Monday was the first day of spring and the 9th anniversary of the first time I became a mom.
My first baby and only son was born right at 37 weeks—a little jaundiced, but otherwise perfectly healthy. My husband and I were 25 years old and still living somewhat of a fairy tale, just 2.5 years after we were married. Life was good.
I say “somewhat of a fairy tale” because it wasn’t the ideal of what most people want when bringing their first child into the world. We didn’t have a house (we didn’t even have a second bedroom!) and I was the one with a career while David was still in school working towards a degree in music.
At the time we decided to try and get pregnant we lived in a one bedroom apartment at a retirement community where we worked as night security in exchange for free rent. We were bogged down with student loan payments and in an effort to get “gazelle intense” on paying down our debt, a free apartment seemed like the perfect way to save! Little did we know that God had other plans for us there…
The day I went into labor I was sitting at a production studio editing a commercial with a small team from work. I still have notes from a notepad that day where I was calculating my contractions until they started to become closer and closer together. I didn’t say a word to anyone until I felt like I had to leave. I’m not nearly that shy anymore so it’s funny to me that I sat there in pain for most of the day and didn’t say a word to anyone!
Because I was only 37 weeks, the hospital staff thought I was in false labor until my water broke several hours after sitting in triage. We didn’t even finish childbirth classes so I was pretty clueless about how things would progress. The only thing I remember being firm about was that I didn’t want an epidural.
The time between when my water broke until I was dilated to 10 centimeters was a blur. Maybe it was the morphine they gave me because they said it would stop the contractions—so much for no drugs! The only reason I remember being dilated to 10 is because that was exactly when I changed my mind about the epidural. At that point though, it was too late. Shortly after that, I went on to deliver with a full room of staff, residents, parents and in-laws in the room. It was chaos compared to my water birth experience.
When Things Seem Unbearable
I never ended up getting an epidural with any of my other deliveries because I always remembered that first time when the pain got so unbearable—to the point where I didn’t think I could do it anymore— that meant that it was almost over.
I recently compared this to working on a large accomplishment. Isn’t that always the way? When you get to the point where you just can’t stand another minute of striving or physical exertion—it’s almost over! Just keep pushing because something beautiful is about to be born! In contrast, if your goals don’t stretch you to the point where you want to give up and throw in the towel at times, then maybe your goals aren’t big enough! We always have to give up something of value in order to gain something greater.
Those are my most vivid memories from that day 9 years ago, but my memory picks back up just 3 weeks after Lucas was born. It was then that our one bedroom apartment at the retirement community where we lived/worked caught on fire and everything we had was destroyed.
I wish I could say that I remembered holding Lucas for the first time or experiencing parenthood with my husband those first few hours, but all that is gone now. I do have a bunch of snapshots of him all throughout those first few weeks, and I vividly remember looking at him and really believing that he was the cutest baby in the world.
You know the nesting phase you go through right before you have a baby? Collecting everything you need and making sure everything’s just right? It’s amazing how quickly the things that we create can vanish.
I had been given several baby showers and we were stocked to the brim with diapers. Everything I registered for was gender neutral because I knew we wanted more children—my plan was to have all of those items for a very long time.
What Happens When You Lose Everything?
While the fire was a huge set-back for us because of complications with insurance claims and ultimately not receiving any compensation, we had a HUGE opportunity to see God move and provide for our needs. News got out about the fire and employees from all over the company I worked for donated money and gift cards to help us get back on our feet. Family and friends took us in and gave us furniture and clothing. The local community donated money and material items to all of the residents involved in the fire. Even though we suffered a big loss during a time of big adjustments, I wouldn’t trade that experience for the world. Being on the receiving end of so many gifts is completely humbling and incredibly inspiring. I will never again hesitate to chip in—even in the smallest way—when I see someone in need. One meal from a friend, one jacket from a stranger, one lamp… It all adds up and can truly make all the difference! It certainly did for us. We were able to pick-up the pieces and over time make a new home for our little family.
Photo credits: Amy Meredith
My prayer for YOU Lucas David is that no matter how many times you get knocked down—you stand up, dust off and trust God with your future. You are physically and emotionally strong just like your Dad. Praise God for these strengths, but don’t ever be afraid to ask for help. You have been given the double charge of not only being the oldest child, but also being the big brother to 3 sisters! May they always love and trust you the way that they do now. I am so grateful to be your mom and feel incredibly blessed to have a son! Remember—we are not called to “things” we are called to glorify God. Keep your eyes on things above—they will never vanish and your path will be made straight.
This post may contain referral links for your convenience. For more information, please see my disclosure page. Thanks!