To read from the beginning of this memoir click here: Part 1
Full Term at the Clinic
The 9th month of pregnancy, after I had sent the letter, I continued waddling down to the clinic feeling so raw and vulnerable. It was especially hard to be there at the end of the day when the women were leaving after abortion. I purposely held my heart sign up and over my swollen abdomen. I wasn’t there to shame them after it was too late to change their mind.
Many of the women leaving the clinic took the post abortion recovery information that I offered.
A neighbor lady out for a walk stopped to talk with me and after learning I was due any day she gave me her number just in case I went into labor or had an emergency.
Waving goodbye to the clinic workers at the end of the day would make me cry now. Our society with its pro-abortion laws and views had thrown even them under the bus. Someone had to carry out the act of abortion since it was legal, right? Those who believed in the woman’s right to choose had translated that belief into the woman’s right to be assisted by someone else acting the choice out for her. They chose to shoulder the grim task. Abortion has so many victims.
During my last OB visit, on my estimated due date, they measured by ultrasound there the overabundance of amniotic fluid. My baby was healthy and so was I so there was no reason to rush induction.
I asked Dr. Rinzler how big she thought my baby would be as I proclaimed,
“I think he’s huge and I’m not scared!”
Dr. Rinzler thought he would be around 8-9lbs at the most, mentioning the large amount of fluid as a factor in my measuring big. She asked me to pick an induction day should I go further overdue, but I couldn’t decide, instead I asked her make a decision for me. She set the appointment for the following Wednesday morning when she would be starting her weekly shift at the hospital. That would put me a little over a week overdue. I agreed, not knowing we would soon be making a different decision.
The rest of the week went by so slowly, as any mother who has ever gone overdue could tell you. Sooooo Sloooowlyyy. I was eager to meet this precious boy, whose name I was keeping a secret from almost everyone.
I made my way to the clinic on Friday afternoon that week, tired and sore knowing this would most likely be the last time in prayer there for a long time. I wondered how my upcoming labor would be. It seemed surreal that I had stood at a place where babies were terminated for the entire length of a terminate-able pregnancy.
I was wondering how could my child live while so many others had died? How would my labor go? My four previous deliveries had been smooth and complication free.
“What is this picture you are painting Lord?” I asked.
I was committed to pray with all my heart right through my labor for God to grant my request that the Lord would give birth to something big and beautiful here at 320, that healing and life would pour from this place.
As I surrendered my body in labor, a vessel that love and life could flow through, I vowed to pray for the doctor’s conversion.
Inspired by the story of the persistent widow, I believed God could do this mighty act. I expected Him to honor the thousands of prayers offered up by all of his people on behalf of this place. Before I waddled away that day a clinic worker mouthed something kind as she left the drive. I didn’t want to leave a single one of them behind, but now I had to. I would soon literally be a few blocks up the street at the hospital, giving birth to my son.
Sunday morning came and by afternoon I had a really bad headache and spotty vision. I ate a big meal, then I went to bed for a long nap. When I woke up I felt even worse. My headache was excruciating. I made a call to my OB and they said to head on in to the hospital to be checked out. Isaac and Lily were all set with Kaitlin and Olivia to look after them. My hospital bags were packed and waiting in the back of the van. I grabbed the camera and a few other last minute items and off we went.
I remember cheerfully asking Steve, “Can we really have this baby? Is that even possible?! Is it time?!”
The tests were run; the doctor determined that the symptoms I experienced were due to a drop in my blood pressure caused by eating a late lunch. I was then invited to stay or leave.
I chose to stay. Induction wasn’t on my wish list for the perfect labor, but at one week overdue I made the tough decision. After weighing the pros and cons, I gave myself permission to seek help in laboring to bring forth this baby. I was stuffing back doubts that nagged at me. Maybe I was making the wrong choice? Maybe all he needed was a little more time?
Inducing felt like a failure on my part, a lack of faith in my body to do what it needed to do without interventions.
But I couldn’t shake the thought that this was time – that the baby was in danger if he stayed in any longer. It wasn’t a fear based choice, or a failure. This son of mine was floating high up in an unusually large amount of amniotic fluid. I was measuring over 5 weeks ahead compared to previous pregnancies. That spotty vision had happened at least three times in the last month. This baby was pulling from me in a huge way. My body was as ready as it had ever been heading into induction, dilated to 2 and 70% effaced and I had always responded well to Pitocin.
I grieved the losses quickly. I wouldn’t be able to labor in the tub. I would have to be connected to an IV which would restrict my comfort and movement. Then the upside, I was already at risk for postpartum hemorrhage so having the Pitocin and IV could be helpful after delivery. I could still follow my plan of a drug free delivery even if the Pitocin made it more painful.
After I made the decision, everything felt surreal.
This child who had come into being through tears and dreams, had journeyed with me through worship and sacrifice. We had stormed the gates of heaven together on a sidewalk facing tornado warnings, negative degree temps, threats of violence and hostility. We had been embraced by many strangers, held up in prayer by brothers and sisters in Christ, who ministered encouragement to us in that place.
We had been been swept up in an overwhelming love story. My baby and I had stood in a place to testify to that truth and it had washed over us.
My heart longed to hold in my hands the hope I had held in my heart, to lay eyes on the gift the Lord had knit together in love for our family. Yet, I knew the most painfully beautiful challenge was ahead for us both.
Giving birth for me. Being born for him.
We called my mom who would be a support person alongside Steve and my sister Christine who would document with photos and video. I let them know they didn’t need to come until labor was at least started.
I began with giddy enthusiasm to do my part to make this labor a success.
I was so full of joy and peace. I asked for a light meal before I got started and they brought me a salad with yogurt. After eating it, we were on our way to a labor and delivery room we would be in for quite a long and surprising labor.
To be continued …