Yesterday, December 26 of 2013, my wife gave birth to our first child, Emory Favor. My world was turned upside-down in an instant and I don’t think I have ever been more in love. I’m still trying to wrap my head around this new reality, hence a blog post! 😀
My wife and I have been waiting two full years for Emory. Around Christmas time in 2011, Dani woke up from a nap and heard The Lord say, “Emory Favor” in her spirit. She knew instantly that was the name of our first child. She also knew it would be a boy because she “saw” the spelling. No one in our family has that name, so we knew God was intentionally trying to tell us something.
Emory means “home strength” and also “powerful” and “brave”. We felt those were specific words over our son’s life as well as things God wants to do in the lives of our family and friends. We believe God is in the process of making strong homes – mothers, fathers and singles who love one another well and are able to welcome children (biological, adopted, foster and spiritual) into their families as an earthly representation of God adopting us into His family. Family is a powerful redemptive force and requires bravery and courage for everyone involved.
Emory’s middle name is Favor, more a declaration than a name really. We believe that Emory is supernaturally favored by God. That may sound grandious, but he is my son, so deal. 😉 In all truthfulness, we feel like God has shown favor to us by blessing us with such a gift and we feel that His grace and favor will overflow into our family, congregation and city. We are declaring that this is a favored place in the heart of God.
So that is a little of Emory’s backstory, but I really want to write about what happened yesterday.
We went to bed Christmas night with the anticipation that Emory was coming soon. We asked our midwife, Leilani, to sleep over at our house in case. We laid down around 9:30 and by midnight we were downstairs, Dani having some powerful contractions. Her water broke about 1:40am and that is when I called in some reinforcements. My sister Caitie and our friends Ieshia and Morgan all drove through the middle of the night from different places around Iowa to come and help – I can’t thank them enough, it was so great to have them around. Leilani’s husband, Ken, also came over for support which was awesome.
As you may have figured out, we had a home birth. I’ll admit now that I was a little nervous about it, but having now gone through it, I wouldn’t do it any other way unless absolutely necessary. It was magical. The seven hours from water breaking to baby coming out flew by. Dani pushed for 2 and a half hours and it felt like minutes. She was exhausted by the end (go figure), but she rocked the birth like a champ. Dani never flipped out or lost her cool. When the contractions came she was focused and fierce; and when they left, she was her normal happy and funny self. She didn’t have any drugs or any interventions, she went totally natural. I have never been more impressed with Dani. I know she is an amazing woman, but D***. She delivered Emory in a squatting position, me seated behind her and her arms wrapped around my legs, and all of our friends waving flags and singing to Jesus. The Presence of God in our home was palpable. Then came the main event…
Seeing my son come out of my wife’s body is the single most amazing thing I have ever seen. Period.
Nothing in my experience compares to the sheer power and awesomeness of seeing a woman give birth. The closest I can come is when I was baptized with the Holy Spirit and that was awesome and emotional, but in a different way. This was primal and real and right. And seeing Dani pick up our son, towel him off and, with cord still attached, begin to rock him and tell him how much she loved him – that is something I will cherish forever. I am glad we made the decisions we did because it allowed for a life-changing experience. Home birth may not be for everyone, but it is the right thing for us.
We weren’t in a rush to get Emory weighed or measured – we had more important things to do, like hold him and kiss him and rest skin-to-skin. Mommy and Daddy sat and watched the little guy as the placenta worked its way out. Emory was so alert and so quiet. He has the most beautiful blue eyes. It was fun to look him over and see both Dani and I in him. So far, he seems to have his daddy’s hairline, nose, mouth and frame. He got his fingers, toes and chin from his momma.
Emory is a big boy, 9lbs and 21inches long. His head is 13.75 inches around and his chest 14. He’s built like a tank. That may or may not seem like a large baby to you, but my wife is 5′ nothing and all of 100lbs soaking wet. She gained 40lbs this pregnancy and he was a quarter of it. Seeing a baby that big come out of a woman that small seems impossible. Dani did have some tearing from the birth and lost enough blood to warrant some additional fluids, so an ambulance ride and some sutures later, mommy came back to give the little guy a snack. He wasn’t a super strong nurser from the start, but he is getting it. He has an amazingly patient mom who is a gifted teacher, he will be fine. It seems like he needed to get some amniotic fluid out of his stomach before he really worked up an appetite.
Dani’s parents came up yesterday and her mom stayed overnight which was a huge blessing. She worked the “grandma shift” and took a fussy baby from 3:30am to 7 so that an exhausted mommy and daddy could sleep a few hours. That was so helpful. Things seem less desperate when you aren’t sleep deprived.
Today he has been sleeping and nursing and looking cute. Thanks to everyone who has been praying for us, we know it helped. I’ll try to keep you all updated. You can also follow us on Facebook (BenDani Dau) or check out my wife’s blog (beholdtobecome.wordpress.com) for more.
Thanks for reading friends. Love you all. Ben