If any of you know me, I mean really know me, you would know that blood isn't my thing. Hospitals aren't really my thing either. For that matter, surgery, procedures, cuts, wounds, shots, goriness at its core- is not my thing.
But Jesus- obeying Jesus, trusting Jesus, needing Jesus, loving Jesus- those are my "things". And that's why and how I ended up in the delivery room on Sunday watching the entire birth of a precious child.
We arrive to the hospital in the morning and Bethany, Mike, and I sit in a room, just the three of us... Waiting. We wait and wait and nothing that we see as significant changes occur. Nurses come in and out checking on Bethany but no real signs that this birth will be quick are showing. Bethany is calm, and strong, and even in the spread-out, yet uncomfortable contractions, she remains joyful. Joyful because she and Mike know that this child is worth it- worth the pain and the sacrifice and the late nights of consoling her- this child is worth it to them.
After lunch, we are still waiting. We had all sort of assumed that because Bethany's second child was born with such a short labor of only 5 hours, her third would follow suit and we would hopefully have a baby to hold by noon... But little Cora had her own schedule to maintain. So we continue waiting.
A few hours later, and contractions are picking up but still far too inconsistent. Mike and I run to get dinner just down the street. As we are checking out in Publix, Mike gets a call from Bethany telling him the contractions are picking up steadily. We hurry back to the hospital and continue to wait for Cora to be born. One of the nurses informs us that once Bethany is dilated past 6 cm, she cannot go into the bathtub- which we had planned to save for the hour or so that Bethany expected to be in the most pain (between 8-10 cm). This changes plans and puts Bethany immediately into the tub enduring painful contractions for what felt like forever but probably only amounted to about an hour.
I've never had a child and I'm not one to speak, but this part was intense, it was painful, it was draining, it was grueling, but I am reminded that Cora was worth it.
Bethany is in excruciating pain and there's absolutely nothing Mike or I can do to stop it. Bethany simply asks Mike to pray for her, and so we stop- in the middle of this intense time to kneel before our Father and ask for His provision and strength during this time. He gives it- James 1:17. We know her strength is from Him.
We know Bethany is close because she is strong and she repeats, "I'm done." to Mike basically letting him know that Cora will be making her appearance soon. Mike and Bethany repeatedly tell the nurse that "It's time" and they need to call the doctor. Insistent that Bethany needs to get out of the tub and get checked, they skip over the fact that the doctor is needed now. The nurse checks Bethany and realizes she is between 8-9 cm dilated and the baby has dropped- she can feel Cora's head near. It's amazing how Bethany knew- without the doctor's expertise, without checking how dilated she was, without seeing her contractions on the monitor, Bethany knew the timing.
Bethany is quickly transferred to the bed and the doctor finally arrives, frustrated that the nurses didn't call her earlier. The doctor asks Bethany to push, and barely even trying, little Cora is introduced to the world. She is placed on her mother immediately and her father cuts the umbilical cord. She is a little miracle, and the perfect reminder of the Father's heart for His children.
Because in all reality, I am just like little Cora. I was in need of a new birth, of some sort of entrance into a new world where God was my Father, Jesus was my Saviour, and the Holy Spirit was my guide. While Cora relied on nutrients from her mother via the umbilical cord, this was temporary. Cora can no longer survive off of living in her mother's womb. In the same way, the things of this world are too temporary and they cannot give me long satisfaction- the nutrients that I need come from the Word of my Father. I needed to be cleaned, I needed to have all the flesh wiped off of me, and I needed to be made new. He waited for me, He waited and He waited. He knew of the timing all along, He knew to draw me near to Him and He knew the very moment I would be born again as His child. He endured the pain, the agony, the sacrifice- He said I was worth it.
And that's enough to give my life to. I was incredibly blessed to have had the opportunity to watch the birth of little Cora in order to help prepare me for my upcoming time in Haiti delivering little miracles and working in a premature baby medical clinic.
While I was squeemish at the core, and blood really wasn't my thing, Jesus has changed not only my heart but also my fleshly instincts to see the miracles in the unappealing and to remember the importance of the blood that has ultimately wiped me clean and made me redeemed.