After my initial interview with Candida at the Starbucks in Target several years ago when she was pregnant with #2, I knew I wanted to hang on to this girl and make her my friend. She is one of the most beautifully honest and refreshingly authentic people I know.
Fast forward through prenatal meetings, an absolutely beautiful birth, a growing friendship, and a few years to this past Fall, to baby #3.
This birth was so very different, yet no less beautiful.
Her husband, Matt, is basically superdad and was working overtime at home making sure his family was taken care of. His job requires him to work overnights, and the night she went into labor at 10pm, he had been up all day, AND the previous night. They called me in to the hospital at around 2am, and after a little small talk and catching up, we made him go take a nap.
Candida's labor was not super serious yet, and she was coping well, yet she was expressing some inkling of doubt and fear. I dug in a little, to try and learn what was causing this apprehension in her, yet didn't come up with anything concrete.
Matt rejoined us after a little while, as labor started picking up. They were doing this beautiful slow dance thing, where she would hang on to him and allow the intensity of her labor to pull her down into a natural squat. (Candida is very body-intuitive - I absolutely LOVE watching her respond to the rhythms and nuances of her body during labor.)
She had been checked a few times, and seemed to be "stuck" at 4-5 cm, with the nurse reporting that her cervix was "tight." Usually at this point in labor, the cervix is really stretchy and gives a little when a care provider is checking dilation. Typically the only reason for a tight cervix is a previous cervical procedure, which I knew was not the case with Candida. I questioned the nurse about a few other physiological reasons the cervix might be tight and not budging open, and all things pointed to everything being normal.
After the nurse left the room, I remembered the earlier comments Candida had made and continued to make about being scared. Matt was taking another well-deserved rest on the couch, and Candida had decided that she wanted to take a shower. So I helped her get in, let her get accustomed to the water and the rhythm of her labor in this new location, and then spoke into what I thought might be holding her back.
"I think this fear you keep bringing up is keeping your cervix from opening. I want you to take some time and lay that fear before the Lord, let him take it from you, and surrender this birth to Him."
I vividly remember locking eyes with her in that moment. She heard me. She nodded. Then she turned around, letting the hot water roll down her back, and she started crying out to the Lord. Words of prayer, of worship, of confession, of scripture, of declaring the truth of His love for her over and over. She did it. In the darkest moment of her labor, she surrendered her fear and allowed God to fill her with His strength and power to accomplish what she could not.
I was standing on Holy ground.
After a while, the hot water started making her nauseous, so I helped her out, Matt woke up, and she started getting the urge to push. We called the nurse, and sure enough, she was 10cm and ready to have her baby! I cannot even describe the gratitude and relief that washed over her. This labor had been HARD. And it was almost over.
We had asked the nurse to put the squatting bar on the bed, and I was thankful for Dr. H who is always extremely respectful of how my clients want to deliver. Candida, holding the bar for support, delivered her baby kneeling on the bed.
Tears streaming down my face, I was overwhelmed. I couldn't believe that God would use me to facilitate such a powerful moment between Him and His precious daughter. I still can't believe that I was able to bear witness to that Holy moment. I am so, so grateful.