A Tale of Two Births
My Monday babies.
One coming late in the evening in no hurry to greet the world.
One coming with the rising sun eager to make an entrance as quickly as possible.
My Monday babies each waking me with anticipation.
One with a rush of water.
One with pains almost too much to bear.
My Monday babies, a daughter and a son.
All the love ever known felt in meeting them face-to-face.
My first Monday baby, our daughter, knew that I had plans for when she could arrive. As a full-time pastor, married to a pastor, we both had Sundays to work and meetings to arrange and coverage to be planned. With 8 weeks of maternity leave I left detailed notes and descriptions for those covering while I was gone. I had my Sundays lined up, people in place, and a week empty where I had completed what needed to be done and felt ready (enough) to welcome our first child.
It was Christ the King Sunday, the final Sunday of the church year, an ending leading to a new beginning.
A Sunday leading into the anticipation and waiting found in Advent.
A Sunday recognizing that with each ending comes something new, something beautiful, something holy.
I preached sitting down that morning, tired and sore.
I imagine I heard the barrage of questions and suggestions about when the baby would come.
I imagine people shared their birth stories with me.
I imagine people were excited.
I remember just being tired. And nervous.
That night we attended the church’s annual Thanksgiving dinner with neighboring churches. I could only muster the strength to offer the opening prayer. Rather than mingle and greet and share with our neighbors, I simply sat and ate.
At 3 am I woke with a small scream. Shock.
My water broke at 39 weeks.
It was time to meet our baby.
I called the hospital, we drove for one hour, we sat in silence, we made small talk.
We couldn’t imagine what our lives would look like.
We couldn’t imagine the love it would hold.
We couldn’t imagine the joy.
A wheelchair greeted us at the emergency room and we were admitted.
Time to wait.
I remember walking the hospital halls, bouncing on the birthing ball, sitting in the jacuzzi.
I remember my mom arriving at the hospital after 11 hours of driving and me still in labor.
I remember the solidness of my husband, his calming voice, and his gentle touch.
I remember the late night labor and the midwife concerned of infection after so long without progressing. I remember my resolve to not need medicine for labor and with one final go-round in the jacuzzi, I came back ready to push.
Ready to welcome this Monday baby into the world at 10:56 pm.
My husband whispering in my ear, “It’s a girl.”
I smile in delight, “Charlotte.”
My first Monday baby.
My second Monday baby, our son, decided to wait just a bit longer.
With our daughter’s early arrival, I assumed we’d have another early arrival.
This time, my husband serving full-time as a pastor, made arrangement and plans and coverage for when we thought baby would arrive. And this time, our baby had other plans.
On the Sunday past our due date, Stephen read a passage of scripture on waiting.
We were still waiting. The entire congregation was waiting with us.
We spent the afternoon together as a family of three. Always wondering when we would become a family of four.
At 1:30 am I woke up in pain. Contractions starting.
This is it. Our waiting is almost over.
We took our time putting the final items in our hospital bags. Made sure the house was tidied.
We called our neighbor to come over to be with our daughter.
We finally left the house at 3 am, the contractions coming closer and closer.
We drove the hour to the hospital our small talk interspersed with my deep breathing trying to control the pain.
A wheelchair came to get us from the emergency room.
We were admitted.
My water broke.
Dilation was at a six already.
We moved to the birthing room.
I went to the jacuzzi and within minutes felt like pushing, interspersed with throwing up.
The midwife came to check again; I was fully dilated and fully effaced.
The baby was ready to enter the world.
I began pushing.
At 6:32 am we welcomed our baby into the world.
My husband whispering in my ear, “It’s a boy.”
I smile in delight, “Isaac Craig.”
My second Monday baby.