Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My Birth Story

Four days ago, I became the mother of four. Life will never be the same. And I am so excited about that. Not that life wasn't full before, but my little girl has taken it to a whole new level, and I can't imagine there was a time when I thought we were "done" after my third.
Something else I learned about myself four days ago, was how absolutely broken I am without my God. This last and final time of delivering a child into the world (yes, it was my last :) ), was my first time to endure the complete pangs of childbirth without relief from anesthesia. It was a choice I tentatively made months ago, and with the encouragement of friends, and dependence on the power of the Word, I held myself to that decision.
Looking back on my experience, I discovered a lie I've told myself, and a truth that needed to replace that lie.

During early labor, and with each strengthening contraction, I reminded myself through the pain that my body was made for this, and I recited the verses:

"For God did not give me a spirit of fear, but of Love, and  
Power, and sound judgement," 2 Timothy 1:7

"The Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken. He is right by my side." Psalm 16:8

"I am fearfully and wonderfully made," Psalm 139:14

And I thought of each contraction as a muscle pain-- something I gleaned from reading excerpts from Supernatural Childbirth . Because I could relate to this pain after several classes of enduring the pain of muscle strengthening, it made the pain less "scary" and more familiar. Who would have thought my year of obsessing over working out would help me through natural childbirth? :)
After laboring at home for 3 1/2 hours, we headed to the midwife at 9am. I was dilated between a 6 and a 7, and sent across the parking lot to check in at labor and delivery.
God provided me with an excellent nurse who had endured three natural childbirths herself, and had worked frequently with my midwife (who would meet me there after her office visits...around noon).
So, I labored. I got through each contraction with my husband's encouragement, and my mind on the Creator who made me for this.
The nurse mentioned that there was holy water in the room (Catholic-based hospital), and some of the nurses used it...she even said that someone said it's sprinkling was "needed" to bring God into the room. After my next contraction I said...
"If that's true, then there is no way I would get through this...God's here in the room regardless of holy water."
But the impending fear of what was ahead, crept into my heart between contractions, and I wondered what I was in for.
And, oh my, I couldn't ever anticipate what I was in for. The 30 minutes from 9cm to 10 cm to pushing and delivery, took me into a realm outside of that hospital room. It was out of body, but in the most out-of-control, unnerving, downward spiral way. I LOST it! At first, I couldn't get past the flesh and focus on the greater Creator.
But the small voice whispered into my heart at my heightened panic, and I breathed out (incomprehensible to everyone else) "He made me" and when I felt a paralyzing fear grip me and coax me to ignore everything coached to me to push, the small voice said, "just push." All sorts of irrational, "what if" thoughts raced through my head, stopping me from moving forward, were pushed aside with that small voice, and my baby was upon my chest within seconds, 1:38pm.
It's taken me a few days to get past the embarrassment I felt for those moments of panic in front of the midwife and the nursing staff. But this morning, after reading a post about writing from our Broken Places, I thought about my own brokenness which brings me to the lie I told myself(mentioned above):
 The lie:
I thought natural childbirth would also heighten my spiritual walk with God, proving I could depend on Him through the toughest physical moments of my life.

But the truth, in two parts:
Part One: When the toughest physical moment came, my spiritual walk failed me, and I pushed Jesus aside and focused on the flesh. I was broken.
Part Two: God still met me, regardless of my brokenness, regardless of my lost focus.
His small voice is louder than my cries of fear. 

So, I wanted to walk away from this childbirth with a sense of triumph and spiritual enlightenment.
In a way, I did.
  Just like my little girl has taken my full life to a new level, my humility and trust in God has risen to new heights. Two very simple things  I've known were needed in this walk all along, but I could only truly grasp them when I let go of control.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Eating My Mamaspeak

My kids have always made me eat my words.


The moment I say, "he sleeps through the night...." OR "he loves broccoli", "he" is up twice and "he" boycotts veggies. It gives me a chuckle and I think it helps keep me humble as a mother of three very unpredictable little boys.

But now?

Is this little girl inside me taking after her brothers in making Mommy a liar, so soon? How many times have I heard myself this last trimester say, "Oh, I always go early...8 days, 14 days, 9 days early...there's no way I'll make it to my due date with my fourth." 


I can almost hear her little giggles filling my tired uterus as we approach 5 days out and I sit here biting my tongue.

Monday, March 7, 2011

You're Gonna Miss This...

2006: my now four year old
Preparing for the newborn stage again, my eyes well up as I admire the young men my first three newborns are growing into. Ever since I became a mother, I told myself I would defy those who told me, I would "miss this stage, it goes by so fast"...I wanted to prove them wrong-- look back with no regrets, no missed moments, soaking up everything so fully that I would be satisfied with the end of this season as a young mother.
But now, with my oldest only eight years old, I am already finding myself missing moments of all three of my boys--
2007: my now eight year old
I miss my eight year old's muddled way with words, his innocent smile.
I miss my six year old's gentle way as a toddler...his sweet curiosity.
I miss my four year old's plump 6 month old body, settled in a sling upon my torso.

Even though I get the chance to live out all the wonderful milestones once more with my new daughter, my heart still aches for the times that have flitted into memories, wishing I could have captured each moment with each son, dwelling just a little bit longer on the seconds and not probing the minutes forward because of some trivial agenda at that time.
We have a lot of childhood and life left with our growing family. But I know now, that I will always look back and say, "I miss that stage, it went by so fast". It's inevitable and something I cannot defy, but accept and allow myself to weep when the time comes.

I recall a quote by Emerson:

“We find a delight in the beauty and happiness of children, that makes the heart too
big for the body”.
My heart is soon to be four times too big for my body, and the joy and pain that goes along with that will change me forever.
2007: my now 6 year old

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Writer's Affair

I have been wrapped up in tweaking my writing contest entries over the past few weeks. It has been fun, and challenging, and frustrating, all at the same time. The most frustrating part, is once I have hit the "send" button, I give into my temptation to look back over my entry...even though I can't do a darn thing about whatever mistakes I find.
I am slowly learning what is expected from the fiction writing industry, and it's killing me! For some reason, I have an affair with adverbs and gerunds, and express myself with great gusto using these two "no-no's".
The thing that makes me most disgruntled, is I knew these "no-no's" before I hit the send button, and chose to ignore them because I'm stubborn like that.

Hmmm, sounds similar to other parts of my life--

like Bible study...
                       disciplining my children...
                                                                           ....always ignoring the need and moving forward way to fast.
Double SIGH.