Keziah Rae Rowland And The interruption of beauty

There are two types of beauty.

There is beauty that brings some sort of sensory pleasure, like a flower, or butterfly.

And then there is beauty that stops you in your tracks, that interrupts your little world and jump starts an evolution. That kind of beauty is like experiencing a vast mountain, or the wonder of the stars. Or, it can be brought about by a moment or new strings of moments. Like your wedding day, and the subsequent years of love that follow. It's the kind of beauty that you can't idly ignore or forget; it forces you to take notice and reckon with its existence. It is not a quaint and aesthetic beauty; it is a terrible and wondrous beauty.

It is this kind of beauty that operates like a rod forced into the spokes of a wheel; it wrecks your categories, shifts your paradigm, and precipitates deconstruction and reconstruction.

You are both coerced and enkindled to change; being at once in a place where you could never return, and simultaneously determined to seek the change. It's like the ground falling beneath your feet, only to find yourself in an inescapable cavern and decide to joyously explore.

It is the interruption of beauty that brings forth the upheaval of empire.

But even that word feels inadequate. Beauty, like currency, has lost value because of misuse or overuse. It seems as though, on the outset of no alternative, the word beauty only finds its meaning when we have been interrupted by it.

On February 13th, 2017, at 1:09PM, I watched my gorgeous, and wonderfully pregnant, bride bring beauty into the world.

And I only uttered "oh, wow," over and over again.

Jayci, in all the messy chaos, displayed a kind of grace and inexplicable strength that even the word inspiration feels a bit uninspired in comparison.

And I'm still trying to successfully pretend I'm an adult.

We arrived at the hospital in the evening of the 12th, in order for Jayci to begin induction (because, like her daddy, Keziah was late). Excitement was high, and anxiety even higher. The weight of expectation was almost unbearable. It was one thing to wait until that fateful day the contractions started or Jayci's water breaking; it was another to live a night in a hospital room, waiting, waiting, waiting for what is to come.

Jayci was wired up, poked, and prodded.We visited with Landon. I nearly froze to death while Jayci’a forehead beaded with sweat. Lost our minds because the baby’s heartbeat dropped dramatically for a moment. We ate supper. Watched Bones.

Wait. Sorry. I'll back up.

We were talking, laughing, expressing our frustration with the speed by which time torturously moved, when a couple of nurses came busting in crying:

Did you do something?
Did you do something!?!

I looked up toward the heart monitor, where the scribbling blue line indicating her heart beat, while just moments ago had a fairly consistent pattern, had plummeted to the bottom of the screen.

And so went my heart.

Obeying the nurses, Jayci turned this way and that, until finally, that little blue line began to scribble within the borders once again. Even before she was born, our little Keziah was coloring outside the lines.

We slept uneasily that night, Jayci refusing any sleeping medication, and both of us intently listening to the steady beat of our little love, praying she keeps tempo.

When I woke the next morning, I was informed by my stubborn wife, that she had only slept about an hour and a half. You see, the evening before, she had started having contractions, but could neither feel them or mark them. Sometime in the night, she had began having back contractions, and the pain of it kept her up. And, according to Jayci, I looked like I was sleeping too peacefully (yes, I am rolling my eyes) to be stirred awake.

Shortly after the nurses administered the oxytocin to begin contractions, Jayci began to really feel them. It was decided by the doctor, after her contractions came hard and came fast, even though she was only dilated at a two (whatever that means), to lower her dosage. It was even hinted, that she might not have even needed the oxytocin.

We were anticipating a birth around six or seven, but our baby girl burst onto the scene at 1:09 in the afternoon before the doctor could arrive.

Yes, before the doctor could arrive, but we’ll get to that.

First, I want to state that my wife is the strongest person I have ever known. Fully committed to a natural birth, she successfully endured the incredible pain without an epidural. She did concede to some pain medication to help her with the oxytocin induced contractions, which were horrible, and useless for their mass majority until it came time for birth.

And that's where things became interesting.

As I watched the nurse administer the medication through Jayci’s IV, she slowly began to widen her eyes, and her head began to swivel.

Whoa, that's weird, she said.

Now, let it be known, Jayci has never been on any sort of pain medication, outside of Advil. And I have heard (and witnessed) that medication will cause people to say strange things. In the case of my lovely wife, I am under the firm conviction that it merely removed whatever form of filter she has (if you know her, you understand what I mean, and I love her for it).

What is about to follow is an account of conversations between Jayci on hardcore medical drugs, and those fortunately to be around to witness them. She does not remember these conversations, but, for those of us who experienced them, we, thankfully, will never forget them.

Here we go.

So, the first odd thing I heard from Jayci was after I asked her if she needed anything. Through slurred speech, and hazy eyes, she said:

Just…go to the Dollar Store…

And she was out.

Later, after retelling this little oddity, Charlotte (Jayci’s mother) asked:

Well, why did you tell him to do that?

And in a humorously drugged up response, Jayci said:

Oh I dunno…I thinkin’ I was wanting to go away and I was just being nice.

And she was snoring again.

She at one point accused me of being really really mean, because I called the cops on her. She would continuously warn the nurse coming to check on her that everything going on with her body was really nasty.

At one point, while fast asleep, she shot up straight, with the widest eyes I have ever seen, and said:

Is this healthy?
Is what healthy, I said.
This, she said, pointing to herself.
Oh, the pain medications?Melissa (my mom) said.

Jayci nodded.

Because this don't feel healthy.

And she slumped back into the hospital bed, asleep once more.

Little conversations like this carried on throughout the morning, until finally, her active labor contractions began.

If you've ever experience the birth of a human being, I promise you, it's even stranger than what your thinking. And for those of you who have, you must understand me when I say, though it is undoubtably messy, it is incredibly beautiful.

I've heard of active labor lasting up to 8, to even 18, hours, so I was prepared to stand with her for however long I needed to. I was fully committed to my bride, and I would do whatever I could to help her through it. I was there for the long haul. No matter what happens, I was...

...she was done in 25 minutes.

At one point, the baby’s heartbeat dropped again, and the nurse, calling for the doctor to head our way, instructed Jayci to take it easy.

You can push, but just don't push as hard.

Well, I'm guessing Jayci didn't hear that, because when the next contraction came, she pushed.

The nurse, absentmindedly looking, was saying:

Good. Good. That's a good push. Just take it eas…OH THATS THE HEAD! WE HAVE A BABY!

And my whole existence fell beneath my feet. There was running, there was more yelling, there was cleaning, but all of it fell back underneath a soundless haze. All I could hear was that sweet cry of beauty interrupted, and the soft tender voice of my wife, already speaking kindly to soothe our firstborn baby girl (because my wife is already amazing at being mama).

Keziah Rae was here, and she demanded we take notice.

This is beauty interrupted.

She has interrupted my lust for power. Am I going to pursue a life of empire for this little girl, or will I pursue power through weakness, in order that I might live a life that shows her the Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven?

She has interrupted my selfishness and pride, because at her first cry, I knew I need to get over myself.

She has interrupted the way in which I view every other human being on the planet. Nothing is more convicting than longing to teach my baby girl to love her neighbors, and her enemies.

I will never forget this moment.

Keziah, I'm absolutely terrified, but wildly excited to hold you, crawl with you, and walk with you throughout your beautiful life. And Jayci, I cannot imagine a better partner to teach our little lady to love her neighbor, and pour herself out in sacrificial love in following after Jesus.

I love you both. I really really do.

Isn't she lovely?

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