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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My baby boy is 3!

I fought so hard for Caleb. I planned the kind of birth I felt would be best for him, and because of my choices I endured many raised eyebrows and questions that doubled as insults. I don’t even pretend to know what was said when I wasn’t around. I think what many people didn’t know was the extent to which my whole heart was in Caleb’s birth plans. Sarah’s birth destroyed me—ruthlessly, unmercifully annihilated anything that I had ever been, and Sarah suffered for that. Still suffers for that, though it is a work in progress. I was not going to just lie down and let that happen to Caleb. I just wasn’t.

What people probably thought was that I was sectioned by a doctor in a hospital so I just wasn’t going to see a doctor or go into a hospital for Caleb’s birth. That wasn’t true. As John can attest, I read books, researched on the internet, spoke with people both online and in person, until the only words that came from my mouth were pregnancy and birth related. My plans for Caleb’s safe birth were all-consuming. I even had a consultation with a perinatologist at the hospital who told me, outright, that my best chances at a VBAC were at home. We hired a wonderful midwife with decades of experience and over a thousand births under her belt.

Contrary to popular belief, I did not want what some homebirth opponents call a “spa birth”. I wasn’t planning to give birth in a dim, candle-lit room with soft music in the background. I had no illusions of an easy, pain-free birth. I had every thought and expectation that it would be the most painful, scary, intense thing I had ever done. And that it would be safe.

I knew from very personal, very recent experience that the thing we call “birth” doesn’t always go as planned and can sometimes have a tragic end. Just 8 weeks before Caleb was conceived one of my sisters lost her son at 38 weeks. She wasn’t even in labor. He just…died. I was the one with her when the doctor told her. Mine were the first hands she desperately squeezed. My arms were the first to support her. My eyes were the first to see her tears. I saw her heart split right open and I’ll never, ever forget the enormity of the black grief that flowed out. But, all the hospital-birth-planning in the world wouldn’t have saved my little nephew. Babies die all the time in hospitals. If it was the Lord’s will for my baby boy to die in birth, it would happen whether or not we were in a hospital. In my opinion, a peaceful death is as important as a peaceful birth.

I really can see Jesus in Caleb. I look at him and marvel, “this is what Jesus must have been like at age 1, at age 2, at age 3”. What a blessing He must have been to His mother! If Sarah challenges and blesses me intellectually, Caleb challenges and blesses me emotionally. I look at him and just melt. He is so kind and tender-hearted! There’s a story in the Bible about two women who bring a baby to the king, both claiming it’s her baby. The king tells the women that since he can’t tell whose baby it is, he’ll have it cut in half and each woman may have half of the baby. The mother who spoke up and said, “no, don’t cut him in half. Give him to her” was the woman the king decided must be the baby’s mother. I did something similar with Sarah and Caleb when they were fighting over who would get to play with “baby Anna”. Before the words were even out of my mouth Sarah said, “I’ll take the top half”, but Caleb protested with a concerned look on his face, “No! It’s hurt her!”

He’s like the walking New Testament! He is patient and kind. He isn’t jealous, doesn’t brag and is not arrogant. He does not act unbecomingly, does not seek his own, isn’t easily provoked, doesn’t take into account a wrong suffered (and forgives nearly instantly!). He does not rejoice in unrighteousness (and if on rare occasion he does something he shouldn’t, he “tells” on himself immediately). My sweet little Caleb bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and (as Sarah Elizabeth is his sister) endures all things.

I can’t imagine my life without my little guy, and he and his birth have brought so much healing into my life. I am so grateful for that in this Thanksgiving season.

What his name means-
Caleb: Faithful, Bold
Joshua: Jehovah saves
Amen, and amen.

This post is lovingly, gratefully dedicated to Vicki Taylor, L.M., C.P.M., without whom I would still be that scared little girl sitting in a corner crying over her scar.