Last week our 3rd son, Norman, was born. It was a whirlwind of emotions and experience. Shelley pushed Norman out in 3 pushes, 18 minutes after we arrived at the birthing center. It wasn’t easy; but it was quick! After he was born, we ended up spending a couple days in the NICU because he had amniotic fluid in his lungs. He couldn’t get quite the amount of oxygen he really needed. Turns out this is somewhat typical in situations where there is a really fast birth or a C-section.
Apparently, the process of contractions and the baby making its way down the birth canal has some intrinsic value for breathing. This was news to me. As the contractions and descent occur, the baby is squeezed, forcing amniotic fluid from his chest. These pauses in the labor process are vital to open the baby’s lungs and maximize breathing capacity. When the baby is delivered quickly, there is no squeezing, thus amniotic fluid remains in the lungs. And you end up in the NICU on oxygen for a couple days.
Turns out, the slow, painful process of birth is actually good. It results in that initial cry and gasp, where the baby takes his first breath and new life is formed.
A client helped me see this week that sometimes this is exactly how things go with God and us. He allows us to bear a slow, painful process so that, on the other side, there is new life. If we rush it, we may not fully develop the capacities necessary to do life well.
Don’t rush the process.