A Rose from Heaven
One of the first things you do after discovering you are pregnant is figuring out your due date. Back in October, after seeing those two pink lines - I quickly calculated the due date to be middle of June. Knowing my history of going 2-3 weeks early, that put me at late May. May of 2016 was no ordinary May. I had some very good friends who were going to be ordained priests on May 21st. Based on my prior deliveries, I thought I wouldn’t have a problem making the much anticipated day. In heaven, God began to chuckle.
Coming up on the end of April, I was feeling larger by the day. I decided I needed something to wear to the quickly approaching ordination day. I luckily found a sale and bought two dresses since they were buy one get one 40% off. I was still going to look like a house - but at least a flowery yellow house. In heaven, God couldn’t help but snicker.
This past Thursday, with only two days left until ordination, I went in for my now weekly OB appointment. Part of that appointment involved a stress test. They basically monitor your baby’s heartbeat for accelerations and look for contractions over about 20 minutes. I sat down for my appointment expecting 20 minutes of peace and debating what to read. To my surprise instead I felt a contraction. I didn’t say anything, not being sure if it really was a contraction, and then my nurse, dear Melva, poked her head through the curtain and said, “You just had a contraction.” I told her I had plans for the upcoming weekend and a new dress to wear, this wasn’t the time for Therese’s grand arrival. I am sure at this point God busted out laughing.
Well, I had a few more contractions, and was sent on my way to see the OB. Nothing was terribly painful and I have a history of having contractions that go nowhere; so I wasn’t overly concerned. I was only 36 weeks along - my earliest delivery was 36 weeks and 6 days. This wasn’t the start of real labor, just some annoying contractions. I had no increase in dilation from the prior week so I went home with strict instructions to call if anything changed.
Friday morning, I woke up having no idea what the day held. I guess this is no different than any other day. However, there was going to be a whole lot more excitement on this Friday than the average day. I had continued to have the periodic contractions since the day before, but nothing regular and nothing that was escalating. Still, to be careful and in an effort to not incite any excitement, I decided just to get the bare minimum at my weekly grocery trip to avoid too much walking around. Bread, milk, eggs, and a few other basic items and then I headed home, planning to relax and get ready for the next day. I had a really nice dress to wear after all.
I prayed my Rosary and called Tate to figure out the schedule of events for the weekend. A couple minutes into the conversation, at 3pm to be exact, my water broke. Oh my! I told Tate to head home, it was time to go to the hospital. By the time I walked the 10 feet to the bathroom I had one serious contraction that stopped me dead in my tracks. I didn’t have time for Tate to come home and I wasn’t going to be able to drive myself. I called my OB and told them I was headed in. The hospital is about ½ hour away. They asked if I needed an ambulance, but I said no. I had not been having regular contractions, I thought I had time to get in. I then quickly called my sister and asked her to come get me pronto. By this time I was in the throws of a second contraction that was no joke. This is when I began to get a bit worried. By the grace of God, my parents happened to be shopping and within 5 minutes of my house. They beat my sister to me. It was now 3:15, just 15 minutes after my water broke and I was having contractions every two minutes. I climbed into my Dad’s Ford F-150 and prayed for a clear path.
My mother drove, repeating over and over, “Jesus, Mary and Joseph,” as I continued to labor and get stuck behind one slow car after another. To any cars that may have been traveling on Clough Pike or Columbia Parkway at that time, and had a navy Ford truck all over your bumper, I apologize. It wasn’t road rage, just road labor! Coming one after another, I was really beginning to wonder if I was going to make it to the hospital. I did not want to have this baby in the front seat of a truck! I was not longer thinking of my nice dress - only of getting to the hospital in time.
Finally we found ourselves at the last, and it seemed eternal, stoplight. The pedestrians waiting to cross had no idea what was going on in the truck, but all started to scoot away from the sounds of a woman pleading with God. Finally, the light changed, we pulled into the ER and Tate thankfully had made it a couple minutes ahead of me with a wheelchair. We got to the triage desk and someone asked for my social security number. Are you kidding me? There was no time for this small talk. I begged them to please get me into a room I was about to have this baby in the hallway.
Finally finding myself in a room, I couldn’t stand up to get into the bed as I was in the middle of contraction. I had a 30 second break and got in bed. Praise God my OB walked in and told me what I already knew, this baby was coming quick and there was no time for drugs. She told me I could push with the next contraction. As it swept over me like a wave the pain was unlike anything I had ever experienced. I was certain i couldn’t do it and told my husband and everyone in the room that simple fact. They reassured me I could. They were not listening and I reiterated again that I could not!!
There was no time for arguing, another was upon me and the only thing I could do was push and push I did. By the grace of God, I felt Therese moving down the birth canal, and I realized that I could do this. I pushed through the contraction and my little Therese Rose made her grand entrance at 3:54 pm with a head full of thick brown hair. I made it to the hospital with just enough time to get in the bed and push twice. She was here!! Fifty-four short minutes after my water breaking, I was listening to my baby girl’s first cries. She was beautiful. Now I was laughing with God and crying tears of joy at the same time.
How many times in my life has God shown his plans are not always my own? He has a plan for my joy and not my woe. I was not able to make the ordination the following day, but I did have my beautiful baby girl that I could hold while I offered a Rosary for all the men who were being ordained priests. Although I was not there in person, I felt very much part of the day through my prayers. I did not get to wear my nice yellow dress, but instead put a yellow bow in all the hair Therese had.
God’s plan is so much better than my own. Although I did not get to make the ordination, I was able to make the first Mass of Fr. Sean Wilson. My mom graciously brought a dress to me at the hospital. I took a shower, did my hair, and put on some makeup. I can assure you I have never left the maternity ward looking so good! We left the hospital and headed right to Mass. In fact, Therese went to Mass before she even went home. I found this to be perfect as she was named after St. Therese who had such a great love of the Mass. God was again, showing me his good humor!
My heart was full of gratitude that morning for the gift of my daughter who I was able to hold in my arms while watching Fr. Wilson offer his first Holy Mass. Therese’s journey into the world would forever be tied closely in my heart with the culmination of this great day. Fr. Sean was beginning his new life as a priest and I was holding new life in my arms.
God’s plan is better than our own. Whatever you may be struggling with, turn your heart over to God. Trust in His plan for your life. Be careful not to plan your life out too carefully, or you will be reminded who is in control. (Hint: It’s not you!)
Thank you God for the gift of Therese Rose! JMJ