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Friday, July 3, 2015

My Baby Canyon Is Born

My little prince is born.

I have a new best buddy and we are spending a lot of time together.  It took some work getting him here, but as you can imagine, it was certainly worth it.

This pregnancy was different then any of the others. 

First of all, at the age of 42 I had many concerns about my health and the baby’s.  Turns out I had a perfect pregnancy and a perfect baby, so those concerns were unmerited.  Still, I gained many wrinkle lines and gray hairs because I choose to worry instead of have faith.

Second, I was so shocked to be having a 5th son, it took some time adjusting.  In a sense, I had to say goodbye to the baby girl I’d met in my mind and reintroduce myself to a little boy.  Once I was used to the idea, I was fine.  Actually, I was more than fine.  Wrapping my mind around five sons, I mean WOW! 

Third, my energy went from feeling overwhelmed and burdened (you can read about that post here) to one of gratitude.  Once I met Canyon, I felt honored, truly humbled he choose me to be his mother. 

My experience in delivering Canyon is one I’ll never forget. 

When you’re pregnant, you think your due date will never arrive.  You watch other pregnant woman have their babies and you’re certain you will be pregnant FOREVER!  Looking back now, I can see how the weeks flew by, but at the time I thought I’d be huge and uncomfortable with swollen ankles and nausea for who knew how long? 

But, at 38 weeks I went into labor all on my own.  This is uncommon for me.  Usually I am induced near my due date, but thanks to a nice foot massage the day before, I think I got a break.  The counselor and I arrived at the hospital on May 6th at 2:00am.  I was dilated to a 3 and having regular contractions.  The contractions were strong; strong enough to scare me.  Normally, when I’m induced I have the baby in a hurry.  I was certain each contraction was pushing just as fast.  I started to panic a bit and my breathing became irregular as I moaned and cried through the pain.  After a couple hours of this, the counselor went out to use the restroom and get himself a drink.  For the first time since we’d arrived at the hospital, I was all alone.  No husband or nurse in sight.  Another contraction came and I started to cry.  It was difficult to breathe when I realized no one was there to comfort me.  No one was there to tell me everything was going to be alright.  Crying and panting alone in that hospital room, I realized how ridiculous I was acting.  This wasn’t what I wanted at all.  After a little internal pep talk, I stopped acting out and kept my emotions inside.  This was a very important transition for me as I started using my mind to manage the pain. 

By 6am I was dilated to a 6 so they went ahead and admitted me.  The nurse put an IV incorrectly in my hand and spilled blood all over the floor, but there was more coming so I couldn’t worry too much about that.  Besides, I was too caught up in my mind of controlled breathing and pain management.  What was amazing is I was really in a good place.  As each contraction came I felt myself getting stronger.  Sure, I was still scared but I knew I could do it.  “I’ve got this,” I said to myself through the pain.  “My body is working perfect, exactly how it was designed,” I said.  “What a privilege to have this beautiful baby,” and so I continued with positive self talk until finally at 10:00am and dilated to a 7 I received my epidural. 

My mom and sister Becky arrived and along with the counselor, I had my glorious birth team.  They were all smiles and radiated such love.  This was really it.  That highly-desired due date I thought would never come was really here.  Maybe I could handle being pregnant a bit longer, but no, I really had to do this.  I had to push this baby out.  No one was going to do it for me. The epidural took, but an hour after receiving it my contractions stopped.  At noon my doctor came into check on me and broke my water.  Add a little pitocin and those contractions started up just lovely again.  Problem was, the epidural decided to check out.  Not literally, I was still hooked up to it but no longer was the medicine helping ease the pain of each contraction.  Unfortunately this is also common for me.  I’m not sure about my body, but I don’t do pain medication very well.  Out of six pregnancies the epidural had only worked once and that was when I gave birth to Eden!!!

So, it was back to the internal pep talk.  “I’ve got this,” I said again through the pain.  “Each contraction is a blessing,” and I really believed it.  I knew this was how it had to be.  I could be weak or I could be strong.  My mom sat in her chair next to me and out of my peripheral vision I could see her praying.  She mouthed the words of each plea to God.  I knew she was praying with all the faith of her heart for me and my unborn son.  Becky stayed close, holding my hand and running her fingers through my hair.  Her touch gave me so much strength when I had an idea.  “Can you turn on some music,” I asked the counselor.  He brought his iphone and started playing my favorite song Overwhelmed.  Written by Big Daddy Weave, this song has literally been my fight song this year.  What started out as a negative word, I decided OVERWHELMED would be my word of the year. 

I’d never used the word overwhelmed much until I found out I was pregnant with my 6th child. I’ve always been a very positive person.  People would ask “How are you doing,” but now instead of saying the expected word “fine” or “great” I would blow out a sigh of exasperation and say “I’m overwhelmed.”  I felt burdened, discouraged, heavy!  I received a lot of encouragement, but after a while I realized how negative I sounded.  Overwhelmed?  Me?  With all my blessings?  That’s when I heard the song Overwhelmed on K-Love radio.  I asked the Lord to help me focus more on my overwhelming blessings.  HE did.  I started to play the song Overwhelmed to help me focus on my new positive attitude. 

So, when the song Overwhelmed began to play in that hospital room it was my scripture.  I knew every word and every word became alive to me.  The strength from praising God, from the mantra of that song lifted me.  Becky and I cried, holding each other and there was a moment when she looked at me with such love I could feel her energy carry me.  I knew I’d known my sister for eons of time and she would be my sister for eternity.  Her love was so pure, if she could take away my pain and take it on as her own she would do it.

It had been nearly twelve hours since I’d arrived at the hospital. There was little I could do about the pain now.  I couldn’t keep it inside my mind anymore.  I began to shiver uncontrollably and needed oxygen because I wasn’t getting enough air.  In a weak voice, I spoke out loud “I’ve got this.”  “I was made to do this.”  “I love you, Jesus.”  Yes, it was like a regular church service in that room near the end.  Christian songs playing, me shouting out praises to Jesus, my mom with her reverent prayers became more vocal “Lord, Jesus, help this girl!” 

The pressure of the baby coming was too much.  The pain was too much and I began to doubt myself.  Negative self-talk crept into my mind.  What had I gotten myself into?  Could I escape?  Where could I run?  All I could do was turn back to my Savior.  I envisioned Him in my mind when I saw a beautiful green light.  The light started out small and began filling my mind when I saw my Savior carrying a baby.  He was coming towards me.  He was bringing me my baby.  He was holding my son.  The love for my child became my focus.  I loved my baby.  I wanted him.  He was mine and I was his.

At 2:00pm the doctor came back into the room to check on me.  I heard the nurse say two things you never want to hear your nurse say when you’re having a baby.  First, she said “That is a big baby in there.”  Um, please keep that to yourself and second, “The baby hasn’t dropped yet.”  Great!  Then why was I feeling so much pressure and like I needed to push?

Well, that’s why they pay doctors the big bucks.  My doctor told me to start pushing through my next contraction.  I had to do it.  This was my marathon.  This was my moment to be the athlete I knew I was.  I was strong enough.  I remembered my sister-in-law Monique and how she’d had her baby Clementine naturally with no medication.  Even though it wasn’t my choice to have no medication, this was my reality.  I thought of Becky; how strong she'd been when she had her first son Austin.  I thought of my own mother; how she'd made the sacrifice to have me.  I thought of woman long ago who didn't have hospitals or doctors to help them.  I thought of women today in countries that don't have medical care for pregnant women.  I felt the honor, purpose and power of motherhood.  This was what my body was made for.  If I pushed as hard as I could, it would be over soon.  Pushing was the last hurtle.

And pushed I did.  At 2:30pm I had my beautiful 8 pound 10 ounce little boy.  The doctor laid him on my chest and I marveled in my prize.  He looked like he'd worked just about as hard as I did to get here.  Better than any gold medal and worth more to me than any earthly possession – my little Canyon Samuel was here.

I named him Canyon because in many ways I had to travel through my own canyon of emotional, spiritual and physical growth to get him here.  “Through the valley” as the scriptures say.  Canyon also means “beautiful, diverse, far-reaching, out-stretched.”  

Canyon is now 2 months old.  I’m getting a little sleep here and there, but I am always excited when he wakes up.  I love holding my little boyfriend.  We kiss and hug and snuggle every chance we get and I ask myself “How did I ever live without him?”