I’ve been anxious to tell this last part of your birth story, baby boy, wanting to be right back in that space with you on the day you were born. I pulled up our hospital playlist to bring me closer to those hours before you came, and I hit shuffle, my headphones in as I sit here in the coffee shop pounding out keys to you. The first song to come streaming out: “Good, Good Father.” A holy, sweet reminder that God is always good, no matter what. It’s who he is. It’s every bit true.
And now? “No Longer Slaves.” He never ceases to amaze me.
“I am surrounded…by the arms of the Father. I am surrounded…by songs of deliverance. We’ve been liberated…from our bondage. We’re the sons and the daughters…Let us sing our freedom!”
These words. These faithful, beating words do take me back. I sang them out, loud, on the day you were born, and my heart sings them again now:
“You split the sea so I could walk right through it! My fears are drowned in perfect love. You rescued me and I will stand and sing, ‘I AM A CHILD OF GOD.'”
Freedom. Deliverance. Drowned fears. God making a way for you. He did that very thing, and in doing so, he made a way for me, too.
The hours carried on that morning, your birthday. Around 11:45am, I looked at the clock and summoned my inner doula to make note of how my body was transitioning. This happens when a mama is very close to delivery, somewhere between seven and ten centimeters along. I remember that moment well. I was kneeling on the floor, arms propped up. Your daddy, behind and to my right, was supporting me through the next contraction. I made note of the time and thought to myself, “So close now. You’ll meet your baby by 12:30pm. 1pm at the latest.” I felt like I had so little left to give in labor. The thought that you were so very close was motivating, but my body was beyond tired. I asked your daddy to pray, and he did. Those words moved me through the next wave, and I begged God for help as another round came.
At that time, I also asked to be checked, and our nurse confirmed that I was completely dilated. Surely you would arrive so soon! She called our doctor, who made his way from the office to the hospital quickly. His presence in the room was a welcome addition–it meant we were very, very close.
For the hours that followed, I wandered–mentally, spiritually, physically, emotionally, through every possible feeling. I tried everything I could think of to work through contractions and help you to arrive. Nurses brought in a squat bar. We used the birthing ball. We tried walking, dancing, squatting, rocking and anything that my body moved to do naturally. You felt so close and so far away.
Something beautifully spiritual happened to me in that space of desperation and waiting–a moment I still can’t do justice to if I try. I had trusted God with ALL of me that it was possible I could deliver you without pain, but instead, I was in the most intense pain of my life. This is a hard part to tell, and I say it carefully, but I really did believe that I might die that afternoon. I had never felt so close to something out of this world as I did then. Maybe that feels dramatic now, or maybe I had a sense of what God was doing in a story that would have gone another direction without Him. I was alone in that room in the most powerful way. Your daddy was there, and Becky and our doctor and the nurses, too. But there was a space in time when it really felt like it was just you and me and God laboring together. Everything else fell away. I felt so broken, so in need. It was one of the most sacred moments of my life.
I moved from the floor after those seconds or minutes, trying as best I could to push through what was obviously not the end. I lay in the bed so drained of my own capacity, and I can say with confidence that God brought us through every single moment from then until you arrived. I was not under my own power at all, but His. God delivered you into this world, not me.
After several hours without much change, our nurse suggested that I try moving to the shower. She thought that might give me a sense of relief that would be enough to move us forward. I felt so weak and so discouraged, but in a moment of clarity I remembered that you had always moved so fluidly in my belly whenever you felt warm water on my skin. There was no reason not to try it, aside from my unbelief in my ability to move safely from the bed across the room. Your daddy and our nurse supported my walk there, and once we reached the shower, I tried to let go of my own thoughts and allow our bodies to do the work. I could hardly squat or stand. Maybe two minutes into this new scenario, I felt you move. And I mean, move. The sensation of you being stuck was suddenly gone, and now I thought I might just deliver you right onto the shower floor. I yelled in that moment–a yell that caused our nurse to pull the emergency cord and sent half a dozen nurses, our doctor and our photographer all into the room in one instant.
My feet barely touched the floor as arms gathered around and supported me back to the bed. I imagine now how ridiculous it all must have looked, had I been a fly on the wall. I didn’t care at all. I just wanted to meet you, and also not to deliver you onto the floor. My sense of urgency was valid, but perhaps alarmist. There was time to get me back into bed and positioned to deliver you, with maybe ten to fifteen minutes to spare.
Our doctor was calm, careful and patient, as he’s always been. Your cord was wrapped around you and up over your head, your hand was tucked snuggly in a fist up against the side of your face. As you stretched out into the world, that same arm reached out into the sky like a victorious punch. I felt exactly that way, too, precious boy.
I couldn’t have you in my arms fast enough. We have dozens of pictures to prove it. I’ve never been so relieved, maybe ever. You were here, safe. It took some time for your color to change, but all I could think was how miraculously you’d arrived. When everything seemed to stand in the way, God had brought you the way I had begged and pleaded he would–whole, healthy, without intervention. I am still in awe and amazed of His goodness in all of it.
Daddy announced your gender, then cut your umbilical cord after a few minutes while I fixated on every last detail of you. All nine pounds, seven ounces of resilient, peaceful, mysterious you were now tucked in, skin to skin, with me. I thought I’d broken already, but the truth is, I had more breaking to do.
After you were born, we waited to tell anyone your name until your gramma could bring Henry and Eloise to meet you. We wanted them to be the first to know. “This is your new baby brother,” we told them. Henry cheered at the news of a boy. Eloise melted at the sight of you. I’m pretty sure I just cried and cried.
“His name is Crosby Eames,” we told them. “Fwizbee?” Eloise asked. “Crosby,” your daddy and I smiled.
You entered the world every bit your name that day, Crosby Eames. Crosby means “one who goes to the cross” or “goes to the city with crosses” and Eames means “prosperous protector.” Together we had gone to the cross, sweet baby, and our Prosperous Protector delivered us both.
I will never forget the details of your birthday, precious boy, nor the journey we traveled to get to it. God hasn’t stopped using you to refine me since that day, and I suspect He never will. I love you more than I could possibly say. I love the God we serve more freely and fiercely because of you. Not only did He answer every prayer of mine in the way He knew best, but He wove in sweet surprises and deepened joy at every turn.
As I finish telling your birth story, a new song is playing from your playlist, and it’s perfect:
“For the danger in these waves, for the thrill adventure craves, for the safety found in laying down our days. For a hope that’s on the rise, for the clearing of the skies, for the way that you delay and then surprise…
Oh you were so kind to answer my prayer. So good, so loving, so aware that you would move heaven and earth…
And I sing a hymn of praise for all you’ve done for me, and your love is in the wind and tumbling o’er the sea. So kind to me…”
God has been so kind to me. Your life changes ours and makes it better. It always will.
love you forever and ever, and then a little bit more,