It is so against everything in my nature–in any mother’s nature–to walk out of a room, leaving your newborn daughter alone in a plastic bed. All alone. In the dim lighting. With cords and wires and screens and beeping things.
It’s so incredibly abnormal.
It’s so abnormal to labor well, labor easily … and shock the doctors by delivering a limp baby who’s not breathing.
It’s so abnormal to suspect no problems one minute, progress from 6 cm to birthing a child in less than 40 minutes, deliver a limp, gray little girl, and while trying to hold her ask, “What’s wrong with her? Why isn’t she crying? Why is she so limp?”
It’s so abnormal to finally get to hold your baby … 4 days after her birth. How anyone ever goes any longer than that, I’ll never understand.
It’s so abnormal to feed your newborn as best you can, only to realize it’s not enough, and then try to stuff her full with more, even when she’s obviously porky and content.
It’s so abnormal to begin to understand the “nurse speak” language, and be able to interpret for others.
It’s so abnormal to come home every evening, a mother of two, to a home that only has one sleeping child.
It’s so abnormal to have a closet full of pink things that your daughter is quickly growing out of that she can’t wear because she’s in the NICU.
There are so many thoughts that go through my head in a day. So many questions, so many wonderings. But more often than not, I’m just getting through. I’m doing what needs to be done. I’m focusing on my daughter and her needs. I’m praying for my son, that he’ll come through this just fine. (And I know he will). I’m telling myself to rest, to relax, to hope, and to be grateful.
Because in addition to the abnormal list above, there are a few more:
It’s also abnormal to have such a platform at such a young age. Baby Becca has spoken more boldly for the Lord in her 6 days of life than many of us ever have.
It’s super abnormal to have upwards to 1,000 believers praying for your daughter, some as far away as Cambodia.
It’s incredibly abnormal not to breath at birth, to have a neonatologist of 40 some odd years diagnose brain “insult”, and have absolutely no evidence of “insult” whatsoever.
It’s spectacularly abnormal to have super specific prayer requests blown out of the water, answered with huge “yes’s” and miracles beyond our understanding.
It is very abnormal to be one of those families now–we are one of those incredibly blessed families. One of those families who can say, “This is Rebecca. She is a miracle.”
It’s so abnormal to hear a neonatologist use the words “brain damage” and still, somehow, deep within myself, have this deep, residing sense of peace that everything would be okay. I felt dumb at first–naive really. Erik and Tara had a different perspective than I did. Yes, I felt the birth and knew something was wrong but they had to watch it. Hear the doctors. See Rebecca not breathing. I felt so silly that I wasn’t as upset. I wasn’t worried. Truly I was–I just wasn’t focused on it. There’s so much a woman is doing post birth … in my mind, she was going to be okay. Once I saw her breath and flutter her eyes at me, this is what I knew:
Rebecca is here. She is born. She is alive. She is part of our lives. And no matter what–brain damage or no brain damage. Developmental delays or no developmental delays. This little girl is now a part of us. She will shape us. Form us. Transform us. I am Rebecca’s mom. Erik is Rebecca’s dad. And Joshua is Rebecca’s brother. And she is who she is, and we will love her fully. No matter what kind of changes this little girl brings to our lives, we are better for it. No matter what.
The doctors are still scratching their heads. They have no idea what went wrong. That’s abnormal–and our God is the God of abnormal. He was with Rebecca and me. He knew she needed to come when she did. He led me to schedule an induction, He walked with me as I labored and then birthed her very very quickly. He stood with Erik while he had to watch his baby girl get “bagged” and hear the initial words of concern from the doctors. He carried us as we walked those long halls toward the NICU to see our little girl. He sustained us as we held her little hand while she lay naked and cold. He held us up when they thought they saw more seizures at 3am. He cheered with us when we heard the magnificent news that there’s no evidence of damage. And He is with us now as we figure out how to navigate these days of life in the NICU, while still loving our spunky little boy at home.
Rebecca Elizabeth, welcome to the world baby girl. You light up my life with your smiles. My breath catches in my chest when you open your eyes. Your cheeks make me giggle, and your very breath makes me cry. My dear daughter, you are exactly what this family needs. Thank you for stretching our faith muscles. Now please eat lots, and breath well so we can all live in this same house together! Joshua can’t wait to play. 🙂