Happy Birthday, Oak. You have caused our hearts to love in a way they never have. We thank God for creating you and creating you with a divine purpose..for such a time as this.
It seems like only hours ago we were minutes from leaving for the hospital, and your daddy was loading the car with all the things I had carefully researched and thought of to take with us. Meanwhile, I was standing in the living room looking around holding my belly, overwhelmed with emotion thinking of all the changes that would happen in just a few short days. I was scared. I didn’t want to admit it, but I was.
I looked at the places we always sat, the pictures that hung on the walls of the home we had made for the last 5 years..just your daddy and me. One picture stood out to me the most. It was the picture of us leaving our wedding, so full of joy, and I couldn’t help but think in that moment, that on that day, October 5, 2013 — God knew the day you would be born. The day “we” would become “three.”
“All the days ordained were written for me, before one of them came to be,” -Psalm 139:16
To be honest, a lot of our wedding day was a blur, the tiny details have since left me. But, one prayer stands out, and it will always stand out. That’s the prayer your Papa Mike prayed over us during our wedding (along with the rest of your grandparents). He prayed that if it was God’s plan for your daddy and me to have children one day that they would be healthy. Even on our wedding day, YOU were prayed for.
From the very beginning of our marriage, we prayed for you. Even though at the time the idea of you seemed lightyears away, we still prayed for you. Every night of my pregnancy, after the goodnights were said, the lights were turned out, I would feel your daddy’s hand reach over and lay on my head, it would stay there for a long while…I secretly knew he was praying for you. To this day, we still have never talked about him doing that. It was just one of those things that I don’t really want to talk about, because it was too precious. It was just what my anxious mind needed during all those months without even mentioning a word about it to your daddy.
Pray continually. 1 Thessalonians 5:16
At this point, I had carried you 40 weeks and 3 days. It was my greatest joy to be the home that housed you, protected you, and loved you by feeding you every kind of potato I could find.
We checked into the hospital the night before you were born. (April 12) Of course, so many things ran through my mind. I had done my best to read up on how babies get here. I had also done my best to avoid reading about how babies do indeed get to their mothers arms. A line from my favorite movie, Steel Magnolias kept running through my mind as I laid in the hospital bed looking at the cart they would place you on when you decided to make your entrance. It’s the part of the movie where Annelle is about to give birth at the Community Easter Egg Hunt, when she starts to feel the pains of labor coming on, and Truvy (otherwise known as Dolly Parton) tells her, “It’s ok, it’s ok, women have babies everyday.” It probably sounds funny, but that line from my favorite movie comforted me so many times throughout pregnancy right up until minutes before you were born. Women do have babies everyday, and on this day, it was my turn.
Your birthday began early with an epidural, water breaking, and lots of good naps for your mama.
“This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
I rested in between my nurse checking on me. She was so kind, so attentive. Your daddy was also kind, patient as always, and did anything and everything to make sure I was comfortable.
As the day progressed, you and I did not. Even with a high dose of Pitocin, you were determined to stay in my belly. I think you liked it in there, in potato land. Dr. Gass made several rounds to check in on me, and with every visit, not much had changed. By this point, I was beginning to get tired, and a little weary about why you hadn’t made your appearance yet. I was thinking this whole labor thing would be a little more dramatic…. 10 hours in, on Pitocin, a high dose of Pitocin, an overnight stay in the hospital the night before to start medicine to begin having you, and we had barely made it to a 5.
Dr. Gass decided to increase the Pitocin some more after stopping and restarting it, and I finally felt like I was in labor. I cried. I cried because I was in pain, even with an epidural…I cried because this was really happening.
Your daddy wiped my tears away over and over, your Memaw wiped my tears, and comforted me only how a mama can comfort their child.
At 6:00 p.m., Dr. Gass made another round to check on me, and we had made it to barely a 6. I cried again. I cried this time because I worried about keeping Dr. Gass at the Hospital too long. It was a Friday night, he needed to go out to dinner with his wife, not be waiting on me.
Then, Dr. Gass spoke the word that had never really crossed my mind…C-section.
Our plan totally changed, and the decision was made to have you arrive by C-section.
The anesthesiologist came in, my sweet nurse who had hung with me all day and was due to leave for the day came in to check on me one more time…and I. Broke. Down. I’m talking snot flying, can’t talk because the lump in your throat is burning so bad no words will come kind of break down. It was a sight to behold, I’m sure.
Fear swallowed me up,”What Ifs”began to fill my weary mind and then your daddy….
Dr. Gass came in again to talk to us about the C-section that was about to happen, and he asked us if we had any questions. Then, your daddy looked at Dr. Gass with his kind eyes and asked him, “Dr. Gass, can I pray for you?”
So, right there in my hospital room with the cart I thought you’d be in by now, with my sweet nurse I had had all day, with your Memaw and your Grana, with the white board that had the words “Happy Birthday, Oak” written on it, your daddy reached out his hand, the same hand that he had laid on my head night after night while pregnant with you and prayed over Dr. Gass. And you know what, peace filled my heart instead of fear, and I knew then I was only moments from laying my eyes on you.
“Look to the Lord and His strength, seek His face always.” 1 Chronicles 6:11
When I got to the O.R., they adjusted my epidural, and asked me several questions that I will never remember. I just remember the room being really white, a lot going on, several people doing different jobs, your daddy in his is O.R. outfit which was hilarious…..
We heard you cry.
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who has promised is faithful.” -Hebrews 10:23
You were born at 8:00 p.m. on the dot, and you weighed 9 lbs, 5 ounces, and you were 22 inches long.
I know in the days to come, the details of that day that I remember now will eventually fade…but the joy I had when I saw you for the first time…that’s the kind of thing that will never fade.
Oak, you are God’s grace to me. You see, I don’t deserve you. I don’t deserve to know this kind of love…the kind of love where you love someone so much your heart hurts, but God….
I pray you know you are loved by your daddy and me but even more loved by God. You see, God had a son too, His name was Jesus. God loved Him so much His heart hurt, and like mama, joy filled God’s heart when He looked at Jesus… just like when I look at you. But, God loved the idea of us being without sin and being with Him even more. So, He sent Jesus (the son He loved so much) to die for us, to take all of the things we deserve and place them on the shoulders of His son. All the weight we deserve to carry, Jesus carried for us. Jesus died paying it all. But, you know the best part of the story, He rose again. I love that you were born right around the time of year we celebrate that Resurrection, and as if I didn’t already love that story enough, the greatest story….God, being rich in mercy graciously placed a little boy in my arms, you, and now I will never see that story the same way.
Happy Birthday, to the one who changed my heart.