Here I need to explain something.
When I first started writing my blog, it was done with the sole purpose of keeping grandparents, aunts, and uncles in touch with the kids as they grew up. I have family all over the country, and I’m really really bad at making phone calls, so I thought that a weekly blog update or two would be a nice way to keep everyone connected. But somewhere, somehow, along the way, the blog grew into something enjoyed by more than just relatives, and I’ve met amazing people from all over the world through it. And all those people, many of whom have never met me or my family, prayed for me and the baby during the delivery.
I think it is a comment on the transcendent nature of God when I say that there were prayers coming from all parts of the globe during labor. And I think it’s a comment on the power of prayer when I say that when I got the news of this possibly serious development, I was absolutely calm. I knew God had us in the palm of His hand. I floated on all those prayers from 6 cm., to 8 cm., to a shot of Nubain, to 9.5 cm and was I sure that it wasn’t time to push since the NICU pediatrician needed to be called in, to Ken telling our new nurse (awesome Lorraine’s shift had ended a few moments before and we were now stuck with a bad, possibly crazy new nurse) to just leave me alone I would let everyone know when it was time to push.
I floated on all those prayers and marveled that for the first time, I was able to observe each contraction as pressure, and not precisely pain. I floated on all those prayers when I felt the first need to push, and the room swirled into carefully controlled action. The prayers carried the baby down the birth canal in one push; they filled the room as the second push delivered the head. The prayers were already ringing out in thanksgiving as all the fluid suctioned out of the baby’s nose and mouth came back clear. And when that final push delivered the rest of the baby into the world, and I could hear Ken’s voice saying, “I’m no doctor, but I think it’s a girl,” my gasping Hail Mary joined all the prayers already with us.
A girl! Our first girl in ten years. Beautiful, healthy, wonderful 7 lb., 11 oz. Veronica Rosemary, who was born on St. Rose Venerini’s feast day.
But the prayers didn’t stop there. They were already on the job for us when blood work revealed that Veronica and I had exchanged our incompatible blood during delivery, and she tested Coombs positive. All those prayers whispered to her little body when her 24 hour bilirubin levels were still elevated. And then, by the time she was retested, 18 hours later, she was fine.
So here we are, a week later (in 11 minutes, a week exactly!), now a family of eight. I didn’t die. The baby is fine. Like my friend Hallie says, “A baby is born with a loaf of bread under each arm”, and the bread this one brought was spiritual bread, feeding that part of me that was starving for a reminder of the power of prayer.