As a mother, parent educator and behavior specialist, I’m constantly amazed by the lessons our children teach us, if we’re open to learning. The lessons start even before their entrance into this world. My second son, Eli, continuously teaches me: surrender and joy. God knew exactly what I needed when I didn’t even know to ask for it.
His birth story, starts ten days prior to his arrival. I had 10 days of prodromal labor, which emotionally wore me out. I’d have contractions for a few hours and then they would stop. I walked for hours (HOURS!) with steady contractions, only to have them stop as soon as I stopped moving.
On August 31st, 5 days after my due date, two weeks after my baby’s “expected” arrival, I surrendered. I surrendered to the idea of his “late” arrival, all of my plans evaporated. Baby was in charge and I finally let go. August 31st, 2017 was also my husband’s 30th birthday.
I was in NO mood to celebrate, but begrudgingly went out for a birthday dinner. By the time we left the restaurant, I was in tears. It was about 7:30 P.M. Service had been horribly slow, so now my toddler was up way past his bedtime, my contractions had slowed to a stop, AGAIN, and my baby would be born in September, when he SHOULD have been born in August, or so I thought.
As we drove home, I texted my best friend, and she told me to pump when I got home to see if the contractions would come back. I was willing to try anything at this point!
As I pumped, the contractions REALLY pick-up. So I texted Bonnie: “How long should I do this?” She told me to take a break. Then it got real. The contractions started coming hard and fast. It was about 9:30.
FINALLY, at about 11:00 PM, we made it to the ER entrance. As the nurse checked me in, and told me I was 7 cm dilated, my husband made a joke and said “If you have the baby in 47 minutes, we’ll share a birthday.” We both laughed, “knowing” Baby would have a September 1st birthday.
At this point, I was going through transition. I honestly don’t remember much. I remember requesting to get the monitor off my belly so I could get in the bathroom to throw-up and take a shower. Apparently, I yelled. I don’t remember yelling.
After my “non-yelling” request, I got in the shower. Both nurses and my doc had left to do paperwork, check me in, and assign a nurse. My husband and sister were setting up the room, Bonnie sat with me in the bathroom as I showered. All of a sudden, I started frantically searching for my husband. As he came in and sat down with me, I felt a push. Baby was coming, now. I whispered “He’s coming”. I thank God for Bonnie in this moment, because she turned to my sister (NICU RN, Extraordinaire) to go get Dr. Brown, the baby is coming NOW! She sprinted down the hall. Both nurses and Dr. Brown sprinted into my room. Dr. Brown dove into the shower with one glove on to catch my baby’s head.
When we retell the story, he recalls meeting my eyes for a split second and seeing terror. I distinctly remember being terrified my baby’s head would hit the ground. But my whole support staff piled into that teeny little bathroom, dove into a shower, and safely guided my son into the world. At 11:57 P.M. He and my husband are birthday buddies. He was born 47 minutes after getting to the hospital, 20 minutes after getting into my room.
When I look through pictures of the birth, I see my hands covering my face in disbelief. My son shocked me into love. He filled me with so much joy, so fast, it took hours for me to believe that he finally arrived.
He taught me how to surrender my plans. To trust in my faith. To lean-in when I don’t have answers.
My beautiful, perfect, rainbow baby boy came rushing into this world, disarming every adult in the room, and shocking everyone, and filling each soul with joy. That’s the power of birth. That’s the power of life. And I feel so blessed to have experienced it.