Alexandra is the author of Re:Birth and mom to three little ones!
My Second Birth Story
The news of our second pregnancy was received with such great joy! I had just begun praying for this baby, and a few weeks later we received the exciting news that we were expecting again! I experienced four mornings of morning sickness, but through prayer, it passed quickly! Even the headaches that I had been experiencing before my pregnancy disappeared! This time around, I was praying to have a baby between six and seven pounds (my son was just shy of nine pounds!). And I was praying that God would reveal more of how labor and delivery were intended back in Eden.
I went in for my 20-week ultrasound, and we were thrilled to find out that we were having a little girl! I was asking about her size and mentioned to the doctor that I was hoping the baby would be between six and seven pounds and she laughed. She said maybe eight pounds, but after the last one being so big it wasn’t likely I’d have a six or seven-pound baby! Even the doctor in the delivery room laughed at the prospects. But thankfully my little girl was born weighing six pounds eleven ounces!
But let me back up to my second labor! This time I dilated to five centimeters before going into labor. That was pretty awesome, and I personally believe that I would have continued to dilate before going into labor, but the doctor decided to strip my membranes without asking or saying anything to me. She said I could head to labor and delivery if I wanted to, but I wasn’t having contractions so I went home. I decided to relax a bit and a few hours later I noticed a good amount of mild contractions so we decided to head to the hospital. When I got there, I was seven centimeters and doing fine. My contractions weren’t really regular so they suggested walking a bit to make them more regular, which helped. I was at a different hospital than my previous birth and I wasn’t honestly thrilled with their procedures or staff. With my first delivery, they had wireless monitors so you could move around; use the tub, and do whatever. At this hospital, they had to monitor you by laying in bed for twenty minutes out of every hour. That was kind of frustrating, but I could deal with it.
Then there was the nurses and doctor. Some of them were really excited and encouraging that I was going to deliver without an epidural. One nurse said she’d never even seen anyone do that there! But everyone else made it seem like a really big inconvenience. Their mandatory cervix checks were much more than painful than the labor! I’m not sure if it’s because they had stripped my membranes, or they just weren’t used to doing it to someone who didn’t have an epidural, but it made the experience increasingly unpleasant. They also had to put an IV port in, which I really didn’t like. Those things all hurt! My labor didn’t! Unfortunately, my anger and frustration mounted. This time, I started getting really upset and angry with the staff. I wasn’t allowed to move about or do anything that I felt would bring peace. I wanted to take a warm shower, but they said “no” to that too. I decided that if I couldn’t do anything to labor the way I wanted, then my only option was an epidural. I was miserable. Though I had experienced pain in my previous birth, it paled in comparison to my second birth. Now, I really understood what ‘natural’ birth was like without the ‘supernatural’ part. And things were about to get a whole lot worse.
While I was still in the hospital after having Avaline, I noticed I had a blister on my belly button. I figured the skin there had been stretched to its limits and it was probably nothing to be concerned with. The next day, I had a few itchy patches but, again, I didn’t think much of it. Within 5 days, my entire body was covered in these itchy, blistering patches. I went to a doctor who diagnosed this mysterious disease as pemphigoid gestationalis. My immune system was misfiring and causing two layers of my skin to separate, which created these itchy blistering patches. It grew to cover my body from my neck to the soles of my feet, so severely that it made walking nearly impossible. There was no medical explanation for why it happened; maybe it was a reaction to the placenta? Maybe something else related to the pregnancy? (Or maybe Satan.)
The ridiculous pemphigoid, on top of my disappointment with my delivery, threw me into the pits with Job for a few days. I had to keep on reminding myself that “the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy” But Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10). It was easy to feel discouraged. I was disappointed with how my delivery experience was, and now my entire body was covered in a blistering rash! I was trying to recover, care for a newborn, and my two-year-old! I wanted to stomp my foot at God, but I had to recognize the cause of all of this. It wasn’t God “testing me,” but it was the thief trying to steal my joy as a new mother and destroy the hope of redeemed pregnancy and birth that was in my heart. Thankfully, there is nothing too difficult for God to conquer, and everything that has a name must bow to the name of Jesus (Phil.2:10). And so it did. We called the Saints in to be praying, and with a week of prayer and a fraction of the prescribed dosage of steroids, I was pemphigoid free!
I begrudgingly went back to the doctor for a follow-up appointment, only to be thrown back down into the pits again. Then the bad news started piling on. “You know, you can get pemphigoid again, and it could be a lot worse next time…” He told me the risks and the side effects; he told me that if it came back, it might never go away. He also told me that he had no idea if it would come back, but that I should have a very serious conversation with my husband and we should decide what’s best. I smiled and thanked the doctor for his input. I got to my car and felt so incredibly angry, not at the doctor himself, but at the diagnosis. “How dare they…” I kept thinking. “How dare they decide something that is not their decisions, it is God’s!”
I threw out the paperwork on the disease and sulked for a few days. I contemplated the doctor’s words and felt badly for myself; and then, I decided to listen to God. I decided that this was where I was going to take my stand. I could accept the theft and destruction, or I could lift my eyes to the One who is truly in control. I started trying to look at this entire circumstance from an eternal perspective, and that’s when God planted this joyful idea in my heart. That still, small voice, whispered: “the stage is set.… the stage for God to do something incredible.” Though my circumstances looked bad (and were about to get even worse), it was merely all the makings of a miracle! Jesus had already crushed the head of the snake. What did I have to worry about?
To help me practice my batting, the enemy threw some more curveballs at me after the doctor’s appointment. I started having pretty significant stomach pains and got these strange pits and ridges in my fingernails, sores in my mouth. I would have been pulling my hair out, except it was falling out on its own! I began to rapidly lose weight, and it seemed like my body was not absorbing nutrients properly. With mounting signs of malnutrition and random, painful, symptoms, I wallowed again. I have a terrible tendency to do that. I “googled” my symptoms and tried to figure out what was happening. WebMD had me convinced my life was over.
One morning I was grumbling about what on earth was going on and Holy Spirit convicted me; I didn’t need to know what on “earth” is going on because I knew what had been done from heaven. If, through the sacrifice of Jesus, my spirit could be joined with the spirit of God (Jhn 14:20), then there was no sickness in God, and therefore no sickness in me. That’s settled. My symptoms might lie, I might have days where I don’t feel great, but what does that really matter now that Jesus has come? Shortly after, I was listening to a message on YouTube by Todd White. At the end, he began to pray and said, “God’s healing Crohn’s Disease!” I didn’t know what that was, I but I felt it physically leave my body. In an instant, all the visible marks vanished and I knew I had been healed! More importantly, I knew God’s never-ending love for me, and that He had a mighty, miraculous, plan in store!