A Hard Road Home (Part Eleven) Reluctantly Blessed

“…wherever you are, be all there.”

                        —Jim Elliot


Shalom Kabala Schultz 1 cm dilated. 60-70% effaced. Cervix very soft. Baby very low – midwife can feel his head through opening. Hoping for good things very soon!!!

Like ·  · Share · August 12 at 2:53pm


Shalom Kabala Schultz  Sitting here, feeling perfectly fine, wishing I was in the throes of labor pains…total insanity. (sigh)

Like ·  · Share · August 13 at 3:46pm


Shalom Kabala Schultz   I know. I’ll just have to be patient. Got a little too excited at my last checkup I think. Been having such a hard time sleeping though & every movement takes such great effort anymore. If I owned a hot tub, I would live in it til the baby comes…at a safe temperature of course 🙂 Oh well, went to get checked out today, because I wasn’t sure if I was leaking amniotic fluid or not. Turns out no (which is good) but also means more waiting. Left the office feeling strangely depressed, so decided I will stop by the library and grab a giant stack of books to help take my mind off everything. Oh and an enormous bag of chocolate.

Like ·  · Share ·  August 15 at 4:58pm


Shalom Kabala Schultz   So, decided to take a long walk in the beautiful weather, hoping to maybe ‘speed things along’…got a mile away & the weather no longer felt so beautiful. Ran out of water on the way back. Now in more pain than before, but still not in labor. Think, I’ll stick to the stationary bike in the air conditioning from now on where I can collapse in a heap on the couch any time I feel like it.

Like ·  · Share · August 15 at 12:55pm


Shalom Kabala Schultz  Never had a dream about a ‘pet bus’ before – a cross between a reptile & a dog, but could grow into a full-sized bus, if need be. The whole time, I was thinking ‘how convenient, it doesn’t even need gas!’ But then the bus started feeling unappreciated & shrunk back down to dog size & wouldn’t be a bus again. Now, I know where Tim Burton gets his movie ideas. He has lots of pregnant friends!

Like ·  · Share · August 16 at 12:41pm


Shalom Kabala Schultz  OK everybody. The curtain is up!

Connor’s Room

Don’t worry safety freaks…we know we have to take all that stuff outta there before we put him in it. Sure looks cute though. =)

By: Shalom Kabala Schultz

Like ·  · Share · August 17 at 8:41pm

Shalom Kabala Schultz  So, 5 more days til due. CLEARLY he has no room to stretch and wants to come out…my stomach is taking on some very weird shapes these days. Well sweetie, ball’s in your court now.

Like ·  · Share · August 18 at 11:41am  


Shalom Kabala Schultz  Getting ready to head in to hospital…been in labor since 1am!!! Wish us luck & send up your prayers please. 🙂

Like ·  · Share · August 19 at 7:39am



Sandy was awakened by a telephone call.  Chris had decided a few weeks earlier, after watching a film of an actual birth, that maybe it would be a good idea, after all, if Shalom’s mom were there with her in the delivery room, along with him, because this looks a lot more intense than he was kind of sort of thinking.  Sandy had been more than willing to accept. 

“You’re never going to make it on time,” I said, when Sandy awakened me to tell me the news.

“Are you going to change your appointment, then,” she asked, “so you can be there?”

“No!  I have to go to my appointment,” I said.  “I have to.  It’s Friday.  I don’t want to have to wait ‘til Monday.  I know I’m going to need this surgery, and I want to get it scheduled.  We’ll just take two cars.  Look, you just get to the hospital, and I’ll come over after my appointment.  I don’t really like being there during the delivery, anyway.  Six times was enough for me.”

And that was that.  She left for the hospital, and I got ready to come in later.  I rounded up my camera equipment, and the list of questions I wanted to put to my orthopedic surgeon.  I smiled, and thought about what a happy moment this would be for Shalom and for Chris, and how the baby would know his grandpa, just as Shalom had wanted.  But then, another thought entered my head, and I just shook my head glumly. 

“So, I wouldn’t have had to miss it, after all,” I thought.  “So, why me?  Why’d this have to happen to my knee, now?  I could have had it fixed later, in the middle of winter sometime.  I could have gone on the Boundary Waters trip, AND not missed Conner’s birth.  I could have seen…met… Conner today, and still gone on the trip next week.  So, what, exactly, is this special purpose You have for me not going, Lord?”

I thought I was being melancholy and resigned, but it was probably closer to sarcastic and unaccepting. 

Surgery was set for the following Thursday.  Then, I moseyed on over to the hospital.  I was certain that the baby would have been born by then, as it was after noon, and her contractions had been six minutes apart before Sandy left this morning.  These would be sweet pictures, but I was glad to have missed the labor.

I was directed to the maternity floor, and after being admitted, they pointed me to a room down a long hall.  As I entered, I saw Shalom seated on a big blue bouncy ball.  She was leaning over the end of the bed, having a contraction.  It would be another ten hours.

None of us knew that, of course.

Being invited into the inner sanctum of a child birthing moment is not on my list of favorite activities.  It is hard work for the woman, with many, many points of no return.  Hospitals, in our country, have come a long way since the days when the whole procedure was arranged for the convenience of the doctor.  Our firstborn, Shalom, was born in such a fashion. We had just finished our last Lamaze class the night before, when labor began, but it was of little use in the hospital, where her mother had to lie flat on her back, feet elevated and spread into “stirrups”, so that she would have to push against gravity to give birth. 

The next decade saw “birthing rooms”, with subdued lighting and breakaway beds, and nurses trained to support wives and husbands who chose breathing techniques over medication.  In that decade, three more of our children were born, featuring one harrowing sixty-mile race to the hospital, going eighty miles per hour, honking at trucks to get out of the way, while a husband recited breathing cadences to a wife who “needed to push”, despairing when the sign said fifteen miles to go!

By the 90’s, we had decided that hospitals meant well, but they were all about the hospital.  Birthing rooms, and subdued lighting aside, eeverything was done on the hospital’s terms, and the woman was more often viewed as a product ot be processed than as a person to be praised, honored, and supported during her high calling.  Lost somewhere in our efficiency was the madonna/child magic.  And so, when Drew and Trevor came along, we chose to forego two fully-paid hospital births, and instead to pay full out of pocket for two lay midwives for pre-natal care and homebirth deliveries.  Drew very nearly had to have his shoulder broken to be born, and Trevor was a stargazer whose cord was wrapped around his body. 

When Drew was born, each of the other children were given responsibilites to serve their mother. Tabbi fed her ice chips.  Alexis kept a cool washcloth for her forehead.  Seth kept an occasional cracker ready.  Shalom operated the video camera (for a video we have never watched).

Jaime and Pearl were the most gentle and affirming, yet knowledgeable and capable midwives we could have wished to find.  I was to do the delivery.  To feel the head crowning, to watch his face appear from a foot away, and then to catch his bloody, slippery body, and hold it for even a moment, while they suctioned his mouth, and wiped him off, before laying him on his mother’s bosom was a defining moment of purpose for us—our moment—our family.

Now, it was Shalom’s moment, and we were here to serve her.  It was not how I would have done it.  It was not how Sandy would have done it.  But, we had not waited ten years for a child.  This was their moment.  This was their way.  All others were there to serve. 

I left the hospital to get something to eat.  I was gone about ninety minutes.  Still no baby.  Eventually, Shalom consented to an epidural.  I left the room.  I am told it is an awfully big needle.  Shalom had been making slow progress, but the hours were taking their toll.  I watched from my seat by the window, as the monitor graphed the intensity of the contractions.  My heart went out to her as she struggled and moaned through the peaks.  She was getting tired. 

But, now, after they had consented to both the epidural to block the pain, and pitocin to speed up the contractions, I sat mesmerized by the graph on the monitor.  The frequency increased, and the intensity rose to nearly double the levels seen before the medications, but she was not crying out.  She practiced her breathins, and sat on her bouncy ball, and Chris sat behind her, massaging her, and bringing her water between contracions.  But, the room was quiet.  I was amazed. 

“If she only knew what she were missing,” I marveled.

In the late afternoon, with things looking like the baby could still be hours away, Chris made the decision to leave in order to take care of the dogs.  He thought he would only be gone for half an hour.  When it took longer than expected, however, and Shalom’s contractions began to speed up, we called Chris on his cell phone to tell him not to delay.  He was stuck in traffic.  The call only make his anguish worse.  When he walked back through the door, about ten minutes later, it was clear that here was a man who was totally surrendered to this moment.  The furrows in his brow melted into compassion for Shalom, and into relief  that he had not missed being there He went immediately back to rubbing Shalom’s back, holding her hand, talking gently with her—in short, being whatever she needed at this time. 


Chris’ Page:

Chris Schultz  8 cm, here we go! 

Like ·  · August 19 at 6:33pm via mobile

Cindy Elliott Cordes and 3 others like this.


Brandy Welvaert  Hang in there, Chris. It’s a wild ride! Enjoy every moment of it.

August 19 at 7:46pm · Like



This was a side of Chris I’d seldom seen, but knew was there.  I had been afraid that the spirited toying with each other that they were known for, would potentially erupt into words spoken in anger, and misunderstanding elevated into regrets.  But, I needn’t have worried.  There was never a cross word between them, only a oneness of purpose.  Even the nurses noticed, and were moved.

I shouldn’t have been surprised though.  Despite their outward personas, Chris is fiercely protective of Shalom, and she of him.  Once, just days before their marriage, I had overruled Shalom regarding a last-minute change she had wanted to impose on the wedding.  It had upset her, but I had stood my ground.  Dhris then took me aside, privately, and with great courage, vehemently took her side.

“I will not see her hurt!” he ended.

“Chris,” I had said, after some thought, “there are two things I want you know right here, right now.  First, in just a few days two people who love each other will be leaving their homes to cleave to each other.  At that time, all the authority and responsibility for loving, protection, and nurturing will be passed from the father to the husband.  That day is not here.

“But, secondly,” I added quickly, “ the passion and fury you are demonstrating right now gives me great confidence that I can let go.  You will be a great husband for Shalom.  I am certain of it.

“I will not back down from this, Chris. We are not going to make that change.  But, I want you know something…when you are married…neither will I interfere.”

Ten years later, I was glad I had given that blessing.

I left the birthing room, just before eight, because I knew the fift shop would be closing soon.  I purchased a blue bear and an “It’s a Boy!” balloon.  I left them at the nurses’s station, to be delivered after the baby was delivered.  When I got back, things had changed somewhat.  Shalom had moved past transition, and needed to push.  There nurse-midwife, who had been in and out several times, decided she needed to stay from here on out.  Shalom was moved to the bed, new trays of equipment were wheeled in, rubber gloves were donned, and special lights were turned on and aimed.

The epidural was not as effective now.  Pushing is hard work.  Exhausting work.  She changed positions a few times, and Chris was right there with her, coaching her.


Shalom’s Page:


Shalom Kabala Schultz  8 cm. Feeling TONS of pressure (through my epidural-the best invention on earth…lasted 16 hrs without, but I’d be dead by now otherwise). Finally getting some rest in time to push soon. Doc says probably another hour or two. Coveting your thoughts and prayers! Love you all!!!

Like ·  · Share · August 19 at 6:46pm

Christine Borchardt Villalpando, Joshua Maxwell, Jenny Liagre and 10 others like this.


Angelia CruisinCougar Bovee  Hang in there lil momma! Love and prayers from me and Becca!

August 19 at 6:58pm · Like


Audrey Petersen  Your having the baby??!!! YA!!! I want pictures!!… Umm when your done LOL

August 19 at 7:00pm · Like

Brianna Northrup Etzel ur doing awesome!!!

August 19 at 7:02pm · Like


Jim Moens Almost there…

August 19 at 7:18pm · Like


Amy Grace Cordes-Seward  It’s show time…

August 19 at 7:31pm · Like


Joel Kabala  All right Shalom!!! (this is your Aunt Sue posting). Prayers and hugs your way………..

August 19 at 7:44pm · Like


Brandy Welvaert  He is gonna melt your heart and wipe away all your pain as soon as he makes his appearance!

August 19 at 7:46pm · Like ·  2 people


Laura Nolen Robbins  Awesome job Shalom!!!!

August 19 at 7:52pm · Like


Cindy Elliott Cordes  We are praying!

August 19 at 8:22pm · Like


Alexis Anne Gilbert  Praying for you. Let me know when my nephew is here. I don’t care what time it is.

August 19 at 8:31pm · Like


Hannah Lister Linden  Once you hold him against your chest, all the pain will be erased. Keep strong. We can’t wait to see pictures!!

August 19 at 8:48pm · Like



 Sandy helped stroke her legs, as they began to quake between contractions.  I observed, watched the monitor, and sat by the window.  An hour passed.  During push after push, Shalom would groan continuously, releasing pressure through her nose.

“Don’t waste it,” I began saying.  “Hold that breath.”  This was something I remembered from child birthing classes of thirty years ago.

After three of four times of saying this, however, Chris turned to me and said, “They told us you groan through the contractions in order to keep the blood vessels in your face from breaking.”

“Oh.  Well, don’t listen to me, then, Shalom,” I said.  “Listen to him!”

Sandy was supposed to be videoing the birth, but she was needed for the quaking legs, so she handed the camera to me.  I stood back in the shadow, out of everyone’s way, and recorded a video the will probably never watch.  There were faces to watch.  And there were groanings to hear.  And there were skilled professionals.  And there was a devoted husband.  And there was a loving mother.  And I watched my firstborn give birth to her own firstborn.  A cry was heard.  Tears flowed.

I handed the video camera to Sandy, and picked up my Canon.  Some of the best pictures a photographer will ever take are called “happy accidents” that result simply because they were in the right place, at the right time.  I had not wanted to be there at all, willing to settle for tidy newborn poses.  Instead, I was an involuntary servant in someone else’s joy, and for that I was rewarded with the great privilege of capturing a mother’s first kiss, a couple’s “we did it” kiss, and a new father’s “I have……a son” tear.  Gifts to a new family.

It wasn’t all about me, and my broken knee, at all, and I couldn’t have been more satisfied.


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