With all the tragedy we've experienced this past weekend (read here) I've been thinking a lot about my blessings.
As we cried and prayed together yesterday in Sunday morning service for the girls and family affected in this crash, I felt my little man kick inside my belly. I realized with tears in my eyes that life is precious. I looked down at my beautiful three year old and again was struck with thankfulness.
Even if we don't have a job, or a house, we still have our lives. My husband and I are healthy, my daughter is thriving, and my baby boy inside is growing every day. We are blessed.
I have been thinking of writing a post for quite some time about Sitora's birth, and I've decided this is the right time to do it...
It all started three years ago on Friday, January 16th. We had our good friends over for one of their marriage counseling sessions with us before their wedding. Afterwards we decided to play rock band together and eat some dessert. We had a blast staying up until midnight laughing and hanging out. I finally crashed in bed without thinking the next day would be the big day!
I woke up at 6:00am on Saturday, January 17th feeling, ehem... a bit wet you could say :) I wondered to myself if I had wet my pants. It wasn't a whole lot of fluid, so I wasn't sure if my water had broke or not. I decided to sleep on the couch for a couple more hours and wait. At 8:00am still nothing had changed so I called the doctor on call at the hospital (sadly my doctor was not working that weekend) and she told me to come in so they could check to make sure. She replied, "Eat a nice healthy breakfast, pack your hospital bag, and get here when you can!" So SuperDan made me a yummy breakfast, I showered, and we leisurely got our things together and headed out the door finally around noon. We weren't sure if I was in labor or not, so we weren't anxious or nervous. We called our parents just to let them know what was going on. I remember thinking to myself, "Is this really it? It's not as dramatic as I supposed it would be."
By the time we reached the hospital (about 10 minutes away) my contractions started coming harder and closer together. We were asked if I wanted a wheelchair but I declined because I wanted to continue walking and moving. When we arrived in our room the doctor checked me and determined that the baby's head was blocking the way for the rest of my water to break (that's why I only felt a bit of it early that morning), so she broke it for me. At this point I was about 3-4 centimeters. After that my contractions started coming even closer together and were more intense. But they were still very easy to bear and no problem. The nurses and doctor on call read my natural birth plan and happily agreed to comply with all my wishes and immediately started helping me.
I switched laboring positions often, sometimes in the warm tub, sometimes leaning on a chair on my knees, sometimes leaning on the back of the bed. My back hurt so badly that SuperDan and the nurses had to constantly massage me. At one point (about 3:00pm) the nurse asked SuperDan when he last ate. He hadn't eaten all day! She gasped and exclaimed that it was extremely important that he get some food and brought him a plate to eat on the other side of the room. I let him eat for about... oh.... 20 seconds before I whispered in pain, "Get.... back... over... here!" I just could not labor without him next to me. It was impossible. Poor guy :) I think he got about one bite of something or another and one sip of juice.
I was progressing and slowly the labor was getting harder. I was sitting in the tub with my head on SuperDan's knees while he sat on a chair next to the tub. I then started to worry just a slight bit. Up until this point I had not been anxious at all, but suddenly I was hit with a tinge of fear. I wondered how much longer it would last and how much more pain I would have to endure.
All of a sudden, I looked up and saw a vision of Father's Son. I couldn't see His face clearly but I knew immediately that it was HIM. He was standing next to my husband with one arm draped around his shoulder, as if to signify that He was being Danny's support, and with His other hand He reached inside my womb and gently patted the baby's head and said to me, "Everything is going to be okay." Then He was gone.
I was numb with all kinds of emotions by that point. Number one, I was in pain physically. Number two, I was absolutely shocked out of my mind. And three, I was blessed beyond belief. I had no words. No words would have done this holy moment justice. I remained silent and didn't speak of it to my husband until after Sitora was born.
After that I knew I had nothing to fear. But the pain increased, and boy did it KILL! They moved me back onto the bed and I cried in pain, wondering how much more I could bear. In our birth plan, Danny and I had decided that if I wanted pain medication, that I would ask him three times five minutes apart, just to give us time to see if I really needed it. Despite my previous hopes for a natural birth, I asked Danny for the medication. I felt like I was going out of my mind. Five minutes later I asked again. Five minutes after that I asked a third time. So finally Danny told the nurse what we had decided. When the doctor arrived she was surprised to find that I was 10 centimeters and ready to push! It didn't matter that I finally asked for the medicine, there was no time. So we are thankful looking back now that we had our "ask three times five minutes apart" rule!
I had at least three nurses and the doctor helping hold my legs while I pushed with my husband by my side. I was too exhausted to labor anywhere else besides the bed by this point. Suddenly it occurred to me that I forgot how to breathe. I know that sounds completely absurd, but for some reason between the exhaustion and pushing, I just could not remember to breathe. The nurse gave me an oxygen mask and coached me in breathing while pushing. It was such a special moment for me with that nurse because she never made me feel stupid through it all, she just treated me with warmth and compassion. After twenty minutes of pushing Sitora entered this world at 6:53pm. Danny was the first to tell me it was a girl. I couldn't believe it was all over! She was 7 pounds 13 ounces and 19 inches long. But the best part was she had a ton of hair! I was absolutely elated that I was able to give birth without using any medication. I didn't want a medal of honor for it- it was all because I had studied the effects the medication can have on newborns.
Part of the placenta got stuck inside my uterus, so the doctor had to remove it manually. That. was. worse. than. labor. I'm not even kidding. Oh my goodness. I lost so much blood in the process that they almost gave me a blood transfusion. Thankfully I didn't end up needing it as the I.V. for the next 24 hours or so helped tremendously.
I've never seen a vision of Father's Son before or after this event. Up until then I'd only heard Father's voice audibly once when I was 11 at a kid's camp service (where He called me into full time ministry).
Seeing Him has been one of the most precious moments of my life. How can you completely express how something like that affects you? To think that He would show Himself to me in one of the weakest moments of my life. He knew how important my baby was to me. He knew how badly I wanted a natural birth and how much I loved my baby. He knows the little things about us that we may think are overlooked. Of all the times in my life to show Himself to me, it was this. I cannot think of a more humble way for Him to come to me. But of course, I shouldn't be surprised! For this is the One who sent His One and only Son to the earth to be born in a barn with animals, and then slaughtered for our sins. All for the love He so passionately held for all of us.
I don't know how little man's birth will pan out. Sometime ignorance is bliss, and when you know what to expect you are even more nervous. But I'm not dwelling on it. I know there will be pain. I know it will be difficult. But I know The One who stands there with me, holding my hand and my husband's hand, carrying us through the whole way. And somehow this deep conviction of faith carries me through this uncertain time in our lives where we wait for an answer. I do not know what the future holds, but I have SEEN the One who carries me through! That is more than enough for me :)