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Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Those Wonderous Treasures of Life

You Were Born of Such Exceeding Grace.

Tuesday is a day that means a lot to me, 20 years ago I saw a new life begin in a birthing room in Chicago. The awesome mystery of birth. I had studied, practiced in class with My wife, but when the time came I wondered if I would know enough to see us through. It all began when My wife woke Me to say she was having contractions very close together.

On arrival at the hospital she refused the wheelchair they brought for her. Once inside they seperated us so I could fill out paperwork. When I got back up to where she was being checked out I found her in a very angry and agitated state. While I was gone the doctor on duty (who had a suspiciously high rate of cesarean sections to his credit) had told her the birthing room was in use and then tried to browbeat her out of using a birthing room at all. They had no idea that they were messing with the wrong people. I ordered him and the nurse out of the room then called the hospital administrator and the head of the birthing room program.

The matter was taken out of our hands. When she heard that the birthing room was not available she gave the staff the die slowly and painfully look look and shut down her contractions. She smiled a poisonous smile at the offending doctor and nurse and said, "You can wheel me down to a taxi now". It was time to go home and wait some more.

We slept wrapped in each other's arms until afternoon. Waking we ate and talked, and inside I felt we were centered and ready for anything. I was sent out for snacks and videos and we settled into waiting, knowing we would not be denied. We slept again, and then at 5:00 am it happened.

We woke in a pool of water. It was time at last. and this time she did accept the wheelchair. The doctor on duty was the husband of our birthing class nurse midwife, the birthing room was ours, and we were commited.

We were focused on the sweep of a stopwatch, walking, breathing, timing contractions. The nurses and Doctor had left the room when it all began to run it's course. We were alone waiting, and slowly our daughter's head began to crown. the wonder of knowing that a new person was here and I was the first person on Earth to see her. Even 20 years later it still brings a tear of joy to My eye and humbles Me with sheer beauty and emotional power of the moment.

The nurse midwife and doctor arrived, and things started to happen rapidly. Breathe, in... out..... suddenly Lisa threw back her head and swore at us all. "Ok so that is transition" I said to her. She centered again and began to breathe as I counted out for her. Suddenly after that last push where she threw her whole being into it our daughter was free.

A perfect new being, who looked around the room so serious and calm. After the cleaning and APGAR test I got to touch her and talk to her, watch her first small smile. All those hours I had spent speaking to her while she was inside her mother as she grew to term. I think she recognised my voice. Her tiny fingers wrapped around my finger and I sang to her soft and low. Carefully I picked her up and carried her to her waiting mother.

She took our child into her arms and kissed her. She pressed her to her full swollen breast and suckeled her for the first time. I watched the two of them together as sleep began to take them. I sat there beside them and marveled at how I had earned the right to so much beauty in my life.

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