Thursday, December 1, 2011
There has been a long silence on my blog for some time. Oh, I've tweaked a few things on my book corner, read old posts while ideas floated around in my head, but I just haven't been able to sit and write. In the last six weeks, we have welcomed a little baby into our family and I have been trying to get used to the new normal. Seeing how every day is different, I'm not sure when I'll get to a normal routine. Even though every day is different, each day is the same, too. Yes, it's quite complicated, but let's forget that for now. I want to talk about how this precious person came into our lives.
According to the usual way of calculating due dates, I was due towards the beginning of October, but the due date came and went and I knew that this baby was going to be "late". My midwife had a trip scheduled with her family to go to Hawaii towards the end of the month and she thought surely the baby would arrive before she left. Just in case, I had the phone numbers of two other midwives that would be available if she was on vacation. Becky left and a few more days went by. The last trimester was an uncomfortable time for me. I had been slowing down for awhile, but during those last weeks, I was wondering how I was going to make it. It's not as though I had never had long pregnancies before. Most of our children were born after the given due date. Those estimated due dates are for a 28 day cycle and I was not one who stuck to such a regimented schedule. My babies just needed extra time. I knew all of this and I also knew that God had the perfect time in mind for this new baby to be born, but I did struggle with waiting on the Lord.
A few more days went by and I decided to call one of the other midwives, so we could talk and get to know each other. I had never met either one of these ladies, so this was a good way to cover the basics before I went into labor. The next day, I began showing signs that labor would begin soon, but I still thought I had another couple of days. That night, things picked up, so I decided to call the midwife and let her know I would probably need her the next day. I hung up the phone and ten minutes later, I knew I'd have to call her right back. Contractions were getting stronger and much closer together. She had an hour's drive to get here, so she hurriedly gathered what she needed and was on her way. In the meantime, another young lady,(Rachel) who had assisted at the birth of my sixth child came to be with me until Tricia arrived. She was a trained midwife, but still quite new. Even so, I was thankful that she could be here so soon. I called my baby-sitter and asked her if she'd like to have a slumber party with our family. Anna knew what that meant and was soon on her way. Anna has been almost like a family member, kind of like the little sister I never had. We have appreciated her so much and again I was thankful to know she would be taking care of the children and the household duties. My dear daughter Rachel was also helping to get kids ready for bed, cleaning up the kitchen after making dinner that evening. I was so blessed.
My room was ready for baby. Blankets and clothes for the baby had been ready for weeks. My husband set up my laptop with quiet music playing and then, thoroughly cleaned our bathtub in case I would labor in there. I had really wanted a water birth for years, but either I never made it into the tub during labor or I wouldn't stay in it. Tricia arrived and I talked to her as much as I could, but that was soon becoming too difficult to muster. My husband always knows we are getting close to that wonderful time of transition when his very talkative wife stops talking and begins her vocalizing. With help, I did make it into the tub and never came back out. I remember hearing Tricia say that if I wanted to go back to bed, I'd have to get out then, or we were definitely having a water birth. I opted to stay in the tub. The water really was relaxing and with each contraction, I was able to use it to my advantage. The contractions still hurt, but it seemed somewhat more bearable. One of Franz Liszt's pieces was playing on the computer and I was grateful for the soothing power of music until the Hungarian Rhapsody started to play. AAAHH! I remember telling my husband that that would never do. "I will not give birth to the Hungarian Rhapsody!" I recall hearing a few snickers from the midwives and my Honey, but the music was discreetly changed to Yo Yo Ma playing selections from J.S.Bach. "Aaah, much better", I thought to myself and I was instantly transported back in time to when David and I were sitting in the front row at a Yo Yo Ma concert. We were so close to him, in fact that we could hear him take huge breaths between musical phrases as he played that beautiful cello. "Breaths, breaths...breathe, Dawne". I was back to the year 2011 in a flash. "Oh yeah, that's right. You're in labour, Knoch",(I address myself with my maiden name when I need to do something hard. I really don't know why). A few more contractions came and went and it was time for another funny comment from the laboring mother. "Oh, I bet Becky is at a luau right about now!" A few more snickers...
They say that transition is the shortest time of childbirth, but it always feels like the longest to me. It's probably got something to do with the pain. You know, like when you were a kid and it seemed that you would never get to your vacation destination. That was painful wasn't it? Okay, maybe not, but giving birth is!
It was finally time to push. No, we don't wait for the midwife to check to make sure I'm a perfect 10. Momma knows when it's time. I began to push, but it felt more like a tug-of-war. The last two babies did not take very long, so this time around, I was a bit surprised. I was pushing, but it seemed like someone else was pulling that baby back inside. I had been praying the whole time, whispering Philippians 4:13 to myself, "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength", but now I was praying even more. I soon learned why I prayed harder and why I felt like something wasn't right. The baby came and I was quickly instructed to stand up. I heard the words, "It's another girl!", but I became just a little scared when I saw this precious little one quite floppy and not breathing yet. The cord had been wrapped around her neck, not once, but twice and also around her arm. Tricia was very quick to get her untangled, but it took her, Rachel, the midwife and my husband to get my little girl to breathe. They took turns rubbing her and Tricia gave her oxygen and then, I heard her first cry. We were all thanking God through our tears and I was just aching to cuddle up with her. I soon was back in my cozy bed snuggled up with our daughter. It had been quite an ordeal for her, so she was still a bit too stressed to nurse, but she tried with all of her might. What a trooper! Tricia gave the baby some herbs and she was finally nursing peacefully. I was busy soaking in newborn baby smell, newborn baby skin and newborn baby sounds. For those moments, I felt as if the world stood still while I loved on my baby, my Sarah Rose.
And, here we are in the present. Wow! What a joy Sarah is to us. The children simply adore her and David and I thank God every day for another blessing. What a gracious and loving God to give us another child. We pray that Sarah will become a woman of God one day and will love Him with all of her heart.
My days have certainly changed since Sarah has joined the group. I spend most of the day with her, feeding her, changing her, walking with her, cuddling her. Sometimes, I'm disappointed when I can't seem to accomplish the simplest of tasks, but I know this is a season and from what I hear, this season of new babies goes by so fast. In the Lord's strength, I'm learning to take it one day at a time and thank Him for every moment I have with each of my children. Yes, there are dishes to be done. The laundry is piling up again and we need to get back into our school routine, but I want to invest in what really lasts. I want to invest in eternity. As a dear friend always says, "There are only two things that are going to last. The Word of God and the souls of my children". Oh, that I would take this to heart. I know that children are a blessing and a gift. The Word of God says so: "Behold, children are a gift of the Lord. The fruit of the womb is a reward"(Psalm 127:3). What I must not forget though is that we cannot raise them right without the Lord being in charge. A few verses before this says, "Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it"(Psalm 127:1). I cannot do this without Him. If I try, it's all in vain. My prayer is that I let Him be Lord of this home and that I commit Rachel, Jonathan, Hannah, Stephen, Mary, Nathan, Esther and Sarah to Him alone. They belong to Him. What a comfort and a hope and what a great God we serve.