This past weekend, I attended another birth as a doula, and once again, it was nothing short of the most amazing experience of my life. I always knew I loved being at births, but I now finally realized a little better why.
When I arrived at the hospital on Friday evening to join the laboring, soon-to-be mommy and her husband, it was already around 9pm, an hour before my bedtime. I warmly greeted them both, then rubbing away any sleepiness that may tempt me, I quietly began unpacking my bags in the corner of the room. I got out my massage oil, a warm compress, and some other comfort tools that have come to be my go-to items.
Then gently, I knelt beside mom, who was closing her eyes and slowly rocking back and forth while breathing deeply through her contractions in the dimly lit room. The only thing that could be heard was the soft music playing from her bedside and her soft, rhythmic moans and groans. On the outside, she looked like she was in perfect peace, but I knew this took great effort to remain calm through the intense waves taking over her body.
As the contractions grew in intensity and strength, the clock on the wall tick-tocked faithfully with us through the night. I massaged soothing oils into her body from head to toe, I spooned ice chips into her dry mouth, I gave her sweet honey for nourishment, and I gently wiped away drips of sweat with a cool wash cloth across her brow. Anytime she needed to change position, I was there to offer my hands, my arms, my body to support her. Sometimes I sang softly to her, and all throughout, I was praying for her. I gave her my all.
It is no wonder the word ‘doula’ comes from the Greek word meaning female servant. Together, we labored hard and after hours of tremendous work, we saw the sun come up together. Then we labored some more.
It wasn’t until noon the next day when the sun was high up in the sky and blazing warm and bright for its first day of autumn that it suddenly became time to push. Although no one could say when exactly this time would come, just like that, it was time.
By this point, I felt just as invested in this birth as the mother, and I, too, had great anticipation to see this baby. I had also been in her shoes three times before with my own births, and I could just imagine what she was feeling.
Suddenly, the time had come to see and behold the birth, the baby she had been waiting and hoping for all this time.
You see, when this mother found out she was pregnant nine months before this moment, she was thrilled. She took multiple pregnancy tests–maybe 3 or 4 or 10–just to be sure. And even though they all said positive, there was still some level of doubt.
Could it really be true?
But then she saw her belly growing, and she couldn’t believe it! The first visible sign of her baby. She knew she would probably be getting stretch marks soon, but that didn’t even matter because she was going to have a baby. Then other signs came popping up. She felt strange things like cravings, nausea, hormonal imbalances, and little kicks to her rib cage.
Soon, her whole life began to revolve around this child she had not yet met, but only knew from all these signs of life within her.
There was no doubt, really. Of course this baby was real, and one day soon, the baby would be here, outside, and in her arms.
Yet as much as she thought she now knew and believed that this baby was there and coming, it was still only in part. She could not possibly fathom what it would really feel like to finally SEE and know and behold this baby in the flesh.
That is, until this very moment–the moment of truth.
She was now in position, and holding breath after breath, she began to push with all her might. And for awhile, nothing seemed to have changed much. Baby was still inside, and all you could see was still the great effort on the mother’s part.
But then suddenly, it happened. The once unthinkable, the once unbelievable, the thing once merely an object of hope… began to appear.
We saw a glimpse of her hair, and it was all we needed to explode. That is when everyone in the room came alive. Whether moments ago weary or ever in doubt, we were all now jolted into amazement and belief. And though mom had hardly anything left within her, this glimpse was all she needed to gather herself the strength to push once more through the sweat now mixed with tears.
And before we all knew it, this baby, a REAL. LIFE. BABY… came out and was ACTUALLY in the room with us.
This baby whom we saw and knew only in part through the listening of heartbeats, the sonograms, and all the other signs was finally now fully before us. And more than anything imaginable, this baby was absolutely beautiful, bursting with life, and perfect! Better than perfect, in fact.
There is nothing like a newborn baby taking its first breath of air, letting out its first unique and sweet cry into the universe, and beginning the first few seconds of its new life. You feel like the world and the heavens actually pause for a moment along with everyone else in the room to simply marvel at the sight.
Then I had a thought. This is how our Savior also came into this world! But how much more anticipation and fulfillment came with the sight of His birth? I can only imagine the thrill of Mary, Joseph, the wise men, and the shepherd after they finally saw the boy Jesus who was promised to them.
And now we only have to wait for His return.
And in the same way, this is how I imagine waiting for Jesus’ second coming along with the manifestation of the fullness of heaven on earth.
We see some of it now. We may even feel like we see a lot of it now. We see great signs of Jesus all around us, and we KNOW and BELIEVE both Him and His words are real.
But it is all still largely only in part.
Only when He returns will we understand, and see, and know Him in full, and how glorious will that day be!
Even now, He is sooooo good to us, and we think we know Him pretty good already. Can you imagine the FULLNESS? Face to face, no more tears, no more pain, but only pure and unadulterated love and glory in His magnificent and beautiful and perfect presence.
For those who have been seeing evidences of Jesus now. For those who have been waiting, rocking back and forth on your knees in prayer, groaning with longing for the time to come and for this pain stricken world to pass. Jesus is coming again. The promise will be birthed. And it is going to be nothing short of THE MOST AMAZING MOMENT IN ALL OF CREATION.
I can’t wait to be thrust into that completeness of joy in knowing, breathing, beholding the FULLNESS of Jesus and heaven.
For those who wonder how or why I can love being a doula, now you know. And for this reason, I always leave births a bit spent but as wide-eyed and in awe as ever. I love being a doula and waiting on a birth.
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.