My Unborn Son is a Better Coach than I am.
A couple of months ago, my wife and I were feeling nervous and excited as we assembled a nursery for our first child. My wife, Shona, felt a strange sensation and a gush of fluid…
“I think my water just broke.”
She was five months pregnant at the time. My first thought was: NO. NOT GOOD. I’m no expert, but even I knew that this wasn’t supposed to happen for another four months. I remember hoping against hope that there could be some other explanation, but she kept leaking fluid. We decided to call the midwives and head to the hospital.
A spontaneous rupture of the amniotic sack. Ever heard of it?
It’s extremely rare and at 5 months pregnant it is essentially a death sentence for your baby. It was 3 am and Shona had gone through a slew of various tests. Things were starting to look pretty conclusive. There is a certain tone of voice that people have when they think you are going to lose your child… My wife and I had a choice to make:
1.) Go into surgery. Terminate the pregnancy.
2.) Wait. Eventually, go into labor or develop an infection.
I think this is when Forest started to lead the way, although we didn’t know it yet.
How could we terminate the pregnancy? Shona had been with this child for so long already, it just didn’t feel like that was our choice to make. So we waited.
During the next few weeks, we had what I can only describe as a conversation with our child. We asked him what he needed. He said he needed more love. So we poured out our hearts and gave him as much love as we could. We turned over everything to him. We told him that we would fight like hell for him but we needed him to show us the path forward.
Three weeks went by and nothing happened. No labor. No infection. Just… nothing. The doctors told us that our baby was now viable. Totally different tone of voice.
Forest was beginning to surprise everyone, but there was another problem: Shelter in place. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I would be unable to join Shona in the hospital. I cannot express to you how heart-wrenching it was to be separated from my pregnant wife on top of everything else. But what could I do?
I think everyone is going through their own pandemic within a pandemic, whether that’s homeschooling the kids, unearthing deeply rooted relationship conflicts, or facing shelter in place alone. We all have an emergency unique to us that is heightened by the worldwide crises we are facing collectively.
This was my pandemic within a pandemic.
I suited up and started visiting Shona for date nights outside of her hospital room window. When she could no longer get up to go to the window, I started bringing my computer so that we could hang out on zoom. Whatever it took.
If my baby could surprise everyone, then I could handle this. I had to let him guide me.
And now to the present:
Another six weeks have gone by and Forest has just kept growing. He is hitting all of his milestones, he is gaining weight, and his heart rate is strong. It’s gotten to the point where you’d think this was a normal pregnancy. The doctors are saying he could be born at any minute.
There is a full tank of gas in the car and I have a bag packed and ready to go. I’m prepared to go to the hospital at a moment’s notice.
The past two months have been challenging, scary, and exhausting. My body is in this weird state of alertness that I’ve never experienced before… I woke up at 2 am this morning and I’m just still awake, not tired at all. It’s bizarre.
I think part of it is the enormous amount of energy that we are being sent by our community.
Our doula started a go fund me to help with the costs. The story has been picked up by the news. We are getting messages and calls from everyone saying how much we are loved and supported. Our family has shown up in ways that are just remarkable. Our coaching community has gone above and beyond in every sense of the word. Our therapists, energy healers, and reiki masters have been incredible.
To all of the people out there who have supported us: There are no words to express how grateful we are. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
This has turned out to be a story of trust, a story of hope, and a story of love.
My son’s name is Forest, but at some point, Shona and I started calling him our little prophet. There is so much wisdom coming from this being. He is a beacon. He is a creator of hope. He is teaching all of us to trust the unknown.
Go figure. Shona and I are both ontological coaches. We’ve spent our lives helping others get comfortable with the unknown, and now an unborn baby shows up to totally school both of us on the subject. Everyone we’ve spoken to seems to feel an energy coming from this child: He’s an old soul and he is here to teach us something.
One of the hardest things I’ve had to learn in my life is how to ask for help. I almost died in the throes of addiction because I couldn’t ask for help. I am someone who is used to leading, who is used to being self-reliant, who is used to being supportive. Forest, although he hasn’t even set foot on this earth, has already upended everything about those automatic tendencies in me.
He is the one who is leading. He is showing me that I need support from my community and he’s helping me accept it. He’s teaching me that whatever struggle I am going through will pass. He wants me to know that people are innately good. At the core, we all want to help and love one another. We all want to be acknowledged and loved simply for who we are.
He is saying: Love yourself and love each other as deeply and as fully as you can.
All I can say in return is: You got it, buddy. For you? Anything.