She walked 5 hours over dusty roads in the heat of the day. She walked carrying a blue plastic bag which held a change of clothes, but no food. She walked in active labor.
She arrived after the noise of the day had settled to a low hum with only the bleating goats left to complain at her late arrival.
As I entered the birth room, she flashed a familiar smile my way. I recognized her square jaw and sparkling eyes immediately and we slapped hands in greetings.
It was Achol!
Achol had come for several prenatal checks over the last few months. Her gentle demeanor impressed me, but I never dreamed she’d come to deliver. She lived too far away... or so I thought.
I was happy to be wrong --for there she sat on my prenatal bed with contractions every two minutes.
But she was so calm I was having a hard time believing she was in labor. So I asked if I could do an exam. She agreed with a smile.
When I told her she was fully, her smile deepened touching the corners of her eyes.
It was time!
In fact, the only thing keeping the baby inside was her bag of waters. Did she want me to brake it?
Nodding excitedly, she consented and out gushed a warm wave of amniotic sea. Almost immediately the head dropped lower and she started pushing.
But the funny thing was... she wanted to keep walking.
So I stood aside and watched as she slowly pace the birth room floor. During each contraction she’d bare down for a few seconds then chuckle softly at the pain.
It was mesmerizing.
Pacing then pushing then pacing again, she let her baby settle even lower in her pelvis. But eventually she got tired and eased herself onto the bed with a sigh.
But that didn’t stop her from pushing.
Within minutes a fuzzy head emerged like a winter’s sunrise --calm and quiet and warming to the bone.
When I announced it was a boy, her eyes lit up the room and she asked to hold him. Long joyful minutes passed while she whispered softly in his ear and laughed. I couldn’t help but laugh with her.
Her birth was different... but for the longest time I couldn’t figure out why. What had made her birth so different? Was it the joy and trust? No. Was it the intimacy and laughter? No. Those were amazing but not new.
What was it?
Then I looked around the room and it hit me; she was alone.
Not one friend had sneaked into the room during pushing. No one had asked to hold the child. No one had screamed for her to push.
Where was her cheer squad?
When I asked her, she smiled softly and explained that she had had no time to inform them when she got to town. Since she knew she was close, she didn’t want to risk delivering unassisted, therefore she didn’t stop to tell them the news.
But that meant she had no one to goo and gaw over her precious jewel. But more importantly... that mean there was no one to feed her.
Fortunately her family lived just a few minutes away, so we arranged for our health worker to go tell them for her.
He was there and back in a flash, and her family soon followed... bringing with them even more laughter and love!
Thank you Jesus for allowing me the honor of seeing such miracles on a daily basis. Birth... I’m awed at its beauty and mystified by its power. It is one miracle I hope to never fully understand.