Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

On this Mother's Day, I can truly say that two of the greatest blessings in my life are these two people pictured above: my wife, Sara, who is a fantastic mother; and our daughter, Rachel.

We took this photo last week at a park in our neighborhood. Next year when the tulips are in bloom, there will be an additional person in the family photo: the little one whose cells are multiplying every day in Sara's womb, who will make his or her appearance this fall, when the grass is more brown than green and the tulips have been replaced by pumpkins and cornstalks.

Today I'm giving thanks to God for the gift of mothers!

Friday, May 08, 2009


Sara is now in her 15th week of this pregnancy, and it's starting to hit me, in little waves, that we're bringing another human being into the world. Not only that, but this human being is going to live with us... be part of our family... require frequent diaper changes... wake us up somewhat regularly in the middle of the night... and eventually require food and clothing and another car seat and my time and attention.

Whenever this hits me, I find myself asking the rather somber question, "Am I ready for this?" Last time around I was blissfully ignorant about all the ways parenthood would change my world. This time I know enough to be scared.

I also know we will be incredibly blessed, and despite the waves of panic when I think about the fact that we're about to double the number of children under our roof, mostly I'm excited.

One thing will be very different this time around: we're doing a home birth. Yes, that's right: this baby is going to be born in this very house where we live. When Sara first suggested the idea, I had a little panic attack on the spot. "You want to do what?" I asked, eyes wide, mind racing. In retrospect, I can see that was a silly reaction, especially since my fears had little to do with the big things, like whether a home birth would put Sara or the baby in danger. I've learned, thanks to Sara's coaching, that birth is really not so much a medical event as it is a natural human event, and that only in the past 50 years or so -- the blink of an eye in the scope of human history -- and only in the most industrialized countries, has childbirth been medicalized, resulting in huge increases in the numbers of interventions. That knowledge, plus the awareness that we live literally within two miles of two outstanding hospitals, made me almost immediately comfortable with the medical concerns. Mostly, though, my fear had to do with the much larger questions like, Who's going to answer the phone when it rings? Will I be able to separate myself from the dirty dishes in the sink? Where will we get food if there's no cafeteria? And who's going to wash the sheets when this is all said and done?

Once I got past those big questions, the idea of a home birth is a pretty special thing, especially since Sara is feeling 100% confident that this is the right thing for her. And really, she's doing all the work... The least I can do is be supportive.

So today, Robin, one of the two midwives with whom we're sharing this journey, came for our third or fourth visit. After all the questions and the pee-in-a-cup thing and the blood pressure check, we got to hear the baby's heartbeat. It was strong and loud -- 150 beats per minute -- healthy. Wow.

This baby is really coming.