Blinding Pain, Bright Glory

I remember giving birth to Annika.  Just barely and strangely, but I remember it.

There were plans about how it was supposed to go, and the doctor had humored me by tucking them into my file.  I never saw them again... though I'm sure the bullet-ed list with it's carefully selected font was somewhere on someone's clipboard that day.

I remember sitting on the edge of the bed, groaning through contractions while people took turns feeding me small chips of ice. I would look down at the bulge under my hospital gown, morphing shapes as my insides were being made over again.  In my mind's eye, I saw blinding light radiating out of me - a freight train pummeling it's way through my body. 

Light and heat and steam and force.  There was life being brought forth.  Me, just a vessel transferring it from one world to another. 

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.

I looked into someone's eyes, anyone's eyes. "I can't."

"You can," they all promised. And Josh promised me a large strawberry banana smoothie when it was over.  We were so broke those days, that was a big deal. 

Then eventually, in a scorching blaze, Annika and I both blinded by the fiery light of pain or florescent lightbulbs, she came. 

I was spent and shattered and suddenly empty. But they handed her to me.

And just like that, I was done.  Radiance and life had been brought forth.  The un-seeable glory of God had moved it's way through me and I had not been destroyed, even though I would have told you in that moment, "I can't survive it."

I look down now at the bulge under my dress and feel a little nervous. Can I do this again?

Can I do that again?

For whatever reason, I want to feel it.  I want the hard, fiery, impossible reality of labor and birth... to go all the way down into it.  Where so many women have gone before and said "we can't" and then we do

If anything, it makes for a good story. What else on earth is like this?

He's in there now, this second little passenger, needing to be delivered soon.  Into my arms, to our family.  Into the world. Into a brand spanking new life.  Our son. 

The questions rise and fall in waves, contractions of the uncertain heart. Will labor be shorter this time?  Have I prepared enough? Will he be healthy? Will it all be okay?  Will I take get to take him home and watch him grow into a little boy? What kind of story is this going to be?

I know the power of surrender, letting myself be the vessel as a life, or a life-giving story, is brought forth through me and in me. I know how pain and glory can bleed into one another so brightly.

I breathe deep... in through my nose, out through my mouth.  Relax my brow and my jaw and prepare to breath again, deeper this time.

I think I can, I think I can, I think can. 


  1. I know you can my friend and I pray for a healthy baby boy and mommy.

  2. You can! It'll be the best day ever when you get to hold that baby!

  3. You brought tears to my eyes. Such a beautiful story and one you'll repeat. I know you can!


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