I thought my third birth story would be a piece of cake. Afterall, I was experienced, having given birth two times before. How different could it be?
I should have considered that the child within was significantly bigger than the previous babies.
I should have thought about what the stress of moving five months pregnant may have had on the birth.
I should have had the clarity to realize that every birth was unique.
After 20 hours of labor and the phrase, “lack of oxygen to the brain,” we had an emergency C-section. I have never known sheer terror like that. I have never known fear beyond reason. I have never gone into such a deep chasm of fear where I met God and said in the most sincere prayer of my life, “Take me. Take me. Please take me. Save him. Make him ok. Take me instead.”
Jackson was born. He was fine. He was big. But he was fine.
Today he is seven.
I struggled for a long time after his birth with that experience of fear and that conversation with God. I can go back to that traumatic moment like it was seven seconds ago. Yes, there is something about the frailty of life and the cliché to never take today for granted. But there is something more.
Gratitude is the response to fear.
Gratitude that today all is well.
Gratitude for moments that bring us to our knees and show us what we are made of.
Gratitude that in our darkest moment, there is a Presence, waiting for us there.
I would like to go back and nurse and hold my sweet baby boy, one more time. There are no more babies in my house.
Instead, this morning, I will creep upstairs and find a big boy, sprawled out on his bed, surrounded by stuffed animals and Captain Underwear Books, and Lego’s and I will put my arms around him and kiss his cheek and whisper, “Happy Birthday.”