Corban Kingdom, my love for you is the closest I have known to long-suffering love. I asked for you for nearly all of my marriage. And you were named in my childhood. You are somehow everything I hoped for and nothing I imagined. So was your birth.
I feel like Sarah in saying I am old now. I am not the 22 year old who pined and prayed for you. I am 35. And I have aged exponentially since birthing your sister 2 1/2 years ago. In that short time, I went from raising my first miracle – to birthing my second miracle – to fostering her twin at 4 months – to adopting that twin’s sister the very day before my pregnancy with you began. From 1-5, including you. God’s timing is intentional. There was more than just Daddy and me waiting for you. You had four girl hearts who were anxiously asking Jesus to tell them your birthday.
You were due on February 27th. But I was cautioned to expect you in March. Your sisters made me wait 10 and 7 days after their due dates to meet them. So it only seemed natural you would too. But I had a burning request of God for you to be born in February. I needed you and your sister to have separate birth months so that my oldest and my youngest could feel individually celebrated.
Your due date became your birthday. God answered my prayer. From the birth of desire for you in my heart (all those years ago) to your actual birth on 2/27, God answered my prayers. Your life is marked by answered prayer! Son, know-believe-trust that God is gracious (divinely kind) and good.
12:45am I was stirred from sleep with period-like cramps. A feeling you’ll never know. I laid in bed next to Daddy, counting the minutes. “1-2-3-5-10. Here the cramps come again.” 10 minutes apart. A birthday pattern!
2:35am My body responded to the cramps by dilating and sending me a bright red sign known as bloody show.
3:10am Recognizable contractions started. I was certain I would be holding you in my arms before days end. I wanted the world to wake up so I could announce you were coming!!!
8:15am Our household and hearts were buzzing. Everything was prepared for labor. Your sisters were ready for the day and for you. So I finally retreated to my labor room to “get to work”.
8:35am I filled my diffuser with peppermint and applied clary sage essential oil. I connected to you and to my body! “Let’s do this.”
8:50am My contractions were not consistent. A common theme in all my labors. So I determined to walk our neighborhood until I felt something shift. It was drizzling the entire time, which was refreshing and spiritual. At first, when I was hearty and ambitious, Witness by Jordan Feliz was on repeat. But as my energy left me and I wrestled with my own expectations, I scrolled through worship music restlessly. I never settled in labor after that until my water broke. This is when my specific, desperate labor cries to God started. “Jesus, I am tired of walking. Give me 1 good contraction.” A few houses down from our front door, I had my first contraction I could not walk through. Answered prayer. When it passed, I went inside and rested. Rest was a foreign or forced concept in my other labors. But the fatigue I felt was from life, from seasoned mamahood, from waiting over a decade for you…more than from simple steps. I let my body contract, while curled up in a ball on the bed, as I rested my heart before the Lord. Only He could supply the continued strength I needed to get to you.
10:47am There it was. The loudest instinct ever. I h-a-d to go internal. Contractions had been legitimately painful (I refuse to use the word discomfortable) for at least 30 minutes. I was feeling nauseous, which was new for me in labor. I asked Daddy to finish up his errands and come home so I wasn’t alone. I pushed into the pain and positioned myself to make each contraction count. I knew embracing the hard was the quickest way to end labor and make it to the reward of birth.
Sometime after, your grandparents arrived to love on your sisters with chicken nuggets and ice cream. Daddy filled the pool so you could have a warm transition from womb to world.
1:35pm My midwives arrived for labor support. I was concerned I wasn’t progressing in the active stage of labor. I believed you had flipped sides. I needed them to tell me the “more” I could be doing because I was doing everything I knew to do. Was it enough? Your heart rate was good but you were no longer in the ideal position. The cervix check confirmed I was already in transition. They whispered that to one another, to not discourage me. But I was so thankful I overheard them. I guess most mamas want to hear they are already at a 10 and done. But 7-8 was another answer to a desperate prayer that I wasn’t stuck in early labor. My contractions were intense but not the 5-1-1 pattern officials tell you to expect. They were 30-40 seconds of physical and mental wave riding, separated by 2-6 minutes of prayerful hesitation about how much longer I could do this. Dawn guided me through squat contractions while Brandy applied counter pressure. It was the first interaction I really needed in labor. The midwives quietly assured me I was making the right decisions. I was peacefully groaning and working through each contraction. But inside, I was still so needy of intervention.
2:27pm A contraction came while I was positioned backwards on the toilet and I prayed that I would feel you move down in the birth canal. I needed a sign that you were imminent because I was weary, even though I was determined. God answered with my water breaking and me immediately getting the urge to push. He was consistently the God of breakthroughs when I needed them most! I made my way into our family room. Full couches and benches all around the birthing pool. Four generations who have waited for you! The men, women, and sisters you will look up to as you grow! Daddy joined me in the pool so he could apply counter pressure through spontaneous pushing. I closed my eyes and panted through each strong surge that moved you through me. I felt everything burn as you stayed crowned, with my final contractions still a minute away. You were so close and yet much too far away, it seemed. Everyone was in awe, seeing part of you unveiled and waiting impatiently for the rest. I prayed for this to be the grand finale. And it was. One push and your head was out. One more and your body followed.
3:07pm You were here!!!!! Hallelujah!!!!! I am crying writing this but I did not cry then. I lifted you from the water like a scene out of The Lion King and held you to my chest, in complete disbelief. Emotional shock. You were too good to be true. Was this real?!!!!!!!! I praised Jesus with one breath, expressed my shock with the next, and repeated the cycle. I could not comprehend the waiting was over even with the weight of you physically against my heart. You are in that same position now. My tears are falling on your sweet sleeping face. And now I feel it. The feels I could not even begin to feel in that fated, holy moment. You are overwhelming in the best way, Corban.