The birth story of Benjamin Gregory Hubert began long before he joined this side of the world on November 13, 2015. It began with the longing for a child that God placed on our hearts, continued with reminders of God’s faithfulness to that desire, and concluded with an incredible consolation in the midst of labor.
I was so thankful for a healthy and relatively easy pregnancy. In fact, pregnancy was perhaps the healthiest and most vibrant I’ve ever felt in my body. I was so connected to and conscious about what I was eating, how active I was, and marveling in how amazing and capable my body is. (These were all useful experiences for a woman who has struggled with both body image and healthfulness her whole life.) I had the typical challenges with food aversions in the first trimester, sleep struggles in the second, and achiness in the third, but other than that, there were no physical barriers standing between me and a positive pregnancy. Prenatal yoga was an essential physical, mental and spiritual practice for me during this time. Tree poses with “one hand on your heart and the other on baby” made me feel rooted in what was familiar and strong enough to reach for what was to come. I marveled in how strong and flexible I was in my pregnant body, and I had fun playfully exploring poses that challenged me and celebrated this stage of my life. I also would meditate there on my mantra that I would carry with me into labor: “I trust the wisdom of my body.”
Pregnancy was a busy season, though, as I wrapped up my M.P.A. degree with multiple online classes through the summertime. Matt and I decided to go away for an overnight to reconnect with each other before my final research proposal and other class assignments ramped up to the end in August. We had a lovely time, and (consistent with my pregnancy), I felt able to be present to each moment and savor it with gratitude. As we sat at Perkins eating an indulgent brunch on the drive back into town, I felt suddenly overwhelmed with God’s presence and proclaimed to Matt, “I don’t know exactly what the next few months will hold, but I know they will be very hard. But I do know that I’m so glad to be in it with you, and I know that God will get us through any challenges that we may face. It won’t be easy, but we are going to be okay!” At the time, I had no idea the significance of that moment and what a gift it was to feel that truth.
One hour later, Matt and I gathered with my parents and sister for a family meeting, where I learned the shocking news that my dad had been diagnosed with cancer. I remember dashing across the room after listening to him explain some of the medical details, including the many unknowns at the time, and hugging him around his waist saying, “What do you need? Do you need me to be angry? Do you need me to do something? What do you need?” We cried together, and dad told me that he just needed my prayers. My mom added that what she needed was for me to take care of our baby—a task that might be harder to do in the midst of so many new stressors.
[I am glad to report now that my dad, who approved me sharing this story, is doing very well. He had an extensive surgery and grueling treatments out of state, but he is now home, has returned to work and is healing beautifully. His healing process has also been marked with many tangible reminders of God’s presence and faithfulness.]
It was incredibly challenging for me to work full-time, take graduate classes and travel the hard journey with my family while being pregnant. But, in some ways, my mom’s loving (but challenging!) request to put myself and the baby first was a gift to us. I put my focus on staying healthy, minimizing stress and resting as often as I could, even though these were hard daily choices to make, knowing that my mom and dad were out of state going through incredible trials. I wanted so much to distract myself from my life and instead immerse myself in solidarity with my dad’s struggle, but instead, I honored my mom’s request and cared first for myself and the baby. I was able to travel to Ohio a few times to be with my family, which was wonderful, and Matt and I used technology to stay as connected as possible to my parents. Continue reading Benjamin’s Birth Story