and so, the fact that evan's birthday was right before christmas and that we brought him home on christmas eve...well, i can only consider it as the graciousness and tenderness of the Lord that it happened that way. evan was our amazing christmas gift and we are so overjoyed and thankful for him and the timing of his birth.
so, for evan's birth story...
i had long "decided" that evan would be born a little early (but still full-term.) it was my third baby and third babies come earlier and easier, right? besides, i so badly wanted him home in time for christmas, and i admit i was scared of delivering a 9+ pound baby. so i was encouraged when, at my 36 week OB appointment, my doctor checked me and i was already dilated to 2 cm and 70%.
but at my 37 week visit, there was no progression, in fact, evan's head was not even as low as before. i was so disappointed. as in, crying while my OB had to console me in the exam room. but thanks to her encouragement and to a week of consciously laying down my own desires and timing in favor of the Lord's, i submitted to His greater plan for evan's birth. he would come when he was supposed to, not when i wanted him to. even if it meant waiting until after christmas.
and then, at my 38 week appointment, the 20th of december, i was suddenly 5 cm dilated! (i've read that 4 cm is considered active labor.) however, i wasn't having regular contractions yet. so for the next two days, i walked for hours until i had hard contractions. and still, each time we would get ready to go to the hospital, they became irregular again. so i went to see my OB again after the two days to see what was going on. at this appointment (on the 22nd), i was dilated to a 7! because i live an hour from the hospital and was so dilated, my OB admitted me to labor and delivery. this was around lunch time. when i was admitted, i was checked again, and this time i was 8 cm.
my OB had a couple of surgeries to do first, so my contractions were monitored while we were waiting for her. not much was happening still, but when the contractions came, they were pretty intense. greg and i talked about my options regarding pain relief with the anesthesiologist but in the end i decided to go natural due to the fact that i was already 8 cm and that surely evan would come quickly.
so then my OB came in and broke my water. at this point, we had a scary moment as evan's heart rate started dropping quickly. it went from about 140 BPM to 80 BPM to 60 BPM in just a matter of seconds. i freaked out of course, and my mind went directly to those last moments with jonathan when the nurse couldn't find a heartbeat anymore. this just wasn't supposed to be happening with evan! but thankfully, evan had only just dropped lower into my pelvis when my water was broken. everything was OK and the nurses adjusted the monitors to find evan's new position. but what a scare!
i still wasn't having regular contractions at this point, so i was started on the lowest possible dose of pitocin. this was around 3:15 or so. within about 10 minutes, my contractions were regular and unbearable. i started
and...we heard the most amazing sound right after evan was born...his incredibly loud cry and the happy chimes playing over the hospital speakers, letting everyone know that a baby had just been born. last october, we never got to hear this song or jonathan's first cry.
and now, evan is three weeks old already. where does the time go? we are thoroughly enjoying every moment with him. just his presence here with us makes the long nights and the numerous times i've had to clean up bodily fluids off of me completely worth it. and while perspective has a lot to do with maintaining a good attitude while suffering a lack of sleep, it also helps that he is completely healthy, eating well, and loves being held and cuddled. and we oblige. you can't spoil a newborn, right?
however...i must say that, of course, evan does not completely fill the hole that jonathan left. before evan's arrival, i had prepared myself that evan would not be jonathan's replacement. and now i've actually experienced it to be true. i know i will not ever fully understand why jonathan had to die or why it had to happen to us, as long as i live on this earth. i've tried to analyze it a million times, but only God knows. and because i know God to be good and His ways to be perfect, i can trust His purpose for jonathan was also good.
at the same time, i do believe the Lord has a very special purpose for evan. in fact, evan probably would not be here had jonathan lived. but evan is here, as an answer to our prayers and a blessing to our family.
here is a little of that journey:
almost a year ago to the day, i wrote this post based on the scripture Isaiah 61:3: “To all who mourn in Israel, He will give beauty for ashes, joy instead of mourning, praise instead of despair. For the LORD has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for His own glory.” i was basically asking for God to make something beautiful from our journey of sorrow and joy.
a few months later, i was pregnant. then, during the summer bible study i took part in, one of our assignments was to write and speak a blessing over one of the other ladies randomly chosen for us. my OB, who led the study, happened to be the one to speak a blessing over me. in that blessing, she asked the Lord for the blessings that jonathan would have had to be given as a "double portion" of blessing for evan (based on 2 Kings 2:9) so that evan would have double the impact in this world as jonathan did. what a wonderful prayer for my sweet boy!
and then, a few more months later as i'm approaching the end of my pregnancy, my OB brought to my attention the scripture that follows the "beauty for ashes" verse in Isaiah 61:3...
Isaiah 61:7 says: "Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours."
and finally, this has everything to do with evan's middle name "joseph", which means "God will increase." the name joseph has always been on the radar since it is my father's name. but when i saw what the name means, and how it fits into the context of receiving a "double portion", i knew that it had to be part of evan's name.
i love how that all came together! God has indeed made something beautiful from the ashes. and it's just the beginning.