Twenty years ago today I became a mother of the child I carried in my womb for 9 months. After 12 hours of labor at the birthing center, Zachary entered this world. As a young (18 years old) mother and newlywed, I entered a new season of life...motherhood.
Remembering pregnancy and his birth story brings back a flood of emotions that goes something like this ~
Mark and I were young, high school sweethearts who met and fell in love on a blind date (blind for me, but he actually saw me a month earlier and arranged this date through a friend of mine...that's a whole nother post). I finished highschool at the end of May 1989, graduated and one month later (June 27, 1989) we found out that we were expecting. Surprise, fear, excitement, fear, steadfastness ofhavingthis baby inside me ~ NEVER questioning that I would, telling our parents (that could be a post in and of itself)...fear, mixed reactions...wedding plans. We married on July 30th and entered the first major season of my life...wife.
My pregnancy, being the first one I had ever experienced, brought a flood of emotions along side of the body changes. I was very thin at 17 and my waist expanded...it was hard for my mind not to understand that I was not fat, just PREGNANT. =) I gained 28 pounds and never had the need for "real maternity clothes" although I think I did buy a pair of shorts, pants and a couple shirts...just because. My has that changed! I remember crying (for no apparent reason), being tired, dizzy early on...probably due to my eating habits and lack of iron, experiencing "Charlie Horses" in the middle of the night toward the end of my pregnancy, and being exhausted after working each day.
We started out seeing an OBGYN, however it never felt like the right thing for me. For one, I had never been to a GYN before being pregnant and then the setting just felt doctorish. Not to mention, I really did NOT want to go to the hospital, let alone deliver a baby in one. Now my upbringing was not such that would have directed me in any way other than a hospital...but I was not at peace.
Several months into my pregnancy, I found out that a friend had delivered in a birthing center. Never heard anything about them before then (okay, just remember I was young and computers were not what they are today...flood and accessibility of information at the entering of a keyword). Once hearing about her "mid-wife" (also a new concept) and the birthing center, I KNEW this was what I needed to do!
Mark and I scheduled an appointment to see the RN mid-wife and see if she would even allow me to become a patient of hers (I think I was at the end of my second tri-mester). Although, this was not 'standard' practice for her to accept someone this far along, looking back now I am ever-so-grateful that the Lord had directed our path accordingly. I finished my pregnancy out under her care ~ loved her! Gentle, caring, and informative (which helped me tremendously).
Moving ahead to February 26th...we walked around our neighborhood I believe ALL day! I had contractions and called Mark, who was working over an hour away. He left the job to come home. We walked and walked and walked. Around 5:30pm, we drove to the birthing center which was about 30 minutes away, sure that I was in 'labor'. They checked, put me on a monitor to time the contractions for a while, then said we should go home. I was determined that I was in labor (not that I really knew what that was) and was frustrated when the nurse on duty sent us home. Two hours later, pop! Sploosh! Oh my goodness, uncontrolable flow of water! Talk about uncomfortable. =)
Back in the car we got and drove back to the birthing center, sure that Zach was coming. Contractions, water flowing, excitement, fear of the unknown...I was like, "I told you that I was in labor." ;-) Mark carried me into the birthing center. The nurses on duty were curious as to why he was carrying me...if I stood the water flowed even more. Okay, no one told me what I should do about that ~ oh the things we learn as we get older. =)
Well, we got to stay this time. They assigned us a room. I remember thinking, anytime I am just sure he's going to come right out. Okay, another lesson learned...birth typically doesn't 'just happen' that quickly. We walked around the birthing center hours. I showered several times to help with pain and to help relax me. I was getting tired. Finally, as things got more intense I only found comfort laying on my side and humming through each contraction. Transition arrives and I get sick. Thirty minutes of pushing and Zach is born! What a HUGE relief! Tired and relieved that the pain of labor was over. It really IS labor (work) to have a baby. =)
Mark and I were overwhelmed that Zach was finally here (early by a few days from the original 'estimate') and a combination of each of us. He had Mark's feet and was so alert at birth. He was laid on my chest right after delivery, looked at both of us and seemed so peaceful. It was amazing ~ tears of joy! We loved him as soon as we saw him (this little active boy that I bonded with in the womb)!
We stayed the night at the birthing center and tried to get some rest. It was a long night ~ my dad drove up to see his first grandchild the day he was born...we did get a little rest and then went home on the 27th. Nursing woos, crying, sleepless nights, unexpected out-of-town relatives stopping in to visit...all set in the first few days home. So many things this first time mother didn't know!
First professional photos ~ 3 months young
BUT ~ I gladly take those days and hold them as cherished memories. Knowing how special this time was, knowing now, as a Christian, that God, even then, was directing my path. Understanding the blessing of this day 20 years ago and each day since...through so many different seasons of life ~ growing of a babe inside a womb, to the birth of an infant, to a boy, to a young man. Praising God for what He has done and will continue to do.
We love you and pray God's blessing, protection and direction for you! Happy Birthday!
"For you formed my inward parts, you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. You saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them."
Senior picture ~ 2008
"For I know that plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11
College talent show, singing a song he wrote about the regret of not sharing the Gospel ~ 2009
"Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate." Psalm 127:3-5