Sunday, July 28, 2013

Grasping Rainbows

We did not lose Kaylee and I am thankful every day that we did not.  We lost many other things in the experiences of her first year though.  Mostly, we lost our innocence.  Of course we knew that our children could get sick.  We knew our children could die.  But to stand in a room and watch life and death battle over our child, we know it now.  For real.

It is like the world has had it's brightness and contrast altered.

Nothing looks the same.

The world is an altogether sweeter and more frightening place than we ever could have imagined.

Like many parents who have had medically fragile children, there are a few memories, experiences and places which somehow manage to sneak up on me and sucker punch me in the stomach.

When I was sorting out clothes for Amy, I could not seem to find many size 000 girl and unisex clothes amidst my stash of baby clothes.  It occurred to me that this was because when Kaylee was wearing that size, she was vomiting blood and digestive juices several times each day and night.  Few little pink outfits survived those days.  As I dressed my baby girl Amelia Jane Hope a week or two ago in her brand new, tiny pink outfits, a heady mix of hormones, sleeplessness, grief, happiness and a thousand other thoughts and emotions whelmed up and overtook me.  Hot tears poured down my face.  Intense gratitude for the strong, healthy, pink baby in my hands.  For the privilege of doing this again.  This holding a healthy child with no tubes, wires and worries.  For the fact that we all survived those awful days and still have our beautiful Kaylee.  And intense grief.  For the fact that I can never reclaim those days for Kaylee and have her pink and healthy and in my arms as a newborn rather than anchored to medical equipment.  For the broken chain and the little pink outfits that Erin and Anna and Kaylee wore that never made it through that storm.  And what that means really.  The other things that didn't make it through.  The damage we suffered as a family.  The innocence we lost.

And the good did not make the bad better - it is still as bitter as bile.

And the bad did not taint the good - it is still as sweet as honey.

And somehow in that moment I held both in my mouth and tasted them.

And I wept tears of grief and gladness at the same time.

Friday, July 5, 2013

On getting what I want

On Tuesday morning, Amelia Jane Hope - Amy to her nearest and dearest - made her debut.

She is adorable and adored

Her Birth day was unusual for us in that it took place at the hospital. The first baby in almost nine years that I had at the hospital.  It was quite a contrast to our last birth, which was attended by two midwives who I have known for years who prayed and sang worship songs with me as Kaylee was born.  My beautiful midwife who has caught 5/6 of my other babies was at home still recovering from a back injury that kept her bedridden for over a month.  We had decided to have Amy at the hospital because the doctors had recommended it after she had turned breech for a time.  I would have been happy to have her outside the hospital personally as I trust myself and my midwives to assess position etc. but we chose to comply for a number of different reasons.

I look back on the prayer I prayed for Amy's birth months ago in my journal and I have to laugh as almost none of the specifics on my "wishlist" happened.  I had gone ahead of Jon in an ambulance as things were moving pretty quick and we live 45 minutes away.  What ensued was almost comical in nature.  Instead of one of the dozen or so midwives who work at the hospital who I get on really well with, I was assigned a midwife who was a complete mismatch personality wise.  It was far from the peaceful birth, in front of my fire at home with my beloved midwives while my children slept peacefully in the next room that I had prayed for.  Amy's birth was a crowded affair attended largely by people I had never met before - a few of whom I don't care to really meet again - in a bright hospital bathroom with an unnecessary cannula hanging out of my hand.  The most challenging moments of my labour physically were accompanied by people trying to make me do paperwork and repeatedly questioning my choices and decisions and insisting that I lie down on narrow beds for monitoring and prodding.  In their defence, perhaps I didn't look uncomfortable enough for them to believe my assertion that I was in the middle of transition - I do have insanely easy labours but it was still a challenge.

So what happened?  Didn't God hear me?  Am I angry at him because I didn't get what I wanted?


He heard me.

He answered me.

He heard the bit where I prayed "if there is a plan that glorifies You more Lord, I want to glorify You."

And He took me at my word.

The bits that really mattered He totally came through on.  Ridiculously healthy baby, fantastically good birth, easy recovery, and I was home for dinner.  Home for dinner matters when the last time you had a baby, it took you two months to get home.

Lots and lots of good stuff happened too. Jon got there in time, we called in one of our independent midwives who showed up just in time to catch Amy, we got a really good room, one of my favourite hospital midwives came on shift and I was able to visit with her.  While frustrated and incredulous at some things, I felt loved, treasured and blessed beyond belief.  And we have Amy.

I don't know how this all glorified Him more than my personal wishlist.  But the thing is, I honestly don't care.  I just know that God does and that's good enough for me.  The particulars may not have been of my choosing, but I am utterly, undeniably, blessed.