My Corona Baby - Jacob Luke's Birth Story

 Jacob Luke Stivers
"Following After, Supplanter, to Assail" & "Giver of Light"
April 4, 2020
7 lbs. 2 oz., 20 in long

Lullaby Hymn: "A Mighty Fortress is Our God"

Don't worry, this time around I'm not going to put out on the world-wide web any gory details about this birth. It was spontaneous and uneventful, God's grace to us during such a weird time in our country. But, if anything, I think we may appreciate remembering the drama of a world-wide pandemic in the background of Jacob's birth story.

Due on my birthday, April 3rd, Jacob instead came on his own day, Saturday, April 4th, at 10:01 p.m. after a full day of laboring at home and about 4 hours of active labor.  We are grateful for a smooth, fast delivery. We delivered in a hospital after a week or so of joking about a home birth. Luke even came in to the bathroom on Saturday, while I was bathing for comfort and said, "What? Are we having this baby here at home?" This would have been the baby and the year to do it!

A quick stop at Waldo Pizza! 
Took a few contractions standing up outside the truck in the drive-thru. 
Got some attention for sure!

The hospital aspect of Jacob's arrival was the most anxiety-producing. People encouraged, "You know, it's probably the safest place you could be." I would smile and nod, but my gut would say otherwise.  Not right now. Not at a hub in the city with a forced ER entrance to the Labor & Delivery unit. I knew we were in for a risky situation. But I try not to carry fear about these things. We really can't control what's going on around us, only take precautions. And if you know us, precautions were taken:

It was in this ER that we sat for a long time with patients flooding in with flu-like symptoms. I felt bad for the staff because the space was small and there were only two individuals running the operation. It was a make-shift, streamlined unit, with walls of plastic and only a handful of benches for seating (and no one wanted to sit next to anyone else, of course). They would not let us walk up to Labor & Delivery, as expected, and so we had to wait for a nurse to come and escort us up. Which took about 20 minutes. That's a long 20 minutes when your contractions are six minutes apart, you have to pee, and your husband is immuno-compromised. A tad stressful.

The nurse did come, but informed us that Luke would have to stay in the ER until I was admitted. Fast forward, one hour later...we're finally together in triage ready to go to a room. But my dear auto-immune burdened guy had to sit among potential virus junk for an hour.

And I'll leave it at that. Jacob came, the L & D nurses were clearly stressed and "putting out fires" all around us, but doing the best they could, they got us out of there just over 24 hours later.  We came home in the early a.m. hours on Monday, April 5th.

What I've learned, COVID-19 related:  The systems around us are stressed.  The medical world is stressed. People are rushing to the ER with fear of the virus. Having a baby in this hot mess has not been ideal. I miss the physical closeness of family and friends right now. Instead of Zoom or social media, I would much rather be snuggled up in person with my parents, in-laws, church family, etc. That part has been really hard on my heart.

Thoughts about his name: So we never really entertained "Jacob" until the very last days of pregnancy. I mentioned it in passing because I love "J" names and I like "Jake." Honestly I always thought the meaning of Jacob was simply, "Deceiver," but I was glad to look into the actual meaning and deeper significance in those early-morning hours with Luke deep in thought over his last son's name.

I remember the moment his name stuck: When Luke responded to my questioning about the meaning, he said, "Yeah, but God chose and loved the deceiver."  Yep, that right there folks.

"She was told, “The older will serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated...”

"What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy..."

“Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’
and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’”
“And in the very place where it was said to them,

‘You are not my people,’ 

there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’” 
- Romans 9:12-26

Jacob wrestled with God. He was relentless in his pursuit of blessing and peace with God.  Yahweh's covenant promises came through this broken vessel, Jacob, who was set apart from his brother. And ultimately, through this covenant line, we get a Savior.  Our Redeemer came so that we could be called, "sons of the living God."

This younger Stivers will surely follow his brothers in many ways, but he is special in that his birth reminds us of just how weak we are in light of God's holiness and how desperate we are for his grace. Jacob's name reminds me of the light of God's salvation. I pray this salvation for those who read these words and hear my dear little one's name.

Jacob Luke--may the testimony of your birth be one of a tender mercy of God:  That he saw fit to bring you into a covenant family, and the timing with a world-wide pandemic was not "out of control," but perfect, lacking nothing. It has been difficult being distant from those we love, but it has been strangely sweet in its own broken way.

This world is broken. We're broken people, deceivers even, and we cry out to God for his ever-present help in these times.  May you do the same all the days of your life.

Remember forever the words of this hymn, one of the "greats." It was chosen for you by your siblings because it "happened" to be our hymn-of-the-month for school, the very month the world seemed to fall apart.

A mighty fortress is our God,
a bulwark never failing;
our helper he amid the flood
of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
doth seek to work us woe;
his craft and pow'r are great;
and armed with cruel hate,
on earth is not his equal.
Did we in our own strength confide,
our striving would be losing;
were not the right man on our side,
the man of God's own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is he,
Lord Sabaoth his name,
from age to age the same,
and he must win the battle.
And though this world, with devils filled,
should threaten to undo us,
we will not fear, for God hath willed
his truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim,
we tremble not for him;
his rage we can endure,
for lo! his doom is sure;
one little word shall fell him.
That Word above all earthly pow'rs,
no thanks to them, abideth;
the Spirit and the gifts are ours
through him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go,
this mortal life also;
the body they may kill:
God's truth abideth still;
his kingdom is forever.
Martin Luther, 1529


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