As I watched the nurses scurry through our Labor and Delivery Room on May 14, 2016, I had no idea what I was about to witness. I knew my wife and I were soon going to hold are our firstborn son, but that was simply our destination.
What inspired awe in me was the journey.
Truth be told, my work on the road to delivery was minimal. Yes, I went to classes; I put baby furniture together, and I did small tasks when needed. But my body did not undergo a deeply profound, life-bringing transformation. I was not the one who felt the pains of a another human kicking me from the inside. Never did I have to experience the garden of Gethsemane emotions of knowing the hardest challenge of my life lay in the next 24 hours.
By comparison, I pretty much just showed up to the hospital.
My wife tells the whole story better than I, so I won’t relay it here. After all, I now find it to be her’s more than mine. From the beginning, the hospital only had two patients: my wife and our child. I was the plus one. Even when it came to start the final push toward delivery, any nurse in the unit could have literally done anything I did. Had I not been there, the delivery would have been just as successful.
And successful it was. After over 24-hours of invasive medicines, disconcerting tests, and endless small procedures, my wife gave the final push that brought our dear, sweet boy into the cold air of the hospital room. She went through ninety of the most grueling, most exhausting, most intense minutes I have ever witnessed in my life. And she ran them like an Olympian. My wife is a wonderful woman whose done much to be celebrated; she’s made me a proud husband time and time again. But I cannot think of any other time I have been more proud of any human being than when my wife fought through the last hour of our son’s delivery.
My wife’s epidural had run its course before this gauntlet began, meaning that she. felt. EVERYTHING. She accepted the suffering, dug deep, and embraced it over and over again, not for herself but for the life inside her—-for our little one whom had she had carried for over eight months. She went the distance in that labor and delivery room, and it may be the most beautiful display of raw human determination and strength I will ever see on earth.
Did she show she was hurting? Yes. But not once did she blame anyone in the room; rather she would say “please” when begging them to stop whatever new torment was needed to further the delivery and say “sorry” when she was completely spent and had to stop pushing. She remained a lady of manners and courtesy under duress.
When all was said and done, she held our wonderful son in her arms, and she had a glow about her I have never seen on a person until that night. “Angelic” is not the correct word, but it’s close. She had gone from complete exhaustion and utter agony to total satisfaction. Hers was a beauty that I could never have imagined.
I could go on singing her praises. Part of me wants to, but I will end with this: people talk about the biological ugliness of the birth process; they mention the sights, smells, and sounds, and leave women to feel themselves disgusting for their fight to bring life into the world. Cultural conversations surrounding a child’s healthy delivery make it seem horrific. My experience was nothing of the kind. That night, my wife looked more beautiful than any woman I had ever seen. She was simply stunning, and I was in awe.
And have continued to be as I’ve watched her be a loving mother this week.