April 10, 2017 by Shae Bynes
When Heaven Invades the Delivery Room
On March 28, 2017 at 1:14 am (5 days after my 40th birthday), I gave birth to my third daughter Malia Grace.
My husband Phil and I call her our “grace baby” because God’s grace was abundantly evident over my entire pregnancy as well as the labor and delivery. His empowering presence gave me the ability to do what I never could’ve done in my own strength.
The Back Story: A Seed Planted
Years ago while capturing my friend David Burrus’ story for my devotional Encountering God: A Devotional for the Kingdom Driven Entrepreneur, David shared how his wife experienced supernatural childbirth with their two sons. She had no pain during labor…no medication, no epidural, or c-section. She’d read a book by Jackie Mize called Supernatural Childbirth and decided that she was going to stand in faith for God’s best and He delivered.
Frankly, I’d never heard of anything like that before. I’d experienced a natural childbirth with my oldest daughter and while it was a positive and memorable experience there was plenty of pain in that process. I specifically recall cursing for the first (and last) time in front of my mother during labor because the pain was so intense! I was embarrassed and apologized to everyone in the room and everyone (including mom) was very understanding and found it amusing that I was so concerned about my outburst.
Accepting the Invitation
Fast forward a few years later and now we’re expecting a baby. I thought back to my friend’s testimony and decided I wanted the same supernatural birth experience. If God did it for David’s wife and for others, He would most certainly be willing and able to do it for me too. Ultimately, every mom wants a safe delivery and a healthy baby. I wanted that too, but at this phase of my life, I don’t turn down opportunities to extend my faith in new areas when I’m feeling the nudge to stretch. Accepting the invitation is a way for me to grow in intimacy with my heavenly Father, experience His goodness in tangible ways, and allow my testimonies to bring Him glory and inspire others.
My friend David gave me the Supernatural Childbirth book as a gift when I shared the news of my pregnancy and I was hooked! Not only did I read the book multiple times, but I purchased an audio during my last trimester called Childbirth in the Glory that I listened to in the car with faith declarations (backed up by scripture) to meditate on and speak over my child and my birth process.
I didn’t share my supernatural birth plan with many people — not even my midwife — because I knew that it sounded crazy and I didn’t want anyone to intentionally or unintentionally create any doubts and speak against what I was standing in faith for.
The Longest Labor Ever
While my birth plan was to have my midwife deliver our baby at a local birthing center, things didn’t go according to my plan. For some reason, my body just wasn’t fully cooperating even as I was having contractions for several hours after my water broke.
Despite the stalled labor while at the birthing center, I remained hopeful. I could feel some pressure, but I wasn’t experiencing pain even when my contractions were 3-5 minutes apart for over an hour. Phil and I were smiling and laughing and playing a competitive game of Tonk between my contractions!
Things changed when my midwife told me I was not progressing as she’d hoped, I was at higher risk of infection due to my water being broken for so many hours, and as a result I’d need to go to the hospital and get pitocin to help me reach the finish line. I won’t even lie. I was worried. I had history of a pitocin-induced labor with my second child and those contractions were no joke! There was nothing natural about the frequency, length, and intensity of those contractions. I’ll spare the details of that labor process, but overall I had very unpleasant memories and was concerned about going down that road again.
God is Bigger Than Pitocin
On the way to the hospital, I called Alicia a close sister of mine and shared my fears with her. She reminded me of one simple truth with this question: “Is God bigger than pitocin?” Of course I replied yes. Alicia said, “What you were believing for at the birth center you can still experience in the hospital even with an induced labor.” She was right. I decided to keep my faith engaged.
When I finally arrived in the hospital delivery room, they started the pitocin. About 20 minutes in, I could feel the contractions coming in stronger but I focused my attention on the love of Jesus and the faithfulness of God and at times would ask Phil to apply counter pressure to my lower back. All was well. I experienced some pressure but there was no pain.
After a few hours of contractions I asked the nurse midwife when she was going to check to see how far I’d progressed in labor. She told me that they didn’t plan to check until I was at the point where I was having difficulty managing the contractions. While I understood the infection risks, I needed to know that I was finally progressing and it didn’t look like anyone was going to confirm that for me. I had no plans to pretend that the contractions were painful when they hadn’t been.
I remember looking at the clock and it was after 10 pm. My calm demeanor took a turn for the worst and I suddenly became mentally, physically, and emotionally fatigued. One of my best friends Kayann (I call her my “maternity angel”) is a nurse at the hospital and was with me that evening after her shift ended. She looked at me and told me that I was built to do this, I was going to be fine, and that I needed to sit back in the bed and get some rest.
“Rest?!? Is she crazy?” I thought to myself.
I argued that I don’t handle contractions well sitting in the bed and I needed to be moving around. I told her that it was late and all I wanted to know was if I was progressing because I’m physically exhausted from the past 48 hours of off and on labor and little sleep. I cried in frustration and the last thing I wanted to do was get back in that insanely uncomfortable bed. I tried a few positions on the bed and I just couldn’t get comfortable.
I was exhausted.
Eventually I stopped arguing with my maternity angel and I laid back on the bed to supposedly “rest.”
In a moment of surrender when I had absolutely nothing left to offer other than to rest, heaven invaded the labor and delivery room.
The best way to describe what happened when I laid back on that bed to rest is to say that Jesus took the wheel. Without any medication, I was suddenly in a meditative state where I could not feel a thing. My eyes were closed and it was as if I was sleeping, but I could occasionally hear the conversation between my friend and Phil about how long and strong the contractions were (they were watching the monitors) and how well I was handling them.
They later told me that for well over an hour during the most intense parts of the labor, they would hear an occasional short and soft moan from me and that was it.
The next thing I recall was hearing the nurse tell me that I was 9 cm dilated. After that I was “gone” again and Phil told me that I moved to sit on the side of the bed and made absolutely no sound at all for the next several contractions. He asked the nurse if they had turned off the pitocin and she said no and that she had increased it.
The next thing I remember is waking up and telling my friend that the baby was coming and I needed to push. The problem was that the nurse and the nurse midwife weren’t in the room at the time. I was unaware of this important detail, but it was only me, my friend, and Phil because the nurse had stepped out for a moment! My friend urged me not to push and to hold on. I tried my best, but with only one push from me and two contractions pushing our baby along, our little one Malia entered the world.
I wish there had been a camera in the room to capture everything that I was too oblivious to witness in the meditative state I was in. The scene of…
…my maternity angel friend putting gloves on when she couldn’t find the nurse quickly enough
…Phil’s facial expression as he thinks he may have to catch the baby himself
…the medical team busting through the door and scrambling at the very last second to prepare for delivery
I am certain that it was pure comedy. When my husband tells the story, he says that Malia delivered herself!
My girlfriend says she has never seen anything like what happened with me in that labor room. She kept telling me how great of a job I did, but the truth is that my heavenly Father took control and blessed me with an amazing supernatural childbirth experience that I cannot wait to tell Malia about when she’s older.