Birthing God's Promises
Since our sweet Adelyne is over 6 months old now, it is probably time that I finally write her birth story! What can I say – things have been a little busy around the Atamah household! If I am not running one of the boys around or texting my 18 year old to check up on her, you will typically find me feeding the baby or making myself busy with one of the thousand chores on my list…that I shouldn’t even bother with because it will be dirty again by this time tomorrow! Today, however, my Addy girl fell asleep across my lap and my computer is within arm’s reach. I warn you, this one is a little long because I have to go back to when she was only a promise that I had from God.
Imagine having your third child and coming home from the hospital already depressed that you had just had your tubes tied. I didn’t need anymore, after all, it is expensive to raise children and this was my third. This wasn’t like the post-partum depression I had experienced with Titus, this was something much deeper that I kept secret for many years. The symptoms were treated with anti-depressants, but the hole in my heart was filled with anything to keep my mind off the fact that I knew I was supposed to have more children. I went back to school, started working, pursued a career and thought that I could escape the mistake that I made and the resentment that I felt towards pretty much everyone. After a very painful divorce, I devoted myself to the future I had as a single mother.
Right about the time that I got comfortable and had everything organized the way I wanted it, God mixed things up by crossing my path with the most wonderful man I have ever known. We were friends for a long time before I even realized I had feelings for him, but the evening eventually came when he asked me if I wanted more children. I thought, "Well, that’s it…it was nice while it lasted…but I am going to have to break it to him that I could never give him children if we were to end up together." If you know Ricky, you know that nothing gets this man flustered. To this day, he still listens to all of my crazy stories or venting sessions with a calm and cool demeanor. I thought to myself, "Maybe he did not understand what I just said." So I said again: “I cannot have any more kids because my tubes are tied.” He said: “Yes…I heard you the first time…so what?” I remember sitting outside with him that Fall evening at Starbucks and he looked at me and said: “We will have it reversed.” This thought was not even on my radar because I had forced myself to come to peace with the fact that I had my last baby at 22 and that was that. Reversed? You can’t just undo things like this and get a do-over in life, I thought to myself. It was not long after this I received a promise from God. He said: "I can undo anything I want to" and gave me Joel 2:25: “And I will restore to you the years that the locust have eaten…”. I realized at this moment that I would not have carried the desire for more children for this long unless He was the one that placed that longing in my heart.
After being married for not even a year, we began the process of preparing my body and finding doctors and surgeons to interview. We had some scares along the way and had to navigate through biopsies and multiple mammograms. It was like everything that could have started happening medically, did. Again, watching my husband not be moved by any of it, he said, “Please do not worry, we already have the 3 best children I could have asked for. We only need to focus on you being healthy.” Either this man carried a book of all the right answers…or he truly loved me and God was restoring what He promised.
About a year into this process, firing a couple of infertility specialists, dealing with haters and people that did not understand our plan, we found a surgeon that said she would perform the tubal reversal. She explained that the likelihood of success was slim, so we explained we were trusting God and this was the way we felt we should pursue. The surgery went well, however she said that I did not have very much tube to re-attach, so we may end up coming back in a year for IVF. Always remember, God loves it when people tell you something is not possible or that you have very little chance of succeeding at something. Within a few months, I was pregnant. We immediately knew that we wanted to use a Midwife and birth center, so we began preparing ourselves for this adventure early. I enrolled us in a Christian childbirth class and bought Ricky every book I thought he would need. Little did I know, he wouldn’t need any of my experience or insight on childbearing when the time actually came.
After 9 months of preparing for a natural delivery and being almost a week overdue, I kept thinking every contraction was IT! It was definitely wishful thinking because I was so huge. Finally, I woke up with intense contractions on April 19th that were strong, but sporadic and would be 2 minutes apart at times. After talking to my Midwife, we decided that we would go ahead and head to the birthing center because my other deliveries were fast. I definitely did not want to be in a situation where Ricky was delivering the baby in his Audi!
We spent ALL day at the birthing center attempting to get the contractions more consistent. I walked stairs, walked to the park, did what felt like hand stands on the stairwell, and our Addy girl was just not ready and she was facing the wrong direction. I almost cried when I was told I was not even dilated to a 2. We ended up driving about 30 minutes away that evening for an ultrasound to make sure that she had not turned breach. She was head down, but was facing up and was jamming into my pelvis with every contraction. By this time, I wanted to judo chop the sonographer in the throat when I heard her tell Ricky that I probably would have had the baby days before if she would have just shifted a millimeter. A MILLIMETER!?! You can bet I went home and did every position and tip that our Midwives gave us. I told Ricky to just go to sleep around 10:00 PM because it would probably be another full day of stretching and walking ahead of us.
Throughout the pregnancy, Ricky kept asking our team how he would know that I was really in labor or about to have the baby since I have such a high pain tolerance. Well, what they told him came to pass…that I would lose complete modesty. He woke up at about 2:00 AM to me laying in the bathroom with no clothes on telling him that something may be wrong. He said, “Nothing is wrong, you are about to have the baby!” After timing my contractions a few times, he called our Midwife and she said we better get back up there. It was about to 2:45 AM and I did not want the kids to worry, so I told him to go tell our oldest we were leaving and then he would have to come help me get to the car between contractions. Normally, it takes us about 25-30 minutes to get to the birthing center. Well, I think Ricky got there in 9! He beat our team there so we waited through a couple of contractions in the parking lot. When one of our Midwives got there, I remember my eyes were closed and I was trying to block everything out. I heard her say, “Oh yea…this is a lot more serious.” We got upstairs and got in the bath quickly. I kept telling Ricky I had to push and they kept insisting that I did not. My Midwife checked and Adelyne was still facing the wrong way. I was like, “well, that’s fine…but I am dilated to at least an 8, so this baby is coming now.” She said, “You are dilated to maybe a 3.” I am sorry y'all, I love Jesus, but at this point I said multiple expletives and looked at Ricky in despair. I thought, "Forget it, I am calling for a transport to the hospital down the street and requesting an epidural now!"
I got up to use the restroom between contractions and something was definitely different. I was doing my best to breathe through the contractions, when this one was totally unlike the others and it was as if I was no longer in control. Right then, my water broke. We had time for a quick rebozo sift and then made it to the bed to be checked again. This time, she said, “The baby is coming now!” Phew. If she had said I was barely at a 4 or 5, I think I would have walked myself to the hospital! Ricky told her I wanted to have the baby in the tub, so they had to move me quickly. Ricky changed into his swim trunks and dove into the tub just in time for me to push a couple times and catch our sweet baby at 5:19 AM on April 20, 2017.
It is amazing how God created the female body to push life through it and endure something so powerful. It was the most intense pain I have ever felt, but at the same time, the most manageable. It was remarkable to me how there was absolutely zero pain instantly after she was delivered. I was up walking, getting changed and into bed to nurse her almost immediately. My experiences with the boys’ births were only hospitals and epidurals, so there was not delayed cord clamping or skin to skin time. This experience was like nothing else I have ever endured, but the most fascinating to me was how God showed up. He showed up in my husband being so steadfast and attentive and full of patience and love. He showed up in my Midwife who was so calm and focused. He showed up in our student Midwife and Doula who were loving and brought complete peace to the situation. Lying in bed with Adelyne and Ricky, I just kept hearing Him say, “I told you I would restore the years lost.”
This is not just a birth story for us. This was another miracle...another time that God said: “Whatever you ask in my name, you can have it.” It was a long journey from September 2005 to April 2017 and it was definitely one of those experiences where you question if your time will ever come or if He actually hears you when you pray. Believe me, my husband saw me at some very low points wondering why things could not just be easy. Dear friends, if any of it was easy, you wouldn’t be able to see Him show up powerful. I did not carry her for 9 months - I carried her for 12 years. He is the God of the impossible and I can’t help but laugh when I think about our surgeon telling us that I did not have much tube to connect or the people that shook their heads and said we should be content and not pursue more children. God laughed too, I think, because He already knew Adelyne and our next sweet baby before they were ever formed in the womb.
If there is anything that you are believing for or have been "pregnant" with for some time, do not grow weary. Whether it is for a child, a business idea, a dream that has been in your heart, or all of the above - there is nothing too difficult for God. He places desires in our hearts so that we will learn to stretch our faith and believe that He will do what He says He will do.
Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for me?