It’s been 9 days since our precious gift entered the world. I’ve wanted to write, wanted to process, wanted to share…but words have seemed so inadequate to convey all that’s been going on in my heart over the past 2 weeks. I’m overwhelmed by God’s graciousness and am still reeling over the privilege of being Toby’s Mama.
Two weeks ago, my Braxton Hicks contractions were becoming more regular and more uncomfortable. I didn’t feel well, had some cramping and a back ache. Though I knew I wasn’t in labor, Adam and I were both excited by the fact that it was sure to start soon. Because Mondays are Adam’s day off and my parents live much closer to our hospital, that Sunday evening we decided to head to their house just in case things would pick up over night. By Monday morning, I felt fine and the contractions had subsided. We both woke up extra disappointed.
March 19th. Our last baby’s due date. Though we hadn’t really verbalized it, I think we were both hoping deep down that Toby would be born that day. Hoping that that date wouldn’t always be associated with painful “what ifs”. Hoping that we wouldn’t have to deal with the grief that would inevitably creep up again.
I know I shouldn’t be surprised by it anymore, but sorrow seems to catch me off guard at times and I’m left with a hurting heart. The 19th was that kind of day for me.
Though I continued to have contractions here and there, we knew it wasn’t real labor and decided to head back home early Tuesday morning so that Adam could go back to work. I felt worn down and increasingly uncomfortable. Contractions started again that afternoon and into the evening…starting to come closer together and beginning to be painful. Because we live an hour from the hospital and because of the fact that my labor with Isaiah was so fast, my doctor advised me to call the hospital as soon as my contractions were consistently 10 minutes apart. By 10:00 that night, it was time to make that call and they told me to come in. We were nervous but SO ready to meet our boy.
You can imagine my disappointment when we got to the hospital and I was checked, only to discover that I wasn’t dilating yet. At all. They kept me overnight to monitor me. I was definitely having contractions…sometimes as close as 6 minutes apart and some pretty strong…but not strong enough to jumpstart my labor.
It was definitely a rough, long night. I was uncomfortable, couldn’t sleep, and it felt way too much like the last time I was in a delivery room. Waiting for days for my labor to become strong enough to deliver our last sweet baby. Painful exams every few hours. Disappointment.
By morning, my doctor gave me the option of returning home and waiting for true labor to start, hopefully within the next few days…or keep me there and begin the process of induction. Because I wasn’t dilated at all, induction would have to begin with the same medicine to soften my cervix that I was given with the last baby…and it could take a few days. Our decisions was an easy one. We would head home.
Without a baby. Again.
Even though I knew I was fine and Toby was healthy, making that walk back out to the parking lot empty handed brought back a lot of grief. I cried harder than I had for quite some time. Oh, how confused my heart was!
Our lead pastor graciously allowed Adam to stay at my parents’ house with me to wait it out. Wednesday came and went…and the contractions left with it. I was discouraged, felt silly for thinking I was in labor, and was muddling through my grief. For the first time in a while I began to question God again. I pleaded with Him for a break. I just wanted to be done.
Adam and I were able to spend some sweet time in prayer together over those few days. Pouring our hearts out to our loving Father. I’ll never forget those moments.
I didn’t sleep at all Thursday night because of regular contractions that were waking me up. They’d intensify and then subside, but I thought for sure I was at least making some progress. Friday morning the 23rd, Adam and I left for my doctor’s appointment with our bags packed…asking boldly that something was happening by now and that our boy would be born that day.
Even the nurses were crossing their fingers for us. But the doctor checked me and I had made no progress. None.
In my disappointment, God did give a peace that was beyond myself and I really felt okay with the outcome. I even surprised myself. God was providing. And even though He didn’t answer how I wanted, He was hearing me.
We considered heading back home again, but since it was already the weekend, we decided to stay another night at my parents’ house. We spent time w/Isaiah and enjoyed the day as a family. Late that afternoon, my contractions began to be more painful to the point where they couldn’t be ignored…but they weren’t close enough to get excited about. Besides the fact that I did NOT want another false alarm. I sat at my parents’ dinner table unable to really eat and constantly glancing at my phone to time contractions. They were coming closer and really starting to take my breath away. By 8 or 9 there was no denying something had to be happening. We decided to make that call again to the hospital around 11:30.
Even though the car ride was MUCH shorter than it would have been from our house, it didn’t seem short enough. By the time we got to the hospital I could barely walk. My sweet nurse checked me and said something I was not expecting…
“She’s 7 centimeters and almost completely effaced.”
Wait, what? Wasn’t I just at nothing?!
I’ll spare you the rest of the details, but they include my water popping like a giant water balloon during my first push…all over one of my sweet nurses…(I was obviously not in a laughing mood, but everyone else in the room thought it was pretty darn funny.) as well as Toby’s head popping out before the doctor was in the room (one nurse said she’d never forget our boy’s face because of that).
Adam was incredible at keeping me focused and breathing well. Because my mom had been with us during those sad days of my last delivery, I asked her to be there to rejoice with us during Toby’s birth. She’s still my best cheerleader.
On Saturday March 24th at 1:30 AM, 1 hour and 15 minutes after arriving at the hospital, Tobias Samuel Johnson was born.
Tobias (“God is good”)
Samuel (“God has heard”)
God IS good.
We feel so unworthy of this gift and are so incredibly thankful.
During our time in the hospital, we even had one of the nurses every night that was my night nurse during my last delivery, who had even given me a card and an angel figurine before I had gone home. She remembered us and our sweet baby…and how sad those days were. It was so neat to have her with us during Toby’s birth.
God IS good.
In my last post about Isaiah’s toenails, I used Psalm 34:5 which I had been reading over and over in regards to my own fears…
“I sought the Lord, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to Him are RADIANT and their faces shall never be ashamed.”
A few days before Toby was born, I was studying this Psalm using Weirsbe’s commentary and was struck by this statement…
“The word ‘radiant’ in verse 5 is the same word used to describe the joyful countenance of a mother welcoming her children home.”
Not only has God heard me, graciously answered, and chosen to deliver me from my fears, He’s also allowed me the privilege of welcoming my sweet boys home.
As I sit here and type on my bed while Isaiah and Toby play next to me, my heart is full and it’s hard to wipe the smile off of my face.
Before leaving the hospital last Monday, a family friend who happens to be the nutritionist at our hospital stopped in to see us and meet Toby. I had discipled this woman’s daughter while I was in high school and their family has always been special to us. Nine years ago, Pam’s sweet daughter as well as my good friend’s brother were killed in a car accident. On March 24th.
With tears streaming down her face, Pam told us that ever since she heard my due date (March 27th), she had been praying that God would allow Toby to be born on the 24th. Because of my relationship with her daughter, she was hoping to have something to rejoice over on that day that has been so painful for these past 9 years. God didn’t answer my plea for Toby to be born on March 19th…but He lovingly answered Pam’s on the 24th…and now we wouldn’t have it any other way.
God IS good.
Last spring, we bought and planted an Autumn Cherry tree in our front yard in memory of our baby in heaven. We chose it because it was supposed to bloom in the fall (when we delivered our baby) and spring (when our baby was due). Though we hadn’t yet seen it in full bloom, we came home from the hospital to this…
Because of the green that was already coming through, we’re guessing our little tree hit full bloom while we were at my parents’ house…maybe even right around the 19th.
God IS good.
“I love the Lord, for He HEARD my voice; He heard my cry for mercy.
Because He turned His ear to me, I will call on Him as long as I live…
The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion…
Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been GOOD to you.”
– Psalm 116:1-2, 5, 7
A few pictures from Toby’s first week…