13. Wait, are we STILL discussing this? Next topic please. After reading countless blogs about this, I realize that there are those who are pro and those who are not and never the twain shall meet (or so it seems…)

    I say, just show me the cute baby pictures, that is all I need to know about the birthing process…the outcome!

  14. I've had three C-sections, and because of pregnancy complications I didn't really have the option of a midwife. I remember just after my first C-section, how offended I was when a girl in my ward, whose mom was a home-birth midwife, pedantically suggested that if I had taken the right herbs to loosen my joints I would have been able to deliver normally. Had I really pushed hard before they decided on a C-section? Um, yes, for a whole hour. I had just been through hell to get a baby here, and I was doing the best I could. How dare she presume that what I had offered wasn't good enough? And, looking back, how dare I feel the least bit apologetic?

    My story is a little different from yours, I guess, but the same principle holds true: how dare anyone presume that your offering is wrong? And you know, I think that's true of every mother: we go through a lot to get our children here. And how dare I, or anyone, presume that what you do to get your baby here is not good enough, or could be better, when you've made that decision with faith and prayer and information and Spirit.

    Great post. Lucky baby.

  15. I also wanted to add (because something just didn't "sit well" with me about your wording) is that I have many friends and sister-in-law's who have been prayerful and thoughtful in their birthing choice. Some went to the hospital with a midwife, some didn't, some gave birth at home. It just seems to me you are saying that only if you are prayerful and thoughtful will you give birth at home. If you don't care or don't pray or think about it (like your Mom, or those who aren't thoughtful about it) will you go to the hospital? I would have to politely disagree with that assumption.

  16. We make the right decisions for ourselves, our babies, and our bodies. It isn't up to anyone else to pass judgment.

    I struggle with this decision too, but I know that the Lord will watch over us and help us to do the best thing.

  17. Giving birth is a very personal, spiritual, and passionate experience. How and where we choose to birth our babies has always been a topic of debate. No matter the choice, the deep emotion of seeing and holding your newly born baby for the first time (which is indescribable) is equally as strong in the hospital as it is at home.

    No matter your choice, it will be an experience you'll never forget. I wish you the best of luck!

  18. This isn't advice, because heaven knows there are as many birthin' babies stories as there are stars in the sky. This is just my own experience.

    That said: I love the hospital. Love it. And I'm not even talking about the peace of mind that I'm in a place full of gadgets and experts during the birthing process. I'm talking about being in the hospital after the birth.

    Although labor and delivery with each of my 4 kids has been a different experience each time–some have been peaceful, others a little traumatic–it's the thought of being alone in the quiet hospital room with my mysterious little person-bundle that makes me long to have another baby. (Probably not going to happen–but I still have the longings.) I love having people come visit me. I love that all I have to do is lay there and feed my baby and count his toes and read and watch tv. I love that people bring me trays of food (not always the best food, but I still love it.) Okay, so the bed can be a little uncomfortable, there's that. And it's awful being woken up in the middle of the night and suffering through nursely proddings. But other than that, I have this almost sacred association with being in the hospital.

    Is that weird? I know there are some women who can't WAIT to get out of the hospital. And I do love my house and my hubby and my kids–promise I do. But as much as people tell me to lay down and rest, once I'm at home, I just can't rest in the same way as I do in the hospital. There's something about being alone in that room, just me and my baby and no one else, that have made those two days after giving birth among my favorite days of my life.

  19. Ultimately, none of it is such a big deal. Kind of like a wedding. Sure it's important and it is a really beautiful, fantastic event. But where it takes place and who catches the baby is not all that important. After birthing seven babies (six living, one not), some naturally, some with epidurals, some with episiotomies, some with tearing, I realized that none of it made much difference in the long run. All that matters is a healthy baby, the rest is just gravy.

  20. Leisha, I was afraid that I might be misread. I believe so very much that women can have the answer be "go to the hospital." It might be my answer too, though I don't feel it necessary to share that information.

    This post isn't about home or hospital, epidural, non-medicated. It is NOT another discussion about what is right verses wrong. It is about the power of prayer. The Lord will tell us what is needed. I cannot make decisions out of fear, or well-meaning opinions. I have to have the peace that comes with every answer to questioning.

    I also believe that you are very right, it is the outcome that is important. In my process I learned (am learning) that delivery is not something to be blogged about for the masses, rather a sacred experience between a husband, wife and the Lord. The outcome is what we share, not the specifics.

    So why blog about the decision making process?

    I prayed about it!

  21. Loved this. I have had epidurals (loved them). I have not had an epidural and went natural. It was an instance where I couldn't settle in on medication and when the time came, I went without. Looking back on the experience, I'm convinced that an epidural would have meant trouble for that birth experience. The next baby came in with the aid of pain medication once more, and it was a good thing. I love how we are guided through each specific experience, in a specific way.

  22. I had epidurals my first two times giving birth. Neither one worked like it was supposed to. My third time, it was too late for an epidural, so I gave birth without medication. Yes, it hurt. A lot. But my recovery was SO much better and easier. If I were to do it again, I think I would choose no medication.

  23. Jenni W. I too have felt like planning a birth is a lot like planning a wedding. Personally, I never wanted a big wedding, and so it makes sense to me that I don't want a big birth either. And it works both ways, we prayed about eloping too and the answer was Yes! It turned out so perfect for us.

  24. I have had 6 kids. No drugs ever, although I will be the first to say "it's hard, really really hard". My first 2 were with an OBGYN, my third was supposed to be with a midwife, but came while we were out of town and a complete stranger OBGYN delivered him, My third was a midwife, my fourth a midwife and my 5th an OBGYN. Oh yeah, all the midwifes were in hospitals, and we've moved a lot, explaining all the different choices. But experience has shown me, especially with my second, that when the time comes it really doesn't matter who delivers the baby. When he/she is coming, whoever catches them doesn't really matter. It's the mom that does all the REAL work.

  25. I saw the annon comment on the post of our friend who equated it to dental work (which I agree with). I wondered if it was you who left that comment. Sorry.

    I think that just like we all get to decide how to deliver, we can decide what details to share. Some feel that it is sacred, but invite friends or families to it. That isn't wrong. I hate the implication here that those who do it differently are wrong or somehow less sacred or less invested. That kind of attitude is ugly.

  26. Before actually becoming pregnant for the first time, I too wanted to have my children at home. But as it turned out my husband wasn't comfortable with it. Yes, I was disappointed at first, but like you said it's between you and your husband, and I didn't want him to have a negative experience.

    After having my 3 children in the hospital (all were very different but wonderful in their own way… super hard, but lovely and spiritual) I am so grateful for hospitals and pain medication since my last one was an emergency c-section because both my life and the life of my baby were in jeopardy. It doesn't matter how they arrive… just so that everyone is safe and healthy. And whatever you decide will be wonderful! Best wishes!

  27. Answers to prayer are as different and personal as the decisions we make based on those answers. Where to have baby? How many babies to have? Will I ever really feel like it's time to be done having babies? How should I educate my babies? And the list goes on and on. Thanks for a great post.

  28. Mamma,

    Perhaps you should go back and read this post again. There is no implication of anything. Just a personal journey which leads to personal choices. Including who is involved with your birth. I've been to my sisters births. Amazing experiences. There is no wrong, no right, just agency.

  29. Also, Mamma, re: our friend. I made the comment that celebrated her decision to have her children with her.

    But the dental comparison has been around for a long time. Many people say it, and it just doesn't sit right with me. Apples and oranges.

    Though let me be clear: I support pain-free births.

  30. Me again. In an effort to clarify I deleted the line about my mother going to the hospital. It was confusing the flow of this post. Sorry, posting is always a work in progress.

    Also, in a recent phone call from my mother she told me about her birthing experiences at the hospital in the 60's and 70's. A dream! She explained that she was pampered beyond compare and felt that it was the perfect break for a new mother and her baby. I loved to hear that my birth was a wonderful experience for her, even though she had immense pain.

    I should stop commenting on my own post. But I am starting to wonder if it is like parenting. You don't want your baby to be misunderstood. But what can you do?

  31. "Wanted to hear from the non-medicated: You can do it!
    Instead I heard: It hurt! Really bad!"

    I love this because both statements are equally true. And that's kind of the point of all the birthing debate out there: there is no right or wrong; whatever works for you is right. End of story.

    Oh, yeah: Prayer is ALWAYS right.

  32. I'll be so happy if a homebirth is the right option for you. Courage! I'm too scared to do it that way, but it sounds so beautiful…the way it should be. Good luck.

  33. Seconding Jennie W–just get that baby here 🙂 I had all kinds of plans. But Nature does things her own way. If it had been 200 years ago we both would have died without medical intervention.
    The topic is so emotionally charged. But it's just the first of many things we get caught up in…all the 'shoulds'. You should nurse until your child is 3. You should NOT nurse past 1 year. If you really loved your child you'd homeschool. Good parents only let their children play with wooden blocks. Better parents never feed their child anything but organic. And on and on and on. So, learning to 'drown out the crowd' is the best advice you could get. Best wishes!

  34. My SIL had a home birth after much prayer, then her next one she had at the hospital — after much prayer. And I agree sooo much with jennie w. In the end, it kinda doesn't matter.

    I will also just say this — epidurals are what really enabled me to enjoy birthing children. But I'm just weak that way.

  35. I have had 2 c-sections. I had a hard time coming to terms with the first one. I felt real loss not having the experience I had always wanted. Additionally, some people wanted to point fingers at what I did wrong or what the doctors did wrong that "caused" the c-section. But my first child's birth was beautiful and special and spiritual. A wonderful experience. Plus, I got a baby. A beautiful baby.

    And yet, I had been prayerful. I had been hopeful. Heavenly Father most definitely knew my desires for an unmedicated birth. I don't feel that Heavenly Father was punishing me for my well intentioned decisions. He knew what I needed. He knew what would make me grow, even though it would be so hard.

    My second child's birth was such a blessing. I prayed and prayed that the doubts would go away. That I could feel peace about it this birth. I'm crying as I write this, but they are tears of joy. I went into labor at 41 weeks (the day before my scheduled c-section) and had 12 hours of unmedicated back labor. I don't say unmedicated to act that that's such an accomplishment, but it was what I personally had wanted. Yet, when I got to 9 centimeters (the same point I got to with my first child) there were the same problems that required an emergency c-section. The amazing thing is that while they were prepping me for surgery all I could feel was gratitude.

    He was aware of my situation. He had created me and created my children. He gave me so much of what I wanted. The doubt was gone. My understanding of how I was created and how much He loved me increased. How grateful I am for c-sections. These experiences have taught me about empathy and about not judging others. About working to eradicate the ugliness of pride (looking up and looking down).

    Your child's birth is important and spiritual because it is the beginning of the time you get to nurture, love and teach this child. Your opportunity to mother your children is what is the greatest treasure.

    This post is embarrassingly long and potentially off topic with the c-sections. But I guess the doubts you mentioned stirred up those feelings of wanting us all to understand that childbirth is not about strength or guts or weakness. I truly believe that Heavenly Father will make it what we need and want. Be prayerful and know that He is there.

  36. I haven't ever considered homebirth, but I went unmedicated and I intend to do it again. And again, and again, hopefully. It was nothing like the dentist, it was amazing. Of course it hurt, but it wasn't nearly as bad as I had anticipated.

  37. I've experienced 3 unmedicated births and 3 root canals. I definitely preferred the births! Much more fun to show off the results, just for starters…

    For me, anyway, labor resembled a very strong month's worth of cramps. Far from pain-free, but, given my history with cramps, I figure I get credit for 3 or 4 extra babies' worth.

    Blessings on you, your baby, and your birth.

  38. Just me commenting again. I think the main thing about birth is to be flexible. The more you are determined to have your birth be "just so", the more you are likely to be disappointed. I know that if you don't have a birth plan, you're considered a real loser nowadays. But having a birth plan is about as silly as making a "life plan" when you're 12 years old. Better just to let things happen. Same with breastfeeding and parenting in general. Have an idea of what would be nice, but be prepared for things to go differently. A change in plans is often a gift from the Lord.

  39. The position of delivery should not be scrutinized anymore than the position of conception.

    I missed this the first time through. Worth thinking about, and then thinking about again. And worth a smile.

    IMO, we as women need to trust each other more and respect each other's choices more.

    I love the power of prayer that is evident, and the struggle of the process of getting answers. It's so key to our journey. Thank you for sharing a bit of that process with us.

  40. I think the thing you're picking up on, Courtney, is that there is not a more sacred experience to a woman than when she gives birth, and so she is naturally apprehensive about doing what is best and then about justifying her decisions afterwards. As I thought about what I would tell you about why I did what I did (non-medicated, hospital), I was surprised to see how much of what I would say comes from a feeling of having to justify to others. One of the biggest hurts that ever came to me was when a friend made light of my decision, mocked it to me and to others behind my back. I still struggle with forgiving her. (And, probably, she was motivated by her own need to justify her own decision.) How much clearer things would be if we could eliminate all judging of others (or feelings of being judged by others!). It looks like you have tons of people in your life who can talk to you about what it's really like to do any of the choices you're considering. But if you want one more description, e-mail me and I'll tell you my story. Sounds like you're tuning in to what really matters, though: your own heart and the Spirit.

  41. I personally think the correct position for delivery is on your back, legs spread…….just kidding. Just trying to be absolutely light hearted in every way. I trust you. Everyone makes the right decision for themselves, and if they don't, they get it right the next time.

  42. Thanks Cjane, and Amen. I will be giving birth in a few weeks also, and have been thinking about these things as well. I have also noticed myself becoming more introspective in general–sort of tiptoeing away from lots of discussions about birth (and even blogging) and into my own little corner with just my husband and my baby. What you've said makes perfect sense.

  43. I was surprised to see how much of what I would say comes from a feeling of having to justify to others.

    I just wrote about how we often generalize the personal on my blog, and I had this thought — that often, when we want to generalize our experiences to others, it's because we somehow feel a need for validation of our own choices. I think we need to trust and love and not judge others, but also — and I think this is huge — learn to trust and love ourselves and our choices.

  44. I have been thinking about this post all day. I just wanted to say thanks for bringing it up because I haven't really thought much about how important prayer is in preparing for this experience. Granted I have 5 more months to work on that, but since before I got pregnant I have been worried about how to achieve a VBAC. Now I am realizing that if I prepare myself and am in tune with the Spirit then whatever is supposed to happen, will happen. So I am also grateful for Robyn's comment.

    A safe delivery and everyone intact is the main goal, but I would say childbirth differs from a wedding reception in a few main ways. Most importantly, it can be very difficult to heal from a birth that goes heartbreakingly unexpectedly. If a mom has prepared in every way important to her, then I think that healing will come more easily. However the process of birth and whatever the outcome, Heavenly Father knows what's going on and knows our needs. I so needed to read this. Thank you and I wish you a beautiful birth!

  45. learn to trust and love ourselves and our choices.

    I should add particularly the choices we have made with personal revelation and a confirmation from heaven. I'm not so big on just trusting in ourselves alone. 🙂

  46. Can I just say that it never would have crossed my mind to pray about the methods of delivery? Maybe because I am on an Army base and anything beyond the standard is a gigantic hassle to arrange and, as we know, I am lazy. So I like the reminder to pray about our fields more often.

    And, since it worked for you and everything, I WOULD like to know about your position of conception. For reference when W comes home.

  47. Ahhh… giving birth to a baby is the most sacred, special experience…and I have had all four in the hospital with epidurals and male doctors… No matter what you choose, have your hubby give you a blessing the night before and you will be at peace.. good luck… I am jelous.

  48. Ahhh… giving birth to a baby is the most sacred, special experience…and I have had all four in the hospital with epidurals and male doctors… No matter what you choose, have your hubby give you a blessing the night before and you will be at peace.. good luck… I am envious.

  49. Ahhh…giving birth is the most amazing, spiritual experience. I have had four children in a hospital, with an epidural, delivered by a male doctor with my husband by my side. Whatever you decide will be the right decision… good luck and I am envious… savor each moment.

  50. Thank you for this post, Courtney. Although I've not yet experienced the joys and trials of pregnancy and motherhood, I needed to be reminded of the importance and power of prayer and personal revelation. I'm so happy for you and Chup and The Chief!

  51. I haven't read all to comments, but I enjoyed your post. I feel that it is personal. There are A LOT of choices out there. And there aren't any wrong or right ways to go about labor and delivery…just what is right for you. I have my opinions about it all and I loved my birth experience. I had a midwife and delivered in a hospital, medication-free. I actually had a water birth. Will I do it exactly the same next time…probably not. I now know what works for me and what I want different about the experience. I may go for a home birth or a birthing center birth in the future. I may still deliver in a hospital. I will most likely do water birth again. I think I will always deliver sans medication but that is just me. If other women do it differently, that is there choice and I will respect them. What really matters is having a healthy baby and a healthy mamma. How we get there doesn't really matter in the great scheme of things. Good luck to you, whatever you and your hubby decide.

  52. Ohhh Jen… I just snorted mango juice through my nose because of that last comment!!!

    So, my thoughts? I think you hit the nail on the head with "This choice is to be made between a mother, father and The Lord."

    Birth is so personal. I don't like to talk about my personal experiences among mixed company (and, yikes, it's even scarier online!! People will attack you from outta no where!!!)because I'm always afraid of who will take offense or who will offend me. It's so complicated with all these choices!!

    Having had a c-section followed by a home birth I feel like I strike a nerve with women across all ends of the spectrum. Everyone's got an opinion on what is the "right" choice. I don't believe there IS a "right" choice. We CAN find direction and answers from the Lord when making our own decision. I love the way you expressed this revelation from the Lord:

    Here was the revelation: Courtney, you need to fulfill some requirements before your prayer is answered. Gain an open heart. Find courage. And, above all else, drown out the crowd.

    You put into words something that I experienced a little over a year ago and was never able to express adequately. Thank you!

    One last thing. There are so many similarities between birth and death. Here's mine: Critiquing the way a child entered into the world is like critiquing the way a person left the world. Or critiquing how a person mourns. How could you even GO there????? That's so personal. If you don't have anything supportive to say, then just leave me be!!!

  53. I just read (and loved) your post about the bird at the blessing. I guess I would just assure you that you'll have a sacred experience (and probably an unexpected one), especially when you're seeking so sincerely.

    In fact, maybe that's why we cling to our own familiar way–because that's where (and how) we received our own assurances.

    My delivery stories, too personal for a blog comment, have been marked by lessons from my Heavenly Father, who knows me personally. Yours will be too.

    Thank you for sharing your journey and your faith with us.

    P.S. I have learned an important spiritual lesson from an epidural, and it has nothing to do with a microwave. But I think you should refer to the eleventh Article of Faith, because in it we claim the privilege to act according to the dictates of our own conscience–and allow others the same privilege. Let her give birth how, where and with whom she may!

  54. I am with you cjane. When you try for 5 years to have a baby, you get the opportunity to see many women around you choose their birthing method. When you finally get the chance to make that decision for yourself there is definitely some kind of pressure. In the end, giving birth, no matter which method you choose, is a spiritual experience. Nothing like 5 years of prayers warm and cozy in your arms. Congratulations.

  55. It is lovely that you have choices, back when I had my babies there weren't a lot of choices. Choices though can bring confusion, thus prayer and refection are good resources aren't they? I get confused in the grocery store with all the choices so I can only imagine what you might be experiencing.

    I was pretty young when I had my first child and my parents lived a couple thousand miles away from me. I lived in a town of 50 people and had a neighbor who told me that I would resent my children for the the rest of their lives from the pain I would experience giving birth. Fortunately I had a lovely "Norman Rockwell" looking country doctor who had 7 children himself (he had a tie that proudly proclaimed all their names.) He taught me that pain is relative and that the most I would probably suffer severe pain during childbirth was hours in comparison with some people who have chronic pain for their entire lives. He taught me how to actually fall asleep during the pain of a contraction and how to help my body through the process of childbirth (I lived too far out in the country for childbirth classes.) He even stayed home from vacation because he knew I would deliver my first baby during that week. He stayed until the delivery was over then went on his family vacation. I loved him like a father. I didn't have anything but a local anethestic and have nothing but sweet memories of it all, and I don't resent my children in the least. In fact I couldn't love them more if I had experienced no pain at all.

    I think the most important thing is that you have someone you trust and can communicate with to help you through this beautiful process that is birth.

    God bless you in this delightful journey.

  56. Courtney, your Segullah posts are always, and I mean always, so beautiful and thought provoking.

    All four of my children were born in a hospital, with a doctor and without any pain medication. No epidurals, no nothing. I have no regrets and although labor and delivery was painful, I have wonderful memories of the strength and power that I felt as I delivered my babies. I felt strong and dare I say, proud of myself for accomplishing something hard.

    This was the right choice for me, my husband and our babies.

    There are so many issues related to parenting and motherhood specifically, that put undue pressure on mothers. It drives me crazy. We need to trust our instincts, and our divine nature and do what is best for us. I felt a ton of pressure to breast feed which didn't work out well for any of my children, and felt guilt when I chose bottle feeding after a few weeks of struggling with nursing. Now I look back, and wish that I had felt comfort in choosing what was best for me and my babies.

    I also felt pressure to lay my babies to sleep on their backs, but when my son was born and wouldn't sleep well on his back, and slept like an angel on his tummy, again, the guilt and worry crept in to my head.

    We mothers are given special gifts to discern what is right for our families, we need to trust those instincts. Heavenly Father has given them to us for a reason.

    (Sorry for the ridiculously long comment)

  57. I think it is fantastic that you are being prayerful about your birthing choices.

    I was all set to have my first at home. I was and am very pro-homebirth. My Senior thesis was on midwifery and the advent of forceps to the medical world. I responded deeply to A Midwife's Story by Penny Armstrong and Sheila Kitzinger's Homebirth and Giving Birth (How it Really Feels).

    But….it felt wrong. We did not have peace when we thought and prayed about the whole experience. Maybe it was the fact that we lived 45 minutes from a hospital or that my mother had a history of hemorhaging after birth. Fortunately, we were blessed with a wonderful birth experience thanks to a doctor with the soul of a midwife and a very tiny, patient oriented hospital and loving nurses. Had we not had that combo, my 36 hour labor and 4 hours of pushing would have ended in a c-section. The nurses kept telling me how lucky I was to have birthed there, because the outcome would have been much different elsewhere.

    My husband teases me that nothing in my birth plan worked out, except that we had a wonderful experience.

    Which is what it's all about.

  58. I am so glad you posted this. It is personal. It is sacred. I gave birth three times. Each was the same. Each was different. Each was not what I expected. There was some disappointment. Overall, there was gratitude for modern medical practices and a Father-in-heaven who guided the hands that brought my 3 into the world.

  59. Gotcha! I'm glad you clarified…and I agree wholeheartedly, everyone's answers don't have to match to be right.

    I read it with the tense ancticipation of another heated debate starting!

  60. I'm so jealous. Probably because the experience of child birth is so incredibly fresh: I gave birth to a lovely baby girl 5 days ago. I ended up with the dreaded c-section … my water broke, went into the hospital, was told my baby was breech (I had no idea, had been checked several days earlier and she was head down … she was so incredibly active the entire pregnancy that I probably mistook her turn for just another active period),and had no choice. Doctors will not even attempt to turn a breech baby after the water has broken.

    In my case, a home birth was not an option (a good midwife would have transferred me immediately if I had started at home – she was footling breech … would have been disastrous to deliver vaginally). I'm not yet sure what I'm supposed to have learned from my experience – that will come with time, I'm sure. I am disappointed, but I have to believe it happened for a reason … babies don't turn at 39 weeks (especially 9 pound babies). I can't be disappointed that I am healthy and my beautiful baby girl is healthy.

    I guess the point of my super long comment is that this is a spiritual experience and the Lord is in charge. It is so inspiring to read you ponder and pray about this decision.

    Good luck to you – I hope your birth is beautiful!

  61. I too was sick most of my pregnancy. The delivery was the best part for me! I chose to have an epidural. For me and my family it was the best choice. I felt powerful and present the entire time. Giving birth is an experience unlike anything else. I wish you enlightenment as you near the end of your pregnancy and approach delivery. All will be well!

  62. I just barely read this, so I'm replying late, but I wanted to share my experiences with you. I have done 5 drug drug free births and have loved each one…so bias number one, I love natural births. I am also a labor and delivery nurse and have experienced many wonderful births and many very difficult births no matter what way you choose. I get sick of the natural vs. medicated debate though:)

    Let me tell you one thing that has truly blown me away, though about birth….whenever I think about it. Whenever I stop and watch a woman in labor, or pushing, or struggling with needing a c-section, and I think about who they really are. I feel Heavenly Fathers love for them so intensely it amazes me. He loves these women who choose to sacrifice and experience the difficulties and trials of birth and motherhood, yet it is up to us to find what they all mean and the joy that can come from that.

    Go with what Heavenly Father tells you you need to do…he knows and he loves you.


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