Friday, January 25, 2013

When Satan Tempts Me To Despair

The morning of January third dawned early. I breakfasted and prepared to go welcome Ruby into the world.

It was a little overwhelming. With a push, life was going to change. Dramatically.

I found myself weepy, and despairing. My very unreliable, pregnancy-hormone-driven feelings were ruling my head and my heart. No matter what truth I told myself, I worried and feared and grieved.

Sometimes grieving the old is necessary in order to welcome the new. But it's not healthy to wallow in that place. Especially not on your kid's birthday.

As I was leaving all choked up, I told my friend, who was watching Brynne and Hadley for us, that I was struggling, and to pray for me. She told me she would pray, and would love to give me a hug, but she hadn't brushed her teeth yet. Ha! That's one of the many reasons I love her. So thankful for the levity she offered in that moment.  

This is one of her favorite verses:
The Lord will fight for you; you need only be silent. ~Exodus 14:14
 Easier to listen to God when you're silent.
Silence requires the discipline to recognize the urge to get up and go again as a temptation to look elsewhere for what is close at hand. It offers the freedom to stroll in your own inner yard, and to rake up the leaves there and clear the paths so you can easily find the way to your heart. Perhaps there will be much fear and uncertainty when you first come upon the "unfamiliar terrain", but slowly and surely you will discover an order and familiarity which deepens your longing to stay home...whenever you come upon this silence, it seems as though you have received a gift, one which is "promising" in the true sense of the word. It promises new life. It is the silence of peace and prayer, because it brings you back to the One who is leading you. ~Henri Nouwen
It was a gift, this silence. As I welcomed endured those blasted pitocin-induced contractions, my head and my heart were full of truth. Fear and worry melted away. I was thankful---especially once I had an epidural.

(And can I just say---if you labored and delivered naturally with pitocin, you are my hero. I just couldn't hang.)

In that place of quiet. I was able to see the gift of welcoming Ruby into the world. 

If you've had twins, you know how crazy the birth can be. If you haven't, here's a glipse at our experience: we delivered in the sterile, very cold operating room. There were at least 10 people (nurses, my doctor, pediatricians, respiratory therapists, and others) waiting to welcome our 35 weekers. The girls got whisked away right after they were born to regulate their temperatures and to help them breathe better. Then, EVERYONE wanted to meet our girls---it was a circus in my hospital room non-stop from morning till evening, and we had no time get to know our girls. They discovered that Brynne had a heart defect, and her beautiful lips kept turning a scary shade of blue. Then, Brynne was transferred to the NICU at another hospital. Brad went with her, and I stayed with Hadley. 

I don't know what I expected, but that was hard and overwhelming.

Ruby's birth was different. Peaceful. Beautiful.
  • We delivered in a normal delivery room. 
  • There were only three medical people in the room. 
  • They put Ruby on my chest the second she was born. (I had no idea they even did that!)
  • And, more. They didn't whisk her away anywhere. They let her stay and hang out for awhile before they cleaned her up. 
  • I got to breastfeed her right away. 
  • The heart defect she had in my belly was gone. I asked every.single.time a nurse or doctor checked out Ruby, just to make sure the last person hadn't missed anything. Her heart is perfect.  
  • Hardly anyone knew we were in labor, so there were no texts or facebook distractions. We were fully present to the miracle of Ruby's entrance into the world. 
  • We had no visitors (other than Brynne and Hadley). So we enjoyed lots of newborn snuggles.
The whole experience was so redeeming for me. Silence allowed the full weight of that to soak in.  To revel in joy and thanksgiving. To rest. To bond with sweet Ruby.

A slow stillness of the new. And a joy of this most precious gift. 

A friend from church, quite unexpectedly, took this picture of me and Ruby. Ruby was just a little over a week old, I'm quite sure I was sleep-deprived. I love this moment he captured! It's real. It's beautiful. I don't have on makeup, my hair isn't done, I forgot to put on earrings. But I got in the picture, and I'm really glad I did. There's a joy, a glow that he captured that is sacred and lovely. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Brynne and Hadley have an announcement...

...they are big sisters!

Ruby Edith 
03 January 2013
9 pounds
20 inches long

I've wanted to put something up here for days now. It's a challenge when I don't often have two free hands, so I'm going with short and sweet. 

There's the hope that I'll be able to write more soon---we'll see.

All is well. Our three little girls are adjusting better than I could have ever imagined, largely due to the overwhelming love and support we've received from our community here. We are blessed to do life with some amazingly generous people, who love us well---what a gift.

Our hearts (and our hands) are full of good things.