A photo a week throughout 2019: our family, just as we are. 12/52
It’s a lazy day of waiting for a green light, for a little man to make his arrival. The excitement is palpable among the younger kids who “just can’t wait” to meet their little brother in the coming hours. I slept soundly last night, drenched in peace and calm like I haven’t had for weeks, waking only to ease the aches in my hips, visit the bathroom, and take the last self-administered dose of heparin before delivery.
A friend from out of town arrived last night and has mercifully had a gentle introduction to looking after our many kids while we’ve been waiting for the invitation to head over to labor & delivery. Daddy and I went out for an impromptu date at one of the area’s most delicious breakfast joints and caught up on some of the conversations we haven’t been able to have in the midst of the last week. The dish I ordered was the absolutely most perfect one I could have picked, tasty and satisfying. Don’t you love it when you make the right decision in a restaurant?
Since then, we’ve been at home while children play board games, read books, and continue asking when we are going to go to the hospital to get the baby out. It’ll be today, but I have to wait until the charge nurse gives the signal. We’re all excited. I’m passing the time by stopping in here with some of my last reflections before everything changes forever, which is what always happens when a new baby arrives.
I’ve been to the doctor’s office twice a week for the past several months, having routine non-stress tests, extra ultrasounds, lab work, and other appointments to monitor both my health and medications, as well as the baby’s heart rate and movement. Both the baby and I have been fine, and the care we have received from the maternal-fetal medicine clinic has been top notch. On the cusp of induction and a shift in many of the facets of my health, I am eager for the start of a new season even though it means there will be a new round of sleep deprivation and adjustments to life with another newborn. In the past few weeks, I have grown weary of all the fine details involved in the care I’ve required to get through this past season, and I’m grateful all the conditions I’ve navigated are each temporary. Between the many appointments, timed and monitored eating, regimented medications, and a few rounds of unpleasant illness, I’ve had to make peace with the reality of being in a high-needs, low-productivity season.
I’ve tried to enjoy these last weeks of pregnancy despite the discomforts. The baby’s movement is something I never tire of, and I have treasured the time during these seemingly long days of quiet contemplation about the transition before us. There have been layers of struggle, but also, specific and definitive gifts hidden between the layers. I’ve had many tears, boiling frustrations, aches and pains, and I counted up the number of injections I’ve had to give myself (between blood thinners, insulin, etc), which now numbers near 1500 in the past 8 months. It has been an exorbitant number, for sure.
Still, I feel deeply honored and abundantly blessed to have the opportunity to give birth to this child, to see this pregnancy through despite the extreme ups and downs I’ve experienced. I grieve for the mamas I know about who have said goodbye to their babies–even in the past few weeks–far too soon, and I recognize there is no amount of discomfort that overshadows the magnitude of this gift. It is worth every bit of the hardship I’ve encountered.
I’ve learned much about myself, gained perspective about my role as a mother, witnessed my family take on new dynamics as they’ve learned to work together as a team, discovered the beauty in vulnerability and welcoming in the support and encouragement of the community around us. I know I am richer for the experience I’ve had since September when I was first hospitalized–even though I have privately struggled in many ways.
In a few hours’ time, we will begin induction so we can welcome this little boy in a predictable, managed environment. I’m 38 weeks and 6 days. It is surreal to be at this point and see all of the challenges in the rearview mirror: how I spent 8 weeks sleeping upright on the couch in our living room while healing from my pulmonary embolism, the overfull sharps containers and personal pharmacy beside my bed, the first names I learned in visiting the clinic twice a week, the low-glycemic foods I have eaten for the past twelve weeks to keep my blood sugars in check. So many moments have been heavy, hard, unpredictable, and not at all an experience I expected, but I’m grateful for them anyway.
A few weeks ago during a particularly high-anxiety week, I had a 24-hour period when I felt like I was staring into the black abyss, contemplating all the ways things could go sideways and horribly wrong. It was the culmination of months of low-level anxiety and intermittent fears of the unknown coming together in one dramatic day of letting my thoughts really go there, to the scary places. Without overspiritualizing, it was like God led me to the precipice of the abyss and invited me to take a look down there and really consider what was there.
“Let’s go look and see what’s there,” He prompted my heart.
My heart raced and I cried several different times. My sleep was restless and fitful. I considered all the big scary thoughts I’d been afraid to acknowledge. What if? What if I can’t? What if I don’t? What if everything goes careening into the black?
“What if?” came the response.
“Have I not held you? Have I not sustained and carried you? Have I not repeatedly shown you fear is not a reliable source of information? Have I not delivered you through many trials and snares in the past?”
The truth is, fear lies. I can say, I’ve seen the abyss and it’s just not any match for the love that holds all things together.
So I march forward in love, free from fear and so eager to meet this little boy.
“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in Him all things were created, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities. All things were created through Him and for Him.
He is before all things, and in Him, all things hold together. And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and firstborn from among the dead, so that in all things He may have preeminence. For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through the blood of His cross.” Col. 1:15-23
1561. delicious breakfast together with my guy, 1562. surrounded in prayer, 1563. care for our big crew during this induction, 1564. blossoming trees along our street, 1565. enthusiasm of the kids, 1566. the cusp of a new season, 1567. leisurely morning, 1568. the power of encouragement, 1569. solid care team 1570. seattle weather