Most every year around this time I like to share the story of the birth of our first born. The birth of each of our children have their own special story, but my son Curtis just had a birthday on February 13th so it is his turn to be remembered in this birth blog.
Thirty three years ago my wife and I were anxious parents-2-be expecting our first. We had already made a few typical false alarm trips to the hospital (aka Braxton Hicks practice contractions), but on February 13th, 1986 it was the real deal and life would NEVER be the same.
READY SET GO.. At 12:30 a.m. on February 13th 1986 my wife and I had just headed off to bed for a long winter’s nap. About midnight I arrived home from working the evening shift at my job and was off to bed with my fully 9 months pregnant wife Mary. Before I could even fade into sleep Mary exclaims “My water broke, or I just peed the bed.” So off to the races we headed for the birth of our child #1.
BUT FIRST.. We had to stop was for gas as I had not planned on this midnight run to the hospital all while Mary’s contractions were kicking in to gear.
NOTE TO SELF: Keep gas tank full when babies are near due date.
So we arrive at the hospital ( I ran a few red lights just for added high drama) and the nurses get us settled into our room and notify our doctor. Mary is then hooked up all sorts of monitors including this cool baby monitors that measures the strength of her contractions. COOL..something for me to watch over the next hours.
OVER THE NEXT HOURS.. The contractions come and go.. the doctor visits and early on is able to give Mary the drugs of choice to calm the pains. I remember after several of the contractions where Mary seemed to be hurting especially bad I said to her.. “That one was not really that bad it was only a 4 on the monitor.” Shortly later I found out the monitor strap had come loose and was not measuring accurately.
NOTE TO SELF: Do not think 'out-loud'.
BIRTH CLASS IN ACTION: Mary and I had attended the birthing classes, so I knew to hold her hand and to coach her breathing. Problem was Mary preferred to hold the nurses hands because they were cooler to the touch, and at one point during my breathing she said.. “Quit breathing in my face.”
NOTE TO SELF: Quit breathing??
MORE DRUGS .. PLEASE: So the hours move along and it is early morning around 4:30 when Mary pleads with her doctor for more drugs.. but the doc says nope.. too late.. no more drugs for you. At least I was smart enough at this point to not repeat the doctor’s words. I just sat quietly supportive.
NOTE TO SELF: Plead Mary’s case for drugs as a sign of being supportive, and ask for some for self as my back is killing me.
THING ARE GETTING INTENSE: Around 8 a.m. the pains are strong, but the process seems to have stalled a bit. So while Mary is in her ‘painful’ holding pattern, the morning breakfast cart rolls around. They peek in and ask sheepishly.. “Breakfast anyone?” There is a momentary silence.. then I finally say.. “Yes, I think I could eat something.”
NOTE TO SELF: Next time shout, can’t you see my wife is in labor, and then meet cart in hallway for a secret snack under the guise of chewing them out.
So the process continues as I eat breakfast and between bites of food call to my wife with my mouth full.. “push”.. and “remember your breathing.”
FOR UNTO US A CHILD IS BORN: Finally around 10:00 a.m. a child is born and they shall call his name .. Curtis Walter Larson. He is healthy, a bit cone headed but a keeper. After the usual initial checks and I get to cut the cord from 'mothership' Mary we head back to our private room where the three of us mom, dad, and new baby Curt.. all lying in the same bed. And around 12:30 early that afternoon, baby Curt is asleep, I am asleep (and snoring) while Mary lies wide awake with the adrenaline rush of her life.
NOTE TO SELF: I don't know what Mary thinks BUT.. this giving birth thingy is exhausting!
So there you have it, BIRTH FROM ONE MAN’S PERSPECTIVE. Now 33 years later we have a son Curtis Walter Larson who has given us both our share of joys and exasperation.
NOTE TO SELF: God is good, Mary is wonderful, and Curtis is a son to be proud of.
Think about it.. Our Heavenly Father, creator of Heavens and Earth is our personal God, and He forgives our sins and remembers them no more. We are Forgiven, and He is Forgiving. I like how this whole forgiven thing works out for me.
Now I am pretty forgiving kinda guy when it comes to family member, and my friends. I even forgive my dog.. most of the time. BUT THEN as obvious as a rogue adult acne is on my 60 year old nose is the truth, I AM NOT always so forgiving for those who wrong me and are not in my inner circle of friends... especially those who don't want forgiveness, and/or don't even like me. DON'T LIKE ME? I am aghast!
Truth be told I have one particular incident that I have a hard time letting go.. as my employer let me go.
It was January 2018 when I was working in a job that I did not enjoy, and I did not appreciate or respect my manager and supervisor. So much was wrong at this company (IMO), with ongoing management and respect issues all the way up to the day I was terminated.
Well let's just I was more than a bit indignant about being let go. My disdain for my former employer peaked to the point where when I was letting my mind spin until (embarrassing to admit) I would imagine a paraphrase of Psalms for my former employer. No not the Psalms 23 kind of Psalms, though I thought my existence was in the Valley of the Shadow of my former employer. Instead. More of a Psalms 18:37-42. (please insert 'former employer' everywhere this Psalm refers to enemy)
37 I pursued my enemies and overtook them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed.
38 I crushed them so that they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet. 39 You armed me with strength for battle; you humbled my adversaries before me. 40 You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes. 41 They cried for help, but there was no one to save them. --- to the Lord, but he did not answer. 42 I beat them as fine as windblown dust; I trampled them like mud in the streets.
Ok, I exaggerate a bit, but I know I was far from forgiving about my termination. I needed to let it go, and truly forgive. No I don't get to destroy them, beat them into fine dust, or trample them. I mean good grief I lost a job ( I did not like), they did not raid and pillage my townhome.
So the moral of the story is.. The older I get, the more lessons I get to learn. Lucky me! Forgiven by God is priceless, and forgiving of others pretty close to priceless too. I don't know if I can completely realize forgivness without being forgiving too. Anger and indignation (righteous or not) does not look pretty on any of us, especially those of us who have been forgiven much.
May God bless each of you today with the realization of God's Grace and forgivness, and fill your hearts with forgiveness for others.
Jeff (praying 'good' Psalms at ya) Larson
Ok, in my case .. life imitates a cartoon
In early December here in Minnesota it rained, followed by 6" of snow, and finally freezing cold temps. You don't have to ask Bill Nye the Science Guy to know our streets were glare ice. This inspired me to sketch a cartoon called 'Dog Walking in a Winter Wonderland' featuring some poor guy who ended up on his back with his dog looking at his master wondering 'why are you laying down',, and watch out for the doggie doo under you'
This cartoon was left unfinished until a new winter recipe like the one in December. Warm (above freezing) temps where the snow was melting, add a dash of misty rain, then let mixture set for 8 hours with temps again BELOW zero... and viola' Minnesota streets, sidewalks, and steps were a glistening ice rink again.
So I step outside (without my ice skates) to walk my dog Cooper slipped on the front steps, fell on my back on the front steps with the brunt of the fall was my ribcage on my right side. I lay there in pain for several minutes while Cooper gave me that dog look I mentioned above.
So here where life imitates art/cartoon with Your classic bad news good news scenario. Bad news is I have bruised and/or cracked ribs, but the good news is I did not land in any dog doo-doo.
How about that well meaning resolution to read through your Bible in the upcoming year. You start out great with Genesis in the morning, a Psalm or Proverb at midday, and the Gospel of Matthew in the evening. You are enjoying God's word as He speaks truth into your life even in passages you have read before.
Word of God speak, won't you fall down like rain, washing my eyes to see your majesty - Mercy Me lyrics
.. and then comes LEVITICUS.. with laws that are difficult to comprehend in our modern world.
Chapter 11 includes a dietplan of sorts.. Don't eat bats, rats, vultures, weasels, storks, and many more items I was NOT thinking about eating to begin with.
Chapter 18 we are set down to have the sex talk... Leviticus style. When a man loves a woman she better not be your aunt, half sister, daughter in law, sister in law, daughter, granddaughter, sister in law, a woman having her period, neighbors wife, and.. no gay sex, or sex with an animal. While all these sex no-nos I agree with, I have to say these were no areas of temptation in my life. Maybe in Hollywood, but not in my Minnesota suburb.
So if you are reading through your Bible this year. I did it last year and highly recommend it.. know that Leviticus is coming, Deuteronomy is also a hoot (insert eye roll here), along with the begats in 1 Chronicles, BUT these are just part of the complete Bible story.
Don't worry, when you get to Heaven God will not quiz you on your understanding of Leviticus. But there is great value in the Bible as a whole and each book has it's purpose and I believe is the very word and power of God.
What our God does desire is for us to be faithful in our walk with Him. The path may not be easy some days, and maybe icey. But we do have God's word as a lamp unto our feet. God bless you all on this journey.. STAY IN THE LIGHT, and be careful not to step in the Devil's doo-doo.
Jeff (hurts when I breath) Larson
The mutterings on life and faith by cartoonist Jeff Larson