Background My birth story for Peter starts in early August of 2012. Our little love, Camille Amorina was 15 months old at the time, and the “baby bug” had started to bite me again. I remember James and me discussing it over a dinner date one night. We were both very decided on the fact that we wanted another child, but we were not sure if the timing was just right. If we got pregnant at that time, Camille would be two years old when baby #2 was born, which would be decent spacing, but there were other things to consider. I wasn’t sure if I was quite ready to give over my body again to pregnancy, having just shed my last first-pregnancy weight. I was also still breastfeeding Camille with no end in sight, and I definitely did not want to cut her off too soon. James and I were decided too, that I would be a stay-at-home mom when baby #2 arrived; which brought up the issue, “Are we financially stable enough to go down to one income?” James and I resolved to commit the whole thing over to God and we fasted and prayed about it for a set period. After fasting and praying, I had no clear answer from the Lord, but had really gotten my hopes up that now would be the time! James on the other hand, heard differently. After sharing with each other further, we both decided that there were some things that the Lord had for us (the three of us, Camille included) to do before we had a second baby. I was somewhat disappointed, and I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say I grieved a bit over having to wait, but I am SO glad that we did. I could write a whole other dissertation on what God did over the next year that would NOT have happened had we been pregnant. But let’s suffice it to say that it involved some large offerings, intense one-on-one ministry, building of friendships, and positioning in the Spirit to be a much larger impact at the time that we DID become pregnant again. Conception Fast forward a year to July of 2013. James and I were 100% sure that we were ready to try for baby #2. We had our sights set on May of 2014. (For those of you who know us well, you know that all three of us have May birthdays, and we wanted to aim for baby #2 to have a May birthday as well.) We went off of birth control and were shooting for my next cycle in August. I know that our pregnancy was ordained by the Lord, because I ovulated later than I EVER have before (day 28!), but I KNEW it was happening. So, we were blessed by the Lord to conceive on the cycle we intended to get pregnant on, and I immediately calculated my own due date to be May 28, 2014. Thank you, Lord! Pregnancy My pregnancy with Camille was a good pregnancy, but I knew my pregnancy with Peter could be even better. Again, I could write a dissertation on all the ways that it was a wonderful pregnancy, but I will sum it up. I did not have morning sickness, because I believed that I didn’t have to endure it. I did not gain an excessive amount of weight. I did not overly swell, and my body felt great the whole time! I gave it over to the Lord and believed that pregnancy IS a wonderful thing that God created for a woman to enjoy while her body is nurturing and growing a life inside. So I intended to enjoy it, and I did. Preparing for Childbirth I read an amazing book his time around, Supernatural Childbirth, by Jackie Mize. I highly recommend it to anyone of faith having a baby. It introduced me to God’s truths in Scripture about pregnancy and childbirth, and it gave me prayers and confessions based on Scripture to recite and claim so I could have the pregnancy and birth that I wanted. Almost from the beginning, I began to claim that I would have a quick, easy childbirth without pain. Unbelievable, right? Not so, if you believe what the Word says. A curse came on Eve in the Garden of Eden that cursed woman to bear children in pain. However, in Galatians 3 it says “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.” If that is true (and of course it is, because the Word says it), then we are redeemed from the curse that came on Eve. It also says in Mark 11, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” I started from that moment to believe, confess and receive that I could have a labor and delivery that I wanted AND a healthy baby. I specifically prayed for: fast, easy, pain-free delivery that baby would be head down, face down, not breech and in PERFECT position for delivery, and that he would rotate properly no tearing, episiotomy or stitches that my water would break in the morning after I had restful sleep, before going to work that I would have time to get to the birth home safely before delivery My uterus would begin to contract on its own and push the baby down the birth canal My cervix would dilate to 10cm, be elastic and stretch as large as it needed to without tearing to accommodate the birth of my baby My body would function perfectly as it should That I would be relaxed and without tension Fear had no place in my labor and delivery, in Jesus’ name I would NOT go into labor BEFORE 39 weeks or AFTER 40 weeks. My baby would NOT weigh more than 9 pounds Labor My due date was May 28, and I was 39 weeks on May 21. At 3:50am, after the most restful night of sleep in weeks (hadn’t even gotten up to go to the bathroom in 5 hours!) on May 22, (39 weeks, 1 day), my water broke. We gathered everything up and James, Camille and I went to the Belvoir Birth Home to await the arrival of Peter Solomon. We arrived at the Birth Home at about 4:30am and my midwife Carolyn Drake, greeted us. My mom and step-father met us there to take care of Camille (who got to stay with us at the home the whole time). I had started to have contractions in the car on the way. They were light and about 13 minutes apart. I got into my birthing dress, put on my labor music (thanks Tiffany Envid and Gayla Austin) and James and I rested for a while. I made sure to drink plenty of water and eat to keep up my energy. By about 7am, contractions were a bit stronger and about 8 minutes apart. I got into the birth tub, but it was too soon, and it slowed down my contractions, so I got out. James and I decided to go on a walk around the neighborhood that the Birth Home is located in to let gravity do its thing. James was really great at timing my contractions for me and keeping track of them on an iPad app. The walk was so peaceful and relaxing. (The retro1950’s homes we saw were really cool!) It helped to speed up my contractions to about 5 minutes apart. We went back to the birth home when we heard that breakfast had arrived. My step-father had gone to get some breakfast sandwiches, hash browns and coffee. It was about 8:45-9am by this time. It was SO wonderful to eat and stay nourished while I was in labor! After eating, my midwife checked me and I was dilated to 4.5 centimeters and 90 effaced. This is the first and ONLY time she checked me my WHOLE pregnancy (yay!) I got on the birth (yoga) ball and bounced. I put in 365 Names of God in the CD player. By this time, it had been over 5 hours since my water broke. I was somewhat discouraged that my labor had not come on faster, because my total labor and delivery with Camille (my first) had taken a total of 4.5 hours. So I prayed and rebuked the Enemy and the discouragement and thanked the Lord for HIS plan and then reminded Him AND the devil what I had prayed and confessed the whole pregnancy, and that I would have nothing less than what I asked for. I continued to bounce on the yoga ball (pretty vigorously), and all the while, my contractions inched closer and closer together and became more intense, but they DID NOT HURT. I relaxed my jaw and prayed in the Spirit (translated, prayer language). At 10:55am I looked at James and said, “In Jesus name, this will not be an “afternoon” baby, this will be a “before lunch” baby.” Within the next 10 minutes my contractions had reached 3 minutes apart and were lasting about 1.5 minutes. At about 11:15am, I got back in the birth tub on my knees and rested my head on a towel on the side of the tub. I have to admit, my faith was tested very much so at this point in my labor. Up until now, I had truly experienced no pain in my labor journey. The last 7 hours had been intense, but not painful. I had prayed for a pain free labor and delivery and I continued to cling to that until the moment that Peter was born. I cannot honestly say that the last 30 minutes of my labor were pain-free, but with the strength of the Lord, they were bearable. By the time I got into the tub, my contractions were very intense. I had my left hand on the floor of the tub to support my weight, and I held onto the side of the tub with my right hand while resting my jaw on a towel on the side. My eyes were closed. James put a cool rag on my neck in between contractions. Every time a contraction would come on, now every two minutes, I would immediately and intently relax my jaw so that my pelvic region would also relax, I would imagine that I was riding a wave that would peak and then die down, and I asked the Lord for His strength and prayed in my prayer language throughout the contraction. I knew when I was going into transition (dilated to 10 centimeters) and when Peter was about to crown. I call it the “I think I can’t do this anymore” moment. This means it is almost over! This part of my labor was the most unexpected part for me. Delivery As I began to push Peter down and out, I did not scream or yell…..I began to SING! I am a trained soprano singer. I did not sing when I pushed Camille out, I tensed up and yelled, which was hurtful to my body and my vocal cords. The Lord knew that the way I would breathe best and move air most efficiently to push out my baby was to sing. So, in operatic intervals (Eb5 to Bb5 to G5, to be specific(), over and over again, I sang as I pushed. And in three pushes, at 11:37am, my Peter Solomon was born and laid right on my chest there in the water with James behind me. Afterward Peter was beautiful. I remained relaxed and calm throughout the whole labor and delivery, and until the point that I sang I had not made a sound while laboring other than talking to James, Carolyn, and God. We waited for the umbilical cord to stop pulsating and then Carolyn clamped it and cut it about two feet long (didn’t clamp and cut it to a stub until an hour or so later after nursing Peter for the first time). My placenta was delivered about 20 minutes after Peter was born, without incident (I got to keep it, by the way!). I dried off, went to the bedroom and snuggled with Peter on the bed and nursed him for the first time. About an hour after delivery, Carolyn did the newborn exam on Peter, right beside me on the bed. Everything was wonderful, and he weighed EXACTLY 9 pounds. He was 20.5 inches long and his head was 14.5 inches. I got cleaned up and dressed and we got to take Peter into the family room to meet his big sister, Camille, and Marmie and Pop. Camille called him “Rock,” because we told her that his name, Peter Solomon, means “Rock of Peace.” It was priceless. Camille then told me that she heard me “singing.” Carolyn commented that it was amazing hearing me “sing my baby out.” I told her “Thank you.” She said, “No, thank YOU!” By 4pm, we were home and resting as a family. Thoughts and Hindsight God answered my prayers. I went into labor at 39 weeks and 1 day. My water broke in the morning after I had restful sleep, before going to work. I made it to the Birth Home safely before delivery. My uterus began to contract on its own. Peter was head down, face down, not breech and in PERFECT position for delivery. My cervix dilated to 10cm, was elastic and stretched, and even though Peter was 9 pounds (EXACTLY and had a 14.5 inch head, I had no tearing, need for episiotomy or stitches. My body functioned perfectly as it should and I was relaxed and without tension. I was not afraid. As far as being fast, easy and pain-free, not completely. Fast: My total labor and delivery was just under 8 hours. In hindsight, I see that God allowed it to take longer than my first delivery (4.5 hours) so that I could enjoy and take in some things that I did not get to the first time (i.e. My walk with James, bouncing on the ball, praying and standing in faith in the midst of adversity, SINGING my baby out!). I gained experience and a testimony to share with other women to encourage them. Easy: The trusting the Lord part was definitely easy. The first 7 hours were easy. The last half hour…a bit more challenging(. Pain-Free: most of it was, yes. The part that was not pain free was bearable, and I leaned on the Lord like I NEVER have before. I amazed even myself at how much I let go and leaned on God. And He delivered…..literally! I believe also that my experience will allow me to grow and next time, it WILL be completely pain free! To God Be the Glory God is faithful. He is who He says He is. In all I do, I want to honor and glorify Him. I give him ALL the credit for my wonderful pregnancy, labor and delivery. I pray that my story is an encouragement to other women out there of ALL ages. Medical science and the world do NOT have to dictate the pregnancy and childbirth that you have. God will meet you at whatever level of faith you have and you can have the pregnancy and childbirth that YOU ask for. Seek what the Word says, because God has the final word. I am proof of that!