Friday, May 17, 2013

Abram's Birth Story

Abram Graham came to us on a Tuesday night, slipping into the last hours of April & taking us fully by surprise as he had done my entire pregnancy. Sometime a few months  after Abi Kate's birth and arrival, Tommy and I began talking about adding to our family again, feeling certain that the Lord had laid His desire on our hearts for our family. We conceived immediately, shortly after Abi Kate's first birthday. Our pregnancy was met with excitement and rejoicing, anticipation that we'd been blessed to carry and usher new life into our arms again. But that season of happiness and growth in our family was punctuated by a very unexpected miscarriage at the end of our first trimester. To say it was a dark time for us is putting it lightly. Lots of tears were shed, late night conversations were common as we worked through hard questions and learned to embrace God's sovereignty in the face of suffering. We were sure we had not misunderstood His call on our life to grow our family, so we pressed forward praying hard and specifically that God  would give us children that would share not just our hearts but also our home. Sure enough, after a few days of pregnancy symptoms in August, we took a test and laughter mixed with grateful tears when it confirmed "Pregnant."

The better part of my pregnancy with Abram was layered with fear-- fear of once again seeing a still heart where a fluttering should be, fear of hearing that we'd lost yet another baby, fear that my body was no longer capable of sustaining life. As a result, the majority of my pregnancy was spent wrestling with God, surrendering the control I so desperately craved only to find myself picking it back up again, feeling that if I could just hold on tight enough I could keep the bad things at bay. The further I progressed in our pregnancy, the more my thoughts and doubts came under submission, the practice of putting faith before fear unfolding its rich blessings in spite of all the feeble attempts I'd made at conjuring up peace inside myself. I was finally able to soak in the anticipation of this baby, talking about him and the surprise that we were expecting a son and not a daughter as we'd been so certain of. I dreamed about how he would feel in my arms and what he would look like. Instead of the hard situations dictating our late night conversations, the topic shifted and we talked about him. We compared his pregnancy with Abi Kate's,  learning things about his personality as he was so serene in my womb where she had been so busy. We painted his room and spent hours washing little clothes and tiny diapers, and for the most part my fears of losing him stayed away, creeping up mostly in quiet moments or at times that I felt most vulnerable. Tommy was faithful during those times to point me back to Christ, reminding me of God's provision and activity in the smallest parts of our lives. I invested myself in preparing for our birth, spiritually and physically.  I spent time reading scripture I'd marked for my labor, carefully selecting and listening to worship music for our labor playlist, readying my heart for what was ahead.

As time drew closer, I thought I'd feel more prepared, more ready for his arrival. But instead as the weeks inched closer I felt more unsettled in my spirit, more worried about the details surrounding his birth, more concerned about my ability to withstand another natural delivery and the certain pain that awaited. Around 36 weeks, the need to plan out each detail of his arrival manifested itself. I was certain that he had changed his position inside of me and was Occiput Posterior. And while I knew I could deliver a posterior baby,  I just did not want to. I would check his position constantly, palpating my abdomen multiple times a day. Because he hadn't fully descended into my pelvis yet, I was sure his chin was flexed instead of tucked. I felt his hands and fingers down low quite often, and I just knew he was going to deliver with a hand beside his face, requiring lots of postpartum difficulties. Every night my unfounded concerns would arise; and again, Tommy encouraged me to let go of the details and trust the One who ordained the details already. I was so frustrated with myself. Irritated that I'd allowed fear to once again dominate my thoughts. Discouraged that my faith was so weak. Frustrated that I felt powerless to stop the worrying. Physically, I'd been contracting on and off since about 34 weeks. By 38 weeks, every night I would get in bed and feel panicky about going to sleep, afraid that I would awake in the middle of the night in labor. And I just wasn't ready. I started praying that God would grant us a daytime labor. Something about the day just felt less intimidating than the middle of the night. Physically, I was ready. The mental and physical exhaustion of weeks of prodromal labor made me long for the contractions to continue. But my heart just wasn't there yet. Finally at 39 weeks, I was done. Done with my thoughts, done with the worrying, done with the need to dictate Abram's arrival. I spent a day in prayer and reading Scripture. I spent one afternoon of Abi Kate's naptime crying asking God to take what wasn't mine to control and to replace it with peace. I felt such a release afterwards, and I felt sure that this was why Abram hadn't come yet. My doula, Gaylea,  that I'd had with Abi Kate was now apprenticing under my midwife, and so she graciously came to do my 39 week prenatal appointment. After not being checked my entire pregnancy, I felt the need to know if all my contractions were producing any progress. She checked me and confirmed that I was a loose 4 cm-tight 5 cm, 50% effaced, and at -1 station. I'd also lost 2-3 pounds that week, an occurrence that sometimes signifies labor could be imminent. Based on my physical assessment and now my spiritual and emotional readiness, I was certain Abram would arrive by the weekend, before his Sunday due date.
The days slipped by with plenty of contractions but not the kind that left me with a baby in my arms. And as we drew closer to April 28, I began to grow frustrated and discouraged once more, thinking that he must be misaligned or that my body just wasn't working this time like it did with Abi Kate. Those frustrations walked right up to my due date with me... and then went past it. I woke up Monday morning at 40 weeks +1 day, more pregnant than I'd ever been. My due date had been marked with my horrific attitude and lots of tears that he hadn't come when I'd been so sure that he would. I knew my attitude was selfish, so I spent some time praying that Monday morning, asking God to make my heart soft and patient for His timing. I had a ton of energy that day and wanted to focus it on someone other than myself. One of my closest friends had had her little girl the previous week, so I grocery shopped and got busy cooking a meal or two for them to take the following day. I felt really good the entire day, and felt truly peaceful that there was a reason that Abram hadn't come yet and that I was fully safe to trust his unknown arrival to a very known God.

My sleep was fitful that Monday night as it had been for weeks, laced with contractions and restlessness. At 5 am on Tuesday, I woke up to go the bathroom and when I stood up I felt an intense contraction wrap fully around my body. Its strength took me by surprise and took my breath. I had them on and off for the rest of the morning, so I finally gave up trying to sleep and woke up for the day. I'd planned to go to Mt. Juliet that morning to take my friends their meals. All through breakfast I had irregular contractions, much stronger than they'd been in previous weeks but with no particular pattern (or at least none that I'd allow myself to pay attention to).  I struggled to get Abi Kate dressed as every time I bent over, it triggered another contraction that required me to stop and focus my breathing. Tommy expressed his concern over my driving out to Mt. Juliet that day, but I told him Abram was probably going to hang out in me forever and this was just another tease. Besides that, my friend Lauren and Kenny had had their own natural deliveries. I knew that if I really entered active labor while I was with them, they would get me where I needed to be and they wouldn't be afraid. So, I loaded up Abi Kate and headed to Mt. Juliet. Contractions came all during the drive, but I still felt convinced that they were probably just going to stop. While I was visiting with Lauren and Kenny, I had several contractions sitting down on the couch or when I would stand. Lauren herself experienced a lot of prodromal labor, so she was familiar with the process, always granting me the time and quiet I needed when one would come. I had a 2:00 appointment with my midwife at our house that day, so around noon I got ready to head back home. Lauren told me she thought that this was different, that these contractions were going to put a baby in my arms, but I told her I just wasn't convinced. She encouraged me and told me to keep her updated throughout the afternoon. On the drive home, I had several contractions that came back to back, and I realized I was groaning through them. I went ahead and called Tommy who had already decided to stay home that day.

When our midwife Kathy arrived, I explained the intensity of the contractions and their lack of regularity. She told me that it could mean we'd be having a baby that night or it could still be a week or more away. She also said something that immediately humbled me-- she said that the longer she practiced and the more babies she delivered, she realized that there really was no predictability. That God just dictates each birth as He will and we just have to be patient and see what happens. She offered to check me and see if there had been a change. I had two contractions while she checked me that she said were "real". There wasn't much change from the previous week-- only that I was a definite 5 cm and maybe a little more than 50% and now at 0 station. Not really enough to indicate a movement towards labor. Afterwards, she sat on my bed and asked me if I had any fears, anything that might be mentally holding my body back from labor. I expressed my typical concerns- all the same ones I'd had with Abi Kate- shoulder dystocia, my fear that he was misaligned because I'd gone past my due date, fear of his size. And I told her what I hated to admit most- That since my miscarriage, I just kept waiting for the carpet to be pulled out from under me, that it was still affecting me all these months later. That my body wasn't going to go into labor or that he'd get stuck. That I was no longer capable of having an uncomplicated delivery.  Honest as always, she didn't tell me that those things couldn't happen (though she reminded me it was very unlikely). But she encouraged me to give those things over to Christ. To start praying in expectation that he would come, that he wouldn't get stuck. To just surrender. Sitting on my bed (with no pants on no doubt) it did incredible good for my soul to hear spiritual wisdom from a woman far wiser than me who fully understands birth and all its complexities. As she packed up to leave Tommy told her, "I'll see you around 6 o'clock tonight." And she said, "You just might!"

Sure enough, at 3:30, I started to recognize a timeable pattern to my contractions. I downloaded a contraction timer on my phone and realized they were coming about every 5 minutes, lasting about 50 seconds each time. Tommy was attempting to lay Abi Kate down for a nap, a normally easy task. But she was in rare form, acting like we'd never seen her act before (if I'd been following her cues, I would've known I was in labor for sure). I worked through the contractions in our living room on my knees while he settled her. I went ahead and texted Lauren about what was going on like she'd asked and she was convinced it was labor. I, however, remained unconvinced. Walking, drinking water, and moving positions didn't stop the contractions from coming, so I decided to lay down to see what happened. Around 4:15 I went ahead and texted Gaylea, my doula, to give her a heads up. Based on my labor with Abi Kate, we thought Abram's may be precipitous. And since she was about 45 minutes away and Kathy was over an hour away, she asked me to let her know as soon as I thought things might be happening. Laying down spaced out the contractions but their length and intensity increased. I was so confused by the pattern, staying glued to my contraction timer trying to discern what was going on. Again, I became certain it was because Abram wasn't lined up properly. I started worrying that my labor was going to last 24 hours, and I was sure it just wasn't in me to survive that. Kathy had told me to pay no attention to the timing of them, but only to their intensity and their length, as many of her multiparous mothers didn't fall into a timeable pattern. But my inner need for control rose up, and I relied on the timer like it was going to determine Abram's arrival. I laid in bed and the contractions became so strong I knew I needed music. I turned on our labor playlist on my phone and vocalized through the contractions that were lasting more than a minute. Gaylea texted to say she was getting ready to leave and I told her not to because I just wasn't sure it was labor, that it was probably all just going to stop. Looking back, this is totally laughable. It was literally like everything I knew about birth exited my brain. But laboring women can't be reasoned with ;) She texted me and said, "I have a feeling this train is gonna keep moving forward regardless... Pretty sure you are in active labor. And in denial..." As usual, even from miles away, her intuition for all things birth was impeccable. I told her I didn't want her to get all the way out to my house for it to stop, and she politely assured me she knew the way back home if it did. ;) Around 5:30, I told Tommy maybe we should consider calling my parents who planned to take our dogs to their house and my sister who planned to pick up Abi Kate. My mom and dad arrived a little before 6:00 as I walked the house during contractions. They were quietly in and out. Around this time, I really started to physically and mentally need Tommy's support, but Abi Kate was sound asleep on him. So I texted my sister, asking her to go ahead and come get Abi Kate. She arrived around 6:20, and I was still unconvinced I was really in labor. In fact, I asked her to hold Abi Kate while she slept so Tommy and I could walk the Greenway in front of our house to see if walking caused contractions to fall into a more regular pattern. I was so hesitant to text my friends who had offered to pray with us through labor to let them know because wasn't sure that it wasn't all going to stop.

While we walked, I told Tommy about my worries. I told him I felt like I was having a mental block because I was worried and I was sure this was going to ruin the birth of our son. He talked me through each concern, and while he talked and we walked contractions fell into a more textbook pattern. We held hands and paused when I'd have a contraction, swaying through it and leaning on him while he rubbed my back. True to form, every time I'd start to contract, we'd run into someone on the Greenway-- like a group of teenagers (my vocalizing was probably great birth control for them. Their parents can thank me later.) I had texted Kathy earlier about the change in contractions since she'd left, and Tommy decided to go ahead and give her a call to head our way. (Little did I know Gaylea had already informed her and she was headed towards us anyway). 

When we got back to our house around 6:45, I told my sister to go ahead and leave with Abi Kate and if my labor stopped, she could bring her back later (WHY was I still certain labor was going to stop?!) Tommy suggested we go ahead and prepare our room and bed for the birth just in case things picked up soon.  It was emotional for me to watch Abi Kate leave, realizing this might be the last time I held her as an only child. Tommy got busy changing the sheets and I grabbed our scripture cards that I'd made to be placed around our bedroom and lit candles. I went ahead and told my friends that it definitely looked like baby time. I told Tommy I just couldn't get my worries under control. He prayed over me while I labored on our birth ball and read Romans 5 aloud. Our worship music was playing in the background and I heard a familiar song, and the lyrics were so powerful in the moment "Seems like all I could see was the struggle. Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past. Bound up in shackles of all my failures. Wondering how long was this gonna last. Then you look at this prisoner and say to me, 'Son. Stop fighting a fight that's already been won.' "  I cried as I listened to the lyrics, praying that God's power would supersede my own wants.

Gaylea arrived a few minutes later. I asked her to check me to see if I'd progressed at all since that afternoon. I told her that if I wasn't more dilated we'd know it wasn't really labor or that we were in for a really long haul. I was a loose 6 cm, 75%, and his water sac was bulging. I was not quite as far as I'd hoped, but it was enough for me to say, "Ok. I think this really is labor." And then there was this pivotal moment for me in our labor. This entire experience was riddled with words-- words from songs and words people say that they don't even remember but that echo forever in the heart of the listener. Gaylea said, "Katie, you're over thinking this. Your body doesn't need any help from you. It can do this all on its own." I told her I was afraid it was going to stall, that I was mentally blocking myself from progressing more quickly, that I was in for a really long labor. And she said," It takes as long as it takes. Whether it's 2 hours or 2 days. And if labor stalls, then it stalls. It will start again. Either way, we are here with you. We aren't going anywhere. We're here, Katie." I felt like her words freed me from my thoughts. Tommy and I decided to go walk the Greenway again while we waited for Kathy to arrive and Gaylea stayed at the house to set things up.

When we walked out into our driveway, I felt completely different. I stopped and realized-- it was daytime, just like I'd prayed for. The sun was out. And I distinctly remember looking at Tommy and saying, "It really is a beautiful day to have a baby. He really is coming."   Gaylea had made it, Kathy was on her way, and our photographer was on her way. All three people that we'd prayed would make it in time, that my labor wouldn't be so swift that they'd miss it. My parents and sister had arrived. Tommy had been home.  Everything had fallen into place, just as we had prayed for. Standing out in our driveway I was humbled, realizing that God really was orchestrating the details. I'd just been too focused on trying to manipulate them to recognize it. A little after 7:00, out on the Greenway in the sun, with neighbors out in their yard and in between contractions, I came to the end of myself, finally willing to honestly surrender all parts of myself and Abram's birth to Christ. I took the advice I give my own students- "Cover the clock. The clock is not going to deliver your baby." I stopped timing my contractions, agreed that no matter what position he was in there was a reason for it, and felt peace that if it took me two days of hard labor to bring him into the world, I would be upheld by the Creator and by the team He'd blessed me with. I literally unraveled as I listened to the music and leaned on Tommy. I found myself delighting in the circumstances of Abram's arrival, and on cue my contractions started coming hard about every two minutes. They were so hard, I told Tommy we needed to turn around and go back home (right after running into an old woman on the Greenway who wanted to stop and chat about how it was getting dark and I may not want to keep walking 'in my condition.' And timing being what it was, the minute she began approaching, I felt a contraction coming... lovely!) As we walked home, I saw Kathy pull into our driveway.  She listened to Abram during a contraction. Her calm demeanor with birth was so uplifting, and words that she'd probably said a hundred times were exactly what I needed to encourage me, "He sounds great. Just perfect." He was good. I was good. And he really was coming.

My labor was so different with him than with Abi Kate. I had a true break between my contractions, even if it was short. I moved between laboring in the living room and our bedroom. They came to a point where I struggled to stand through them so I leaned on my birth ball while Tommy massaged my back. We laughed in between them and I joked with him that we could absolutely never have unprotected sex ever again- I was kidding...kind of. ;) I also told him that I could not believe he and Gaylea had let me do this again and that they were officially on my blacklist. Our photographer arrived and we talked in between contractions about all different kinds of things. I'm normally very private in my birthing environment, and so I wasn't sure how having a photographer was going to fit into that design. But she was a perfect match for us and our birth. The whole time I labored I felt like she was supposed to be there with us, as much a part as anyone else, talking with me and putting me at ease with the normalcy of easy conversation in the midst of pain.  I texted my friend Lauren and said, "OMG. Labor sucks so bad. I forgot!" (And her hilarious response "All those memories just come rushing back don't they?!")  I messaged a few friends to let them know of our progress and they sent back scripture and encouraging words. It  felt like such a light and easy environment that joking and laughing just came naturally.
 Kathy and Gaylea stayed busy setting up and gave us space to labor alone.  After a few minutes, Tommy encouraged me to move positions which I refused because I told him it would make me contract and I was doing that perfectly well already ;) (There was so much sarcasm flowing from my body at this moment...ha!) My vocalizations through contractions changed during that point. Gaylea heard it and recognized it as similar to how I sounded during transition with Abi Kate. She came out to our bedroom and helped me through each one, massaging my back while Tommy rubbed my hair. I started to feel nauseated and asked Gaylea to get her peppermint oil. She sprayed me with a mixture of oils, refreshing both my mind and body. Tommy helped me stand, and I leaned on our dresser, soaking in the scripture I'd written there. "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you" James 4:8. I silently prayed that God would be near me and strengthen me as I could feel Abram beginning to move further down with each contraction. Again, music was so important to me and it was a marked point in our labor for me as I could tell I was transitioning. Each contraction came harder and faster, accompanied by extreme pressure, and I felt my body growing tired. While I prayed that simple prayer over and over, I heard in the background- "When the path is daunting. And every step exhausting. I'm not alone... You pull me from this place. Hallelujah. You carry me every day. You carry me all the way."  I was reminded of God's very near presence to me during those moments, so intimate that the encouragement I needed right then was coming through the speakers.
We moved out to the living room where I stayed on my knees over the ottoman for the next part of labor. Tommy and Gaylea stayed on their knees with me, reminding me after a contraction ended that I'd never have to do that one ever again, telling me how great I was doing, reminding me to relax with each surge of pressure, to let Abram move down. Kathy listened to Abram's heart off and on, assuring me that all was well. I wish I could remember what was so funny during this time because there were a lot of pictures of us laughing, but my memory fails me--It's like I was busy doing something else ;)

 I'd fully lost track of time, and after awhile Gaylea told me, "I think we need to think about taking your pants off so you can have this baby." I remember looking at her and saying, "Is it time for that already?" 

 We moved out to the bedroom again and I climbed onto the bed (pants still on! I wasn't doing direction well at that point I guess!) I got on my knees and leaned my head into the pillows with the next contraction. The music played beside me and again music was so vital for me-- "The same hands that created all of this, they created you and I. What a beautiful God... What am I? That I would be called your child.... What am I?" It was such an overwhelming moment of humble worship for me, maybe the truest worship I've ever had. The contractions were so hard while I worshiped that raising my hand was too hard. All I could do was raise two fingers off the pillow and breathe the words out.  I was sure our son was going to be in my arms soon.

After another contraction, they finally convinced me that I couldn't deliver this baby with my pants on ;) And in my crazed brain I said, "Maybe I should wear a skirt? Should I wear a skirt? Let's get a skirt." I have NO clue what I was thinking...But it seemed so reasonable at the moment!  I got onto the bed on my hands and knees because that was the only position that felt right. Kathy peeked in and asked who was going to be catching this baby. There was such joy in the response that Gaylea would be catching Abram. It felt so complete to have her with me during Abi Kate's birth and for her hands to be the first to help deliver our son.  Tommy stayed on his knees at the end of the bed and we talked between the contractions.
He was so tender in these final minutes of our labor, that if I weren't already ridiculously in love with him, I would've fallen for him right there in the midst of hard labor. I was so grateful to be in our home. The comfort of laboring at home and knowing that I didn't have to get in the car to leave brought such peace. On the wall behind Tommy, I had scripture hanging up and I kept reading "Love endures all things..." It reminded me of our purpose in choosing this path and gave me the strength I needed to continue.
At 9:25, I had an extremely powerful contraction and heard a pop when my water broke. Until then, I'd been passively pushing-- not intentional, my body was doing it alone with the contractions. As soon as my water broke, the irrepressible urge to push overwhelmed me. I didn't actually want to stay on my knees for delivery. Gravity intensified the pressure of his descent so much. But I also just could not move at that point. I couldn't see him delivering at all, but I so fully trusted Gaylea and Kathy with his life that I really didn't need to see what was going on.  I knew any decisions they made would be right and in our best interest. Kathy reminded me to do exactly what my body felt like doing, as if they weren't even there, like it was just me and Abram alone. With the next contraction, I pushed and I knew from the pain that his head was almost out, but something just didn't feel right in my body to deliver at that moment so I held back. I knew I could push through it and this would be over with, which I did want, but I went with my body's urging and waited. And of course, just like with Abi Kate I said, "Ouch! That hurts." (One day I swear I will deliver a baby and not say the word "ouch" like a four year old!)  I remember the intensity of delivering his head with the next push and asking if he had hair. They said he had a head full and that he was just blowing bubbles. I waited for the next contraction to deliver his shoulders. No one rushed me. No one encouraged me to go ahead and push the rest of his body out. Both Kathy and Gaylea were so patient and so trusting of the birth process as God's design. So they waited, supporting his head. And sure enough, with the next contraction I felt his body pass fully from mine and I heard exactly what I'd been waiting for- his cry. Just like his sister, he cried before he was completely out of me. It was another thing I'd prayed for, so I could be assured he was ok. I immediately turned around and Gaylea handed his warm little body to me.

Much like with Abi Kate, all I could say was "Thank you, Jesus" over and over again... Thank you that he was here. Thank you that he was healthy. Thank you that the pain was over. I looked at Tommy and said the same thing I had with our little girl," We made it. We did it." We snuggled our sweet baby boy and took in every part of him. There was so much comfort in our home, a unity of love and joy amongst each person. No one interrupted us while we spent those first few minutes bonding with Abram, falling in love with his sweet face and who he is.  It was tender and tranquil and our home was exactly where we needed to be to meet him.  

In the previous weeks, my sister had sent me a new worship song in a message. I loved it immediately and listened to it constantly in the two weeks leading up to Abram's arrival. It spoke so much to my spirit in the hard waiting days, days filled with uncertainty and the unknown. I heard the first part of it ring out in our bedroom as I was delivering him. And as I held him the lyrics washed over me "Nothing is wasted. You work all things for good. Nothing is wasted. Your promise remains. Forever you reign." The realities of everything coming full circle struck me while I held our baby boy for the first time. Nothing was wasted. Not the sting of loss. Not the fear of losing again. Not the struggle to surrender. Not the pain of childbirth. Nothing. There was a deep comfort as I held him in the bed where his life first took form before we even knew. The place where all our babies' lives first began. The place where my labor with Abi Kate began. The place where we laid and cried while we lost our next baby. Again, it felt like the gospel pattern repeating in my life-- life coming from death- the death of my need for control bringing us the physical life of our son. Everything had been used for good by the One who sees the bigger picture. All of the months of struggling- there was purpose in each one and each moment. I just couldn't see it until 9:33 pm on April 30.

Sometimes redemption comes in big ways, sweeping us up from the depths. Sometimes it comes softly, sneaking in when we least expect it. Sometimes it comes inside a church or inside a prison. Sometimes it's private and sometimes it happens right out in front of other people. And sometimes redemption comes in a 7 pound 11 oz baby boy. It comes in the silent tears that fall during the pain of labor. It comes in the words and gentle touch of people who support you through the struggle.  It comes in the ordinary miracle of birth. It comes in a quiet bedroom while the rest of the world goes on with their evening right next door, the proof that birth is indeed a normal design.
April 30 brought us our precious son, but it brought me so much more than just that. To look back over the events of the preceding months and that day-- it draws me into such an awareness of how deep the Father's love truly is. That He would shower such favor over us in such significant ways. I am forever grateful for the support of my husband, who is so comfortable and in tune with my heart and its weaknesses that he creates pillars of safety and peace around me, even in labor. I am grateful for a doula turned friend turned midwife who made herself familiar with my struggles and knew exactly what to say, how to best show love and support to me, and humbly ushered our son into this world. I am grateful for our midwife who took time to point me back to Christ, whose comfort and humility with birth emanates from her being. I am thankful for friends and family who took time to pray and lift us up in those hours. Most of all I am thankful for a Savior who is the giver of perfect gifts and gives us strength to do hard things in His name.

Psalm 107:2 says, "Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story..." Abram's birth is our story of redemption. And as it usually is with redemption, it is sweeter than we ever imagined.










  1. Oh how I love you and your sweet family my friend! What a beautiful expression of sacrifice and love to watch you birth babies, the pleasure is always mine!! xoxoxo

    1. Love you, too! Now that I've done this twice with you I can say without certainty I NEVER want to birth a baby without you!

  2. I was finally able to sit down and read this in its entirety. What a lovely story! Congratulations, he is adorable.