There is, I think, some sort of mysterious and perhaps mystical connection between a mother and her daughter that is greatly intensified during the daughter’s pregnancy and delivery of a child. I know that it’s foolish for me try to analyze it and I’m certainly not equipped to understand it, but I have witnessed it up close and personal now on two occasions. I knew, therefore, that while I certainly wanted to be around when Margaret was born it was utterly imperative that I deliver Linda to the delivery if at all possible. Being 70 miles away, at the beginning of “rush hour”, when I heard the words “I think my water broke” put me immediately in road warrior mode. I’ve often remarked that the 70 mile distance to Davenport is one that I could walk if I needed to. At a pace of three miles per hour that would take almost an entire 24 hours. Driving is much easier and it only takes about an hour and twenty minutes. In spite of the rush hour traffic in town, our trip on Thursday, June 5, took an hour and twelve minutes and that included the delay while waiting just 2 minutes from our destination for a semi-truck to make the turn across the highway. Linda sat gesticulating with her arms and saying, “Come on!” in an effort to get the big, burly, bearded truck driver to move out-of-the-way. Had he obeyed her hand, arm and body signals he would have caused an awful incident with oncoming traffic. Bottom line though: Mission accomplished with 20 minutes to spare!
Linda was halfway to the door as I exited the car and heard a cry for “Help!” “Is that Charissa?” “No,” Linda responded, “it’s a peacock!” (yes, a neighbor has peacocks which, according to neighborhood lore, they really don’t own; they just “hang out in their yard”).
When I entered the house and made my way through the kitchen I thought perhaps some levity might be needed so I inquired of no one in particular, “What’s all the noise about?” My inquiry was immediately met with a stern rebuke in the form of words “We need silence here!” Ooops!
Being properly chastised, I consoled myself by taking a cookie from a container on the counter and I made my way to go sit in the corner on the couch.
I had seen the birthing pool on a previous visit, laid out on the dining room floor, flat and dry and rather lifeless with a warning about the dangers of diving printed on its bottom surface. Diving? I suppose anything is possible when you are giving birth but really … diving? Oh well … another mystery to contemplate. And by the way, silence during a baby delivery? What was that all about? Someone needs to tell the movie makers and TV people!
At any rate, I was not quite prepared for the curious scene that filled my vision. The pool was inflated and filled with perhaps 18-24 inches of water. Beside the pool at one end was my dear son-in-law, Ryan, seated or crouching on the floor and holding a glass of ice-water with a straw in it in one hand and holding my daughter’s hand in the other. On the other end was the assistant midwife … the stern lady who had just rebuked me and sent me to the corner … but she was also the sweet lady who almost two years ago greeted me at the hospital with the words “We have a baby!”, and thus announced the birth of Lucy. She was holding two odd pieces of equipment. A small net such as you would use for catching fish in an aquarium. I remember thinking that it was far too small for catching a baby! The other item was, of all things, a blue paddle! Was that for smacking the baby on her butt when she arrived? I just didn’t know. I later observed that the “paddle” was actually a mirror and after having watched the entire process the function of the mirror at least became clearer.
Flitting around from one spot to another was Ryan’s sister, with a camera. Then there was the disembodied voice of someone (the midwife) on the phone who declared that she was not far away but needed to know which exit to take in order to find the house! And there was Linda, having taken her place at the side of the pool, resplendent in all of her grandmotherly glory!
In the middle of the pool was my sweet Muffin, on her hands and knees, swaying to and fro as she alternated between breathing exercises and moans. She, of course, was the center of attention and I suddenly had the thought that it was like watching the production of a National Geographic documentary about the birthing event of some beautiful water creature.
My thoughts were diverted when Ryan’s mom entered the home carrying Lucy. Lucy took it all in quickly and seeing her mommy on her hands and knees in the pool, and moaning she simply pointed at her as if to say, “What’s all the noise about?”
Daddy took Lucy to the poolside and she looked rather stoically at the activity there and then sat down on the floor and began eating pieces of fruit from a bowl that had been provided. This was, after all, taking place in the dining room, so why not?
As if drawn by a magnet, the two grandmothers drew to one another’s side with arms interlaced as they watched with rapt attention.
The midwife arrived, came in to see how things were progressing and then went out again to get her bag of equipment.
Things moved rapidly at that point and I stood to get a better view.
“The head is out”
“You are doing great Charissa, reach down and touch her head”
“Here she comes”
At this point I noticed the grandmothers hugging each other and crying their eyes out.
And there was Margaret with a head full of dark hair, lying on her mother’s breast as she leaned back exhausted against the side of the pool and said, “I just had a baby in my home”
Thus began Margaret’s story at 5:35 pm.
Surrounded by the flurry of post birth activity in attending to baby and mother, I stood by and silently prayed, even as a tear … well maybe more than one … trickled down my cheek and found a hiding place in my beard:
Thank you God, for the safe delivery of this precious little one. Thank you for the joy that she has brought already in these first few moments of her life. Thank you for this family and for the privilege of sharing this moment together. Lord help us, from this moment on, to love and nourish and teach Margaret in ways that will bring her to the Savior at an early age, and equip her to serve and honor you throughout her life. Help Grammy and me to be godly examples and to provide help and encouragement to those who live in this home as they face the challenges of raising and being a family in this world that is no friend of Christ’s. Thank you for this blessing and for the blessings that come with her. In Jesus name. Amen.