John 16:21 “Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world.”
First of all, everyone should hire a labor and delivery photographer. Being able to look back at this moment and experience through pictures is so special. However, it wouldn’t be the same if it weren’t for the photographer I hired. I highly recommend Mary Kate Craukamp 1000x over. I only had heard of her through word of mouth, but she has become a dear friend in just over 6 months. She was there from the start of the miserable contractions and was constant encouragement. She knew exactly what to say and when to say it. I can’t imagine going through this moment and it being totally awkward with her in the room. By the end of our fresh 48, I felt like I had known her for years. She always made me feel so comfortable (even when modesty went out the window). Anyways, if you’re on the fence about hiring a photographer, hire one. Then, go and check out Mary Kate Craukamp photography.
No one can prepare you for pregnancy, and no one can prepare you for childbirth. From the moment you feel your first contraction to the second you see the miracle the Lord had been knitting together in your womb. It is an out of body experience, an awakening in your faith, and the moment you feel a hint of how Christ feels for us. It’s near impossible to put into words.
A week prior to Locklin’s birth, our doctor told us his growth was abnormal. Dr. Nichols showed no worry but wanted to keep an extra eye on our sweet baby boy. The following week, Martin and I went back for our checkup and an ultrasound. At this point, Locklin’s head was measuring average but his abdomen and legs were measuring two weeks behind. During the appointment, Martin and I were planning out a date night for that evening, until we discovered we would be going to the ER to prepare for Locklin to enter the world.
Two hours were given to us before we had to be back at Flowers. Without our bags being packed, family all over the country (literally), and just not feeling “ready” to go through this that night, we prayed. Martin prayed over us for a healthy delivery, a healthy baby, and a healthy mom. He prayed for us to have peace and to completely turn this baby over to God. For us to be the parents He wants us to be and raise Locklin in the ways of the Lord.
We arrived at the hospital at 5 pm, got situated, and our doctor on call came in to start my induction process. I was given cervidil to prepare my body for Pitocin the following morning. Martin and I barely slept a wink that night, due to the uncomfortable bed but also because we were about to become mommy and daddy. The nurse told me she would come in at 4:30 to wake me up and by 6:00am give me Pitocin to start my induction. I woke up and did about five devotions…I don’t think that was even enough. So many questions went through my head, fears, unknown future. How did I deserve to raise a child when I felt like I was just figuring out my own life? After listening to Bethel music in the shower and fervently praying, I felt a sense of peace. God’s voice saying “You can do this. I got this. I love you. I am so proud of you.” From then on, I was ready.
Only dilated 3 cm by noon, we were all a little worried (including my doctor) if I could get out of there without a c-section. The pain was really starting to kick in. I couldn’t keep anything down without getting sick from it right away. I was currently squeezing martins socks in a ball (his improv stress ball) when the nurse came in and it took all of two seconds for me to say “epidural, please.” I will call it like I know it, I am such a wimp. By 4 cm I was READY for those drugs. The first (yes, first) epidural was placed and the pain was not going away. Thankfully, my best friend Emily took on the first babe a year prior to Locklin and prepared me for all that could happen. I knew I had a hot spot thanks to her detailed explanation of what it felt like. Second epidural was put in, let freedom riiiiiing! No more pain! I was sittin’ pretty in my hospital gown at this point (minus the constant nausea).
From being checked to see if I was fully effaced to the contractions, Martin was my rock. The constant encouragement and support. He never let me give up and I never wanted to because of his calming voice. Martin and I started texting friends and family asking for prayers to get my body going, within three hours I went from 3-10 cm. (Praise the good Lord for epidurals). By about 3:10pm, I called the nurse in saying I felt pressure. She checked me and then looked up “It’s time to have a baby!” Things got r e a l. How was she acting like I was about to go for a light jog when I am about to push out life?! We practiced pushing and then she went to get my doctor to start the real deal. Before I took my first real push, Martin prayed over me. He, again, prayed for a healthy labor, a healthy baby, and a healthy mom. He continued to pray for the families who don’t get the joy at the end of the labor and for the Lord to be with them. He was starting to cry as he finished the prayer and before the end, he thanked God for the life we have been given. He turned on spotify and played “King of my Heart” by Bethel. God was with me. Excitement came over me and focus to push mind over body. It took six pushes and twenty minutes for Locklin to enter the world. Dr. Nichols placed him on my chest, Martin and I wept. Crying out to God, we praised Him for this miracle we did not deserve. A healthy baby boy was ours to raise to follow Jesus and to give his life to Him.
The next moments were blissful. Martin had the biggest smile on his face and I was swooning. Locklin was, by far, the most beautiful thing I have ever seen and my heart was bursting. God is so good.
I honestly am still in shock as to why I was blessed with not only Locklin, but this life. From the beginning of my pregnancy, I questioned everything, mainly God. I didn’t understand why and how I deserved to have a healthy pregnancy when so many families do anything and everything to have a child. Living in a post-Christian culture, the importance of family is becoming a lower priority on the “checklist” of life. I fell into this trap. I was so hard on myself on what my purpose should be. Never feeling good enough because I didn’t go to school and major in pre-med and have a six figure salary. The Holy Spirit was busy at work in my heart. Patiently waiting for me to turn away from what the world defines as successful and what we should live for and shifting my gaze to what the Lord defines for us. Our purpose is to be more like Him, not to reach a dollar sign, number of followers, or certain weight. To raise families that serve Him. To lead a marriage that resembles the church.
I never knew what giving birth would do to me. Only a week out from it, I have heard God in such clarity. It’s not about us, our job title, what sports our kids play. It’s about Him. Glorifying His name. Waking up each day and questioning how can I lead Locklin to serve you, how can I serve you better through parenting? We will never fully grasp how much our Father loves us, but I pray to live each day out growing closer to Him, to love His people well.
Let’s never forget why we are here and our purpose to share the Gospel. This is His Kingdom, and He gave us the gift to share it with His people. God is for us. Always.
All Photography capture by Mary Kate Craukamp