Sunday, July 30, 2017

How My Daugher Wowed Me

I came to Florida to stay with my daughter and son in law in the last days before the birth of their first child.  Being here with them and observing them so closely, I was blessed to see the deep love and support they share with each other.  As a parent, there's nothing more fulfilling than seeing your children building their own lives, leaning on each other for support and encouragement.  I got to see that up close and personal and I couldn't be more thrilled and proud.  Before this visit, I just thought I knew and loved my daughter.  I discovered that I know and love her even more now.  What I thought was stubbornness and determination, turned out to be strength of character and grace shown in the most painful circumstances.

Laboring at home
In the days leading up to my granddaughter's birth, I watched closely as my daughter's mood shifted in preparation of her daughter's arrival.  She busied herself around the house, making sure everything was ready.  She grew quiet and introspective.  We walked and talked and laughed about what was to come.  We could have never guessed what the next few days' journey would bring.  During that time, I learned exactly who my daughter is and I am in awe of her grace and strength.

The doctors had warned us that this baby was big, maybe 8 lbs, 12 oz.  The fact that my daughter wanted a completely natural childbirth was not sidelined by this news.  She was determined to have the birthing experience that she and her husband had planned.
Laboring at home

I could tell that she was in labor early Thursday morning.  We ate
breakfast and then she and her husband and I went for a walk.  With each contraction, she grew a little more quiet and I watched as she took control of her body, breathing through every contraction.  We got home from our walk and she tried laying down with a heating pad.  At times, she would get into the various positions you are taught to use when in labor.

When they got to about 5 minutes apart, we decided it was time to go to the hospital.  Doctors and nurses are so used to first time moms coming to the hospital too soon and they can tend to be a bit condescending when you try to tell them you think you're in labor.  When they acted like this with my daughter, she just remained quiet and worked through the next contraction.  Finally, they checked her and determined that she had labored to 6 centimeters dilated, at home!  They told us that first time moms never wait that long to come to the hospital and they were quite impressed with her ability to go through the contractions.

Walking to help with labor
Over the next couple of hours, they checked her a few more times.  It wasn't long before she went from a 6 to an 8 to 10 centimeters.  As each contraction crashed down on her, she bravely pressed through it, remaining quiet and persistent that she didn't want anything for the pain.  Her husband and I spoke softly in her ear, that she could do this; that she was strong and brave.  We watched the monitor and would talk her up to the peak of each contraction and then let her know when it was going down and she could catch her breath.  When she reached 10 centimeters and they said that she could push, I left the room to give them the birthing moment in privacy.

That is when everything shifted and I saw my daughter as the woman God created her to be!  She was full of grace and strength.  She never stopped being pleasant with the hospital staff.  But things had changed.  Hours went by as her body was wracked by contractions and pain and pushing.  The doctor determined that the baby was so big that she was having difficulty coming out.  They offered the options of using a vacuum, which has it's risks or an emergency caesarean section.  My daughter never wavered from her plan to have a natural delivery.

Such Love!
At one point, I went back in the room with them.  I had to smile through my tears, as I looked at my
daughters face, full of pain and exhaustion.  I kept telling myself that I had to be strong for her as I struggled not to cry and take her up in my arms.  As she grew more and more tired from pushing, I watched her husband grow weak from concern and worry for her.  I finally asked her to think about her options.  I wanted her to know that it was okay for her to ask for help.  I wanted to assure her that her baby would be okay, if she chose another way.

She finally asked if she could get an epidural so that she could rest between the contractions.  As she sat on the edge of the bed having contractions, with her feet on my knees, hunched over, to get the epidural, I felt such a rush of love for her that I thought I would burst.  All I could do was sit there and kiss her hands that were in mine, over and over again.  It was the same feeling I had when she was born and they placed her in my arms for the first time.  Her body shook with pain and she quietly whimpered in my ear.  It was almost too much for my heart to bear.  But I knew that if she was strong, then I could certainly be strong for her!

Rubbing her back
Slowly, the epidural took effect.  The nurse and I would hold her legs during each contraction, while her sweet husband talked softly in her ear, encouraging her to push their beautiful daughter into this world.  At least now, she could rest between contractions without a lot of pain.  Finally it was time to deliver the baby, so I left them in the capable hands of the nurses and doctor.

Shortly afterwards, my son in law came to the waiting room to let us know that Ryleigh Claire had been born, 9 lbs, 5 oz and that "mom and baby" were fine.  All of my concern and worry melted at that point and I collapsed, sobbing in his arms.  My baby was ok and her baby was ok!  I could breathe again!  Finally, my granddaughter came into this world at 7:35, Friday morning.

The doctor and the nurses said that they would be talking about my daughter for a long time.  As a first time mom, she came to the hospital at 6 centimeters, took no meds for pain, pushed for 6 hour with an epidural just at the end.  They were in awe of her and spoke of how kind and easy she was with everyone who came into her room.

The first moment!
My son in law was her rock throughout the entire process.  He only left her side to visit the restroom.  I saw his eyes fill with tears many times, watching her struggle through so much pain.  When he would go to the restroom, my daughter's eyes would dart around the room looking for him and she would ask for him.  It filled my heart with pride to see them so in love and working together to bring their daughter into this world.

When I go back to Tulsa, I will go knowing my daughter differently than I did when I arrived here.  I already knew that she was special, but I now see a woman who is full of love, grace and strength, who will conquer anything she sets her mind to.  I will go, knowing that she and her husband will be able to tackle anything life throws at them with grace and strength.  She is my hero!  I'm in awe of her and I hope I'm just like her when I grow up!

God is good.  Life is hard.  My daughter has what it takes to make it through anything!  I'm in love with her.

Before we knew what was ahead

Strength in the Lord and each other

Her hands were shaking

Safe in mama's arms

Here at last!

Daddy getting some "skin to skin" time.

Mama's milk makes her sleepy

Responding to mama' voice!

Our princess!

Daddy loves her so!

The proudest Gamgam ever!

From His Lap,


  1. What a beautiful story, Erin. Thank you for sharing all the love through the struggles of this unique childbirth. Your daughter and son-in-law are precious, amazing, loving people. Congratulations to all on the birth of their sweet daughter. I can't wait to meet her!

    1. Thank you, Susan. It was something I'll never forget.

  2. Wow! Shoutout love! This is INCREDIBLY helpful, thank you guys!


Thank you for giving us a little nugget of truth from your heart!


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