Sep 202013 3 Responses

On Labor and Delivery, the Oak Ridge Boys, and the Discovery Channel

Depending on age, there is probably no area of pastoral ministry in which a recent seminary graduate is more unprepared than hospital ministry with a soon-to-be-mother and father. Having just gotten married and having only held one newborn—my niece—I entered those early hospital rooms with trepidation.

A baby is only beautiful to people who are already parents.

Once a person has seen their own child, they are able to see every child with the hope and potential that a new parent feels.

However, before you become a parent yourself, every baby looks like the love child of Papa Smurf and Barney.

Every pastor is thinking:

  • will his nose ever be unsmashed
  • will her head get back to a normal shape
  • I’m not sure either of you are this baby’s parents

But of course every pastor says, “What a beautiful baby.”


The Oak Ridge Boys Labor and Delivery

Years ago when we went to the hospital for Jenny to deliver Silas, we were sitting outside the Labor and Delivery unit at the check-in desk. It was 3am and before they could treat my contracting wife, the hospital first needed to check our financial status.

As we sat there filling out paper work, I noticed behind the receptionist a simple painting in the wall. It said, “The nearest thing to heaven is a child.”

My first thought upon reading the painting was, “What an odd place for a quote from the Oak Ridge Boys.”

Consider it—in a Catholic hospital one would think the Pope, a saint, a New Testament writer, Mother Theresa or someone would’ve said something about children which was memorable enough to hang on a wall.

Yet with all the options, the highly-paid decorator chose Branson’s 3rd best entertainers. It makes me wonder how close the Baldknobbers came to having a statement memorialized on the wall.

As my wife writhed in pain, I couldn’t let the strangeness of the moment pass. I began to wonder, what would it be like if the whole Labor and Delivery ward was themed to Oak Ridge Boys songs:

The waiting room could read, “I’m sittin’ here fancy free.”

The nursery could have a sign which read, “My baby is American made, born and bred in the USA.”

The operating room would read, “I guess it never hurts to hurt sometimes.”

And of course, the delivery room would have to say, “A gitty up, an oom bop, an oom bop, a mow wow.” Which I assume is far better than “Sometimes the pleasure ain’t worth a strain.”


Margaret, Are You Naked?

As a father, I found labor and delivery fascinating. It was like watching the Discovery channel without the pixalation. It was the closest I had ever been to a medical procedure without actually being the subject.

I’ve always been intrigued by medicine, but from an early age I knew I shouldn’t be a doctor. As a teenager I remember watching a surgery on a finger only to later realize I was actually watching a vasectomy. If a person can’t tell the difference between those two “parts” the pastorate is probably a better place for him to operate.

While I enjoyed the delivery (my wife remembers her experience being different from mine), I never put together two truths which I knew:

  1. During the process my wife would be naked from the waist down; and
  2. During the process my wife wanted my mother-in-law present

Neither of these facts are in conflict, but when you grow up a conservative Christian boy, there is still some hesitation in admitting to your in-laws the extent to which you know (in a Biblical sense) their daughter.

I wasn’t sure what to do.

Do I turn away and act like I’m not looking?


Do I watch but act surprised as everything I see like I’ve never seen it before?

Neither seemed like a good option.

In the end, there was only one thought which kept me sane throughout the process: as uncomfortable as it might be to see you wife naked in front of your mother-in-law, just remember it sure beats the idea of seeing your mother-in-law naked in front of your wife.

Happy Friday.

3 Responses to On Labor and Delivery, the Oak Ridge Boys, and the Discovery Channel

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