Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Fancy Pollys

Love, love, love these girls!!!!


Oh, my little Haven! You are indeed a sweet means of sanctification.

We love you!!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Thanking God for...

{Gifts #162 - 199}
- Washing machine, dryer, dishwasher, hands
- Frying pans and crisp bread and breakfast
- Cat greetings under a full moon
- That my own arm did not save me, but Your right hand and Your arm, and the light of Your face, for He delighted in me - wonder! Psalm 44:3

- Long talks with Mom; Verizon to Verizon minutes
- Honesty amongst friends
- 30 years of Eric
- Different bottles to try
- Opportunities to cook and buy food for others

- A donated medical bed for the Pregnancy Center - brand new!
- Answered prayers in the form of a Nurse Manager (Maria!!!)
- Dad's immediate generosity (re: Elijah's request for a new gun)
- A little girl to learn to love & God's help to do so
- Tears

- A husband's encouragement
- Friends to hold my girl & play with my boy (Jenelle! Seth!)
- An opportunity to speed clean the house
- Daffodils - bright, yellow, & full of cheer
- Running, legs & lungs that work

- Airplanes bringing friends and joy
- Quiet hours, long morning talks with coffee (Oh! What a treat!)
- Hives arriving when I had two in-house babysitters
- Benadryl overdose while other adults were present
- Anne & Jenelle's willingness to watch my children

- Polly Jane in a yellow hat
- Access to the God who Heals
- The hope of heaven - where sin, death, & disease no longer have dominion
- Our new family practitioner who is ok with homebirth, has two adopted children, prays, and will give me steroids
- A precious girl, six months old today

- Pizza crust, the first food of all my children
- Goals and their ability to motivate and organize me
- "Finished! the victory cry"
- 86 years of PawPaw
- Love amongst family and the comfortable familiarity of Hobgood Road

- Time with James and his kindness to Elijah
- A date with Aunt Donna
- Bananagrams with Uncles & an Aunt; Yahtzee with MawMaw & PawPaw
- Thanks from visiting friends encouraging me to love more

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Birth Story: Polly Jane - Part Six

{Part Five and links to the previous posts can be read here.}

Elijah & Haven went to Grammie & Grampa's for the night. We gave them lots of kisses and repeated "New Baby is coming in the morning!!!!" All of us were excited. Eric and I cleaned the house. That probably involved mostly Eric cleaning and me waddling around.

I could not sleep that night. The baby was moving like crazy. I kept thinking, "I am so anxious; I cannot even sleep! This is not good. I'll be a basketcase for the delivery. I have to sleep!" 3:30 AM finally came. We got out of bed to get ready for the big day. I shaved my legs, like all good post-term pregnant women do before they go into the hospital. While I lay in the bathtub, I did some cursory Leopold's on myself. "That is a head!" I thought, confirming what I had felt in my half-asleep state in the bed. "I'm probably just making it up" I thought. I did say something to Eric, though. (Do you remember, Eric? Like "I think the baby might have flipped." or something?)

We got to the hospital and I was fairly persistent about wanting a few belly shots before we went inside. Eric obliged.

I, apparently, tried to pose like a model in the hospital parking lot.

As we walked through Labor and Delivery, I heard the beeping of many monitors. I saw women laying quietly flat on their backs, waiting to have their babies. Family members were dosing by the bedside or eating their own snacks. I started to feel a little sick to my stomach. For the first time I thought, "Oh, yeah. This is why I wanted to have a homebirth." With this pregnancy I had not really thought through the pros and cons of delivery methods. I did that with Haven; I had no need to rehash the decision. (Not to mention, I was burdened with other thoughts at the time.) Walking down that hallway made me suddenly realize how different this would be from Haven's birth, and how similar it might be to Elijah's birth. I thought, "Well. If we ever have another baby, I'll remember this feeling and know that I want to have my baby at home."

We got checked in. My nurse smelled of nicotine. Dr. Trabue came in. "How's that baby this morning?" "Head down," I replied. "Really? Well let's take a look." A quick ultrasound revealed that this baby had flipped. Turned. Of her own volition, without any voodoo methods, less than twelve hours before she would be forced to come.

"Well, do you want to go home?" Dr. Trabue asked. I just stared at him. This - this turning at 40 and 3 - was not an option I had considered. "You aren't a prisoner here, you know. You can do whatever you want." I just stared at him some more.

This is the point at which I wonder "what if....". What if I had just waited to see if my baby would flip unassisted? What if I had trusted my own assessment and had Susie come to the house that morning? Would she have flipped back to breech position? What if....

Eric, rational thinking man that he is, graciously reminded me of the plan. I remember feeling so overwhelmed and numb, knowing that there was no way I could think through more options and make a good decision. I was a little stuck on "My baby isn't breech anymore!"

We stayed in the hospital and began an induction. Everyone induces differently; the first step in my induction was to break my water. With all my fluid, we were praying that my cord would not prolapse (come out before the baby). As long as the baby floated right on top of my cervix before the cord floated down there, this should be a fairly routine induction.

The nurse and I weren't exactly bonding. I didn't really want to bond with her, truthfully. She just served as a constant reminder of things I don't like about childbirth. I kept reminding myself that it wasn't her fault, but I'm sure I was also giving her irritated looks all morning. Irritation was not what I was feeling; I was mostly sad. Sad I hadn't embraced this pregnancy. Sad that God kept being SO NICE to me even though my attitude had been so terrible. Sad that my baby would be born under much intervention. Sad that only now was I really starting to feel for my baby.

We prepped for rupturing my membranes. "You might want to put a few more chucks pads under me. I really have a lot of fluid." I suggested to the nurse. She was clearly irritated. "I already have a chucks pad and a towel down there." "OK." I thought. I smiled and kind of laughed to myself. I'm sure she was irritated at my suggestion, but she should have appreciated the warning. My water was broken despite a closed, thick, and high cervix. I have no idea how he was able to do that. I almost backed myself completely off the bed.

Amniotic fluid slowly poured out. The first gush was manageable. The next gush went all over the bed, up my back, and started dripping onto the floor. Every three minutes or so after that I had to say, "I'm sorry. I'm going to need another chucks pad." It was really a ridiculous amount of fluid. The nurse just pursed her lips and kept changing the bed. I refused the urge to remind her of my warning. After about twenty minutes or so, I looked down at my belly. "Eric! Look at this! It looks like I already had the baby! I mean, look at how small my belly is! Can you believe it?"

Susie had arrived sometime before the rupture occurred. I wasn't sure if she was going to be there or not, but I was so thankful for her presence.

Pitocin started. Contractions started. I was quite emotional, not due to pain - just due to...everything I've written about in these last five posts. I was overwhelmed. The tears were good. The contractions were good. I breathed through them just fine. They hurt, but I felt totally in control. The nurse was eager to up my pitocin at least every 20 minutes so things moved along fairly quickly. I was having contractions every 2-3 minutes when the nurse came in again. That was when I got irritated. Unfortunately she left the room before I could address her behavior. My contractions are completely adequate! You do not need to keep increasing my pitocin! At least give me a chance to progress at this dosage, you jerk! I was so mad.

Ever since midwifery school, I have always said, "If I ever have to get pitocin, I will get an epidural." Going into this induction I just knew I would get an epidural. That had been my mantra; no need to rethink it now. I asked Susie when she thought I should get my epidural. She started talking to me about how I was doing awesome and might not need one. Eric wasn't saying anything, as if he didn't know that I was planning on having an epidural.

"I feel like there is some kind of expectation in this room that I am not going to get an epidural. I do not have that expectation of myself. I am not trying to go unmedicated. I will not be disappointed in myself. I have pitocin. An epidural is what you do when you get pitocin." After that little speech, everyone seemed to understand. ~;-)

My epidural with Elijah had been super horrible. As in, it didn't work plus it left me with a spinal headache. I was a little nervous about this 2nd try. Susie advised I get the epidural while I was still totally in control (save emotionally), so that I could better assist the anesthesiologist. I agreed. We made sure that the anesthesiologist was, in fact, a doctor and not a student.

The epidural was started after much reassurance. Then..."Hmmm. What's this? It isn't flushing. I'm going to have to..." You have got to be kidding me. Seriously? My epidural has a problem. "Wow. You must really just have the worst luck. I can't believe this is happening to you." Well, I could believe it. Eventually all that got worked out and I kept laboring.

Laboring? Really? I didn't feel anything. I just felt tired. I wanted to take a nap, but I felt that certainly that was an inappropriate thing to do when delivery is imminent. The nurse kept me on my back, but was only slightly annoyed when I would switch from side to side. I think she must have just been releaved I got an epidural.

Eric, Susie, and I chatted. It was a fun time. I mostly listened. Suddenly, "Ummm. Wow. I am really about to poop or this baby is coming." I was so shocked at how much it felt like I was about to poop. I've told that to lots of people, "Call me if it feels like you are about to poop.", and I've heard lots of people say it, but That is exactly what it feels like. Susie said, "Oh. OK. Well, let's just see what happens with the next contraction." Sage advice. I wish we had done that through a few more contractions.

"Nope. Baby is definitely coming. Can you guys check down there? I mean, something is really coming out." It was such a weird sensation. There was no pain. I could not figure out what to do with the feelings. Haven's delivery had been so intense, so painful. Now I was just hyper-aware of all kinds of sensations.

We buzzed for the nurse. She didn't come so Susie gloved up. Suddenly, I had this overwhelming desire to have Susie catch my baby. I was hoping they would all stay chatting at the front desk and let my child come into the world quietly. It almost happened that way.

The nurse ran in, controlled yet frantic. The room filled. Dr. Trabue rushed in, glanced at the monitor, and said "How long has this been going on?" Eric tried to tell him something. The baby's heart rate looked a little off. Everyone was freaking out. I was just kept trying to figure out what was going on. "My baby is coming out, so certainly they can't be freaking out about the heart rate. The heart rate always looks crappy right at the end. So, what are they talking about?"

All the sudden huge hands were all up in my business. A baby was pulled out of me. I didn't do anything. I didn't feel anything. I was holding my baby.

"What did we have?" "A girl!" Eric said. "What?" I replied, distressingly confused. "A girl." I looked at Susie on the other side of the bed. "What?" "It's true. I saw it too. I can't believe it either." We had a little girl. A what? I could not believe it. (And, I didn't really believe it for several weeks. I kept thinking of her as a little boy. If she was ever wearing a yellow outfit, I would even refer to her as "he." It became a necessity for me to keep a bow on her little head.)

Polly Jane Graves was born September 28th, 2010, at 2:13 PM. She weighed in at a whopping 8 pounds and 11 ounces. She was 20 3/4 inches tall.

God is good. (Have you heard His steadfast love, faithfulness, and sustaining grace in this story?) I loved my little Polly Jane right away. There didn't really seem to be a transition period - either in the hospital or at home. She just fit. She just was. And she was wonderful. Won.der.ful. I was amazed at how much God enabled me to love her. I cannot tell you how many times I have prayed "God, thank you for giving me a gift for which I did not ask. Thank you for blessing me!"

That night we announced Polly Jane's birth via facebook and this blog.

That, my friends, is the end of this birth story. It started with warring, struggle, and anguish. It ended with rejoicing, thanksgiving, and a little girl. I can shout Psalm 92:4

"For You, O Lord, have made me glad by your work.
At the works of Your hands, I sing for joy."

My Superstar midwife, Susie:

A Birth Story: Polly Jane - Part Five

{Your can read Part One, Part Two, Part Three, and Part Four to catch up on the saga.}

Monday morning I showered early. I continued to debate about whether to call Dr. Trabue or not. My midwife had not recommended I call him; should I check with her first? There were two doctors who *may* agree to try the version. Would Dr. Trabue just think I was stupid? What should I say?

I called as soon as the office opened.
"Can I get an appointment with Dr. Trabue?"
"Are you a patient?
{Pause. Pause.} "Not exactly."
"Oh. Are you one of Susie Meeks' patients?"
{Stunned.} "Yes."
"Alright, we have an opening at 1115."
"What?!?!?! Oh, ok! Yes, that will be great!"

God did not give me a total sense of piece or take away all my anxiety. God did give me a few sentences to say. I am not sure if I have ever composed a speech so exactly in my head. I ran over it and over it and over it again.

Eric was meeting me at the hospital for this appointment. Our conversation, as we both drove there, went something like this:
L: "I feel a little bit stupid about going in. I heard his insurance has changed and he can't do breech deliveries anymore. The worst he can say is "No" though, right? I would hate to have a c-section and always think "I wonder what would have happened if I had just asked."
E: "Yeah. I feel like there is no way he can say yes."

I was glad we were going, but I was nervous. I really respect Dr. Trabue; he is the doctor to whom I refer all my friends who opt for physician care. What would he say?

We got into his office. I sat on the edge of the chair, nervous, and not wanting to appear larger than my overdue self already was. He came in & shook our hands. It was go time. I had about 25 seconds to convince him.

"While I was in midwifery school at Vanderbilt a few years ago, you delivered my friend, Janice Prieskorn's, breech baby. I was there for that delivery. And, now, I have a breech baby. {take breath.} Is there any way you will deliver our baby?"

The indefinite pause happened. I stared at him. Then..."Yes, I'll do it assuming we can get a few tests done that show everything will be ok."

WHAT?!?!?!? This may not seem like a big deal to many of you in other locations, but NO ONE in middle Tennessee delivers breech babies. Everyone is scared. Everyone freaks out if your baby is breech. No one wants to let anything natural happen at this point. This man had just said yes! I had been praying and praying and praying that God would turn his heart to us. "You turn the heart of Kings where you will; certainly, God, you can give us favor with this doctor. Please give us favor in his eyes!"

My brain had to switch into planning mode. I was so sure I was going to be shot down; I hadn't thought through all that "yes!" might mean. We discussed my previous (large) deliveries and my (very) adequate pelvis. I agreed to have CT pelvimetry done. Dr. Trabue explained the plan and emphasized that he was in charge. I gave my grateful acknowledgement, assuring him we were fine (and happy) about the arrangement.

When we had the breech delivery plan all lined up, I said "Would you like to try to do a version?" As his face crinkled to say no, I quickly interjected "I have got a TON of fluid" and handed him my ultrasound report. His response? "Wow. That is a lot of fluid. I never do versions on post-date women because they usually don't work. They don't work because your fluid level decreases at term. But {adjusts glasses}, you really have a lot of fluid."

We scheduled a 5 AM check in time for the next morning. The plan was to attempt a version. If it succeeded, I would go for immediate induction. If it failed, I would head for immediate c-section. I felt like a million (large) bucks when we left the hospital. I could not believe God had been so kind to me! I was totally overwhelmed that God would choose to answer my prayers. I now had a chance at a vaginal birth - and with my very favorite OB in all of Nashville!

I called Susie on the way there. She was shocked that Dr. Trabue had agreed to take my case. He had turned down another client of hers earlier that summer - a client who had a way more favorable prognosis for a successful breech delivery. It was just another little whisper of how God was caring for me and giving me far above what I could have asked or imagined.

Eric and I headed to Arnold's for lunch. The whole time I am sure I said "I can't believe it! I can't believe it!"

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Birth Story: Polly Jane - Part Four

That weekend was a whirlwind. There were so many options, I felt I couldn't think straight. Homebirth? Version? Deliver breech? If I went into labor over the weekend my only option was to go into the ER in labor. That was going to be great. "Hi. I'm overdue. I have a breech baby. I was planning a homebirth... Oh, and I'm a CNM." That was going to be a great introduction, insuring me of lots of fabulous medical care and an immediate c-section. When someone walks into L&D like that you just kind of think to yourself, "Oh, one of those people. Of COURSE this is not going to work out for them."

I prayed a lot. I asked God to hold off labor until Monday when I at least had a chance of convincing someone to try to turn the baby. I asked God to give me favor in the eyes of the doctors I would see on Monday. I asked God to turn this last doctor's heart towards me, the one with whom I did not even have an appointment yet.

Life kept going because children aren't as affected by drama. We played.

We gathered some of the last of summer's produce.

The kids watched a movie while I floated around in the bathtub and hung upside down from the weight bench. (Note: It is hard to breathe while upside down with gallons of fluid and a swollen uterus and a fat-cheeked child compressing your lungs.)

Elijah and Eric built a fort in the creekbed. Somehow, in the midst of my circular thinking, fears, and prayers, Eric built a fort in the playroom. In case you have yet to see God's mercies in this story, think on this fort. I did not go insane while this was wrecking the playroom at my 40 and 2 week gestation.
Eric was the only rational thinker in the house that weekend. He helped me define our goals:
1. A healthy baby.
2. Avoid a c-section.
Ah, clarity. Now that I knew what I was shooting for, I could think through things a little better.

At this point, I knew a homebirth was no longer an option. I had such a ridiculous amount of fluid. Even if this baby turned into a vertex position, the baby could flip again before I delivered. Elijah was ten days late; Haven was five days late. The baby would probably have time to do a few more flips before labor commenced. Now I also realized that she had been flipping all along. That is why I would feel her breech some days and vertex some days. Susie just happened to always come on the vertex days. Given this pattern - repeated flipping at term! Who does that? - we formed our plan. I was sad about not being able to have a homebirth until Eric nailed down the goals for me. At that point, the place of birth became a glaring non-essential compared to the mode of birth.

If this doctor would deliver me breech, we would shoot for that. If I couldn't find anyone to deliver breech, we would try to find someone to do a version. If the version failed, I would have a c-section. If the version was successful, I would head for immediate induction. If the version worked, I did not want to give the baby any chance of flipping back around.

We spent the weekend playing, praying, having the same conversation a million times, and rearranging our room. Eric took Monday off. The children were set to spend the day with Grammie and Grampa. My Mom would drive up Monday morning.

We waited.

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Birth Story: Polly Jane - Part Three

{You can read Part One of the story here and Part Two here.}

God gave me a precious few weeks to bond with this baby growing inside me. From the very start I was convinced this child was a boy. My pregnancy had been exactly the same as Elijah's - minimal nausea, no major physical problems, and an incredible case of polyhydramnios. I was huge. Seriously, look at how far my belly is jutting out in this picture! How did that happen?!?! Throughout the pregnancy, I would periodically attempt Leopold's on myself, just wanting to know where the baby was. Several times I thought, "Uh-oh. This baby is breech." Then I would make myself forget about it. As noted in the previous posts, I was not really able to give much thought to the baby anyway, so this was not difficult. I would just tell myself, "Well, I'm going to pretend I don't know. Maybe I have lost that skill and don't know what I'm feeling anymore. I'll just let Susie (my midwife) discover it - if it is true."

After loving Haven's birth, we were again planning a homebirth. I had everything ready, but I had not really psyched myself up for birth. I could barely think about being pregnant, much less about the drama of labor. I kept thinking something just was not going to be right, but hoping I was wrong.

Susie came for a prenatal visit when I was 39 and 6, just a day shy of my due date. Everything looked great - blood pressure, weight, swelling. I lay down on the floor. Measurement - great. Heartbeat - great. Leopold's - pause, pause. "Lydia...", a look of sadness and concern crossed Susie's face. I knew. "The baby is breech?" "Yes." Still feeling my belly. "This baby has turned! Yes, he is definitely breech. Oh, Lydia!"

I just lay there. I wasn't really upset. I definitely wasn't surprised. "OK. So what is the plan?" I did not really have any emotions about this discovery.

My emotional response to this pregnancy had scared me for so many reasons. I wanted to love my baby right away. I wanted to rejoice over this child. I was fighting for that. In the midst of this fight, I could not help but wonder if God was going to allow the baby to die or have some problem because of my own selfishness. God does not work that way. He is merciful and gracious; He loves with a steadfast (not hormone-related) love. I know that. I knew that. Yet, the fear still kind of lingered in the back of my mind. I did not deserve to have another child, and then I scoffed at the gift God gave me. Why shouldn't I be punished?

My focus now was merely getting this child here safely. What could I do? I ran in to see my chiropractor at 9:00 AM Friday morning. I did all kinds of old wives' tail-type tricks to get my baby to flip. Diving to the bottom of the pool, massaging your pinky toe, lying upside down on the weight bench with a pack of ice on your baby's head. I was willing to try anything to get this baby to flip.

The ultrasound at 10:00 AM confirmed a little footling breech with really large cheeks. The ultrasonographer went ahead and did a biophysical profile even though it had not been ordered. "That is what the doctors will want to see." My polyhydramnios was in full swing. None of the normal "your fluid level decreases when you are term." Oh no. My AFI level was 29 cm, greater than the 95th percentile. God was showing Himself sovereign. Being huge for nine months, carrying around a few extra gallons of fluid, was about to be totally worth the effort.

Eric and I now had to decide what to do. Homebirth was no longer an option. This baby was not flipping with all my voodoo methods. It was Friday. It was my due date. No one could see me until Monday, at which point I would be overdue and breech - a scenario which frightens most obstetricians. I could see a c-section quickly approaching.

We scheduled appointments for Monday with two different doctors. Susie had known both of them to attempt versions on her clients in the past. The first doctor, if he agreed to try a version, may let me go home to deliver if the version was successful. The second doctor, if he agreed to try a version, would begin induction immediately if the version was successful. If the version wasn't successful, I would have a c-section.

There was just one doctor in all of middle Tennessee that I knew would deliver a breech baby. I just happened to have been there when he delivered my friend's breech baby. He had recently turned down another couple's request for a breech delivery. I decided to just call and ask for an appointment. His office was closed on Friday.

We had a whole weekend of waiting and voodoo attempts to endure.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Birth Story: Polly Jane - Part Two

{You can read Part One of Polly Jane's Story here.}

Five weeks before my due date, God gave a jumpstart of grace. I was reading Genesis 29. I wrote in my journal,

"There is no one with whom I can discuss these traitorous feelings, feelings which haunt me on an almost daily basis. I tried with Eric once. His comments, I feel, served to sever most bonds of trust and friendship between us. It was such a big deal for me to even verbalize these wicked thoughts. To have Eric just blow them off as stupid was...terrible. This has been my biggest struggle these past eight months - and it has been a HUGE struggle, second perhaps only to my despair prior to conversion. My inability to communicate with Eric about it has really driven a wedge between us. Now I feel like our marriage is almost in a hopeless state of despair and apathy. A crappy marriage makes for a bad pregnancy, at least in my case.

- Children are a blessing from God.
- God has given THIS child to ME at THIS time in my life. God does not make mistakes or have timing which is off.
- My ability to love and mother New Baby is not to be a reflection of my relationship with Eric, my own abilities, or how emotionally stable I feel. My ability to love New Baby must instead be in response to God's love for me.
- God loves me! God has promised to sanctify me. God has promised to never leave me or forsake me. God has promised to give me the Holy Spirit in abundance.

'This time I will praise the Lord.'
God, please supply the grace I need to do so!"

Oh my! If I had words to tell you of how He did! God opened my mouth so that I could talk. (That sounds stupid unless...well, unless you know me as only Eric does.) I talked! We cried. We confessed. We apologized. Eric comforted. Eric loved. Eric asked. I made myself - gut-wrenching though it was - tell him things. I talked! God gave grace. Eric was gracious.

"Lydia, I love you. I don't hate you or think differently about you because you haven't been able to love the baby." What? Grace amazing!

I was pregnant! We were going to have a baby! We talked! God was healing our marriage. And now we had names for the baby.

{Part Three coming soon...}

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Birth Story: Polly Jane - Part One

Psalm 92:4
For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work;
at the works of your hands I sing for joy.

If you have seen me sometime over these last (almost!) six months, you have probably met Polly Jane. I have probably turned so you could see her sweet face. I have probably told you how wonderful she is. ("She is WONderful!") I may have kissed her in front of you. I may have even told you how amazingly squishy her plump cheeks are, and how I love to kiss them. Polly Jane has probably been wearing a cute bow, tights, and a darling little dress. You, too, have probably thought she is wonderful.

I probably did not tell you how carrying her inside me was the hardest thing that ever happened. I did not mention that the nine month gestation grew one child's flesh together and separated what is to be one flesh. I did not tell you that I could not name this child until her birth was imminent. I did not tell you that I felt little joy at her squirms and kicks. I did not tell you how I cried in the dark and alone, feeling like a terrible mother. I was. I am.

So, this birth story must be told two ways. First, I must tell you about the gestation, the forming, the warring inside me. Then, I can tell you of the delivery, the absence of warring, and the holding. Both stories scream of God's goodness.

Just a few years ago, I worried that I would never get pregnant. I pleaded with God for a child. This gift he gave - Elijah! I wondered if pregnancy and childbirth would heal me. Would things be normal now? Could I have another baby? Or was Elijah just a miraculous fluke? All my other friends got their periods. I waited for mine. I weaned Elijah at one year old. I waited. I grew fearful. I pleaded again with God for another child. Would He, the one who opens wombs, give me another most-valuable gift? God heard my prayers and gave me Haven. Loud, exuberant, a bit tireless. I was tired.

I did not pray for another baby. Certainly I wanted another, but I wasn't to the point of asking God for that yet. And God should wait until I let Him know my timetable, no?

We were looking for a new house on a strict deadline. I was anxious. I was flustered (how can you make such a huge decision?). I was pregnant. I wasn't ready. I was tired. I was not a good Mom. Things were not under control - in the home, in my body, in my children's hearts. I refused to take a pregnancy test. I didn't acknowledge the life inside me.

My friend called, crying. She was pregnant with her 3rd. Unexpected. I cried with her. I said nothing. We moved. I moved boxes, cleaned like crazy, held my belly in. I cried. "God, there is no way I can do this! I'm so bad at this already!"

The worst part was not being excited. What kind of mother finds out about her baby and doesn't care? Doesn't glow? Doesn't shout her joy aloud?

I listened to other Moms tell me why they must have an abortion. I couldn't exclaim with joy to them that I had a tiny baby in my belly too. I couldn't convey wonder and awe to them...because I did not have it. My counsel was personal. ("Yes, your life will be totally disrupted. Yes, it will be super-duper hard. I'm in this with you! I have to do this too! I am hunting for the joy in this as well!") I (finally!) saw myself as not unlike these mothers. Abortion was not an option for me, but it might as well have been. My child grew, but my love for this baby did not.

When I finally told of this 3rd child's presence, Eric's reaction was perfectly wonderful - excitement. My short, faltering attempt to convey to him that this was hard for me failed. "Well, don't you love Haven? I mean, don't you think you'll love the new baby?" No, Eric, that isn't it. No...I don't already love the baby. Can't you see that I am of the wickedest sort? The kind of mother who can't bond with her child? What kind of person am I?

I shut down. I did not communicate with him any more. His one unintended cutting remark had thrown up iron bars around my heart and my mouth. We talked. We went on an anniversary trip. We discussed where the baby would sleep and other planning-type details. We did not discuss my heart. My hard, hard heart. Our relationship felt like that between businessmen - cordial, short, just enough to make things run smoothly.

Elijah, Haven, and I talked about the baby. We prayed that we would love the baby. Elijah and Haven were asking God to make them kind and gentle with the baby. I was asking for love.

{Part two coming tomorrow...}

Friday, March 4, 2011

Miles Boaz

Read the birth story of my sweet little nephew, Miles Boaz, on my sister's blog.

And stay tuned for my own birth story in (hopefully) just a few days!