Krista was much speedier in getting her version of Maryn's birth story written up! So sweet for Maryn to have these words from her aunties. Joyce's is coming up shortly!
When I first met Gara, I can vividly remember her sharing the story of Travis’s birth and immediately following the story by saying, “and with the next one, I will go in for my scheduled c-section with my hair fixed and makeup done!” At that time, I do not think either of us would have been able to even dream of the amazing experience the birth of her next child would be.
Towards the end of the Gara’s pregnancy, our talks about her trying for a VBAC became more regular. It became very apparent that the Lord was calling her to fully surrender to Him and allow Him to take care of all of the details surrounding Maryn’s arrival. It was amazing to watch her pray, meditate, and listen to the Holy Spirit guide her and Brandon’s decision. Her conviction to allow Him, rather than her, Brandon, or her doctor make the decision of when Maryn would be born was profound. I can remember having frozen yogurt with her the Thursday before her scheduled c-section, watching her speak with tears running down her face of the journey she had been on. I could sense her feelings of disappointment that her chance at a VBAC may not be a reality, but I could also see her crumbling before her Lord, handing over her worldly desires knowing that His plan far superseded anything she could dream of. In that moment I had a gut feeling that the desires of her heart would be granted.
I am sure Gara’s birth story will go through all the nitty gritty details of the who’s, what’s, where’s, when’s and how’s, so I will just share the emotions I got to witness and experience during those amazing, Spirit filled hours at Arlington Memorial Hospital. Things started off light… but very promising. The nurse, Amy I believe, that was assigned to Gara was hand picked by God. Seriously. The first thing I remember her saying was, “Just so you know, you are having a baby in this room. We aren’t going to the operating room for this one!” Gara, as usual, was full of one-liners that made the room giggle (my favorite was her warning the doctor “Watch out, I’m a gusher…” as she was breaking her water). She handled her increasingly intense contractions like a pro, breathing and relaxing through them as they came and went. As time went by, and it the hours of no sleep and pain increased, she started to struggle getting through the contractions without really tensing up. As she decided it was time for the epidural, she started talking crazy talk, wondering if she should just ask for a c-section instead. Knowing that this was pain/exhaustion/fear talking, I quickly encouraged us to first pray before making such a big decision. The Lord’s presence filled the room immediately, and after a short prayer, Gara’s mind was grounded. She had not gone through that journey of trust and faith just to let fear win!
After she got the epidural (from Doc Holiday… the anesthesiologist with NO awareness that he was speaking to a woman who was 8cm dilated going through intense contractions), it was really sweet to get to see her experience some good rest (of course, that was AFTER she realized “Oh my gosh, I need mascara!!!!”). A few hours later, the nurse informed her it was go time! Joyce and I had to leave the room (hospital rule: only 2 visitors allowed at a time… of course she worked her magic and allowed 2, plus the photographer… not sure she had any idea what a big impact that would later make!!) We went down the hall and spent our time either praying or just being quiet. It did not take long for us to start texting with Keri (photographer) for updates on progress. I know people knock cell phones, but in this moment, our phones were a total tool of the Lord! The first time we realized this was when Keri texted “Maryn hasn’t moved so pray for progress. And against fear and discouragement, I could see that on her face.” Joyce and I prayed immediately asking for progress with the next push, and in just a few short minutes got another text from Keri that read “Saw some progress just now.” In Jesus’ name!! (shortly after, we got another text that read “Puking! Always a good sign.” Not the answer Gara was probably hoping for, but definitely a sign from the Lord, nonetheless!)
After another 30 minutes or so passed along with a shift change (we were a bit worried about that because Amy was so wonderful), Keri texted, suggesting that we come in the room and try to change places with her for a while. She was sensing Gara’s need for a little extra encouragement, and Joyce and I both came with our cheerleader gear! We weren’t sure if they would allow for this since there was already more people in the room than typically allowed, but we decided to take the “better to ask for forgiveness than permission” strategy and hope the nurse overlooked it. I remember watching the nurse during the first contraction I saw her push through and getting nervous… I saw NO emotion on her face. I quietly prayed that she would be transparent, so that we would know how to encourage Gara. After she pushed, Joyce led the group in prayer, asking specifically that we see significant progress with Gara’s next push (Maryn had been stuck in the same spot for a good while). As the next contraction came on and she started pushing, I watched a smile come across the nurse face. She began to nod her head. Two answered prayers, almost immediately! Progress and transparency. These small signs of encouragement from the nurse proved to be priceless over the next 30 minutes. As the nurse grew more animated, Gara’s cheerleading team became more vocal and riled up, and Maryn slowly but surely worked her way down. Suggestions were thrown around for things to further encourage Gara (using the mirror to see the progress as she was making it, to feel Maryn’s head, etc) and the nurse happily obliged. (funny side note: I got a good giggle when it was suggested for her to feel Maryn’s head as she was pushing. Brandon looked at the nurse with a very concerned face and said, “Is that safe for health purposes?!) We continue to praise Jesus through the pushes, and the birth of Gara’s daughter became an act of worship. The Spirit was so present in that room, and I can only imagine what a testimony it was to the nurse who got to witness it.
Around 7:35 Joyce and I got the boot as it was time for the doctor to come in and catch the baby. Less than 7 minutes later we got a text from Keri that read “baby”. The sweetest text I received all day! Joyce and I started jumping up and down, crying, and giggling with pure joy. Our sweet, sweet God used the birth of my sweet friend’s daughter to teach us all what a glorious journey He will take you on if you only let Him be your guide. I can’t imagine the story being written any more perfectly, and I can’t imagine a more perfectly beautiful little girl to come with it!