A New Beginning: God’s Promise
It was about a week before my baby was to be born. I felt God’s peace come over me and I realized in that moment a specific truth that God was speaking to me. God was giving me the gift of a new baby– A new life in the world, but also a new start for me. Since having my first child, the time after giving birth has been a time of increased anxiety. A time without the innocent joys of sweet smiling new life but a time darkened by the fears of what could go wrong. But this time it was going to be different. This time God was giving me a very special gift. He was giving me new life, joy and a new beginning.
“She is clothed in strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” Proverbs 31:25
New Life: A Natural Birth Story
On May 2nd, 6 days past due, my body started to show signs of labor. I called my mom and she and my sister Melanie gathered the kids and met at the park to enjoy the sunshine. Aimee joined us there. We spent the day together taking walks, eating ice cream and timing contractions– the contractions stayed pretty far apart and inconsistent. After a day of no progress I had become convinced labor was actually never going to happen and so I tried to sleep. The usual pregnancy symptoms mixed with the excitement of the day before kept me awake most of the night. Early the next morning, I began to have stronger more consistent contractions. After trying without success to sleep we decided around 8:30 am to go in to the hospital to get checked and see if any progress had been made. We arrived at triage to find out I was dilated to a 4 with contractions 4-7 minutes apart. The nurse said she thought the doctor would want to keep me. I like to labor outside, free to move and with the sun on my face. I asked to leave and said, “I just wanted to get checked. I know this is not serious labor yet. When I come back I’ll be crying.” My doctor gave the OK for me to leave. After leaving, we went to Culver’s for lunch, it was about 11:00 am. I remember exhaustion overwhelming me at this point. I had walked so much the previous day and not slept at all that night. Sitting in the front seat, suddenly I could not control my tears. Through my tears I said, “I can’t do it. I don’t have the strength.” It was like saying this out loud was all I needed to do to motivate my spirit. Suddenly, I knew I could do it. I knew I was strong enough.
After eating a little lunch, the four of us went to a local park with a path circling a lake. I was ready. I put my headphones in with my labor and delivery playlist. The list included praise and worship songs and “I am Moana” at the end– which I decided would be perfect for pushing. (Until actual pushing) My mom brought a yoga mat so I could labor on hands and knees. I did this for a while and then to get things moving along we started walking loops around the pond. Randy and I walked together, I would turn my music up now when contractions came. They were much stronger and ranging from 4-6 minutes apart. But I was still strong enough. I remember the look on the faces of other walkers as I slowly walked and breathed through my contractions. We walked and took breaks occasionally to rest. Melanie and my mom decided to run to the store to get a few things. Thinking this was fine we sent them on their way and proceeded to take another loop around the pond. After walking a few steps and having one contraction after another I stopped. I turned to Randy and said, “I think we need to go to the hospital.” We called my mom and Melanie and they rushed back with the car. We were only a few minutes from the hospital. When we parked, I again questioned whether or not it was time to go in. We decided to park a bit away from the door so I could get one more walk in. Contractions continued one on top of another as we walked. By this time I had the song “So Will I” by Hillsong United on repeat in my headphones. Contractions continued but I still knew I was strong enough. We made our way to the nurses desk at the entrance of labor and delivery. I remember saying, “I think I’m in labor. Um, I am in labor I just don’t know how far along.” And then a contraction and I burst into tears. The nurse asked me, “What baby is this?” I told her it was the third. She skipped triage and checked me in to a room. She immediately checked my progress, I was dilated to an 8. Suddenly the room filled with nurses. One was on the phone with the on call doctor. I remember her saying, “I need one of you to be here as soon as possible”. Another was getting everything prepared for baby. And yet another nurse was asking me questions, attempting to check me in, as I started to moan through even more intense contractions. My sister Aimee arrived now. And then my doctor. He walked in with shorts and a T shirt straight from cleaning his garage. He asked if he had time to put on scrubs and I remember shouting, “If you do it quickly!”
When the doctor came back I prepared to push. Someone, I think Aimee, changed the song in my headphones to “I am Moana”. But, I soon realized it would take more than that to motivate me to push this baby out. I screamed through the first two pushes because, I exclaimed, “It feels better if I scream!”. After realizing this was not helping I began to listen to the nurses advice, stop screaming, put my chin down to my chest and push like I was pooping. I had somehow forgotten pushing procedure when my 9 lb 7 oz baby boy began his entry into the world. To me at this moment, it felt more like push like you want your whole bottom half to shoot off like a rocket. At some point before the next contraction I told the doctor, “I can’t do it. It hurts so bad. What if I can’t do it?” He told me he knew I could do it but If I couldn’t he would help me. But I could do it. I was strong enough. The next push and the following I was focused. After 15 minutes of pushing my baby was born. I remember the nurse removing the monitors from my stomach and telling me to look down and see my baby. My baby boy was then plopped on my chest warm, crying, and pee flying. My first boy. And he was perfect. And I was proud. And it hurt so bad. I reminded Randy within minutes of his birth that this was the last. The doctor joked that he could head over to the ER for an emergency vasectomy. We all laughed. There is no better feeling in the world than this. Nine months of pregnancy, hours of laboring, all down to this moment of unimaginable pain to push new life in to the world. And immediately afterward everything is still. Everything is right. It is all joy.
Joy: God’s Promise Fulfilled
Rowan is a month old today. I love staring at him. Staring like I’ve never stared before. My fears have been replaced with God’s hope. And as I stare at my baby’s squinty blue eyes I can see God’s promises fulfilled. And I can laugh because I am overcome with joy.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11