It is 6:35am. I am sitting on my sofa in lamplight, sipping coffee waiting for my children to wake up. At this very moment five years ago I was shifting uncomfortably in my bed at Northside Hospital in Atlanta after a night of contractions. That bed had been my home since March...it seemed my departure from it was imminent.
As unenjoyable as those 8 weeks had been--stuck in a bed as Spring passed me by, an hour from my home and my husband--I had somehow grown comfortable there. Preterm labor at 23 weeks had upended my nesting period. That hospital bed had become a home of sorts. When the terbutaline pump that had managed to keep my contractions at bay for 2 months was removed the day prior, the perinatologist had told me it could be hours or weeks. We would have to wait and see.
It is 7:50am. I am in a local bakery downtown with my children as they enjoy a birthday breakfast feast of a blueberry muffin (P), a croissant (K) and a biscuit (R). They are laughing and giggling. The sun is shining outside. Life is good.
This time 5 years ago, I was calling my husband to tell him what Dr. Marcus had said during morning rounds. "It is baby day." I was shaking and in tears. This is what we have been waiting for, right? At only 31 weeks 5 days I was wondering just how small the children would be. Steroid shots were on board. Their weights were predicted to all be around 4 lbs. My blood pressure, liver numbers, fluid build up and contractions were all signs that my body had reached its limit of gestating. I called my parents so they could begin their 2 hour trek. My mother-in-law was on her way across town to sit by my side until my husband could arrive. My husband (who was on call an hour away) was quickly handing off his responsibilities.
"It's baby day," I told myself over and over. I was absolutely terrified.
When my sister delivered my niece 7 years earlier I remember her frightened sobs as they broke her water in Labor and Delivery. I didn't get it. I mean, she had 9 months to prepare. Wasn't it pretty obvious this was the outcome--the goal--why was this so seemingly shocking?
Suddenly I understood. There are some moments you simply cannot prepare yourself for.
It is 1:36pm. I just returned from a birthday lunch at Longhorn. (K picked it because she wanted to have them sing their birthday song to her.) At this time five years ago I was being rolled into the recovery room after delivering my children at 1:05, 1:06 and 1:08. I don't remember much from the recovery room, except that a new Dad was there as they weighed his brand new 9 lb baby boy. I remember thinking that my three together didn't weigh that!
I had no idea how rapidly our joy was about to turn into fear and helplessness.
Five years later, it is back to pure joy and thanksgiving.
When my husband and I first married I giggled at the cute tradition his Mom has of calling the morning of his birthday to tell him the story of the day he was born. As I now relive my children's birth story annually, I understand. :-)
Heritage and history are good for our children. God is writing an incredible story in their lives. I want to teach them to pay attention. It is good to pause and remember how very far we have come!