Birth is a deeply primal thing. It is not pretty or easy nor is any birth quite the same. There is no way to tie it up into a pretty picture of "what to expect". I knew this and as Ezra's birth neared, I worked really hard to let go of my expectations and focus on two mantras, "may I birth my baby with joy" and simply "my body was made to do this". Natural birth truly is a labor of love and it allowed me to see what my body was truly capable of - it was everything I hoped it would be and more.
On Tuesday, April 25th, I woke up at 5am with shooting cramps up my back and around my abdomen. I tried breathing through them, a hot shower, and different positions but nothing really helped. I waited until almost 7am to wake JT up and let him know what was happening. I wanted to labor at home as long as possible and after timing several rounds of contractions we concluded I still had a ways to go. JT stayed home most of the morning but finally at noon decided to go into work since I wasn't progressing super fast and he only works 5 minutes from our house. These intense contractions continued through out the day until finally at midnight, steeped in exhaustion, we decided to head to the hospital. At this point I was still only dilated to a 5 and rather then be admitted into the hospital I asked if I could go back home until I was further along. As we were preparing to leave the nurse came back in to let us know she had noticed something funny with our baby's heart rate and wanted to run a BPP test. At the end of the test she came back in with bad news: he failed the test. Like really failed the test. And our OB wanted to admit me right then. This immediately through a kink in my birth plan as I had already been approved to forego a hep lock or any kind of digital monitoring but with an abnormal heart rate and low amniotic fluid among other things, these were no longer options. Of course I gladly obliged, as I cared less about my birth experience at this point and more about my baby's safe delivery.
Through out my pregnancy my biggest lesson and question for myself consistently was, "do I trust and treasure Christ above all else". When I was scared during the delicate first trimester, "do I trust and treasure Christ above all else?", when I wondered if I would have a healthy baby, "do I trust and treasure Christ above all else?", when I worried about being a good mom, "do I trust and treasure Christ above all else?". And in those final hours, as fear tried to creep in when Ezra failed that test, "do I trust and treasure Christ above all else?". It was hard fought but the answer was always "yes". Because we serve a good God who if faithful beyond our best laid plans. And this is what I reminded myself over and over again.
By the time I got to the hospital that night I had been laboring for 19 hours and was exhausted, but still mentally in the zone. I was focused and very intense. I didn't make much noise or need assistance. I didn't want my birth playlist played or to be touched. I just wanted silence and to focus on getting my baby earth side safely and with joy. Somewhere around hour 28, things kind of shifted for me mentally though. I remember looking at JT and really questioning if I could do this. He was my rock through out my labor and in those final hours especially. He reassured me that I could do it, and so I continued on.
Finally it was time to push. For me, this was the hardest part of my labor. I went from being silent, intense, and focused, to being extremely loud and mentally all over the place. I was so tired. And I was so ready to hold my baby. Again, JT stepped in, held my hand, and was the best birthing partner, spouse, and encourager to help me get through that almost 2 hours of pushing.
Finally, the accumulation of 30 and a half hours of labor brought us our sweet baby boy. He entered into our world at 11:27 am on April 26th at 6lbs 13oz with a beautiful, healthy cry that brought us so much relief after the failed BPP. He had a tiny little nose and more hair than I was expecting. But it was him. It had always been him. In a moment I knew every feature of his face, every movement of his little body, and a piece of my heart was laid on my chest that day. As I sat there holding him, in tears, a supernatural power to protect him and love him was birthed. To be Ezra's parents is our greatest honor and our best adventure. And with that, Ezra River Jack Dick entered our lives with joy.
Thank you Jesus for this gift.