And keep my eyes above the waves…
(Baby Kate’s Birth Story)
During my labor my water was broken early. The doctor said based on my last labor that we could probably expect a baby by two or 4 PM.
It was 9 AM.
So the contractions, pitocin-induced, began. They grew in intensity and duration. I watched them on the monitor. They had placed in me a microchip that allowed them to monitor with complete accuracy the contractions as they came and went.
So I watched them: rising to a peak my tightness growing, discomfort and pain increasing slightly with each hour. I watch the monitor– those peaks and valleys, those electronic waves. I watched waiting for the crest that would tell me my pain would begin to diminish in a few seconds.
And the nurse checked me again and again hour after hour. The boredom turned anxiety as progress became slowed to a halt.
I asked her, “since you broke my waters what happens if I don’t dilate?”
She looked at me with the same concern that she had looked at me after my last two “checks”. “We’ll just wait and cross that bridge when we get there.”
Something in her eyes told me she thought we would get there.
A flood of self-doubt, guilt, condemnation, and fear overtook me. Had I induced too soon? Should I have waited for her to come naturally? Was I less far along than I thought?
Did I tell them the wrong date of last cycle on purpose at the beginning? I couldn’t remember clearly now.
Was my selfishness with wanting pregnancy to be over going to harm my baby?
“Don’t rush the seasons.” … God had said to me only days before. Were the consequences of my impatience crashing in upon me? Had I “awakened love before it’s time”, before my time, Kate’s time had come?
My mind was a storm amidst this electric ocean. I watched praying that God would forgive me. Praying that he would save me. Praying that he would deliver me and my baby girl.
I played the song Oceans over and over. I tried to imagine the scene of Jesus on the water and me stepping off the boat, waves of contractions of pain and fear all around. I tried to keep my eyes on his mercy and love. Tried to keep my eyes on his faithfulness even when we are unfaithful. The lyrics washed over me.
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders. Let me walk upon the waters wherever you would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander. And my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my savior.
And so I stayed in his presence. I asked for prayer from friends and family. I had my husband and mom my hands on me and pray.
Again I listened.
You call me out upon the waters were feet may fail.
I saw myself as in a vision, I was clothed in an almost translucent pale dress. The pieces of the skirt blown behind me by the winds all around. My hair was long and red, blowing behind also. My arm is outstretched as I took slow confident steps toward where I reached.
Forward. Forward. Onward. Losing sight of the storm all around with each step, and then my hand fell into His.
“His right hand embraced me (SOS 2:6)” and we began dancing on a sea of glass (Re 15:2) as I gazed into his eyes – steady, passionate fire.
And I thought to myself, even from this moment – hours before she’s born, motherhood is a storm of fear and uncertainty at times.
“Your sovereign hand will be my guide.”
Only gazing at his face. Only reaching for his grace turned the stormy waters into a sea of glass. The steps of mothering into a beautiful dance.
“You’ve never failed. And You won’t start now.”
A memory of how he had let me this Shepherd and overseer of my soul (1 Pet 2:25). I always think back to that moment in the jail cell where I would spend a year of my life. That moment on a gym mat in the tent made by a single scratchy blanket pulled over my head to shield all the onlookers from seeing my uncontrollable sobs.
He was there. He came into that makeshift tabernacle. He had never left. And he never would. From then to now, he has led me.
And now he has blessed me with the greatest gift. He has poured out his unmerited faith in me. His faith that I would lean. Faith that in all of the difficult moments of wilderness, I would come out leaning on my beloved.
And so I leaned as the waves of contractions grew in strength I called to this Faithful One. In a short time after i had recruited prayer, after I had begun to pray, worship, and meditate on Him, my body began to react swiftly.
Strong nausea overtook me suddenly. The pain grew to such strength that I felt like my eyes are going to burst. The nurse updated me with my quick progress moment by moment. Now six. Now 7 1/2. Now nine. And then the miracle of this crescendo happened at 8:04 PM with fewer than five pushes.
She was here! And it was okay because He was here too. The waves on the monitor had stopped, but the storm on the waters of life wouldn’t. The waves would rise and fall, pain and peace, heartache and joy. But always, we must keep our eyes above the waves.
Though my sorrow be taken from me, yet will I sing, yet will I praise you. Though the joy taken from me. Yet will I laugh. Yet will I shout unto You. Though the light be hidden from me, yet will I walk, yet will I run after you. THough my heart be slain within me, yet will I trust, yet will I follow You. -Audra Lynn, Yet Will I Sing
I will call upon your name. Keep my eyes above the waves. My soul will rest in your embrace. I am yours and you are mine.
I am my beloved and he is mine.