Marriage After God

Our First Home Birth During A Global Pandemic?? The Story

Episode Summary

We start season 4 off by sharing the story of our first home birth.

Episode Notes

We start season 4 off by sharing the story of our first home birth.

 

READ TRANSCRIPT

[Aaron] Hey, we're Aaron and Jennifer Smith with Marriage After God.

[Jennifer] Helping you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.

[Aaron] And today we're gonna share our first home birth story. Welcome to the marriage after God podcast where we believe that marriage was meant for more than just happily ever after.

[Jennifer] I am Jennifer, also known as unveiled wife.

[Aaron] And I'm Aaron, also known as husband evolution.

[Jennifer] We have been married for over 13 years.

[Aaron] And so far we have five children under eight.

[Jennifer] We have been doing marriage ministry online for over nine years through blogging, social media and writing over 10 books.

[Aaron] With a desire to inspire couples to keep God at the center of their marriage, encouraging them to walk in faith every day.

[Jennifer] We believe that Christian marriage should be an extraordinary one full of life...

[Aaron] Love.

[Jennifer] And power-

[Aaron] That can only be found by chasing after God.

[Jennifer] Together.

[Aaron] Thank you for joining us in this journey as we chase boldly after God's will for our life together.

[Jennifer] This is marriage after God.

[Aaron] Hey everyone, welcome back to Marriage After God.

[Jennifer] Season four.

[Aaron] We're on season four. Yeah, this is crazy.

[Jennifer] Awesome.

[Aaron] We've had a lot of episodes, but we're back for season four. So if you're tuning in, welcome. If this is your first time, we're so glad that you're here. Listening to the Marriage After God podcasts. We pray that it's an encouragement to you and a blessing, but if you've been listening for a long time, welcome back. We're so excited to have you here.

[Jennifer] Hi everyone.

[Aaron] Yeah, and we're recording this in our garage as usual and it's still locked down season. And I know that a little interesting for everyone. It's interesting for us. Jennifer, have you had any thoughts about the season we're in with lockdown COVID-19 pandemic, unprecedented times.

[Jennifer] Yeah, I mean, I've had some thoughts about it. I think what's been really a blessing is that we've been in postpartum season, so we had our baby and so we would have been kind of having a low key life anyways right now. Just with me resting, nursing is always usually an issue with our kids. Baby Edith had a tongue tie like several other of our children. And so the first couple of weeks was just basically me and her figuring that out. And so-

[Aaron] I do feel like though we started self quarantine earlier because we were leading up to having the baby and then all of this stuff happened right around the same time as having the baby.

[Jennifer] Yeah. I would say this we had a really good distraction from what was happening in the world. And so now we're kind of like coming up out of that we just hit the six week mark after having the baby. And I think the most important thing has been for me has been to communicate with you in navigating this pandemic and what the world looks like these days. And it gives me peace, being able to talk to you. It gives me a bit of relief and just knowing that I can share my thoughts, my concerns, whatever that I'm going through with you. What would you say?

[Aaron] Well, same. We've been having a lot of conversations about it. We've also had a lovely conversation with our kids. It's kind of hard to like hide it from them cause why can't we hang out with our friends? Why can't we go out? And we're like, "Well, there's a lot of things going on the world." which is going on.

[Jennifer] And as an encouragement to parents, I think it's so important that we really understand that our kids lean on us for security and support, especially in times like these. So when they have these big questions, we should be answering them. If they see us being able to have peace and hope and joy amidst the chaos it will give them guidance on how they can respond in times like these. if they sense in us fear and anxiety over the situation, then that could also influence them. So I think as parents, I think it's really cool to see that God has given us an opportunity with our kids to help them navigate this whole thing. And I think it's good for us to engage in conversation with them. It doesn't mean we have to explain everything, especially we can keep it age appropriate. But just being able to willing to have conversations with them.

[Aaron] Well, and also being honest with them and letting them know that sometimes we don't have the answers. Like we don't know the appropriate way to respond to all this. We don't know exactly how this is going to turn out. We don't know... Like we just, there's a lot of answers we don't have.

[Jennifer] And then we tell them, but our trust and our hope is in God. And so it's another opportunity to point them back to God and encourage their hearts to be able to trust God and I don't know, just to be able to move forward still in life and know that he has us.

[Aaron] Yeah, and it's also been good to, I feel like in America we have a lot of comforts and this has shown us how dependent we might be on some comforts. And also brought us to a point that one of the other benefits to this is reminding us of our need for Christ, our need for his peace, his satisfaction, being satisfied in him alone. So one thing we've been trying to encourage our children, whether we catch it or not, whether we are always healthy, we don't know how this is going to turn out. We encourage them to know that God is good. God has us, he knows his plans for us and that we can't control all of those things, but what we can do is look to God who's in control.

[Jennifer] Yeah, Aaron, you brought up comforts and especially living here in America. However this whole thing has also allowed us to see how people might be struggling. So you use the word comfort, but I also want to just mention that there's a lot people who've been greatly impacted by this whole thing in a negative way in a lot of different ways. So, I dunno if you want to speak to that.

[Aaron] Well, yeah, we know that there's millions and millions of people that have lost their jobs. Some might not get them back. And so our hearts break for that situation. And we know that there's people that are sick. We know that there's people that are, that have other issues going on, that are not COVID-19 related and are having a hard time dealing with that. There's mental issues, there's abuse, there's a lot of things going on in this world that are being exasperated by this situation. And so-

[Jennifer] As Christians, I think that we need to remember all of that especially if maybe we're in a different situation, but no matter what our hearts should be to be in prayer for everyone who's been impacted by it.

[Aaron] And also been asking the Lord how we can be used.

[Jennifer] Yeah, cause we're his body.

[Aaron] We might know someone that needs some love, some reaching out, some help. And so we should be aware of that and ready for that. And we should be praying for each other. Praying for those that are going through hard situations and our prayers should not just be, "God, make their situation better."

[Jennifer] Or even, "God let us go just back to normal."

[Aaron] Right, because that's a thing that I have is like, "Hey, can we just go back to normal?" Our kids keep praying like God make this go away. They miss normalcy. But our prayer should be that hearts are softened. Hearts are turned towards the Lord, that people are brought back to the Lord, that people that don't know the Lord and find him, that families are healed and mended, that like these deeper things. That even if the body is broken, the spirit can be made whole. And so, yes, we should be praying for healing. Yes, it's good to pray for being taken care of financially and being taken care of in these ways. But right now, this is the time when man, the spirit of God catches hold of people. And so we should be praying that hearts are ready to receive. Hearts are open to hear the word of God are being watered and seeds are being planted. And that's, I mean, I don't know, more than anything. I want people to be saved in this time for eternity, not just for the season. So do you have any last thoughts on, I mean there's gonna be lots of thoughts.

[Jennifer] I know we could probably do a whole episode on it. Two things. The first thing I was just thinking, if people are listening to this episode in the future. So like going-

Yeah, after the-

[Jennifer] After the fact, after all this has kind of settled down a bit. I just wonder what their thoughts would be just being reminded of this time. And then my other thought was just an encouragement and it's just for husbands and wives, it's an encouragement to be communicating with each other because no matter what your situation looks like right now you have someone right next to you who's going through it with you. And sometimes, I don't know those listening are like me, but sometimes I get caught up in my head where I'm having conversations in my head, even with you Aaron, and I'm like answering for you. But, then I realized I haven't actually talked to you in a couple of days about how I'm feeling or about what I'm thinking. So my encouragement is, especially in times like these that we are open and transparent and vulnerable specifically with each other.

[Aaron] Yeah, I was also thinking, we are friends and families. Not being afraid to just come straight out and say, "Hey, how are you dealing with all this? "Hey, how's your heart? "Are you going through any sort of depression? "Is there any fears that you're like-

[Jennifer] Yeah, are you okey?

[Aaron] "that are just getting inside your heart." And just asking so that they can be maybe brought out of that darkness, maybe brought out of their shell and not be afraid to ask those questions. Cause I would imagine there's a lot of people dealing with hidden fears and anxieties right now.

[Jennifer] And it's okay if you don't know how to answer them. It's okay if the greatest thing you can even say is I'm going to be praying for you or just stop and pray for them right then and there. But I think it was important that we just spend a little bit of time on that since this is such a huge thing going on in our lives right now. And our hearts go out to everyone. And we know this is just crazy, but God is good, like you said.

[Aaron] And God's not surprised by any of this stuff. I just wanted to bring up a verse. James 1:12 says, Blessed is the the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Over and over again the New Testament speaks of steadfastness and continuing on and standing strong and standing firm. And I just want to encourage everyone, you believers out there, that we need to stand strong in the word of God and we need to remember who's got us, whose hand upholds us, who guides our steps and makes our paths and brings light into our life and it's God. And so we need to put our strength, our hope and strengths in him because they're not, and our hopes are not in the government. They're not in a vaccine, they're not in treatments, they're not in the, it just going away or those things are going to come and things happen, but we can't control any of this stuff. We just can't. And if we put our hope in those things that our hope is gonna fail. So let's put our hope in the only thing that's consistent, the only one that is a firm foundation and it's God and his word. And let's look to him for wisdom and guidance on how as believers we are to approach this thing that was going on. Cause he's the only, James also says, "If you lack wisdom, ask. "And we will be given wisdom as long as we do not doubt." And so let's ask him for wisdom. I need wisdom. We've been talking a lot about this man. Like how do we deal with all of these things? And we're definitely don't deal with it in fear, but we don't deal with it on our own strengths, our own wisdom. We lean not on our own understanding, but on every word, on God's wisdom. So that's what I just want to encourage everyone with is remain steadfast in these trials. And let's look to God for answers and our hope and for our courage and our wisdom.

[Jennifer] And our peace.

[Aaron] Oh, most importantly, our peace. So, that was just a bit of a encouraging word for everyone. We need it ourselves. I mean, he reminded ourselves, but I just want to invite everyone to, if you have children or if you're thinking about having children or if you're pregnant, we have something that we've created for you. It's a free resource and it's called the parenting prayer challenge. You can go to parentingprayerchallenge.com all one word and it's completely free to sign up and we will send you over the next 31 days, email with something to pray for and a reminder to pray for it. And it's pretty awesome. We've had almost a thousand people sign up for it and we would love for you to take advantage of it. We created it just for you. And man, it's an awesome thing and it reminds us as parents to pray for our children and there's awesome prompts in there to pray for all these different areas of your child's life. So yeah, we just, it's parentingprayerchallenge.com it's totally free and become part of the people that are going through that challenge.

[Jennifer] All right, so today's topic is our first home birth story. No, it's not our first birth story. Obviously if you've followed us for any amount of time, this was baby number five. And, it's just kind of an interesting story and we're excited to share it with you guys.

[Aaron] What's more interesting is that we actually fit every one of our kids and us inside of our explorer.

[Jennifer] It's tightly, but it's good.

[Aaron] It's tight. But that was just a fun little adventure that we figured out.

[Jennifer] Aaron was surprised by that.

[Aaron] I was a little surprised. They would fit without car seats. But the trick is as we have five car seats. We have actually we have-

Four cars seats.

[Aaron] four cars and two boosters or is it three car seats, two boosters.

[Jennifer] Right.

[Aaron] And just the way it's all arranged, we barely fit. It will be a lot better when some of them are out of their boosters. That'll make a big difference, but-

[Jennifer] That's okay. Thanks for sharing. so the first four births were done in the hospital and we were happy with those experiences and we had the same, what's it called? It's not a goal. Same birth plan.

[Aaron] Our plan was, we'd love to having children in the hospital, actually really love our local hospital here.

[Jennifer] And food is so good.

[Aaron] The rooms are just really nice and quite.

[Jennifer] The people are so nice.

[Aaron] It's been good. So we're not opposed to hospital births by any means.

[Jennifer] No, we had that plan held in our hands. My whole pregnancy really, and the word changed that at the finish line.

[Aaron] Pretty much, yeah.

[Jennifer] And so it was our first home birth and I got gotta be honest, I was nervous. Even in the past I've been nervous to even consider a home birth, even though I know people and I've followed people online that have had them.

[Aaron] And even though your pregnancies and labors have all been considerably like easy, not easy and-

Easy is a funny word-

[Aaron] It's safe, I should say.

[Jennifer] Yes. Not emergency or anything.

[Aaron] Nothing, you haven't had any big emergencies. It's like it just, it goes as planned usually.

[Jennifer] Yeah. So anyways, I don't know. We just, we held our birth plan loosely as we believe people should and we submit it to the Lord. And really the last trimester is when all of the world started falling apart with the pandemic. And even more so in the last few weeks of my pregnancy. Protocols at the hospital started changing.

[Aaron] They started limiting the number of people that could be in the rooms.

[Jennifer] We started seeing a lot more articles online being shown stories of that happening. And I came home from one of my last appointments and I was sharing with Aaron these changes that had just been made and we were about to have our baby and I, there was a part of me that just was wondering what is the hospital experience going to be like? And we're just sharing some of our thoughts with each other.

[Aaron] And we also, because a big part of this conversation is what was going on in the world. It wasn't just like whether or not we wanted to have a home birth. It was what is our, what does this situation look like for us amidst all of like the virus that's going around. And so we were discussing this and I just wanted to let everyone know that our number one discussion was, are we afraid? Are we gonna be in fear? Are we gonna make decisions or are we gonna be going into this with any anxieties? Because those are realities like, "Oh my gosh, we got to go to like the hospital, "which is where everyone goes that has, "that gets the virus." So that was a part of this conversation was. We are not going to be afraid regardless. Like whether we are going to be exposed or not. We want to have no fear. We want to trust the Lord because he does know what's going on, so.

[Jennifer] Totally. Yeah, and also so everyone knows Aaron has been an advocate for home birth for several of my pregnancies. You would ask me like, "Hey, are you interested this time?"

[Aaron] I've been pushing for a while.

[Jennifer] But you've always been supportive too of what we've decided together. And so, when I came home from that appointment, I shared everything with you. And you suggested it again. You're like, "What about a home birth?" And I'm like, I kind of laughed about it. I was like, no, no, no, no. Like if I'm too far in my pregnancy that's crazy talk, I would have to adjust mentally and it just seems-

[Aaron] And I would even be able to get a midwife. How is this gonna work?

[Jennifer] It seemed impossible. And you were so hopeful and you're like, "Why don't you just call them and just see what's going on? "Cause maybe they've talked to other people about this." And so I made the phone call and no one answered. And I said, "See, okay, so we're not doing that."

[Aaron] Did you leave a message?

[Jennifer] Yeah. So by the end of that day, I had been praying and it had been on my heart just to consider both a hospital birth or a home birth. And the Lord gave me so much peace and I was okay with either one.

[Aaron] And the same, yeah.

[Jennifer] So when I said earlier about having an open hand, having my birth plan and an open hand and open heart, it was this piece that I had that was like, no matter what happens or how I give birth, it's the Lord.

[Aaron] I actually remember, I think it was a, I don't know the exact date, but it was about a week before this. You posted a picture of the kids or something on Instagram and you wrote this beautiful thing saying, "Hey, here's my birth plan. "We want to do this." And you said, "but open-handed of course."

[Jennifer] Yeah, it was an infant story and it was right at the bottom.

[Aaron] And I said, but open-handed of course. And you had this whole idea. And it was before everything started getting really crazy. News-wise, but I remember you got someone messaged you and said, "Please don't have it at the hospital." Cause they were so concerned that's where you shouldn't be. And there were, it was so loving and so concerned. And we saw that and we're like, huh. But we didn't like talk about it.

[Jennifer] I didn't think about it.

[Aaron] But looking back on it, I was like, "Oh, that was kinda cool. "It was like open handed." Someone was like encouraging you in that direction, but.

[Jennifer] So anyways, we were praying about it, but we hadn't heard back from the midwife and until the next morning. Give me some questions and I think they were just being really nice given the situation of what was happening in our world and our state. But because I had established care throughout my pregnancy, I didn't have any-

[Aaron] There was no flags.

[Jennifer] There was, yeah, there was no red flags, there was no problems or issues that I had throughout my pregnancy. My past pregnancies have been healthy and my labors have been fine and I haven't needed interventions or anything like that. And so they said yes and they were willing to meet with me that day.

[Aaron] Which is they never do.

[Jennifer] I just felt-

[Aaron] They were willing to do this in this season for you.

[Jennifer] Yeah. It just felt like an impossible situation that God just said, "Here, this is what I want you to walk through." And I got off the phone almost in tears because I then I had to tell Aaron that it was a go and I was, I was like, okay but like, yeah, this is, I didn't know, I was speechless really. I don't know how to explain that.

[Aaron] Did you want not to tell me?

[Jennifer] No, no, no, no, but I, and there was a part of me that was really excited, like I have never done a home birth before. Like how cool that I get to do this now. And then my next immediate thought was, "Oh my gosh, are we prepared for this?" Because I didn't know. I hadn't been researching about what to have for a home birth. So that, the next thing-

[Aaron] I know is a little weird to think about. Like, what am I supposed... Am I supposed to have anything?

[Jennifer] Yeah. So the other cool thing is that we didn't really need much. I felt like what I had like in my hospital bag and things at home already we were prepared for. There's just a couple of other things that you went out to get like an extra set of sheets and I don't remember.

[Aaron] Some pillows and something like that.

[Jennifer] I don't remember.

[Aaron] The midwife give you a list of things. We had like 90% of the things on the list already.

[Jennifer] Yeah. And they provided-

[Aaron] There was only a few things I had to get. So that was pretty cool.

[Jennifer] Then I had to wrap my head around it mentally and that just took prayer and me so many into God and saying, okay Lord, help me transition.

[Aaron] Yeah, I think you mentioned a little bit ago that I've tried, I've been a proponent for home births and you said you don't know and I was okay with you doing hospital births, but I remember you saying like, "I'll do it when I have to."

[Jennifer] Yeah like if something's gonna push me to do it, then I will. Like I'm not opposed to it. I just, I'm not ready for that yet.

[Aaron] And I was like, "Maybe this is the thing making you have to," but it was perfect cause it was what you had committed to in your heart was like, "Well, when I have to, I will." And this was kind of one of those situations where I was like, we didn't have to, it would probably would have been totally fine, but we had the opportunity.

[Jennifer] Well that's the thing is at the end of that day, I just knew I had peace that, or I'm sorry that the day before I knew that God would help us through no matter what we chose, whether it was home birth or hospital. And I had so much peace about it and I think that's why getting off the phone with the midwife, I was excited and okay and yet nervous about it.

[Aaron] Of course yeah.

[Jennifer] It was so neat that God provided a way for that. And so we started preparing for that. We started telling the kids we were cleaning the house, we were making a way for that to take place. And it was just a really exciting time for our family. A very short time.

[Aaron] Yeah. Though the week prior, I was on maybe five days before we had the baby, I took the, we do have a chalkboard in our kitchen I did a little game with the kids and I said, I want, so who, what day do you think mom is gonna have the baby? And we started doing this voting and I would put down like, do you think it's going to be Monday? And it was like, leading up to the due date. And so everyone put their little dates down, even Truett voted. And I'm just bringing this up because me and Elliot were right. And so, we actually voted for the due date, which was the 20th.

[Jennifer] I actually remember coming out and you explaining this whole thing to me and Elliot looking up at me going, "Mom, the reason I chose your due date is because 'you haven't had a baby on your due date yet." And he just thought that would be so cool.

[Aaron] Yeah, and that's why we actually voted that because I feel like all the babies have been either right before or right after and it wasn't like way after.

[Jennifer] Yeah, well Elliot, our first and Truett our fourth, were both due, were both born a day before their due date. Olive was three days past. And Wyatt was eight days past.

[Aaron] Yeah, he was a big baby. But so we voted for the 20th, which is pretty cool because you were having like on the 19th, I remember you were kind of having some contractions but it didn't like go anywhere. And then the 20th, when did they start?

[Jennifer] So I didn't have any, like I wasn't feeling any contractions the day before, but I just felt like it was going to happen soon. Like I could just tell my body was getting ready. But contractions started at about 1:30 in the morning, on her due date.

[Aaron] Oh, that's what that, okay. It was 1:30 in the morning. That when it was.

[Jennifer] Yeah. And they started and they were pretty close together. I mean seven, eight minutes apart, pretty consistently for a few hours. And then we got disrupted. Truett woke up, which he never does with a huge explosion, poop explosion. I'm trying to keep it clean here.

[Aaron] It was horrible. It was all over his bed. It was all over him.

[Jennifer] I've never had an experience like with having five kids now, I've never had an experience like this. So to be contracting and have that, I'm like, wait a minute.

[Aaron] What time was that?

[Jennifer] It was like five o'clock in the morning.

[Aaron] It was early. So I'm up, like we're putting him in the bath and there's like poop everywhere. It was like, so gross.

[Jennifer] So I told Aaron, you go lay in bed with him and since I'm up anyways, I'll do the laundry and-

[Aaron] We couldn't put him back in his bed. It was like a war zone.

[Jennifer] It was crazy. So now that you guys are all grossed out, I know. I feel like that just distracted my mind and body or maybe that's just the way it was supposed to be. But contractions kind of slowed down and were more sporadic. So it was like 11 to 15 minutes apart for a long time. I mean hours and I have a cute story, another cute story about Truett. This one's cleaner. About 10 o'clock in the morning I came out of the bedroom and Aaron had been hanging out with the kids and you left to go to the bathroom or something. And I started contracting. I had a big contraction and so I threw two pillows down on the living room floor and I was kneeling in front of them because I was gonna kind of try and either lay down or hold them. And Truett comes up and lays down on the pillows looking up at me and I'm just like on my hands and knees looking down at him. But I'm like trying to breathe through this contraction and he's just smiling. It was like a little redemptive moment for us, but it was sweet. So I labored all day at home. And one cool thing that I wanted to share with you guys is, the night before I went into labor, I was doing a little bit of research and just reading people's home birth stories that they've shared on their blogs. And I can't remember exactly who's I read, but she said this, she said, "Through every contraction "I used the opportunity to pray for someone else. "My husband, my children, friends." And I remembered that as soon as I started contracting and I said, "Oh, I'm gonna do that." I was determined. I was like committed to it, to this idea of prayer throughout each contraction. And it was such a beautiful experience. You guys, every time a contraction came, I would quickly think of someone who I would want to pray for my family, friends, really random things that, I kinda just like allowed the Lord to bring to my mind in that moment, whatever he wanted me to pray for. And so I would pray from the beginning of the contraction, throughout to the end. And not only was it a good distraction from the pain, but what a cool experience to use that opportunity to draw closer to the Lord and to lift up others. Like it was just, I recommend that for anyone going through labor. It was so beautiful.

[Aaron] Yeah, it was actually beautiful to watch because you told me you're like, I'm using contractions to pray. And I was like, "Oh, that's awesome."

[Jennifer] Yeah. What was actually even crazier was there was this one contraction that I was determined to pray for kids who during specifically this pandemic and stay having stay at home orders who have experienced abuse at home. And I had seen something on social media, maybe Facebook about this. And I hadn't thought about it before then. And so it stood out to me. And so, the contraction started and I started praying for these kids who are at home and possibly experiencing abuse. And as I was praying, you guys, the contractions started building up and becoming more intense and more painful. And it hadn't been like this in all the other contractions and it lasted the longest. And I just kept praying for these children. And by the end of it, I remember telling you, Aaron, that I felt like the Lord was showing me like almost like in relation to their pain, how bad my contraction was. It was kind of really interesting, but my heart just broke for that.

[Aaron] Yeah, I think I remember you were crying a little bit in that one.

[Jennifer] So, anyways, if you guys are pregnant or if you are gonna have a baby and you're thinking about contracting. I don't know, just remember this, pray, use that time to pray for other people. It's really cool.

[Aaron] It's a similar experience to fasting. Like the point of fasting is when the hunger pains come on. When your flesh wants to be fed or to be consoled, we pray. It's the trigger point to pray. I wanted to just bring up a verse real quick, just talking about this whole experience because we have so many plans in life, we have this, we set in our mind how we want something to happen, how we want something to go. I mean, I don't think it was in anyone's mind that the world was going to change the way it's changing, but guess what? It changed. And things are changing every day. And, Proverbs 19:21 says, Many are the plans in the mind of a man but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. And so it's awesome. I mean, in this situation, we got circular, whatever your purposes, we want that to stand. We'd get, of course we have plans. We're going to make plans, there's many of them. But are we gonna be irritated when our plans get foiled? When our plans don't come true and we get blinded to see like, well, what is God doing? Like, God apparently wants something else to be happening right now. That's contrary to my own plans. And so when we can say, "Okay, Lord, like yes, we've made plans, "but what we want more is your purposes to be, to stand."

[Jennifer] That's really good.

[Aaron] So that's kind of what we saw happening here. And there's other things that God had in store for this, but I just wanted to point everyone back to God's purposes.

[Jennifer] Awesome. So as my contractions progressed, they got a little bit closer together and, but nothing really was like showing us that delivery was soon. So this was probably around nap time. So I remember Aaron coming in the bedroom after he laid the kids down and, you just started praying for me and you weren't telling God what to do because we don't do that. But you were like, let's get the show on the road. I want to meet my daughter. And you were really excited for things too.

[Aaron] Well, I remember you told me, like, you're not, you don't know why it's slowed down. You're like, I feel like we were getting somewhere. Cause we were, it was getting, they were getting closer and closer and closer and consistent. And then it was like, they just totally like tapered off and slowed down. They were still there, but, and you were just like, I don't know. And I was like, "Well, let's pray about it."

[Jennifer] Yeah, and it was kind of a sporadic day, like a very, like when I think about my other four and I even told the midwives this, when I first met them that with my other four kids, once contraction started, they would-

They don't stop.

[ Jennifer] they don't stop and they just keep going. And then I have the baby and they're generally short labors and this was not like that. This was just different and-

[Aaron] Maybe being home made you much more relaxed.

[Jennifer] I don't know. I don't know what it was, but I do think this, something that was on my mind. And I remember sharing this with you after you prayed for me, was that I love end times, when we think about Christ return and all of that, and there's a verse, people probably know what I'm referring to, but it's in Matthew 24. And one of the disciples asked when the end of the age is going to come and Jesus goes off explaining the Wars and rumors of Wars and famines and all these things that are hard. And then at the very end, he said, all of these are, but the beginning of the birth pains. So they're like contractions and-

[Aaron] He points out the world chaos as contractions, just like in labor.

[Jennifer] Yeah, until the delivery of our King.

[Aaron] Which showed off light and distant and they get more and more aggressive and closer together.

[Jennifer] But sometimes they also slow down. It's kind of like, we get these moments of peace and everything's great. And everything in the world seems to be going fine. And then you get this really big contraction or you get this really painful one, or you get this really long one. And you're like, "Wow, this is not stopping." And so I felt like the Lord kind of gave me this picture with what I was physically and experiencing and enduring, with how sporadic the day was with my contractions and showing him a picture of the world and saying, sometimes it feels like you're about to have that baby. And then it slows down and stops. And there's this rest period.

[Aaron] Well, and I wanna expound on that encouragement a little bit, because I think as the church at large, would it be valuable for us to continue to remember that we do have? The Lord is returning. And the things that he's shown us in scripture, like what we see going on in the world, the Wars, the rumors of Wars, the pestilence, the massive earthquakes, the volcanoes, all these things, like everything. Like the chaos in the world, there birth pains. And so it could look scary, but for the believer for the one who has our faith in Christ.

[Jennifer] We know it's to come.

[Aaron] There's something good coming on the other end. The Bible says, that in birth, the woman is in pain, but once the baby comes, she's forgotten the pain. And the point is of course you don't forget the pain, but the thing that you've been waiting for and going through the pain for is now here.

[Jennifer] I think there's a version of the Bible that says that she's in anguish. Is not even just pain. It's like emotional and physical and it's draining.

[Aaron] So church believers, we can look at the world and these things that we see going on the world shouldn't cause fear in us, it should bring us hope. And that's what even Jesus has. He says, I tell you these things that you might have hope because when we see these things, as the believer, we know what they mean. Just like when I see my wife going into contractions, I don't think, what's happening? I think, "Oh man, the more painful "and the more close these get together, "the sooner I'm gonna meet my daughter." And so even though it's painful and it's a struggle and it's a trial, it's temporary. And we even know that Paul says, "I know that our current struggles "are nothing to be compared with the coming glory." So I just want to encourage you believers out there that, the Bible, Jesus and the Bible gives us this idea of birth pains for a reason, because the example we get in birth of the contraction starting far apart, we get to look at the things going on the world and say, wow, the more that we see these, the closer they get together, it should turn our eyes up to look for our savior.

[Jennifer] Yup. That's good. So, I feel like right after you prayed over me during that nap time, the Lord must have heard because things started picking up-

[Aaron] Pretty quick.

[Jennifer] pretty quickly. The contractions started getting closer together, more painful and just really the signs of labor were just all converging. And what was really cool was Olive's home. And so she got to participate. I remember so many times-

[Aaron] Another benefit of having the baby at home.

[Jennifer] Yeah, our four year old little daughter, almost five, was so thrilled to be able to participate in it. And she would, I would be on that big, the big bouncing ball, through contractions and she'd be sitting in front of me on my bed and she'd reach out and put her hand on my leg and encourage me. She'd rub my arms.

[Aaron] Shoulders.

[Jennifer] She'd look up at me and she go, "Mom, you can do this." Or she'd caught pretty much copy Aaron, anything that Aaron did, she'd do five minutes later. So she'd say, mom, she'd see a contraction coming. She goes, "Mom, just breathe." And then she breath with me-

[Aaron] Yeah cause I kept reminding you like breathe, open your mouth.

[Jennifer] Yeah, so that was really sweet. There was a handful of time. She prayed for me.

[Aaron] What was that thing she told you? There was a moment as you got closer and you were just like, I think you said, I can't do this. Or I don't think I could do this. That's what it was. I don't think I could do this. What did she say?

[Jennifer] She said, "You could do it, mom." I don't remember.

[Aaron] It was really powerful. She was like, "You can do it mom. "And actually you have to do it the baby is coming."

[Jennifer] Yeah. She's serious.

[Aaron] She was good.

[Jennifer] She's so funny, but such an encourager. And actually now she would love to be a midwife when she grows up after realizing what they do, handling mamas and babies all day.

[Aaron] She wasn't freaked out by any of it.

[Jennifer] No, she was such so strong. So yeah, things started picking up and I knew I was getting closer. So we called the midwife to come check on us and my friend Angie, who was going to be present at the birth. And another thing that I wanted to share with you guys is one of my desires from the beginning of this pregnancy was-

[Aaron] Plans.

[Jennifer] I mean, yeah. Was to praise my baby out. And I know it sounds kind of weird, but I've heard other phrases of like breathing the baby out or just letting your body kind of push the baby out. But my heart was that I would worship God throughout the whole experience. And I wanted to be like highly aware that I was able to do this during labor and delivery. And not only did Olive remind me to be singing very loudly because she was doing that. We had a specific playlist that we were playing and the songs like Waymaker and I Will Wait For You by Shane and Shane, like just some really great songs.

[Aaron] Did you have in Christ alone in there?

[Jennifer] In Christ alone, it was my Anthem throughout pregnancy. I just, I played that song every day. I just, I love that song and it was actually the song she was born too, which is really cool.

[Aaron] It came on, and then-

[Jennifer] She came.

she came.

[Jennifer] It was so cool you guys. And also Angie, cause I have a really close relationship with her. She knew this was a desire of mine. And towards the end specifically, I remember hearing her voice saying, "Jen remember to praise," like remember to sing, remember to worship and as hard as it was because I was giving birth and it's hard to even breathe at that time to be able to sing. It was like, my flesh was like, I don't want to do that right now. And then I heard the words of the song playing and I would just jump in and start singing. It was such a cool experience.

[Aaron] I think you were singing it while you were pushing her out. Like it was that-

[Jennifer] I was saying, "God you're good, " I feel so good."

[Aaron] Yeah, it was pretty powerful and what's awesome is, another one of your plans and your heart's desire was to be like ministering and you wanted your labor to be a witness and a blessing to the nurses at the hospital.

[Jennifer] I was just gonna say to the nurses at the hospital, it was one of my prayers throughout the pregnancy. I was praying for their hearts. I was praying for whoever was present at the birth to see God in it, whether it was in our relationship and the way we were interacting or in the actual birth. But my heart was that God would use this labor and delivery in a purposeful way in the hearts of those who were experiencing it alongside me, but what I didn't know was, I had been praying for the nurses and doctors. And then at the last minute we changed to a home birth.

[Aaron] But God knew.

[Jennifer] But God knew who was going to be there.

[Aaron] And I remember that, I mean, you're singing worship songs. You're like are just the way we were interacting was really peaceful, really strong, really calm. And with our daughter there and just, I feel like the whole experience was very worshipful. It was really peaceful, really cool. And I know that it impacted the midwives that were there.

[Jennifer] I hope so.

[Aaron] First of all, they were awesome.

[Jennifer] They were amazing.

[Aaron] Really quiet, really calm like just really in control.

[Jennifer] But also attentative.

[Aaron] And attentative, yeah. And I remember afterwards, one of the midwives was saying, what did she say? We are truly honored to be a part of this. It almost looked like she's gonna cry. I don't know if she was or not, but it looked like they were truly like blessed if anything, by your labor, babe, like you did such a good job.

[Jennifer] I praise God.

[Aaron] Yeah it was awesome.

[Jennifer] So little Edith joined us at five on the dot.

[Aaron] Five o'clock yeah.

[Jennifer] 5:00 PM on her due date with bright copper red hair. It's so beautiful.

[Aaron] Yeah, we're praying really hard right now. And if you want to pray with us that she keeps that hair.

[Jennifer] Oh, it's okay. It's just, all of our kids are blonde, so I'm assuming it'll change, but it's such a sweet color, especially in the side.

[Aaron] Olive came out with really dark hair.

[Jennifer] Yeah, it wasn't as red, but it was-

[Aaron] It wasn't as red, Wyatt came out with like a-

[Jennifer] Well, he was bald and so it was Truett.

[Aaron] But its cute when it grew and it was a little red.

[Jennifer] It was like a strawberry blonde. He's still kind strawberry blonde.

[Aaron] But she is like, you were looking at it right now. It's super, she's super red.

[Jennifer] She's sleeping. So anyways, all to say this, you guys, it was a really neat experience to be able to have a peaceful home birth. I thank the Lord that my past pregnancies and history was there. They were fine. And there was no interventions or-

[Aaron] No complicated ones.

[Jennifer] Yeah, there was no complications or anything like that. And that the Lord gave me the confidence to be able to say yes to this and that we were able to lean on each other, Aaron, to be able to do that.

[Aaron] Do you feel like it was what God wanted?

[Jennifer] I do. I feel like he had a plan from the beginning that he just didn't reveal to me until the end. Maybe he knew that's what I needed. I don't know.

[Aaron] And we have no idea what God's doing in the hearts of those ladies that were with us and we need to keep praying for them because we don't know where they're at.

[Jennifer] Or a daughter.

[Aaron] Or a daughter. Yeah, But I mean-

[Jennifer] I mean we know what's going-

[Aaron] She's gonna become a midwife nurse.

[Jennifer] She had all kinds of questions afterwards, but she just, she was thrilled to be able to participate in that way. I know it made her feel super special.

[Aaron] So here's a question, probably all the pregnant ladies are thinking, would you do it again?

[Jennifer] I remember texting a friend that later that night and she goes, so how was it? And I'm like, I'm a fan.

[Aaron] Cause we have several people be like, "You can do this, you can do this." Cause we have a lot of friends that have done home births, almost all their kids, I think. And so they've been, they were really cheering you on another excited that you're like switched. And we know it's not for everybody.

[Jennifer] But here, it's also something that I just keep telling myself as it's open. So like, even if we ever had another baby, I would be okay with having it in the hospital or at home. So it's just really submitting that to the Lord and saying, what do you want? This is for you.

[Aaron] So babe I know there's probably a lot of women that are considering a home birth. If they've never had one before, how would you encourage someone who's already considering this?

[Jennifer] Well for someone that's already considering it, I would just say again, pray about it and submit it to the Lord. Talk about it with your husband and do what research you need to do. All the questions that you might have surrounding it, go ask them, ask your friends, ask your care providers. Whoever's looking after you. But don't be afraid of it. I had a good friend tell me, like having a baby is not an emergency. It's a natural thing that God built our bodies to do.

[Aaron] It's a good encouragement.

[Jennifer] And we need to be able to trust that God's design works. Now there's a lot of cases out there where for whatever reason, someone needs to give birth in a hospital or someone needs an intervention and that's okay, too. So even for someone who's already planning a home birth or someone who desires a home birth, even they have to hold that birth plan loosely in their hands and submit it to the Lord and say, "God, what do you want from me?" And he might even change their plans to be a hospital birth. And I think the greatest thing is to just have peace no matter what that plan is and say, God, it's yours.

[Aaron] Yeah, something I just want to remind everyone also is, and if you're not having caught it yet, we talk a lot about how our lives are to be ministry. It's not just like we have ministry over here. Like, "Oh, I work at this church "or I have this job over here. "That's some sort of ministry which no, those are bad." But when we realized that when Christ comes into us, when we have the Holy spirit, our life now is a ministry being poured out. We're being poured out into the world. We're lights set up on a hill. And so even in our home birth, we are doing ministry. Our life and the way we present ourselves and the way we react to each other and interact with each other and interact with the midwives and those around us is how the gospel is spread in the world. It's by our words and our actions, it's not by this thing set over here. And that happens once a week or every other week or once a month. It's everything we do. And if you're wondering what that looks like, ask God, say God, "How's my life? How is the things that we're pursuing, our labors, our work, our at home life, our schooling, our jobs, our everything? Our hobbies. How are we representing you everywhere we are? Because we are the body of Christ. Where we go, Christ goes. And so that's what we, our heart was for this labor. And it's what our heart is for this podcast, is what our heart is for our books, for our home, for our neighborhood. And so if you haven't thought that way, our parent hope is that your mind would be changed and that you would start to realize and recognize that every bit of your life is the Lords. And he desires it to be a offering to him. He desired, he calls us to be living sacrifices. And so, that's, what's amazing is we can be at home doing home birth, something that we don't need, didn't plan and say, "Okay, Lord, how are you gonna use this for you? "What do you want from us? "How can we participate in what you're doing "in the lives of those that are going to be here? "And also, what are you gonna do in us?" Cause there's a lot that God did in us, challenging us and changing our minds about things and showing us how to trust him more. So that was a little bit about our home birth story, which we think it's, God's story of course, all of our births. I wouldn't say this birth was any better than any of the other ones. Cause they all were amazing. I love meeting my children, but I did love a lot doing it at home. I really enjoyed it.

[Jennifer] I really did too.

[Aaron] So husbands out there, it was a pretty awesome experience if your wife is considering it, just know it's pretty awesome. You're home, it's more comfortable you're in your bed. If you have other children, they get to participate and see how it and know what's going on. And it was a really cool thing anyways. Yeah, that was our story, is there any last thing you wanna add?

[Jennifer] I feel like, no, I think that what we shared was really cool and I'm, I just want everyone to hear me say that I love you and that I'm really proud of you. You're a really awesome support for me, especially during that time of labor and delivery and managing our other four kids during the whole thing. I just really love doing life with you and I'm excited that the podcast is back up and we're in season four. So I'm excited to be doing this with you.

[Aaron] Awesome. Well, that was really nice. Thank you babe. I love you too and ditto and all of that. And bonus baby Edith this year and she is awesome.

[Jennifer] She's doing really great.

[Aaron] She's starting to smile and she's, I want her to cue a lot more, but she's just barely started.

[Jennifer] She likes open's her mouth like she's gonna and then she just sit there and wait, she doesn't do it.

[Aaron] She teases us, but she is so sweet. All right. We love you all. My hope that was an encouragement to you and a blessing. We're praying for you. We pray that God just moved mightily in your marriages and uses you for mighty things for his kingdom, wherever you're at. And during the season of chaos and craziness, just remember God's our peace and our hope.

[Jennifer] And he is good.

[Aaron] And he is good. And if you have been wavering in your faith in the Lord, I pray that you would just ran to him like, like you've never ran to him before and that you would surrender everything. He's the only thing worthy of giving your entire life to, and one day we're gonna be able to spend eternity with him.

[Jennifer] One day soon.

[Aaron] Birth pains.

[Jennifer] Yeah.

[Aaron] So-

[Jennifer] We'll just pray through those contractions.

[Aaron] As usual, Jennifer will you pray's out?

[Jennifer] Dear father, you are the giver of life. Thank you for the gift of children. We pray we would have a deep understanding of children and we pray for a strong desire to bless the children in our lives. We pray, we would understand our purpose and role in raising children that know you. May our examples of life and marriage and everything show them the way that honors and glorifies you. Lord we also pray and ask for your peace to be in all of our hearts and in all of our homes, especially when the world seems to be lacking peace. Help us to be confident in trusting you for everything. In Jesus name. Amen.

[Aaron] Amen. We love you all. If you haven't left us a review, would you take a moment and do that today? Those reviews help us rank in all the podcast apps and it also lets people know what the podcast is about and what other people think. If you have a lot to review, you are awesome. Thank you so much. Don't forget to get the, to take the challenge. It's parentingprayerchallenge.com. We talked about in the beginning of the show. We love you and we'll see you next week.

[Aaron Voiceover] Did you enjoy today's show? if you did, it would mean the world to us if you could leave us a review on iTunes. Also, if you're interested, you can find many more encouraging stories and resources at marriageaftergod.com and let us help you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.