by Lani

Hearts Turning to the Children

January 13, 2015 in Abortion, Intuition, Lani, Missions, Motherhood, Pain, Personal Revelation, Prayer, Prenatal influences, Traumatic Birth by Lani

And whoso receiveth one such little one in my name receiveth me. -Matthew 18:5

When I attended Felice’s yoga and meditation retreat at the beginning of the month, it was many things I expected it to be, but there were a few things that surprised me. One of those surprises was how many people told me that they had recently discovered a “castaway” in their family. I knew that the ranks of previously-aborted children coming to earth were growing, but I was still unprepared for the outpouring of witnesses I received at the retreat.

When I began my own journey of discovery with my daughter, I had never heard of “castaways.” I didn’t know anyone who talked about them. Finding and meeting pre-birth expert Sarah Hinze in 2010-2012 was surely no coincidence. Sarah has been a sort of lone voice in the wilderness for the past few decades, sharing her growing pool of case histories about previously-aborted children. She herself was highly skeptical at first. A couple of years ago, Sarah handed me a story that had clearly been typed decades ago and said, “I think this was the first abortion story I ever received.” She shook her head, saying, “I couldn’t believe it was true.” So she had put it away in a file, feeling sure it was an anomaly among pre-birth accounts. But then she received others, and that pushed-aside file started to grow.

Part of one of my favorite paintings (Source)

Part of one of my favorite paintings (Source)

As more and more of these brave and valiant spirits try to make their way to earth again, the powers of darkness are heightening their efforts at preventing their entrance. Personally, I believe that many of these spirits are God’s strongest “warriors.” Satan doesn’t want them here, and he certainly doesn’t want people acknowledging their existence. Revelation chapter 12 takes on new meaning as we consider the vast number of previously-aborted spirits seeking entrance into mortality: “And the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born” (vs. 4).

Before I met Sarah, God called me to help rescue these “castaway” children, but it hasn’t been an easy mission call. I was initially a little shell-shocked by the opposition and resistance I encountered from many sides when I joined Sarah in the work of helping these special children tell their stories. So I stepped back a bit from my advocacy efforts.

Since that time, awareness of Sarah’s research has broadened. Though the idea (of aborted souls being given second chances at life) is still far from mainstream, more and more stories are coming out of the woodwork, at least among the people I rub shoulders with. When I think about these “wounded warrior” children, I am grateful for the Spirit of Elijah. The hearts of the fathers and mothers are being turned to the children. As I wrote in our book The Gift of Giving Life:

The Spirit of Elijah will come to all of us.  The tendrils of his spirit reach far and wide—into the hearts of married couples, birth mothers, adoptive parents, foster parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles.  He calls on the highest and best within each of us to turn and welcome, protect, teach, and nurture the children waiting to be and those already among us.  It may not be easy, but the Lord has promised to help us.

The following is one of the growing number of stories I have received… from a mother whose heart has turned in love to her castaway child:

My first child’s arrival was surrounded with anticipation and joy. I was so thrilled to become a mother, and my husband and I were happy to start our family. We loved our little boy so much, but we quickly discovered that he came to earth with various issues. We wanted to help our son, but struggled to know what to do. He had severe separation anxiety, was only happy in my arms, struggled to bond to his father, and seemed to have “colic” and night terrors. I intuitively knew there was a cause behind it and that he was not just crying for no reason. The list went on and on of things that were “wrong” with his physical body. 
We tried many elimination diets, we saw many doctors, even natural healers, but did not find answers. I prayed constantly to understand more, to receive answers, and felt disappointed when I didn’t receive those answers immediately. I tried to have faith that God would give us answers eventually, and tried to be the best mother I could be.

I struggled with feelings of inadequacy and frustration when I couldn’t comfort my child, especially in the night terrors in which my son screamed in terror. At times I felt angry that my poor little boy had to suffer for reasons I didn’t understand. As he grew from a sweet newborn to tenderhearted toddler and fun preschooler, our love for him only increased, but we also felt sorrow that we hadn’t solved all of his problems. 

When my son was four years old, I was praying one morning, and I saw, in my mind, or in a vision, my sweet little boy, in the womb of another woman. I felt the pain, the fear, the emotional distress he was in as he was aborted. Amazed, saddened, and yet grateful to have this knowledge, I asked God, “Is there anything else I need to know about this?” And again in my mind, I saw that the woman who had aborted him was my sister, much older than me, who had been raped in college. In my mind, I could feel the fear and emotional pain of both my son and my sister. I cried for both of them. 

Later that day I felt confirmation that what I had learned about my son being a “castaway” was true. As my husband and I discussed it, we suddenly understood why our baby had been scared of strangers, especially strange men, and feared separation from me, his mother. Puzzle pieces seemed to come together as our hearts were given this knowledge. We felt a new level of gratitude to have our little boy be a part of our family and a new responsibility as we begin this journey of healing. 


by Lani

Comfort for Birth Trauma

April 29, 2014 in Adversity, Attachment, Birth Stories, Book reviews, Depression, Fear, Giveaways, Lani, Traumatic Birth, Virtual Book Tour by Lani

*Today’s Virtual Book Tour post comes from the wonderful Kylie of Satisfied by Sunshine. Kylie is a beautiful soul. As with so many beautiful souls, Kylie has seen the bitter despair of darkness and found her way back into the light of joy. (You can read about her inspiring climb out of anxiety/depression HERE.) For our Virtual Book Tour, Kylie has shared how our book helped her come to peace with unexpected and traumatic changes in her first birth experience. Here’s an excerpt:

And here I realized that the suffering I was experiencing wasn’t because anything I had ‘done wrong’, or should have planned better for in giving birth, but that I was attached to the idea that if birth isn’t peaceful, relaxed, and done a certain way, then it was not what I wanted. . . . And when I let go of what I thought was the best type of birth, what I wanted, and expected I found a well of healing within. It was okay that events did not follow my desired birth plan, but actually were far from it. I did my best to work towards what I thought was best, and in the end God wanted to teach me something better. A lesson of trusting Him. A lesson of letting go of my plan and embracing His, and that lesson was powerful. It prepared me to be willing after all I could do to . . . embrace what was, what is and find joy, and healing in my continued endeavor of motherhood. It allowed me to see the beauty in every birth, every type and every situation. These were the lessons I learned through my own experience and found within the pages of the Gift of Giving Life. Birth is beautiful and spiritual, even when unexpected turns occur in how you wanted your birth experience to be.

You can read the rest of Kylie’s Virtual Book Tour post HERE.

Kylie has generously donated one of the prizes for our Virtual Book Tour giveaways… a gorgeous tree of life pendant necklace. Find out how you can enter to win it by visiting our Virtual Book Tour page.

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Kylie has lots of other beautiful necklaces available through her Etsy shop The Sister Tree. I want them all!

Helping Babies Breathe

January 29, 2014 in Sheridan, Traumatic Birth by enjoybirth

I loved reading the article in The Church News about the Helping Babies Breathe humanitarian work the church is doing.

LDS Charities is a recognized innovator of the “train the trainer” approach to neonatal resuscitation training. In Indonesia, a portion of that training called Helping Babies Breathe is being introduced for the first time. While more advanced training focuses primarily on physicians in a hospital setting, HBB focuses on midwives in a clinic or rural setting. Each year, LDS Charities presents about 40 such training programs around the world.

LDS Charities trains people, who then in turn go out and train more people and then they go train people, etc, etc, etc.  It makes me think of the power of sharing our knowledge.

I know that is one reason we (The Gift of Giving Life authors) were inspired to write the book was because we felt inspired to share the knowledge and wisdom women had about birth.  We love it when our readers then share the book with their friends and families.  Some host Gift of Giving Life Parties, some share books as gifts, some pass on their copy.   The beautiful thing is the powerful message of hope is spread.

Helping Babies Breathe actually helps train women so they can preserve the life that is created in situations where babies need help adapting to life outside the womb.

“When we finished the training in Bandung, we told all 60 midwives that they were going to receive their own ventilator bag and mask, suction device and stethoscope for their own deliveries,” said Dr. Visick. “Everyone cheered and clapped. These midwives are doing home deliveries and do not have their own equipment to resuscitate babies. They were very excited to hear that they would receive this equipment.”

The experience reminded Dr. Visick how he and his wife feel when they donate just $50 to the Church Humanitarian Fund, which finances LDS Charities.

“That contribution buys two kits and equips two midwives with everything they need to resuscitate babies,” he said. “They may not need it every month, but they’ll be ready when they do. Most have worked for 10 or 15 years and have never been able to help babies in respiratory distress. When they cheered at receiving equipment, inside we were cheering, too. We were touched to know our little sacrifice will make a big difference in their lives.”

That is so wonderful!!



by Lani

Sacred Space for Birth, Part 1

November 4, 2013 in Birth Stories, Cesarean, Depression, Education, Faith, home birth, hospital birth, Lani, Midwives, Personal Revelation, Postpartum Depression, Prayer, Preparation, Traumatic Birth, VBAC, Waiting by Lani

1011942_669099829783949_352451545_nCherise is an Arizona Mother, Doula, Childbirth Educator, Placenta Crafter, and Creator of the marvelous “Big Baby Project” (a website full of empowering vaginal births of babies 9 lbs and over). I love how her story illustrates what I wrote about in my essay “Unity with Providers of Care” in The Gift of Giving Life. I love that Cherise continued to search and pray until she found the right care provider for her. -Lani


Sacred Space for Birth, Part 1
By Cherise Sant

My first encounter with childbirth started with the birth of my first child. That experience was eye opening, disappointing, affirming, traumatic, magical, overwhelming and set the stage for the worst depression of my life. I had resisted an induction but eventually caved to the pressure I was receiving from my obstetrician. The ultimate result was a healthy baby boy born via cesarean and my broken heart and body.

My second birth was an empowering vaginal birth in the hospital, but I was met with mistrust, abandonment and even violence though I had carefully chosen my provider and a “natural birth friendly” hospital. Even more disenchanting was to have my baby caught by a resident student as there was no obstetrician in the hospital at that time. If something catastrophic had occurred, I would either have had to wait until someone arrived or transfer to another hospital. It was then that I asked myself, “Why did I get out of my bathtub at home and tear down the freeway in transition to come here and meet negativity and contention when the help I was going to the hospital to potentially receive wasn’t even there?” I knew my next baby would be born at home. Should a need arise, I would then go to a hospital.

Three and a half years later, the month after my daughter weaned, I became pregnant again. Thankfully, there were a handful of midwives who had extra credentials, allowing them to legally attend me in a VBAC at home. I began to interview them. The first one I interviewed was “the one” – or so I thought, until I knelt down and prayed to know if she was. Very clearly, the answer was “no.” I was stunned. I knelt there in a sour stupor, trying to work out what that meant. Did that mean I wasn’t supposed to pursue a home birth? Was I willing to go back to the hospital? The next couple of weeks reflected no progress on the part of my attitude. I knelt down again and asked, hoping maybe I wasn’t clear that first time, but very clearly, the answer that came again was, “She’s not the one for you.”

I didn’t know whether this birth would involve a tragedy, but there was one person that did know all, and that was the Lord. So I resigned my will and continued the search. I was not only searching for a provider, but also asking whether home birth was the Lord’s will for my family. I really had to search myself- why did I want this? After a lot of prayer and contemplation I concluded that it was because I wanted my birth to be treated as sacred. I wanted the spirit of love to be unrestrained. I knew that would best be achieved in my home, with people I knew beforehand rather than meeting a stranger in a hospital and hoping for the best.

I interviewed another midwife, and then another. Their philosophies clearly did not match my own and I was feeling defeated. At the time I was teaching childbirth education at an obstetrician’s office, and knowing that she was more mother-baby-friendly than most, I considered choosing a hospital birth with her. Still, there was no peace and approaching my 17th week I felt like I was running out of time. I did NOT want a last minute scramble. I continued to pray, search my scriptures and explore my thoughts and feelings about all of the possibilities.

One weekend, I was volunteering at a birth event where a screening of a popular birth movie was taking place. I was sharing my dilemma with a friend and fellow birth worker. She then told me about a midwife who was credentialed to attend VBACs at home and that she’d been in practice for 30 years. In that moment, something came over my body, mind and Spirit that had never happened before. My bosom burned like a fire, and my mind flooded with messages of love and support from my Heavenly Father. I knew for certain that she was the one I was looking for. I got her information and sat down for an “interview,” though I already knew she was the one.

It turned out that not only did our philosophies match but she was the only midwife in the state (of whom I was aware) with the skills and support I was looking for. (And I was pretty picky.) In particular I wanted someone who was comfortable enough to use only her fetoscope during labor instead of the Doppler. I wanted access to herbal knowledge and teas – which she had an abundance of! The Lord knew exactly what I was looking for and wanted, and he was providing for me. I felt so loved.

Even still, the weight of my decision caused me to doubt. I prayed and sat down with my scriptures yet again. I opened right up to scripture which basically said to me, “I already answered your question, don’t keep searching for what you already have.” I prayed prayers of gratitude for my answer and continued to prepare.

Look for Part 2 (the birth story) in a future post…

Placenta Burying Ritual

July 31, 2013 in Attachment, Birth Stories, Felice, Menstruation, Motherhood, Nourishment, Placenta, Postpartum Care, Rites of passage, Symbolism, Traditions, Traumatic Birth by Progressive Prophetess

When Phoebe was 18 months old I realized that I still had her placenta in my freezer. I had just started to date (I was a single mom through most of my pregnancy), and a boyfriend found the placenta box and asked, “What’s this?” That’s when I realized it was time to do something with it.

I had always planned on burying it under a tree, but I wondered if there was some sort of ceremony I could perform. With a little help from Google I found that yes, this type of thing is well written up. So I found a template and made up my own ceremony from that. As I am preparing to move, I found the papers I wrote for the ceremony.

The whole point of the placenta burying ceremony is that it is a strong way of “closure” to the time of immersion mothering right after a birth. It can be done on it’s own or in conjunction with some milestone, such as a blessing, first birthday, return of menstruation, etc. Though I thought 18 months was a long time to keep it in the freezer, I think I did it at just the right time for us.

So here is the outline and some of the words from my ceremony.

1) First I prepared the place I would bury the placenta. I brought a candle, the placenta, a cup with some red juice and some bread.

2) I poured the juice in the cup, lit the candle and held Phoebe and told her the story of her birth. [Tell your child their birth story including any unresolved feelings. Express those.]

[If the birth was in any way traumatic for you or your baby, make sure you have a support person there with you through the process and look for other resources on line to make a part of your ceremony.]


Here is a small excerpt from my words to Phoebe:

Phoebe [or insert your child’s name] I’m going to tell you the story of your birth. [insert your story] “On the day you were born I was so anxious to meet you…. I got in the birth tub and labored. We called Ken Carabello to give me a blessing, then Davi made me walk for an hour…I kept saying is she here yet? Then when it was time for you to be born auntie Lisa came and I breathed you down, but you were having a hard time, so after a while Davi said we should go to the hospital, so we drove fast… and you were born 20 minutes later at 3:19pm. You were tired. You nursed right away through and snuggled up with me. We went home and you didn’t leave my side the whole time… I was sad about…. But I was so happy that you got here safe and beautifully. You were born naturally and without any drugs and we were both empowered by the whole experience. For a long time afterwards I felt like I could do anything.

And I didn’t like to go anywhere without you. I wanted everyone to know that I had a baby! And I wanted respect. For a long time everyone does help you and give you reverence and respect. But then you get wrapped up in being a mom and life just becomes normal. But it’s important that we don’t forget what a miracle you are and how you got here.


3) At this ceremony when we are about to bury the placenta is a time to heal from all of the things that were unresolved and let go of things. [make eye contact with child]

-We are letting go of the organ that held us together and nourished you.
-For 18 months now you have been nourished from my breasts,
-As you grow and become independent, you will be nurtured by the Earth Mother, God, and your Heavenly Mother.
-Just like the earth is going to nourish this tree.

phoebe_20080112_01534) Next we buried the placenta and tree. We ate a little of the food and juice.

[Name and celebrate the ways in which your experience of being this child’s mother has enriched you and made you stronger.]

Today I am celebrating being a mother:
The joy you have brought me
all the friendships
The confidence.
The closeness with our heavenly father, who is the preisethood holder in our home.
The whole pregnancy, birth, and mothering experience has made me so strong. I can do anything, and it’s all because of you.

5) Then I mixed some juice with the soil and put it on her bellybutton and said:

You will always be my baby. But motherhood is a journey and the end goal is surrender. I have to raise you to leave me and become independent. So with the burial of this placenta I now release you to grow into the person you were born to be, setting aside my own fears and expectations that I may have for you.

Although I hope that you can always rely on me, like the Mother Earth for Life long nurturing, I wish you never cease to grow in strength, love, wisdom, gratitude, your whole life and into the eternities.

6) Then I used the juice/mud to draw a heart around my own belly button and said:

I bless my womb and reclaim it as a private place belonging only to me. I am moving forward with creative projects like my pregnancy/birth book and a novel.” [Bless and thank and reclaim your women and celebrate your creativity: name any creative projects you are working on.]

Next I got out some lip gloss and put it on to symbolize the return of my sex appeal and interest in sex.

7) Closing:

I would like to close by declaring my willingness to conceive again and my openness to all the love that the universe has to offer me.

mandarinesNext, I poured the rest of the juice onto the earth and scattered the bread crumbs for the birds.

If you want to have your own placenta burying ceremony. You can search the net for ideas or copy this outline and insert your own words. I invited a close friend to video tape it and help me with Phoebe. The dwarf mandarine tree we planted is still thriving.

by Lani

VBT #7: Modern Pioneer Mom’s Book Review

April 29, 2013 in Birth Stories, Book, Book reviews, Fear, Gratitude, hospital birth, Lani, Motherhood, Obstetricians, Preparation, Traumatic Birth, Virtual Book Tour, Young Women by Lani

Today’s Virtual Book Tour stop is by Jennifer at Modern Pioneer Mom. Here’s an excerpt:

Honestly, I was saddened as I’ve looked back on photos of me in the hospital holding my babies, because there were very few of me genuinely smiling.  In a couple of them, I was actually frowning.  It made me sad to look at them, because I loved my babies SO much & was so very excited to have them in my arms, but the photos didn’t show it, because I was miserable from everything that happened.  Though I was happy to have my babies here, my actual birthing experiences were scary, stressful, full of medical intervention, and definitely not empowering.  No one taught me anything other than to do what I was instructed to do.

I loved being pregnant, but I was scared to death of going into labor & giving birth.  Even after actually doing it, I was still scared to go through it again.  I experienced quite a bit of trauma, especially with my first baby.  Unfortunately, I let the nurses take my babies out of my room A LOT, just so that I could sleep and de-stress.  Now I know that I could have (and should have) had a very… different… experience…I’m so grateful to know what I know now, so that I can teach my daughters (and share this book with them) so they can have that ‘very different experience’.

I’ve read many many many accounts of women on blogs (& in books like this one), who LOVED their birthing experience and were empowered through the whole process of labor & delivery.  I’ve seen endless photos of hundreds of women who had huge smiles on their faces portraying the most authentic joy possible, as they hold their beautiful new born babies.  I was not empowered.  But I should have been.  I’ve learned more about pregnancy & birth in the past 2 years than I learned in the prior 17 years of being a mother.

Smelling babyI also love that Jennifer thinks our book smells like a newborn baby! 🙂

Click HERE to read her full post!

And here are the links to the previous posts from this year’s book tour in case you missed some of them:

  1. Mother At Heart
  2. I Love Junk Mail
  3. Better Birth Doula
  4. Cherishing Hopes and Dreams
  5. Mamas and Babies
  6. Bri’s Thoughts
  7. Modern Pioneer Mom
by Robyn

Here Am I

February 18, 2013 in Cesarean, Faith, Free Agency, Motherhood, Parenting, Personal Revelation, Prayer, Pregnancy, Robyn, Savior, Traumatic Birth, Uncategorized by Robyn

This guest post is by Mandy Williams, who I came to know through my work with ICAN (Internatinal Cesarean Awareness Network).  Mandy has shared part of her inspiring journey in the past on our blog.  She also happens to also be a talented photographer.  You can find her beautiful work on her blog MandyJaneDesigns.  I hope you enjoy this post as much as I did.  It brought me to tears.  Thank you Mandy for sharing these beautiful thoughts with us. -Robyn

“Send Me”

 by Mandy Williams

I recently went through a period in this pregnancy where I felt intense emotional pain. I was overwhelmed and exhausted and fearful. Sadness forced me to call out to my Savior and plead with Him as my face was buried in my pillow. “Please help me, please help me,” I begged. As I was compelled to ask for His help, I felt Him draw nearer to me. Impressions have come in moments of light, even if they are fleeting, but enough to notice.

It is in this time that I catch myself looking at my growing belly, wondering if I can be strong enough. I worry if I am ready to handle the pain of labor and to deal with the fear and uncertainty I feel in my heart.

Then I think of Jesus Christ. He was willing to take my burdens upon His back and save me from my weakness and sin. He did it for me. I have the thought come into my head. “Here Am I, Send Me.”


I look around at my three precious children, quietly playing in the room. I glance at my oldest daughter and remember the long months of morning sickness so severe that I spent days and months between the bed and the bathroom floor. I remember the panic I felt as I was being wheeled into an unexpected cesarean section. And then finally being able to hold my precious first baby.

I see my sweet and sensitive son. I think of the strong feeling we had that he was waiting urgently to come here. I remember as it was time to deliver him and the doctor suggested another c-section and the spinal failed. I remember being so afraid of dying as my husband kissed me and as I was put to sleep for the surgery. I remember being so happy that my son nursed well and always wanted to be close to me.

I look at my strong and fearless one year old. Her courageous spirit told me that she was coming and that her birth would be different. I was forced to educate myself and study and rely on God instead of voices around me that were critical of my choices. And she came too, this time, with quiet and peace, and with an intense power that I didn’t know my body possessed. I felt myself pushed to my physical limits and beyond my capacity. And I felt ever so humbled as I held my baby and felt Jesus’ sacrifice for me in a way I never had comprehended before.

I start to imagine a beautiful meeting up in Heaven before this earth life began. I see lines of women. Groups of women. Some strong, some timid, each looking toward God and the other Heavenly Angels next to Him. They are accepting of our Savior as He utters the words, “Here Am I Send Me.” Then it begins.

A noble spirit is brought in front…A question is asked,   “Who is willing to bring this child into the world?”

One of the many women step forward as the others look at her and she boldly proclaims the words, “I will.” More and more spirits need help coming to earth and more and more women bravely volunteer to bring them there.

And this continues, one at a time, as women come forward to claim a special part of their earthly mission. Our Heavenly parents and Jesus Christ are joyful as they watch the women who are willing to be a type of Savior themselves and assist in the work of bringing men and women to earth.

I come back to the present and I look around at the beautiful and innocent little faces of my children. I imagine myself up there, waiting in line and responding with their need to come this earth, by crying out, “I will do it. I will be their mother.”

My body has stretched and been broken. My intense love for them has also given way to anxiety and panic in the middle of the night as I worry for them. I cry when their hearts are hurt and cry when I don’t feel I’m meeting my own expectations as a mother. Sometimes I yell. Sometimes I try to distract myself from feeling worry and stress. Sometimes I am overwhelmed and I say mean things to myself because of my imperfections. But in losing myself as a wife and mother, I have begun to truly find myself. I know who I am more than ever before. I feel love and joy like I have never experienced. The act of bringing them here has brought me closer to my Savior than I have ever felt.

I look down at my growing belly again, but this time I feel the radiating peace and a calm assurance of my Savior’s love for me. I tremble as I say, Here am I, send me. I will do it for YOU. Because I love you already.

by Lani

Tender Mercies

November 26, 2012 in Birth Stories, Cesarean, Fear, hospital birth, Intuition, Lani, Obstetricians, Personal Revelation, Prayer, Traumatic Birth, VBAC by Lani

The following is a beautiful birth story that demonstrates the Lord’s goodness and kindness and His knowledge of our individual fears and worries. God is good. Enjoy! -Lani

Tender Mercies

By Heidi

A scheduled cesarean. Finally! My doctor said it would be a “boring” delivery compared to my first two birth experiences. My first little babe was an emergency c-section and was born within minutes of arriving at the hospital. With my second little one, I tried for a VBAC. After hours of pushing and not making any progress, we decided to do a repeat cesarean. Both deliveries ending up being so different than what I would have planned, so to think that I would get to schedule my cesarean and prepare for the day seemed all too perfect.

At 37 weeks I went into my doctor’s office for a scheduled appointment. They did the basic checkup and took the Strep B test. While doing the test, my doctor checked to see if I was dilated. I was shocked. He said I was dilated to a 1. I know that isn’t a big deal, but I never dilated early with my girls. They were both born within a day or two of my due date and I didn’t dilate until I was in labor, so the fact that I had 3 more weeks to go didn’t seem quite right.

After leaving the office that day, I called my husband and told him the news. We both felt like our little boy was going to come into the world earlier than our scheduled delivery date. Come on, after our two previous experiences we couldn’t have a “boring” and planned delivery, right?

A week went by with more mild contractions, and I went in for another doctor’s appointment. I was becoming more convinced that this little one was going to come early. I talked to my doctor and he told me if I felt like I was in labor to head to the hospital and whoever was there would perform my cesarean. As my eyes filled up with tears of the unexpected, he walked me through the whole process of what would happen when I arrived at the hospital. Yes, this was going to be my 3rd cesarean, but it was going to be a whole new experience compared to the previous two. I was nervous. My husband was anxious.

I left the office feeling at peace, but still unsure of what was going to come our way. You see, I was sent home from the hospital when I thought I was in labor with our first babe. I had contractions through the night and went back to the hospital in the morning. They immediately saw she was in distress and not moving so they preformed an emergency c-section. The experience was terrifying. Because of that experience, I was afraid I wouldn’t know when to go to the hospital with this new little one. I was afraid I would be sent home again. I was afraid I would arrive and there would be complications with the baby.

So, I prayed to my Heavenly Father. I prayed that if this little one decided to come early that I would know when to go to the hospital. If we weren’t going to have our scheduled, “boring” c-section, I prayed that it would be obvious when I should head to the hospital and all would be well.

As the day passed, my contractions began to get a little harder, but were still irregular so we went on with our day to day things.
The next day my contractions were much harder and deeper. We had tickets to a Diamondbacks game in the evening, and I decided to go with my family. I realized it would be one of the last outings as a family of four. My contractions, however, were getting to the point where I needed to lift up off the chair when they came and had to stop while walking. It made the game all the more exciting! I felt like my baby boy was going to come soon. Very soon.

We got home around from the game around 10 p.m. By then I was timing my contractions. They were about 9 minutes apart, but coming harder. We got ready for bed and tried to sleep, but I just ended up timing each and every contraction. They were more intense and every 6 minutes as time went on. I was so unsure of when to go the hospital. As I laid there wondering when would be the right time… gush! My water broke… or I should say burst at 12 a.m.! Time to go to the hospital! My Heavenly Father made it very clear for me. That was tender mercy number one.

As we arrived at the hospital I knew my doctor was not the one on call. I had butterflies in my stomach of not knowing what was going to happen. When checking in at the front desk of triage, my husband and I asked which doctor was on schedule that morning- it was Dr. M. My eyes filled up with tears! Dr. M was the one who preformed my last cesarean. Tender mercy number two.

All went well with the delivery, and we delivered a beautiful and healthy baby boy two weeks early! He was 8 pounds 12 ounces! Even though I didn’t get to have my “boring” scheduled delivery, everything went smoothly.

I know that our Heavenly Father knows each one of us. He knows what we struggle with and how to give us peace during those times. He answered my prayer. He made it as clear as He could as to when I needed to head to the hospital. He gave me comfort with having a familiar doctor perform my cesarean. I know He is involved in the details of our birth experiences.

by Robyn

Bearing Children in the Wilderness

November 2, 2012 in Adversity, Faith, Robyn, Traumatic Birth, Uncategorized by Robyn

As I started reading the Book of Mormon again this year I read about the journeys of Lehi and Nephi’s families through the wilderness.  As a mother I paused as I read what Nephi wrote of the women of their company, “we did travel and wade through much affliction in the wilderness; and, our women did bear children in the wilderness.”  Nephi does not go into detail about their trials except to include that bearing their children in the wilderness was likely a trial the women had to bear.  We know it caused some of the men to complain because of what their wives had to bear.  Laman and Lemuel reminded Nephi,

“we have wandered in the wilderness for these many years; and our women have toiled, being big with child; and they have borne children in the wilderness and suffered all things, save it were death; and it would have been better that they had died before they came out of Jerusalem than to have suffered these afflictions” (1 Nephi 17:20).

I would think that these women did not envision that they would be beginning their families this way.  They belonged to some of the more affluent families of Jerusalem and would have likely been in relative comfort for their pregnancy and birth with a midwife, friends, and more family to attend them.

And while they must have suffered greatly Nephi counts the blessings of what their wives have endured “our women did give plenty of suck for their children in the wilderness.”  So while this time was difficult for them, they were blessed to nourish their little ones with abundance for their health.  I imagine these women gathering around one another to teach and strengthen one another as they carried babies in their womb, birthed them, and nursed them. There must have been a wealth of faith among these strong women.  I’m a little jealous of the closeness they must have developed.  I imagine they prayed mightily for one another.  In our day I feel that we are often so removed from one another’s experiences and hear of them only secondhand.  Maybe that is why I feel so blessed when someone invites me to be a part of their pregnancy and birth experiences.

These Hebrew women had responded to the commandment to multiply and replenish the earth and had been blessed as a result.  To me Nephi’s words tell me that he recognized how difficult this was for the women and how much he loved and respected them for fulfilling this commandment with faith.  In verse 3 he proclaims,

“And thus we see that the commandments of God must be fulfilled.  And if it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish and strengthen them and provide a means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them.”   

Nephi is not the only one that did, “Go and do.”  Nephi says that the women “were strong, yea, even like unto the men; and they began to bear their journeyings without murmuring” (1 Nephi 17:2).  He recognized the faith in the women of his company who placed themselves in God’s hands saying, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14).  In Nephi’s time birth could mean death for mother and/or baby much more commonly than in our day.  The afflictions that these women experienced through giving life were preparatory.  They worked to make them stronger and more faithful.  The survival of the Book of Mormon could not have happened without the strong women who bravely brought life into the world.  So I ask myself and you, have your experiences giving birth caused you to become stronger?  More faithful?  Have you allowed your birth experiences to render you less likely to bear your “journeyings” without murmuring?  Have these experiences refined your soul?

by Lani

Answered Prayer

October 22, 2012 in Book, home birth, Lani, Midwives, Personal Revelation, Prayer, Pregnancy, Traumatic Birth by Lani

Saturday was my birthday, and I was given a wonderful gift at the end of the day. I received an email from one of our readers, sharing how my essay “Unity with Providers of Care” (in the Unity chapter of our book) had a positive impact on her. She also shared a beautiful spiritual experience she had after reading my essay. With her permission, I share it today. -Lani

I’ve been reading your blog, Birth Faith, for a while now, and have been making my way through The Gift of Giving Life, and I wanted to tell you how much your book has helped me.

Long story short, I was very unhappy with the hospital care I received with my 3rd child. While I like the Ob/Gyn I normally see, they have about twenty doctors that rotate at the hospital. With my 3rd child, I played Russian roulette with this system and ended up with two very horrid doctors who threatened and yelled at me for giving birth the way I wanted to. So I have been hoping to find—and not have to pay for—a better option for my 4th child.

Yesterday I had a very important meeting with the head OB for the insurance provider we have to discuss whether or not I could get a referral to a birthing center.  I’d been waiting for a month for this appointment and was very keyed up about the whole thing, so I went to bed the night before knowing that I probably wouldn’t be sleeping well.

I began flipping through The Gift of Giving Life, hoping to find something that would help me organize and understand my thoughts better and came across your essay “Unity with Providers of Care.”  It was exactly what I needed to read right then.  It summed up perfectly what was wrong with my previous experience and why I really did feel strongly that I needed to find another route for the next go-around. Anyway, your essay brought me so much peace of mind, and shortly after reading it, it really hit me that the decision of how to birth my baby was mine, and that no matter what the doctor said to me, he couldn’t change that fact.  I needed to remember that because, before then, I had been feeling absolutely powerless against whatever his decision would be.

Shortly after that epiphany, as I was praying about the whole thing, I had one of the clearest answers to prayer that I have ever received. I suddenly knew without a doubt that I would deliver this baby at home, and that a certain midwife I’d only spoken with on the phone would be there to assist me.  I am not someone who gets answers to prayers very easily or even very often, and I have been praying for months to know what to do about delivering this baby.  I still have to get my husband on board with all this, so it certainly isn’t a done deal yet, but I feel so much peace and joy knowing that my prayers have been heard and answered, and I have so much confidence now that everything will work out the way Heavenly Father wants it to.

I feel that reading your essay really set the stage for me to be able to think through all these thoughts and receive this very personal answer to prayers.  I know from your blog that you’ve been going through a very hard time—I have been praying for you and will continue to do so.  But I also wanted you to know how you have blessed a complete stranger’s life!  So thank you for your blog and your book.