|me holding my sweet almost 4 year old, when he was not yet 4 hours old.|
When I had my first baby, I first went into the hospital on a Saturday. I was in early labor.
I had that joker on the following Wednesday. If you've had a baby, you can imagine what those days in between Saturday and Wednesday were filled with. Very little eating. A lot of walking. No sleeping. A few 4 a.m.'s journaling by the hospital room light and friends and balloons and contraction monitors and birthing balls.
Of course, three c-sections later - I see how different things could have been and I've seen "The Business of Being Born" and I know a lot of that pain and toil wasn't necessarily necessary. But that Saturday-Wednesday, I was on a mission. I wanted my son to be born. I wanted to do it naturally.
And I. WASN'T. GOING. TO. CRY. Or quit. Or freak out.
(To be truthful you should know at one point, I did in fact cry. My sister was already crying and my mother and my midwife were both urging me to cry or cuss or something.)
But this isn't a melodramatic essay about my regrets over my heavily-intervention filled birthing experience, it's about the shot I received a few hours after my baby was out of my body. I was exhausted and a little traumatized, way too tired to connect with my son properly and I was itching like a madwoman. Just uncontrollably clawing my face off, ripping the skin right off like it's what I was created to do, some reaction to some medicine I'd been given. And so, the sweet nurse who was attending me and was worried I was going to itch my whole flesh off - came in and insisted I get another shot to ease the whole itching side affect.
But to be totally honest, I was dunzo. No more pain for me. I'd been contracting and pacing and grunting and cut open and I was drawing a line. I'd successfully held in a few days of pain (minus the brief aforementioned intervention) and I wasn't going to take one more ounce of hurt. I didn't want a shot. I didn't want anyone else to touch me or take my temperature or even look at me. And I told her that, as politely as I could. A few seconds later, she pushed that needle in anyhow, and I'm so glad she did or else I wouldn't have a normal outer layer of skin to this day.
That's what this season feels like for me.
The babies and the ministry and the maternity home and the moving cross country and the finances and the husband in school and the diapers and the sorrow of friends and the leaving and the going away parties and the stomach bugs and the thyroid disease and the long flights with three children. The hours spend crying to the Lord and the hard talks and the wiping my eyes during sermons and the funerals and the nights of joy that ended, with mornings where the sun seemed to shine a little too brightly.
To be honest, it's mostly over now and here I am with this handsome husband and these three beautiful children and a future on the horizon and a hope in my Savior. Friends to have coffee with, friends who love my babies and friends to call in Seattle and talk to them semi-hilariously-breathlessly as I run on the treadmill. Family a few hours away, either way, close by to visit and cherish. This house of rest, with her sloped ceiling and handmade paper decor. The occasional datenight. Daily tickle-fights with my babies and long talks about letters and numbers and why Jesus died on the cross. So many good things.
And yet - don't you dare bring that shot to my bedside.
I'm sensitive in a way I've never been before, in a way that you can only be if you've gritted your teeth for five years and refused to let too many tears roll down your cheek. I'm crying out to the Lord about silly things, or things that seem silly in comparison to where we've been. After all these years of labor and work, the sweat is just now starting to pour and my muscles are tired from holding on and I'm feeling - really feeling pain and ouch, ouch, ouch. It hurts.
So this is for you ladies. If you're in the middle of labor, you just grunt and groan like a crazy lady. Don't hold it in or lock it up or pretend it isn't there. Cry out to Him. Call out to Him. Ask Him for help and for the love of all that's good, for the love of Him and His work within you, ask other people for help.
I'm doing it all the time these days.
And it's lovely.
I mean, it's obnoxious and makes me feel weak,
but you know what 2 Corinthians says about our weakness and His power.
Cry out, sister. Right now.