Birth Story: Decisions, Decisions
Although I was thankful, I had a hard time sleeping. I was worried that contractions would begin for my wife overnight and since my phone only had a bar or two of reception in the dorm room, I was worried I’d miss the text or phone call. I finally fell asleep, no thanks to the uncomfortable dorm bed and the pipes I was laying next to.
At 6:30am on Monday morning, my alarm went off, I jumped out of bed and *whew* no missed calls or texts. For that morning’s devotion, I spent some time praying for my family and was overcome with excitement at the prospect of holding my second child in my arms. I read Isaiah 43 and was particularly struck by v.21: “The people whom I formed for Myself will declare My praise.” My daughter, who God formed, will declare His praise. Amen.
After breakfast–<sarcasm>mmmmmmm! University dining hall grub!</sarcasm>–we led another praise set, which was awesome. I never feel more alive than when I’m doing that which God formed me to do – two of those things are leading praise and BBQing. After the set was over, I went outside and texted my wife, asking how she was doing. This was her reply at 10:25am
Hi there! I’m at 4-5cm and soft and stretchy down there. So the midwife said that we should call at 6 min and come right away.
When we went in for an exam a week prior, my wife was just 1cm dilated. In my haste, I totally misunderstood the text and thought the midwife said we should come in in 6 minutes. I immediately called my wife and she told me she meant that when the contractions are six minutes apart and that she felt fine. She was on the way to the mall with my daughter and my brother-in-law and they planned on going swimming later. But I became so anxious.
For those that are unfamiliar with childbirth, 4-5cm is typically considered active labor. For my daughter, it took 3 hours from the time my wife’s cervix was 5cm until birth, so I began to worry if I could make it back on time. Since my wife was already at 4-5cm, what if the labor only took one hour? Not only would I miss the birth of my second child, but I’d miss it by a lot.
Then something hit me that I completely overlooked: even if I made the birth of our second, I wouldn’t have had any time to spend with my daughter and love on her before her whole world changed. Being the first born myself, I was deeply saddened by this.
So for the rest of the morning and early afternoon, I was alternately anxious and sad, and was wrestling with whether I should leave or not. I called my wife around 4:30pm and this was the gist of our conversation:
Me: How are you feeling?
Wife: Fine. No contractions yet or anything.
Me: I’m thinking of coming home.
Wife: You made a commitment to be there. You should stay.
Me: Yeah, but things changed. What if I miss the birth?
Wife: But what if I don’t progress at all? I’d feel terrible that you left.
Me: Yeah…I don’t know what to do…
Wife: [fighting tears] I just wish you were here with me right now.
For me, my wife crying is my “Aw hell naw”: when she cries, aw hell naw you better not have made her cry. Sadly, it’s usually me who makes her cry. But no matter how resolute I feel about a position or decision, her tears transform me into a 190lb waffle.
The next hour or so was a flurry of emotions, which ended with this text from my wife:
I think I’ll be ok. I just had a rush of emotions. Of course I would like you here. But sometimes there are things that are more important.
I called her and told her that God Himself is the only thing that is more important to me than my family. But she encouraged me to stay.
I wrestled with my decision for the rest of the night. Thankfully, Baby #2 decided to stay in a little longer and my wife didn’t have any contractions. I sought the advice of other people I trusted and looked up to. After praise ended around 9:30pm, I decided that I was going home after the sermon and ministry time.
After the evening worship was over around 11:30pm, I caught up with my Pastor and told him I planned on leaving. He wished that I had told him sooner because he wanted to bless me before I left; he encouraged me to stay until after the morning session since he didn’t want me to drive when I was tired, I’d hit traffic if I left earlier in the morning, and he wanted to take time to bless me and my family.
I discussed this with my wife and she was ok with it. So I decided to stay and lead one more session on Tuesday morning – the due date.
But would I come to regret that decision?