The morning of Nelson Aaron’s birth started out like most days this pregnancy, with a hot cup of tea and a sunrise walk. I’d spent many early mornings out walking and praying for this baby: his heart and mind, his hands and feet, his future and his faith. But on this particular day, December 19th, I felt like being quiet, like I had prayed through every detail already, and now it was time to wait and see how things would unfold. All I prayed was, “Please, please, please God, show your favor on us.”
I had contractions on and off through the morning and early afternoon while I ran errands and fed the kids lunch, but couldn’t figure out if I was really in labor or not. I wasn’t due for three more days and our other babies all held out till 41 weeks. The last thing I expected was an early baby. But by 3pm, I was pretty sure my contractions were real. Adam was practically begging me to call the midwives (with Autumn I waited too long and the midwives almost missed the birth), so I did, and his parents came to pick up the kids. Once the house was quiet, Adam went to work getting out the birth kit while I walked around the house. I slowly straightened each child’s bed and remembered each birth story, pictured each little face. I thought about the midwives, driving down from Gainesville, and Adam’s sister Aron (also a midwife), driving to our house from across town. Soon the house would be filled with people to help me have this baby. But no one could do it for me. I took a very deep breath. I walked over to the baby’s bed and looked at his tiny newborn diapers. I closed my eyes and thought about that moment—please God let it be soon!—when I would first hold this baby in my arms.
A little after 4pm, the midwives arrived and told me I was 7-8cm. At 5:30 or so, my contractions really picked up. Through each one I stood and leaned against Adam. I knew we were getting close. All of a sudden my water broke and I got down on my knees next to the bed (the easiest position for birth, in my opinion) and in one long push, at 6:02pm, our baby was out and in my arms! He cried right away, and so did I. Every little anxiety, every worry that had crossed my mind sometime during the past nine months dissolved the instant I pressed him up against my neck. Total bliss. We named him Nelson Aaron, Nelson after my oldest brother, and Aaron after Adam’s older sister, two of our very favorite people.
Later that night, after the midwives had gone home and we’d called our parents and texted our friends, after we’d shared a fancy bottle of wine with Aron and her husband Ryan, after we’d studied little Nelson’s every feature and taken a ridiculous amount of pictures, Adam and I climbed into bed. He and Nellie were both sound asleep immediately, but I lay there awake for a long time, floating on the natural birth high, willing myself to remember every little detail of the day.
It’s been a few weeks since our Nellie was born, weeks full of newborn cuddles and kisses, but also sleep deprivation, my usual breastfeeding struggles, a few hospital trips to check for jaundice (including one on Christmas Eve), and meltdowns from the other kids as they adjust to our new normal as a family of seven. Regular life isn’t easy. We pray for things and so often God seems quiet. Sometimes He flat out says no. We open the Bible and it tells us to expect suffering and embrace our trials. But then there are other times, times when we ask God for something—maybe even a big something!—and out of His extravagant goodness, He gives it to us. And this is where I want to live: camped out on my answered prayers, filled with gratitude, always remembering what God has done for me.
On the day of little Nelson’s birth God said yes and yes and yes to us, and I’m going to treasure it forever.
“How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Everything he does reveals his glory and majesty. His righteousness never fails. He causes us to remember his wonderful works. How gracious and merciful is our Lord!” – Psalm 111:1-4