The poetry of this particular morning is not lost on me. May 15. The day before my due date. I woke early this morning after a night of mild, sporadic contractions, wondering if today will be the day that we will meet our son. It could happen at any moment. The waves of contractions reminded me of each of my previous births. The joys, the struggles, the pain, the relief that comes when a baby is born. And I remembered May 15 of last year. The day I woke up 11 weeks pregnant and went to sleep with an empty feeling in my womb. The day I lost a child. The night I spent in the hospital, coming home and telling our children we would not get to see our baby. Their sobs. The sadness that was so heavy I thought I would never be able to shake it. My coming of age story. Grief. Sorrow that went straight through my heart.
A year later, here I am. The heartache has softened. God has answered my prayers for comfort. The turn of this poem is the face of our child that I will see literally any day now. God is so tender in His details. I feel His lovingkindness and redemption in the new life that is ripe for this world.
I am standing on the edge of the world again. I am moments from seeing the face that will change my life forever. The face of our son. The secret revealed. The song sung.
I am longing for that moment.
Over the past eleven years, God has dealt with me deeply through the process of pregnancy and childbirth. I have wanted to run away from what I have known, little by little, is a quiet, personal calling He put on my life–to surrender my body and allow one more child to come into this world through it. So many times I have found myself paralyzed by my own fears. I have lived more trimesters in dread than I want to admit. I have dealt with the fear of of pain, of death, of something going wrong, of bringing children into this terrifying world. Fear, terror, panic, worry, dread, fear, fear, fear.
But here I am again.
This is my eighth pregnancy. I have six beautiful, healthy, living children. I have a child in heaven whose face I have never seen. I feel the ocean in my body turning as the little life that moves there is making preparations to enter into the world and make our family more complete.
I have been looking forward to the moment that this child would be born. I knew he was coming. His name has been a secret etched in my heart for 5 years. He is the reason I could not go through with my scheduled tubal after the birth of our fifth child. Even though I was done. I was exhausted. I was completely overwhelmed. Randy and I didn’t see how we would ever manage to add another child to this family. But I couldn’t go through with the surgery. Because I had a name. This child’s name. I would always wonder if we were supposed to use it one day. And what he would look like. And who he would be.
And here I am, moments away from seeing the secret revealed.
And I realize afresh that I have been fighting for something that was nearly stolen from me. By my own fears.
Not only the boy we are about to meet who will change our world forever. But also the child we never got to see–the life that came and went and still continues to touch us deeply. My fears nearly robbed us of our kind and loving Azalea Jane, now two-years-old. To think that we nearly missed her grace and beauty, her sweetness, her laughter, her loving eyes and her soft, gentle touch. Her little voice, singing in the morning. She has brought out more tenderness in this family than I could have thought possible. She can reach into places that no one else can go and draw out the purest, sweetest love that we have for one another.
I now know that the seed of this child’s name, planted in my heart, was put there by God to give me the courage to walk through these last five years with an open heart to his will. To surrender again and again, to walk through whatever comes with peace. To look for his redemption in the struggles. To find him in the joy and in the suffering. To hold onto the thread of faith even when it seemed improbable that it could hold the weight of my world. And He is teaching me to turn my back on fear and to choose to trust Him more completely.
I am walking into this labor differently than I ever have before. I am walking into it with a spirit of fight. Not just trying to keep my peace, not just trying to stay calm, not just surviving and getting to the other side. I am walking into this labor with the desire to put an absolute end to fear–to trust more completely than ever that God is with me, that He is giving me grace for each moment as it comes. As I deliver this child, I am praying that God will deliver me from my fears.
I am tired of being afraid.
This labor is my battle against fear. It is my celebration of life.
The face of this child is the secret hope that was coming when I prayed, “God of comfort, comfort me.”