NOTE - This is a blog post that I started writing when my wife and I were at the hospital this past August waiting for our daughter to be born. I started working on this post on Friday, 8/5/2016 at 12:07pm and my daughter was born at 4:13pm that same day. It's been sort of a crazy & a tiring ride ever since her birth so I've forgotten to make my final edits and post this thing. I was a bit hesitant about posting it since it has very little to do with the overall theme of my blog but you know what? This is by far the most significant experience I went through in 2016 and I think it's only right that I post this. Plus, I want to honor & give mad props to my wife for the absolutely amazing work she did in bringing our daughter into this world. Love you.
My beautiful, strong, and courage wife recently gave birth to our beautiful daughter. It was an incredibly difficult labor and delivery for her and at some point during her labor I knew that I had to starting writing about this experience (FWIW, I started writing this blog post roughly 34 hours after arriving at the hospital). My wife started having intense semi-regular contractions sometime on Monday (8/1) and by the time we arrived at the hospital on Thursday (8/4) at 2:15AM her contractions were regular at about 5 minutes or so apart. She labored at the hospital for 37 insanely long hours and pushed for about an hour and fifteen minutes and came out our perfectly beautiful daughter!
Anyhow, these are some thoughts that have been running through my mind ever since arriving at the hospital. There are going to be a bit random and not so very orderly.
Labor & delivery is TOUGH TOUGH work
No one should ever downplay the work it takes to labor and deliver. It is physically, mentally, and emotionally draining and it utterly and completely consumes an individual. Being that I'm a man, I cannot quite possibly understand the full extent to which just how difficult labor and delivery is. After having been on the sidelines for two births now, I have a TON of appreciation.
Labor and delivery is an experience that can be so full of needless guilt and shame for mothers
It was so easy for my wife to start blaming herself when her contractions weren't regular enough. When her contractions weren't strong enough. When her cervix wasn't dilated enough. When her labor wasn't progressing towards delivery fast enough in her mind. She took these things really hard and blamed her body for not cooperating as well as she would like. She fought tirelessly through literally hundreds of painful contractions and yet she was really prone to blaming herself. I can only guess that a lot of women go through similar feelings and experiences during childbirth.
It is a very good thing that my wife (rather than myself) is the one who is pregnant
This may sound like an odd, maybe even an insulting statement. I can't possibly imagine that I can go through what my wife went through and make it out okay in the end. I honestly can't. My wife had a labor & delivery experience that was just as difficult and traumatizing with our firstborn two years ago. There is absolutely ZERO way that anyone could pay me enough money to go through even a remotely possible experience for the second time. She went through the ordeal as well as I can possibly imagine and I am so incredibly proud of her for that.
The staff at this hospital has been amazing
In particular, the three midwives who worked with us were incredible and I don't know how we could've made it through without their guidance, support, and help. They always seemed to know just the right thing to say and do to provide comfort, guidance, and encouragement for me and my wife. Even when they had difficult and unpleasant updates to share with us, they spoke truth in love and they were so sensitive to my wife's (and my) needs. What an incredible and underappreciated occupation midwifery is. I'm going to make sure that when my daughter is old enough, she understands what midwives do and how incredibly helpful their work can be to mothers and fathers who might be going through one of the most stressful and difficult moments in their lives.
The work I do in my career is sort of meaningless compared to the work that a lot of people at the hospital do
I really enjoy my job. I've written a lot of code that's helped various companies run their businesses and make more money. I have (hopefully) had some positive impacts on people I've worked with and managed and have helped people become better at doing their job. I'm super thankful to be able to do what I enjoy doing and to earn a very comfortable living. While I certainly don't mean to suggest that programming is meaningless and that every single person who is a doctor, nurse, midwife, etc. should be glorified and put on a pedestal, when I compare the impact that many of the staff at the Northshore Hospital had on me and wife in the last few days Vs. the impact that I've made in my career in almost 20 years... well, I think there's a clear winner in my humble opinion. As a Christian, I firmly believe that God has called me to glorify and honor him in my career. I am called to excel at my job. I am called to be a witness for Jesus amongst people I come in contact with in my career by loving them, showing them grace and mercy, and by being a "Jesus in disguise" (I know it's cheesy but I like how accurately descriptive that phrase is). I think that many of the staff at this hospital has been that to me and wife these past few days. I need to think long and hard about how I can further the work that Jesus calls us to accomplish in the world at the office. No, I'm not going to decide tomorrow that I'm going to change my career and become a nurse but I do need to prayerfully consider how I can make the kinds of impacts that God calls me to make during my time at the office.
New human life is a miraculous thing
It blows my mind that 2 cells--one cell that's about the size of a tiny grain of sand and another cell that's too small to be even visible with the naked eye--join together, form a fetus and the fetus grows inside of a liquid-filled bag for roughly 40 weeks, comes out of a woman's body in a totally helpless state, and has the power to bring about so much joy, pain, laughter, tears, even change the world. It's really crazy. As I'm typing this bullet point (Friday, 8/5 at 1:30p), I can't even begin to describe the joy I will feel when I hold my daughter in my arms for the first time. I will thank my wife and my God from the very depths of my heart and soul the very moment that happens.