Every birth is special to me. These are not my birth stories. I am only there to document, support, love, these families. I feel so blessed each time; to work with wonderful doulas and care providers, to watch husbands protect and love and give quiet strength. To see them hold these women as God has intended. To see their awe and relief. This birth story had it's stresses and turmoil. I hope I was able to be a salve to this Mama and I felt overjoyed with her when she got the birth she had wanted and desired. Second baby, second son, this family is complete.
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Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds. —Psalm 36:5
Every birth I attend humbles me, leaves me shaking and full. Full of the love God has for us. The unwavering love of Him is so palpable when a woman is birthing. The Mama I met several times before her birth has such an unwavering spirit. Even with resistance, she has birthed three children her way, made choices she wanted. Friday evening, just as I was leaving I got a text from her saying labor had begun earlier and she would be headed to the birth center in a bit. We kept contact and since I was a bit farther than I like, with a fourth baby on the way, I headed to Spartanburg. Full of excitement we chatted for several hours before it seemed that things were a bit early and maybe going home to rest and see what Saturday would bring might help. Well this Mama knew what her body was preparing; after one hour of sleep back in Greenville, I got a call from her midwife saying it was time and I sprinted out the door.
Fourth babies can be finicky, our muscle memory is all there, but maybe they shift more, maybe you've mastered labor in a way that you can break and hold things back. I knew this, my fourth was different than all the others. This Mama's birthing time was longer than she anticipated (quick 3rd births make you forget:) and with a long day of early labor, the night seemed longer than it was.
Her husband was truly unwavering in his support. For almost 9 hours he never left her side, barely drank, didn't eat. He wiped her brow, cooled her neck, caressed her shoulder, whispered his pride and love and belief in her. In the final moments before their son was born, his words gave her the strength she thought was lost. This birth was hard won, longer and more difficult due to position of the baby and her midwives were amazing in their care for this mama every step of the way.
At 11:44 am a third son was born to these loving parents. Such amazing parents with hearts turned toward God's love as they introduced siblings to each other. Baby K was immediately tuned into his blessing at being a 4th born. He calmed at hearing his siblings voices and turned toward them with such alertness. And they rejoiced in him. It was a blessing to watch a family grow and expand in love right before my eyes.
Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Hebrews 10:22-24
"one thing about having a baby is that each step of the way you simply cannot imagine loving him any more than you already do, because you are bursting with love, loving as much as you are humanly capable of- and then you do, you love him even more.”
― Anne Lamott
When I met this couple, I knew one thing: they loved their two boys fiercely. Yes, I know everyone loves their kids, but there was something else, something strong and directed and all encompassing about this love. And then I found out their second son has complicated medical issues; yes, now it made sense. There is a super hero love that radiates from a mom whose child has been through the medical system, who has had a critical condition, whose life at one moment or another has been in that terrifying fragile place we parents have nightmares about. There is a forwardness to this love, it lacks periphery, it's single minded focus pulls the family through the dark of illness, it directs, it does. Such a privilege it was to watch this strong mama birth her third son at high noon on a Saturday. Just like the cartoons her boys were missing as they watched in awe at the super human strength she displayed. Playful and laughing and caring right up until the last 5 minutes as her son crowned and was swept into her arms in a beautiful water birth. Her sons will never wonder at how something gets done, how a woman can hold strength and softness within her simultaneously. Happy Birthday Baby R!