How I found contentment in having a hospital birth | St. Louis Birth Photographer

Some may ask, why wouldn’t I be content giving birth in a hospital? That’s a valid question because I would say the majority of women I talk to desire a hospital birth and feel most comfortable birthing their babies in a hospital. Which is awesome! Women should be able to birth where they feel most comfortable. In order to understand where I’m coming from, I think it would be helpful to take a step back and look at what brought me to this feeling.

I had my daughter, Annabelle, at the Mercy Birthing Center and absolutely LOVED my experience there. The level of care we received was outstanding. When I was 30ish weeks pregnant with my son, Grady, my insurance switched and I had to switch care providers as well. I was absolutely devastated about my change in plans, but God was faithful and brought me to Dr. Proffitt. I couldn’t have asked for a better fit, and even though I had to give birth at a hospital, I was supported in all my birthing desires.

Fast forward to this pregnancy and planning for this birth. I have witnessed many births through my job as a birth photographer, and there are bits and pieces of every birth I go to that I think, “Oh, I definitely want to do that during my birth” or “Oh, I do not want that to happen next time I have a baby.” Not that you can control exactly how your labor goes, but there are definitely things you DO have a say in. And I had decided that I did NOT want to be in a hospital for this baby. I did not want to have to deal with the hospital atmosphere. I didn’t want to have to deal with triage or the million intake questions they ask. I didn’t want to deal with the constant vaginal checks. I didn’t want to listen to constant beeping or be hooked up to machines and IV’s. I wanted to finally experience an epidural free birth (a decision I made for many reasons that I can explain another time) and being in a hospital felt like being on a diet with chocolate in the pantry – hard to resist. I wanted to have a pretty hands-off birth in a comfortable home-like setting.

Everything seemed like it might go like I wanted. My doctor, Dr. Proffitt, is a family doctor that delivers at both a hospital and a birth center. I was pretty set on going to a birth center and started to dream of what my birth might look like there. Unfortunately, after what seemed like hours upon hours with the hospital, the birth center, my doctor and (mostly) insurance, it was becoming clear that the birth center was going to be way too expensive. Like THOUSANDSSS more than what the hospital would be.

I felt so mad and discouraged. My plans for how I had envisioned my birth had gone astray, and the control I felt over everything was slipping through my hands. I was so angry at insurance and hospital policies and the lack of birthing options for women that I couldn’t see God’s goodness. I was blinded by my anger.

Thankfully Jesus began to slowly do some much needed work on my heart. It started when He reminded me that He goes with me wherever I go – whether it’s a hospital or home or birth center.

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

-Deuteronomy 31:8

“Where should I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.”

Psalm 139: 7-10

God promises to never leave me or forsake me. He promises to lead me and hold me. He reminded me that my contentment is not based on circumstances (where I give birth/type of birth I have) but on Christ.

“For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret to facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

Philippians 4:11-13

God’s been calling me to a higher and deeper faith in Himself specifically when it comes to this birth. He is asking me to trust Him even despite my past experiences, both with my past births and with births I’ve witnessed. At times I’m so scared I get frozen with fear. I have to constantly remind myself who God is. He promises to be with me through it all. He has good plans for my birth. He is holding my and my baby’s life in His hands.

These truths have filled me with so much joy and have given me such peace about my upcoming birth. I trust the Lord and pray He would continue to teach me more about Himself as I get closer to my due date.

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Gretchen Day Photography

St. Louis maternity, birth, fresh 48, newborn, & family photographer