On Tuesday August 13, 2019 I experienced one of the most blessed moments that anyone could ever experience. I began laboring to bring my first-born son into this world. This process began with and early noon bowl of homemade chili and cornbread (heavy on the hot sauce) that commenced the cramps that I will never forget. After approximately seven hours of labor at home, we (I, my husband Stefan, and my doula Jamie) made our way to the birthing center where I planned to give a natural birth to our beloved son. Immediately upon arrival and having my cervix checked for dilation, my water had broken. The labor pains had become much more intense at this point as I was at about 6.5 cm dilated and was after all experiencing a natural labor. The so called “laughing gas” that was supposed to be made available to me at the time either was not functioning properly or was not made for the excruciating labor pains that I was experiencing.
I recall at about 11pm after reaching 7 cm and being stuck there for a few hours feeling miserable. I was hot, I was in a great deal of pain, and no matter how much walking, breathing, and meditating I did at this point with Stefan and our doula, I felt like I was making no more progress. I imagined our sweet baby trying his damndest to make his grand entrance and feeling as frustrated as I was, only alone. There was no relief for the pain and progress had ceased. I felt hopeless. I remember being bent over telling Stefan “I don’t think I want to do this again” no sooner than those words left my lips did the guilt and shame hit me. I was literally in the midst of one of the single most divine moments that could ever be experienced by any human and here I was wishing I wasn’t. That moment did something to me. It was then that I realized that every moment after that required me to be stronger than I had ever been in my life. For the rest of my life! God placed in me a kind of strength that I had not felt since the transition of my mother from this world. What were just feelings of pain and hopelessness quickly turned into fight and determination.
A few hours later my Midwife came in to check the progress of my dilation. Upon her examination my amniotic sac had ruptured putting our baby at risk of ingesting meconium (his first stool) and potentially interrupting or interfering with his breathing. This now posed a problem at the natural birthing center that was not equipped to handle these sort of complications during labor and delivery, so we were quickly transported to a hospital that was.
By this time, I had spent at least 15 hours conducting natural labor and I was worn out to say the least. If the laboring in a hot room for over half a day didn’t do it for me then surely it was the drug free bumpy ambulance ride a midst the contractions that were only a few minutes apart that tried to take me out of the game. After the nine months of mental and physical planning and prepping, I could not have been happier to step foot into a hospital and be given an epidural.
Labor seemed to run smooth at this point until, well, it didn’t. At what had to be around 5pm on Thursday August 15,2020, I was woken out of my sleep rather abruptly by the nurse who began to toss and turn me. Me, frightened and confused, felt my heart slowly sinking into my gut. She explained to me that the monitor showed a significant drop in our baby’s heart rate during some severe contractions that I apparently could not feel due to the medication. The nurse adjusted the doppler and the contractions went away, and everything seemed to be back to normal. The nurse suggested maybe it was the way I was laying (my body was in some sort of pretzel position) and advised me to try and remain laying on my back. After a short period of time, it happened again, and this time appeared to be more alarming to the nurse. She immediately called the doctor who rushed in and by this time the pain was full force. I was now 9 cm dilated and my baby was finally ready begin making his grand entrance into this world. I could feel him making his way down the canal and his head touching the entry way when the doctor looked at me and said, “don’t push!”. Once again, my baby’s entrance was stalled.
The doctor was extremely concerned at the drop in our baby’s heart rate at each contraction that I was rushed into an emergency cesarean section. It was at this moment the surgeon came in and explained to me that they were doing the surgery to prevent any complications from a vaginal delivery and that upon our baby boy’s arrival he would be rushed to the NICU to have his breathing assisted and monitored. I had no time to be afraid in this moment because my baby boy needed me to be strong for him. His life now depended on me.
On August 15, 2020 at approximately 8:36 PM, our son Stefan Joerdan Weathers Jr. entered into this world at 6 lbs. 7oz. This by far had to be the most frightening moment of my life. When they pulled him out of me I did not hear his voice. I remember repeating over and over in my head “Lord please let our baby be ok. PLEASE LORD! Let our baby be ok!”. I waited a second…nothing. I waited another second… still nothing. I waited what felt like another eternity and finally I heard a really quick gasp, then silence. Then finally after what felt to me like at least 30 more seconds I heard a strong and boisterous cry! He cried as they carried him over to me before whisking him off to the NICU. I placed the sweetest kiss on his check and said to him “it’s ok baby. Mommy is here!” He immediately stopped crying. It was as if the familiar voice calmed his frightened soul.
Although I did not get the opportunity to breast feed our son for his first feed or experience skin to skin the first hour of his life, I was grateful that Stefan Sr. was able to take that opportunity to bond with him- feeding him my milk and giving him skin to skin. My heart was thankful and my soul well pleased.
The next day as I waited for the nurse to finally release our baby boy from the NICU I received some devastating news. The day prior, while I was laboring to bring our baby boy into this world, one of my Forever Friends was experiencing a different type of labor pain. Her 6-month-old baby had transitioned from this world. While I was in the process of celebrating the new life of our baby boy, she began mourning the life of her only baby girl. I couldn’t even fully wrap my head around it at the moment. As the nurse placed our baby in my arms, tears rolled down my face. My heart was full of joy and pain at the very same time. All I could think about is having this precious gift taken away no sooner than he had been presented to me. A nightmare I could not fathom.
Today, as I am writing this, marks our baby boy’s ninth month of life. Yesterday, I had a conversation with my Forever Friend. This day marked the ninth month of her child’s transition. We spoke about the precious memories of her sweet baby and the precious developments of my little one. My heart was full to see the smile on her face and feel the joy in her heart because I know that this has not always been what days were like for these past nine months. We talked a bit about those not so great times, but the FaceTime call concluded with the celebration of life. The celebration of her baby girl’s life, the celebration of my baby boy’s life, the celebration of our lives and our journey’s up until this point, and to my pleasant surprise, the celebration of new life!
My Forever Friend informed me that she will be bringing another life into this world. We discussed in depth what that meant to her and for her and while we were having a pleasantly calm conversation my heart and mind was full of thanks and praise. I had not told my friend this but every time I thought about how differently my delivery could have gone, every time I hovered over my baby to make sure he was breathing, every night I laid wide awake making sure my baby was ok, I prayed for her. I prayed for God to be of comfort during her time of grief. I prayed for God to give her peace that surpassed anything that she could ever try to understand. I prayed that God preserved her faith. I prayed that she would continuously be able to find joy in her life and the 6 months of life she was blessed to share with her Rosebud. I prayed that when it was all said and done that, she had no regrets and that in the end God would receive all of the Glory and honor and praise.
We spoke at length about the complexities of life and how as humans we tend to hold on to people and things in this life not realizing they never really belonged to us in the first place. God loved us enough to lend us people and to lend us things and loved us so much more to gift us with memories and moments that will never die. God loved us enough to gift us with His only begotten son and we showed our appreciation by piercing, stabbing, and mocking his very existence. God loved us even more so to will the divine son to be crucified so that we may have life abundantly. God’s love transcends humanity by allowing our lives to never perish despite what the physical may represent.
Our conversation made me recall the transition of my beloved mother. Initially, I found it odd, and quite frankly felt extremely guilty about the feeling of relief when my mom passed away. There was a sadness that over casted life during her last months, but when she passed, there was a feeling of appreciation and joy. I no longer visualized my mother as sick and dying as I saw her every day during her slow decline. I was now able to remember my mother in her fullness. I was now able to basque in the lessons she taught me, the laughs we shared, and the memories we created. I was now able to truly give God thanks for lending me a daughter of the divine for 24 years and for giving me an angel to watch over my newly growing family.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 KJV
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NLT
It is truly beautiful and unique to experience God’s love through Jesus Christ. This can only be experienced by those who believe in God’s word. My friend’s story could be different today. She could have taken her experience as just a loss and blamed God for any sorrow, pain, and devastation that cause her to turn away from her faith. I could have also done the same after the passing of my mother. This is the reality for many who have experienced what we consider to be major loss especially now during this time of pandemic. The good news in the midst of all of the negativity we may be experiencing is that as long as we are have
something to lift up to the Lord, as long as we can muster up the kind of faith that can contaminate our adverse situation, God is able to send the rain during a drought.
I am excited to celebrate new life with my dear friend. While we will never forget the life of her beloved Rose, it is refreshing to usher in the rain during this time of drought.