I am having a hard time getting this first blog together because I have no idea where to start.
What a whirlwind.
If I had the creative energy this might be a more poetic description of what it has been like to bring this new little soul into the world. But, alas, every time I try to think of anything deep or beautiful all I see in my head is a diaper full of yellow seedy poop. Every time it is quiet enough to think I hear imaginary goat noises (that's what I call her little sounds, she sounds like a little goat), I hear her coos, hiccups, breathing, and if the universe is being particularly evil I hear imaginary crying, screaming, and then nothing. Nothing is the worst. I am sure she has choked on spit-up and I will go into the room to find her shivering in her own milk bath.
As you can see, I am in no condition to think, listen, or write. So let's keep this all business.
I planned on having a natural delivery. I planned on no medicine, rooming in, no pacifiers, a short hospital stay, and maybe a few more weeks before she got here. As I have said before in concert, I have really, really excellent plans. They are brilliant, well thought-out, and most importantly, I think they are right. My plans are the right plans. But God never, ever listens to my agenda.
I am not saying God made me have a c-section. I am just acknowledging the fact that no matter how many plans I lay out for myself, they hardly ever work. Whether it is God giving me a new plan or the world fighting against me or a defect in my system, more times than not my beautiful, brilliant little plans go unheeded. It really is tragic.
Tuesday April 14th I went to the doctor for my weekly check-up and I had gained ten pounds in seven days. Yea. I know. Ten pounds? How is that humanly possible? I think by that point not only had my feet and ankles disappeared, but also my eyeballs. They were just barely popping out of my face. Though I did not have any protein in the urine and my blood pressure was perfect, it was decided that I was a high risk patient for pre-eclampsia or hypertension. I was so mad at myself. Remember that chocolate pie that my mother-n-law made? I mean, I did eat most of that by myself. I ate it. Gained ten pounds around my ears and eyeballs. And there I was being told I would have to be induced for my own safety.
Stupid chocolate pie.
So I never even went home that day. And a very long story short for those of you who like the details: I was placed on cervidil overnight to soften the cervix. My water broke the next morning, April 15th, and at 7 a.m. they started the pitocin drip. (Pitocin makes your cervix dilate and your body have contractions even if your body is not ready for it!). In my head I had decided that the pitocin would not stop me from having a natural labor and delivery, so for three hours I endured contractions from hell. I had the worship music playing, we did the breathing, squatting, rocking chair, focal points, coaching, cool rags, and every other thing we could think of to make the contractions bearable. When they came the only relief was to grab Ryan and bury my head in his stomach. I thought I was dying. They came back to back with no down time in between and even though I had Mercy Me's song, God With Us, playing on repeat, I am pretty sure God left the room at my frequent use of profanity laced prayers.
When the nurse told me I was only dilated to a 3 and that I had at least five to seven hours left, I pleaded for the epidural. We had a rule that if I did this, Ryan would coach me through fifteen more minutes of contractions before we took the medicine. I might have made it five. There was no yelling, just the look of death. Please, for the love of God, someone help me. Someone tapping on my spine with their fingers and then needles and tubes being stuck inside my back has never been more welcome in my life. A catheter has never been more beautiful. A doctor has never been so saintly. I wanted to kiss that guy.
Ten minutes later I was human again. Talking, laughing, completely oblivious to the fact that my body was still having those some exact horrendous contractions. Isn't that crazy? That medicine can do that? Can be so smart? It was a bizarre concept to me. The same things that were literally trying to take my life ten minutes ago were now invisible.
Anyways, we labored until six that night. And then we began to push. We were all ready for this little girl to come into the world in that room we had grown to love but her heart rate started going crazy. Not too fast or too slow. But all over the place in a matter of seconds. 190 to 50 to 130 to 80. The doctor brought in two other doctors and no one could really figure out what was wrong with her and before I knew it there was an eight person surgical team hovered around me, hands in my stomach, and the epidural doctor that I wanted to kiss giving me more medicine.
The umbilical cord had wrapped around her ankle and with every push it was pulling her little leg and causing the blood flow to stop in her body. So her heart rate went crazy, the doctor acted fast, and the call was made. C-section.
And this all seems obsolete now.
Perhaps I am simply writing it out so that I remember. But who cares how she came into the world... she is here now.
And she is perfect.
I am not saying she is the most perfect baby in the world, that's a lot of competition! But for Ryan and I, she is absolutely perfect in every way.
Hospitals are funny places. Life and death are everywhere.
My mom and dad co-pastor a church in New Mexico and yesterday they went to visit a couple who have been married for over 60 years. Within one week they were both diagnosed with aggressive forms of cancer and the wife was having her first surgery yesterday. When my mom arrived to pray with them she found them in the pre-op room, the wife lying down hooked up to an IV, the husband by her side rubbing her hand, and both of them quietly crying. Tears ran down their faces as they stared into each other's eyes and mom said they wouldn't let go of each other. Death is everywhere. I am sure I was in the same building with people enduring the same things.
But my floor of the hospital was about life. Little babies everywhere. And I found myself slightly annoyed that there were so many babies. Because in that moment everything came down to this one child I was bringing into the world. And I wanted everyone to stop and be in awe. I wanted everyone to act as though this were the first child ever born. That this was a big deal. That the world would never be the same because this little girl came quietly into its midst.
But the world kept going on around me. The construction workers out my window kept drilling. The cars kept driving. The nurse kept coming in and giving me shots in my butt (as if she did not understand that my body was a holy vessel that had just accomplished something miraculous) and even my friends who came to visit left and went home to their normal lives. The world just kept going.
And I thought about that a lot in the hospital. The life. The death. And the desire we as humans have to want to scream, "STOP! Something big is happening to me here!"
Why can't everyone just stop for a minute? Why does the world keep going even though you and I are facing mountains or valleys? Won't someone stop with me?
Even though the world keeps going during those intense moments of joy and pain, there is a God who is ever-present and mindful, and He stops. He stops with us. He cries in the pre-op room with the couple who are staring death in the eyes. He stops to comfort them. He stops to be there in that moment when everyone else keeps going as if nothing life-changing is happening. He stops.
He stops to be present in that surgery room watching with delight as His little daughter Anniston sees the world for the first time. I am convinced He smiles. He tears up. He is overwhelmed with her beauty and gentle spirit. He stops with me when I am looking at her trying to comprehend this little miracle. He lets me know that He is there. That he is amazed. He stops.
He stops with us. He creates space that the world does not give us. And He rejoices and mourns in those moments with us as if we were the only people on the universe with Him. He stops.
Those moments in that hospital bed with my plans all messed up, the world moving furiously around us, and this mysterious little girl who I loved more than I had ever planned on, found us all huddled together. Annie, Ryan, me and God. And we stopped.
We all stopped together and we knew... the world was a little different now.
And that's how Anniston Cate arrived.