[Mid-post and you will see a yummy video of John Fredrick at 4 months!]
4 months ago today, at right about this time, I was in active labor and being admitted into the Greenville Midwifery Care Birthing Center, facing my greatest challenge as a woman to date – giving birth and becoming a mother.
My phone memory is bursting at the seams but I can’t bring myself to erase the App (Full Term) where I timed all my contractions at the beginning of my labor, because it brings me back to that night when everything changed: When my water broke and I felt my baby making his descent into this world; the night I needed God and my husband more than I ever have, to hold me through the pain, anxiety, fear and uncertainty. I remember thinking, “Oh wow…this is actually happening!!” in absolute disbelief. Everything is foggy at this point but looking at the timed contractions, I remember that night full of deep breathing, prayer, natural pain management and leaning on my husband for strength. I remember the excitement, joy, rushes, pressure and pain of every moment before he was born. I screamed, I cried, I whimpered, I lost myself, I honestly felt like I couldn’t do it. I felt every contraction right up to the moment you entered the world and from the instant John Fredrick was born, the second I heard his cry, felt his skin against mine and kissed his head as he laid on my chest, every second of pain, sleepless nights, tears, body insecurity, endless hunger and exhaustion for 39 weeks – was worth it 1000%. These numbers may not mean anything to anyone else, but for me, it’s like watching a movie in my mind of that dark, hot, summer night when my entire existence was transitioning into something more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. These numbers meant that I was now trusting my body and knowing that whether or not I was conscious of it, my baby was ready to meet his Mommy and I was ready to become one.
Becoming a Mother undoubtedly changed my life, and continues to do so every single moment of every day. But my birth experience was equally as life changing. Every moment of it was exactly what I had prayed for, and the entire experience was my own. We were supported by a group of midwives and birth professionals who respected that every woman’s birth experience is her own, and coming from that philosophy, it made a world of difference. My body knew what it was doing, my baby knew what it was doing and God was in control. I put into practice all the years of yoga breathing, awareness going into deep relaxation, and releasing myself to the pain. John literally did not leave my side the entire time and helped me through every.single.contraction. He held his baby skin to skin and we held each other and our little family and are amazed every single day at what a blessing and miracle our lives have become because of our baby. John has equally become an advocate for natural childbirth and is in utter praise of midwives and birth professionals. I have made lifelong friends with the women present in my birthing room. It was what John and I had wanted for me as the expectant mother, us as a couple and for our baby and by God’s grace, we were able to experience this miracle of childbirth and I wouldn’t change a single moment about it. (Ok, *maybe* I would have worn more clothes so I could share some decent pictures – but that wasn’t happening ha!)
Sitting here in my kitchen, 4 months later, listening to my Labor playlist (which I didn’t end up listening to!) staring at my son, who is staring at me with such love and adoration I never could have imagined, and studying the screenshot of these timed contractions…I am brought to my knees with joy at the love of the Father for his children – all of us. The love I experienced that day, and the love that John and I have for John Fredrick is just a fraction of how much God loves us, and that brings me to tears. Because as a child of God, I stray away every single day. And the thought of my baby boy one day straying away from me and his Daddy breaks my heart. He will grow up, have many moments of uncertainty, heartache and even pain, where he won’t “need” his Mama or Dada, when he might rebel or disobey us, and as his Mother, I will feel every moment of pain, uncertainty and try to shield him from heartache, I will always try to find some way to help him even if he might not need or want it, and I will shed tears and feel anger when he rebels or disobeys. Everything I feel as a mother, from the moment he was conceived, born and now as he stares at me with such love and grows more every day, that unending love that I will always show him, is exactly the love that God the Father has for us. And as we stray away like children, we break his heart, he feels our pain and wishes to ease it and he will always lift our burdens – if we call out to him. We will always need Him. More than his Mama and Dada, John Fredrick needs God and as his parents, we are called to raise him and teach him about the Savior and his love for us in the greatest capacity that we are able to.
When I look at these timed contractions, all these thoughts and more come to my mind. They bring me back to moments where I had to dig so deep to become more than I what I ever could have imagined. Every moment in labor that you get closer to birth, is harder and harder. And that effort continues every single day, as I dig deep to find the strength and energy as a stay at home mom to teach, love and guide my son in this world, even at the tiny age of 4 months old. I find joy in learning to understand his needs, and help him through the challenge and frustration of growing – yes, I absolutely believe babies feel growing pains and need so much help and support to go through these spurts. I’ve gone through a growth spurt in the past 4 months and my perspective on many things have changed and I have become a better woman for it. Happy 4-months to my angel boy, I’m so honoured to be your Mommy and so blessed and privileged that God entrusted me with this sacred responsibility of raising you and loving you.