“When’s your due date?”
It’s the most oft asked question of pregnancy. You answer it every time you call the obstetrician’s office. You answer it every time you stand in line at the grocery store. You answer it for friends, relative, acquaintances and strangers.
January 31st was my most recent answer.
And yet. She came on November 18 and I almost left this world on November 19th.
It still seems surreal to be sitting here in my pre-pregnancy jeans, looking across the room at a feisty miracle baby sleeping deep in her swing. She is unaware of how special she is, of the circumstances of her birth. She just knows that she is here and that she is loved.
It’s been a wild ride.
At first, there were two. Two little lives that we loved and longed for. Nora is on the left and Asher is on the right. In spite of weeks and weeks of bleeding, those two hung in there. Little hearts beating with every ultrasound.
I was on bedrest and it was hard but the prize made it worth it.
But then at twelve weeks, Baby B was gone and we were shrouded in grief but so hopeful for Baby A. For Nora.
The summer ended, bed rest ended and it seemed like we’d turned a corner.
At 28 weeks, my water broke and I began what I thought was going to be a marathon of patience and endurance. I was admitted to the hospital and there I stayed for eight days and that’s when everything changed.
On November 18, I began to hemorrhage. I had a panic attack, I was so afraid. Afraid for Nora, mostly. I was so worried about how my twenty nine week little girl would do.
But she did fine. She had apgars of 8 and 9. She only needed oxygen by cannula, did not need to be intubated. She was 2lb. 14oz. of spitfire and determination.
The family gathered in the waiting room…unsure of what would happen next. My three oldest were awakened and given the news.
“Mommy has lost a lot of blood and we don’t know if she’ll make it.”
My husband and my sister who are…there aren’t words to describe what these two are to me…rallied the body of Christ. They texted, they called, they put it on Facebook. They called the saints to war on my behalf.
Stories of people waking out of nowhere to pray, stories of people praying like never before, stories of friends staying up to contend for hours.
And I came back from the brink.
After a few days in ICU, I was finally strong enough to see my baby. To hold her.
I went home without her about a week later.
Every day that first week, we came to see her. I ignored how I was feeling and we went to Norfolk, we did Kangaroo Care, we loved on our tiny miracle.
Then I started to feel sick again. Fevers, vomiting, pain. Back in the hospital I went where I was treated for seven days for, it turns out, a terrible UTI. It was a hard, hard week. I still shudder to remember it. I couldn’t see Nora the first five days because I was too ill. We were reunited and I wept. This was such a hard journey.
Home I went again and for a while, I could only visit Nora every other day. I was weak and I was afraid of getting sick again. But, her daddy was there every day.
Slowly, I began to feel better and have a little more stamina. And for a while, I took myself to the hospital every day to see my sweet girl. Those were precious hours, she was growing bigger and stronger.
And then, it was January 14th and it was time to bring our sweet girl home. Eight weeks old! It was bittersweet, saying good bye to the NICU and the nurses and all that place and those people had meant to us.
But oh how sweet to have her home. I sat in my wonderful recliner that my beloved friends had gotten me to recover in. The chair that symbolizes so much of our journey- its presence is a testimony of how people rallied together to help is. It’s big and soft and comfy like a hug, like the love that’s been poured out on us. It’s solid and dependable, the perfect place to get well. I sat in that chair that means so much to me and I held my little daughter and just breathed that moment in.
And now, here we are. Her due date. I feel like we’ve “done it”. We survived a hard thing. We are together. We are well. She is beautiful. She is fearfully and wondefully made. And while I feel a pang of grief for Asher today…and while I still shake my head in dismay at all that has happened…I can’t shake off this grateful heart. It overwhelms. I am so thankful to be here with Nora, with Claire, with Lila, with Chase, with Aubrey, with Julia. I am so glad to be part of John’s every day. To be part of my sister and her family’s lives. To still be here with my parents and my inlaws and my cousins and aunts and uncles and all of my sweet friends. To still be an alive and living piece of the Body of Christ.
Nora and I have a story to tell. A story of His faithfulness and a story of how He hears our prayers.
Thank you, Readers. Thank you Family. Thank you Friends. Thank you Strangers. Thank you to every single one of you who prayed for us. Thank you to every one who cooked, cleaned, raked, babysat, listened, called, texted, emailed, face booked. Thank you all.
Thank you, Jesus.