I clenched the rail of the balcony and scowled at the West Maui Mountains. I really wished I was in labor. I was 40 weeks pregnant with our second child. Our first had been born at home on the mainland. She had a beautiful birth in spite of several complications—a quiet, graceful entry into the world of light right there in my room, while I concentrated on the trees outside and squeezed my husband’s hand. I loved having her at home. I loved that I didn’t have to scramble to make sure I had my makeup bag, wallet and camera; shove my big belly into the car; hurry into a cold, blank room at the hospital; and birth my child on someone else’s bed. I was home. Tiny Felicity entered our world surrounded by smiles and the smell of home-made lasagna. I wanted the same for my little boy.
But I was past my due date, and frustrated. I had privately decided that Malachi would be born on the 27th. Felicity had been born on the 27th, and that way their birthdays would be exactly eighteen months apart. Besides, my parents were coming on the 29th, and I wanted him to be born before they arrived. Malachi didn’t come. My parents did. My mom hugged me warmly and informed me she had been praying that I wouldn’t have the baby till she got there. Thanks, Mom.
Now it was morning. Sunshine poured over the rim of Haleakala and splashed in warm, rosy pools all across the front yard. I had had a few contractions, and even gotten excited enough to call my midwife, but the contractions had died away. Now if I had any at all they were feeble and far apart. Mom brewed coffee. Dad pulled out the map and started planning an outing. I felt queasy and out of sorts. I went out on the balcony and clutched the railing, wishing it were a different day; wishing it were the day Malachi was coming, wishing I could wish myself into labor and beyond, wishing I could hold my son.
My midwife came by late in the morning. I poured her some coffee and poured out my troubles with it. Why couldn’t I just have this baby already? Why was I feeling so sick? Why those straggling, half-hearted contractions? She listened for 20 minutes, offered consoling, wise words, and then offered to check me to see if those contractions had done any good.
As she pulled on a latex glove, she asked, “Do you think you are dilated?” “I sure hope so.” I mumbled. “About how far would you think?” I desperately wanted to bid high, maybe 5 or 6, but that wasn’t realistic, “Maybe 3 or 4?” I said hopefully. “Let’s see…” The midwife’s face was calm and concentrated and then suddenly she giggled. “What?” I demanded, “What??” She sat on my bed, her head thrown back, laughing. “Girl, you are at 9 1/2 centimeters! You are just about to have this baby! Wait, don’t push. Let me get my birth kit. Let me call my assistant!”
Two hours later, while the maintenance guy was mowing the yard and mom was baking pizza, my midwife laid my strong, steamy little son across my knees. Friends and family were gathering in the living room. A breeze was blowing in from Hana side, wafting warmth and flowers into the room. My midwife left me with Malachi, and I had a private moment to ask God to overlook my ingratitude of the morning and to thank Him for delivering my boy so easily and so punctually.
He came precisely when God intended.
Image Credit: Faith Fitt