“When will you guys try for another one?”
“You need a baby sister for Elise!”
“Have you guys thought about more kids?”
Now that Elise is walking and no longer a tiny, wrinkly, fist-making, suckling baby.. We’ve been getting “the question” about another baby.
Honestly, the first 6 months she was alive, I was fairly certain that I might never want to do that again. “That” being the 18 weeks of intense nausea. The 16 weeks of bed rest. The 5 weeks past 37 weeks of “will I be pregnant forever?” The healing from her tiny head coming out so very crooked. The intense hives until she was almost 3 months old. I was terrified of even the thought of finding out I was pregnant.
People told me that “it” would be natural. That my body would know what to do when the time came, just as I would know how to breastfeed my baby the moment she was born. They were wrong about both. I had to be induced for labor to even begin, possibly due to the wacky position of Elise’s head. I struggled with breastfeeding and fought to continue for weeks after Elise was born. And as I look back I realize that while the process may be natural, that doesn’t mean that we will know exactly how to bring about that process. That does not mean that we won’t need help.
I required assistance to stay pregnant and I required assistance to not be pregnant.
I required assistance to learn how to nourish my baby. I required assistance to latch her on, to heal from her latch, and to teach her to latch again. Yet every day, I am grateful that we figured it out.
I really thought I would waddle my way to the birthing room, work through the process with my husband and our doula, and emerge with my daughter. I prayed in the weeks leading up to her birth that I would not need to be induced and that I would not tear.
Yet, both happened.
I was dead set against as well as terrified of an epidural.
Which also happened.
For many months, I was ashamed of my story. I felt that having the epidural made me weak. That needing to be induced after all of the desperation and effort to stay pregnant was a slap in the face. That I was not strong enough to handle labor.
Realistically, I was physically weak. Being in bed for hours and days and weeks on end does make you weak. I was horrified at how exhausted and lethargic I was in the days immediately following her birth. I tried to justify and qualify my story as I saw other women that I knew, out of bed and enjoying their new child just hours after their birth. I struggled watching people with “normal” pregnancies who would ask when we wanted another, because I didn’t think they understood the fear and overwhelming sadness the thought of repeating the past year brought to me. Yet as the days between 9/27/16 and where we are today slowly increase, I have grown to be at peace with our story.
Yes, I wish I had gone into labor naturally. Yes, I wish that I had not been in such pain or felt so helpless immediately after she was born. I have heard stories of home births and hospital births that seemed less traumatic than mine. Yet as with anything else, whenever I get caught up in what I don’t like about a situation, I forget the blessings… And our story had so. many. blessings.
I forget that we had wonderful support from our physician and our doula.
I forget that we had the entire birth ward to ourselves.
I forget that we were able to laugh and sway and move to worship songs the first night of induction.
I forget that the epidural was God’s grace – that with it I avoided emergency surgery to repair the damage done by Elise’s head.
I forget that our most favorite physician was there when we delivered, coaching and encouraging me through every push.
I forget that I was able to catch Elise with my final push and bring her on to my chest.
I forget that Tyler and I were able to laugh and smile on our drive home from the hospital.
I forget that I brought my baby home, while some Momma’s leave with broken hearts and empty arms.
I forget that we avoided every single NICU day we thought we would need.
I forget how great of a blessing receiving a hemoglobin transfusion was, instead of iron pills for months.
I forget how relieved I was to no longer be pregnant.
I forget the grace of God in each and every moment in our journey.
I enjoy each and every day with our daughter. She is still changing by the hour and has brought new wonder to my eyes as I see her pride in the things she does! Simultaneously, watching her grow has brought me a peace about our experience. A peace about the bed rest. About the overdue-ness. About the recovery (except the hives). About the weakness and fatigue that accompanied recovery because of the bed rest.
And yet over the last year, I have seen that every part of our story from the first positive pregnancy test, to the afternoon we met Elise face to face, shows the hand of God. He was with us in the scariest moments, the longest hours and days, and the most painful things I have endured.
He was faithful to sustain us. To sustain me. To sustain our daughter. And as a result of His faithfulness, I believe that someday, we can do it again. That we can trust Him to guard and protect yet another blessing to our lives. That we can one day, anticipate another child and know that He will continue to be who He always has been, for He will never change.
Bringing a new life into this world is a gift not only to all those who assist, but to the Momma who watches the tiny, wet, wriggling child emerge from her body. In those moments we are able to understand a measure of God’s love for us that nothing else can parallel. God knows best. He is best. And Elise will always remind us of that, as we look at her and remember His great faithfulness.