I shared how the Lord reached out and hugged me via doctrinally rich songs of praise and worship on Sunday. Guess what? He did even more than that. He gave me one of my favorite gifts in the whole wide world: watching a baby be born.
Sunday before worship, we have a fellowship time between services. I saw a sweet lady who was due at the end of thee week and chatted with her a bit. Then she says that it is a home birth. Next thing I know, I’m saying, “Do you have a photographer? If not, I’d love to do that for you.”
No, we weren’t really friends.
No, I didn’t even remember her last name.
No, our families have never hung out at all.
She still said yes! So, I suggested she go ahead and text me the directions to her house for “whenever” she went into labor.
At midnight, I got a text, “FYI: Stephanie started into labor. Midwife here. Hopefully baby coming soon.”
I leaped right out of my bed. Grabbed my camera and emptied my card while throwing clothes on quickly. Stephanie had said that her last labor was only four hours, so I assumed I didn’t have much time.
Again, I drove in the snow to a birth for someone I didn’t know really well, but was privileged to be invited to one of the most beautiful moments a woman has. I have to admit that I was glad I wasn’t walking uphill in fourteen inches this time. Though, that was really exciting.
I arrived to find Stephanie and Andy walking and using counter pressure. She teaches the Bradley method, the same method Charlsie uses, so there was already a familiar air in the room. And then I watched her “do her thing”.
And it was beautiful.
I don’t know how it is possible to experience joy & exhilaration while also wanting to bawl & grieve, but that is what I experienced for six hours. Don’t get me wrong, I was not unhappy. I was thrilled to be there and blessed to be capturing moments for this sweet couple.
Still, I have a bond with Charlsie that is dear to me, experiencing the same thing with her two times. My first home births. My first experience with midwives. My first photo shoot for a birth.
Incredibly special. Powerful. Dear to my heart.
And I found it overwhelming that My Awesome God would bring me to this place while in the midst of pleading for Charlsie’s heart and mind… to a home birth.
It was so familiar, yet unique.
It was so joyful, yet heart wrenching.
It was so peaceful, yet prayerful.
When I doula-ed for Charlsie, I prayed constantly. It’s just how I doula. I pray during contractions. I pray as she rests. I pray as she pushes. It’s all covered in prayer and an act of prayer for me, even while using my camera to celebrate.
This time, the prayers were for two home birth mamas. One laboring to deliver and one laboring to live.
It was a bit surreal.
And oh so beautiful.
Stephanie’s mom, two midwives, and her supportive husband let her lead the way in how to handle the labor. She used the birthing ball. She walked. She leaned on her husband. She used the tub.
Oh, my golly, while she rested in the tub, she looked so much like Charlsie to me.
And hours later, she delivered at home for the first time and for the first time in the birthing pool.
Her daughter came forth gently as Stephanie took her time pushing so as to be productive and for it to be less painful.
There, in a bathroom, surrounded by love and prayers and support, a child joined a family. A mother rejoiced in the fruit of her labor. A father basked in the awesomeness of his wife.
And I was privileged to see it all.
I have attended three home births now, two of them Charlsie’s. And while this one wasn’t hers, it felt completely connected to her.
She would be thrilled to know I got to do it. I can’t wait to tell her about it some day.
Friends, never doubt the truth that The God of Christianity is personal. He is. While other religions have rules and distant gods to please and perform for, Christianity offers me and you the One True God who is intimately involved in and cares for every aspect of your life.
He is the God Who Sees.
And He is the Giver of All Good Gifts.
This week, He brought me an amazing gift of attending and photographing a birth. A true gift. My favorite kind. And this time, it was a gift in another way, drawing me near to the Lord as I prayed for a friend who defined home birth for me. Another true gift. Two gifts in one. And I am so grateful.
The only thing better would be for Charlsie to be fully healed, so I can share it with her.
After attending almost a dozen births as a doula/photographer, I am still blessed like crazy to see every birth. Watching a child be born is nothing short of miraculous. Every single time. What an amazing honor to see.
Can you believe He gave me this?