As I have learned more about ancient Israel as a nation and people, I have come to appreciate that they are an earthy, passionate people. They embrace life in every aspect, the ups and downs, the ordinary and the not so ordinary. All of life is connected, and the physical events we experience teach us spiritual truths. One of the most beautiful events is the birth of a baby.
Last Friday, I was blessed to act as a doula for my sister. I have six children of my own and several nieces and nephews, but I had never seen a birth. All the pieces fell into place. Gramma would watch the kids and I could use her car if I got a call in the middle of the night. Sure enough, the call came at 6:30 Friday morning. Naomi helped me get ready and pack my food. She always waves good bye until she can’t see you anymore. During the 45 minute drive, I prayed that YHVH would help me to be a blessing and help me to know what to do and say and when.
As I walked into the room, it was evidently clear that I would not be needing any of the books I had packed. Already she was having to really focus through each contraction. My sisters and I tend to have long difficult labors, so I was a bit surprised to see her working so hard so soon.
As she progressed, we both instinctively knew when to call the midwife 3 hours away. When even laying down brought no opportunity for her to rest, I knew it was time for the pool. Dad and I began setting up the very cool inflatable pool and ran the hose only to discover the adapter wouldn’t stay on the faucet. So my faithful steady dad held the faucet on while the pool filled. Then the water heater got drained twice, so we put pots on the stove. Who would have thought that it would take 2 hours to fill a pool?
In the meantime, YHVH helped me to know what to do to help. I brought water, supported her during contractions, and suggested lip balm. Her husband was glad to be able to take turns supporting during contractions. One thing that came out of my mouth really surprised me. Her husband asked if labor was supposed to be this intense, and I responded that this is happening and we’re doing it now. The amazing part is that it turned out to be right!
We were so happy to be able to get her in the pool, after pouring in an entire stock pot of cold water! She immediately relaxed, but the contractions didn’t. We let them have some time in the pool, figuring I’d encourage her to get back out in about 35 minutes, so labor wouldn’t stall. Meanwhile I kept in touch with the midwife, updating her with reports of intense contractions. But when she tried getting out of the pool, she couldn’t do it! Things were just too intense out of the water. So mom and I immediately started setting out supplies. Another aunt came over to help, but as the contractions turned pushy and we still had no midwife, we started to feel a bit nervous! I just kept saying, “Breathe! Breathe!”
We felt relief all around when the midwife and her two assistants came in 15 minutes before we expected them! We were going to have a water birth! I was blessed to be able to be in the room between my mom and my sister’s sister in law. I admit that I started crying when I saw the head down under the water. One more push and the midwife pushed the baby gently toward momma and she instinctively sweeped him up into her arms and rolled into a sitting position. “We have a Levi!” she exclaimed.
I couldn’t help but think of Moses drawn from the water. Water is such an amazing thing. It swallowed the baby boys thrown there by the soldiers, but gave life to Moses as he floated to safety. And it gave a peaceful beautiful beginning to Levi, content in his mother’s arms. As the afterbirth filled the pool, I thought of the Nile during the first plague. She was lifted out of the pool and unto the waiting bed by her husband, and then the pool was drained. But Egypt dealt with it for seven days. Could it be that YHVH was returning back to them the blood of those babies they had thrown there? Right on the heels of Passover, Levi’s birth pictured again the amazing history, the reality of our ancestors in Egypt. They witnessed these incredible events firsthand. Moses’ mother really did put him in a basket and let him float down the Nile. They really did kill a lamb and put the blood on the doorposts. As I walked into my sister’s house, the red construction paper was still on the doorframe, reminding me that this home is trusting in YHVH for their protection and salvation.
I handed daddy the baby quilt with tzitzits attached to the corners, so he could pray over this wonderful new addition to his family. What a blessing to be under the shadow of the Almighty’s wings! What a blessing to see Levi born into water, to me a picture of YHVH’s soothing calming welcoming arms.
Many blessings to Levi and his family! And thank you for giving me the opportunity to be a doula for a day, and witness the miracle of life!