I have been asked to write Jesse's birth story. I'm glad to do so in the hopes that it encourages other women out there to think outside the box a bit when it comes to pregnancy and labor and children.
Jesse's birth story really begins over a year before his conception. God had already blessed us with four healthy, intelligent, lively children. And we felt that God had blessed us enough. I don't say that to be flippant, but I know many of you feel the same way. Josh and I were not willing to take drastic measures (surgery) to maintain our family size, but we were certainly taking measures not to have more children!
And then, God began working on our hearts. At first, I began to feel a little restless. I had a longing that I couldn't explain to have another child. I say I couldn't explain it because in many ways I felt ovewhelmed with the four we already had. We had recently begun homeschooling and I had an overflowing plate of "to-do" items each day. I didn't think it was physically possible for me to add in another thing as time consuming and energy expending as having another child.
We dismissed my longings as something that all women must feel at times and figured it would go away eventually.
Then Josh went to Kenya.
He came home full of wonder at the things he had seen and experienced. One day as we were discussing his trip, he told me that while visiting the slums in Nairobi he had come to realize just how very rich we are. We live in a country filled with opportunity. Josh has a steady job that pays him well and that he enjoys. We have a house that doesn't leak and is warm in winter and cool in summer. We never lack for food or clothing. Our kids have toys and are clean.
As we discussed these things he came to the conclusion that if God has blessed us with so much, why should we limit the number of children we have? We have much to offer another child. And we have the great privilege of raising our children to know their Creator. Is that to be seen as a burden or a blessing?
So now Josh was on board. But I was not. I had worked hard at surpressing my longings and had very strongly convinced myself that another child was not the way to go! Again, we were at a stand still.
We let the matter rest for awhile. Occasionally it came up as we talked, but for the most part we both continued to flip flop on our feelings about the subject. When I flipped, he flopped and vice versa. It seemed we'd never be on the same page.
Until last fall.
I went away for a few days to the True Woman conference. While there, I felt God tugging once again at my heart, telling me that he had more for our family. I asked my sister-in-law to pray about it with me - and specifically to pray that God would individually bring me and Josh to the same decision so that we would know it was God's will.
Funny thing about prayer: it works.
I really didn't expect that Josh and I would agree any time soon. But when I came home from that conference I learned that God had already been at work in Josh's heart. Before I even had a chance to tell about the things I had learned at the conference, Josh sat me down and told me that he really felt that God wanted us to expand our family.
Honestly, you might think that I would have jumped up and down at this revelation, but in reality I was quite nervous. I had spent several months preaching to myself about how inconvenient another child would be.
With trepidation and prayer, we agreed to let God do as he wanted with our family. If he chose to give us another child, we would count ourselves blessed. And if he chose to maintain our family size at six, we would count ourselves blessed.
Wouldn't you know that in just the first month of opening ourselves up to God's will (read: not using birth control), Jesse was conceived! Now, we're not a couple that typically has trouble getting pregnant, but we're not as young as we used to be and this was quite a bit quicker than usual. It was as if God was immediately confirming his will to us. And now I can say on the flipside of all of this that I believe he was rewarding us for following in his will - even if we were slow to respond.