When I woke up on September 21, 2012, I never woulda thought so much would happen in a matter of hours. My life took a major twist. And though we've ended up miraculously straightened back out, my heart will never be the same.
I never woulda thought that I was strangely and strongly led to schedule an induction--even though I'd never considered it before--because of what I now believe was an absolute need to get Rebecca out and into this world by 9:42pm on September 21. Only God knows why, but I am convinced that she needed to be out by that moment so that she could live.
I never woulda thought that my relatively easy, normal, basically perfect pregnancy would end with such a bang ... and that Rebecca's life would begin with such panic.
I never woulda thought, as we toured the hospital in early August, that I'd know every crack in the floor, every turn in the hall from the parking garage to the NICU.
I never woulda thought that I'd be the one noticing lost, confused people in the hallways of the hospital and stopping to give them directions.
I never woulda thought that I wouldn't get the joy of wheeling through the halls with my brand new baby girl, showing her off to everyone in sight.
I never woulda thought that we would welcome no one but immediate family to meet Rebecca at the hospital, and that we wouldn't even be able to hold her until day four of her life.
I never woulda thought that I'd learn the lingo of the NICU, and be able to converse with other moms with the same experiences.
I remember the moment. The moment I knew something was wrong. She'd come super fast, and I was still reeling with the realization that my delivery was over. The doc pushed her onto my chest, but because she was so limp, her body kinda flopped. That's when I knew--I knew when I couldn't get a grasp of her, I knew when I didn't hear her cry. I knew when I asked, "Why isn't she crying?" and the nurse quickly whisked her away. I knew something was wrong.
And yet, I still can't figure out why I wasn't more upset. I wasn't more concerned. My sister jokes with me now about how I was asking if I could eat something--while my baby girl was barely breathing on her own in the other room. Why wasn't I bawling? Why wasn't I screaming for her and begging her to be okay? Was I in denial? I know I was being shielded by my husband who didn't want me to know, by my sister who wasn't sure what to say, and by the doctor's who were busy just trying to figure out what went wrong.
I do remember shaking--violently shaking anytime I'd allow my thoughts to drift to her. So I think I just didn't--I just didn't think. I asked for crackers, I talked to the doctor, and did everything I could to just get through.
I don't remember feeling anything when I realized NICU had been called in. I DO remember feeling something when they stopped long enough to let me see her. Her little eyes blinked so slowly, and she took the most labored raspy breath ever. Her head was a funny shape, her color still a little off. Her cheeks were out of this world, and she had the same swatch of dark hair her brother had.
She was alive.
I knew in that moment, when my eyes locked with her, that everything was going to be all right. Even an hour later, when the neonatologist used the words "brain damage" and explained the cooling therapy and the drugs and the risks ... even when my thoughts, my horrible dark selfish thoughts were, "I can't do this. She'll mess up our life. How will her disabilities affect Joshua? And our family? I want to start over!", a sense of peace settled over me. In that moment, I knew--and I never woulda thought--that no matter what, Rebecca Elizabeth, developmental delays, possible brain damage and all, would be and already was a member of this family. No matter what, this little girl would change our lives for the better. No matter what, Joshua would be shaped by his experience as big brother to this little angel. No matter what, Erik would be affected by her sweet presence and her smile. No matter what, this mama's heart would expand to include a little girl, who by no fault of her own, entered this world with a little unnecessary drama.
I never woulda thought we'd walk out of the NICU with a pink bundle of perfection with a clean bill of health.
I never woulda thought that we'd be one of those families with a story of how prayer works, God heals, and Facebook spreads the word. :)
I never woulda thought that I'd be sitting here, 13 days after her birth, and only 3 days after her arrival home, blogging about an experience that I never expected to have, with a tiny little lady with sparkly blue eyes, her brother's nose, her daddy's lips and the worst case of hiccups ever sitting in the bouncer next to me.
My God healed my baby girl. I believe that He knew something would go wrong in the birth canal. He knew that my daughter would not be breathing. He knew her brain would have "unhappy neurons" (I love how the NICU neurologists helps us understand things) and that evidence of seizures would display. He knew that Wednesday afternoon at 3:00 and 3:40, my little girl would stop breathing and need nurses to help her through it.
And oh mind you--I am human. I have yelled a little bit, and asked Him, "If you knew a bad thing was going to happen in there, why didn't you stop it? Why not heal it before the bad thing happened instead of allowing the bad thing to happen? Why allow my baby to come into the world this way? To go through this pain? Why would you have us walk this road?"
But even as I asked, I knew. Because He knew his people would rally to pray. He knew His name would be glorified, and that is why we exist here on earth--to bring glory to His name. And while I wonder why I needed to be the mama who went through this to bring Him glory, I know I am stronger because of it. Not stronger in myself, but stronger in Him. Never before have I been the recipient of such miracles.
I never woulda thought that this would be Rebecca's story. But truly, I can truly say: I'm grateful that it is.
My little miracle baby who didn't cry at birth is starting to cry now--apparently she's hungry again. :) Oh how I love that cry.