Thursday, November 15, 2007
A Big Day
By the time yesterday finally drew to a close, I was left with no coherent thoughts or emotions. I didn’t have words to express the day or the energy to try and think it all through. Since we’ve started down this road I have not experienced such a day of physical, mental, and emotional overload. Crammed into my waking hours were more emotions that I can probably list, and while all were certainly not all negative, nearly every one of them was supercharged. As strange as how the sum total of all the colors in the spectrum creates white, the combination of all of these emotions had the effect of leaving me, ironically, unable to express any emotion at all.
November 14 is inherently an emotional day for me, not only because it is Marianna’s birthday, but also because it represents the most emotional day of my life. When Nathan and I went in to deliver Marianna two years ago, it was under anything but “normal” circumstances. My grandfather had been battling pneumonia in the hospital for just over a week, and the prognosis was getting bleaker every day. On Sunday, November 13 the doctors came in and told our family to begin preparing for the funeral, and at that moment, I realized what I had to do. In the midst of the greatest sadness of my life, we made the decision to have Marianna induced the following day so that I would be able to make the funeral, if Papa’s time was indeed as close as the doctors were predicting. I went in late that afternoon to Papa’s bedside and told him goodbye and begged God that he would still be there when Marianna was born. I cried and I grieved. And then the next morning I dried my tears and forced myself to commit the day to happiness as we celebrated Marianna’s birth. She was born by 4:45 in the afternoon, and after family had the chance to see and hold her, we sent them with the video footage of Marianna to Papa’s bedside so that they could show him his first great-granddaughter. Less than twelve hours after her birth, Papa went home to be with Jesus.
This is what I mean by “inherently emotional.” I simply can’t approach her birthday without a flood of emotions running over me from that surreal time in my life. These are the thoughts I awoke with yesterday as we prepared for the big appointment and the big celebration with Marianna. Our appointment was early, but as is typical with my doctor’s office, we didn’t actually leave until 1 p.m. The appointment brought both encouragement and disappointment. It is always a thrill to be able to see Poppy and hear her heartbeat. I don’t take it for granted that she is alive and growing, and seeing the evidence of that on ultrasound monitor is something I am extremely thankful for. However, we also learned that Poppy’s head has continued to grow and is now officially “off the charts.” This led to my doctor explaining that he will have no choice but to perform a vertical c-section. With this news came the diagnosis I had expected but dreaded hearing: this kind of incision will never allow me to have a child by any other way than c-section, and it will require us to wait one full year for it to heal before we can consider having another child.
As I drove home from the appointment, I searched my heart to try and sort out everything I was experiencing. Frustration came to the top of the list. Isn’t it enough that her condition is going to take her away from us? Does it also have to affect our future children as well? Disappointment also ranked fairly high. I wanted so badly to see a miracle on that screen. I wanted to see that God had stayed the accumulation of fluid and allowed her body to grow at the same rate. Instead, her head continued to grow while her body’s growth significantly waned.
I immediately began searching my mind for a person from the Bible to relate to, and almost instantly Joseph’s story came to me. If ever there was someone who could say “Isn’t enough, enough?” it’s got to be him. His brothers sold him into slavery, he was falsely accused and punished for maintaining righteousness, and he was forgotten and left abandoned in an Egyptian prison. This is a bad story gone worse without any question, and if anyone had reason to be disappointed over lost dreams, frustrated over unjust circumstances, and embittered over the seeming abandonment of God, it is him. And yet Joseph remained faithful, even before he saw the amazing plan God had in store for him. What an encouragement to me!! I am so grateful that God chose amazing people like Joseph and allowed them to go through unthinkable hardships, knowing the profound impact they would have in the lives of Christians for hundreds of years to come. I believe God knew even at the moment Joseph was sitting in prison that someday his faith and endurance would spur me to greater faith and endurance as well. God’s provision to me through His word and His people is something that will never run dry.
For the first time yesterday I prayed a prayer that Job uttered as he was in the midst of his darkest night. He cried out “Thou He slay me, yet I will trust Him,” and after finding out the additional bad news, I echoed this in my heart. As the pressures and concerns with Poppy build, and as we approach her birth in just three weeks, I know I will continue praying this. Even when it seems like what is happening is adding insult to injury, I know in my heart that I will trust Him. The Lord has promised good to me. I may not see it clearly now, but I can see it by faith. I will cling to this as the countdown continues.
Thank you for your prayers and for the many happy birthday wishes to Marianna. I believe she had a truly special day, and it brought Nathan and me much happiness in the midst of everything else going on to be able to celebrate with her.