Friday, June 11, 2010

Four Years Ago Today

Four years ago today, I waddled into church. And, yes, I did waddle. At the time, we were living in downtown Chicago and attending Moody Church. Since the church is surrounded by high rises, the parking deck was a couple of blocks away. I remember trudging along next to Grady, my flip-flops flopping, and thinking how terribly hot it was even though I'm pretty sure it wasn't more than 72 degrees. I also remember walking by a Starbucks and thinking how nice it sounded to sit outside and sip a brownie frapuccino.

We settled into our section for the church service. Our section, meaning, we sat in the same section with our small group Bible study friends every week: a few rows from the front on the organ side.

The service began and continued as normal. About the time that Pastor Lutzer got going in his sermon, I started to feel funny. Not queasy. Not crampy. Just funny. After a few minutes, I leaned over to Grady and whispered that I was going to use the bathroom and I'd be back in a minute.

As I climbed over a few people and made my way out of the sanctuary, I heard and felt a pop, and suddenly had a wet right leg. This could be one of two things - and I hightailed it as quickly as my waddling self could to the restroom.

Sure enough, my water had broke. Momentary panic set in: What do I do? I couldn't walk back into the sanctuary to get Grady - my pants were wet! I couldn't just sit there and wait for him to decide I'd been gone long enough and come looking for me... because chances were he'd think he was being respectful by leaving me alone and he'd head off to Sunday school without bothering to check on me. Breathe - sigh - pray!

I snuck out of the bathroom and immediately saw a friend walking down the hallway heading back into the sanctuary. I yelled her name (though in hindsight, yelling her name while being just outside the sanctuary wasn't the best idea) and she came running. I told her my water had broke and that she needed to go get Grady out of the service, tell him to run and get the car, and then get a towel from the trunk of the car and meet me in the bathroom.

My sweet friend looked at me with bewilderment, but when I spun on my heel and rushed back into the bathroom, I'm pretty sure she caught on to the urgency of things.

Next thing I know, the bathroom is suddenly bursting with all my small group girlfriends. "You're in labor!" "Your little boy is coming today!" "This is so exciting!" "Do you have contractions yet?" And the giddy questions continued. I, too, was excited, but mostly just wanted out of the bathroom stall and was mentally trying to picture how I was going to make a somewhat-private escape through the main lobby and out to the car... while waddling and, ahem, leaking.

Finally, Grady arrived out front with the car. I remember a friend literally yelling out into the lobby: "Watch out people! A woman in labor is coming through!" And, I kid you not, the sea of people parted and I walked through with complete silence and all eyes on me.

We arrived at the hospital a few minutes later and I was now having regular contractions. I checked in and was assigned to a room where a nurse assured me that since this was my first baby and since contractions had just started, I had a very long afternoon and evening ahead of me before my baby boy would arrive. (As a sidenote, however, the time span between my water breaking and my baby arriving was 3 1/2 hours. Hardly a long afternoon and evening.)

After getting an IV and signing some papers, I honestly and truly don't remember much of what followed. I just remember pain like I've never experienced and fear like I've never known. Doctors and nurses were in and out, talking excitedly and quickly, and it was clear something wasn't right. The pain was too much - I passed out. The gave me an oxygen mask, but I started vomiting and then choking so they removed the oxygen. I proceeded to pass out again - they gave me oxygen again - I vomited again - you get the idea.

I remember being whisked down the hall with someone yelling "Move over! Move over!" to anyone and everyone that was in the hall.

And then, the next thing I remember is a very warm blanket and an unfamiliar voice saying, "Sarah. Sarah. Sarah, can you hear me? Wake up, Sarah." I was told I'd been put to sleep, my baby was delivered via c-section, and he was in the NICU being cared for.

Just then, Grady rushed over, decked in handsome green scrubs, and knelt down by me. He had tears in his eyes and told me our baby boy was perfect and that I was beautiful. Since I was in horrible pain, still groggy from anesthesia, and totally confused about all that had just happened, I started sobbing.

I remember Grady telling me he wasn't allowed in the OR while they did the surgery and he sat by himself in the waiting room wondering if he was about to lose his wife and his firstborn. He said the flood of relief when he heard our baby boy cry was the best sound he's ever heard.

I don't know about any of you other moms reading this, but this entire episode was not a part of my imagined Birth Plan. Sometimes, when I stop to think about it (like now!) I'm overwhelmed with God's goodness in protecting me and our little boy.

And here I am, four years later, mom of two handsome little men and mom-to-be of a darling baby girl, and I'm blessed! Each time is a c-section. Each time is a road to recovery. But each time is an intense and unbelievable moment of love and devotion and adoration like never before.

Grady Lee IV is four years old today and he's everything a little boy should be. We love him and have set our highest parenting goal for him to know, love, and serve Jesus. He is learning about Jesus and he is growing in his understanding of him - and I know this year he'll continue to grow by leaps and bounds. To God be the glory.


  1. Sarah! Thanks for sharing this sweet and touching story of Grady Lee's arrival! He is a wonderful little boy, a great big brother and such a blessing. Enjoy your day celebrating him!!

  2. is overwhelming! But so very worth it! Glad you have your two sweet little guys and can not wait to meet lil Miss Peeler! (BTW - does she have a name?) Happy Bday Grady Lee! Love you!

  3. What a beautiful story! Tears came to my eyes as I read. I join you in praising God for the miracles He's worked thus far. Just beautiful. -Kim

  4. I loved reading your birth story & can just picture you at Moody with your water breaking! I love the special little details! I will never forget the first time we met Grady Lee & Sophie, newly 2 years old, took one look at him in his carseat, ran over to the couch & said, "Must hold baby!" And you were SO gracious to oblige her & let her hold your sweet, tiny newborn in her lap. What a precious boy you have in Grady Lee (and Micah, too!) You guys are wonderful parents! Happy (belated) Birthday Grady Lee!

  5. i have tears in my eyes as i read this. i never heard your story about grady lee's birth. i so glad God's plan was for everything to work out and for you both to be safe! -erica