This is not the sharing of my two birth stories but rather, a sharing of God’s redeeming grace in and over all things nonetheless. A sharing of hope, of how the Lord brings beauty from ashes and makes all things new in accordance with His perfect plan.
Before divulging too much more, a disclaimer: There will be some details discussed from my two c-sections that could give rise to heavy emotions, thoughts, and feelings if you are in a delicate place processing your own birth, pregnancy, or postpartum experiences. My heart is for yours! God knows every emotion you are encountering. Nothing surprises Him or catches Him off guard.
“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.” Colossians 1:16
As we come to understand with greater clarity what it looks like to hold grief and joy simultaneously, to live in the “already, but not yet”, we can affirm how that reality permeates different arenas of our every day lives. Our birth stories do not define us. But that doesn’t mean the very means in which the Lord chooses to use in refining us do not matter.
My c-section with Asher was emergent, unplanned, and chaotic with high stress. We were absolutely terrified. After pushing for over four hours, he refused to descend and was lodged in an unsafe position. In the operating room, I had to enter in alone because covid policies prevented Ryan from going with me. In order to safely deliver Asher, a vacuum was used on his head and I had to have two incisions on my uterus to swiftly gain access to our rainbow baby. I lost over 2 liters of blood in the process and immediately needed a blood transfusion. Praising God for the person who donated their blood so that I could have it for my health and safety. Entirely grateful for blood donors. Since then, we had set our sights securely on a VBAC. That was the prayer all along if we were going to have the privilege of growing our quiver full and become pregnant again, Lord willing.
Fast forward to 2022, we rejoiced over two faint lines on a pregnancy test in late June! I was increasingly confident of a VBAC being part of our story and that this was surely the time in preparing for our girl’s birth. When 35 weeks rolled around and we were given the news of Kora being in the frank breech position, we were shocked and didn’t really know what to do with that. It was not something on our radar. We were still exceedingly hopeful in pursuit of a VBAC. The following several weeks included multiple chiropractor visits who employed the Webster method technique in an effort of getting Kora to flip on her own. We did spinning babies, inversions, and moxibustion in addition to praying heavily for her to flip head down. Reflecting on these efforts, I am reminded all the more of how “the heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps (Proverbs 16:9)."
After Asher’s c-section, that was all we knew and so to think of having another one absolutely horrified us initially. I was also made more aware of hospital policies and procedures that would seem to limit my medical freedoms and wishes after Asher was born. I did a deep dive in researching more, which is always a good thing! We want to grow in becoming better advocates for ourselves and for our children. We desire to make confident informed choices that are solid and rooted firmly in our convictions. So, as we mapped out the plan with my medical team at the hospital, they fully listened and respected whatever it was that we chose to do. I requested a clear sheet for the c-section to see Kora lifted up out of my stomach, and they honored that. Ryan was in the OR with me for the entirety of the procedure and we got to pray, hold hands, and truly be in it together. Something we didn’t have with Asher’s birth. My medical team was accommodating hospital staff. I know that is not always the case and I share this with awareness and heightened sensitivity if you are reading this and that was anything but your personal experience. My goal in including this is to highlight that it does happen and there are some pretty incredible OBs out there fighting for the good of their patients: the family as a whole! And to encourage those who are unnerved about future hospital births. You aren’t alone. We had a really scary hospital birth AND a really redeeming one. See what I mean, living in the in-between?
Birth is so supernatural, beautiful, sacred, and set apart. It is no wonder that as we are bringing forth new life, by His grace, He is also bringing us to new depths. As mamas in the birthing process, we enter into new and uncharted territory as our babies are entering into our arms. It’s all connected. They depend on us for nourishment and every single thing they need to live, as children of God depend on Christ for our nourishment and every single thing we need to live. He alone is our daily bread. There is beauty in planning AND simultaneously holding things opened-handed with joy up to the Lord. He will work in ways that we can’t understand and grow us in our Christlikeness.
Just four years ago, I never thought I would be writing about our family growth, as it seemed so distant and far off in the face of sorrow coming out of our miscarriage. Yet, future grace is mine and has always been mine. The Lord is so faithful and kind. His ways are higher, better, fuller, more true, and more loving than we could ever fathom. No purposes of His can be thwarted.
If you are in a season of waiting, there is mercy there and manna for today.
Thank You, Lord for our redeeming birth that didn’t look anything like the one we were originally anticipating. I see Your sovereign hand in all the details surrounding our births, most evidently when holding our beloved children.
Soli Deo Gloria.
Kaley Rivera Thompson is an author, copywriter, Bible teacher, speaker, and worship leader. When she's not championing other women, cheering on the rising generation, writing or playing her guitar, Kaley loves to sip strong coffee, go on hikes, or take a day trip to the mountains with her family. She takes the most pride in being a mom to three little girls, Lina, Lili and Ceci. You can follow her on instagram at @kriverathompson or find out more on her website at kriverathompson.com.