A VBA4C – Stephanie’s Story

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*Note from Jaimie* — Stephanie has so willingly agreed to share her story on the blog in hopes of encouraging other women wanting to have a VBAC. This is inspirational. We thank you Stephanie for giving us a glimpse into such a life changing event! And as always, please comment and share. Let’s get her story out there!

June 12,2016 was a day that brought me from being fractured to being steadfast. My story started on September 25,2002 when I became fractured; I was rushed into the O.R. after an ultrasound tech confirmed that at around 34 weeks gestation the car accident that I had been in had caused my placenta to abrupt and just before being wheeled in to have my scan; my bag of waters had indeed broke. With little time an Emergency C-Section was performed and my first daughter weighing 5 lb.2.5 oz was born at 9:22 a.m.

In 2006 Bill and I became pregnant with my 2nd daughter. We were young, myself being only 20 and not educated on a VBAC vs. cesarean; Bill and I sought the answers from my OB/GYN. Bill and I left that appointment feeling terrified at the thought of a VBAC and opted for a repeat c-section. We never questioned or researched further after that appointment.

In 2010 we became pregnant once again with my 3rd daughter. By this time I had a different OB/GYN and my want to have a vaginal birth was ingrained in me, so I asked my OB if I was able to have a VBAC. She replied “no,” so yet another c-section was scheduled and on we went.

By 2013 I yet again became pregnant with my 4th daughter. By this time though I had heard stories of women that had a VBAC after 2 c-sections, but it was not allowed after 3. I felt like I was cheated out of my chance to have a VBAC. Although, I still hadn’t questioned the doctors nor did I look else where.. I continued to follow what I was told and never questioned it. So another c-section for August 18, 2013 was scheduled.

About 5 months after my 4th daughter was born I devoted my life to Jesus and with that my eyes were opened to the world. I had never viewed the world in this way and for the first time in my life I felt a sense of belonging… God set me free! Which brings me to being steadfast. The Lord blessed us with another child! This time I knew the benefits of a VBAC and knew that was the way God intended us to have children.

I had researched and researched and did more research. The day after I found out we were expecting I called my OB/GYN office and asked if I could have a VBAC. The woman that answered the phone said “no, you can’t have a VBAC after 2 c-sections.”  I then said, “I know that not to be true.” She corrected herself and said this doctor does not do VBAC after 2 c-sections. That information would’ve been nice to know when I had asked her about a VBAC while pregnant with my 3rd daughter. It wasn’t that I couldn’t have one…it was just they didn’t do them!

I was determined to have a VBAC…the conviction on me to do so was so powerful and I wasn’t about to give up hope! I called several OB/GYN’s and found a new doctor. After speaking to staff over the phone, I had hope that this doctor would give me the VBAC that I was wanting. I quickly transferred my info over to her. After my first appointment; she still gave me the hope that I would be able to have a VBAC. By around my 16th week of pregnancy she came back with a “no.” She stated that her team of doctors did not agree, nor did the hospital and that she had even reached out to a different hospital and team…all of which had agreed that I was not allowed or able to have a VBAC. I was shattered as I had called around to several other doctors and birthing centers and was given the same answer.

For a couple of months I had accepted that I had lost my opportunity to have a VBAC, but that conviction was still placed upon me…it was a strong conviction…one in which I couldn’t ignore! I had started feeling uncomfortable with my new doctor and her team of doctors and things just didn’t feel right to me, but I wasn’t sure what I should do. My last appointment I had with my OB/GYN, I had asked her if I could at least go into labor as I had researched that the benefits from that were better than a scheduled c-section without labor. She said yes I could and I would only need to set my scheduled c-section for 41 weeks.

I left that appointment feeling excited and yet aggravated. How is it that I was able to go into labor and walk into the hospital at 10 cm, but yet I couldn’t have a VBAC! That is just ridiculous! So once again I couldn’t ignore my feelings….they were so overpowering, I wouldn’t have been able to ignore them if I tried! I began once again asking friends, calling, emailing, researching. I couldn’t tell you how many emails or phone calls I had made asking for someone to help me deliver a VBA4C.

On April 3, 2016 a woman named Sabrina Bias answered my email, She eagerly referred me to Midwife Robin Massey. I was relieved to have finally found someone who knew what our bodies were created to do and had trust in that process! She had me go to Dr. Grant out of Columbia, MO to have an ultrasound to check the thickness of my scar. Not once did my new OB/GYN even mention doing this as she led me on to believe she could give me a VBAC. That alone gave me hope. I was in awe at my appointment with Dr. Grant. He was like a breath of fresh air as he confirmed that I wasn’t broken.

My first appointment after having the results confirmed that I was fully capable of having a VBA4C with Robin. I was 32 weeks. The amount of joy that filled me was something I had never thought I would ever experience!

With Robin delivering VBAC herself, I trusted her experience and knowledge with my labor and delivery. She taught me so much about pregnancy and birth that left me feeling even more confident in myself. The fears that I had about labor I gave to the Lord. My fears of how would I know the difference between normal cramps and pains from contractions and those of me rupturing, or the pain that would come that may cause me to give up if my water broke and it was too much to handle after hours upon hours of labor. All of those things that came to mind… I simply gave to the Lord and trusted whole heartily in him, and he didn’t fail me!

On June 10th around 7:00 p.m. my Braxton Hicks contractions started feeling a bit different. They went from just a tightening to a tightening along with a sense of pressure that bore down. By around 11:00 p.m. I started losing my mucus plug and the contractions continued to feel this way until around 5:00 a.m. On June 12th. I awoke to my contractions still having the tightening along with pressure and with a slight cramp to them. Laying in bed they were 5 min. a part, but would be random if I got up and moved around. So I text Robin to give her an update. She had me take a bath, eat, drink water and told me to take it easy and to keep her updated, So I did.

My contractions continued to stay this way. The pain increased a bit, but nothing to unbearable. Although my contractions were 4 minutes apart when laying down by around noon, they still would be erratic if moving around and didn’t stay the same in intensity or length. So, I thought I was still in early labor, but Robin new it was time for her to head over despite my hesitation. Once Robin arrived she asked if I wanted checked. I declined on the notion that I believed that I was still in early labor and was probably only 2 centimeters.

So Robin suggested that Bill and I take a walk to help bring labor along and then she would check me. I agreed and we walked a half mile up the road and turned around and started back. By this point although my contractions still weren’t that bad they did come what seemed about 2 minutes apart. I was still able to talk and walk through these contractions, but the comfort I felt as I would melt into Bill was a bonding experience I will never forget.

We decided to stop back by the house so I could get a drink of water and use the restroom. I went to the bathroom and as I was getting up my water broke. I informed Robin and with that next contraction I had no idea what was happening to me. It was a feeling I can’t really explain. My body just took over and I had no control over what was going on. Robin asked what was happening and as I had no idea she knew it was time. She had me lay down to check me and to my surprise she said the head was right there and I was 10 centimeters. I was completely shocked and had no idea what to do as my body had taken over for me.

I started to doubt myself and Robin was there to remind me of my strength and that I can do this, my body was meant to do this and it was doing it! With everything happening so fast they quickly filled the birthing pool for me. Bill comforted me as I still had the deer in the headlights look. Robin and Bill helped me into the birthing pool and 2 contractions later I delivered a healthy 8lb. 9oz. Baby Boy! Between my water breaking and the baby Elijah being born was about 15 min. It happened so fast that I was in complete shock for hours after his birth!

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I know in my heart what got me through my labor so perfectly was by putting my faith and trust in Jesus. I had about 15 Bible verses picked out that my two oldest daughters wrote down on index cards for me. I also prayed, during one of my contractions that was a bit intense I leaned against the wall and the thought that strongly came to mind was: I am thy God your Lord. And I began to just talk to God during that contraction. It was one of the most powerful experiences I have gone through and I couldn’t have done it without my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the support and knowledge of Robin or my husband Bill.

My heart’s desire is to help other women during their birth and for them to put their fears in our Savior’s hands and He WILL take care of us. I was even at comfort knowing if an emergency were to arise that it was in God’s Will and I was still at peace no matter what; by putting my complete faith in Him.

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Stephanie Hensley is a wife, mother and follower of Christ. Feel free to connect with her through email at mchensley11@gmail.com

Great Expectations and Dirty Shoes

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I was four. Big, fuzzy blonde hair and some pretty huge glasses. Frustrated because I didn’t want to wear my new shoes. We were just going to take a walk up to my grandma’s house. Which was seriously like 20 steps away from where we lived. The sun was shining, it was beautiful. No rain. No dirt roads. Pavement, mind you. But tears came down my face as I refused to wear these new shoes for fear of getting the bottoms dirty.

Yes, it seems ridiculous, right? And it was.

The bottoms are supposed to get dirty. But I wanted to keep them looking perfectly clean and new. Which is totally not the purpose for shoes.

Those of you who know me probably aren’t surprised. I have been a person who likes things orderly, clean and shall we say…perfect? I just feel better that way. And I know it’s carried over in the area of how I mother and carry out my role in our home.

When I was pregnant with my first I dreamed of my mother retiring from work and her and I going to the pool with my toddler someday. Lounging by the pool, eating Popsicle’s and just enjoying life. I really thought everyday in the summer I would go to the pool as a stay at home mom. Ha! I didn’t understand laundry, making meals, nap time, fussy times or even how much life would change. How getting out the door in thirty minutes was something to be proud of.

And as time has gone by and I have have been blessed with more children, I have had to realize I cannot be perfect or have have things in my life be perfect. My energy, time and ability isn’t there. And I’m learning that life’s not meant to be perfect anyways.

Overdue library books, kids wearing mismatched socks because with all that I have I cannot figure out what’s happened to the other. I try to be good with our budget. I read all these blogs about saving money, using coupons, not eating out. Going to garage sales, cutting your hair at home, making your own baby wipes. And all of that is good. I sure admire any of you that do these things. I even do some of these things. But not all of these things. Because I can’t.

I’m almost a little embarrassed to admit that my great expectations of how I should mother or what I should be doing often can steal my joy. I have these cute little people who love and adore me. They don’t care what I look like, how perfectly the budget is balanced, whether the laundry is put away, whether there’s an inch of dust on the T.V. And believe me, there usually is.

They love me and are ready to explore life. To learn, to play, to laugh.

And sometimes I go to bed at night, my husband I can tell has already fallen asleep. And I just want to wake him up as I think over my day. I want him to hear my thoughts.

“Honey. They are growing up. They are growing up! I don’t want to miss it. I want to take it all in. I forgot to tell you child number one did this new thing today. Did you see how child number two is so tall all of a sudden?”

The tears come and I realize how fast the days are going. And I decide tomorrow I will do better. Tomorrow I will take it all in and not worry about trying to make my home perfect, my children perfect, my life perfect.

I realize I’m trying to feel secure in doing it all right. It feels good when the house is in order. It feels good when the kids are clean. It feels good when things seem right. But my hope can’t be in when things are in order. My hope needs to be in Him.

And then in the quiet of the night, I turn to Him. My Father. And I tell Him the wife and mother I want to be. I tell Him I’m sorry I haven’t got it all figured out. I ask Him for wisdom and for help.

And then peace comes over me. Because my view of perfect isn’t what He’s concerned about. He has asked me to love Him with all of my heart. He has asked me to love others like I love myself.

He hasn’t told me to keep up with all the dishes. He hasn’t told me to not veer off my cleaning schedule. He hasn’t told me to read five chapters a day from the Bible to my kids.

Because He’s not like that.

His love…unconditional.

Perfection…in His Son, not me.

His love for my family…so much greater than mine.

I can trust Him. With all of it.

What if I do all this and they turn from Jesus? What if I spend my life showing them the way and they don’t want You? I want them to love You, Lord more than anything. Am I doing this right?

But again I feel His comfort. My job is to teach them about His love for them. His great, great love. I will plant the seeds, but God will make them grow.

His grace will cover over me. Where I can’t be what they need. He will be enough for them. His grace is enough for me and His grace is enough for you, dear mother.

In our day where we have so many resources at our fingertips, it can be overwhelming. What society tells us makes a successful, perfect family.

But we don’t need Google. We don’t need Pinterest. As we chart our course through life and give our best and all for Him, we have the manual that gives life, hope and freedom. It is the Word of God. my sisters. His Word. His Truth. None of the other stuff really matters.

If you see me around town and see some of my perfectionist tendencies, you can know I’m aware and am working on it. But I’m thankful for the grace that even covers the areas I haven’t figured out yet.

Today we were able to enjoy for the first time Spring like temperatures. So we got outside, of course. The baby was able to feel the earth under her feet for the first time, walking around all on her own. And there was a great desire to play in the wet dirt. To feel the earth between the little baby fingers. And I decided yes. We have time to touch the soil and get messy. We have time to explore and not keep our clothes perfectly clean. Because that’s not the purpose of life, anyways. What fun do you have if your shoes never get dirty. Go ahead, sweet baby. Take it in and enjoy. You get the bottoms dirty and even the tops. Have fun, sweet baby. It’s all going to be ok. Smile, take in the air. See the birds because this is life. This is the good stuff. All will be ok.

 

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Lies I Refuse To Live By

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I think we all do it.

In fact, I know I’m not the first person to write about it.

But I believe it needs to be addressed.

For me and for you.

You know, you see her at the store. She has her kids with her as do you. You stop to chat, exchange the happenings in your life.

And then…

You start to analyze.

“She sends her kids to private school. How do they afford that?”

Not only that, but her kids were dressed pretty nice, outfits that looked crisp and clean.  In her cart…you guessed it. All organic. Even the salt.

She went on to say how well her oldest was doing in basketball.

And you think to yourself, “My kid doesn’t even know how to play basketball.”

And you feel maybe ashamed as the baby has food on her shirt and the older children don’t look like they remembered to brush their hair.

And this friend has more kids than you have fingers. How does she do it and keep it together. You ‘only’ have three…

Or maybe you see your friend at the store and you think, “My does she look run down. Could she not even put a little bit of foundation on, tidy up her hair just a smidgen?”

And her kids…they are SO loud. She must not discipline them very well. I would feel so embarrassed. I’m glad that’s not me. And one always seems to be with grandma. She doesn’t even have to do it on her own very much.

But you know. Sometimes those thoughts can run through our minds.

We judge ourselves and we judge others.

We start to grade the kind of job we do as moms. We look to others as to whether we got this thing down or if we are sadly falling behind.

I will be transparent here. I have done this. I can do this if I allow myself. I will rate my current standing as a mom based on what other people are doing.

And you know what? To think that we are doing it right or wrong based on what another family is doing is wrong.

My husband often tells me it must be hard as I don’t get a yearly evaluation.

And he’s right. He meets with his boss at least once a year. He’s shown what improvements to make, what areas to grow in and what he needs to work on. But he’s also shown what he is doing right. The areas he has grown from the last year. And it’s good. It’s good to have that talk with the boss and be real.

But we moms. I would say our ‘job’ is more important than any occupation we could be hired for. We have lives entrusted into our care. Little souls that look to us for guidance, love, understanding, encouragement and care.  The future of the world is literally in our hands.

And so we go, day by day taking care of them. As babies, we fed them every two or three hours night and day providing nourishment for their little bodies. We changed their diapers, washed their clothes, rocked and rocked away the belly aches and comforted them through teething.

We bandage scrapes, make countless meals and snacks, plan birthday parties, take them to events, read them books.

We wipe away tears, we lovingly discipline them when they fall short, we point them towards truth. We do the best we can to help them understand life as they know it, whatever age and stage they may be at.

And we really give it our all. We make mistakes, but we do our best. Because we love them more than we ever thought we could.

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Some home school, some send their child to public school, some to private. Some eat organic and cook meals at home while others order out a lot or pop in a frozen pizza. Some kids are in every sport available while others haven’t played even one. Some have top of the line clothing while others use what friends and family have passed along to them. Some moms work and some moms stay at home. It’s easy to form conclusions about each other and ourselves.

But that’s not our job.

Our job is to ask God what He wants for our family.

He is the one who knows us best.

He knows our situation.

He knows our family.

He knows our children.

He knows the plans for our lives.

We don’t have to look like the people next door. We don’t have to do life like them. We only need to do and live as God has lovingly and kindly shown us for our own family.

Isn’t this refreshing, this great truth?

We only need to please the Creator of the Universe. Only Him. Not our aunts, moms, cousins, friends, or sisters. And there’s no reason we even need to explain or defend why we do what we do, because we don’t have to please people.

It’s really rather simple.

Why don’t we just go to God? Ask God what He wants for our family?

What is His vision for the way He calls us to live?

We have a great promise that if we come and ask Him for wisdom, He will show us (James 1:5).

This, my friends is the great truth! The truth that sets us free!

We as mothers can walk boldly and confidently each day as we raise our families if we only ask our God and then live it out.

And how refreshing it can be when we meet with mothers to genuinely listen to them and the update of their family and not take any other thoughts into consideration?

Instead we can be happy for them when things are happy. We can ask them if we can pray for them in any way and genuinely look in their eyes with love and care. We can be sad with them when they go through struggles. We can just be a friend and care, whatever they are going through.

This mom thing we do isn’t for the weak. It’s a high and holy calling. But if you have children, God has given you the ability to do it.

And we don’t get yearly evaluations. But even better, we can have daily conversations with our Father and ask Him His plans for our family. We can share our hearts. One to one and really lay it out there. We can seek forgiveness for our shortcomings but we can walk away knowing that Jesus lives inside of us. What great power within us who we believe. We can carry the great task before us in faith, joy and confidence because He is the one we aim to please.

So the next time you talk to another mom and ask how she is, why not listen without thinking about the kind of mom she is. Or the kind of mom you are. Listen, really listen to her. Encourage her. Love her, even pray for her. We need each other and I believe if we come alongside even if we do things differently, we can make the journey a little bit easier.

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Written by Jaimie

If you like what you’ve read, would you consider sharing it? Or commenting below? Have you believed the lie? Are you ready to do things differently?

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Why Not Worship

You guys, I’m telling you.

My week has been crazy. I’m not really trying to exaggerate. I’m not.

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Kids with colds, a baby who somehow has invisible Velcro attached to her and I go to set her down and I can’t remove her from my clothing (teething?), and a loving husband who has been working 14+ hour days. And me too. Working a lot, not taking many breaks and just wanting to be upset, tired. Feeling maxed out. I try to pick up around the house, the kids help a lot. But I turn around and there is any number of things strewn forth from the cabinets. Food thrown on the floor. Hair snot-glued to someone’s face. A dryer with a fork down the vent, puzzle pieces down the vent that goes to the heater. I have always wondered how this stuff could happen. Aren’t people watching their kids? Well, no. We aren’t. Because we are taking care of other kids and their needs and things get missed! Like forks in the dryer vent! Argghh that retrieval was an all evening project.

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Stuff is never ‘done.’ Always something more to do. I like my stuff done. I like my house clean and I have had to give that up lately. Because I can’t do it right now.

I’m sure I’m not alone. I never ever knew how hard mothering could be. It’s awesome, don’t get me wrong. I would not choose anything else. I dreamed of this all the days of my life.

But in the thick of it, it’s trying. It’s a dying to self. It’s a way for God to chip away the selfish parts of me, the parts that aren’t patient, aren’t kind. Causing me to reach deep within and to grasp the strength that only God provides.

We have a surround sound system in our house. My husband put it in our budget when we were building without even asking me…because he knows my love for all things music. And I’m so glad he did that. I’m serious. It’s a gift that keeps on giving.

But then this week I realized, with myself flying around to try to provide care for not feeling good kids, food, clean clothes, school and just life…I had not turned on any music. I was just trying to get through as fast as I could.

And I realized my soul felt off. I had read my Bible to the kids. We listened to the Bible on surround sound. We prayed.

I missed my music. I needed the worship.

Not because of a catchy tune or a catchy beat. What I needed was to stop and be quiet and think about God.

So that’s what I did. I turned on the music. Let the kids do what they wanted and I focused on God.

I focused on His goodness, His kindness. His gentleness.

He’s not a slave driver.

He doesn’t expect me to be super mom.

He doesn’t expect me to be perfect.

He doesn’t expect me to figure it out.

All I need to do is seek Him and His Kingdom and righteousness. That’s it.

And the rest. Well, He said he would take care of it. All I need to do is trust Him. That’s it.

Sounds, pretty simple. Why am I making this harder than it is?

A child struggling in school? Seek Him.

A job that you desperately need? Seek Him.

Health, healing. Seek Him.

Questions unanswered. Seek Him.

Seek Him and His kingdom and His righteousness.

And then I found great relief. All because I chose to stop. And realize. My God. My great, great God will take care of me. He will take care of the concerns on my mind and my heart. He loves me. I can live in the moment. I can live and enjoy life in the chaos.

These days will pass is what I’m told. These are the best days. I don’t want to get lost in the everyday and miss the spectacular gift of being entrusted with four children. To love and be with and share great truths with.

I sat in the baby’s room later that day. We were rocking in the rocking chair, snuggled under a blanket. Listening again to worship music. And I looked out the window, the snow softly falling. And I chose to check myself.

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What about the woman who wants to be a mother who isn’t?

What about the person desperately searching for a job?

What about that one who is homeless?

What about that one who is hungry? Someone who is lonely?

I decided I can choose to look up at Him. Look at who He is and His goodness.

And I can be thankful.

With music on or off I can choose to worship. Because worship isn’t really about music anyway. It’s about a life lived in adoration of God, no matter the circumstances big or small, hard or easy. Worship is bowing down in our hearts and lives in the greatness of our God.

So, is there a lot on your list? Is there a lot of tasks before you? Are there a lot of things you think you need the answers for? Trying to figure this and that out?

Let us all hold to the promise. Our answer is Him. He is the answer. We find all we need in Him.

Seek first the Kingdom.

 

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Written by Jaimie

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Thinking on the Right, True and Good things

During the hardest point in labor, I saw my old doctor in my mind. And when I say old, I don’t mean he was an old man. He was the man who helped me as I was pregnant with my first three children. He was the one that I trusted and the only one I knew during those most precious times in life…carrying a child from nine months until delivery. But with my fourth baby and desire for an unmedicated VBAC, he was not able to support me.  I loved him and had respect for him. But he told me early in pregnancy not to do what I was doing, that it would’t be good for me to go into labor after having three c-sections…it was dangerous and not likely that I could do it.

As I started to go through transition with my VBAC attempt, I saw him in his chair telling me no. I saw our conversation, even though I was deep into labor and felt like I was back at my check up at the beginning of my pregnancy. And thinking on that, I started to feel sick as I managed through my contractions. As my mind went everywhere, tempting me to think on every thought that came before me, I had to consciously redirect my thoughts. I told myself NO I will NOT think on this. I could’t stay there in my mind. I started to feel nauseous and with that I began to over ride my thought with a truth.

“I am strong,” I said out loud.

“I AM strong.”

“I am STRONG.”

I began to remember these words:

“Take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

Since that day of realizing the impact of our thoughts, I have come to see that it doesn’t matter where we are in life…we will  have thoughts in our minds that don’t line up with God.

“I cannot do this. It’s too hard.”

Oh, it feels this way, right? These words feel oh so true. But what has GOD said through His word?

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

Replace the word or thought, with truth.

“I always seem to fail. Things just don’t work out for me.” Ok, maybe that has been your truth in the past. But things can change. There’s always hope! Because God says:

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:37

A conqueror. Did you hear that? Did you read that? The conqueror doesn’t lose. He wins. And it says we are more than that.

“It will always be this way for my family. There’s nothing we can do about it.” Ok. Maybe there isn’t anything YOU can do about it. But what about God?
I am the Lord, the God of all living things! Is anything too hard for me? Jeremiah 32:37

If we let our hearts run with every thought that comes to mind, we will be in a dangerous place. Yes, I said dangerous. I don’t think that’s an exaggeration.

When we think about something, it impacts on how we think of ourselves, others, how we handle situations and our goals and actions. It’s very, very important.

Whether in labor or in life…let us watch our thoughts friends.
Because our thoughts become our words. Our words can bring life or death.

Choose wisely.