I relish that pause when only I and the Triune know a life has begun to grow in my body. When double lines confirm the buzzing intuition and I hum the secret song of joy.
I learned of my boy on an overnight getaway with Zade and surprised him the next afternoon on the dunes of Lake Michigan using the same symbolism as with Lilias: an arrow. Psalm 127:4,5 "Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;" From its hiding spot within a satchel it poked me the long walk to the waterside (why'd I buy the extra long arrows?!). The secret pulled out and shared now unfolding into harmony.
Yet, within the excitement was also an undertone of fear. In ways my labor and delivery with my daughter Lilias had felt traumatic and, as I considered another birth, I returned to the memory of floating in the birthing tub, enclosed in darkness, going in and out of consciousness. I knew I would need to address this fear before my time came. But, muffling the discordance would suffice for now.
At around 33 weeks my husband and I took a babymoon trip to California. Strolling El Prado in Balboa Park you could envision us as salmon swimming upstream avoiding the paws of hungry advocates. We had just escaped signing a petition when Zade's eyes met a kindly man with a Scottish accent whom asked if we would appreciate prayer. I attempted to politely decline but Zade asked a few questions about the group with which this man was involved (a church we learned) and agreed. While Zade received prayer for a family member I stood in wait with a few church ladies. They offered to pray for me as well but I responded that I couldn't think of anything (I was feeling hot, uncomfortable, and a bit grumpy to be real, real honest). Then, one woman suggested praying over my labor and delivery. Immediately my throat constricted as I fought back tears. The fear I'd attempted to mute welled unexpectedly. I thanked her and agreed. During the prayer I was especially struck by the woman's request that my labor be "quick and painless." This seemed unimaginable. But, why not ask God for this wild request? God tells us to pray boldly. So, over the next seven weeks I prayed, reviewed natural childbirthing resources, and focused on trusting God. I felt God speak to my heart that my labor and delivery would be quick but not painless. And I held onto this hope.
And I waited.
And then my mother arrived. And we waited.
At four days overdue my parents gifted us with a zoo membership and we spent the morning meeting the animals. Braxton Hicks had me feeling like a hippo and waddling like a penguin; these contractions lifted and fell throughout the day. Around 9 at night I snuggled in with Zade to watch a show which I bailed on minutes later to sleep instead. My mom asked if I wanted my contractions timed but I declined. I had labored 10 hours with Lilias before leaving for the hospital where I labored another 19 hours. So, I figured I would try to sleep out this stage as long as possible. About ten minutes later I was singing a different tune! Contractions timed in at every five minutes for at least a minute. I was shocked: that's when I was told to go in! How could I be at this point already?!
In a matter of 15 minutes I was doubled over roaring into pillows. We quickly packed the car and set forth to the hospital. By the time we arrived my contractions were so intense I could barely open my eyes. The kindest off-duty worker took pity and raced me to labor and delivery in a wheelchair. We walked into triage and the lady doing intake asked my name. Without a word I fell to all fours and bellowed as my water broke aaaaalll over the floor. I was promptly assigned a cubicle where they checked my vitals and tried to ask Zade questions he didn't know the answers to. I irritably chimed in amidst my braying. I then announced that I was going to throw up a split second right before I did aaaaalll over the bed. I'm a whirlwind of fluids ya'll. Bless those nurses.
After being wheeled to my room I jumped into the shower and then the tub. I focused on calming my body and releasing tension. The pain...excuse me pressure is so great I wonder if I will be able to hang on to my birth plan. I cannot imagine this unmedicated intensity for hours on end. I pray for strength. Suddenly, a shriek tears through my lips. I feel my body take over. I am pushing. I am heaving. This is the crescendo. He is coming. The midwife, startled by my cry, comes running and encourages me to "push!" Zade, having flashbacks of my first labor, cautions the midwife "now this is what happened the last time....(when I started pushing too soon)." I scream "No! Zade! Don't say anything!!! He's coming!" I wanted no discouragement. I knew it was time. The next contraction came and Zade again cautioned the midwife to which I interrupted "NO!! He's coming ouuuuuutaaaaaaah!" And with that contraction my boy's head started to peek. I relaxed a moment and with the next contraction pushed my sweet babe through the water and into my arms. I cried shocked and amazed without tears. My labor and delivery was just shy of four hours. Not painless but quick indeed.
We name him Jeshua Praise.
Jeshua: meaning "God is my deliverer." For God delivered this baby out of me and delivered me out of my fear.
Praise: for we speak over our son that he will be a worshipper of God. A man of song.
Today he turned a year old and we worship God for this boy's life.