You guys, it's Bobby's birthday this week! My sweet baby is two years old. So excited to celebrate his little life that has already changed mine forever. Today at Middle Places I'm telling his birth story and reflecting on God's generous gift of parenthood.
I wasn't planning to have a baby that day.
Sure, I was 38 weeks along and the size of a mall Santa Claus. And okay, I'd been having sharp pains at regular intervals all night long. Plus there was the groaning into my bowl of granola.
But everyone told me that babies are always late, especially first babies, that I'd know when I was in labor. All I knew is that my stomach kept getting tight as I was trying to get through my breakfast.
Mom had flown in to be there and she had a strange smile as she watched me.
"I think it's time, Linds," she said knowingly.
I was sure that, just like in all the stories I'd heard from my mom friends, the hospital would take one look at me and send me home with instructions to wait out the pain. Luckily, I had my last regularly scheduled visit with my OB/GYN that morning so we didn't argue about whether it was time to go in or not.
Watching from the kitchen, me bent over in pain and my mom whispering encouragement, my husband announced that he was packing his bag so we could all go to the doctor visit. He threw in a sweatshirt and swim trunks ("...I thought someone said something about a waterbirth?") and off we went, Chris and I huddled in the backseat of our Toyota Corolla, as Mom zipped up the California freeway.
When I arrived at the doctor’s office, the receptionist took one look at me and ushered me into an exam room, where my doctor promptly informed me that I was 8 cm dialated, which in having-a-baby-speak means it’s just about time. Chris and I had planned to drive out to a ritzy suburb for delivery, we have made arrangements to check in to a hospital that featured midwifes and birthing tubs. But given how quickly things were progressing, we were rerouted across the street to the teaching hospital in order to have the baby then and there.
Once I realized the moment was really here, that we were going to meet the little person we’d been dreaming about all these months, I was both overjoyed and overwhelmed. Chris held my hand and told me funny stories. The pain, which up until that point had seemed manageable became unbearable. Though we had planned a natural childbirth, I asked for an epidural. Chris nearly fainted after seeing the needle and had to be taken away, but I was so thankful for the sweet magical medicine. I took a nap and woke an hour later, ready to push.
At some point during my labor, a nurse asked permission to use my birth as a teaching experience for new doctors, nurses and EMTs who needed to observe labor and delivery. Feeling magnanimous after my epidural, I said “Of course!” which meant that when it was time to deliver the baby there were 17 people in that tiny hospital room, watching in anticipation.
After three pushes, my firstborn came screaming out into the world. His head was the most perfect round shape and his eyelashes were longer than anyone’s I’d ever seen in real life. Even in the messy aftermath of the birthing experience, he smelled so sweet. The nurse took him over to the scale and Chris leaned over, watching her work. He looked back at me with tears in his eyes, saying “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.” I laughed but understood, God’s great pleasure in His own son made perfect sense as we admired this tiny human God had made with our love.
I’ve never been more grateful for a God who holds the whole world in his hands as I was that day, holding my baby in mine for the first time. The thrill of birth, the fear of loss, the joy of new life, the overwhelming sense of responsibility all mingled together to create an awe for a God who so carefully and personally stewards His creation and had entrusted me with doing the same.
This week, my baby turns two. For two of the longest, shortest years of my life, I’ve been growing in that sense of awe everyday. As we make a cake and sing a song and celebrate the quick and lively creature that is my son, my eyes are turned again to the Giver of all life with gratitude that He’s allowed me to join Him in the incredible work of growing tiny humans.
Today, for the gift of parenthood, thanks be to God.