I had been having strong Braxton Hicks contractions for weeks. I had a stress test on Wednesday, June 3rd, and everything looked good. I saw my doctor on Monday morning, June 8th, and she told me it could be anytime.
Sometime in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, June 9th, we went to the hospital once more. A sweet friend, I cannot remember who, came to stay with the children with promises to get them to school the next day. By the time we completed the admittance process and finally settled into the same labor room I had been in the last time I had a baby, I was done in, spent. Contractions were coming hard and I knew it couldn’t be long, but I was so tired of struggling, of holding myself together, of wrestling through the fears and the anger and the numbness and the possibilities, I had nothing left for the labor.
The nurse, Cliff says it was the same one as before, but I can’t remember, asked me if I wanted something for pain. I knew if I waited much longer an epidural would be out of the question. Allison was the only delivery I had ever made it through naturally, and I didn’t even want to try again.
“Yes, give me an epidural,” I told her. “And hurry up!” I don’t know if I actually said those last words or if the screaming voice only reverberated in my head.
An epidural is no fun. Trying to hold still while they stick a needle in your back isn’t particularly easy, but once it was done I could rest while my body labored, aware of the pressure of the contractions, but no longer fighting them. It really wasn’t long, maybe an hour and a half, before they wheeled me into the delivery room.
The same windowless room that had felt so cold and sterile and empty the last time I was there was full of light and movement and anticipation. Everyone knew my story, the nurses, my doctor, Cliff, all waited with me for the life about to emerge.
I pushed at their command, again and again, until I felt the release, the absence of pressure.
And then the cry.
The doctor placed that sweet baby on my stomach and said, “You have a girl.”
I cried. Cliff cried. I think the doctor cried.
Tears of joy this time.
“I can’t believe I have a girl,” I said. “I can’t believe God gave me a girl.”
Oh, such joy!
Jeanetta Christine Bennett was born at 5:10, Tuesday morning, June 9, 1987. She weighed 7 pounds, 4 ounces, 19 1/4 inches long.
Jeanetta, her name, means God’s gracious gift.
In those days, a hospital stay was required, so it was Thursday before we came home. We stopped by the school and picked up Jenifer and Andrew and my mother and dad brought Stephen home. You must only imagine the rejoicing, the excitement, the tremendous delight this little one brought. This is one of my all-time favorite photos of our children. Need I say any more?