How much my husband loves me. How much I enjoy coffee. How much laundry our little family produces.
Many people who hear this story say that it was a miracle. I, honestly, do not think of it as a miracle. I am not offended when someone says that, for I am also in great awe as to God’s actions, but I see no suspension of the created order in this story – this is no virgin birth! But what I do see, and what I hope to accurately display, is how God uses all his creation (especially, people and technology) as a means to extend mercy and to work His good will. In my case, He desired to be overwhelmingly merciful to me – granting things to me that not only did I not merit, but that I actually demerited. He gave to me blessings, when I earned His condemnation. My God is a gracious, merciful God who delights to do good to those who love Him. And I especially thank Him for his mercy and saving grace granted to me almost 11 ½ years ago! Who is like God? Who is like God that he would take a miserable sinner weighted down with guilt, rejecting God, and hating what He requires of her, and save her from her sins? Who is like God that He would save a sinner like me, and my baby, from physical death, that we might have time to enjoy and glorify Him a bit longer on this earth with our blessed family and friends (past and future)? And that is why the name Michael is perfect for our baby boy, for “Who is like God?”
On Monday, December 15, 2008, some facebook friends may remember that I was not feeling very well. I had worked pretty hard over the weekend preparing and celebrating the Third Sunday in Advent, which was glorious. I also had been fighting a cold and it was getting the best of me. And when I hit the last month of the pregnancy, I started feeling nauseated. In fact, the Thursday before I had gotten sick and thought I felt some contractions.
In any event, on Monday, after getting my eldest daughter off to school, I essentially watched movies with the two little ones and rested on the couch until lunch and nap time. After retrieving Sissy from school, I was still not feeling well. In an effort to procrastinate doing the evening activities, I checked email, facebook, bloglines, Drudge, etc. Then, with a strange feeling, and wondering if it was possible that my body was preparing for delivery, I used the potty. Without realizing what would have been obvious to anybody else (that I was hemorrhaging), I calmly asked the eldest to bring me the phone and called my hubby, told him I was bleeding profusely and that he needed to come home now. He told me I needed to call the doctor. I did so, and upon describing my condition, the doctor asked where I lived, who was with me (the three children), and how long until I could leave. I responded probably 15-30 minutes. His response was, “No, no, no, no, no, you need to get an ambulance,” or something to that effect. That’s when I began understanding that this may be serious. I called 911, they told me to go lie down on my left side and wait. I did so and called my neighbor and explained the situation and asked if she could come watch the children – she readily agreed (she is a dear and is always so good about helping us – a neighbor near is better than a brother far away). She was here in a flash, looked at me, went and got a wet wash cloth and started wiping my face (She told me later that I looked so pale that she was very scared, but tried not to show it). I called Sissy’s and The Boy’s teacher, who is also a beloved friend (because school is right around the corner and I suspected that she and her husband would still be there, and I thought the children would be more comfortable with her because she is more familiar to all the children, particularly my baby girl, who really only likes mom and dad). She arrived before the ambulance, although the fire department had arrived. I still had my wits about me and was trying to prepare the children, and urged them not to worry, and if they did begin to worry (because they were seeing me taken away by myself in the ambulance, all the emergency personnel in our living room, you can imagine the scene), then to pray to God and trust Him to take care of me and the babe. They know that God created all things and governs all His creation, and that we belong to Him, that He loves us and does everything for our good, and so it really was not difficult to keep them calm. Sissy was quite concerned, but was comforted at those words. I am not sure The Boy understood the gravity of the situation, and The Baby Girl was quite upset (she turned two today) – she is very perceptive. After doing what I could to prepare them, I put a movie on to distract them.
In the ambulance, I started to feel nauseated and told the woman I thought I was going to pass out. I was trying hard not to. She kept saying we are almost there (without traffic, the ride is like 14 minutes – with traffic it can take 45 minutes). I remember being pulled out of the ambulance. I remember hearing someone say, “We got a sleeper,” so yelled out that I could be awake if they needed me to be. I remember hearing the baby’s heart beat when we got to the ultrasound machine. It was super slow. I knew then that there was no way that I would have time to try to labor. The doctor came in and said, “Wow, she looks pale, doesn’t she?” or something to that effect. My impression was he was surprised at all the blood and blood clots (there had been a load at home, too). I was only dilated to 1, and he got right in my face (He has been my doctor almost my entire marriage and has delivered all my babies and is a Christian and we have a great relationship – so it was in no way alarming), and he said, “I have to put you under now and do a c-section and that’s all I have time to tell you.” That was alarming. I knew then that it was a matter of life and death for me and my babe.
I heard someone say something about getting blood ready. I shouted my blood type and that my husband was the same as I and that he was on his way to the hospital.
Then I felt overwhelmed. I wanted to cry. I closed my eyes. I began to pray fervently. I thought of losing my life — the affect on my husband, my children. I am not a Christian who rests easy in an assurance of my faith (which shamefully shows my lack of trust in God’s promises), but I can actually say that I was peaceful in what God chose to do with me. I was not scared. I truly believed I would go to heaven and not hell. But I begged that he would spare me and let me keep this earthly life I love. I thought of losing my baby, my child. How hard that is. But I remembered that this baby does not belong to me. He is God’s and God just lets us have our children for a time. I was willing to submit to God’s providence even if that meant the baby must die and go to Him. But again, I wanted him to live and I begged God to be merciful, to let this child live, and to let me have him much longer than the 9 months in utero. This year, I had reread Stepping Heavenward, and the main character lost a child and handled it so Christianly, so beautifully. Providentially, I think it was very helpful to me. Later, I also found out that my sweet hubby was praying at the same time and in the same manner as I as he was trying to get to the hospital.
They put a mask on me, and I was out.
I woke up and Andre was there, and I just remember asking him if the baby was OK, when I would get to see Baby, when I could nurse, and telling him that I was sorry for all of this happening. I was on the med Dilaudid and did not entirely have my wits about me. I did not like it at all – it was hard to communicate and often times I could hear myself speaking and not making sense…very frustrating under the circumstances. Andre had to go call his mom so that she could come to stay with the chirren and then they would not let him back in. I guess I finally was taken to the hospital room about 8 or 8.30pm and he was anxiously waiting for me, ready to do something a little drastic to see me.
I was still not really grasping the gravity of the situation (placenta abruption), but over the next several hours and days, I learned of such things as “it was touch and go” for me and the baby; that if “10 more minutes [had passed] bad things would have started happening;” that I had a thready pulse and there was fear I might have a cardiac arrest and code; that the baby was born not breathing; that the placenta looked horrible and was small; and so on.
But despite both Michael and I being brought so near to death, God may have used this to save Michael, for he had a true knot in his cord, though it was not yet tight. I would not have been to the doctor for another 4 days, and because the last week of school, also the week before Christmas, was to be very busy, I am not convinced that I would have detected decreased movements of the babe. I am convinced there was a real chance that he could have died in utero. Regardless, he was born at 37 weeks and weighed only 3 pounds, 7.9 ounces. I think it is fair to say he was not being nourished, and may in fact have the opportunity to thrive outside my womb. And seems to be doing just that, as he has progressed remarkably well considering all the trauma he suffered.
22Dec2008, The best mother-in-law a wife could ask for, a.k.a. “The Fastest Emmy Ever,” because The Boy expressed that he is impressed that she “goes in my room fast, puts her jammies on fast and comes back in the den fast.”
That God saved, and continues to save, my little baby boy is another reason his name is perfect. For another meaning associated with the name Michael is “Gift from God.” And as I look at that precious baby boy, I am reminded again and again that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” James 1:17 (KJV).
The delivery of Michael, from start to finish, happened in manner that Andre and I would have never allowed (going by myself by ambulance; my having a c-section; my using general anesthesia; my being separated from the babe (I have never even let a baby go to the nursery, and if it was required that a babe leave the room, then I would “make” Andre follow the baby and nurse); and initially pumping rather than nursing). Although I still think in principle the way we would have chosen to do it, and the way we have done it in the past, is best, I love how God works through exceptions. As I have heard say: He draws straight with crooked lines; He overrules the bad in a situation and uses the circumstances to work good.
I am thankful for His mercy, life and blessings in this situation. And I am thankful for this trial and that He found my family worthy to go through this trial for the glory of His Holy Name.
I know that both death and taxes are certain.
But, at least in death there is hope.
He died almost 5 years ago. On this day especially, I prayerfully thank God that he made this man to be my mom’s husband, my father, and the father of my sister and brother.
I share with you the words I shared at his Memorial Service on June 1, 2000:
When Mom told me that Dad was sick, I had two concerns:
My dad’s soul; and
My dad’s pain and suffering.
Now it is time to be concerned with mourning the loss of my father.
I have suffered one of the greatest losses by losing Tom. As most know, when he and Mom married, I was five years old. I was the child of another man. But this made absolutely no difference to Tom. He adopted me into his family. I do not mean by the laws of any state, but rather, he took me as his own child. He loved me, and then loving me, he provided for me, gave me security, encouraged me, disciplined me, and all the other things a father does for his child. Being his, he taught me to have his attributes, such as appropriate respect for others, working diligently for your wages, being a good steward of what is yours, providing for your loved ones, and helping those around you. And in doing all these things, he taught me to be prepared, knowledgeable and smart.
There are thousands of acts of kindness, small and great, that he bestowed upon me freely and with great love, but the one act that shows that I was truly his daughter was when my dad, the most important man in my life, gave my hand in marriage to my husband, thereby providing his blessing to my husband’s becoming the one to care for me for all the days thereafter – to do the things that only Dad once did for me.
I thank my Heavenly Father for providing to me my earthly father, for I take great comfort and encouragement knowing that if my dad, a sinner, loved me as much as he did, and gave to me all that he could – Me! A sinner and a child who had no right to make any claims to his love – how much more God the Father may provide for us an everlasting hope of glory, by the forgiveness of our sins, through the sacrifice of his son, Jesus Christ, our Dear Lord and Savior. Amen.
*singing loudly and out of key* Happy Birfday to me! Happy Birfday to me! Happy Birfday, Dear Debby! Happy Birfday to me! And many more!!! *end bad singing*
Wow! I’m 34 years old today! I’m more than 30. I’m more than 31. I’m a whole lot more than 32. I’m even more than 33. I’m 34 years old today!
Thanks be to God for giving me life, earthly and spiritual, for granting me this length of time in his magnificent world and for providing so many wonderful people in my life!!! Thanks must also be accorded to my mom who bore the earthly pains of childbearing! Thanks, Mom for bearing those pains, as well as all the others I inflicted growing up!
A couple things have me feeling old. First, I found a gray hair a couple weeks ago (I knew I shouldn’t have stopped highlighting!). Boo Hoo. Second, my back started going out (and I don’t mean for fun) on New Year’s Eve Eve (not a typo), I was on my back for 2 days (I couldn’t even lift that sweet Baby Boy!) and I am still not fully recovered (which is why I have been on an extended leave of absence).
Alright, enough of this – I mean is this a birfday party or a pity party?!?
I got the best, most awesome, super-terrific birfday present EVER! A digital SLR! Yay, Hubby!
I am currently trying to finish reading the manual (yes, I am absolutely compulsive about reading the entire user’s manual) and am having a ball taking pictures and practicing. Just having this camera for a few days (Yes, I got my present early – Yay, Hubby!), I have been able to get some most excellent pictures of “da chilrens!” I mean I knew they were cute, but the pictures that I took with my old camera didn’t really ever seem to capture the true beauty of “da chilrens” – and I am quite certain that it had nothing at all to do with the lack of skill and “eye” of the photographer. *cough* Hopefully I will have some fun pics (likely) and clever posts (unlikely) to share soon!
I must now pull myself away from this keyboard so that I may begin my marathon watching of Smallville, Seasons 1-3.
It has been 7 years since the genesis of our family.
It started out small, just the two of us, my husband and I. We had several fun-filled years of eating and drinking and being merry, being able to do pretty much whatever we wanted whenever we wanted. It was super-fun and we gained a lot of weight! Good thing love is blind!
Then, after much praying (or more appropriately: pleading, begging and crying) and well, you know, we had a daughter. And she was lovely from birth. Quite beautiful, I must say. So aesthetically appealing she is, it just seems wrong. And she is as sweet as “birday tate,” “ice peam,” “haheepop” “tockie tiss” and “m’s” all rolled into one! I could just gobble up that little girl as she flits about the house on her tippy-toes, with her long locks swishing back and forth across her tiny back! From serving tea and playing birthday party, to folding washcloths and throwing away Baby Boy’s dirty dipes, from carrying her pillow around and finding a comfy spot to lie down and suck her thumb, to begging for “more play” (i.e. more rastlin’) and more “teetee, teetee” (“tickling”), she has a happy expression, considerate demeanor, pleasing manner, helpful attitude and tender spirit. She is beguiling.
Then, after praying, continually attempting to manage the daunting tasks that were before us, and well, you know, we had a son. And, I am slightly embarrassed to admit that I thought this, but he was not necessarily what one would call aesthetically pleasing from birth – but looked very much like his great grandpa currently does (which is a plus when you are the 4th generation of 2nd born sons, and great grandpa values this position greatly!). But he, from the beginning, was like a worn teddy bear – a perfect fit, so cuddly and comfortable. He has filled out quite nicely, and has the cutest little face – I could just kiss those ruddy chubby cheeks all day long – then eat ‘em for dinner! When he looks at me, I just feel like he is totally in love with me! He is a little man-child, seeking out all trouble he can find — a “Curious George” of sorts, on some kind of adventure. This jolly little fellow, with his intense gaze, jovial laughter, hearty grunting and growling, and gummy smile is charming and winning — very much like his father (but Dad still has all his teeth, if not hair)! He has captivated all our hearts!
We enter our 8th year of marriage, doubled in size, having more love and happiness than we deserve, and trying to respond to all our blessings, which are truly without number, and the inevitable adversities of life (which only feel innumerable), with joyousness, contentedness, thankfulness, and obedience. Praise God! AMEN!