Saturday, June 27, 2009
A little over a month ago I gave birth to my first child, my sweet Abigail. She arrived safe and sound, but not after a scare or two. There were several times throughout labor that her heart rate plummeted, but always within less than a minute it rose back to normal levels on it's own. We were nearing the home stretch of dilation (about 8 cm) when suddenly I was surrounded by nurses and my doctor. No one said a word, but their faces were grim and their attitudes urgent. I looked to my husband, whose face could not have been more stoic, and felt my own heart begin to pound. The nurses proceeded to turn me first one way and then another before finally settling me into a declined position with my feet raised higher than my head (not comfortable at the 38th week of pregnancy I assure you). My epidural was turned up to the point that I no longer felt anything at all. For what seemed to be a horrendous amount of time everyone silently watched the monitor, while I did my best to remain calm. I glued my eyes on John who showed no expression at all. Finally after what must have only been 5-10 minutes, the nurses began to file out of the room and the mood eased. The wonderful nurse who had attended to me all day leaned over and explained that this time when Abigail's heart rate fell it would not rise again. She went on to say that they had been on the verge of doing an emergency c-section when (Thank Heavens) her heart rate picked back up to a normal level. At this point my composure dissolved as I let it sink in what danger my little girl had been in. John left the room, and when he returned I could tell just how scared he has been as well. The rest of the labor process went smoothly, and as fore mentioned our daughter is now one month old. At the time I did my best to push the memory of that terrifying experience aside, but now it has come rushing back with a vengeance and with it new understanding of Exodus 22.
God directly asked Abraham, with the intention of testing his faith, to sacrifice his only son...the son he desired more than all else, Isaac. The next morning Abraham rose and proceeded to do just as God had asked. Now you and I both know that God provided a sacrificial lamb and Isaac was spared, but Abraham had no idea that this would be the case. The Bible says nothing about Abraham's reaction to this request or the emotions he must surely have felt, but I have been trying to put myself in his shoes. Can you imagine the agony of knowing what morning would bring!? How emotionally, physically, and mentally taxing that night must have been. I cannot adequately understand I am certain, but I believe that now I can empathize. As I recall those terrible moments when the beat of Abigail's heart fell, I can now look back and let myself feel the full impact of that situation. I felt, feel even now, angry that there should even has been a second of danger to this little person that I already loved so much. I know now, as I knew then, that it would be far easier to die myself than to lose my daughter. I know that in those moments the pounding of my heart was a cry of "not her Lord, but if someone must go let it be me." If given the ultimatum I would have gladly walked into Jesus' loving arms if only my little girl could live. I like to believe that I would have enough faith to let go of Abigail if God required it, but I fear that I do not. Can you too imagine Abraham beseeching God to allow him to take Isaac's place? Can you fathom the turmoil of weighing your options? Obey and lose your child. Disobey and ...well who wants to provoke God?
I have another level to take this thought to...if you care to join me.
In Biblical times the offering of a sacrifice required preparation...going to a special place, the necessities for a fire, at times herbs or perfumes...God expected Abraham to go through the process of getting ready to sacrifice his son. He had to gather the wood, stack it, make kindling, perhaps pack special incense. It seems almost cruel to me to know that he had to go through these measures knowing that the blood shed on the altar would belong to his son. My sister-in-law recently lost her twin baby boys. She was 21 weeks into a rough pregnancy and had just begun to hope that they might be alright. One night she began bleeding profusely and having intense contractions. For 3 days she lingered in labor before finally delivering her precious boys. Aidan Dale arrived stillborn and Addison Lee's heart beat for over an hour before he too passed away. My sister-in-law and her husband had been required to make a necessary decision...restate or not. In a sense they too faced the same situation that Abraham faced. They endured 3 days of pain knowing that at the end of it all their boys stood very little chance of survival. On my part, my immediate reaction was to shake my fist in anger at God. Despite this all both have emerged from this experience with hope. Even in the bad, how good our God is.
How very well I am beginning to understand Abraham...
Thursday, June 25, 2009
- Smile at Mommy and Daddy
- "Coo" better than any baby I've ever heard (I'm biased)
- Poop Foam...I'm not even lying. It was sick.
- Practice "Mutton Busting" on Daddy's knee (a rodeo event in which kids ride big sheep for 8 seconds)
- Make 101 different faces within any given 60 second period
Little Miss Abigail Grace loves:
- Dancing with Daddy
- Nursing without ceasing or so it seems to Mommy
- Looking at her Farm Mobile
- Cuddling with anyone who holds her
- Sleeping with her arms up by her head
Little Miss Abigail Graces hates:
- Bottles (we are forcing her to confront this aversion)
- Being Tossed in the Air (perhaps not a gymnast like Mommy)
- Not being held (Any night owls who want to hold a baby for hours on end, let me know)
Our little girl is growing up far faster than I would like (other than in the sleep department). I cannot believe that Abigail has been apart of our lives for over a month now. She has grown and changed in so many ways. I find myself filled with bittersweet emotions all the time. I'm sad to see my little one outgrow her newborn clothes, yet I am excited to see her personality emerging. There is no greater joy or blessing than Abigail Grace...
Courtney- I'm so thankful for your friendship that endures trials and strengthens over time. God bless you! Let me know when I can return the favor!