Still. Pregnant. I never had to wait for Madeline this way. She was quite a surprise, so I didn't wait to try. Neither did I wait to conceive, peering into the window of a thousand pregnancy tests hoping to see a double line. In fact, we didn't know we were pregnant for a while, so we didn't have to wait to tell anybody. And this sweet surprise came 2 weeks early, so I didn't wait to deliver. Madeline kept us on our toes.
However, I've waited on all 4 counts for Sam. I waited for over a year to start trying again. I suppose I thought that since getting pregnant with Madeline happened so easily that this, too, would be a breeze. It was not. I waited months to conceive. When we found out, we waited weeks and weeks before we told everyone; I could hardly stand it. And here I sit, more than a week later than I would have delivered Madeline, still waiting.
It seems fitting that Sam's name means, "because I asked the Lord for him." I've prayed, "O God, I want a baby but I don't know if we can afford it. O God, I want a baby but I'm spitting fire and I don't know if our marriage can sustain a newborn today (been there?). O God, I want a baby but I don't know to do it and still give Madeline the time and teaching she needs. O God, I want a baby but I've really grown fond of sleeping 8 hours a night. O God, I want a baby but I don't know if my own vanity can stand the weight gain. O God, I want a baby but..."
Most of these prayers just ended with "Please."
I try not to make too many recommendations to God, as if He were short on ideas and needed my help. I didn't offer any financial solutions or marriage solutions and ask Him to oblige. I mostly just said, "Please."
"Please give me peace. Please make me patient. Please push me out of the way so that You can work your perfect will, in your perfect timing. But please don't let the pushing out of the way hurt too much. Please, teach me to fall in love with Your will, because I am in love with You. Please. I want another baby, so just - please."
And God heard me. He is good and gracious and loves to give his children good gifts - and now I'm waiting for Sam to be born. And I think, in earnest, that this child has his little baby fingernails dug into the sides of my uterus and is holding on for dear life. He might have his hands and feet propped up on either side, pushing, to hold himself in. Because EVERYTHING I've tried to coax him out has been for naught.
Well, not for naught. The eggplant parmesan was delicious, as is the raspberry tea and the spicy (greasy) tacos. My thighs are in good shape from the squats, and let's just say our marriage is in a very healthy, happy place (which takes a little bit of creativity and perseverance when one is 39 weeks pregnant and the size of a continent - neither here nor there). So, not for naught - but not for childbirth either.
I've been dilated to 3 centimeters for more than a week. I'm 90% effaced. I look as though, at any minute, my belly button might pop off, go flying across the room and take an eye out - like the buttons in those funny Subway commercials. My doctor's exact words today were, "It feels like this baby might just fall out. You won't have anything resembling a long labor, maybe not even an average one. His head is RIGHT HERE." Even so, I don't think he's coming tonight. Because I'm tired of thinking he's coming "tonight."
When Madeline was an infant, I used to list, out loud, all the ways she had already impacted my life. It was my own little exercise in the sanctity of life - infants matter. (Tiny little humans, only days removed from the womb, who can only cry and make messes, matter. Unplanned babies, for which you are not the least bit prepared, matter. Babies with special needs matter.) I used to sit and whisper to a days-old-Madeline that she made me softer, gentler. She made me a safer driver; she made me less selfish. She taught me about love. She made all the parent illustrations in Scripture come alive; she taught me about God. She made me more grateful, more aware. She made me (a thousand times) more responsible. She made me better at planning ahead. She taught me that I did not need sleep as much as I thought I did. She taught me about sacrifice. She made me a better listener. She made me more appreciative of my own parents. She taught me about joy - crazy joy. She taught me about overcoming and about being brave. Firstborns will teach you all sorts of wonderful things.
And already, before I've touched him or seen his face, Sam has taught me patience. (This is foreboding as I imagine my future with this particular boy. I'm trying not to think about all the ways a son can teach you patience.)
A lot of times in the Bible, God uses the phrase "in the fullness of time," or "when the time had fully come." In one particular story, it says that Jesus came to help his disciples (who were struggling in a storm at sea) in the ninth hour. I sometimes wonder what made the ninth hour more fitting for rescue than, say, the sixth or seventh. But one of the things I know to be true about God is that He's not late. Even when it seems like he is.
Like those times people came to Jesus and begged him to come and heal their sick daughters and brothers. And Jesus took his sweet time and the loved ones died before he got there, like he KNEW they would because he was God. And you think that, at best, Jesus is slow and uncaring, at worst he's downright cruel.
But then he brings the person back to life because he's God, and you realize that he was right on time for the miracle. Not too early - and not too late.
It makes me joyful to know that God will give us Sam in the fullness of time. I can wait for labor contentedly, not begrudgingly, because I know that God is giving me His best. The fullness of time is the time that is right. It's right for Sam and for Madeline; it's right for me, and it's right for Dan. It's right for all of us at the same time, because God is wise like that.
It may not be the most convenient time, but it will be the right time.
And until it's time to go, I'm soaking up every last second of my lazy summer days with Blondie Sue, as I've taken to calling Madeline this summer. Today we had a picnic (in the air conditioned play room, let's be real - still pregnant).