We named our son “Judah”, in part, because it means “Praise God”. As I contemplated his life pre-birth, I found my heart reverting to that theme for his little life. The Lord spoke to me and to my wife, together and independently, and assured us that Judah’s life will bring the Lord much praise. I want the anthems of Jesus to resound through every little thing this boy ever does and says.
His entrance into this world is already meeting that desire. Last Wednesday, March 2nd, I came home from work feeling pretty odd. The pollen count was very high that day so I assumed I was facing another sinus infection (which I get like clock work). At 1 or 2 Thursday morning I had a super high fever and horrible body aches – which hammered away at me for four straight days. I cannot ever remember being that sick before. The couch soon felt like a bed of nails as I writhed back and forth in agony. Some masochistic phantom held a spike to the backs of my eyes and pounded it relentlessly with a sledge hammer. I drowned myself in fluids and DayQuil until I was worried that my liver was going to shut down.
We contacted the midwife and asked her what would happen if Gina went into labor. She said that I would have to be quarantined from the baby until my fever had been gone for 24 hours. That really devastated me. Gina was a little defeated by it, but she held strong as she took care of me, herself, and our little one. We asked family and friends to pray hard for us, and they did. Sunday morning Gina went to church and worshipped to “Good Good Father”. As she sang, “You are perfect in all of Your ways…” the Lord whispered to her that His ways included my flu. She came home and shared that with me and we thanked the Lord together for giving us this chance to express our faith in Him.
That afternoon my fever lifted and my body was finally given a break. But at 3 AM on Monday morning the 7th, Gina woke me up and said, “It’s time.” The Lord broke the fever, but did not give me a chance to recuperate. He said to me, “I am your strength.” With Him as my witness I can honestly say that not only did I lack any physical strength of my own then, I was depleted of energy and strength. My body was frail and shaking and exhausted. I hurriedly began eating as much as I could stand while I began preparing the house.
You see, very early in our pregnancy the Lord directed us to have a natural home birth. We’ve been so excited about it for so long now. I had a list of responsibilities to handle before, during, and after. I had a list of activities, music, and readings to get us through the long early first stage labor. When Gina started labor she went straight to active first stage labor and skipped everything before that. So it was right to work for her with no easy contractions. I began racing the clock to get things prepared. Our gracious neighbor took the dogs to the kennel at 7 AM and I began setting up the birth pool in our living room. I called in the midwives earlier that I would have normally because I simply needed the help.
By 11 AM Gina was ready to push. She was in the pool when she slipped quietly through transition and into the real work. We happily expected an hour or so of pushing, and it couldn’t come any sooner for me. I felt like a ghost of myself with no sense of time, and somewhat floating through the experience. FIVE hours later a wet glob of dark hair made its crowning appearance. Gina was standing next to the bed in a lunge stance, and I was behind her holding her in place. When she made up her mind to start the last pushes, she bore down, gripped my legs and went for it. During what seemed like an eternity I stood there strained against all my might to give her an opposite leverage to work against. My back started seizing up and I felt like I was going to collapse. It was that point in the movie when the hero can’t go on any longer and he is on the verge of defeat and the enemy is about to deliver the fatal blow when suddenly – splash! The midwife lifted the slippery little cone head up to my wife’s breast and gave a cheer of joy. Judah opened his eyes immediately and looked all around, no doubt wondering where he had just been teleported to.
And then my pain and weariness were gone. Joy filled my heart. Relief flooded my soul. Astonishment whipped through my mind. The Lord had carried us through. Judah was perfectly healthy (a whopping 9.3 lbs!). His cries melted our hearts and bonded us together in that moment like nothing else had before.
The Lord is so very good. He orchestrated the beginning of this boy’s life to bring Himself praise. The entire thing was done in the strength of the Lord and to His glory. We can say definitively that He caused every part of this to happen as it did, and that we did nothing in our own strength.
I am still leaning heavily on Him now. My body is not yet recovered. Gina obviously is not yet either, but we are worshipping the Lord and loving the experience of our firstborn.