Wednesday, August 5, 2015

One More Push by Alise Chaffins

{A note from Beth: from May through August 2015, I am featuring some delicious guest writers here on the blog as I recover from pregnancy and birth and adjust to our new family rhythms (find more details here).  Enjoy!}

“One more push.”

I’d been around the birth block four previous times. I knew what those words meant. It was almost time. Almost time to hear the cries. Almost time to hold the squirming little body. Almost time to sniff the top of a baby head while pulling him close to feel that ache and release of nursing him.

But not this time. Less that 24 hours before, we found that our son had died before he was born. One more push and we would become the butt of every horrible “dead baby” joke. One more push and we would have our son, but only for a moment. One more push and we would go back to just being two. One more push and everything would change, but not in the way I had anticipated.

The doctor who was sitting at my feet was quieter than any I had experienced before. There were machines in the room, keeping watch over the process, but only for me. Only one heartbeat being monitored. No lamp warming up the area where our son would be laid. No pediatrician on call, waiting to give us an apgar score.

I took my husband’s hand, closed my eyes, and pushed. My sister placed her hand on my leg and encouraged me. My dad sat patiently by, whispering prayers as the moments slipped by.

Groans escaped my lips. They had a sense of familiarity to them, the groans of a woman in labor, the groans of a woman in transition. But they were accompanied by a foreign sound. Grief wove its way through those cries. Because I knew that this transition wasn’t from woman to mother, but from woman to the nameless person whose child precedes them in death.

I surrendered to the pain and pressure and allowed our son's body to pass from me to the world where we could hold and caress his body, but never him.

I wonder today about his own journey. His own birthing from this world to the next.

Was there Someone holding his hand as he made that journey from here to what lies beyond? Was there Someone encouraging him, whispering to him? Was there someone to let him know that it was time to surrender?

Was there Someone saying to him, "One more push"?

My faith, often smaller than a mustard seed but still holding on, says yes. It says that one day, all of us, saints and sinners alike, will hear the voice telling us, "One more push." An on that day, we will all be held.

Alise Chaffins is a wife, mother, eater of soup, and lover of Oxford commas. You can generally find her behind a keyboard of some kind: playing or teaching piano, writing at her laptop, or texting her friends and family random movie quotes. She blogs at You can connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

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"I am glad you are here with me."
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King