Saturday, November 24, 2012

Random Thoughts on Covenants and Birth

This morning, as I was praying and trying to sort out my mind in an effort to stop following darkness (the sins are sins of thought), rather randomly Denver Snuffer's comments in his latest (temple) fireside came to my mind in conjunction with my first baby.

First, this is what he said (1:15:24-1:16:07): "And I can tell you that covenants traditionally involve cutting - And covenants in the Old Testament involve the shedding of blood - And covenants with our Lord at some point, in some contexts, with some reaches, require that we suffer."

[sidenote: In pioneer times, the marks cut into a person's clothing were not sewn on.]

He was in the midst of speaking of his own suffering, of operations performed that involved the flesh being cut, as well as blood being shed.

When I was pregnant for the tirst time, I decided this was my "tithing child". This was the child I would dedicate to the Lord, according to the law of sacrifice in the Old Testament (as I understand it).

According to the Bible:
(As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord
(New Testament | Luke 2:23)
 My child ended up being female. In fact, some months before she was born, she emphatically told me, "Don't call me a boy!" In my mind and heart, though, I did not waver in devoting her to the Lord. I'm sure I broke some ancient Jewish law because I was female and I was offering up my child as a covenant to God, and the child ended up being female. I didn't even know there would be a "God's part" to this gift, to this covenant. As far as I know, there is none.

She was a home birth-turned-c-section. Because I did not feel safe where I was laboring (for reasons I won't go into here), my body would not let her out, so we went to the hospital after many hours. She was breech. Had the medical community not been fearful (or is that "terrified") of delivering a breech naturally, she would have been born vaginally, because as soon as we got to the hospital my body started pushing her out.

In any case, she was a c-section. A cesarean. That means they cut open my belly. They sliced open my skin, then my muscles, and then my uterus, then they pulled her out through the cuts. I was awake for this but did not have to watch it, thank goodness.

My firstborn, offered as a "living sacrifice" to God, was offered via the cutting of the person who gave the gift. (The child, herself, seemed to have no problem with this. They showed her to me right after they pulled her out. She was checking things out, looking at this new place she was in to see what it was like. We had an incredible link from the beginning, which diminished the more she let go of the spiritual world, the more she became incorporated into this world.)

It involved cutting. It involved hellish pain, the likes of which I had never experienced before (physically), and never have since (I gave birth vaginally twice after, with a painkiller for about an hour for my middle child, no painkiller for the last child). It involved hellish pain after, because I did not want to bother the nurses and waited too long to ask for a painkiller after I was in my room. By the time I was hurting, it was the shift change and they could not give me a painkiller until they were through giving reports to the new shift. By then, I was in agony again, a fiery agony this time.

I almost did not have my next baby. I believed to my core that God hated women, or that He had a particular grudge against me, personally. The lie that a woman forgets the pain and "it is all worth it" came up in my face at least once by a well-meaning woman who had obviously experienced this forgetting. Even now, I have not forgotten that hell. But I still dedicated the child to God.

And I decided that I needed to give God a chance to prove that He did not hate me, that He did not hate women, and I let myself get pregnant again to see what He would do, if anything. (This took a great deal of courage. Also, I had gathered my children around me when I was about to be married and told them to prepare to be born, so I felt a commitment to have these children. Three - two girls and a boy - had gathered close to me, and one boy was farther off, who I have not had yet. Though God gave Isaac to Sarah at 99 years old, I do not know if God will give such a gift to this son and myself. I have nearly 45 years to see, though. *smilie*)

It was illegal in my state for a midwife to attend a post-cesarean mother, hence home birth was out of the question (I had not heard of freebirth at the time). I ended up going to Utah. Salt Lake City, actually, where I ended up with the most incredible doctor (Dr. Pease) and a very good hospital (Holy Cross Hospital between North and South Temple and between 10th and 11th East). There was no question in my mind that I'd have a vaginal birth. The cut I'd had was the kind that allows a "trial" labor, but I innocently ignored the word "try".

I did not know I was "supposed" to rip apart. I had no clue that I was "supposed" to explode inside. Neither the woman who pulled out my oldest daughter nor Dr. Pease gave me a reason to fear. The second labor was less than three hours from start to finish. Had someone been there who would have told me that my feelings of "I can't do this," was a sign that the baby was about ready to be pushed into the world and to hang in there at least 15 more minutes, I would not have asked for a painkiller, and the pushing stage would have been 1/2 an hour instead of one hour. (They warned me that the painkiller might not take effect until after the baby had been born, but I did not recognize that as a statement that the baby was about to be born.)

I was also surprised at the rest between contractions at the beginning. My last experience had been one long pain that was somewhat tolerable at the beginning turning into something so bad long before the 13 hours were over that it was more than I could endure. (I was very uncomfortable with how this was worded before. It was true, but it "felt" like it was offensive or uncomfortable to someone.)

I recognized that God did His part very well in the second birth, considering my total lack of faith and considering my very dark thoughts about Him. In fact, right after second daughter was born, I told a nurse I wanted to have another baby, I wanted to labor and birth again. She discouraged that idea. lol

Actually, God was incredibly loving and patient to not punish me for my honest beliefs about Him. Any human I know personally would have been swift to punish such insubordination, such heresy, such blasphemy as I thought and believed in my heart of hearts.

So, now, as I struggle with losing battles against darkness and wondering if it is even worth trying to fight for control of my own thoughts, my mind turns to this experience and I wonder what, if anything, it all means. I wonder if it was a covenant, - and if it was, was the covenant sealed by the shedding of my blood and by my incredible suffering. And if  so, what was God's part in it. What was it He was supposed to give?

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