Waiting on a Wednesday and the God of Just in Time

Wow, what a week can hold! I can hardly get myself to sit down and try to pen this story. Putting the magic, the memories, the euphoria, into words seems impossible: finite words on an internet interface for an indescribable journey that yielded a most precious gift…how do I begin?

Let’s start back at Sunday, October 7th. I was sitting at church one day past my due date. The previous day had passed without much fanfare and now we were “overdue”. The clock was ticking on my chance to have a VBAC delivery for this baby. (VBAC= vaginal birth after cesarean section).

The back story:Elijah was a c-section because he was stuck in a breech position. Andi was a c-section because the hospital and OB office policy mandated repeat c-sections. Four years later, I had realized I wanted a different birthing experience. I wanted to fully experience what my body was meant to do in being able to birth a baby without surgery. I wanted an immediate connection with my baby- holding him/her naked and skin to skin- something hardly possible when I’m numbed from the torso down and stuck laying flat. I wanted to introduce my baby to my family, something I missed with Eli and Andi because I was being sewn up while Drew took them down the hall to meet people and be weighed etc… For this pregnancy, I was ready to advocate for what I wanted and pursued a different doctor and hospital that I thought could help me bring this baby safely and more naturally (less scheduled, less in my control) into the world.

After originally saying that two previous c-sections would preclude me from a VBAC, my nurse-midwife decided that if my body would spontaneously go into labor on its own, she believed the doctors and hospital could safely help me VBAC.  The original deadline for my body to put itself in spontaneous labor was 40 weeks and 5 days- October 11th. I ended up having to schedule a c-section for Wednesday October 10th.

As I sat at church that Sunday, the sermon from Galatians 3 was spot on. The pastor illumined that Paul was reminding the people of Galatia to trust that Christ alone was enough. It wasn’t the work of circumcision or following any other laws that saved them or gave them full rights as children of God. They didn’t have to prove or produce anything on their own: Christ was enough. I felt a peace come over me as I felt God say, “You need to know this Lindsey. You have done everything you can to try to produce and provide for yourself a VBAC experience but in the end, if you lay on a table on Wednesday, I will literally hand you a baby. You will not get to produce it on your own efforts but will receive it from my hand.”  For me, a producer and prover, a hard worker who likes to manufacture my own results, I felt like this was an invitation to stop, to rest, to let go of what I could do and receive. We ended the service by singing a song in which one pre-chorus line was “Unto us a Child is born, to us a son is given“. At this point I was obviously wrecked…those words would come true for me that week. A child would be born to us, perhaps even a son, would be GIVEN to us- God’s generous and gracious gift was on its way. What could I do but be grateful?

Despite the peace of Sunday, sadness crept in on Tuesday. It seemed a dream was dying and I needed to grieve. There were no signs of labor and everyone who caringly called or texted to check on me only made me live more into what was NOT happening. I cried and pondered all day. By evening, I was done. I was over the VBAC dream and ready to meet my baby the next morning. The c-section was scheduled for 10am.

I didn’t sleep well Tuesday night. How can one expect to sleep when one is scheduled to have a baby the next day?! I was awake with a racing mind and had some cranky uterine contractions as well. At 5:50am, I decided to take a walk. The morning sky was still dark, still, and star-filled. I walked down the hill in my neighborhood and felt some fluid leak as I walked. At the bottom of the hill, I stared at the vastness of the sky and felt hope welling up again in the spot I had closed the previous day. I was done with hope, done with believing that I could have a VBAC experience, and yet, I felt optimism opening up again. I did jumping jacks and lunges right there in the middle of the dark neighborhood…just trying to see if perhaps something labor-esque was happening. I read Isaiah 66 on my phone and kept rereading verses 7-9:

“Before the birth pains even begin,
    Jerusalem gives birth to a son.
Who has ever seen anything as strange as this?
    Who ever heard of such a thing?
Has a nation ever been born in a single day?
    Has a country ever come forth in a mere moment?
But by the time Jerusalem’s birth pains begin,
    her children will be born.
Would I ever bring this nation to the point of birth
    and then not deliver it?” asks the Lord.
“No! I would never keep this nation from being born,”
    says your God.

Context and proof-texting aside, the text did proclaim God’s nature of bringing surprises in powerful and provisional ways. The scripture glowing on my iPhone screen reminded me of God’s ability to do a new thing at the last minute.

I got home from my walk and got ready to go to the hospital. Residual hope rising while the reality of a scheduled c-section 3 hours away directed my steps. Faith and practicality held in tandem. Drew and I agreed we’d ask if we could check if I was in labor but were prepared that mostly probably, we were going to have a c-section.

Upon arriving at the hospital, I asked my nurse if I could see if I was in labor. She was surprised that I would rather labor than have a c-section so we told our story. She hooked me up to monitors and said I was indeed contracting about 3 minutes apart but that those contractions might not be productive. We proceeded with the pre-op c-section routine and Drew was about to put on his scrubs. At 9:45am, Dr. Carter came in and checked my cervix. She said I’d made some cervical progress in the last hour and a half and that she could break my water, though it was probably already leaking on its own. She reviewed the VBAC risks with us and asked if we wanted to change courses. She offered the chance to labor through the day and see what happened. The original thought was that we would head toward a c-section around 10pm if nothing had happened by then. I wavered in the moment but Drew gave me a smile and a big thumbs up. Literally 15 minutes before I was headed to laying on a surgical table, I was led to a laboring room instead. My aunt had been saying, “God is a God of just in time” and time was up! We couldn’t believe it.

For the next 10 hours, I labored as I had studied, prepared and hoped to do. I was able to walk, sit on a birthing ball, take a soothing shower, lean and rest on Drew, squat and breathe to relieve pain, and move through the consistent 2-3 minute contractions. Time passed surreal-ly, punctuated by our labor playlist- I Will Wait (Mumford) and Sign, Sealed, Delivered (Stevie Wonder), and I’m the One Who Wants to Be with You (Mr. Big) played poignantly. Part of my VBAC dream included getting to partner with Drew in the process of bringing a baby into the world. Drew was a champion labor partner all day- he rubbed and pressed my lower back, talked me through pain, held the shower head on my back, and reminded me to relax, think positively, to smile, and to keep going. We had good conversations and continually looked at each other and said, “Can you believe we’re getting to do this?!” As we had to keep making decisions about going forward or about other twists in the journey, we made them together.

All of the labor pain was in my back and the exhaustion and weariness began to set in. By 7pm, I hadn’t budged from 2 cm dilation, I was discouraged, and I felt like something had to change. We talked about an epidural- not part of my original plan but probably a win-win at this point. It could help relax my clinching muscles which might help me dilate. If I ended up having a c-section, the epidural meds could be strengthened and used for the surgery. The insertion (took her 3 tries!) was not smooth but the relief was  quick and palatable.  By 8:30pm, I felt rest and relief finally settle in. A visit from my siblings, including my sister Nat who had flown in from Colorado, broke some tension and lifted my spirits even more.

By the time they left, I was finally 3cm- it was 11pm. The progression was aided further by a pitocin drip. Also not part of the original plan. (Speaking of the “original plan”…we were 12 hours past the original plan of a 10am c-section!) We felt Dr. Carter was presenting risks, allowing us to weigh options and make decisions, but that she was also offering us medical insight and wisdom. We trusted her professionalism and were blessed by her service to our dream and her doctoral integrity. The pitocin could have increased the risk of uterine rupture but our doctor felt the risk could be managed and my progression was greatly aided by the assistance.

By midnight I was 4 cm and by 1:15am, I was 10! Our nurse was as ecstatic as I was. However, by 1:30am, her excitement had turned to worry. The baby’s heartbeat was slowing to concerning levels. She woke up Dr. Carter (who had at this point committed to working far past her required shift to see me through to delivery!) who came in and started talking c-section if things didn’t turn around quickly with the baby. Fear and worry set in. We were discouraged that after coming this far we might end up right back where we started- heading to the operating room- but we were overwhelmingly concerned with the health of our baby. Drew was steadily watching the monitors while I laid down with oxygen and took deep and slow breaths. The deep breathing was necessary to slow my racing pulse as well as provide oxygen rich blood to the baby. The baby turned around within 10 minutes- very good news (Drew would later say his knees were so weak with fear and concern, he had to find a chair during those 10 harrowing minutes). We spent the next hour and a half “laboring down”. I breathed and changed positions to try to help the baby drop lower in my pelvis.

At 3am we tried one practice push to make sure the baby could handle the stress of pushing- baby did great. I was so sleepy at this point but woke up completely when the baby’s head felt low enough that the pushing could begin in earnest. Drew and I looked at each other with awe and expectation. Pushing was different than I expected and more than I could have asked for! I was ready to use the physical strength I’d worked to develop through Crossfit and found I definitely used the mental toughness Crossfit has taught me as well. Pushing used my abs, legs, arms, neck and face muscles in ways I would feel in the next three days as I was enjoyably sore from the best and longest WOD of my life! I pushed for an hour and a half by the time it was all over but once again, time passed without notice. I would push, take more deep breaths to relax, ask Drew for ice chips and get excited to do it all again. I knew, because of the mirror and the pressure, when we were close to meeting our baby. I pushed harder and longer for the last three pushes. When Dr. Carter said, “One more push Lindsey, or we will get it on the next round”, that was all I needed to give all I had.

In an absolutely euphoric moment, I felt the baby come from the inside of me, out into the world. I felt more than I saw what was happening but Drew was caught up i,n and overwhelmed by, seeing a lifeless rag doll- looking baby come out (all at once) and immediately upon taking a breath, become fully and animatedly alive. He watched with wonder, as our SON filled with life. Drew, through tears and umbilical cord entanglement, was able to call out, “It’s a boy.”

I was immediately handed a crying and grunting and slippery and perfect baby boy. My belly and arms, completely covered with baby and birth, held my hopes and dreams coming true- our gift was being given. The wonderment and happiness I felt in that moment was overwhelming. I was holding our baby that I had just pushed out!!!

We announced his name, Oakley Andrew Osborne, and held him close. He was crying and grunting and had to be taken to the warmer on the other side of the room for some pretty serious suctioning to clear his throat and stomach of bothersome fluids. When he returned to my chest, he was calmed by touch and voice. I’ll never forget his eyes straining to open, one at a time, to find my face. I was, and was witness to, his first sight. Humbling. Awe-some. Priceless.

Reliving that day, night, and early morning has powerfully brought back joy, beckoned me to gratitude, and overwhelmed me with happiness. Oakley is 1 week old today and is a precious baby. His demeanor is calm and sweet. His neck and legs surprise us with their strength. His noises are lovable and his faces expressive. To hold and snuggle and feed him is my favorite thing to do these days.

Elijah and Andi love him- occasionally still forget his name- but daily stop in their tracks to give a hug, a head pat, or a kiss to their baby brother. Andi has been especially helpful on our first two days alone with Oakley- our Maama left Wednesday morning after offering an invaluable 2 weeks of help and love.

Our house is full. Our family expanded. Our hearts overflowing.

Welcome Oakley. We are so glad you’re here, we love HOW you got here and can’t wait to know more and more each day, who you are and how God is shaping us through your addition to our family.

Oakley at Birth and One Week Old:


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