As a Labor and Delivery nurse I don't often get to see the stages of labor played out before my eyes anymore since most of our patients opt to have an epidural which allows them to be in relative comfort for the most part until the birth. But the other night I had a beautiful couple that did not want an epidural and I was reminded once again how wonderful it is to have a relationship with God.
The process you'll go through during labor and childbirth can be divided into three stages:
The first stage begins with the onset of contractions and ends when the cervix is fully dilated. This stage is divided into two phases, known as early and active labor. During early labor, your cervix gradually effaces (thins out) and dilates (opens). That's followed by active labor, when your cervix begins to dilate more rapidly and contractions are longer, stronger, and closer together. People often refer to the last part of active labor as "transition."
The second stage of labor begins once you're fully dilated and ends with the birth of your baby. This is often referred to as the pushing stage.
The third and final stage begins right after the birth of your baby and involves the separation and delivery of the placenta.
For first-time moms who are at least 37 weeks along, labor and delivery takes an average of 15 hours, although for plenty of women it lasts more than 20 hours, and for a lucky few it's over much sooner. For women who've been through labor before, deliveries average around eight hours.
My patient did really well considering the obvious pain she was in. Her sweet husband stood beside her the whole time crying and praying for her. By the transition stage she was begging me to help her which broke my heart.
No matter what advise we gave her she was hurting so badly that she would not listen. But still her husband tried his best to comfort her, to calm her. And as she tried to rest between the pains he put his head down and wiped tears.
I finally crawled in the bed with her and prayed for her. I know that is not what I am supposed to do, but that is what I know to do. I knew he had been praying to Mary, so I said "OK, I am going to pray to Jesus for you." And as I prayed the tears her husband shed turned to sobs.
It wasn't long before she gave birth to a beautiful little girl with a head full of black hair.
I know in our church we are preparing to "give birth." I can feel the anticipation in the air. But I also know that giving birth causes pain. Just like Childbirth Class prepares you for what is about to happen with your body, reading the Word of God, Praying and Fasting, and the Preached Word helps us prepare for our own birthing process.
Brother Phillips prayed the other day that God would open up the womb of the church. We are already seeing the product of prayer, but we also have to realize that with birth there comes pain.
When I left yesterday morning the new dad thanked me for being there, and he thanked me for praying with them. I pray that there will soon be another birth in their lives as they come to the realization of who He is.
Lord help me to become prepared for birth. Help me to hear Your voice during the painful times and help me to listen. There is nothing more precious than a new baby, and Lord, I want to see new "babies" in You. Make me ready for what comes after the birth, the caring for, the teaching, the loving, and sometimes the hurting. You know I've got to be, I want to be used by You, more than anything else I do.....