Silas is Born and It is Well ~ Guest Post with Giveaway
Update: The winner of the hardback, large print copy of The Angel of Forest Hills and The Four Seasons of Lancaster County 2017 Calendar is Pat of Orange Port, Florida. Congratulations, Pat!
This is a guest post by Erin Woodsmall, Cindy’s daughter-in-law.
Like many people, when I enter the New Year, I often look back on the year I have just completed, marveling at the journey. All the good and the bad. And 2016 was quite the journey.
For lots of people, including myself (Erin) and my husband, 2016 brought some true grief and pain. I wrote about our loss and subsequent pregnancy journey back in August, and shared more in October about similar conditions to the one our daughter had. I promised several readers I would update when our baby was born. Like all births, there is quite the story to tell.
A pregnancy after loss is different from previous pregnancies. The innocence is gone. After experiencing the worst, it’s hard to keep anxiety away, even after a pretty amazing sign that I experienced with the four-leaf clovers. I did pretty well, all things considered, until the last two or so weeks of the pregnancy. I was worried I would go overdue, like I did with my now three-year-old son, and all the concerns that went along with that nagged at me. Would baby be even bigger than Caleb’s 9 lbs and get stuck? Would I end up in surgery? Would I have to be induced? Would his birthday end up being on the anniversary we received crushing news about our last daughter, December 27? My husband had predicted I would have the baby at 39 weeks, like many people do, but that week came and went. We both felt defeated when he left for work at a day shy of 40 weeks.
A few tears rolled down my cheek after he left and I got busy doing the regular household morning tasks, my body already aching as I moved around the house. My phone buzzed a few minutes later, and my now calm husband told me he wanted to share something special. He had been driving and praying, frustrated to be having to leave me at home when I was obviously upset. He had said to God, “why am I talking to myself? I feel like I’m on my own!” Then he hit the button on his iPhone for the digital assistant and said “Siri, just play me a song.” It is Well by Kutlass came on. This is my husband’s most favorite hymn, and one of the few religious songs in his 5,000 song playlist. His soul immediately felt at peace as he listened and sang along. We ended up needing that assurance of divine love over the next few days.
Very early the next morning, I awoke with terrible stomach pain along with nausea and vomiting. It was not labor, which we had been not-so-patiently waiting for, but instead a violent stomach virus. I was losing fluids quickly, so by 11 am, we decided to go to labor and delivery, despite wanting to have the baby at home (a planned home birth with a Certified Nurse Midwife). I figured that we were going to be stuck with a hospital birth, as there was no way that the hospital would let a 40 weeks pregnant woman leave. However, I knew in order to go through labor, I needed to replenish my body’s fluids. We arrived and thankfully my home-birth supportive hospital midwife (who I had seen the entire pregnancy as well) was working the floor. They gave me fluids and nausea medication, and amazingly sent us home, even though I was having painless contractions three minutes apart. No longer sick to my stomach and in pain, I got a much needed nap that afternoon.
Real contractions hit hard and fast that night at 10:30 pm, and we called our midwife and my mom to watch our older children. Our three year old was now throwing up, but I had to trust that Grammy was taking good care of him. I listened to my husband’s affirmations as I labored on our bed, trying to relax into each contraction. I wasn’t afraid anymore, there was only peace and trust, in God, in my body, and in my birth team. The midwives made their presence very non-intrusive, but did their job of checking and monitoring my and baby’s health. Silas was born into a serene home, at 12:27 am in the middle of the longest night of the year, winter solstice. Fitting, because he was our sunshine throughout our darkest year.
After he was born, I was surprised by the familiarity of all his movements, his little knees and elbows felt the same on the outside as they did on the inside of my skin. I could touch and hold his wiggly fingers, which I had previously felt along my hips. A revelation hit me: he had been there all along for most of this year. My little passenger as I worked through all the grief and hope, it was always Silas.
Last year on New Year’s Eve, my husband and I received some false hope about our daughter, Iris, and for a few days we thought she’d be alright. When the clock turned over to midnight, we said to each other “it’s going to be okay, we’re having a baby this year.” We held each other and felt the love and promise in that phrase. It didn’t turn out the way we thought. We couldn’t have known what was in store for us. But God’s love never fails, and although it wasn’t the road I would have chosen, it led us to Silas. It is well.
(Note: please consult your own doctor or midwife on any medical decision like home birth. Although it was the right choice for our family due to several factors, it is not right for every person.)
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