Two weeks ago this very night I was standing next to a hospital bed, peering at the chubby-cheeked, puffy-eyed, quiet little one nestled on my daughter’s chest, skin to skin. He opened and shut his hand slowly, his eyes locked on hers as if to say, “There you are, sweet mom who has been carrying me. I wondered what you looked like. I love you.”
The entire weekend opened the old memory boxes in my mind from 1990 when I had my first baby, Kimberly. How surreal to be the ones waiting from across the room (Nathanael’s mom, Maureen, and I), the ones not feeling the contractions but watching with rapt attention each one being drawn out in jaggedy rising and falling lines on the screen over Kimmi’s bed. How truly wonderful to sit and ponder the miracle of life, of a woman carrying a living child, of the baby’s journey from that warm, safe haven out into the world.
We already knew the baby was a boy, and his name was Ezra. The sound of his heartbeat swished along all day on the monitor, our constant companion and reminder there was a little one involved in this labor whom we couldn’t see yet but was absolutely real and alive and amazing. Psalm 139 played over and over in my head:
“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.
How precious are your thoughts about me, O God…”
During the early part of the day and into early afternoon, our time was spent visiting and laughing with Nathanael and Kimmi, as the epidural had done its work and the contractions swelled along without bothering her much. But as evening approached, I noticed Kimmi getting really quiet and realized she was feeling them. The medicine wasn’t masking the pain as much anymore and so the labor became true to its name.
Sitting across the room, remembering how those contractions feel, I was aching for it to be over for her. Of course, I was helpless to make the pain go away or make things progress any more quickly. It was all part of the process. She didn’t speak much, only what was really necessary. Ezra’s heartbeat kept swishing away, the sun went down and the lights were dim. Nathanael sat on a rolling stool by Kimmi’s bed, holding her hand, sometimes bending down to kiss her cheek, quietly watching the contractions and baby’s heart rate on the monitor.
That image of the two of them in those hours is imprinted in my memory. I saw Kimmi’s husband being her comfort, strength, and more. They are becoming a family, these three, I thought to myself. There were many times when I got to comfort young Kimmi, watch over her, be there for her, and so forth, but now she will more often turn to Nathanael and they will figure things out together. As it should be.
It’s a new chapter of their lives and in ours. Life keeps moving through seasons, bringing change upon change, and we’d do best to roll with it and accept things as they come. Though I’m still a mom, now I’m also a grandma! And, oh my goodness, how I love that little baby boy. As I pray for Ezra and his mom and dad, I will keep trusting God to watch over all three of them as He always has. I get to love on them and watch from my place, but God will lead them and write the story of their sweet family for them.
And that is as it should be.