Not long ago, there was a sunshiny young woman, full of adventurous aspirations and a heart full of wanderlust. This woman looked forward to new opportunities to explore the earth, share her faith, and shine a bit more brightly by God’s grace. However, no over-seas adventure or or rugged excursion would compare to her experience in becoming a mother. It began a year ago this month, in October 2013, when Shane and Becky Rosty accepted God’s calling to pursue parenthood. Pursuing adoption and open to pregnancy, the Rosty’s began their journey. To their great surprise, God provided above and beyond to meet the requirements for them to become parents. Little did they know, there was a double portion of God’s blessing forming in Becky’s womb. But this is not the story of how the blessing started (you can read about that here), this is the story of Becky’s greatest adventure to-date: the night she became a mother…
We took every available choice to have a natural twin birth for our babies. With baby B flipping about–breech one week, head down the next- our doctor was not comfortable planning a natural birth. She gracefully referred us to a doctor in Billings, an hour and 45 minute drive from our home in Sheridan. This doctor was very optimistic about natural delivery. So, I practiced my breathing and Christ-centered meditation, eager to experience labor knowing Id have a long drive to “enjoy” it before the hospital would take over. I made up my mind to do this naturally and calmly, completely trusting in God to get me through.
In full confidence of our new birth plan, Shane and I had the car packed by July 1st. We were excited for the potential of having Independence Day babies, which would have been 36 weeks and right on time for twins.
But alas, the fireworks came and went without even a spark of contractions from my growing uterus.
The next weekend promised a super moon. Friends chimed in via Facebook telling me to get ready, as certain “mammal instincts” were going to kick in because of this phenomenon in nature. I went for several late night walks that week, pointing my planet-sized belly at the moon, willing for something to start. Nothing.
July was almost over. My mantra transformed from “relax-and-be-prepared” mode to “ahem, get out” mode. I hiked the hill in front of my house a dozen times. My calves were sculpted like marble by the end of the month. But still no babies. My thighs were rocking too, from all the squats and bouncing on the birth ball. I worked that birth ball so much, I think cirque de sole could consider hiring me as an extra in their shows. Regardless, still no contractions.
Week 39 arrived and brought its friends, Aggravation and Anxiety, with it. I was aggravated because I knew now that induction was inevitable. And I was anxious because I had a plan, and that plan was only likely to work out if I waited for my body to go into labor naturally.
Six days before my due date, Shane and I drove up to Billings, along with my sister-in-law/doula, Amber and Shane’s brother, Brandon. We stayed at a mission apartment provided by our dear friends in the Montana Southern Baptist convention. On Monday morning the doctor checked me to find that, yet again, I had zero progression. I received what I perceive is the only equivalent of being “punched in the nuts” that a lady will ever experience. After the doctor stripped my cervix he gave us another 24 hours to see if labor would start.
We met my best friend (and favorite photographer) Andy at the local mall for a nice long walk. After an hour in the toy store, a Walmart visit, a few rounds up and down the apartment stairs, 20 minutes on the birth ball, a tasty carb-loaded dinner, and an essential oils massage later, I was still NOT in labor. My mom drove up to join the team and we all worked hard to pray those babies out.
In the process, we watched my stomach bulge out, as our young lady curled up into a ball (later we would realize she was turning breech again).
Surprisingly, my sleep was full of peace and anticipation that night. I woke early for a hot shower and enough time to read my Bible, journal, and braid my hair. That was the moment everything changed.
Filled with Peace
God transformed my heart from one of control to one of openness, available for whatever God had for me to experience, for His glory. I had spoken these words of truth to myself weeks before, in a “meditation recording” I made for labor. As my mind and body prepared for the task ahead, be it the labor I had pictured or something different, I was ready to glorify God in it.
The birth that followed wasn’t necessarily peace-FUL, however it was incredibly Peace-filled.
Equipped with my home-made birth skirt, an IV, 2 baby monitors, a contractions monitor, I started my normal morning stretching routine, waiting for the pitocin to kick in. At last! I experienced what an actual contraction felt like. I welcomed contractions with squats, lunges, bouncing, and pray-swaying with Shane.
By the afternoon, I had little progression to show for all my hard work, so the doctor decided to break Baby A’s bag of waters. Apparently my cervix was still completely posterior, so he dealt with that as well (I will never again laugh when America’s Funniest Home Videos shows home-movies of boys and men getting slammed in the sensitive areas.) Determined to be an active participant of my labor, I stood back up, swinging and swaying while Shane played worship songs on the ukulele.
Unfortunately, those pesky monitors became the bane of my birth experience, keeping me tethered near the bed. I was constantly readjusting them to read the babies heart rates. The poor nurse was very patient with my persistence to stay active and off the bed. Eventually though, I was asked stay laying down so we wouldn’t “lose the monitors.” Despite the frustration, I was grateful the monitors kept us aware that the babies were still thriving while under the pitocin.
As humorous as it sounds, for a few hours, laboring in the bed felt like a day at the spa. My mom gave me a head massage, while Shane rubbed my palms. Amber proved her skills as an excellent doula with a foot rub. Contractions came and went, but I was in a deep state of relaxation and openness.
That afternoon, a warning came over the intercom at Billing Clinic: “dangerous hail/thunderstorm warning.” The nurse suggested Shane move our car to a protected area. Visions of driving our brand new babies home in a suburban with broken windows flashed through our minds. Resisting the urge to panic, Shane and I both prayed for a calm in the storm, both in the weather and in our emotions, while we labored. God went above and beyond, by allowing the storm to pass quickly and providing the best “welcome babies” gift we could imagine: a double rainbow! God sent a double portion of His promise to protect, care for, love, provide, and give grace to us.
Evening brought stronger contractions. Shane grabbed my hand and guided me through them, speaking visuals of various trails we’ve hiked through the years. In my minds eye, I pushed through the climb on my favorite mountains. As the contractions would peak, everything in me wanted to say “no” and resist. Instead, I consciously nodded my head “yes” in effort to welcome them. (Training months earlier with a local doula proved incredibly helpful, as did the constant encouragement and expertise from Amber.)
Eventually, the required epidural was placed, and unexpected relief washed over me. I was blessed by my time in labor, seeing what my body was capable of. However, when the medication took over, my mind became clear and available to make sound decisions. I was hoping the epidural would be the game-changer to speed up labor, but by nighttime, I was still showing no further progression.
When the doctor mentioned C-section, I was surprisingly calm. After a time of prayer for wisdom and clarity, Shane, Amber, and I decided to follow the doctors decision. After an entire pregnancy of doing everything I could to prepare my body and choose a willing doctor in order to have a vaginal delivery, I could have felt shame, frustration, and defeat. Instead, I was filled with joy that we were going to meet our babies, relief that the uncertainty was over, and confidence that God was giving us the exact experience He had planned. For whatever reason, induction, labor, and a C-section was His plan, for His glory and our good. I told the doctors to hurry up so we might have one baby before midnight and one after… they were not amused.
Shane and I were prepped for surgery. I spent about 45 minutes freezing in the operating room while the anesthesiologist tried to place a spinal tap in place of the epidural. When that failed, he replaced the epidural and we were finally on our way. During this time, Shane was pacing and praying outside the OR. He and our doctor were able to have a decently long conversation about God and the Bible while I was being poked and prodded. (I am so honored to be married to such a Christ-minded man.)
I didn’t feel any pain, but I felt plenty of activity in my abdomen during the C-section. I had pictured pressure and prepared for pain while giving birth, but not the vertigo associated with what feels like 3 people each churning butter in my stomach. I focused in on the music playing from my phone next to my ear. The song “No Fight Left” by JJ Heller offered true perspective of the situation. “Your Love oh Lord,” by Third Day reminded me that this was worship; lying on an operating table, praying my children into this world made me just as active a participant in my birth as I would have been had I been able to push. Finally, the song “Break Every Chain,” by The Digital Age, played just as Titus was being pulled out of my stomach. I feel this song is specifically pertinent to what God has for our son (more on this in another post).
Pink and squishy-faced, Titus was lifted over the curtain so I could see him, then whisked off with an eager father close behind. Shane was so excited to meet his son. As I waited for a million moments (2 minutes actually), the nausea overtook me and I had to vomit. My daughter was born and lifted up for me to see. I noticed her pretty lips first, and her lovely face. “She’s beautiful!” I exclaimed just before another bout of nausea swept over me. A nurse brought Evangeline over near my face so I could meet her. I whispered words of love and welcome in her ear, and the nurse encouraged me to kiss her. I taught my daughter her first life-lesson that moment, that life is messy and sometime your new mama has to kiss ya, even when she just threw up.
My insides were put back together and stitched up. Shane managed the worse case of ADHD a man could ask for with a wife in surgery and two new lives to meet. He darted around the room visiting each of us in our “stations,” until I was ready to return to our room.
Babes in arms, we rolled through the doors and into our new life.
I recovered very quickly, and was walking by day 2. The next few days were a blur of family and friends and lots of Facebook comments.
I started my new job as full-time milk factory. It was a slow start, but I was determined. My mom and Shane’s parent provided so much help, bringing in meals and holding babies. I ate so many Lemon poppyseed muffins from Perkins, I’m sure my milk would have been quite appetizing, if it had come in. Alas, babies had to wait 5 days before getting that sweet nectar.
My family championed our cause that week, repeating words of encouragement when babies dropped below birth weight and we began formula supplementation. Despite my previously negative assumptions about formula, I am so glad it was available when my babies needed it in order to thrive.
After a week in Billings, we were finally on our way home to Sheridan on Saturday.
I thank God so much for the birth story He gave us. It wasn’t what I planned, but it gave us the chance to glorify God, share our faith with our doctor, and increase our trust in our Loving Father. Our babies arrived healthy, and I continue to recover well. For the last year, God has reminded me that “he will make everything beautiful in its time.” The birth of our twins is one such situation: made gloriously beautiful by God’s double portion of grace.