In September of 2017, I thought that I just might be pregnant. Still struggling from the miscarriage 5 months earlier, I was filled with excitement and excruciating anxiety. I did not want to relive the experience of waiting eight weeks before seeing a doctor, only to hear, “there is no heartbeat.” So my doctor graciously allowed me to come in at six weeks for an ultrasound. She made sure I knew that in most cases, a heartbeat cannot be determined at six weeks, but they could at least ensure that the pregnancy was viable. Tears rolled down my face as the ultrasound technician pressed a button that allowed the faint sound of a beating heart to fill the room. At that moment, I felt God promise that I would carry this baby full-term.” Such a sweet gift!
And then, after announcing and celebrating our pregnancy with friends and family, I was told I needed to read the book, Supernatural Childbirth by Jackie Mize. Intrigued, I ordered this small book and read it in one sitting. And then read it over and over again while Nolan grew inside of me. This woman talked about God’s revelation to her about the misconceptions about childbirth, Scriptures to cling to, and promises to anticipate. This book changed the way I viewed labor and delivery, but more importantly, it changed the way I viewed prayer.
In regards to labor and delivery, Mize unpacks Genesis 3 and the curse on Eve. She challenged my understanding of this Scripture by revealing that in the original language, God’s curse intended sorrow for women who must now bring children into a sinful world, not physical pain. And then she settles in Isaiah 53 and Galatians 3.
Genesis 3:16 – To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your [sorrow] in childbearing; in [sorrow] you shall bring forth children.”
Isaiah 53:4-5 – Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our [sorrows]; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and by His wounds, we are healed.
Galatians 3:13 – Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse for us.
Mize poses this thought: as Christians, we believe that Jesus’ death on the cross brings complete, immediate redemption to anyone who accepts Him. By confessing Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you receive instant and total forgiveness, immediate access to the Father, the power of the Holy Spirit, and the assurance of eternity. So why do we assume that we receive all of these things except for redemption from the original curse on mankind? Especially when Scripture clearly states that Jesus became that curse for us. He took on every grief, sorrow, and sin. Why? So that we don’t have to bear it. After much prayer, personal time in Scripture, and conversations with Drew, I began to claim that this was true for me, too. That Jesus took the sorrow and even the physical pain associated with childbirth on the cross. That His intention for the birthing process is one filled with grace, beauty, and awe.
In this book, Scriptures about prayer were also unpacked. Scriptures with which I was familiar, but had never put into practice.
Mark 11: 24 – Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
John 14:14 – If you ask me anything in my Name, I will do it.
What if I prayed big, bold prayers and actually believed that God would answer them? I honestly don’t know if I have ever prayed with such confidence. I’ve asked God of things earnestly like I’ve asked Him to allow me to carry a baby full term, to give me wisdom about what choice to make, to bless my marriage, to heal a friend. But I don’t know, until this point, if I had ever asked God of something with the faith that He would actually do it. And so, for the remaining six months of my pregnancy, I prayed boldly, specifically, and confidently every day that God would allow me to have a “fast and easy labor and delivery with no medication, free of pain and complications, in the Name of Jesus.” I believed that this would absolutely happen for us and I even had a dream that confirmed it. I was not fearful of labor and anticipated God to show up in a powerful way using Nolan’s delivery to display His goodness. And that’s what happened!
On May 18th, we spend the afternoon going on easy hikes to show an out of town guest the sights of Chattanooga. I am certainly winded, take multiple breaks on our walks, and notice that Braxton Hicks contractions become more frequent as the day goes on. We enjoy a delicious Italian dinner, run to the car in the rain, and watch a movie when we get home. By midnight the contractions are happening every 30 minutes. Nolan is not due for another week and just that morning my doctor assured me I was not any closer to labor, so I blame the contractions on hiking and try to get some sleep. I continue to wake up every half hour from midnight until 5am. At 5:15am I wake Drew up, grab my What to Expect When You’re Expecting book, flip to the chapter on labor and delivery and become confident Nolan is on his way. At 6:30am we start timing contractions. They last for a minute and a half, coming every five minutes for an hour. We load up the car and drive to the hospital.
At this point, the contractions are increasingly more intense. My body is working so hard, the muscles in my abdomen getting tighter and tighter, but it is not painful. Think about holding a plank for longer than a minute (or even 30 seconds!) Every muscle is tight, you may even be shaking, it’s extremely uncomfortable, but it doesn’t hurt. (Note: My contractions are way more intense than holding a plank for a minute, but you get the drift!) On the drive, I focus on breathing and relaxing my body. In between phone calls to our parents, I repeat the Scriptures I had memorized and claim 1 John 4:18 like my life depends on it. “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” I have nothing to be afraid of. God is faithful and we are about to have this baby without any pain or any complications.
We arrive at the hospital, get checked in, and settle into a triage room about 8:30am. The nurse informs me that I am only dilated to three centimeters and since many first time moms can go several days before labor progresses, she would give me an hour before sending me home. But I know I’m not going home without a baby. So I lay down, close my eyes, focus on breathing, praying, and listening as Drew reads the Scriptures we were claiming over me.
An hour later, she comes back into the room and panic sweeps over her face as she realizes I was now dilated 8.5 cm. She picks up my bags, yells to the other nurses, and quickly ushers me into a delivery room. By the time I lay down in the delivery room, I feel the urge to push. A nurse has me lay on my side, holds down my hips, and tells me we need to wait for the doctor. I continue to breathe slow, even breaths, fight against the fear as the contractions become more and more intense, believing that there will be no pain and no complications as Nolan makes his way into the world.
By 10:34am, only two afters after arriving at the hospital, Nolan is born and placed gently in my arms. The nurses can’t believe how fast Nolan arrived. “Two hours for your first labor with no medication?” they wonder aloud. That’s what we had prayed for we tell them! We tell them we trusted that God could do something miraculous if we asked Him and believed He would do it. We tell them that for the past six months we prayed for a fast, easy, painless labor and delivery with no complications and no need for medication. They could see that God had absolutely answered every detail of our prayers!
Our little man is now almost four months old and I still cannot get over how good, how gracious, how powerful God is. In Nolan, I’m reminded of God’s faithfulness. I’m reminded that He cares 1,000% about the details of our life. I’m reminded that my prayers never go unanswered, even, or maybe especially, the big ones. My pregnancy and labor with Nolan challenge me to dive deep into Scripture, to believe that my God is more powerful than I realize, and to ask—and expect—Him to do bold things in my life. If you and I commit to believing God’s Word is true and actually pray big, specific prayers, I wonder what miracles we might witness!