Observing the Miracle of Birth

The baby I almost lost 27 years ago (see part 5) just had a baby of her own. It takes my breath away to think that our beautiful granddaughter wouldn’t be here today if we had lost Rachael back then.

Little did I realize I would be such a nervous wreck waiting for my granddaughter to arrive. I had thought it would be no big deal since I felt as though I already knew what Rachael would have to go through. Later, however, when “grandpa” and I were talking about the experience, we admitted that we were both more concerned about how Rachael was going to handle the delivery rather than worrying about the safety of the baby. We knew God has created a marvelous way of surrounding and protecting the baby, but we are still carrying around those feelings from when we prayed over Rachael and cared for her frail little body all those years ago.

It turned out that on Friday morning Rachael woke up with the stomach flu. I was concerned that it would trigger labor, and I knew I would be of no use while thinking about her when I was at work, so I spent the day helping her. By the time her husband came home, she was dehydrated, the contractions had started, and they were already five minutes apart. Therefore, at 4 pm, the doctors said we could bring her to the hospital. After they started Rachael on IV fluids, they measured her contractions at three minutes apart and then, within the hour, her water broke. It didn’t take long and she was pushing by 8:30 pm. Because I had been tending to her needs all day, I automatically became a fixture in the room so it was easier for her to let me stay during the delivery.

Listening to the doctors encourage and instruct Rachael through her delivery brought back memories. However, this time it was more like enjoying the triumphant drama unfold in a movie without having to go through the excrutiating pain myself. When I had Christina, I decided not to have any medication and I remember thinking I was actually going to die. This was the first time I had ever seen the pain relieving benefits of an epidural and yet the side effect that makes it more difficult to push.

When the baby was finally on its way, and I wasn’t the one under a cloud of pain, it was amazing to see how the body works. From my vantage point, I could read the looks on the nurses’ and doctor’s faces and was able to watch the things a mother in delivery is too busy to see. For instance, what happens when they wisk the baby away, the fidgeting and excitement of the father, and the skill and reactions of the doctors and nurses.

At almost 10:57 pm, Zoey Lynn Zevenbergen was born at 8 lbs. 8 oz., 22 inches long and with a full head of hair! When she entered the world, she looked like one of those real life baby dolls: clay white with limp legs and arms flopping around. The doctor warned us that she might not start crying right away but when it happened, I felt as though I had a hard time catching my breath as well. To make sure Rachael couldn’t see my concern, I turned away acting as though I was reading another Facebook post and just prayed “Dear Lord, help her breath!!!” They say it was only a minute but it felt so much longer and tore me apart every time the nursing assistant glanced up at the seconds on the clock. Finally, the sound of that first cry was one of the most beautiful sounds in the world.

Once they had Zoey stabilized, I approached the warming bed and was stunned when I saw her because she was so much more adorable than I had imagined she would be. When she finally settled down, it was amazing to see how she was already looking around, as the nurse said, searching for her mother. Mom and dad finally got to meet her for a moment but because she had to be intubated to start breathing, the nurse took her away to be under observation for an hour in the special nursery.

Zoey wailed when they had the bright light on in the warming bed. However, when they finally turned the light off, her protest turned into a wimper as she ferociously sucked her hand. It was a miracle to see how she stopped crying when her father picked her up and then later when she was so content in her mother’s arms.

Is this part of that “special joy” people talk about when they become grandparents … watching life continue through your own child? The emotions are so strong and undefinable that I asked other grandparents to send me their definitions of what it is like to be a grandparent. One neighbor said: “It is a feeling of pride for your girls.” And, Deborah wrote: “Grandparenthood is special because your own offspring have produced this precious new life and, as you watch them grow, you cannot help but think of how blessed you are to be a part of that new life!!!” Then she adds: “Also, they are not all the WORK that your own children were so you can just enjoy them and spoil them!!!”

There is no denying that there is an intelligent designer when you watch how our bodies are perfectly designed to produce and deliver new life. And, if that is not impressive enough, just observe the natural process to sustain life by watching a baby who instinctively starts sucking when she is born and recognizes and finds comfort in her parents arms.

Next week I will return to my posts from my latest series of journal journeys.

One Week Photos:

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