The promise given
Cradling my stomach, curled in a ball... Trying to wait it out. Trying to be tough.
I didn't want to go into the hospital just to get sent home again.
So waiting... As the pain increased... I thought to myself... I don't want to waste anyone's time. I don't want to give anyone a false alarm. I have to be patient...
"As a woman with child drawing near the time of her delivery
is in pain and writhes and cries out in her pangs, so we have
been before You (at Your presence), O Lord." Isaiah 26:17 AMP
When I couldn't take it anymore... I stood up... Holding my stomach with both hands, trying to keep from stumbling. I yelled for my mom. She too, had been up with me the majority of the night. It was around noon... And at this point, I had already been in the beginning stages of Labor since 8pm the night before.
My mom quickly got in the car as I wobbled and stopped, wobbled and stopped my way to the passenger side door. Climbing in was a challenge. I couldn't breathe. I felt as if a boa constrictor was constricting me!
I couldn't concentrate on anything but the pain. I slammed my feet into the floor board and kept my mouth shut as I tried to think out the pain... Saying just 1minute and the pain will relieve... I knew it would come back 1minute later, but the 1minute I had between each contraction... The minute that my insides didn't feel like they were being torn apart and rewired... It felt like heaven. I could take a breath. I could unclench my fists. I could talk and think...And when my brain would begin to work...
The only thing I could manage to say in 1minute segments to my mom over and over was "does Jamie know to come now? Is she on her way? Are they going to be there in time?"
The drive to the hospital was the longest drive of my life... It was only 30minutes, but it seemed to be like 30hours. I kept kicking and crying. I was slamming my fists on the window. My mom kept telling me to breathe. I would hold my breath and the pain would last longer. I wasn't sure I could do this. It seemed that only a few minutes ago I thought contractions were funny... But now I had to humble myself and let my mom be right... That they were awful.
We pulled up to the hospital... We parked and walked in. What were we thinking! We Walked all the way to the front door... Got on an elevator and walked to go check in. I was in LABOR and walking everywhere! My knees were so weak. I just wanted the pain to go away. I was so tired.
I couldn't think of anything. I barely paid attention to what was going on around me. Before I knew it, Jamie was there and I was in the delivery room getting my epidural. Man, did I want the Epidural!
I was at a 5 when I first got there and at a 7 when they finally said I could have an Epi. I was hoping so bad it would work. I was scared because of all the horror stories I had heard, but the pain was unbearable. Worse than anything I had ever felt. I didn't care what they had to do. I was exhausted.
The anesthesiologist asked me to scoot to the side of the bed, to the very edge. Slowly, I scooted, Cringing every time I had a contraction. He asked me to put my knees as close to my stomach as possible and for me to bend in a moon shape...To kind of Fold in half... It seemed like mission impossible.
My mom came to my left side and held my hand... As Jamie came and comforted me on my right side by holding my other hand. The anesthesiologist asked me to bend a little more so he could put the needle in my back. It was so difficult to move any further. I was so nervous that he was going to mess up.
"I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?
What can mere mortals do to me?" Psalm 56:11 NLT
I looked up and I saw Jamie's face. She looked white as a ghost. I heard the man count down in a calm voice and I felt a sharp sting on the lower half of my back. Then a really cooling sensation. It seemed to be over quickly... Much quicker than I had expected.
Feeling the effects almost immediately, Jamie had said she needed to sit down because she was feeling woozy. I turned to look at Jamie sitting against the wall in a hospital chair and I tried to ask if she was okay. I had the urge to comfort her.
I laid back down in the hospital bed and the dr told me that if I started feeling any pain to push the button they gave me that controlled my Epi. I was feeling great. The first time I could relax in almost 11hrs... And I was thrilled.
I was getting comfy as Jamie and my mon stood by my bed. They watched the contraction monitor, as the waves would sky rocket when I was having a contraction they would ask me if I felt it.. We all started laughing and I started to drift off and get some much needed sleep.
Awakened about every 30minutes, a dr would be checking on baby Pax to see the progress and to see if I would be dilated anymore. Everyone kept telling me that they could feel him and that he'd have no hair. I disagreed. I knew my baby would have hair despite what everyone was saying. My baby would not be a baldy, and I wanted him to come out so he could prove to everyone that he would have a full luscious head of hair!
At about 4:30-5 and after a decent amount of snoozing, one of the delivery nurses told me that it was time to start pushing. My Mom and Jamie were in the room. The nurse helped push my knees up because I couldn't feel my legs and my mom and Jamie took their positions on either side of me, just as I was taking mine. They both looked at me and grabbed each hand. I felt as though we were positioning for battle.
" I have no ulterior motives in this; I'm speaking honestly from my heart." Job 33:3 MSG
The delivery nurse said that since I couldn't feel my contractions, she would tell me when to start pushing. We were all so eager... When she said for the first time "push!"
I tried to bear down and push, but with no feeling, I thought my efforts were useless. I wished some of the epidural would wear off so I could at least feel something! It was hard to get the hang of pushing when it didn't feel natural.
After an hour of pushing and nothing to show for it. I was feeling discouraged. The nurse asked me to sit and rest and we would try again soon. I looked at Jamie and my mom and told them I was scared because I didn't want to have to get a c-section.
The nurse came back and said that if I couldn't push him out then a c-section would be the only option. I felt motivated. I looked and Jamie and my mom and then we began again. Pushing and pushing. It just wasn't enough...
But then, I started to feel the pressure from the contractions and putting all embarrassment aside, I let Jamie And my mom hold up each leg as I pushed. All my goodies were hanging out and I was unashamed.
I pushed two times--hard and the nurse looked at me and told me to stop... That the baby was coming but the dr wasn't in the room yet. Stopping pushing was almost harder than actually pushing. I tried to hold back but I wanted him out.
The dr seemed to take forever, but as soon as he Got in the room, I gave two hard pushes and with some encouragement from Jamie and my Mom announcing each time his head was out and then his shoulders and to give one last push.... He was out.
" When he could be hidden no longer, he was put outside-and immediately rescued by Pharaoh's daughter, who mothered him as her own son." Acts 7:21 MSG
While the dr held crying Paxton, Jamie was asked to cut the umbilical cord. Her face was flushed in excitement. She grabbed the scissors so shakily because of her overflowing joy and after two squeezes on the scissors, Paxton was free from me and then the dr attempted to hand him back to me.
Then, the hardest words that have ever escaped my mouth were spoken into existence. "no, give him to his mother."
"When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say, and she always says it kindly." Proverbs 31:26 MSG
My heart was broken. I wanted to be the first one to hold him so bad, but then I saw him put him in her arms. And she began to love him.. With all the goop... She kissed him and began crying... Her tears were contagious. I smiled and cried.. And saw Gods promise fulfilled in her eyes.
They then took little Paxton to be cleaned and Jamie and my mom followed. I was stuck where I was. I had yet to see his face. I was being stitched up and I felt as if everyone had forgotten about me. They were all huddled around the baby, and I was left broken in pieces in the hospital bed. I could hear them all ooooing and awwwing behind nurses that were in my view and all I wanted to do, was stand up and be with Paxton and the rest of them.
"The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
he rescues those whose spirits are crushed." Psalm 34:18 NLT
I had been living for Paxton the past 9months, doing things that I would want him to be proud of... So when Paxton was placed in Jamie's arms, I felt as if I was giving up my life, and placing it in her arms.
I gave birth to new life and that new life gave birth to a new feeling I had never experienced: Love, in the purest most sacrificial form. True Selfless Love.
I then asked the drs to do something for me before they left the room, I wanted Ben to experience this moment since he couldnt be there when his wife gave birth. I asked Jamie to let him in to see his son. She ran to the door and Ben and my sister came into the room. Paxton was placed in Bens arms for the first time. I could feel The Holy Spirit... I could feel the love that surrounded us... And in my brokenness I found peace...
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid." John 14:27 NLT
The nurses had to take Paxy back into the baby room to get his foot prints and finger prints, pictures and finish getting him cleaned up and ready to be put in the rooms with us. I didn't want Paxton out of my sight, but he would need to eat soon and Jamie would be the one to feed him.
Before I got to move into my own room, my mom left and brought me some sonic. I was starving and was so thirsty. I chugged a huge sonic drink--route 44 and as I was, Susan came to visit me! She was a good friend of mine who had been supporting me through my whole pregnancy. She had been like a second mother to me. I was so happy to have her there and I couldn't wait for her to see Paxton, I couldn't wait to see him either and look at his face and just examine every inch of him. I wanted every part of his body engraved in my mind.
As we were being taken to our own separate rooms, I felt anything but separate from the Ward family...
I couldn't wait to spend the next few days with The beautiful blessing that God had placed into our arms and ultimately into our hearts.
"But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard-things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely. Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good-crucified. Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives." Galatians 5:22-25 MSG
"The Promise Given" - Jamie's Take
"And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." - 2 Corinthians 9:8
In and out of sleep. I checked my phone often and I didn't hear anything. I'd drift back to sleep, only to wake up suddenly with heart palpitations with every noise that came from the house.
In the morning, Ben had left early to figure out our water situation at the house and to get some more stuff we'd need to be comfortable at the hospital and Heather's. I finally got up, slipped out of bed and fell on my knees. I prayed, with warm tears down my face, I was thankful..emotional..grateful...speechless.
Heather and her boys were in the kitchen getting a late start as well. They had ball games and errands to run. Her and I caught up on what happened the night before and we talked about when she might go back to hospital. I headed back to my room to make a hospital bag for myself - not knowing if Ben and I would even be able to stay, when I got the phone call. Lesa's mom had called to let us know they were heading to the hospital and she'd let me know when she gets officially admitted.
I called Ben with the update and got ready. I was unusually slow about getting myself ready. I wanted my hair to be perfect, I wanted to look like a mother, I wanted to be put together - as if qualifying myself for the gift God was giving me. I finally was finished when I received a text that she had been admitted and was at a 5 and that they were giving her an epidural soon.
"I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant." - Genesis 32:10
I took Lesa's car to the hospital, stopping to fill up the tank and get Lesa's mom a soda. This was happening. Everything was in slow motion. I can even remember the blue corolla in front of me the majority of my drive. Ben was at the house figuring out the water issue and wanted updates. He wouldn't answer his phone which was unusual but I didn't think much of it and just assumed he was busy.
When I got to the hospital they let me in. I was so honored to be able to be back in the room. When the nurse came in we made sure I could be back with her during delivery and the nurse didn't see any issue with it. I also asked about a room and they went to see if it would be possible. Lesa and I joked and laughed. She was in pain this time around - though I could still tell she was trying to keep her cool. She was silent the majority of the time. Her sister came shortly after to visit and her brother was in the room when I had arrived but was getting picked up by Lesa's dad shortly.
I left the room to call my mom - it hadn’t struck me till I got there that maybe they would want to all be here. I also had had Ben call his mom in the morning to let her know the baby was possibly coming. Ben knew Lesa was admitted but I couldn't seem to reach him after that last call. I continued to call, only to take a break, to be with Lesa as she got her epidural.
I saw the whole thing. Lesa sat off the side of the bed, as Lesa’s mom held her up on her left side and I on her right. I looked behind Lesa watching the doctor administer her epidural. I saw this tube be inserted into her back and as it stuck out there - I got a little light headed - I didn't want to be whimpy so I held the urge for a second. Still intrigued I watched him wipe away excess ointment from her back - then he grabbed this little bag that held what looked like looped up wire. As he told Lesa he was almost finished - he stated "I'm going to string this wire into the tube and near your spine."
That’s it. My stomach became undone.
I had to sit down. I apologized to Lesa - as she chuckled, I walked to the door and sat down. I was on the verge of passing out so I stuck my legs in the air, to get the blood flowing. Both Lesa and her mom laughed at me. I felt so bad - though they didn't care - I wanted to be strong for Lesa but that was intense. I should of been wise and not looked like Lesa's mom.
Afterward, as any young adult after a major life event (even not-so-major events) we updated our status and then I went into the hall to call Ben.
He was still not answering and I was panicked. All I could think was 'Great! God's giving me a baby and taking my husband - he's in a car accident I know it."
I got ahold of Ben's mom who was on our way and let me know she would contact Ben for me while I was with Lesa. In the middle of our call, Ben finally calls back. His phone had fell in between the seat of the car and console and it was on silent. He was on his way. He asked if we needed anything -- moment of truth -- I didn’t hesitate.
I want a burger and fries and the world's largest soda! Lesa's mom was hungry too. It was the perfect time to get some food - as Lesa couldn't eat but was already dozing from no sleep and the relieving effects of the epidural.
Ben arrived. We found seats in the lobby. And most importantly, at the moment, I ate...and it was good. I sat with Lesa's mom as we ate and we had a heart to heart. It was the first time I actually got to really talk to her. Lesa was asleep and it was a perfect time.
We had some light talk then I asked..."Are you okay, with all of this?" She looked at me surprised, but very serious. She insured me in many words that she was more than okay with it. She vulnerably stated that she hated that she couldn’t raise another grandbaby. She and Lesa both are in love with us and know that this is right. A bit more comfortable, I asked,"Is Lesa sure, is she gonna change her mind?" She was a little puzzled, but given the circumstances it wasn't the weirdest thing I could of said. She again assured me Lesa was sure about both of us, sure of the fact she can't raise this baby or give him the life she wants for him, she wanted a mother and a father. She didn't doubt it would be hard but she knows its the best. We continued to eat when her and Lesa’s mutal friend arrived. I was introduced and she embraced Ben and I with such gratitude. Lesa's mom took her back to see her and we stayed in the lobby.
We updated our statuses on our social network pages for our friends to stay a float and posted a silly video about being soon to be parents. Most of our closest friends (mostly church) were attending an event for married couples for Valentine's. We had planned to go but of course we had better things to do.
My parents arrived and then Ben's shortly after. We updated them on what was going on.
Then, as if God himself had put His foot on the gas - it began.
In the middle of me talking about how Lesa was - Lesa's mom came out to let me know she was going to begin pushing. I headed back in. All systems were a go.
Ben was allowed pass the double doors but only as far as the door to the delivery room. He remained on the floor of that hallway with his ear perched near the bottom of the door.
We had been there since 12:30 in the afternoon and it was getting to be 4:30pm. Time was flying and going slow at the same time. I entered the room to see Lesa still visiting with her friend. A few moments later the nurse came in to remind her it was nearing time and her friend would need to leave. As she did leave she gave everyone in the room individual great big hugs.
We had been there during a few shift changes so the doctor delivering was changing, as well as the nurses. The doctor delivering was the very doctor I was praying would. He had incredible report and I so badly wanted him included in this. My heart was at rest, I knew we were in great hands.
Lesa began pushing about 5 and not really getting the hang of it. She was still numb from her epidural and didn't push the button to administer more. She wanted to be able to know when they were coming but still numb enough to not feel anything. She was doing great. Our bond was growing even more, she was allowing me to witness the birth of our baby, all guards were down. She was humble and incredible. I felt honored. The nurses were learning our story and taking care of all three of us Lesa, her mom and I. They would come in every thrity minutes to an hour and have her push. I would pop out to inform Ben of the lastest happenings and he would let me know when I was telling him too much. He then would relay it to the family.
After a few hours, before the nurses said they would be back in, I went out to the lobby with Ben to update the family and get some reassurance.
Finally, about 7:00 the nurses were changing and also Lesa was told in all seriousness that the baby has been low for awhile and needs to be out, he will have some serious crowning and if she can’t push him out the next round - she'll need a c-section.
She was determined to get him out. I was hopeful she would too, as I would not be able to see him if she sectioned. So we relaxed for a few. The time drug on. Then the nurses came. The nurse we had when Lesa checked in the night before was back - which was a relief because she knew our history and we knew that she was cool with me being there. We talked a bit - then Lesa was told to push. Her epidural was wearing off perfectly. She wasn't feeling the pain but knew when the contractions were coming. She was baring down incredibly. Within pushes - the nurse promptly asked her to stop - the baby was coming. Seemed Lesa was determined after all. Lesa informed her that he needed to get in here because she couldn’t just not push. As if the request was completely not doable.
The doctor was delivering two other babies at the same time - so emotions were all over the place.
The room filled with people. They were making things happen like no ones business. I was witnessing a birth and it was incredible. The doctor entered and Lesa pushed. Within minutes, what was seemingly a bit gross yet intriguing to me became a supernatural, undeniable, favorable moment.
At 7:58pm, my son was born.
The doctors assistant went to hand baby boy to Lesa when she stopped her and told her my name and that I was his mother. She turned away slightly as to keep from accepting - what was undeniably hers - so that I could receive what God had taken from her to give to me.
I lost it. I had never had that kind of selfless introduction in my life. As soon as I knew it, I held my son.
I kissed him ever so lightly. Lesa’s mother dropped her daughter’s hand to grab my camera without any thought to capture my first moment with my son. I didn’t even ask.
I was undone. They were so selfless. They truly blessed me. I will never ever forget that.
I took him over to finish being cleaned and weighed. 7 pounds and 5 ounces and 21 inches long. Pictures were sent to Ben and the family waiting in the lobby. Once I was cleared to open the door, I went out to tell Ben. We embraced and looked at each other in disbelief. Hand in hand we walked out to the lobby to personally introduce our son’s birth. When we came out, we found some additions - some of our friends had arrived and more were coming. After we updated them I was eager for Ben to hold Pax.
As I entered, Lesa was holding him. Only after asking Lesa, Ben was able to come in. I won’t forget it. Ben came in and went straight for Lesa. He kissed her forehead and looked at her. And before setting his eyes on his son, he asked if she was okay. That was my husband, a true gentleman. Lesa, chuckled, I think she was a bit taken back that Ben would be concerned with her. She then made the honorable ask. She asked Ben if he would like to hold his son.
It was perfect.
Ben embraced his son. For the first time it became real to Ben. He was a dad.
We talked with Lesa for a bit and then Pax had to be taken to the nursery to be given his first bath.
I 'happenstancely' knew the nurses aide taking him to the nursery - she was incredible and allowed us to stop in the lobby for all our family to see. Heather and her husband were there too. Our parents couldn’t get enough pictures.
It was all happening so fast.
The nurses aide let me know they'd be prompt and also told us the most wonderful news (as if it couldn’t get any better). They had a room for us! It would be right next to Lesa's room at the end of the hallway near the nursery. We could stay until Pax was discharged!
Ben and I followed our baby to the nursery and then took the long way back to get to our rooms. We held hands and couldn't say much..except that he was a daddy and I was a mommy..and we had a baby.
As we got to our room we had some visitors plus our family all waiting till Pax would return.
As I waited I decided to go see Lesa one last time in the delivery room as they still hadn't moved her. Her friend had brought her a drink and I brought her my gratitude. I just loved her more than I ever thought! She was exhausted and was soon to be moved to her room to rest. I gave her a hug and we talked briefly about what the first night entailed. We could have the baby in our room to feed and bond with, while she got much needed rest. She had just birthed a baby she had carried for months and was now allowing me to nourish and bond with him his first night of life out side of her.
I couldn't believe her selflessness. I left, walking down the hall, alone, I fell to the floor in an abandoned hallway - like a baby I bawled. God was in that place. I could feel Him. He had given me a healthy baby boy and an incredible woman to show me raw humility.
"Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault." - Jude 1:24
I headed back to our room. We had even more visitors. After an hour and a half Pax was brought to our room. We were given bracelets - as if we were the natural parents. I had a mommy band and I was crying. Most of our visitors had left, as it was getting late. But those who were there got to the priveledge of meeting our son, including, most importantly my apprehensive parents.
Immediately my parents we’re hooked. My most cherished moments was when my dad held him. He was undone. His first grandchild. It was so tender to see him love my son, embrace him and not want to let him go.
As the last few left, with my mom, younger sister and few best girl friends were there - I stripped myself and him down and I fed him his bottle - skin to skin. It was perfect. He was perfect. God was SO PERFECT! After the feeding we had some more guests and they got their fill. My parents decided to stay in town and help with the house the next day.
All I could find myself saying was God was so good.
We said good night to our last visitors. And then there were three.
We sent Pax to nursery for a few hours to get checked up. We preferred him with us, but since he was a BUFA BABY (Baby Up For Adoption) he had to have lots of tests ran on him. At 3 a.m. Pax visited again for some skin on skin and a bottle. He went back for more vitals and returned again about 6:30 for another bottle - which he played with more than drank and remained on my chest till about 8 - when he was whisked away to meet his pediatrician in the nursery.
I crashed again and awoke at 9:30 to our baby entering Lesa's room... my heart sank. I didn't want her to change her mind. I mean the baby was perfect. I was in love. We were in love. The next few days were gonna be hard and my heart couldn’t handle the wall between him and I.
Either way I had made up my mind - I was going to be loving, tender, patient and, as Lesa as my mentor, I was going to be selfless.
I loved Lesa and we were grateful. So in my gratitude - I gave her the only gift that truly meant something and really the only gift I could give (that in reality wasn’t really mine to give) - space. Space and time with her child.
Receiving our Promise was going to cost. As believers, we received a promise because God sent his Son to die for us and qualify us for God's goodness. He doesn't promise no pain or heart ache - He does promise to be faithful. So we had to hold on to the fact that God is faithful!
"I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living." - Psalms 27:13