Thursday, August 9, 2007

A Baby Story: Jessica

I've thought a lot about this for the last week or so and haven't figured out a way to write it without it coming across as very depressing. I've also considered the idea that I don't have to write it at all - I mean this is my blog, I can pick and chose what to blog about, right? Well of course I can, which is exactly why I've decided to write about this. It's on my mind, and I'm going to write about it. I hope you'll see the sparkles of joy and hope in what you're about to read.

I'm still stunned that after having 7 beautiful kids, that I even have 7 kids. Sure they can all drive me nutty at times (and often do, and often team up to do it) but I love them so much that words can't ever come close to relaying it to anyone.

With each of my kid's birthdays, I always think of life when they were born. Where I was, what else was going on in my life at the time, and that sort of thing. It's hard for me not to look back on that moment in time when I learned they'd be coming, and be a part of my life. Jessica's baby story is a little different than all the rest, however. I've written on this before but I'm going to write it again.

When we (late husband and I) learned that Jessica was coming, life was already ridiculously good. Well, as good as life gets when you're unsaved but have all the "stuff" in this world that you want. Solid marraige, decent finances, great big house - it was all good. The only complaint I could have had was that besides having 2 little girls already, we were also raising his son from his first marraige and his son had some pretty serious behavioral issues. It was pretty rough there for a few years. Other than that, life really was rosy.

One reason that Jessica's baby story is so different than all the others is because it was just 6 months after she was born that Ben was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given 8 weeks to live. Unless you've been in that scenario, sitting in the doctor's office when he says "I'm so sorry to have to tell you this" it's quite literally impossible to define what that does to your thought process, especially if you do not know the Lord and His peace, and hope. There was a time I used to try to define it by saying it felt like a black hole being punched through my heart and soul. That was as close as I could come to describing it to anyone. This is part of the reason Jessica's baby story is complicated for me. The other part of the reason is because Ben passed away a week after her 5th birthday. God was more than gracious in giving him nearly 5 years rather than 8 weeks, but more importantly than that, God broke through his heart of stone, gave him a heart of flesh, godly sorrow and repentance, and faith in Christ, before He took him home. The most important healing of all that so many prayed for, was answered by our merciful God.

A time that should (in a perfect world) be remembered with only joy and happiness is for me, mixed up with the worst news of my life, and then the most painful time in my life. As the years go by the pain is lessened and I try harder to remember the wonderful things about meeting Jessica for the first time as a precious newborn. It's nearly impossible for me though to seperate out the hard things because they've actually caused me to forget so much of the good things. I suppose that will only make sense to someone who's gone through this. During times of extreme stress and pain, there might be good and wonderful things happen in your life, but the stress and pain can be so intense that it sort of messes with the way you think and the way you remember things. I'd guess there's a fancy dan psychology term for this, but if there is I don't know it. I'm just glad that I do remember some good things, and the pain didn't wipe them all out.

I remember the day I was to be discharged, the nurse came in and said "by the way, did you and your husband want to stay for your congratulatory steak dinner?". I had no idea there would be one, but I said YES we would! Boy was I ever hungry. Having babies will drum up an appetite like nothing else. So, I dressed Jessica in her "going home" outfit and we had a delicious steak dinner, right there in the hospital. Just the three of us. She passed on the steak and opted for a nap instead.

I remember it being so hot the week before she was born, I was as miserable as all get out. I remember the false labor night when my sister came in and drove me to the ER & the gave me a sleeping pill and sent me home. Ben was working up in the San Juan Islands at the time and only coming home on the weekends, so my sister Lora was designated "she's in labor!" driver if it happened when he wasn't home. It did, and she was there in no time flat. He got the call at the job shack and arrived just a few minutes before she was born.

I remember the heat wave finally breaking when she was maybe a week old, and the 2 am feedings in the living room with the rain just pounding down on the front porch. I remember that she was a good eater, and that she loved to fall back asleep laying on my chest. I remember thinking there is no possible way a human being could love another human being more than I loved that precious baby snoozing on me. I also remember that my munchie of choice while I was carrying her, was black olives. Oh boy did I love them, and eat them constantly! It's amazing I still love them.

It is so strange to me to think about those times and realize it was 17 years ago. 17 years ago tonight, I was in a hospital room with my 3rd daughter right down the hall in the nursery. Fast forward 17 years and she's upstairs on the phone. As much as life might hand you extreme twists and turns, if there's one thing you can always count on that would be that 17 year old girls will always be on the phone.