Month 20, Cycle 16, Day 18, 8dpo
Yesterday was Ethan's 5th birthday. I cannot believe it has been that long since I was anxiously anticipating to bring my firstborn home from the hospital. Although I knew his birth was complicated from the delivery and that he has suffered brain injury, I was hopeful that the cooling cap study at U of M would completely reverse the effects of his injury and within a couple of weeks in NICU, after he learned to suck, swallow and breathe on his own, he would come home with us. Five years ago today, the day after his birth, I was recovering in a hospital bed from the most traumatic surgery and illness I had ever had and yet, I was praising my LORD for blessing me with such a wonderful family, friends and prayer support ever. The day after Ethan was born, I lay in my room and a single visitor came to see me before Church. David Town came in to pray for me and to ask me if there was anything I wanted him to pray for. I remember smiling and saying, "I only ask that you pray for God's will. I am willing to accept whatever it is that God has for me." David told me that a few people had arranged a prayer meeting in a conference room at our church. I later learned that many people attended this meeting, a hundred perhaps, who prayed desperately for mine and my son's lives. And I distinctly remember someone tell me that David was faithful to share that I wanted only what God would have for us, His Will ALONE! I thank David for his servitude despite the instinctual desire of many to pray for complete and utter healing of both mine and Ethan's bodies. I am so very thankful that God allowed me to carry my son full term and to allow his life to be honored by those who remember him and those who remember my service in dedication to him. Because when it comes down to it, it is all about the one who defeated death, Jesus, who makes God's will worthwhile.
It was this evening, the evening after his birth, that two women from my church, Lisa and Sharilyn, sneaked into the hospital at 1:30am and dropped off photos of my son to the nurse's desk. I had only seen my son from the side of an isolette three feet away from my bed for moments before he was whisked away to U of M and really was unable to see what he looked like. I remember the nurse who came in to check on my vitals was surprised to see me still awake, as I had not slept in two days. She smiled and said, I have a great surprise for you. She walked out of the room and brought back this picture. I was now IN LOVE with my son. Before this, it all seemed surreal. It seemed as if the last year of my life was a dream, but this baby that had grown inside of me was alive, however unwell, but he was REAL!
So, on Ethan's 5th birthday, yesterday, I received a card from my church's prayer team. In it was an unsigned poem, with a note, that read: Came across this and felt led to send it to you. May God bless you!
Thank you to whomever sent it as this was exactly what I needed yesterday. Read this poem about infertility and loss and feel the intensity of this writer as she longs for a child.
Thoughts on Becoming a Mother:
There are women that become mothers without effort, without thought, without patience or loss and though they are good mothers and love their children, I know that I will be better.
I will be better not because of genetics, or money or that I have read more books but because I have struggled and toiled for this child.
I have longed and waited.
I have cried and prayed.
I have endured and planned over and over again.
Like most things in life, the people who truly have appreciation are those who have struggled to attain their dreams.
I will notice everything about my child.
I will take time to watch my child sleep, explore and discover.
I will marvel at this miracle every day for the rest of my life.
I will be happy when I wake in the middle of the night to the sound of my child, knowing that I can comfort, hold and feed him and that I am not waking to take another temperature, pop another pill, take another shot or cry tears of a broken dream.
My dream will be crying for me.
I count myself lucky in this sense; that God has given me this insight, this special vision with which I will look upon my child that my friends will not see.
Whether I parent a child I actually give birth to or a child that God leads me to, I will not be careless with my love.
I will be a better mother for all that I have endured. I am a better wife, a better aunt, a better daughter, neighbor, friend and sister because I have known pain.
I know disillusionment as I have been betrayed by my own body. I have been tried by fire and hell many never face, yet given time, I stood tall.
I have prevailed.
I have succeeded.
I have won.
So now, when others hurt around me, I do not run from their pain in order to save myself discomfort. I see it, mourn it, and join them in theirs.
And even though I cannot make it better, I can make it less lonely. I have learned the immense power of another hand holding tight to mine, of other eyes that moisten as they learn to accept the harsh truth and when life is beyond hard. I have learned a compassion that only comes with walking in those shoes.
I have learned to appreciate life.
Yes, I will be a wonderful mother.