Psalm 139:13 – “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb”
We had moved to Nashville three months prior, and I had started school when we went to pick up my third month of birth control. The pharmacist refused to give me the medication. Apparently, my prescription had expired two weeks before. Had I pick up all three months of medication in August, we would have been covered. However, we couldn’t afford that on our tight budget and had waited. No big deal, we decided. Our insurance was to kick in the next month, and I would go to the Ob/Gyn then. I was told, at the age of sixteen, that I would have great difficulty conceiving a child. I didn’t go through puberty until almost college and I had horribly irregular cycles. So, what was a few weeks without birth control? A few weeks turned into months. School was busy, and I had put off going to the Ob/Gyn. I was in a maternity nursing course, after Christmas. I called it, “1,000 and 1 things that could go wrong with your baby.”
We were sitting in class discussing symptoms of pregnancy. Missing a period. That couldn’t happen to me, because I never got them. Ovulation pain. Was that what that tinge was the other day? Sore breasts. That sounded oddly familiar. Implantation pain. Does that feel like being stabbed in your lower abdomen? Surely, I was imagining things. I decided I was having a case of medical school hypochondriasis and swept it under the rug. A few days later, Brian was headed to the grocery store. I had a weird craving for bacon and sour skittles. As Brian walked out the door he joked, “I’ll be sure to pick up some pregnancy tests. Sounds like pregnancy cravings.” I laughed, but part of me knew.
He came home, we had an enjoyable evening together, and he reminded me to take one of the pregnancy tests before bed. Now, let me just clarify, from personal experience. Never, I repeat, never get the cheap pregnancy tests. Spring for the pregnant/not pregnant version. Leave no doubt. I went into the bathroom, peed on a stick. As quickly as the dye could spread there was a + sign. I screamed for Brian! He picked up the test and the package insert. “It’s a test error,” he said. “That first line is too dark and you can barely see the second line.” Some of you already realize what this meant. Super Duper PREGNANT! We were naive little kids. So, Brian made me drink about a gallon of water and we sat there twiddling our thumbs until I could urinate again. It was now midnight, and we were in a cold sweat. I went in alone the second time. Same result. When Brian found me the second time, I was rocking back and forth saying, “No, no, no, no.” Brian was remarkably calm. He kept reassuring me that we had this under control and we would be fine. I said, “Fine. I know how this baby comes out and it is most certainly not fine!” I called my parents in tears telling them that there worst nightmare had come true.
They reassured me that this was an unexpected blessing and would be fine. I was a 22 year old newly wed, in graduate school with two years left, and a husband who was the sole bread winner. This was most certainly not going to be okay. I don’t think I thought of God once during this time. I was scared and all I could think of was how I was going to handle it. The next day, I took a trusty pregnant/not pregnant test on the way to class. It took seconds, PREGNANT. So, the test was not in error. I went to Target and got the cutest little onesie, how scary could a human that could fit in this really be? I got a “We’re Expecting” card, the pregnancy test, the onesie, and put them in a cute little rubber ducky bag. I headed home to wait for Brian.
When he arrived, I gave him the bag and started recording. He, in a gruff voice, asked me to turn the camera off. Now was his turn to panic. He opened the bag and I thought he was going to have an anxiety attack. Where was the man who said we would be fine? I decided not to mention that I would have to drop out of school for a year and stay home. The school would only give me ten days off to have the baby.
I wish I could say, after that, our terror turned to joy. I wish I could say that I fully lay it in the Lord’s hands. That just wasn’t the case. I have so much shame admitting this, and I have never told anyone, but I prayed after that. I prayed for a miscarriage. I didn’t just pray for one once, but daily, for weeks. It is one of the greatest shames of my life. Over time, I grew to love the baby. I felt him growing and kicking inside of me. After maternity nursing was over, my fear that he wouldn’t be healthy vanished. We had a happy, healthy nine months.
We moved to a new apartment across the parking lot with an extra bedroom and waited for this bundle to be born. I had finished up my first year of graduate school and waited home alone for the next two months, trying to get this little guy to make his appearance. It was lonely during that time. There wasn’t much to do, I had few friends. Our apartment was dark most of the day, and Brian was gone 13 hours a day. I was a week overdue when I woke in the night with cramping. I had lost my mucus plug the week before and thought it might be time. I got up and cleaned the apartment quietly, so Brian would keep sleeping. It was three a.m. By five a.m. Brian had woken up. I had taken a shower and gotten dressed. Our bags had been packed for weeks, we were ready to go.I told Brian to go on to work. By six a.m. I knew it was time. I was curling my hair when I fell down on my hands and knees. I was rocking back and forth to ease the pain. This was when I decided that a natural childbirth was not for me. Needless to say, I would be changing my specialty.
All of my contractions were in my back. We waddled to the car stopping twice on the way for contractions. I couldn’t sit down, so I was on my hands and knees holding the headrest of the car. We sped off through rush hour traffic. I swore that, if we got to the hospital and I was 2 cm dilated, I was going to kill someone. We made it. What relief. I had a contraction and then walked into admitting. I started yelling through my contraction. Once the desk receptionist found out it was my first baby, she told me to stop yelling because I was scaring the moms checking in for c-sections. I started crying, luckily a nurse walking by saw me and decided I needed to go straight to triage. She tried to get me to sit in a wheel chair but it was no use. By the time I go changed into a gown and examined, they were throwing the sides of the bed up and rushing me to labor and delivery. I was 8.5 cm with a bulging bag of waters. There was no time for pain meds, which I protested strongly. Brian and my birth photographer heard me screaming down the hallway and followed the bellows. By the time we got to the delivery room I was nine centimeters and by the grace of God my Ob let me have an epidural. I felt the need to push during my epidural, I now know I was ready to deliver, but first time mom’s. The epidural was amazing, and I was able to let my husband get breakfast. They came and checked me, asking me if I needed to push. I said I hadn’t felt anything. All of the sudden the room was scrambling. He was crowning. We called Brian to come back. After some rapid heart decals, me needing oxygen and an episiotomy, we had a healthy baby boy. The first time I saw him, I was in love. There was no greater gift, and I was so thankful to the Lord for not answering my prayers.