It was 4:30 a.m. and two days before Thanksgiving at Jane Phillips Medical Center. Fluorescent lights blazed like eternal daylight on the ceiling of the labor room. The room’s once cool temperature was now a desert gale, sucking away at my careful deep breathing.
Although designed to be inviting, it was still a hospital room. I felt like a skiff at open sea. Flat on my back and hooked to monitors, I faced each contraction like a surfer catching rogue waves. Composure capsized as my body took on the determined will of a baby coming out of his outgrown sanctuary.
My husband was present, but sick with a sinus infection. He slept upright on a nearby couch. Even the nurses were quiet as contractions got more intense and I listened to the rhythmic tick, tick of the baby’s heart monitor.
My doctor was out of town. His associate walked in as everything was set for delivery. Curly brown hair overtook crow’s feet and baggy eyelids. Blue scrubs on, he spoke to a nurse and nodded to me. Sweat broke out on his forehead as he waited to catch a baby in no hurry to exit. At last, with one final push, out popped Jonathan.
“Jesus Christ. He’s not breathing,” the doctor muttered.
At the end of my strength, I panicked. But in the next breath, an unexpected commando in me roared, “Jesus!”
The doctor looked up. My husband opened his eyes. The baby took a breath and cried.
All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain in the world are simply birth pangs. But not only around us, it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs…Waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. (Romans 8 The Message)
Pregnant goes from theoretical to real life when we are the ones being stretched. The prophet Jeremiah reminds us we are stretched, not so we will break, but by His loving kindness. There’s more in us then we know. (Jeremiah 31:3)
I had a dream in January. Our son, now grown and 17 years old, and I were taking care of triplets. They weren’t our babies. But they were neglected, so we stepped in. We weren’t prepared for any babies, much less three. No formula, no diapers, no baby equipment. As Jonathan and I left to get formula, I worried about three babies waking up hungry.
Babies in our dreams often represent creativity, our ability to give birth to new ideas. A neglected baby may be an aspect of our gifts we are overlooking. They represent new beginnings – new beginnings that stretch us, that take time. They inconvenience our schedules and require what we have to seek outside of ourselves.
Like Jonathan’s birth, circumstances are rarely ideal. We may feel alone, outnumbered, and out-challenged. But help is only a cry away. We may have to call upon the inner commando of His Spirit. Composure may be lost. But the baby will come. It will breathe. It will need food and care.
My prayer this year is that we look within for infant dreams waiting to be born. I want my schedule to yield to their appearance, neither expected or convenient. I don’t want to neglect them by inattention or preconceived ideas. They might not look like what I expected. They may show up unannounced, like labor that presses a baby from the womb. I might not have the equipment I need. I might have to go get it.
But these dreams are good and they are from God. We can nourish them by our attention and affection. They compel heaven’s attention and release earth’s transformation – as we acknowledge their life inside and let them enlarge us.