Last Wednesday my schedule (battle plan) looked something like this:
7:00 a.m. Beg for grace (prayer)
7:30 a.m. Start breakfast, set up lesson plans for the school day, watch the news, curse and cry
8:30 a.m. Sound the school bell
12:30 p.m. Lunch
1:30 p.m. Head to town for George's dental appointment and to shop for Benedict's birthday...
How does the saying go, "Life is what happens while you are busy making plans??" Life indeed....
My plans were right on on track. Everything was moving along smoothly until about 10:00 a.m. During our language arts lesson mild contractions began to set in. Reason told me to ignore the twinges - I was 11 days early, and all of my previous births had come well past due-date time. So, spelling carried on.
Lunch time - still having contractions - still ignoring them. I had prayed for God to be merciful and to surprise me with an early labor/delivery. Just not today. There was too much to do. No time for a baby today. Saturday, might be nice. Could we do Saturday, Lord??
Leaving for town, still having contractions, I call Steve just in case this is the real deal. Being more efficient than normal getting everyone loaded up and out the door, we actually arrived in Garden City early allowing us a few minutes to stop at the bookstore before the dentist. Perusing through Hardy Boys and easy readers, not only did the contractions begin to intensify, my water began to leak....ok, so this might be it. Might.
Within minutes we were heading to the dentist's office, where I thought I would kick back with a magazine and contract away. Nope. Water had officially broken, contractions were two minutes apart. the "might" had turned to right, and to my sweet relief, my sister-in-law was in town and agreed to meet me in the Target parking lot to take Andrew and George so I could go to the hospital. Phew!
Swearing I could hear my husband peel out in his diesel pick-up on the dirt roads that flank the farm 20 miles from town, I knew he would soon be at the hospital to meet me. The rising dust cloud on the horizon confirmed my intuition. (Please, Lord, let the lights be green and the police unseen.) Not wanting my labor to slow, I calmly let Steve know that I would wait for him in the parking lot of the hospital. I'll just recline back in the van, listen to Beethovan, and practice relaxed breathing, I told him. Nope, that plan was not going to work either. Contractions are now 2 minutes apart and getting stronger.
Reluctantly I waddled in to the maternity ward and began the process of check in. It was a good thing I decided not to exercise my Beethovan and breathing plan, because about an hour after checking in to the maternity ward at St. Catherine's Hospital, Charles Gabriel Francis Husband was born!
At 6 lb., 14 oz. and 19.5", he's the smallest of all of the boys at birth. But, perfectly healthy in every way. Joy!
Thanks to the support and guidance of our wonderful M.D., Steve was able to deliver Charles. It was a wonderful experience for both of us. He was a champ!
After a short rest, we could not wait any longer for the boys to come and visit the little miracle that they too had been patiently waiting to meet these past 38.5 weeks.
The look of amazement and joy that overwhelmed their little faces the moment they looked upon their brother cannot be captured with words.
Witnessing their little souls embrace life in its most fragile and precious form was supernatural. Though Benedict shared few words, his gaze upon Charles could not be distracted. His silence spoke clearly, "I am here, I am your brother, I will protect you, I love you."
Our second son, Andrew upon holding his new little brother, looked up to Steve and said, "Dad, this is such a treat! He is a masterpiece, Dad, a masterpiece!" (Tears, lots of tears here.)
The scriptures say, that the pure of heart shall see God. How very true these words felt in that moment.
George, giving the brightest of all smiles, and begging relentlessly to hold him, could only say his name over and over, "Charles, Charles, Charles." He now calls him Saint Charles.
And then there's Henry. As a pajama enthusiast, he was more interested in my new jammies than the baby. And, pointing at my still puffy tummy, he asked when I was having the next baby. Sigh. Then, he realized there was someone new in my arms. And, the kiss-fest began!
Steve was absolutely wonderful. Watching him with the boys, loving them, teaching them, forming them - giving life to them is a treasure to my heart. To see all of his beauty and goodness in our five boys is glorious. I am beyond blessed. What a gift it is to get to love him, and to be loved by him each day.
We were surrounded those couple of days in the hospital with the love and support of family. But, I missed my sister, who lives in Switzerland, terribly. Hearing her voice was so encouraging. Sharing sisterhood and motherhood with her is a great comfort to my heart. She will be flying back to Kansas for the baptism. I am counting down the days until she arrives.
Our little "masterpiece." Charles Gabriel Francis Husband.
Why be something to everyone when you can be everything to someone? - G.K. Chesterton