If you grew up in the islands you’ve heard it before. It’s the phrase thats probably said most often to and about pregnant women. It’s the reason that people pray for a safe delivery for Mommy and baby, the words “one foot in the grave, one foot out.” I’d heard the words but never appreciated their full meaning until I got pregnant in year 28.
My birthday is the month before Christmas so for the first six weeks of every new year I’m blessed with, is pretty lit. By January of 2017, I’d finished a book I’d been writing, had a great vision board party, gained a new client for my company and written out all of my goals for year 28. I wanted 28 to be epic and when I found out I was pregnant just before Valentine’s Day, I knew it would be.
Pregnancy was far from easy though, and I found myself sick for 9 months and unable to do all the things I’d dreamed of. I hoped and prayed I’d have a healthy baby at the end of the year but as an ambitious woman I honestly wondered if that was enough, what about everything I had planned?
On September 26 after hours of contractions a quick visit to my OBGYN confirmed the obvious, and before I knew it, it was time to push. I’d been repeating Psalm 23 through every contraction since 2 am and I repeated it again through every push that would bring Cairo into the world. When she entered this world wailing, I knew my prayers had been answered. There was no more need for “one foot in the grave, one foot out” we’d passed through “the valley of the shadow of death” and my baby girl and I would have a lifetime together! At that point I didn’t realise how fleeting a lifetime could be.
It might have been the epidural, but I felt like I was floating on cloud nine for my first 24 hours with Cairo. We were surrounded by family, we were surrounded by love. I’d get the chills and then I’d get extremely hot but I didn’t really notice, this was such an exciting time! I had a headache and my body ached all over but I’d just pushed a 6 pound 14 oz human out of me, surely pains were expected? Then I couldn’t breathe and the room swirled around me and I realised something was wrong. I had just enough time to scream for my mom and husband when everything faded to black.
I woke up to calls of “Code Blue” and a small army of nurses and machines. My heart rate was 160, I had a fever, I still couldn’t breathe and even though I was present, I felt faraway. I remember looking over at Cairo sleeping peacefully unaware and crying, “I don’t want to die but I can’t breathe.” Was I going to leave my baby girl so soon after meeting her. Was a lifetime together 24 hours?
I spent the next 4 days away from my angel, being monitored, poked, prodded and stuck as doctors from every field imaginable attempted to figure out what was wrong with me. I got tested for everything they could think of but by God’s grace, every single test came back negative. I was the healthiest sick person they’d ever seen! Finally, on day 4, unable to confirm what made me sick but acknowledging that I’d fully recovered, they reunited me with my princess and sent me home.
I was healthy, I was whole and I’d given birth to the best gift ever. God had also used that time, this pregnancy and the weeks that have gone by since to remind me that I am enough. Just loving him and living in that love is enough. All the things I’d been worried about not having done didn’t matter in the space of life and death. I embrace 29 with renewed purpose and vision understanding that no plans I make can supersede the plans God has for me. That all things work together for the good and that love and faith are all that really matter.
Today I celebrate my 29th birthday. 29! This is my last year in my 20’s and if I’d stayed in the place where everything was black the night I fainted after delivery, I might not get to say that. People don’t believe in God, even less believe in Jesus, but he has shown me time and time again he’s real. It was my mom yelling “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus” that allowed me to see 29. It was the spirit speaking for me when I didn’t have the words that allowed me to see 29. I know as truly as I know my name, that only the grace of God allowed me to see 29. But God. So I sing the words of Thomas Smart that were true when he wrote them in the late 1700s
|“Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
With me exalt His name;
When in distress to Him I called,
He to my rescue came”
And I sing the words by Ce Ce Winans
“Life and death stood face to face
Darkness tried to steal my heart away
Thank You Jesus, Mercy said no!”
And I celebrate this year thanking God that mercy said no and my soul says yes. Yes to however long the Lord will allow me life. Yes to purpose. Yes to getting realigned with the right direction. Yes to motherhood. Yes to love. Yes to living my best life now. Yes to 29!