Friday, December 7

Birth as worship and a name

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In the many months before our little one arrived on Sunday, I had been mentally trying to think through the upcoming event and prepare my heart and mind for the hard work coming.  I think the best prepared I was for any birth, was for our first homebirth four and a half years ago.  Part of embracing homebirth as right for our family and right for that pregnancy (our fifth) was reading and reading and reading about homebirth and safety and statistics and other women's stories of home deliveries.  There is something very calming and strengthening in reading about, and then embracing, birth as a normal life process.  I felt completely calm with Chase's birth at home.  Prepared.  At peace.
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With the following homebirth, I mentally felt the complete opposite.  The time during that pregnancy had been full of stress and turmoil.  I knew we were going into the season of having a new baby with very little support and I was unprepared, floundering even.  Time after time, I urged Sean to pray for me, which he gladly did.  Having a large family is a huge thing, no matter which opinion of large families is held.  It is simply A. Lot. Of. Work.  A lot of work on top of rejection is hard to bear.
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I knew this time around that I would have to view pregnancy and birth, recovery and healing in a whole new light.  As I prayed and journaled and contemplated and sought for wisdom and strength - I felt the ministerings of the holy spirit show me that the entire path of bringing forth new life is such a spiritual thing - such a way and path of worship.  It is beautiful. It is hard.  It is tender and sweet. It involves sacrifice.  It involves giving up, laying down, surrender and other *uncomfortablenesses* our modern selves like to shun, so wrapped are we in comfort and self. When done to give glory to God, it is worship.

On Sunday morning, I had a pretty good feeling that our fellow would arrive later in the day or evening.  It was my due date.  We tidied up and went for a walk.  I did laundry.  Ran some errands.  Came home and my midwife, Merideth, came over and we all sat down for a turkey dinner.  She checked me, a friend arrived and I decided to take a hot shower to speed things up.  After each huge belly squeeze ended, I whispered a prayer of thanks and asked God to help speed things up and thanked him for knowing and orchestrating the exactly right time for our fellow to come.  At this time I truly felt this laboring was going to last forever into the night.  The shower sped things up from six minutes between contractions to two minutes.  Dried and clothed, Sean helped me downstairs.  The kids were watching a movie, Annaliese was chasing around Addie and my friend's daughter and between contractions I could still talk.  It seemed like just minuted before things sped along more and there was no reprieve between contractions, Sean was rubbing my back, which hurt the most.  It was me and God in a hard place and total surrender to what He was doing.  I squatted and stood by the bed, then soon as felt pushy, told my midwife, who asked me to climb up on the bed.  That was the longest, hardest crawl of my life - baby coming and then there he was, arriving in less than a minute with no pushing or heaving on my part, just him coming on his own and passed between my legs, my heart so full of praise and thanks, kissing his wet head, loving him and loving this hard process that I had wondered how I'd be able to do again.
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The Christmas songs we've been singing have a whole new light this year as I whisper their words or hum along to pandora playing as we go about our days.  The virgin birthing in a stable.  The mess, the animals, the smells.  Her husband being apart from her uncleanliness according to Jewish law.  Wondering if a midwife from the city attended her or if she was all on her own, new to birthing, wishing for someone to rub and push on her back during contractions and then catching that wet, dark head of hair on her own, bringing him close to her chest and laughing, crying in sweet relief, pure worship.
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We've named our little fellow Benjamin David George Wilberforce and he is a lot littler than his name. At 7lbs 4 oz, he's our smallest baby. I've been asked countless times if birth ever loses its wonder or if the miracle shines a little duller with each family member's arrival.  I'm pretty certain the wonder never ceases.  I'm completely amazed at Benjamin and his being here.
 
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(A huge thank you to my midwife, Merideth Geers - owner of Family Tree Midwifery of CNY and seen above with her assistant and Benjamin.  If you are in central NY, I cannot recomment Merideth enough - she is fabulous.)

22 comments:

Momma Bug said...

Dear Hannah,
I weep with empathy, with joy, with the knowledge of my own tender state of emotion.
Your words resonate with my heart and the privilege of reading your story renews my courage, my inspiration, and my gratefulness to be allowed this privilege of motherhood - through birth once more, in this case.

Thank you friend, and congratulations on the addition of your sweet Benjamin to the clan!
I worship with you :-)

~Analene

Anonymous said...

I am so excited for you!!! Congratulations! Will definitely be praying that you have a fast and easy recovery!
Sarah

Lynn Dylan said...

Congrats, Hannah, on your newest, sweet little creation! You look lovely, as usual! xoxo Lynn (A Mother's Journal)

Michelle @ Give a Girl a Fig said...

He's beautiful...as are you. You look so peaceful and radiant for having just given birth!

Kiley said...

Congratulations to your beautiful family! I really enjoy watching your family grow and catching a glimpse into your lives.

I had similar thoughts just 8 weeks ago giving birth to our 5th little one (though not at home.) Talking with the Lord, praying with my husband, doing the hard work of labor, and questioning if I really could do it again. And I did. And it was magnificent. A miracle each time.

Blondee said...

I am in tears just reading of your amazing blessing. Congratulations, may Benjamin bring you much joy and wonder.

Cookin said...

Hannah-
Thank you for sharing this post. It is beautiful, just as childbirth should be. The feelings that reading this evoke are especially strong, as I am beginning to prepare myself for the effort of labor for my second time in May. I find myself particularly inspired by your story.
He's beautiful!

Olga said...

I am weeping and praying that i have the same strength of spirit that is glowing through the pictures and your words. Oh it's hard, hard indeed, but in your on words "done in the glory of God it is worship."
Benjamin is a beautiful name btw :)

Olivia said...

Congrats! CNY? We are in WNY. Batavia area. Enjoyed following this journey with you.

Olivia said...

Congratulations! Enjoyed sharing this journey with you. You are in CNY? We re in WNY Batavia are between Bflo and Roch.

Dawn said...

So happy for you all....

Laura said...

I wept as I read your story. God bless you all! He is so incredibly beautiful and looks just like your other wonderful children. I'm so sorry if you lack support and feel rejected. I don't understand how anyone could send you that message. I wish I could come clean your bathrooms or make supper!

Laura said...

I wept as I read your story. He is so incredibly beautiful and blessed to be born into your family. I'm sorry if you lack support and feel rejection. I don't know how anyone could send you that message. I wish I could come make supper or clean your bathrooms! God bless you all.

Alison said...

Beautiful, beautiful post, and welcome to your perfect baby Benjamin! So happy for you and your family. Lovely writing and thank you for sharing and the gorgeous pics. Enjoy this time.

Jennie said...

Thank u for sharing and encouraging! I only have 4 so far and wonder how to " do it all" so this was a special blessing to read. God used you and your story to encourage me today

Anonymous said...

congratulations! You are ever so inspiring ,amazing and brave!You are blessed with a beautiful family!

Heather@Cultivated Lives said...

I just love beautiful reminders like this of how beautiful {albeit intense} birth is.

Your story gives me hope too. My first hb was fast, furious and beautiful. My second was a challenge, although in hindsight beautiful and amazing too. This makes me excited about the hopeful prospect of another homebirth and another blessing for our family...

Anonymous said...

Oh Hannah thanks for sharing this story of Benjamin's birth. He looks so sweet and you look wonderful! Take care of yourself girl! Karen Harris

PS-Are those kefir grains still working for you? :)

Shelley Q said...

So beautiful! Thank you for sharing this intimate and tender experience. Praying right now for your recovery. Blessings!

Diane Estrella said...

You look more beautiful after each baby. God is giving you his heart and he will give you his strength to get through each day. He will provide exactly what you need. Love you and your family! :O)

Farrah said...

Thank you for sharing your beautiful story with your beautiful family. Congratulations and my God richly bless baby Benjamin. I pray that He shows you the path in which to guide His child. Blessings!

Amber said...

Welcome baby! I just wanted to address your thought about Mary and midwives. The Eastern Christian church has long had a tradition, depicted in icons of the Lord's nativity, of two midwives attending the birth. One is thought based on some early writings to be Salome. You can read more here (if you have a moment!): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nativity_of_Jesus_in_art#Byzantine_image