On Friday June 20th at 12:02 pm, our boy Judah David was born. It is so fitting that his name means “Praise” and “Beloved” (respectively) because as soon as we laid eyes on him, we were completely in love with him and praised God. That was a factor I hadn’t thought of when we named him. Such a blessing!
On Monday June 16th, I was 4 cm dilated and 50% effaced at my prenatal. (I wasn’t planning on getting another exam, but my doctor said she wanted to do one and I was too curious to build up the nerve to say no. During, though, I remembered one of the reasons I wanted to say no – Soooo uncomfortable!) I started bleeding a couple hours later and having more frequent and stronger contractions (these actually started the previous Thursday or Friday). It was exciting because my dear sister in law had her first, a beautiful daughter, on the 16th so I was hoping we’d have our babies on the same day. But Monday night passed. Tuesday, my contractions started following a pattern and, in the evening, my water broke. We didn’t go into the hospital for a couple reasons: 1. It was a slow leak, rather than a gush. So, we guessed it was a high, small break. (In fact, I kept leaking until Judah was born.) 2. I did not want to be induced and there was a risk of that. So, instead of going in, I tracked my temperature and Judah’s movement and if there had been any change, I would’ve gone in. Wednesday, my contractions started getting stronger throughout the afternoon. And Thursday, I had very mild, patternless contractions. Every time I sat down all week, no matter how strong or how frequent the contractions were, everything all but stopped. The week was very, very difficult emotionally and mildly difficult physically. By the time Thursday rolled around, I decided I wasn’t going to expect anything anymore and pretended everything was normal (with only minimal success).
That night, I was still really tense (there had been lots of tears shed throughout the week), so my sweet husband offered to read a bedtime story to me to help me relax. (The BFG.) While he was reading, around 11 pm, I felt a huge pop in my low abdomen and immediately after, the contractions that had been mild and patternless all day became quite strong and regular. Strong enough that I had to focus and around 5 minutes apart from the get go. I let David sleep for a couple hours without saying anything about the pop or contractions – mostly because after a week of stop and start labor, I expected it to stop again. But it didn’t. So I woke him up around 1:30 or 2 and told him it was the real deal. And we decided to not labor much longer at home because I had already been 4 cm dilated for at least 4 days and things started out strong so we were sure it would be quick. After David sent out emails to the necessary people at his work and we called Julia, a friend studying to be a midwife who observed the birth, we headed out to the hospital. We got there around 3 am.
They put me in triage and did an exam and I was still at 4 cm but I was 80% effaced. We were surprised to learn that they don’t consider you in labor until your are 5 cm dilated so we stayed in triage until 5 am. While waiting, my contractions were so strong that I vomited a couple times, shed many tears, and vehemently informed David that if I ever met Eve, I’d punch her in the face. Pretty soon after arriving, my contractions started coming one after another with little (15 seconds or so) to no break. As you can imagine, the words “we can’t admit you until you are in labor” were very frustrating. (For all you Bradley people – I was already sure I couldn’t do it. So confusing.) Eventually they admitted me (at 4 1/2 cm) because I kept puking, crying, and begging to get in a tub. (Later, we found out I was the first person they admitted all night… that was frustrating, too. Triage sucks.)
When we got to the room, I got straight in the tub and the water felt so good. I stayed there for maybe an hour with David sitting next to me, coaching me through each contraction, which had started spacing back out. After awhile, he started getting a feeling that I was no longer progressing as I should so he encouraged me to get out of the tub. I immediately noticed how much more intense the contractions were out of the water.
When I got out, I was 7 cm dilated and 90% effaced. Soon, the contractions were right on top of each other again and I vomited again. (It is weird. Normally puking makes me really anxious but it didn’t at all while I was in labor. I guess I was too distracted!) I couldn’t find a position in which I was able focus the way I should so after watching me struggle through endless waves of contraction (I say singular contraction because there was LITERALLY no break.), the OB on duty suggested I use the squat bar. That was my saving grace. I alternated between squatting and rocking (and shouting things like “Dear Jesus, get me through this!”) during the peaks and sitting for the five to ten seconds (no joke) of managable pain, during which I would doze.
Somewhere in the next three hours, I told David I had decided we would adopt the rest of our children.
Around 8:30 am, I got the urge to push. They checked me and I was still only 7 cm dilated so I had to wait. Three long hours. Somewhere in here they checked me again because I kept insisting that I had to push. At that point I was 9 cm dilated but my cervix was swollen. After waiting some more, finally they decided to see if I could push with them holding my cervix out of the way because it was clear nothing was going to change except for my tolerance of humans and capability to keep not pushing (I’m going to be real… I did push some of the time just because my body was trying to push him out on its own and that was HORRIBLE). It worked a bit, but my cervix kept slipping back when they let go, so I had to wait for the doctor, who was catching another baby at the time, to find out if they were even going to let me push. After awhile, she came in and finally let me push, albeit with her holding my cervix back. Twenty to thirty minutes and a handful of contractions later, I had a beautiful little boy on my chest.
Judah was born with a fever and tachycardia (And I had a fever as well as an elevated white blood cell count). So we both had to have some tests done and they considered keeping us longer than the standard time to observe us. Thankfully, we both leveled out and they let is leave the next day.
Since then, we had to get Judah’s bilirubin tested four times (outside of the one time they tested it at the hospital before discharging us) because his jaundice kept getting worse.
David and I cannot express the joy Judah has brought us. He is such a blessing! Even despite the significantly effected sleep. :) Thank you, Jesus! :)
And I just want to say that I could not have done this without David. I wanted to give up from the moment they put me in triage, but he talked me through everything. He praised me when I needed to know I was doing well. He stood ground for me when nurses tried pushing for something I didn’t want. And he told people to leave me alone when I was overwhelmed. I have never had anyone help me so tremendously or stand up for me so vigilantly in my life. What a blessing to have my husband and son. :)
I have been throwing all these words around in my head for the past nearly five months and haven’t been sure how or even when to present them.
As Father’s Day is slowly creeping up on us, I have been mulling them over more and more, though, and I think it might be time.
I am truly blessed.
A lot of young ladies have fun stories of learning to play catch, how to ride a bike, lectures about how boys are dumb (and so on) with their father. I grew up with two dads. I had my biological father, who thankfully always lived really close, and my step-father. This is about my step-father; not because my biological father isn’t great, but because it is time to honor my step-father.
I don’t even remember when he entered my life. He is ever present in my childhood memories. I remember when he and my mom were “dating” (I remember them being really weird about that word.), he used to live down the street with my aunt and uncle. He would walk over every morning for breakfast. Eggs and toast and coffee. If you were into that kind of thing. I wasn’t. They made me a cup of tea. He came to family picnics in the park. He went to the Romans Bible study – the one where us kids would write plays and play dress – up and find silly things to bicker about because we were kids. He came to church with us. It was almost just like he became part of the family as naturally as a leaf becomes part of a tree. Looking back I don’t remember him not being there…
When he married my mom, they got me the most beautiful dress I had ever seen and I got to stand with my mama. And then, from my perspective, the only thing that changed was he started sleeping at our house. I learned after that that he snored really really loud. (Like really really.) So one day when we were spending time with my aunt, uncle, and cousins down the street, my cousin Lisa and I performed this whole “we are in elementary school and have huge imaginations” ritual and he forever became “The Snoring Mummy.” (Don’t ask.) He lived up to it.
He took me to my first baseball game when I was pretty young. That’s where he taught me how to keep score the official way. So when he started playing on the church softball team, I became the score keeper for the team. I even did all the official symbols. He also made sure I could play as well as the boys.
When I was nine or ten, he noticed a significant problem with my life and stepped up to solve it: I didn’t know how to ride a bike. So he bought me a bike and dutifully held it up for me while I peddled it timidly up and down the street. He didn’t let go of it until I was ready (which was probably long after he thought I was ready). And when I finally was ready, he didn’t laugh when I couldn’t figure out how to stop without falling and decided that the only way to stop was ride into a fence. … I did that for a few years. Never once did he laugh at me. He would just pat me on the back and tell me how good I was doing. (In my defense, they got me a full sized bike… Even though I was pretty tall, I was still a few inches short for it.)
He coached soccer for the homeschool micro-league so I could play on a team. He coached an Odyssey of the Mind team so I could compete in that as well. (Unfortunately, I was a brat and fought with him every meeting until eventually I just quit the team because I was so frustrated. He finished out the year anyway.) He drove me to all my dance competitions and recitals. All my piano and bassoon recitals. All my (many many) band, choir, and orchestra concerts. He always had the biggest grins – and often tears in his eyes – of any of the other parents there. Even when I thought I did horribly. I don’t think he missed any of my concerts. And that is saying something – I played in EIGHT different music groups at once three of my high school years. On top of that he made it his personal mission to get me hooked on jazz by taking me to concerts whenever we could find one we could afford. (He succeeded by the way.)
He drove me everywhere. Classes at the community college. Youth group. My friends’. Anywhere I wanted to be, if he had gas in the tank and time in his hands – and sometimes even when he didn’t – he took me.
When David and I started dating, he made it a point to know this new man in my life. When we got engaged, David became his son. When we got married and I told him that I wanted my biological father to walk me down the aisle but I wanted him to be an usher and escort my mother to her seat, he got all choked up and said it would be his honor. I am not sure there was a happier person at our wedding besides David and myself. When I told him we were having a baby last father’s day, he was more excited than anyone else we told. And when our baby died, he was one of the most comforting people I encountered. When we moved out to Oregon, he looked up restaurants for us to try out and made plans for when he was to come visit. When we got pregnant again, he called several times a month to make sure I was getting the nutrients and exercise I needed.
He was making plans to meet his grandbaby when he passed away. Two weeks after he went home to be with Jesus, we found out we are having a boy. And I think the hardest part for me has been knowing his grandpa won’t be around to be his biggest fan like he was for me.
He was a great man and I am so thankful that I was able to call him dad. While I miss him a lot, I know I get to see him again someday and that makes it easier to say goodbye for now.
Some of you may not know… but, David and I are expecting an addition to our family come June or July. And – IT’S GONNA BE A BOY! =]
The past couple of weeks, I have been reading through the Message paraphrase of the Bible. (Please notice that I said paraphrase not translation.) It has been a really cool experience. I have spent a lot of time in the Word so I am familiar with what it says in most places. So it is cool to supplement what I have read many times before with an interpretation that is sometimes easier to understand.
A few days ago I read this passage:
After all this, God tested Abraham. God said, “Abraham!”
“Yes?” answered Abraham. “I’m listening.” He said, “Take your dear son Isaac whom you love and go to the land of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I’ll point out to you.” Abraham got up early in the morning and saddled his donkey. He took two of his young servants and his son Isaac. He had split wood for the burnt offering. He set out for the place God had directed him. On the third day he looked up and saw the place in the distance. Abraham told his two young servants, “Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I are going over there to worship; then we’ll come back to you.” Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and gave it to Isaac his son to carry. He carried the flint and the knife. The two of them went off together. Isaac said to Abraham his father, “Father?”
“Yes, my son.”
“We have flint and wood, but where’s the sheep for the burnt offering?”
Abraham said, “Son, God will see to it that there’s a sheep for the burnt offering.” And they kept on walking together. They arrived at the place to which God had directed him. Abraham built an altar. He laid out the wood. Then he tied up Isaac and laid him on the wood. Abraham reached out and took the knife to kill his son. Just then an angel of God called to him out of Heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Yes, I’m listening.”
“Don’t lay a hand on that boy! Don’t touch him! Now I know how fearlessly you fear God; you didn’t hesitate to place your son, your dear son, on the altar for me.” Abraham looked up. He saw a ram caught by its horns in the thicket. Abraham took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. Abraham named that place God-Yireh (God-Sees-to-It). That’s where we get the saying, “On the mountain of God, he sees to it.” The angel of God spoke from Heaven a second time to Abraham: “I swear—God’s sure word!—because you have gone through with this, and have not refused to give me your son, your dear, dear son, I’ll bless you—oh, how I’ll bless you! And I’ll make sure that your children flourish—like stars in the sky! like sand on the beaches! And your descendants will defeat their enemies. All nations on Earth will find themselves blessed through your descendants because you obeyed me.”
Genesis 22:1-18 (MSG)
There are a few things that stood out to me. For one, I can’t even begin to imagine how Abraham felt when God asked him to sacrifice his son. Being pregnant, and having lost a child, I am honestly not sure if I would be able to do this. I think in the end, I would be able to, but not without lots of turmoil and grief. I mean, God knows best, right? I am going to come back to this in just a minute.
Also, every time I read this, I find myself feeling complete horror on behalf of Isaac. His father tied him up, put him on the altar, and raised the knife… It doesn’t really matter that he didn’t follow through. He must really have trusted his father and God to not have major daddy issues later in life. I can’t be the only one who has thought about this, right? Anyone else?
And I love the last bit there: “All nations on earth will find themselves blessed through your descendants because you obeyed me.” Abraham father Isaac. Isaac fathered Jacob. Jacob fathered a whole brood of children, making up the twelve tribes of Israel. One of those children was Judah whose great, great, great, great (etc a whole bunch of times) grandson was Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, the son of God. “All nations on earth will find themselves blessed through your descendants because you obeyed me.” Wow. And going back to the first observation, this is a perfect human example of what God did. God actually followed through and sacrificed Jesus, His precious son, for our sins. … All nations are blessed. God gave us a little picture of what He was planning way back before Jesus was born. Before his familial line was established through Judah. Wow.
And another blessing, the story isn’t over yet. Jesus is coming back.
Happy New Year!
I was driving home from work when I realized how fast the world is turning. I was going 50 in a 45 but all the cars around me were passing me in a blur of color and it hit me.
This morning, after a few weeks of inner-conflict, I scrapped my 9 chapters a day Bible reading plan. I was almost two months behind because when I got pregnant I slept when I would otherwise read my Bible. But I thought I could still catch up. So when I miscarried I was still determined to do it. Three times by New Year. But reading Job didn’t fill me up. It didn’t make sense of my present circumstance. I just wanted to read the Gospels again. But I couldn’t go back on my word.
So I avoided reading the Bible. I didn’t want to read Job or Exodus. They weren’t speaking to my need. I longed to see Jesus’ words and miracles again. But I felt so guilty. I felt deeply obligated to make myself busy in the Word. But as my life has seemed to the past three weeks, I felt the need to
Slowly. Because when you lose someone precious to you, sometimes it feels like you have stopped but everyone around you has kept going. And fitting 45 plus minutes of legalistically reading the Word into my otherwise slowed-to-accommodate-my-heart life just made things too hectic.
I stopped at a red light and cars in the lanes on either side rushed through the red light, hoping to get past before the cross traffic began. Why does everyone go so fast all the time? It never seemed so hurried before.
David told me that earlier. Slow down and go deeper. Breathe it in. The good, the bad, and everything in between. It is all allowed by God and I can choose how to respond. I can choose to slow down and find the joy in every moment.
I wrote this a week and a half ago. But I wanted to post it – perhaps it will speak to someone. Perhaps it will just speak to me.