So, here we are, trying to piece our marriage together and prepare for the birth of our second child. For my second pregnancy, we decided not to have a hospital birth, but to go the complete opposite direction and hire a midwife, a doula, take hippie birthing classes and have a home birth in a birthing tub, all natural, no drugs. I went extreme.
This was a second chance for our marriage and a second chance for this new pregnancy. I drank Red Raspberry Leaf tea twice a day, cut out gluten, dairy and sugar, did prenatal yoga for an hour every morning, took Lucy on long walks almost every day and got really into practicing my labor breathing. I read every book by Ina May Gaskin and any other home birth/natural child birth guru I could get my hands on. I was not going into this labor blind. I was going to do everything right. I even hired a friend of mine to encapsulate my placenta so I could take the pills after the baby’s birth since they were said to curb post-partum depression and help with milk production. I was all in.
I think this was really good for Ben and I. We had just rented a large, two story old home in downtown Fresno and were living in luxury with our sweet Lucy and new baby on the way. If you’re wondering how Lucy was dealing with all of this, she knew something was going on. She was my rock. I leaned on her so much, even though she was barely 2 years old. In her wisdom, that little girl could tell her mommy and daddy were hurting. She was such a constant source of joy and light in our lives. I hope those early years of her life haven’t scarred her completely.
Kids sense when there’s tension and unrest in their home, yet they are resilient above all things. To this day, she is plagued with nightmares that Ben and I will get a divorce, and it’s usually my fault; I’m the villain in her dreams. She says those dreams coming true are her worst fear. She doesn’t even know what happened because we have not told her yet. She’s just that intuitive.
Side note: Parents, don’t think that your behaviors and choices, even the secret ones nobody knows about, don’t affect your children because they do. But God in His goodness will use those things to strengthen your child and shape them into the person they will become.
As the time approached for baby number 2 to be born, Ben and I decided upon the name “Jubilee” if she was a girl and we couldn’t decide on a name for a boy. Why Jubilee, you might wonder? Well, Biblically, the year of Jubilee was one of celebration because it was the year that all debts were paid and sins were forgiven. Not only did we feel like this baby growing inside of me was redemption from our past and the first few years of our marriage, but she was also conceived on 7-10-11. If you’re not familiar with the book of Leviticus, which we weren’t at the time, but a co-worker of Ben’s (who was also a pastor) had told him that the day of Jubilee was Biblically every 50 years, every 7 years and also on the 10th day of the 7th month. So, that would mean this child was conceived on a literal day of Jubilee.
I knew this baby had to be a Jubilee, no matter what.
On April 21st, 2012, Jubilee Verna McEntee was born, after 6 hours of labor, sunny-side-up, underneath the water of the birthing pool. She came out of me facing the ceiling, opened those big beautiful eyes, and looked right up at all of the people surrounding her. I was elated. She was a girl. She was our Jubilee. God had used her to save our marriage, and quite frankly, our lives.