Posted by: Kara Luker | March 16, 2011

Birth pains

God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises are true. Psalm 18:30

Note: I would like to apologize in advance to any male readers for today’s analogy. I will do my best to avoid the graphic elements of giving birth… just for you.

Cole was born on his due date. Not a day before. Not a day after. But at dinner time on October 7th, the date the doctor gave me when I was 6 weeks pregnant. I actually refused to believe that I was in labor most of the day since I’d had no false contractions, hadn’t yet “dropped,” and, besides, what baby ever comes on their due date?

This worked to my advantage since I spent a good portion of my labor in complete denial of the pain I was experiencing. I took a long walk down the peninsula that sunny day, munching on a protein bar and thinking about life. There came a point, though, when I had to acknowledge that this process wasn’t going to end until I’d had a baby.

As this was my first (and, to date, only) birthing experience, I didn’t know what to expect or how bad the pain would be. There was a lurking fear that despite the intensity of the contractions, I would arrive at the hospital and the doctor would say, “You’re 3 centimeters dilated… only 7 more to go!” Which would have been fine on my walk when I was capable of ignoring the situation, but not now, when my body was groaning in the expectation of expelling this creature.

When I finally called the doctor, I was told that had plenty of time left and should stay at home. Fear confirmed. But within the next few minutes, my body started to feel things that were not right. The part of me that really wanted to avoid a home birth (which was pretty much all of me) screamed to get to the hospital. I called the doctor and told him I was on my way. Despite his insistence that I would be best off at home, I threw some clothes in a bag and asked my husband’s parents to get me to the hospital asap.

The length of that drive to Hoag Hospital, though close in distance, cannot be described with my limited vocabulary. My growing sense of urgency was pronounced by my father-in-law’s diligence to the excrutiating speed limit of 25 miles per hour down that eternal stretch of peninsula. If ever there were a time to speed, I thought, this was it. But all I could do was hang onto the handle above the car window and whimper.

After a journey of minutes or months or years, we arrived at the hospital. I remember nothing about my surroundings – getting out of the car, checking in, getting into the delivery room. My whole being was focused on the task at hand. I could see nothing beyond managing each individual contraction, which seemed to be merging into one contraction of extraordinary length. I do remember the remarkable calm of the nurses as they worked to get me on the table to examine me, calling up in me the same exasperation I felt in the car. Did no one realize the horrific happenings in my whale of a body??

Examination revealed the cause of my urgency. I was fully dilated and ready to give birth. Oh, what a relief. But there was a problem. My doctor was not there. Understanding me to be overreacting on the phone, he had not yet left his weekend plans… a dinner party, I think. At the time, it didn’t occur to me to request – or demand – another doctor. So the nurses prepped me, and I waited.

I will pause the story here and say, in my typically dramatic fashion, that I identify with so many parts of this in my life right now…. feeling the intense approach of something I’ve been anticipating… fearing that it is just the beginning of a process… deeply worried that I will not be able to manage the remaining portion of the process… waiting in agony when it feels unnatural and wrong and past due. If you are wondering what this baby is that I’m waiting to birth, I don’t know. I have a growing urgency to come into a new space, but what that means or how that might look is absolutely beyond my understanding right now.

Regardless, I would love for the Lord to say, “Hey, guess what? You’re fully dilated! And I’m here to deliver this baby. So push, girl, push!” But my fear, of course, is that I will be told to stay home and suck it up. Or spend years in the car trying to get where I need to go. Or lie on the delivery table, waiting. But, if that’s the case, I want to wait in trust. I want to wait with the knowledge that there really is good reason. I want to wait with joyful expectation of whatever this is going to look like on the other side. Knowing I will get to hold that baby, thinking it’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen, and forgetting – mostly – about the pain it took to get there.

I will unpause the story to say that the nurse gave me something to “take the edge off” until the doctor arrived, which really wasn’t that much later. I gave birth to Cole, which was the end of the natural process, but I became so much more than just someone who had given birth. I became a mom. I would go through labor all over again, ten times if need be. He is just that worth it.

So, now, I want to stand in a place of trust that whatever is being formed and birthed will be worth the process it takes to get there. I came upon my post the other night about patient hopefulness. I want to exist in that place, no matter what things feel like or look like. Because God is good. His ways are perfect. All his promises are true.


  1. This is such a good analogy. I know many times God has told me I was giving birth spiritually one of those times I had a dream about triplets and one of their names was Gabrielle which means the Lord is my strength. The birthing pains can be very painful but if we stop and remember that they are just birthing pains they will end and have beautiful fruit in our life, it is easier to have glimpses of peace in the process. Such a good reminder
    love you Janelle

    • I remember that dream! Yes, contractions are no fun. But productive and good. And SO worth what we get on the other side. So I guess we just keep focusing and breathing in the meantime. 🙂

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