Emelia is one year old.
As I process her birth, I’m remembering things about that day that make me happy. A week before, my doctor called me and told me I could stop taking the medication that kept my contractions under control, and that I was off bed rest. She said it was safe – she could come out now. We were in Emelia’s nursery when she called, and immediately I stood up. My doctor made sure I knew contractions would come on, stronger, more frequently, and I could go into active labor within hours. I was so ready. After weeks and weeks of praying that she would stay put, I wanted her out. I wanted to meet her. So I walked and walked and walked and walked. I cleaned the house from top to bottom. I bounced on my exercise ball, breathing through intense contractions that never stayed consistent. My family was all around me, cheering me on, telling me to be patient, but I knew they were all ready for her to be here, too.
I remember waking up on that Thursday morning, and that impatient, anxious, “get her out, get her out” feeling was gone. There was a strange calm that washed over me as we got ready for our weekly non-stress test appointment. I distinctly remember applying eye liner just in case she made her debut so I could look semi-presentable in my first few pictures with her. I remember smiling at myself in the mirror and placing my hands on my huge belly, trying to savor that feeling of having a little human being growing and thriving inside of me.
I remember realizing she wasn’t moving so much that morning.
Mgo was ecstatic when she was born. Seeing his joy was the best part of that day. I’ll never forget watching him sit at the end of my hospital bed, cradling her, smiling, watching her sleep. It’s really what made me go through the motions of caring for a newborn in the midst of the shock.
On the days leading up to April 3rd, I tried so hard to put all that bad feelings and anxiety and sadness aside. It was so incredibly hard. I felt so guilty for not being solely excited to celebrate. The guilt was immense because I was happy, but I was also grieving – the day Emelia was born was both the best and worst day of my life. That day, I became a momma to the most amazing little girl. That day, I kept my cool even though I nearly lost my life.
“…I was given a thorn in my flesh…Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
I am drinking this verse in, because I am so parched emotionally and spiritually as I walk this path to recovery. I do it because I want to be healthy and strong. One day, I want Emelia to look at me and see someone who is made strong, not because of earthly things, but because of Christ’s amazing grace.
I am trying to face this head on. I am not running from the flashbacks of unpleasant details of my time in the OR, which seem to be more frequent as I process what happened. I’m letting the tears flow when they come. I’m spending a lot of time holding, hugging, and kissing Emelia and letting myself be as overprotective as I need to be.
I’m praising God for sparing my life so I could spend this year taking care of her and watching her grow into a sweet, spunky, smiling one year old.
There hasn’t been a day since she was born that I haven’t thought about how all of this might have not been. I might not have had these happy days that feel like a dream, because it feels too good to be true. And I have to tell myself that it’s actually happening. The same way I was wheeled into the hospital time and time again, praying God would spare her life, I was wheeled out of the automatic double doors, out into the sunlight, carrying our baby girl who made it. I made it.
Emelia is here. She’s okay. She’s healthy. She’s a gift.
Today I am on my knees, and it’s where I plan to stay.
This is the only place I find rest – in Christ’s unrelenting, sufficient, undeserving grace for me. Weak, scared, hopeful me.