It was a Monday like any other Monday during the end of my pregnancy. I woke up that morning one day past my due date and about ten days past my wit’s end. Yes, I was mentally and emotionally done being pregnant. But I was apparently not physically done. Now before you go judging me for my ungrateful attitude, please let me explain that I am a relatively complaint-free pregnant woman, up until the last few weeks. Being that I’m only five feet tall, I’m convinced that my tiny frame just makes carrying around a seven pound baby and twenty pounds of other extra stuff much harder than it is for regular sized women. Not that it’s easy for anyone, but you get my drift.
So when I woke up that morning, I was tired, emotionally wrecked, sore, uncomfortable, and ready beyond ready to go into labor. But for the past three days I had had no regular contractions to speak of. It was frustrating to say the least. I certainly suffered from that “I’m going to be the woman that sets a world record for longest pregnancy on record” feeling that I think every pregnant woman must experience by the end of their term. And while there was no end in sight, I kept having small signs that labor was imminent. Being the stubborn perfectionist that I am, I refused to go to the hospital before my time, so I kept my mouth shut about things that were happening to me. I guess I just had in my mind that I would have one of those “oh my gosh this is it! My water just broke and my contractions are five minutes apart! Let’s head to the hospital!” moments.
Leave it to me to have the most unorthodox labor I could dream up.
Now for those of you who are weak-stomached or otherwise sensitive to stories of childbirth, I will forewarn you that the next few paragraphs are chock-full of descriptions you might not want to read. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
After crying on and off for about a week out of frustration, I woke up on Monday morning, January 14th, determined to start over. I got in the shower (you know, that place where you solve the mysteries of the universe, sing like a pro, and have your most profound spiritual moments) and just started praying. I told God I was sorry for my poor attitude and impatience. I told Him I knew that I was blessed to have had such a healthy, event-free pregnancy and that I wanted to let go of my frustrations and just trust His timing for this baby to arrive. I told Him that all I needed was the strength to endure whatever timeline He had determined. All I asked of Him was that I could deliver the baby on my own and not be induced. I didn’t want to be induced at all. And above all, I asked that the Holy Spirit would guide me to know when to go the hospital.
I got out of the shower, got dressed, went about my usual morning routine and realized about mid-morning that my panties were damp. Now as glamorous as this is going to sound, by the time you reach nine months, it’s highly likely that damp panties are the result of the baby stepping on your bladder and causing you to pee on yourself a little bit. Nice, I know. But it’s the reality of being nine months pregnant. I did not want to go the hospital only to have them tell me, “Honey, go home, you’re just peeing on yourself.” But I also didn’t want to risk the baby getting an infection on the off chance that I had sprung a small leak of amniotic fluid. So I was torn on what to do. But as the morning wore on, I started thinking about how my panties had been getting progressively damper over the past 36 hours. Then I remembered that two nights before, I had woken up for one of my 500 trips to the bathroom only to feel a popping sensation on the top side of my very large belly. I wondered then if my water had broken, but when I didn’t have any sort of dramatic gush or even so much as a trickle of water, I blew it off. Now, a day and a half later, I realized I had been having a tiny trickle of water that was getting steadier ever since I felt that pop. And I couldn’t shake the feeling that I needed to go the hospital.
My parents were staying with us to help us out when the baby came, so I pulled my mother aside and told her what was going on. I asked her if she thought I was crazy and if I should go to the hospital. Her response was to be better safe than sorry. I agreed, reluctantly, and went to tell my husband he needed to take me to the hospital.
Before this, I had had a few incidents over the past few weeks that made me wonder if I should go to the hospital. But with each of those, the feeling that I didn’t need to go far outweighed the feeling that I should, so I never did. But this time was different. I somehow knew we needed to go, all the while thinking it was still probably too good to be true and that the nurses would check me out and tell me I was just peeing on myself. Nonetheless, we loaded up the car and went. No hospital bag. Nothing but my purse and husband.
When my son was born a couple of years ago, we scheduled an induction because he was due on Thanksgiving day and I wanted to make sure I would have my doctor there for delivery. But the night we went to the hospital, in the elevator on the way up to the labor and delivery ward, something changed. I couldn’t tell you what, other than I knew something was happening in my body. It turned out that I went into labor on my own that night and never had to be induced.
So when we were getting out of the car to go to the hospital this time, I had that same feeling. I can’t explain what that feeling is. It wasn’t panic, it wasn’t pain, it was just a sudden, distinct change in how I was feeling, both physically and emotionally. I told my husband about it and we laughed in the elevator ride up to the third floor at the idea that, once again, I would go into labor while walking up to the hospital.
When we got to the maternity ward, we had to ring a bell to get in. The nurse answered and I suddenly felt stupid, not knowing what to say. I stumbled through a sentence that ended up sounding something like, “My name is Morgan Farris. I am registered here. And I think my water has broken.” Stupid, right? If my water had broken, wouldn’t I be having hard contractions? I was second-guessing myself big time at this moment. They took us in and put us in a room, gave me a gown and said, “When you’re undressed, we will take a sample from you, send it to the lab and have it tested to see if it’s amniotic fluid.” I remember thinking, “Do I have to get in the gown? Can’t you just test it and tell me it’s pee without going through all this rigmarole?” I reluctantly went into the bathroom to get into my robe and realized my panties were even colder and wetter. Maybe I wasn’t crazy after all.
They performed the test and before they could even take the sample out of the room, the nurse said, “Um, it’s positive. You’re definitely leaking amniotic fluid. Looks like you’re having a baby today!”
Mind officially blown. I guess the Holy Spirit was guiding me after all.
So I called my mom and told her the news. We both laughed at my uneventful, positively preposterous way I went to the hospital, and she told me she would be up there shortly with my hospital bag.
The rest of the day went about as unexpectedly as possible as well. First of all, even on Pitocin my contractions never got regular. They got really hard, yes, but never regular. Somewhere around 5 or 6 that evening, my contractions were so hard and lasting so long (four and five minutes sometimes), I was in a lot of stress. I finally got an epidural and it did little to relax me. Contractions are only supposed to last about 45 seconds. So four and five minute jaunts of super hard contractions were wearing on me. And apparently they were wearing on my baby too because all of a sudden, every nurse on the floor came rushing in our room. The baby’s heart rate had dropped dramatically. They stuck a needle in my arm to stop the contractions immediately. I laid there feeling helpless and scared. I heard the words “emergency C-section” being tossed around and I started praying. I prayed so hard. I just kept asking the Holy Spirit to intervene and protect my baby. I prayed and prayed and prayed while the nurses hustled and bustled over me.
And then out of nowhere, a peace I cannot explain came over me – the kind you hear about in those amazing stories of the miracles of God. I was having one of those moments. My whole body relaxed and I just knew, I mean deep in my gut, no doubt about it KNEW that everything was ok. I kept hearing the Gateway Worship song “I’ll Be Found in You” over and over in my head. It was like a wave of calm sweeping over me. In that moment, I heard her heartbeat come back strong and steady on the monitor. The nurses all breathed a sigh of relief. They told us that if her heart rate stayed strong, we wouldn’t have to have a C-section after all. I knew we weren’t having a C-section that day. I knew her heart rate was staying up. And it did. It never went down again. In fact, for the rest of the evening, I was 100% pain and stress free. Nothing but laughs and jokes. It was borderline bizarre how relaxed the room was and how peaceful I felt. But I knew why it was happening.
My husband told me later on that in that moment of panic, he was praying too – praying that my labor and delivery would be miraculously pain free. And it was. Absolutely. Laughably so. We mused on how the day was such a testament to the power of praying in the Spirit. It was such a tangible, real moment for us. One that I’m sure we will never forget.
I’m happy to tell you that the rest of our hospital stay was as relaxed and uneventful as my labor. Our precious Audrey Adeline was born after pushing about eight times at 9:41 pm that night. It was perfect. Even my makeup stayed in place like one of those soap opera births (bonus!). I’m telling you, it was a supernatural experience in every way imaginable. And to top it off, our sweet baby girl is 100% healthy. Not even minor problems. I was in little to no pain after labor, and we went home right on schedule. Aside from my toddler son pressing the code blue button in our room the next day (which apparently means all hell hath broken loose and all nurses are to rush to the scene within 5 seconds), all was at peace with our little family.
I feel so blessed to tell you this story because if nothing else, it proves unequivocally that 1. Prayer works. 2. The Holy Spirit is real and powerful. And 3. Miracles still happen everyday. I believe it more now than ever.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 NLT)