Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Reflections on a day 20 years ago...

Things in life don't always turn out as we plan. 20 years and 2 days ago I was 33 weeks pregnant with my first child. My husband was the student pastor at a church in Independence, MO and that particular night we were kicking off a new band in our student ministry. With the first strum of the guitar from our resident rocker, Joe T, I felt a leap in my womb. It was a little different than others I had felt but nothing that caused me concern. Clearly the baby liked the music as he continued to be quite active throughout the entire set.

In the middle of the night I began having some back pain, so tried to shift and adjust to ease it a little. Finally I got up early and began getting ready for work. My back pain didn't subside. In fact it was oddly consistent - like every 5 minutes or so. At my husband's insistence I called the doctor, all the while reminding him I wasn't due for another 7 weeks, so couldn't possibly be in labor. To my dismay, the doctor sided with my husband and insisted we meet him at the hospital. We did and the nurses went to work hooking me up to all kinds of monitors, not letting me get out of bed for anything. They even ignored me when I reminded them that I wasn't due until May 10. Clearly they knew something that I couldn't wrap my mind around just yet. I was in labor.

One ambulance ride, 11 hours of intravenous magnesium to stop labor (which only slowed it down), several nurse and doctor shift changes, an additional 22 1/2 hours of labor, many phone calls and a good amount of screaming (no childbirth classes) later, our son was born. Robert Alexander Bickford, March 26, 10:35am, nearly 7 weeks early. He was perfect. My life was forever changed.

It's hard to imagine that my tiny baby turns 20 years old today. He had so many challenges ahead of him, not the least of which was learning how to breathe and eat. He's a fighter though. A very strong-willed, persistent, passionate go-getter. I've always believed that God had a plan for him from the beginning. He protected Alex's life because He had big plans for his future.

Alex still jumps with the first strum of the guitar. He's a musician. A very talented one. It's exciting, and frightening at times, to watch how God is shaping him, molding him to be the man He wants him to be. And the journey of his life isn't lost on me. God has used Alex to mold and shape me as well. With his first breath I had a clearer understanding of God's love for me. Motherhood has challenged me. It has required me to surrender my plans in order for God's plans to be fulfilled. I haven't been the perfect Mom - not even close. I've learned more about redemption and trust through some very difficult situations. It's been hard, no doubt. But definitely a blessing. I'm thankful that God chose me to be Alex's mom. I am a better person because of it.