I am awakened in the middle of the night to a phone call. "Do you think you could come over now?" "I'll be there as soon as I can," I reply.
Birth bag already packed, work clothes already laid out, now's the time to put on my real uniform, grab hold of my real tools for what's coming. As I dress, I pray,
"Lord, may these hands do your will. May these feet move along your path. May this mouth utter your praises. May these ears be open to your direction. May this heart be open to your wisdom."
I gather the children, and help them over to the neighbor's house. As I do, I pray,
"Lord, make your presence known to these little ones while I am away. Bless this friend who takes great care for them. Protect them all."
I hop in my van, gathering speed through the darkness. As I drive I pray,
"Lord, guide me through the night. Place your protection around my vehicle as I drive. Lead me to where I need to go."
I think about the mama and daddy waiting eagerly for my arrival, and I pray,
"Lord, thank you for your miracle of life. Place your peace and protection over this family. Surround that little baby with your shield of protection. Place your wisdom over this mama. Give this daddy strength and encouragement. Help me, Lord, to be the quiet support that they need."
I arrive to the house, lights softly glowing from inside. Grabbing my gear, as I head inside I pray,
"Lord, give me peace and strength. May your will for this birth be done. May I work to honor you, Lord, and not me. May this mother feel your love coursing through me tonight."
Throughout the night, and into the morning's first glow of dawn, I work, and I pray. Sometimes I sit silently. Sometimes I am talking through each contraction. Sometimes I sit back and watch mama and daddy loving their baby, working together to bring new life into the world. And sometimes I am using my entire body to support this mama's hard work. I fetch water, I make tea, I brew coffee. I scramble eggs, I run baths, I wash towels. I catch vomit, wipe foreheads, clean toilets. I am there to support, encourage, let the mother and father feel the confidence and wisdom to do the work they were intended to do. And all the while, I'm praying,
"Lord, help this baby to find his way out. Thank you for each contraction which prepares him for the outside world. Give this mama the strength to continue. Give this daddy the courage to continue."
As the contractions change, turn to grunts and then full-blown pushing, I am helping mama move, fanning her, grabbing water, holding mirrors. I am encouraging daddy to talk to her, to see his baby, to wipe her brow. And I pray,
"Lord, protect this baby as he goes through this transition from womb to earth. Keep this mama strong. Keep this baby's heart steady, and his lungs prepared."
We work together, we watch and wait. And we see him emerge, slowly, slowly. A gradual entrance into the world. He looks at us, at these new faces, clear voices, bright lights, and new sounds. He turns and turns and mama reaches down and grabs her baby, and I pray,
"Lord, thank you for your wonderful blessings. Breathe your life into this little one. Give him breath, and give him your peace. Course your strength through this mama's body as it changes from pregnant to postpartum. Give her your wisdom and power. Lord, tie strings from this baby's heart to his mama's and his daddy's. Make them strong bonds. Make them lasting bonds. Thank you for this miracle, Lord. Amen."