Birth Story: Faith or Foolishness
So after the conference, my wife and I sat down to discuss our plans. Since our daughter was born four days after her due date, we figured our second would also be a few days late. Friends warned us however, that the timing of one child is not necessarily indicative of the other. Combined with the fact that some friends of ours had a preemie who ended up passing, my wife and I decided to err on the side of caution. I told the praise team that I might be there, but that in our preparations, we’d assume that I wouldn’t. I also ensured that my brother-in-law, mother and my sister would be available to help my wife around the house in case I did end up going to the retreat.
A month or so passes and Baby #2 is now in the final trimester. At this point, we’re both leaning towards me going to the retreat mainly because the retreat center–a University in Southern Virginia–is only three hours away from the birth center. Additionally, the retreat was from Sunday through Wednesday; our child was due on Tuesday. Since I planned on going from Sunday night through Tuesday night, I’d only be gone for a little more than two days. Still, people told us that labor with the second child is usually much quicker, but since labor was 18.5 hours with our first, we figured that if I left the retreat at the first contraction, I’d make it with time to spare. We were reasonably confident in this decision but I still prepared the team as if I wasn’t going to be there, just in case something happens.
Two months pass and the baby is now full term. With the retreat merely weeks away, my wife and I are still ok with me going. But then my wife has a conversation with her boss, who tells her that the labor for her second child was a total of four hours from the first contraction to birth. We’d never heard of labor being that fast before, so naturally, we Googled it and it turns out that that’s not uncommon. This makes both of us anxious. Additionally, both my mother and my mother-in-law begin to voice their concerns about me going. They’d always felt that way; they just chose not to make their feelings known. At this point, my wife and I are taking these as signs that I shouldn’t go.
But for whatever reason, we decide that I should go. Maybe it was faith in the prophecy. Maybe it was the fact that I’d make it in time if I left at the first contraction. Maybe it was the fact that I thought in this situation, I could have my cake and eat it too. But you know how that usually turns out.
The day of the retreat arrived. I kissed my wife, my daughter, and Baby #2 goodbye, and left. My brother-in-law planned on coming over later that day and my sister was coming the next day, so I knew my wife was in good hands. But a part of me was fearful.
Yes, the team and my pastor knew that I was on-call and could leave at any moment, but a part of me wondered if this was faith or foolishness – or both.
The first night of the retreat was bittersweet. The opening worship was fantastic – passionate praise and powerful preaching – but I couldn’t really enjoy myself. The entire night, I was worried about my family. Is my wife doing ok (The heat index was close to 100°F and she was VERY pregnant)? Was my daughter behaving or was she giving my wife a hard time? To make matters worse, the service at the University was terrible for my iPhone – it may as well have been an iPad Nano at that point. What if my wife was trying to text/call but I missed it?
After the opening session, which ended around 11:30pm, I finally found a place outdoors where I got decent reception and my wife and I exchanged texts. She said she was doing well and didn’t feel anything. *whew* That was a relief. She told me to enjoy myself and that she would call/text if anything happened.
I went to bed that night after saying a thankful prayer.
Everything changed the next day.