Weight: Part 1 of 4--A Birth Story

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory . . . . " --2 Corinthians 4:16-17

I last wrote three months ago. Since then, much has changed. My family has changed. A bright and beautiful new soul is with us. Micah is no longer an only child, but a very important big brother. Brandon is now responsible for the living of four. This responsibility has not been easy, which will be explained in a later post. He and I both are learning how to be good parents to two children, each child unique in personality and needs, each one dear and precious to our hearts and in the sight of God. My own life has taken several drastic changes, but I will get to that. My four part story begins with joyous circumstances, filled with hope, happiness and invaluable blessing! And yet, something was missing . . . . something I did not know was missing. Something I could not miss until I needed it in order to survive.


I was a bundle of nerves as Brandon and I approached the hospital. I hadn't slept well the night before, and had only managed a short nap that afternoon. It was midnight, and I knew my chances of being able to sleep on the stiff hospital bed to which I was soon to be strapped were slim. In my mind, it didn't matter terribly, for I was certain I would have this baby by early morning, and I could rest then. Boy, was I wrong . . . .

I was chained to my prison (I really hate those beds) by 12:45 a.m., and put on Pitocin at 1:30. I calculated that I should be in heavy labor by 5:00 a.m., and finished by 9. I was too excited to sleep. Brandon and Mom had no trouble snoozing away. I watched from the bed of torture a little enviously.
The night slowly dragged by, highlighted by an occasional visit from the nurse, the horrid blood pressure cuff going off every 15 minutes and contractions that were becoming increasingly regular, but not strong enough to do any good. I finally became bored with the monotony, and managed a brief snooze around 6:30 a.m. I awoke less than an hour later, feeling annoyed. I was behind schedule! I hate being behind schedule!

At 8:00 a.m., my OB came and broke my water, and gave me some highly undesirable news--I had not progressed all night long. She tweaked a few things for me so I could get going, told me I was good to get my epidural, and left. Remembering my labor with Micah, I immediately requested my epidural. I am not a fan of pain. During the hour I waited for the anesthesiologist, I became agitated. I felt that I couldn't stay on that bed a moment longer, much less on a heap of wet, chafing towels until the baby came . . . but I had to. I was no longer allowed to get up. My sweet Aunt Suzonne, a former OB nurse, came to my rescue. She changed out my towels, trying to get me comfortable. Even after this, I still wanted to call the whole thing off, and try again later. If only that had been an option. My contractions were getting stronger, I was soaking my towels again, and I really just wanted to scream from the irritation of it all. Instead, I prayed, remembering the Source of my help, and somehow managed to stay where I was without losing my mind.

Finally, the anesthesiologist came. I told him that he was a very welcome sight. He went through his list of questions, which must be the most annoying questions ever asked to a woman. I just wanted my blankety-blank epidural! He noticed my impatience, and smiled knowingly. "Let's get to it, then," he said.

Here, I think I made my mistake. I didn't know it was a mistake at the time, and I don't think my anesthesiologist knew the consequences of it. When I felt the pressure of the needle, my body instinctively jerked away from the needle. Then, the anesthesiologist said something that has reverberated in my brain over and over again for the last three months, "When you feel the pressure, don't jerk away. Lean into me." Too late. Damage done. But I wouldn't know it until a little later. For the moment, I enjoyed the sensation of pain and agitation leaving my body. I relaxed, asked the nurse to tell my family to return, and closed my eyes. I slept. Can I get an amen?

I'm not sure how much time lapsed, but when my eyes opened at the creak of my room's door, I noticed that I was still alone. After the nurse checked me out, I asked her to find my family. A few minutes later, they returned, all a little anxious about me. They had been waiting over an hour to hear from the nurse.

Around 11 a.m., a troubling sensation began on my chest, spreading to my arms, stomach, legs and lips. I was itching. I told Brandon, Mom and Aunt Suzonne what was going on. As I am the queen of allergies, we decided to notify the nurse so I could get something for it. Now this reaction seemed like a bad thing at the time. I was miserable for a bit. Based on my allergic history, I was a little afraid the itching could progress to something worse. But the Benadryl I was given took care of my symptoms, and I slept deeply for over an hour. That sleep was a gift, let me tell you, because it helped me get through what was coming. Once again, my strange allergies saved the day! Thank you, Jesus!

I awoke when a nurse I hadn't yet seen came bustling in, telling me that my OB wanted me to get things going. After checking me, I was still only 4.5 centimeters dilated and only 70% effaced. It was 12:45 p.m. at this point. I was way behind schedule. The nurse sat me straight up in the bed of torture, but I was okay with it. I had rested, and was ready to get things rolling.

After a short while, I began feeling things I didn't think I should be feeling. Pressure. Light pressure became heavy pressure, which became pain. It wasn't long before I was feeling everything. I punched my magic epidural button, but nothing happened. I called for the anesthesiologist. I watched the clock closely until he arrived, punching my useless magic button every 15 minutes. He finally came and gave me a bolas, but after a very brief period of relief, the pain came back, and naturally, was worsening.

I cried, prayed and puffed. I had NOT signed up to do this naturally. I had nothing to prove, no strange desire to "feel everything." I hate pain. I am NOT a fan, I tell you! Have you ever felt so much pain that you couldn't even make a coherent sentence? All I could do was breathe deeply, in and out, and cry, "Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!" During a brief break in between contractions, I managed one thought--"If Jesus could suffer so much worse for His children, I can suffer this little bit for my child." And so I determined that I would bear the pain, no matter how bad it became.

Finally, I found that I could not help but push--my body was just doing it on its own. At 4:50 p.m. (again, way behind schedule), they had me ready to go with an audience of uncomfortable size. There were at least 7 people in that room. It may as well have been one hundred the way it felt, but I was too distracted by the pain to worry too much about it.

You know the women in movies who cry out, wringing wet with sweat? That was me. I had heard you get relief when you push, and maybe you do get a little bit of relief from the contractions, but I'm here to tell you, I did not feel relieved. Maybe relief is reserved for women who deliver small babies with small heads. I knew I had to do this quick, or I was going to run out of energy, so I threw everything I had into it. The nurse told me in code to quit making noise. Had I had any extra effort to give her, she probably would have gotten a piece of my mind, not at all in code, but I had to focus or I wasn't going to make it, and I didn't want a C-section.

I felt it when she crowned, but I needed a breather to prepare me for that last push. Then, with a ripping sensation I had never wanted to feel and never want to feel again, out she came to the accompaniment of my cries, "Ow! Ow! Ow!"

And then I heard her cry. Gravity shifted, centering on her little being. She was placed in my arms which brought a little relief to my pain. I cried as I held her, feeling equal parts joy and desire for the repair work to be done. I felt everything. I tried to focus now on the sweetness of holding my daughter, and not on what was happening below.

She was different than Micah, covered in a white, waxy coat. Her legs had the most scrumptious rolls of baby fat. Her face was round and beautiful, her lips a perfectly shaped rosy pout. Her eyes were wide pools of endless happiness. I did not know I had been incomplete until I held her. I did not know that I needed this baby girl until I took her in with every sense I had. My heart expanded to make room for this tiny soul, and for the hour I was given with her right after birth, I utterly lost myself. It was wonderful.Sara Elizabeth Keaster was born November 7, 2011 at 5:07 p.m. weighing 8 lbs., 4 oz., measuring 21 inches long.

Later that night, my little family gathered together for the first time. My Nona and Papaw brought Micah to meet his baby sister, and we all waited eagerly for the nurse to deliver her to our room.
(Photo courtesy of Jolly Tucker Photography.)

The moment we came together as a family of four was one of the most beautiful moments in my life, something I will treasure in my heart forever. My sweet cousin, Morgan Tucker, was there to capture a few images that can better explain the sheer rapture of the moment than any words I can write. Enjoy!--

I am abundantly grateful for the glorious sweetness of that time, for dark and dangerous clouds were gathering, and rain was on the horizon. It was the calm before the storm, and what a storm it has been.

. . . . to be continued in Part 2 of 4: Provision