The Body’s Truth

When my eldest daughter was about to give birth to her first child, she invited my wife Joan and I to be in the birthing room with her and our son-in-law. 

I’d never been in a birthing room before. When Joan was giving birth to our children, I was not allowed into the birthing room. I was ushered out into the hallway, where I promptly fell asleep on the sofa for expectant fathers. I was awakened only after the baby was delivered, and I saw Joan in the recovery room. She suffered the hard work of birthing without my active support.

My eldest daughter offered me a hands-on opportunity to be a part of her birthing process. It was a rare privilege, and I’ll forever be grateful to the Spirit that moved her to ask that we be present at our first grandson’s birth.

My son-in-law had taken a La Maze class with my daughter, so he showed me how to help my daughter breathe properly as the next contraction appeared on the horizon. He was keen on seeing my daughter give birth naturally. I took my turns huffing and breathing with my daughter. I saw how marvelously and courageously she bore the birthing ordeal. 

After 23 hours of labor, we saw that my daughter was still not dilated enough. She was in pain and tiring. The nurse came in and asked if she wanted an epidural. My son-in-law, with all that he had learned about the benefits of a natural birth in his mind, said No, we don’t want to do that. But my daughter, whose body knew the truth, said Yes! 

Finally the doctor looked in and consulted with daughter and son-in-law. The doctor said it was time to consider a Caesarean section. My son-in-law held out for a natural birth. But my daughter, whose body knew the truth, said Yes! My daughter was wheeled into the operating room. My son-in-law was gowned, capped, masked and booted so he could be with my daughter.

Only my son-in-law was allowed in the operating room with daughter. Long ago as a surgical technician, I had helped with a C-section, so I knew what my son-in-law would witness: the awesome birth of a beautiful baby boy who weighed ten pounds, nine ounces.

He was so big, and daughter was so small. The doctor said, “If I knew that the baby weighed that much I would have taken you in for a C-section hours ago.”

It was a joy to see my daughter and son-in-law and little David after the delivery. They had given David my first name as his middle name.

The Incarnation–the coming of Jesus, the Word made flesh–changed our relationship with God, whose body knows the truth, once and for all. God is not simply above us or “out there.” God through Jesus Christ is with us as a tangible presence, because he is within each of us.

For me, being with my daughter and son-in-law at David’s birth was an experience of Incarnation, in which God’s presence was with us and the Holy Spirit moved deeper into my life.