Friday, November 8, 2013

First Birthday Celebration

We don't do a big party for birthdays in our family. We do celebrate together as a family and we try to all come up with ways to make it special for the birthday child. For a one year old, we think of things we can do that they will enjoy. We pull out the expandable tunnel and the kids crawl through together, we sing together, and today I will be making some "edible" playdough for them to smash (and taste) together. And of course we will be making a cake. For the older kids, the tradition is for them to help make the cake with mom, but for a one year old the other kids help while the baby naps =). I also try to make a picture slide show of the baby's first year.
This slide show is different from the other's I made in some ways. We have been through a lot together as a family in the last few years. Job loss, home loss, major move, major sickness, many financial struggles, lots of crazy "this thing broke and you won't believe what we had to do!" stories. Through it all God has been incredibly faithful to us- we have seen Him miraculously step in over and over (and over!) This time last year I was facing a C-section for the birth of my fourth child. It was my first C-section after three natural births (two of which were homebirths). The stress of the move and our circumstances had caused the baby to be breech and we had tried EVERYTHING to get him to turn, with no avail. I believe strongly in the importance of natural, intervention-free birth. I believe often that a hospital can cause more problems by intervention than it solves, so facing a C-section, not because I was sick, but simply because there was no care provider in my state who would allow for a breech delivery, was difficult to accept. But accept we did, and we found the best hospital in the area for having a C-section (which happened to be and hour and a half away) and we schedule the surgery. The two songs I picked for the slide show were the songs we played over and over in the car on the way to the hospital for our final appointments. We had scheduled care for our older children, packed our bags and were ready to leave our house in the morning to go to our surgery appointment. But God had other plans! I woke at 2am and raced to the bathroom. Having had my water break suddenly to start labor for all three previous deliveries I had a split-second warning that woke me up and told me I had to MOVE. I sat in the bathroom for a moment in an absolute PANIC realizing how fast my labors typically are, how far we had to travel and that all the kids were with us! Then I shook off the panic and started running (well, waddling REALLY FAST)! Thankfully, we had everything packed and the kids were already dressed (because we had planned an early morning start). And so I ended up with a 4 am emergency C-section. However there were benefits to this I didn't see at first. One of the problems I feared with a scheduled birth was that the baby wouldn't be ready to be born at the time of surgery (which can cause various problems). I didn't need to worry about that now since the baby already made it very clear he was ready to be born! (and almost made it out before the doctors made it in to get him!) I also knew that traveling through the birth canal is very beneficial for the baby, both because of the beneficial bacteria that it receives which can help protect it from disease in its first weeks, and because the squeezing from contractions and the passage through the birth canal helps to clear the baby's lungs. Thankfully my baby was able to receive both of these benefits as well, even though he was born by C-section! And finally, I was very determined that once he was born I would not use any narcotic drugs because I was breastfeeding and wanted to assure that the baby would be receiving the best colostrum I had to offer. Again I was so thankfully that God gave me the strength to endure the pain with nothing more than Tylenol (and my own supplements, homeopathics and herbal supports). I'm sure people have looked at our family and wondered why we would choose to have a baby during the midst of a tumultuous time for us. We believe that God timed this little man perfectly. He has been a little ray of sunshine during our darkest hours. His snuggles and dependence on Mommy has kept me sane, made me sit still, and reminded me how nothing lasts forever, whether joy or pain. And watching his older siblings love on him reminds me of the joy that comes from serving others and how we are at our best when we aren't thinking about ourselves. I pray this encourages you today to endure in times of hardship and not to wish for a different life that God didn't give you, but to find joy in the one you have!

This post is linked up at Womanhood with Purpose and Happy and Blessed Home