Thursday, September 13, 2007

Four Years Ago

September 13 2003, was a day of great grace, amazing answers to prayers, and wonderful works of the Lord, more in number than I can name.

After nineteen weeks in pregnancy at a regular midwife visit I measured 25 weeks. Our midwife was suspicious and I certainly felt pressure and heaviness already. So an ultrasound was scheduled for May 6th 2003. As soon as the ultrasound technician put the instrument on my belly you could see two little bodies. We were in awe! I had asked the Lord if He was willing to bless us with twins again and he heard my request.. She went on to measure them and we found out it was two boys! I was thrilled too for the experience our children would have in this adventure of twins. Caleb and Daniel were such a joy and a lot of work! I was really looking forward to the help I would receive. As we shared our most wonderful news, we had many responses, most were very happy and excited, a few said “I’m glad it’s you and not me,” and some were not too encouraging. As we shared also our desire when asked where we were going to have them, and we responded that Lord willing we want to have a homebirth, there was sometimes silence, concern and council to pray about that. The enemy was using their concerns and possibly fears to make me become fearful and concerned. I began praying and Terry too, that the Lord would show us His will in this situation. I wanted to go to the hospital if the Lord wanted me to, and if the Lord wanted us to have them at home I wanted to do just that. I remember one night just praying and pleading with the Lord to please show me what he wanted. The next morning I was reading in Isaiah 8:11-22. “For the Lord spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people saying, say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear nor be afraid.” This was my answer, and how merciful the answer so clear! NEITHER FEAR YE THEIR FEAR NOR BE AFRAID. Verses 17-19, And I will wait upon the Lord that hideth his face from the house of Jacob and I will look for him. Behold, I and the children who the Lord hath given me are for sings and for wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion. And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter; should not a people seek unto their God? For the living to the dead?”

Why should I not trust my God! After receiving this scripture I felt like I could conquer Goliath. From that point till the babies arrived there was complete peace of where they were to be born. Along the way the Lord gave such incredible scriptures. I wrote in the margin of my Bible, “twin preg.-03 by so many scriptures.

Ps. 37:5 “Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” So many familiar ones but God was speaking so fresh and real to my heart. Ps. 57:7 “My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed, I will sing and give praise.” Ps. 62:5 “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.” And then verse 8 “Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us.” Selah.”

As the eighth month came up, (August) I did have to pretty much stay in the bed, mostly because laying down was the only comfortable position. The Lord continued to pour forth his scriptures like Ps. 27:14 “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strength thine heart: wait I say on the Lord.” Also Ps. 32:10…”But he that trusteth in the Lord mercy shall compass him about.”

Our midwife had expressed that the babies had to stay in til 38 weeks, so this was our main prayer. They were exactly one week early! I will have to say that the nine month season of carrying them was the most enlightening, spiritual, and the closest communion with the Lord that I’ve ever experienced. The Lord gave me great faith that I was able to embrace it by his grace. It’s a season that I often meditate on, not about me, but just the wonder of God and all he did.

The labor time was peaceful yet very tiring. I remember after Joel came out I just wanted to lay down and go to sleep…but I couldn’t. Joel was born at 12:41 p.m. Weighing 6 lbs. 5 oz. and Josiah at 1:09 pm weighing 6 lbs. 6 oz. The Lord blessed us with these two precious gifts…so small, so needy, so perfect, two little babies! My midwife sent a very special letter this past July that is a treasure to my heart and with her permission I want to share some of it with you.

I have been especially reminiscent of Joel and Josiah’s birth and am going to write some thoughts here. The day Joel and Josiah were born, Cindy called at 7:30 am, to let me know she had been having contractions since 3:30 am. After calling the other midwives to come, I hurried and actually fell all the way down my stairs. Sitting there, quieting myself to make sure all was well, I decided what was most important was to quiet myself, I have to admit, that I was excited. During the previous months earlier, when we found that Cindy was going definitely give birth to twins, I asked the Lord for three things and was thrilled to see God answer prayer! Specific and definite. That is something I like about God. He takes care of details and nothing is too small or large to bring to him. And I like that he doesn’t waste anything. He uses what he has taught us in the past, to show of more of himself – for each new day!
Mark and I continued to plead with God to lead, direct, and protect Cindy and the babies.

One, I asked the Lord for both babies to be head down. I know that the second twin does not really have to be, but it was something I asked him for,. I can honestly say, I did not pray out of fear, but believe that awareness of the need, made it okay for me to ask this request of him that both babies be head down.
The second request was that two other midwives would be
willing to assist. Yes, the Lord provided there as well. Two were willing and open to assisting.

The last request, was that Cindy would be able to keep these babies in until 38 weeks.
Cindy was 39 weeks, when she went into labor. The Lord of Glory did it! The scripture he gave me was Jeremiah 32:27.

I arrived at Cindy’s at 9 am. Cindy was sitting in a chair, working well w/ contractions, which were about 6 minutes apart. She was 6-7 cm, 90% effaced and Baby A (Joel) was +1 station. Joel’s little head felt normal. It was normal, strong, normally molded to allow the process of birth to be just right. Of both of the babies, I wondered if he would be the most physically powerful one. Of both babies, I felt a little sorry for him, because he was the one to have had to do the hardest work. To be the first born and be the one to dilate the cervix.

The other midwives arrived. An answer to prayer. Both arrived and were aware of what their roles would be in serving this family. We’d talked about it. I knew the Lord had orchestrated which midwives were to be there and directed which jobs they were to do. They later described the birth as blessed, a special time, unlike any other birth.

Cindy walked, rocked and leaned over her furniture with contractions. Each woman does something different to find a place of surrender in her labor. One thing that Cindy does during her labors that seems to bring comfort to her sweet soul is to hum hymns to herself. It seems to allow her to keep her soul centered on the task at hand. I thought about all the babies she had sang to in the womb. Blessed is the child whose mother knows Jesus and even in the womb, will share the message of salvation.
She lay on her left side for a little while and I thought she had a great sense of peace and tranquility about her. Both babies had great heart tones. Although they were in the womb together, their hearts beat separately, each having its own rhythm and rate. Joel 140-144 beats per minute and Josiah 140-148. At 12:00 pm, Cindy was complete. As so many women today (mostly in other countries), even those in the Bible, she got on the birth stool. She breathed Joel down, without pushing. He came down gently and she was able to get a little break between contractions before active pushing began.

Terry and Cindy seemed to both work so well together to bring both Joel and Josiah. Terry stayed right there next to Cindy, encouraging her, whispering sweet things into her ear. He encouraged her with his love. Many women do not have the privilege of having this encouragement from their husband, or even the body of Christ. Women need encouragement from their husbands and others, in rearing children. Unlike labor of a baby – Which I have determined is usually “a day”. The fruit of a Mother’s labor is long- years – they need encouragement to continue in their work of labor.

I am glad others were able to witness Terry and Cindy working together as well- especially those who were unbelievers. It wasn’t something rehearsed or put on for show. It was right. It was them – Genuine!! The way they work together, yet separately doing what each member is to do. One may encourage, while the other feels the sensations, but both labor, together. With active pushing at 12:31, Joel was born within 10 minutes into my hands and immediately up to his dear Mother’s chest, with a loud lusty cry, which was comforted in the arms of his Mama and Daddy. That scene is often in my mind. Joel being the first one out of Cindy’s body, delivered out of her body into her arms. At his funeral, I just kept thinking he was the first one of the twins into her arms and the first of her children in the arms of Jesus. Something I think all Christian parents desire is that all of their children will receive the reward of their faith – to be in the presence of the Father eternally. It is not that we expect it when they are children – to receive this reward. We expect them to grow old. The Bible However, tells us it is “far better” to be with Christ. This is perplexing to me, but know in my mind it is better, only because “he tells me so”.. I still remember the look in Cindy’s face. She appeared to want to hold Joel longer, but the contractions were coming and she knew her task at hand. To birth Joel’s brother – Josiah. We put a little ribbon on Joel’s ankle. One midwife took him and held him, while Baby Josiah was born VERY quickly at 1:09, just 28 minutes after his brother. I always hope that Josiah, even though he will live a life without Joel’s physical presence, will remember how his older brother, made a way for his birth to be fast, easy, since Joel had already “opened the gate” for him to pass through his mama’s body. I still see Joel as a gentle leader- Leading the Family Upward!!

Baby Josiah, appearing slightly smaller in size went right up to Mama and Daddy’s arms and all were delighted in the Lord’s deliverance. It is a message that I wish all women would take to heart. The Lord is the one who delivers!! And in this birth, it was a beautiful sight to behold. These precious boys, and this precious family, who would never be the same.

I am often asked what my favorite part of midwifery is. Honestly, it has its joys! Great Joys in being a part of a family's most precious memorable time in their lives! But my favorite part is right before the baby comes. Because up to that point, the family is established into one kind of unit, but right when the baby (and especially in this case - the babies) comes -- EVERYTHING changes.

The father, mother, and the entire family grow. Thy will NEVER be the SAME. Each of their lives are changed dramatically-- forever. They do not just multiply in numbers, but the LOVE is richer, enhanced, deeper, and more rooted and grounded in what is most important.
Joel was the first baby (besides those who’d died before breathing the breath of life outside the womb) that I’ve assisted in the delivering. Joel and Josiah’s birth and Joel’s illness and right for respect of life, have changed many families and ministry in midwifery as well. I have learned a great deal from you.
I love you all so much!!!

All my Love in Christ Jesus,

Today is a day of joy and sadness. For 3 birthdays they have always sat side by side at the party, it’s hard to my heart to see Josiah alone. But I’m seeking to fine and see the blessings of today too, the Lord has granted another 4 year old, Josiah to be here on September the 13th, so we are able to celebrate. We have each other, God is faithful, and Joel is safe in the arms of Jesus. God has blessed us with Josiah for 4 years and our lives are blessed by having Joel for 3 years, 4 months, and 10 days. This scripture is so precious to my heart as I think about Josiah and especially Joel. Ps. 139:13-17 “For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them!”

Thank you, O Lord for all you have done!
I will post Josiah's 4th Birthday a little later today!!!!



Emma R. said...

Happy Birthday Josiah! I am sorry your brother Joel isn't sitting next to you today, he is having is party in Heaven with Jesus, but I know he is looking down and you and smiling! You are such a big boy now! I hope you get lots of good presents and eat lots of cake. Today is my little boy's birthday and we are having cake here too! He is 6. We think of you and Joel when we light our candles on the cake! Lori (Emma's Mom)

Lockwoods said...

What a beautiful testimony! The Lord has touched my heart through your lives. My eyes are filled with tears, yet my heart filled with thankfulness and praise to our loving Lord who gives us His strength and grace each day.
I especially appreciated the part about you deciding to follow the Lord's guidance and have Joel and Josiah at home. My dh and I are expecting our number 11. Our oldest is 10. We have heard much criticism and gotten the cold shoulder from many family and friends. Yet the joy the Lord gives in knowing we can just trust Him and the blessing each baby is renews my faith. Our last 2 babies were born by c-section. We live in Mexico several hundred miles away from the US, but we've found a doctor who is willing to let us try to have a natural labor. My husband and I would both like to do this and have been asking the Lord for guidance. Of course, we've hardly mentioned this to anyone and the ones who do know have given much caution and said some hurtful things. I appreciate your encouragement to listen to the Lord. I oft so easily get discouraged.
I pray for you each time you come to my mind...sometimes many times a day. God bless you and Happy 4th Birthday Josiah. Our Josiah turned 4 this summer to :)

Christine said...

This post is such a testimony to your faith; thank you for sharing it. I loved seeing how God carried you through the homebirth of your precious boys.