I woke up full of story this morning. Just ten minutes ago, my finger was ready and waiting to slide across the screen of my phone and turn off the alarm before it made more than a peep of its usual wake-up call. Who knows how or why the fickle Muse most writers talk about was waiting by my bed this morning just for me, whispering before I’d even opened my eyes with thoughts full of imagery and metaphor. Sometimes it feels like a wave you’ve been waiting for out in the ocean: time the catch right and it could take you all the way into shore.
I tiptoe out of our bedroom, and pass the guest-room-turned-nursery that’s waiting for a little bundle of joy to grace it. Two thoughtfully packed bags sit side-by-side on a clean-sheeted bed. The bags ready for the hospital, the bed ready for my Mom. Packing a bag for someone who isn’t around yet — that’s an oddly satisfying experience in hopefulness. The crafty pictures I put together with the silhouettes of birds in bold and colorful patterns watch from the walls and I keep sneaking by.
Behind the next door, a man-child and a toddler are still fast asleep. The older one is reading and coloring and impressing us with his skills nearly every day. Doing something to intentionally hurt his little brother almost every day. The little brother is at an infectious age where I almost always find it nearly impossible not to smile at everything he does. The way he tilts his head or closes his eyes when he has just taken a bite of food that he’s really enjoying. That sweet transitional baby-talk that announces his arrival in the world of communication: He points one out in a book, “Heli-COT-ter!” and I marvel that he didn’t just say “airpwane.”
We feel blessed and we praise them both, steady and often. What a gift, these two boys of ours.
I notice the smell as I make my way to the kitchen: a week of not really having a plan for dinner has resulted in an interesting menu. Last night, chocolate chip pancakes and bacon graced our plates, and then I let the boys stay up an hour past their bedtime because of the sugar rush. The Bear was incredibly excited when he realized those were chocolate chips and not blueberries. We savored them together, the way I’ve been savoring these last days as a family of four, and wondering each night when we put the boys to bed: is this the last time it’ll be just like this?
In the kitchen I slice strawberries over a bowl of cereal and quietly realize we’ll have to get milk or have a plan B before the boys get up. And I sit down and my fingers start moving, because there is this thing I’m just certain I want to say today, although I’m just trusting the Muse to stick around long enough to help me say it.
Today I’ll go to the doctor’s office, and we’ll finally have to discuss the thing I’ve been thinking since my first visit twenty-something weeks ago: the due date discrepancy. By my calculations from records I’m confident in the accuracy of, November 12th was the mark on the calendar I was expecting to circle twice and look toward. After the ultrasound, the doctors said November 4th, and when I questioned it they answered me with confidence in their date, and no room for discussion. So here it is, November 9th — me still waiting, and preparing to go in and argue about whether or not I’ll have to be induced if this goes much longer.
There’s this thing about giving birth I’ve had the privilege of experiencing twice now. Although it took nearly twenty-four hours to get to with the Bear, and less than two with Tiger Tank, each time there was this moment. In the midst of the chaos of enduring hours of pain, or mere minutes of hectic, I remember the last push. Somebody usually calls it, and even if they’ve said it six times before, they’re finally right: “Just one more good push.” It took twenty-six minutes to get to that point with our first boy, it took three pushes to get there with the second.
And you find this strength, although you know not where it comes from. It reminds me of the first time I caught a wave, having traded an ill-suited short board for my friend’s long board for a few minutes one sunny afternoon at the beach. That wave came up, and in perfect timing, my arms and legs pulled and scrambled to get me aboard. Suddenly, I felt that gentle rush, knowing the wave had taken control. My hands instinctively went out in front of me, and with one well-balanced movement, I pushed myself up to my feet. From effort to elation in a single moment — this was the first time I’d really gotten it right, I was up and this wave was taking me in to shore.
That last push brings that same rush, but it’s that rush on steroids. You don’t feel completely in control, but you somehow know that you’re participating in something that is absolutely incredible, amazing, and unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before. It is awesome in the truest sense — there is such a sense of awe in the holy moment, where that timing, that gush of water, and your efforts are fully synchronized to bring that baby in to shore.
It has been a privilege, and I’ve sensed that I was partnering with God then, just as I’ve had the privilege of helping to birth spiritual things, so here is this privilege, the natural birth process.
I cling joyfully to the belief that God wrote each of those stories.
So it’s a funny thing for a pregnant lady past her due date to have the attitude I do — but my attitude is to fight for that story. Not the story I might choose based on discomfort or convenience, but the story that I sense to be written by the hand of God. I don’t intend to pass judgement on anyone who has a different kind of story. The Lord knows I love all kinds of stories — I just feel privileged to have the stories He’s written me into. And I want to let Him do the writing.
For love and romance, for a book or a blog post, I’m sure of this: a good story is worth waiting for.