18-month Checkup

Making our way from the car to the doctor’s office I was amazed at how grown up my baby boy had become. At the point in the pregnancy now where I feel physical pain from holding Ezra too long, he’s been forced to walk a lot more.

As we passed through the front door, the eyes of the 10 or so elderly people in the waiting room turned towards us. Ezra gave a small whimper and began trying to scale my leg. Ignoring him, I signed in, then we sat and waited. As he played with the colorful blocks and the number shaped puzzle pieces I thought back over the last 18 months.

So much has changed. The day I first laid eyes on my little Ez-Bez-Tos I never would have pictured our life as it is now.

::

It was a Monday morning in early September. After weeks of false labor, I was really ready to be done. The last month had included four trips to the hospital, bags packed, expecting to see my little boy by the next day. Each time Josh and I ended up sitting in a maternity room that looked like it was from the 1970s, listening to our baby’s heartbeat and watching Michael Phelps try for another gold.

A combination of semi-regular contractions and Josh getting ready for work woke me up that morning. I laid there, trying to decide if this time was real. Not wanting to get my hopes up, I ignored the “false labor” and tried to go back to sleep. My body did not want to be ignored. Like a persistent preschooler, the baby boy inside was saying, “Mommy, mommy, mommy.” Every 5 minutes my stomach would tighten, releasing its tension after a minute or so.

After thirty minutes of this, I couldn’t ignore it any longer. Hoping Josh hadn’t driven too far towards work, I called him to say once again I thought it was time. Fortunately he was just down the street, unfortunately he had also just gotten a speeding ticket. Not the best way to start off your child’s potential birthday.

We got the older two kids ready for daycare and then headed off to the hospital. The entire car ride I was second guessing myself, still hesitant to believe this trip would end in a delivery.

Wearing a hospital gown, hooked up to the monitors I waited to see if they’d let me stay. At 38 weeks I was considered full-term and I really didn’t want to get sent home again. A nurse entering with a bag of pitocin was a sign that my doctor thought we should give it a go.

With an IV in my arm and the steady rhythm of Ezra’s heart coming from the monitor in my ears, I sat back and prayed the drugs would do the trick. Passing the time by checking my email on my phone, I was surprised to find one from Josh’s sister in Washington state. She was pregnant with twins and was also in the hospital in labor. If everything worked out, Josh’s mom would be getting three new grandbabies that day!

Over the next 9 hours the nurse would periodically come in to check on me and up my pitocin. Each increase would intensify the contractions, but then they’d taper off again. Terrified that they would send me home, I asked them to see if my doctor would break my water. Within a couple of hours of that procedure the two previous times, I had delivered. My doctor never came…we just waited.

Finally, at 6:30 PM, around the same time we found out that our twin nieces had been born, a doctor came in and broke my water. Oh boy! That’s when things began to happen. An hour later found me in a lot of pain and ready to deliver. Now we just had to wait for my doctor’s arrival. Finally after a half hour, he showed up wearing white dress pants! Who wears white dress pants to a delivery? Waiting for his wardrobe change, in addition to the searing pain I was experiencing, frustrated me.

But by 8:15 PM it was all over. My little baby squishy face had arrived. His face, so different from the other two, perplexed me.

From the beginning, everything about him was unfamiliar. Having two children at home, I thought I was an expert…this child was here to show me just how much I still had to learn.

::

Two weeks after delivering Ezra I was back at work. When you live upstairs from your office, it seems like an easy choice to go downstairs and get paid instead of staying home for free. Ezra slept in his infant carrier while I answered phones and worked on stuff for the church.

Life was hectic, but we were pushing through. I was in my final semester of Bible college, working part-time at the church and still trying to take care of things at home. Josh was working full-time at the Bible college, in school part-time and we were pastoring a college age ministry.

Slowly our crazy life began to crumble. We thought we were doing what God had called us to do, and that He would give us the strength to follow through. Instead, we came to realize that not every need in front of us meant that God wanted us to fill it. We had to seriously sit down and evaluate our priorities.

By the time Ezra was 7-months-old I had quit my job and we’d stepped down from the college age ministry. A month later I graduated and school being out for the summer meant Josh’s job was easier. Over the summer we learned to adjust to our reduction in income and, again, had to reassess our priorities.

::

As he stepped on the scale in the doctor’s office, I laughed when I saw the number 30 flash on the screen. My baby boy weighed the same as his 4-year-old sister. He has changed so much from that little 8 lb, 5 oz newborn I held in my arms.

He’s a comedian. He is intensely shy, but once you’ve won him over he’s a lover. He will only eat scrambled eggs if they have soy sauce on them. He loves to dance with his brother and sister. Every evening as Josh walks through the front door, Ezra runs to him with a “Dahdeeee!” He’s my Bubba and I wouldn’t change a thing about him…well, I wish he wasn’t such a picky eater.

This check-up became more to me than an evaluation of my son’s health. It caused me to pause and look back. I can now see that in the last year and a half God has stretched, broken, grown and reshaped me in ways I never could have foreseen. I’ve been feeling like my life has been in a state of false labor…things seem to start happening and then nothing comes of it. But God showed me that He has birthed something new and different from what I expected; and it is just what I needed.

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17 thoughts on “18-month Checkup

  1. I love birth stories! They’re so full of the hope and possibilities each baby brings.

    I’ve been having the same feelings about a life in false labor lately…it never hurts to look back and gain some perspective. Thanks. :)

  2. thanks for visiting my blog….I’m really enjoying yours!! I am such a sucker for birth stories. I’m envious of your upcoming bundle of joy. My youngest is ready to turn 4. sniff. sniff

    • I can’t imagine what life will be like when my youngest is 4! There are many days when I’m ready for them all to be that old though. :) Haha!

  3. He reminds me so much of my little z-man! Really shy, yet hilarious! Picky eater! Weighs the same as his older sister! haha! Your Ezra is such a sweat pea! Can’t wait to hear your next birth story. You are an amazing mommy, Melissa!

    • Thanks, Dana! It’s so weird to me how we’ve ended up with a bunch of blondies relatively the same ages. I love seeing the pics of your kids on FB and seeing what you all are doing. You’re a pretty great mom yourself. :)

  4. Wow, when I saw your name I wondered, but didn’t know for sure. I am Logan, Whitney and Maggie’s Aunt. It really is a small world.

  5. Your analogy really resonated–how life felt like false labor…but God birthed something new, different from what you expected. And it is always (always!) just what we need. Great post!
    Thanks for joining in Flashback Friday!

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