Being pregnant was an adventure. I didn't have a lot of morning sickness, but felt ill for several months. I also had a lot of swelling in my feet and heartburn (both of which continued to get worse and worse). I loved knowing that our lives would change with a sweet little somebody who would be a little bit of me and a little bit of P in an amazing new way. I loved seeing the excitement on P's face as we dreamed about the future and learned each week how our little one was growing. The grandparents starting buying gifts and preparing their own houses for visits from our precious child. I praised God for the precious new life, growing inside of me and marveled at the body's ability to nourish, protect, and grow.
On a Tuesday in March I went in for my 34 week appointment--just standard stuff. P and I planned to go out to eat after the appointment, returning to the hospital complex for our final birthing class that evening. I was excited because I was one day past 34 weeks and 34 weeks is the cutoff for delivery at the local hospital where I know several of the nurses. That day I hadn't done much, I'd been working on my quilt (that I started 7 years ago and I was bound and determined to finish before baby arrived), but found myself just too exhausted to get off the couch to even sew. To my surprise, as we finished our regular visit, the doc said she was going to take my blood pressure again (this is done at the beginning of the visit). She told me it was rather high and that they were going to have me go over to the hospital for some tests and do a 24-hour sample, but "they probably wouldn't even keep me that whole time." Her office is connected to the hospital. I should've picked up on how serious things were when they gave me a wheelchair ride over to the hospital instead of letting me walk...or the fact that they had me put on a hospital gown... To make a long story short, within a couple hours I was hooked up to an IV to keep my body from having seizures and knew I would be induced in 24 hours. The next morning I was informed that I would be transferred to a larger hospital in Wichita (I was given two different stories on exactly why this had to happen).
Now, I'd started writing a "birth plan" and had some ideas about how I wanted things to go (included moving around during labor and not having pain meds). Suddenly everything was different. I was stuck in the hospital bed (my meds made me a fall risk) with two IVs, constant fetal monitoring, and everything else that goes with this. My dear ones tell me that I was super chill and very "interesting." Since things were already not going as I had hoped (strange hospital, strange doctor, confined to bed), I was preparing myself for what I considered the "very worst" (c-section). The one part of my birth plan that I most looked forward to was having some precious time alone with P and the baby--just our new family of 3--as soon as possible after the birth. I hadn't even told P, but I wanted to sing our precious baby a song entitled "I get to be the one" by JJ Heller and just celebrate our new future together.
Your eyes have never seen the sun
Little Darling was born just after midnight Thursday morning. It seemed to take forever before we heard that first precious cry! (We found out later that Little wasn't breathing.) Once we did, I couldn't wait to hold that tiny bundle! And I did, marveling at the itty bitty face for about a minute before nurses whisked baby away to the NICU. It would be another 24 hours before I got to hold Baby again. It took 16 days for Sweetheart to learn to maintain body temp, gain weight, and nurse. 16 wonderful, exhausting, and painful days. 16 days of guilt while I wished I could put that innocent one back inside where I was supposed to protect and nourish for another 5-6 weeks. It was so hard to see all the heel sticks, the IV in hand or head, and fight to live. I was induced because of my health and it made things so much harder for Baby.
You should know
That I am the lucky one
When Baby was about 3 months old, I was listening to music on my computer and our song started playing..."well hello, little baby...." I looked down at the precious one in my arms and sang this song:
I get to be the one to hold your hand
I get to be the one.
Through birthdays and broken bones
I'll be there to watch you grow
I get to be the one.
And I wept.
I wept for all the pain in baby's birth.
I wept for the days in the hospital.
I wept for the loss of what I hoped for.
I wept for joy.
I wept for the precious gift of that little baby.
I wept for life.
I wept for the grace of our loving God.
Don't feel alone now,
Do you hear me singing you a song
I can't wait to show you
How to crawl
How to walk
And how to run
I wept, humbled by the responsibility.
I wept, blessed beyond measure.
I wept as God redeemed those painful days in March and April.
I wept and sang and looked deep into those liquidy trusting eyes,
knowing love means so much more.
How does someone so small
Hold my heart so tightly
I don't even know you
I love you completely
I can't wait to show Little One to crawl, to walk, and how to run.
And as I do, I know God will be teaching me how to crawl, how to walk, and how to run. Just as He did in March, and April, and in all the difficult times in my life when I find myself helpless and a newborn, dependant on Him. As I tenderly hold Baby, loving completely, I am held. Loved completely.