this space has gotten a bit dusty o'er the past few months...
we moved. to the island. it is peaceful. we are far too far from family and friends, but the peace is enchanting. peace for the first time - in a long, long time.
five children now. it's busy, but it's good. each day my legs grow a little stronger under me being in a new home (still not completely unpacked and moved in), a new city, dear Hubs taking on a new business with so much joy, and in a way - we are redefining ourselves as a family. many days I have to close my eyes and just breathe.
baby is here. he's a monkey bean, a dolly boy, a sweet little bundle of heaven that is already more like a little man than a wee babe. we named him Otto Nathaniel. 9 pounds, 3 ounces. it was a terrible labor. but such as these things do, it has been mostly forgotten as he folds into my arms, our hearts, our family. contractions that raged on for 6 days, so many times where all I could do to keep from falling into an abyss was just breathe. the 6th night, I knew it was time. after being pulled over by the police for speeding on the way to the hospital (Joel to the officer exiting his vehicle: "I can't wait for you to get to the car, my wife is in full-blown labor!" Officer: "Oh my gosh - go then. Go! Good luck!" he looked at me in such a panic like he wanted nothing to do with delivering a baby in a minivan on the side of the road. I thought this would be a funny memory - woman in labor just like in the movies, me panting away with hair in my face and ready to tear someone else's face off). they checked me and reported I was 8cm and I cried, thanking Jesus and looking up at Joel to report through grateful tears, moist cheeks, quivering lips with a hoarse but triumphant whisper, "that's my personal best - I stayed at home until 8cm..." - and 3 hours later was still at 8cm. dang. I champed and breathed and rocked and showered and swayed and yelled and begged for mercy - when I had just about given up due to my legs feeling like they were on fire again (just like my 3rd labor, my Jacob all over again) - I felt the snap of my water breaking - Joel said he heard it, too - and then I pushed like I've never pushed before. I was seriously screaming, yelling, begging with all of my might, my anger, my frustration at how long this was taking and at how terrible my body felt - I gritted my teeth and clenched my jaw and screamed myself hoarse as I pushed my newborn son into the world.
when he was finally born, all I could say over and over and over was "thank God he's out. thank God that's over. thank God he's out. thank God that's over. thank God he's out. thank God that's over."
he was covered in meconium, he aspirated the meconium, he needed deep suctioning. the meconium was orange. (never seen before by myself or any of the people attending his birth). when he was handed to me he was breathing too rapidly - he was rooting around, looking to eat, but was panting. I mentioned to the pediatrician "he's panting - I think he's having trouble breathing" - after which he was whisked to the NICU and poked full of IVs and given an OG and an NG and had popped a little hole in his lung (a pnuemothorax). he was a beast in there, all 9lbs 3ozs of him, 2 days past his due date - but he needed help breathing and of course they gave him a boatload of antibiotics and he had to stay for 48 hours to ensure he didn't develop problems or infection due to the inhaled meconium.
when Joel sweetly and tenderly rolled me down the hallway to the NICU in a wheelchair without my baby in my arms, we both got teary eyed as we shared how much this felt like our experience with Amos all over again. belly empty of baby and arms empty of baby is a gut-wrenchingly painful place to be - and I was envisioning that we had another long painful road ahead of us before we could bring him home. I wept bitterly for the tender mamas who don't ever get to bring their babies home.
I still weep. and I pray.
but in the days in between? the moments where all I feel and see and know is joy?
the blessing of a husband rising with joy to provide for his family? beaming with joy to greet his children, the arrows in his quiver? his smile and tenderness when strain is relinquished?
of gazing into five faces that have sprung from my body, have come alive from my dreams, the children I dreamed of, prayed for, ached for, and have been blessed with? I am in awe.
this is a blessed, sacred time. I am fighting the urge to simply survive the loss of sleep, the chorus of voices demanding and competing for attention, the weight of the baby weight piled under my skin again.
many days I still have to fight hard for joy, and in the multitude of moments it is revealed to me? breath escapes me, it is so good.
Lord, You are good. You are so good to me. I smile. tears fall.
and I just breathe.
'tis a blessed life we live.