Seven months after we were married DaRonn and I found ourselves in the beautiful yet smoggy city of San Jose, Costa Rica. For a month we led a group of 25 teens in evangelistic drama outreach. Our band of youth made up just 1/4 of all the kids who went to Costa Rica that year with Teen Mania. Every morning all 100 of us started our day with a big plate of rice and beans with a side of papaya for breakfast. In full costume and makeup we then loaded up in our respective buses to go out to the various drama sites scheduled for that day. To keep energetic teens occupied the pace was designed to be a bit grueling.
Inevitably on the first bus ride of the day through the congested down-town streets I would lose every bit of what I could force myself to eat from breakfast. After many days of this I stopped coming down for the morning meal. DaRonn graciously talked to the hotel people about a different option for me, something simple like cereal and milk. They brought stale Frosted Flakes in a tiny tea cup with a side of warm, frothy milk. This did not help my tummy problems. Every morning I made myself eat with the team, at least a little bit. Every morning I puked it right back up.
Near the end of the trip the leader of a different group of kids, who happened to be a nurse, asked if we might be pregnant. The purchase of an “embarazada” test at the corner pharmacy was laughable. “Embarazada” is the Spanish word for pregnant and it sounds similar to the English word “embarrassed”. It was very embarrassing as we tried with hand motions and discrete whispers to make the old man understand what we needed.
Back in our tiny shoe-box hotel room with the unforgettable grimy turquoise walls we sat on the edge of the creaky bed waiting for the results. By the dim light of that little bedside lamp we discovered we were expecting our first child. The head-honcho leader lady came in and started jumping on our bed making whooping noises. (I can only imagine what the people downstairs might have thought.) She was so very happy for us. I cried.
I learned later that this sweet woman celebrating our news had lost twins not a year before in a miscarriage. What a brave and kind woman to literally jump for joy for us. I am so grateful there was someone there to be happy about the pregnancy. I only cried – in fear, out-of-control fear. Logic said it was too early. DaRonn was not done with school. Our finances needed help. I was worried. Yet my life-long dreams of being a wife and mother were coming true.
In the first trimester I began to bleed. I felt an unusual faith rise up in me. I commanded my body to work properly. I commanded my baby to remain safely in me. I went to battle driving out every evil I could think of with the authority of a child of God fully aware of the power available to me. The bleeding stopped. I felt complete peace and absence of fear.
Shortly thereafter I went to the appointment with the government subsidized doctor. No abnormalities were found. Baby and I were found to be in perfect health. The rest of the pregnancy went smoothly. I craved macaroni and cheese quite a bit.
Raimy’s due date came and went. Ten days passed and they wanted to schedule an induction. At two weeks after her due date we went in early on a cool March morning. They hooked me up to an IV drip of Pitocin. The contractions started immediately. After some progression they broke the bag of waters.
The music I chose that played the whole time I labored was a guitar instrumental. DaRonn was at my side the whole time as the worship songs on the CD filled the room. The one song I remember especially is “As the Deer Panteth for the Water so my Soul Longeth after Thee…” The soothing music, low lighting in the birthing room, and a mild pain killer to take the edge off dripped in with the magic contraction chemicals made for a pleasant labor. I was actually glad to be “stuck” in one place with the IV so that I could focus on making each contraction a progressive one.
Labor lasted six hours. Six short minutes of pushing followed. I suffered a small tear that was discovered too late to be stitched up.
Raimy was born just over 7 pounds on March 11, 1998 in Omaha, Nebraska. DaRonn didn’t want them to rush her off to check her out. He was worried and wanted her with us. I felt accomplished, calm, and assured. I was very happy to bring her into this world.