Sunday, March 09, 2003

Jenny's Twenty Beautiful Birth Ideas March 8, 2003

The birth of a child, an eternal life, is a holy event. With some
thought, preparation and planning, a birth can be an incredibly beautiful
occasion. The presence of God is awesome--the sense of His nearness gives
you the awareness you are participating in something sacred. This time of
bonding and closeness, not only with Baby, not only with the Lord God
Himself, but with the mate God has given you for life and with your other
children and closest friends, can be one of the sweetest times of your
entire life. As Cliff and I prepare for our eighth homebirth, and count
down the 15 days left to the due date of "Baby Darlin' Dumplin'" I
thought I'd share some my ideas--yes, I actually came up with TWENTY!

We know not what plans God has in store for us. Our faith walk is an
adventure and we need to trust our Heavenly Father and abide in Him, our
true vine, our support and our source of strength and abundant life. He
may not always promise ease and comfort, and Baby's birth may include
trials and difficulties, however He does promise us His grace and peace
in the midst of any storm. Cliff and I have given the birth of this child
to the Lord of our lives and we trust that He knows what is best for us.
We don't know if God would have Baby make his or her appearance while I'm
in line at Safeway! (Cliff enjoys the shock value of telling the clerks,
that all know us by name, that we're planning to go shopping for snacks
as soon as we know I'm in labor--just teasing!)

What I'm trying to say is that the location of a birth is something that
should be surrendered to the Lord God. As it says in the Bible, "If God
wills we will do such and such..." God meets us wherever we are AND He
promises to never leave us or forsake us. He is there with you whether
you are delivering at home, in the hospital, birthing center or in your

Go ahead and let yourself imagine how you would like Baby's birth to be.
Jot down some ideas, desires, things that would make a birth special to
you and your family, and what would be an ideal scenario in your mind. At
about 3 in the morning, when I'm pregnant, I have an hour or more of
sleepless time every night. Baby will be kicking away and I know this
will be a sweet night feeding time in the future. In the meantime I can
use this quiet time to think, to dream and to pray. A precious promise in
the Bible is to take delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires
of your heart. However, if you don't let yourself dream a bit--how do you
know the desires of your heart? God loves to give His children good gifts
and the Scriptures are packed with precious promises and many kinds of
blessings from His hand, if we will only receive them.

One of my favorite things to do when I'm expecting (AND when I'm not!) is
to read about birth and to read birth stories. (Yes--I'd love it if you
e-mailed me yours!) Recently our daughter came home from the public
library with the book "Baby Catcher" by Peggy Vincent and I read it in
two days. I learned a lot from the colorful life of this Berkeley
midwife. Understanding the birth process, knowing how beautiful birth can
be, and how to avoid common mistakes, can help you and your husband
tremendously in having a beautiful birth. Cliff and I heartily recommend
the classic book "Husband Coached Childbirth" by Bradley, which is also
available at the library. Look in any birth supplies catalog, in the book
section, for collections of birth stories. I also have gleaned a lot from
the book "Christian Midwifery" by Betty Peckmann.

Take some time to plan, choose your birth attendant (doc or midwife) and
get ready for this blessed event. There will come a time when you are
ready to sit down with your husband and discuss plans for Baby's birth.
To write out a "birth plan" is so helpful! Don't let birth come upon you
and take you by surprise. Plan out what you want and what you hope to
happen and then you will feel confident and prepared when the time comes.

My husband is a pillar of strength to me when I'm in labor. I draw
strength from his very presence and I can't stand to let him go even when
he needs to use the bathroom. He doesn't need to do anything or say
anything special, in fact I like his quietness. I appreciate knowing he
is looking out for me, being attentive to me and prayerfully covering the
birth of our baby.

Our sons are banned from the room while Mama is uncovered, but before and
as soon as possible after the birth, they are right there. Our daughter,
Valerie, has attended the last few births and she has been an incredible
blessing. We are so in tune with one another and are so close that one of
us will start a sentence about something that needs doing and the other
will finish the sentence. It is like we read each other's minds! I'll
never forget her bouquet of roses on my dresser, her face flushed with
emotion, her tears of joy dripping onto me as she arranged my pillows,
her comment after the birth of Stephen when she was still just a girl: "I
can't wait to have a baby myself!"

We read in the Bible of women helping women to give birth. My daughter
expressed this desire to have a woman friend here that she could lean on
for support. Valerie said, "I'd like Mary to be here because she's had
babies, been at births, knows what's happening and she'd be such a strong
support." God has provided women friends each time I've given birth and
they have been such a blessing. A birth can be a lot of work and an extra
pair of hands, not to mention the emotional support of a good friend, is
a good idea.

May I suggest you kneel down by your bed with your husband and be one in
your prayers and supplications? We have experienced mighty powerful
answers to prayers when my husband and I are of one mind and pray aloud
together. The heart's cry of Jesus in John 17 is that we would be ONE.
When it is a husband and wife praying to our precious Lord with one heart
and mind I just picture the Lord Jesus sitting forward on His throne ALL
EARS!!! There are also many Bible verses about crying out loud to God.
After our miscarriage last April (Baby Sol was 20 weeks along), this Baby
Darlin' Dumplin' is especially dear and his life is such a precious gift.
We have bathed this little one in prayer day by day since before
conception. As soon as I go into labor you can be sure it is in "the
plan" to kneel by our bed, gather the children around, and commit the day
and the birth into God's care.

"Without faith it is impossible to please God; we must believe that He is
and that He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him." (Heb. 11:6)
It is crucial to head into a birth in faith, not fear. The Bible tells us
that fear is not from God. This is my main gripe with a lot of the books
on pregnancy and birth and something to be on guard about in talking to
others about birth, especially anyone in the medical profession. It seems
they always want to tell you about what went wrong and get you to tremble
with fear! We ran into this when my husband cut off his finger with the
hedge trimmer. We couldn't believe how many people told us gruesome
stories of fingers getting cut off!

In the Bradley book we learned about "the fear cycle." When you are
afraid you tense up, tension in your muscles causes the birth pains to
hurt more, when you hurt more you fear more and tense up more and the
birth canal doesn't open up. It is a vicious cycle.

Instead Mama needs to have faith that God is in control and she needs to
rest in Him and have peace and go with the flow of the birth process.
"'Shall I bring to the time of birth, and not cause delivery?' says the
Lord. 'Shall I Who cause delivery shut up the womb?' says your God."
(Isaiah 61:9) I like to share the idea of Mama being like a puppet with
all the strings let go. When Mama is in faith she relaxes, the birth
canal opens up and Baby makes his appearance sooner. Give all your fears
to God and let faith fill your heart instead.

Plan and even practice favorite worshipful songs to sing during labor.
God has given us a gift of the voice in song and it has a deep, soothing
effect that will minister to the spirit of everyone present--even Baby in
the womb. I like to sing songs TO the Lord, songs of love and adoration
and gratitude. One of my dreams for birth is to have close friends
singing in our living room while I labor. After Baby is born it is a
glorious time to worship God together in song and tears.

A special bouquet of Mama's favorite flowers is a fragrant reminder she
is loved and cherished.

A votive candle by Mama's bedside can be a thoughtful gift and helpful to
develop a peaceful and restful environment.

If possible, dim the lights during labor for a restful atmosphere. We
like to have a flashlight (a working one with extra batteries) handy in
case we want to quickly take a peek and see if you know who is making an

I like to use a few drops of 100 percent pure lavender essential oil
(available at health food stores) in my bathwater and take a warm,
relaxing soak in the tub when I am in labor. Also, I have such a strong
desire to be clean and have everything clean for Baby. Baths are so great
because somehow the warm water really helps you relax and the pain of the
contractions isn't as bad. So many times mothers have shared with me how
much baths have helped them relax when they're laboring.

I have written about the wonderful pain reducing effect of 1,000 to 4,000
mg. Vitamin C taken every hour during labor. (From the book "Prescription
for Nutritional Healing") Vitamin C can actually reduce labor pain by
half! Write me for more information on this if you haven't heard about it

Just as a new dress is purchased for a special occasion, a birth is the
time to buy or sew Mama a special, pretty, comfortable new nightgown. Be
sure she will be able to move freely while in labor and that after Baby
is born she will be able to breastfeed.

Take a quiet stroll with Mama during early labor and enjoy a few moments
alone with her. Cliff and I have walked hand in hand down our street
during the beginning stage of labor and these times are sweet memories.
Friends tell of walking the hospital halls how they enjoyed this time
spent with their husbands. Walking and being upright allows gravity to
bring Baby down into the birth canal more quickly.

We always have to have a photo of Mama's big baby belly profile when she
is in full bloom. You have to see it to believe it! Snap a photo of
Mama's walk, laboring with Daddy, a family portrait with the new addition
and Baby's portrait too. The other photos I don't want to miss is each of
my children's faces during birth--that look of expectancy and
anticipation on the children's faces is so sweet--and a photo of each of
them holding their sibling for the first time.

As soon as Mama does not feel like walking any more, gently get her to
bed and as comfortably situated as possible. She should imitate sleep
with normal, deep, even breathing. Any fear and tension needs to be
released. Watch over her during contractions to make sure she relaxes all
over, especially her face, mouth, shoulders, hands and toes. Gently
remind her to relax any tensed spots, and continue to quietly pray aloud
for her, sing and occasionally ask if she would like anything, such as a
back rub, socks for her feet or another pillow. Some women like to have
absolute quiet when labor is intense (me!) and will let you know if they
need anything, but it is helpful to know you are right there when any
need arises.

Mama's comfort is a high priority. Prepare to have plenty of soft,
supportive pillows, pretty quilts and comforters, electric heating pads
or hot water bottles and a soft recliner or upholstered rocking chair.
Cliff just bought me two brand new (clean!) king sized pillows and my oh
my are they comfy!

Jot down times, events and even comments made to record the blessed

20. FOOD
Help Mama eat lightly and drink sips of water while laboring. Some women
like you to put ice chips in their mouth. It is important to keep her
strength up for the marathon of birth and it is crucial that she stays
hydrated and drinks plenty of good water. Plan a celebration meal of
Mama's favorites that can be quickly made ready after Baby is born and
labor is done!

Love in Jesus,
Cliff and Jenny Silliman, 931 S 7th, Sequim, WA 98382
Dan 20 Val 18 David 16 Mike 12 Josh 10 Stephen 5 Luke 3
Baby Darlin' Dumplin' due 03-23-03
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