Our little preemie boy, Gideon, is living up to his name. The name Gideon is Hebrew and it has a few meanings connected to it: Mighty Warrior, Feller (meaning to take down or topple), Destroyer. We joked that we weren’t going to apply the “destroyer” title to Gideon and went more for the Mighty Warrior theme.
But he is a little destroyer. Not on purpose, mind you. He’s the sweetest little 5 pound boy you’ll ever hold. But everything about how he came to be, how he was born, how his situation progresses destroys… me, and my pride.
I didn’t realize how much I worshipped the idol of my own self-sufficiency. I’m a very healthy person, able to bring babies to term, able to breastfeed twins, able to raise a houseful of kids, able to do what I set my mind to – normally. And it gave me great pride. I wasn’t able to connect with or understand the struggles of other mothers and the heartache that comes with giving it all you’ve got and it’s just not enough.
Even from conception, he destroyed a few of my plans. I wanted to train for my very first 5k – but we found out I was expecting and put that on a back burner for a while. I trucked on through my pregnancy, fully expecting to have a home birth with baby number seven because all seemed well and I was healthy. I continued life as normal, taking care of my family, starting this blog, sharing recipes, just trying to get it all done.
And then at 34 weeks, my body couldn’t keep up. My blood pressure shot up to dangerous levels.
It started out around 140/90 one day and within a week it was reading 180s/100s and higher. Just before labor was induced at 34 weeks and 5 days it spiked to 210/115. I was on medicine to keep me from having seizures. I just couldn’t carry him any longer.
My home birth plans destroyed. My idol of personal health and strength destroyed.
We were admitted to the hospital to be induced and I still held on to stubborn pride and confidence that I could at least deliver vaginally. But as my blood pressure was still tricky to manage and his vital signs began to worsen, it looked grim. And then our little boy decided to really seal the deal: he turned around to a crooked breech position and his heart rate bottomed out.
My idol of normal vaginal birth destroyed. I was prepped for emergency c-section. Six children, a set of twins… never before have I been unable to bring them into the world with my own body.
The doctor quickly delivered our son but Gideon didn’t breath or cry for us. I could hear the nurses saying over and over, “Come on, baby, come on baby,” and a few slaps on his bottom, but only a slight gurgle. They took him away to the nursery to help him breath and I never saw him.
My idea that I would at least have that cute c-section picture with the baby in daddy’s arms next to my smiling face: destroyed.
They stitched me up and wheeled me to recovery. After a while I was able to see my son. He was under a warmer, breathing – thank God.
And everything since then has been a learning experience. I’ve been stripped of the last of my pride. After two days of trying, really trying – I’d been getting up every three hours, walking down the hallway to the nursery while my c-section belly protested, declining pain medication as much as I could so I could breastfeed my little boy… I finally had to give him a bottle. We had to supplement with formula, and I had to snuggle a pump instead of my baby.
Exclusive breastfeeding idol: destroyed. Faith in all my abilities: destroyed.
Shame on me for being so prideful.
And thank God for teaching this prideful daughter new ways to trust in Him and others. You see, I prayed. I prayed for an easy labor and delivery. He said no. I prayed for my blood pressure to stabilize and a full term delivery. He said no. I prayed for a vaginal birth. He said no. I prayed for a quick recovery and the ability to breastfeed my son with no help. He said no.
And with such love, God tenderly allowed me to experience a much-needed lesson: relying on others. I had to rely upon the doctor completely to deliver my baby. I rely upon the nursery nurses to teach me how to use a bottle and feed my baby. I rely upon my husband and my mother to bring me what I need from home – and to take care of our children during my absence.
Stripped bare of my abilities. All expectations – destroyed.
So I could be a more understanding, and trusting mom.
That’s what Gideon is doing for me. I praise God for the things I’ve learned, painful lessons teach us so much. I’m so thankful for the smallest treasure of all – watching my son breath. Because that’s about all I can do right now. God is good to bring things into focus.
And so baby Gideon – you are the destroyer. You got me, little boy. I cry “uncle” and surrender. Now be the Mighty Warrior. Grow big and strong for mommy.
I love you.
After so many prayers and six long days, Gideon was able to stay in my room with me, and his daddy was finally able to hold him – free of tubes and wires.
Gideon is thriving at home and showing us new ways to trust in God. Three weeks of pumping milk for our little boy kept him growing and gaining weight – and he was finally strong enough to start breastfeeding on his own! We are so thankful for God’s blessings.