"Hi Mom," my youngest child, Anna, said. "I'm calling to ask if you can give me a recipe."
For the past few days she was in a flurry of cooking freezer meals, getting ready for the birth of her first child. Of course, I was more than happy to give her the recipe. After we finished that she said--ever so nonchalantly-- "Oh, by the way. I think I'm in labor. My contractions are about 10 minutes apart."
"What??!!" I pretty much yelled into the phone!! "Well, then I'm coming up there--right away!"
(Luckily, the night before Anna called saying she might be close, despite being two weeks out from her due date. I had my bags all packed ready to help during this first home birth experience.)
"Okay Mom, that would be great. And would you mind bringing some extra pots and pans, just in case."
At this point I asked where Henry was and could he get those pots and pans? Not that I minded, but I didn't want her counting on me, considering I had a three hour drive to get there! (It turns out Henry was at his folk's house helping them with a dry wall project. I know Anna and I'm sure she minimized the whole thing. Therefore, I suggested she might want to let him know he should come home...like...NOW.
In pretty short order (I admit, I was speeding) I arrived in Moscow, Idaho to a very tranquil and peaceful apartment where the two had everything all but in place (including those pots and pans) and ready to go.
Anna was having some pretty stiff contractions but she was handling it quite well. I wasn't sure how I would feel watching my youngest child labor for her own child, but seeing the two of them so quiet and loving together gave me confidence I could do this if they could, I thought.
Well, that was a little naive on my part because at one point during the long night I had to leave the apartment. It wasn't that the midwives weren't doing a good job--they were truly incredible--but Anna had plateaued at about 8 centimeters dilation and didn't seem to be progressing. Plus, she was experiencing extreme back labor. At that point, one of the midwives came into the kitchen to mix up a mild cocktail for Anna, which I really thought should have been for me!!
And still no change in her progress!
I never knew how hard it would be to sit back and let others make the decisions. As a mom, I wanted to tell everyone it's time to go to the hospital. As a mother-in-law, I knew it wasn't my place to intrude into their marriage and decisions. So, I left and on my long walk I called my prayer partner, my dear and wise husband. He prayed with me and gave me the perspective I very much needed. After I hung up, I soon realized this was a matter of faith and I honestly felt a peace about the whole thing. (It's amazing what prayer will do.)
Not long after, Anna did make progress, thanks to two wonderful midwives who knew what they were doing and who showed a huge sensitivity on how to help her. In short order, she was able to start pushing. And in just 25 minutes a new little baby had come into the world--not crying but looking all around. We were all pretty shocked when we found out they had a little girl, since Anna had convinced herself (and everyone else) sometime ago this was going to be a boy! Henry got to hold her soon after she debuted at exactly 11 PM. (Everyone was hoping for a 10-10-10 baby, but I'm not sure Anna was willing to hold up the show at that point!!)
I got to spend an entire week in the Knecht home with a darling little girl named Clara Bae Knecht, who weighed in at 5 pounds 15 1/2 ounces and was 19 inches long. I love both her names but especially her middle name. Our daughter was named Bae Yun Mee in Korea and it means "Forever Beautiful". We kept Bae as Anna's middle name and now Clara has it as her middle name as well.
This little doll has lots of hair--brown Henry hair--Anna's almond eyes and both her parent's sweet, laid back dispositions. It doesn't appear that she has Anna's skin coloring, at least not yet. She rarely gets put in the bassinet and sleeps with them in what the midwives call "Kangaroo care" (on their tummy or close in bed).
I am not sure what was more a blessing--helping to care for my daughter and that sweet babe for a week or experiencing a home that seems to exemplify unity, quiet and peacefulness. In fact, their midwife (a pastor's wife), shared with me that any time she has couples in the church delivering with her she assures them that during transition anything said does not go back to the Elders!
However, in the case of Henry and Anna she knew it wasn't necessary to say that. And she was right. All the way through their labor and delivery there was never anything but love and kindness displayed. (I remember transition and I can assure you, I wasn't nearly so nice!)
Being there with them during the labor and the week following I had the privilege to watch them in action. Their home is a true reflection of Christ-like love and it was and is a joy for this proud mum to watch their wonderful little daughter grow up in that loving environment.
Now if I can only get them to move a little closer!