Praise Him Today!

IMG_0813April 14, 2013 – As the mother of twins, I know a thing or two about giving birth. On the morning of October 4, 1994, my husband and I went to the OB for my regular checkup. I was 37 ½ weeks pregnant, very tired, and very big. I left work the evening before fully intending to ask my doctor for a note to excuse me from work for the rest of my pregnancy. Little did I know that I would not be going back to work and that I would deliver my twins later that evening – at 6:52 and 6:59 pm to be exact.

When we arrived at my appointment, the doctor checked the babies’ heart beats.

“I don’t want to alarm you, but one of the babies’ heart beats is irregular. To be on the safe side, I want to induce labor. You don’t have to break the speed limit or run any red lights, but go directly to the hospital. You are going to deliver these babies today,” the doctor said calmly.

“Have these babies today?! I guess I won’t be going back to work after all,” I mused.

We arrived at the hospital, got checked in, and were sent to a delivery room to wait. It was about 1 pm when the doctor induced labor. Even though my husband and I had previously agreed that I would have natural childbirth, the pain had become more than I anticipated, and only a few hours in, I politely requested an epidural. The nurse very matter-of-factly informed me that, unfortunately, I was too far along to get an epidural and I would have to have a natural delivery at this point.

So I focused on a spot on the wall, envisioned my cervix as a blossoming flower (I had read about this in a book), and did my Lamaze breathing exercises. I’m convinced that Lamaze techniques are nothing more than a ploy or placebo to distract pregnant women from the pain, because all the breathing did was cause me to hyperventilate and get lightheaded.

Eventually, however, my cervix was fully dilated and effaced (evidently, the blossoming cervix trick had worked). It was time!

“Push that baby girl out!” the labor nurse commanded, sounding somewhat like a head cheerleader.

Obediently, I pushed. And I pushed again, and again, and several more times over the next few minutes. And then suddenly, my daughter, Ali was born.

“It’s a girl!” the doctor proclaimed.

“6:52,” the baby nurse announced.

The doctor showed us her face, and I caught a glimpse of her full head of dark, curly hair before she was quickly whisked away. The nurse had to check her vitals and clean her up, and there was still more work to be done. I would have just 7 minutes to pull myself together and do it all over again.

The second baby was sideways – transverse, they call it – and because of all the extra room that was available now that Ali had recently vacated the premises, the doctor pushed down on the imprint the baby made on my abdomen and gently turned him head first! No C-section required for me today!

“Are you ready to have your son?” the doctor asked.

I felt like an old pro this time. I knew exactly how to push and what sensations to expect. He came out in just 3 pushes. Not nearly as much hair as Ali, but Richard was an inch longer and half a pound heavier.

“6:59,” the nurse said, her head turning to note the time.

“It’s a boy!” the doctor exclaimed.

They whisked Richard away, too, but meanwhile they brought Ali back, sound asleep and wrapped snugly in a blanket. She was beautiful. My firstborn baby girl! Soon after, they brought Richard. He was already sleeping, too, and very handsome.

A few days later, when we got home, we watched the video that my husband had taken during the birth. He had set the camera up on a tripod, pressed record, and let it run; we had both forgotten it was recording during the delivery. It wasn’t until later, when we watched the video that we realized something had transpired without our conscious awareness.

We had decided not to know the sex of the babies in advance. But evidently, the doctors were able to determine their sex from the ultrasound that was done during labor. Otherwise, how would the nurse and doctor have known to say, “Push that baby girl out” and, “Are you ready for your son?” They knew even when we didn’t know.

It also occurred to me that God knew the exact moment that my children would be born even when we didn’t know it. He already knew the morning I went to the doctor for a routine checkup that just a few hours later, my children would be born. God knows our beginning and our end. Every day of our lives is written in his book. He knew us in our mothers’ wombs!

There’s something I say to myself when I need some encouragement: “What if today is the day before I get the very thing I’ve been praying about and waiting for? I should praise him today like I already have everything I’ve been waiting for!”

Just like God knew we would have our twins on October 4, 1994 at 6:52 and 6:59 pm and he already knew their gender even when we didn’t, God knows exactly what he has in store for me. And he wants me to praise him now like I already have it!  I’m praising him today! What about you?