Our little manchild was technically due September 9th, but I briefly entertained the notion of him holding out until the historically significant date of September 17th – Constitution Day. However, the morning of September 10th, I told Joshua I didn’t think I was going to make it to a Constitution Day birth after all (we’d end up having to settle for some day they argued about amending powers in Madison’s notes). Yet I didn’t expect just how quickly our son would arrive. It appears to me that when it comes to the request for a quick and marginally painless labor and delivery, God answers in creative ways: perhaps by literally bringing it about swiftly, or perhaps by altering one’s perception of space and time during the experience. With my daughter it was to some degree the latter – it was still an unmedicated labor and delivery, but it lasted just under 12 hours from the time I was admitted to the hospital. Curious folks wondered what took so long, while in my mind it was a breeze. My son’s speedy entrance into the world, on the other hand, hardly gave anyone a chance to ask what was happening. Caleb Aaron (“loyal-hearted and towering”) was born at 12:13 P.M. on 9/10/2021, only two hours after we got to the hospital. It was another powerful experience of an unmedicated, midwife assisted labor and delivery! Labor and Delivery nurse Keosha was fantastic too – she and CNM Amber Price made a great team. Caleb was bigger than anticipated: 8 lbs. and 21.1 inches tall. He was born so quickly that he didn’t get all the amniotic fluid entirely squeezed from his lungs and stomach, which resulted in him having a decreased appetite and thereby low blood sugar, plus rapid breathing, which set off a vicious cycle that caused a prolonged hospital stay (even a brief night in the NICU). Added to that was additional testing due to me having contracted COVID-19 in the later weeks of pregnancy (I and subsequently Theodosia each got a mild case successfully treated with natural remedies. It made me grateful to still be breastfeeding!).
Thank the LORD all turned out well on that front! We were set to go home when Caleb’s jaundice levels rose and he was prescribed 24 hours of phototherapy, which meant another night in the hospital. Thankfully the treatment worked and we went home on September 14th. Two-and-a-half year old Theodosia was a little apprehensive at first but soon warmed up to her little brother (she often calls him “Brother”), and is turning out to be a sweet and helpful big sister. She was a good sport about spending several nights away from me for the first time.
Mundane though it may sound, childbirth has heretofore been the most satisfying experience of my life. It’s the one moment in which I feel like I’ve successfully accomplished something. Everything else seems to be an endlessly unfinished work in progress. That’s not to say that childbirth means completion – it’s only an early phase in the parenting process, of course. But to serve that initial role in the Creator’s handiwork is exceptionally rewarding.
The header photo of this article was taken by Abigail Read (Abigail Read Photography).