“a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” Ecclesiastes 3:4
I’ll be honest, this has been difficult and not in the ways that I anticipated it to be. I have found that writing in the brokenness was easier for me than writing in the healing. And I think that’s where I’m at… for now at least.
I’m a 1 on the enneagram. I like things black and white. I like that a + b will always equal c (so I thought). I’m always striving to improve myself and the things around me. I like perfection and am terrified of being less than. I wish I would have known these particular things about myself five years ago. Maybe I could have processed things a little differently. Maybe I would have understood why I couldn’t shake the thoughts and feelings of being a complete failure as I entered into motherhood.
I’ll never forget that sign. It hung above me as I was wheeled into the NICU. It read, “Congratulations”. I was being wheeled into seeing my one pound baby who had just been surgically removed from my body. A body that rejected her sixteen weeks too soon. I was very confused as to what we should be congratulating. I did everything they told me to do. I laid flat on my back for six days and hardly moved. I endured the awful steroids and magnesium. I listened to worship music continuously to stay calm. I prayed… and I begged…. and I failed. My enormous amount of pure will didn’t stand a chance against what my body made it’s mind up to do, and that was to end my first pregnancy.
The next five months in the NICU would be the hardest five months of my life. My husband and I were immediately forced onto the NICU rollercoaster. Our hearts broke as we watched our daughter’s fragile body lie in an incubator not knowing those first few days if she would make it. We rejoiced when blood work and MRI’s came back clear. We cried when her oxygen levels dropped so much during the night, that we couldn’t hold her during the day. We rejoiced when she came off the ventilator, and worried when she had to be put back on. We celebrated when she was moved to a bassinet and asked way to many questions when she struggled to move off of the feeding tube. We counted every ounce she gained and recorded every ml she ate every 3 hours. We spent every minute we could with her and played endless hours of Words with Friends and Draw Something. It was exhausting, but there was beauty in all of it too. The amazing nurses that became our friends, the dove chocolates that our doctor would bring to us every night on rounds, and the way our family and friends supported us. We felt like we were falling apart at the seams, but we knew we were being held together by the grace of God and by all of you.
October 26, 2012 was the day we finally got to bring our baby girl home. Nurses who weren’t scheduled came in just to see us off. My family drove to be with us. It was an amazing day! Our 1 pound, 24 weeker was now a strong and healthy 6 pound, 5 month old. We dressed her up in a bird costume for Halloween (get it? she was the early bird!) and we rushed into the holiday season celebrating all of her firsts. Each “first” was just a little sweeter for us knowing how close we were from things being very different.
It was a joyous season. Celebrating Christmas, being surrounded by family, the entering into a new year, and purchasing our first home. On the outside it would appear as if everything was perfect. Everything was finally all working out. But my inside reality was very different. I was broken.
I never once doubted God or what He was capable of doing. I knew every time I looked into my daughter’s eyes that he had displayed a miracle right in front of me. My husband was growing and being invested in and the evidence of God’s hand was clearly over his life. I knew there was no denying his presence or his power, I just couldn’t find any of it in me. I had failed, and now I was alone.
I couldn’t make since of any of it. I was healthy, in shape, and following all of the prenatal rules. But even before all of that, I was faithful. I committed my life to God at 15 years old and I never once looked back. Through death and illnesses of family members, through heartbreaks of lost relationships, through challenging seasons of life, I had been faithful. Wasn’t it His turn to be faithful to me?
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest. Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One.” Psalm 22:1-3
Check back next week for part 2.