On the morning of your due date, I woke up early-ish after a night of on and off contractions. My forty week appointment was scheduled for 10:40 that morning, and I had really hoped I wouldn’t make it to the office, but we were still just biding time. My contractions continued to challenge me and felt more and more intense. Still, I told your daddy to go ahead to work, assuming the feelings were more of the same and not wanting to slow down another day for everyone around me.
Twenty minutes after we’d said goodbye, I texted your dad and asked him to come back home. Suddenly everything was kicking into high gear, and I was sure your arrival was imminent. Everything about those first few hours seemed so much like the morning I delivered your big sister, so I started to feel like things could move quickly. I messaged our photographer, who moved heaven and earth to get her five kiddos covered so that she could join us at home. Daddy rushed into the driveway. Gramma took care of Henry and Eloise as they woke up, while I took a shower and got ready; surges were coming every three minutes, growing stronger all of the time.
To say I’d anticipated the contents of your birthday would be a great understatement. I had dreamt about each phase of those hours for so long—to have them upon us felt surreal and beautiful. I wanted to soak in every detail, and I’m so thankful we have images that capture what we were all feeling and doing that morning as we waited for you. I can look at them now and bring myself back there, savoring the sacred space between you being tucked safely away inside and your skin brushing air and meeting light for the very first time.
I knew you were near, but I didn’t know what was coming. You felt close enough that I decided we should relocate ourselves to the hospital, thinking we might be meeting you in a matter of an hour or two. There, I’d have to have IV antibiotics during labor if time allowed, and honestly, I was hopeful to avoid them. I did my best to gauge what my body was telling me—what you were telling me, and we said our slow goodbyes to your brother, sister and gramma between contractions. At some point, daddy loaded the car and helped me in. The looooong trek to the hospital was actually a very short drive ;), and I was preparing myself to get from the car to the maternity floor on foot, assuming we’d arrive and meet you shortly after.
We stopped for a contraction or two as we headed down the hospital corridor. The elevator ride up felt long. I was bracing myself for both the good and challenging parts of a hospital birth. Of course there were monitors, a *brief* debate over a hospital gown (just not my thing), and papers to sign for IV treatment, etc. I hadn’t looked forward to any of these elements, and I tried hard just to focus on breathing you closer while the room picked up speed around me.
Much to my chagrin (and surprise), I was not as close to delivery as I’d hoped. I resigned to the IV setup and our first round of medication for Group B Strep—a decision I didn’t take lightly. The silver lining was my ability to unhook from the machine once the first full round was administered. I moved around the room as best I could with the IV line in tow, and after a while, was so grateful for my (our) detached freedom to roam. We’d been admitted at 9am on the nose, measuring 5-6 cm.
I haven’t touched on this much in your story to this point, but a month or so before your due date, your daddy and I decided we’d be welcoming you into the world without a doula—a very hard decision for us to make. Our friend and doula from previous births was no longer going to be in the area, and we landed on trusting our combined experiences birthing Henry and Eloise to equip us for your birth as a team on our own. It was a leap of faith, really, as it is with all things related to birth. I knew I could rely on your daddy to be very supportive in that space, and he knew that we could trust my body and my instincts to guide us through to your delivery. Becky, our photographer, provided a calm, gracious presence to us a well, offering her peaceful spirit and words of encouragement to fill spaces where needed. Details were falling into place as we got to know our incredibly supportive nurse, who was also integral in facilitating the environment I’d hope to cultivate as I labored with you.
So now, the hard part. I’ve known for months that I can’t put adequate words to the story that God had woven for us on the day of your delivery. I just could not have imagined the way things unfolded. His stories are always better than ours, even when they seem far from what we’ve drawn up in our minds. God taught me that again on the day you were born—a lesson I didn’t know I really needed. He has done that so faithfully through you time and again, sweet babe. Truly, laboring with you is one of the greatest honors of my life…
My contractions came like the constant pulse of a freight train driving forward and picking up speed. I couldn’t slow it down if I tried. We listened to the playlist I’d prepared for your arrival—eighteen songs in total, but to my amazement, only six or seven repeating themselves over and over as hours went by. We slow danced then. We swayed near the bed, your daddy and I, me belting out lines to “Trust in You” as a declaration—an anthem—over you, over me, over that room and as an outward confession of my hope and brokenness and desperation when it felt like the moment to meet you might never come:
“When you don’t move the mountains I’m needing you to move, when you don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through, when you don’t give the answers, as I cry out to you, I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in you…”
“I want what you want Lord and nothing less.”
“You are my strength and comfort, you are my steady hand, you are my firm foundation—the rock on which I stand. Your ways are always higher, your plans are always good, there’s not a place where I’ll go you’ve not already stood.”
I meant them. I meant every word. We had prayed for weeks that God would grant us a smooth, quick, uneventful delivery. We had even prayed in boldness that my labor would be without pain if that was God’s will. I know that sounds crazy, but it didn’t feel crazy to me—it made perfect sense. We serve a God who is capable of ANYTHING, and we know a Savior who has redeemed us and overcome the powers of sin and death. Nothing was outside of the realm of possible. Nothing.
As I cried out those words in that hospital room, as we swayed back and forth, rocked on the ball, moved from place to place and position to position, I continued to believe that God could do it. He could grant me a delivery free of pain if He wanted to. He could bring you into the world swiftly, without any hiccups.
But He didn’t.
Now before you go on reading, please put any doubt about what I’m saying out of your head, precious child. Your birth was one of the most incredible, spiritual experiences of my life. God delivered me from doubt and grew my trust in Him greatly as I delivered you. Wait and see. I’ve saved the very best part for last, little bean.
all my love,
(All images in this post credited to BeeTree Studios)