By request, for my friends, family, and followers!
“There are few surprises left in life”, I thought the summer of 2007. I had three beautiful daughters, and one wonderful big guy- we had always gone with my husbands family to a small lake on the north-east side of Michigan. Great spot, safe, and family friendly, and enough room for our big family. ( my Honey is one of 10!) We call this excursion “Family Camp,” and it truly is that. We have a blast: many family games of tennis, basketball, volley ball, and most memorable for me, is the all-adult soccer game! What a great thing to get to spend time with your family in a relaxed environment, eating great food, swimming and fishing and games during the day, and campfires and singing by night. The best part for me is, of course food, you can go across the lake in a canoe or other boat and eat at a little diner on the other side. Very cool.
So, we were packing for vacation, and I knew I was close to my due date,which was the third week in August, and here we were going anyway, in the first week of August. I even remember rationalizing it to my friends, “What’s the worst thing that can happen, I have the baby in Alpena!” When we pulled into camp and the first person I saw was Janet Holtz, long time friend and doula, and famous baby lover. She works at the Perinatal Hospice and Tender Care Center of Washtenaw County, so my first thought was, well look who’s here, wonder if this baby will come?! And come he did. Just like Siah to keep me guessing, I lost my mucus plug on Monday, which in the past had been like a siren indicating: the baby was imminent! I went about life as usual, staying out of the lake as much as possible (you know risk for infection and all), simply waiting for the next move. I had some contractions, but nothing serious, so I finally go it into my brain that if I walked enough the labor would get moving. Huh. It worked, but very slowly.
We stopped in that night to talk to Grandma Rebecca and Great Grandma Anne who were cleaning up our communal kitchen. I told them what was going on, and like the faithful grandmas they are, they stood me right there in the kitchen, damp towels over shoulders, and began praying over me. I have never been so touched. They had both given birth 10 times a piece, and knew where I was coming from. GiGi Anne said, “Let the power of the Holy Spirit fill you so full, there is no more room for doubt or fear.” The answer to that prayer was found 18 hours later in the Alpena Regional Medical Center. We came in to this very small place, and saw elderly nurses, actually knitting baby booties and hats. There were times during that labor when they fed us, soup, I think! Not your traditional hospital birth at all. The troops were Doula Janet, Auntie Elsa, Auntie Rosie (aka Aubrey), Honey, and I. We marched around that hospital for the whole night, and we waited into the next day. My Honey went outside for some fresh air and fell asleep on the lawn, the security guards brought him back to me all sunburned and surprised. Poor fella. The sisters slept on the concrete floor, Elsa had to nurse at some point and I think they brought in a super special breast pump for us. I don’t know what I would have done without their loving kindness.
Meanwhile, back at the camp, all those wonderful people were watching all my children, Elsa’s children, and their own children. That is no small feat. I will be forever grateful to them for their sacrifices that year. Grandpa Peter, Grandma Rebecca, GiGi Anne (rest in peace, pray for us!), Lisa, Ryan, Kaitlyn, Shane, Kristen, Geoff, Hilde, Charlie, Jaime, Jesse, Bob, Mary, Cora, and Adam, and all the little cousins, thanks a billion! That incredible birth will always go down in my book as proof that God must really love me.
Siah Brown ( Brown after Anne Brown!) came, finally, he was posterior ( turned the wrong way, making the movement from inside to outside much more difficult). We were all waiting for him to make his entrance for so long, I think at the time of actual pushing I was in a dream state- not totally in reality, so when he did emerge, all itty-bitty 6 pounds of him, I was shocked to hear them all say, “It’s a boy!!” I didn’t believe it because I was pretty sure we did girls. I THOUGHT THAT WAS MY CALLING, TO RAISE DAUGHTERS! But I guess God has this way of always challenging us, just when we have it all figured out, just when we think we know what the heck is going on- BOOM- here’s something new.
And Siah (Hebrew for fire of God), is new. He is often the breath of fresh air that we need. He is funny, and active, and very sweet. I don’t know how many other mothers experience this, but boys can sometimes be way more affectionate than girls. I feel like Siah’s hugs are directly from the Lord. If someone that full of mischief and always wavering on potential disaster, can also say things in such a way that your heart almost implodes, well, God MUST be real!
There have been more vacations since that one, but few as eventful! When we came home to camp from the hospital I was shocked at how emotional I became. The whole crew was waiting for us on the steps of the big house and there were handpainted-Hilde signs, and tye-dye tee shirts hanging on the clothesline behind them. It was like too many good things at once, new baby BOY!, a loving family, a rainbow of shirts, the effort and love put into those signs, the people who took care of everything while I was at the hospital, it was so overwhelmingly beautiful I burst into tears. I looked at my husband and said- “It’s like the wedding feast in heaven, it’s like coming home!” And it was. The relatives waited on me hand and foot, took care of the other babies, it was ideal in many ways. I sometimes wonder why people don’t go on a vacation with a small tribe of people like that instead of doing it at home. It created a time of joy so vivid in my mind that whenever I see the number 5, I think of Siah, this story, and I smile in thanksgiving.