Today I was on the phone, sitting in the hospital parking lot, trying to find out a room number so I could go in and see some friends and their new baby boy. I was doing okay until I heard the words "delivery room 4." As those seemingly innocuous words were spoken, I froze. I had realized I was going back to the hospital Poppy was born at for the first time. I had also anticipated a flood of memories would accompany the trip. So I had already prepared myself for the things I expected: a familiar parking lot, a familiar recovery room, etc. But the second I found out my friend had not yet been moved from the delivery room, I knew I wasn't prepared for that. I have no idea if it was delivery room 4 that Poppy lived out nearly her entire life here on this earth, but I knew whether that was the room or not, I wasn't ready to go back. At least not in this setting. I wanted to express joy for this baby--not retrace those footsteps we walked nearly four months ago as Nathan and I set out in the middle of the night on December 1st.
My heart raced. I didn't want to drive off, but I didn't want to go in. Without giving myself long to mull it over, I looked up and prayed. Thinking back, I can't remember using words, but I know God knew my heart. When I walked in the door, I discovered that at just that moment, my friend was being switched to a normal room: God had provided a "ram in the thicket."
The visit was great. I can honestly say that seeing new life brings me joy, not pain. And the baby was beautiful, healthy and perfect. I'm glad I went. I'm glad I took Marianna. She remembered things that I wouldn't have thought--she recognized the hospital, the rooms, the gift shop--but all of this only served to cement in my brain that the day Poppy was born was special to her. With the help of pictures and video, she may even remember some of it. That makes me happy.
I drove home, walking through in my mind the familiar rooms that served as the back drop for our time with Poppy. It was a drive I needed. My way home happens to pass by the cemetery where Poppy and Papa are, and I found myself turning in before I hardly realized what I was doing. I haven't been by myself before, not because I'm scared of what I might feel, but because her marker still isn't in place, and the only thing that defines the spot is a newly laid piece of sod. But today I felt like I wanted to go anyway. The day was beautiful, and I have a thing about only going to the cemetery on perfect days. I guess I feel like it gives me just a glimpse of what Papa and Poppy are experiencing in heaven. Marianna was asleep, so I left the car running and spent time at both spots. It was good to be there, to feel the tears run down without the terrible stab in my heart. I looked up at the sky and said out loud "I trust you." He has proved Himself more than worthy of that trust.