I have just tucked in the babies and gave them each a big kiss. I told them that the next time they see me, it will be at the hospital to meet our new baby and they were very excited. In fact, I am feeling very excited! Like answered prayer, all of that anxiousness is being washed away by the sheer excitement at knowing this time tomorrow, there will be a precious, precious little baby in our lives!
So I am watching the sun set not just on my last day of being pregnant, but also setting on what has been a sixteen year season of child-bearing years. It has been a good "stretch" (pun intended!). I really do love my life being a mom and watching the precious faces of each of my children is such a delight. Even Melina today has been tired and bothered by a headache, but I love just looking at her when she doesn't know it, and smiling at my first "baby" who has grown so much. Barely a year away from being an adult herself...
If this did happen to be the last night of my life, I would be peaceful. The children made me laugh most of the day and meal time together was extra funny for whatever reason. I am experiencing not just the gift of life within my womb, but the gift of my own life. It doesn't always feel like it's been a life worth living... good grief I think I could do without a few chapters of significantly poor choices... and yet those chapters played key roles in the reasons why I choose to live an open life and why I believe that being honest with others is a good way to ensure you're being honest with yourself.
There's that part of me that wonders, should this BE the last night of my life, will I have loved my babies passionately enough to last them the rest of their lives? Will all that talk about my love being with them always no matter what, live itself out? I hope more than anything that what they remember most about "Mom" is the smile on her face, the delight in her heart and the sheer joy it has been for me to be their mom.
But tonight, I am not worried about that slim chance of facing my own death. I think there is far too much living to do for the road to end here. There are too many people to meet, too many people to love, too many people to feed (and I'm not just talking about my brood!), and just too much goodness to be shared! Our provisions are abundant... the Lord's bounty in our lives is evident.
Although I do admit that I have been all over the map with my faith these last few weeks. I thank God for His forgiveness, for His patience and for His tolerance. My prayers have ranged from yelling at Him "If this is how you treat the people who LOVE you, then I'm not so sure I WANT to spend eternity with You!" To being silent because I was too angry to even reach out to Him. But yesterday, I broke down and wept and what escaped my lips through prayer released my fear and my need to feel any sense of control over all of this... "Father... I NEED you! Yaweh... I NEED you more than ever! I can't do this without You!"
In my anger, I reached out and found, once again, that He has loved me through each of these steps. Even though it felt that everything I asked NOT to have happen, happened... (I was starting to think He was playing the opposite game with me), I knew in the back of my mind that nothing has ever crumbled in my life without there being a great purpose in it. And it feels like a terrible crumbling because had I BEEN in control, I would have never chosen it for myself!
But this Little One has been more obedient to God than I have been! Despite every instinct telling Baby to turn head down, despite all the efforts and all the prayers... This baby literally planted his/her feet firmly against my uterus, diligent in obeying what God would have been telling him/her is safest. Because I tell you that had baby turned and been born naturally, the health issue that has arisen could very well have killed him/her. Which in turn, would have "killed" me.
This was happening behind the scenes, outside of our full understanding, but God almighty answered the very prayer I had offered up to Him in the first place... "Please help this baby to be delivered in the safest way possible."
Poor Duane, who is as constant as the Sun, could not understand how I could doubt God being with me through all of this. He must have a faith that could put mine to shame that he has not felt like he himself could cry out to God "Why have you forsaken me?" Or lament with poor David in Psalms who knew all too well what it felt like to have God abandon him. Instead, Duane is more like Job... "the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh." Plain and simple. Even in the face of losing his wife, his children, his home, land and livestock, Job did not stop praising God. That, my dear friends, is my Duane, too.
Oh wouldn't it be blissful to never, ever doubt Him? Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could hold strong to the first moment He revealed his love for us? I suppose that will have to be my life-long journey.
But tonight, I delight in the release of that anger I was feeling and the peace He replaced it with. I am not angry with Him but rather with myself for having doubted His purpose, His plan... His love. Tonight, I rejoice in knowing that April 16th is my baby's birthday... that this time tomorrow, albeit in much pain, I will see his/her little face... I will nurse him/her with his/her provisions from God through my milk (let's hope it comes in pretty quick)... and I will begin this next chapter in our anything-but-dull lives.
Duane himself summed it up when I told him in a moment of fear that I wanted him to know that I would never want him to live the rest of his life alone... that I would ask God to bless him with a very special companion should I die... and with a mischievous smirk I added "just as long as she's uglier than me!" (to which we chuckled). But by the morning, he held me close and said "I just don't think I could live the rest of my life with anyone else... you're too much of an adventure!"
So let the adventure continue, the blessings abound and new life be welcomed in the arms of those who have been anxiously awaiting his/her arrival.
God bless you all for journeying this whole process with us. We feel richly blessed by your prayers and your presence we feel through them. Tonight, life is good... and I feel larger than life (and look it, too!). :)
As for the plan for tomorrow... we are to make our way to the hospital for 8:00 a.m. with the C-section scheduled for 9:30 a.m. But the doctor said it was looking more like the surgery would happen around 11:00 a.m. Baby will be out within twenty minutes but the remaining forty minutes will be spent sewing me back up. Two hours in the recovery room and then finally moved to a regular room. Melina and Antoinette will drive the kids out to see us sometime after supper, assuming that there were no complications.
Tomorrow... our family will be whole and complete. What an adventure, indeed!