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Jenny's Twenty Beautiful Birth Ideas
 March 8, 2003
Jenny Silliman

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 16 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!

1. SURRENDER

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 vehicle!

2. DREAM

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.

3. READ

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.

4. PLAN

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.

5. SUPPORT

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.

6. PRAYER

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.

7. FAITH

"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.

8. MUSIC

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.

9. FLOWERS

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

10. CANDLELIGHT

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

11. LIGHTS

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 appearance.

12. BATHS

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.

13. VITAMIN C

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 yet.

14. CLOTHING

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.

15. WALKING

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.

16. PHOTOS

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.

17. RELAXATION

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.

18. PILLOWS

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!

19. JOURNAL

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

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,

Jenny

<>< jennysilliman@juno.com

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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