If there’s anything that invites commentary, advice from almost everyone you talk to, and all kinds of cheesy cliches, it’s having a baby. It’s one of those defining moments that will change your perspective forever.
Until recently, I could only say all this by speculation. But last Monday morning everything in my life changed and all the cliches suddenly made sense. Here’s the story.
I’m no stranger to waking up on a Sunday morning and being really tired, but this time was different. My wife and I had been up most of the night for the previous three nights with contractions, sitting right on the edge of heading to the hospital. But each night around 6am the contractions would slow down and we would head into our day thinking it was a false alarm.
I knew going into it that this particular Sunday was one of those especially tired mornings so I tried to manage my grogginess. I made it through two of the our three services before getting the call from my wife to come home. The time was getting very close for baby to arrive.
We headed to the hospital that afternoon around 2:30, both expecting to be sent home because there wasn’t a whole lot going on. When we got to the hospital we found out that we were 5cm, halfway to having a baby, much to the surprise of the nurses who saw my wife’s calm demeanor. So we stayed and buckled up for the event we had tried our best to prepare for.
Things were progressing fine hour by hour and by the evening it looked like baby was just around the corner. My wife was handling all of this like a champ, not a single medication administered up to 8cm. But suddenly and for no apparent reason things came to a screeching halt. We didn’t progress any more for eight more hours. Yeah, eight… long… hours. The exhaustion and fatigue was beginning to take a toll, and we had to talk about doing something to help our baby make the final steps of the journey.
Even though our original plan was to go natural, we opted to get the epidural and hope that things would go smooth the rest of the way. Prayers were prayed and after a little waiting we were ready for birth. Our little daughter was born at 8:49am on Monday morning.
Everyone’s experience is a little different, and all the commentary that you hear from other moms, buddies and relatives cannot prepare you for what it is like to go through the process of labor and delivery. It is such a confusing emotional cocktail of exhaustion, excitement, anxiety, anticipation, and overwhelming joy, just to name a few, all of them wrapped in phrases like “Your whole life will change in an instant,” “Life will never be the same,” You instantly would do anything for this little person,” and other bumper-sticker type phrases.
Well, I’m here to tell you that they are all true, every last one. It’s virtually impossible to describe what it’s like to see your child come into the world. The change in perspective that it produces is incredible. When I laid eyes on her for the first time, the entire world stood still, frozen in that moment of absolute miraculous beauty. It was pure awe, like standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon feeling overwhelmed with the reality of God.
In the days that have followed, I feel a little crazy because I float around on this cloud and can scarcely think of anything but her. I do silly things like hurry to get back home when I run errands so I can be with her, and at this point I wonder how I’m going to get back into “real life.”
But I guess that’s the point, “real life” is forever something different than it was before. It isn’t a loss or a disappointment, but it’s like seeing with new eyes all the colors of creation. I have already learned so much and I am incredibly grateful for the blessing that our daughter has been. And the crazy thing about it is that it’s only just begun.