Bringing a baby into the world is no easy task, at least not in my experience. I, like many of you, could write a book on just my birthing experiences alone because of the unique and dramatic event that each one was.
As a first timer, welcoming our “super girl“ into the world was as challenging (and damaging) as it sounds. I believe it’s called the thinking pose but it resulted in an arm (and elbow) presenting first, almost triumphantly, hence the “super girl”, and of course left some stitches and scarring in its wake. Oh but what a super girl our Asha is and I wouldn’t change anything about her arrival story.
After our second pregnancy ended in an early miscarriage, I decided to attempt a home birth with the next one and while all seemed to be set up for a successful experience as labour progressed into the early morning hours, what was desired didn’t come to be. One hemorrhage, 2 ambulances and 4 paramedics later and I was back in the hospital hooked up to an iv drip enduring excruciating care to fix even worse damage than with my first labour. My precious, healthy Colby quietly slept as I was tended to. What a gift when I was finally able to nurse him and see the beautiful face of the son I had carried for almost 40 weeks.
Marcella arrived following yet another miscarriage and we may not have survived her complicated birth in 2014 had we attempted a home birth. My midwife was joined by several doctors and 9 nurses at one point as I barely managed to naturally deliver our tiniest babe in a rare face first position. I believe the stats are that only 10% of babies can be delivered naturally in this presentation. She was bruised and swollen from the utterly slow descent that almost required an emergency c-section but thanks to all present in the hospital room that day, I was able to hold our daughter, and enjoy the bliss of no complications to my own health.
Our third loss at 18 weeks, was understandably the most emotionally painful and holds details I’ve never shared about the baby boy we named River. I’m not sure I ever will…the road to healing can be very lengthy sometimes. This experience catapulted me into my last delivery with far too many emotions. I prayed daily that it would be a swift and easy delivery..for once, but God sometimes allows a different outcome.
Contraction after contraction intensified my fear of complications that afternoon, as I sat waiting, for the pivotal 10 cm announcement. All of the attempts to get there were failing and making me less and less joyful in my anticipation and more and more anxious about the outcome. The sounds of another mother in labour increased the feelings of urgency and the empty hospital bassinet in front of me continued to remind me of when I stared at another just like it only 11 months prior, knowing it wouldn’t hold a living baby at the end of my labour.
A heart rate drop, and then another. Turning, flipping, waiting, exhausted. Eventually I felt so depleted that I began to fear that I might not be able to bring our last child safely earth side. Being so out of control, I had forgotten Who was still in control.
I pleaded quietly with God and he heard me. He always hears us, though he doesn’t always provide in the way we hope He will. But this time He did. Eventually our child’s cries were heard and I could breathe again. Dawson was in my arms, beautiful and tiny with a full head of dark hair.
What a gift to carry, deliver and raise a child, let alone 4.
What a chaotic, messy, adventurous life.
What a way to need Jesus daily. To see His grace abound at every moment. To be in awe of what He sacrificed so that I may have breath, in the painful moments and in the very best of them.
On Palm Sunday, just days before Jesus breathed his last and final breath, He accepted a donkey, of all animals, to be his reception vehicle as he rode by those who loved and cherished him as the Saviour of the world. The saviour he would soon fully become.
No red carpet was laid out, no royal crown given, no hefty bonus or lifetime achievement award presented, just palm branches and the clothing of those who willingly laid them on the ground before their King. They saw his unmatched greatness and He saw their great need of Himself.
I wonder if Mary reflected during those last moments on the day she delivered her son? Did she remember his tiny hands, searching eyes and warm breath? Did she fear for His life or did she understand fully by then Who he was and what he had been sent to do? Was there a part of her that wanted to plead with him not to go to the cross?
I am most certain that she would have.
Because Jesus himself did.
He asked God to take the weight of the suffering from Him. He was human after all and while also fully God He understood entirely the level of wrath he would have to endure. And He did it anyways. For you. And for me. It was the only way.
He did everything He said He would do. Only Jesus, perfect and without fault, could pay the full cost. He was the only living being that did not deserve death. And He chose the nails, he chose the cross anyways despite how deserving we truly are of that penalty. From baby to man, from birth to death to resurrection, Jesus defines love.
The suffering in this world can cause us to respond angrily, apathetically or by hiding away in fear. We can choose silence or we can do what He came to do, be hope and light!
We can know God’s word and live by His truth. We can lay down our lives for the broken & the weary, walk in humility & obedience and refuse to fear the thoughts and actions of others. We can do what feels most difficult because Jesus has already won the greatest battle!
In a world that has twisted the bible every which way to satisfy their desires, I choose God’s way because He, dear friends, has the final say. And he has offered His extraordinary peace to a world in desperate need of it.
*photo from a maternity shoot during my pregnancy with Dawson.