My husband and I recently sat around the dinner table one evening with a friend I had not seen in years. As he ate his Subway, we began catching up on life and little time given to small talk. The evening wore on and I left the conversation to bathe, nurse, and rock our little miracle to sleep. When I returned to the table, our friend looked at me and asked, “How has having Norah been healing for you?”
That might seem like an odd question to ask after the birth of a baby, but our journey to biological children was not easy. Three miscarriages, lots of doctor appointments, fertility treatments, and many months-turned-to-years of waiting were all served with sides of heartache, longing, grief, and that ever-elusive thing called hope. But those things were not the focus of his question – it was how Norah had been healing for me.
Healing may not be the best word, but I know things in my heart and mind are different now. I know that my emotions get stuck in my throat with the realization that this miraculous baby girl is not a dream. She is here. After all this time and so many prayers and tears, there are moments along the way when my heart wells up to near explosion as I am reminded of the preciousness of this gift.
I remember lying in the labor and delivery room and getting close to the big moment. The nursing staff started bringing in the appropriate medical newborn care items – the incubator and the towels. In that moment, I had the realization that they were preparing for and expecting that we were going to have a living baby. For my scarred heart, that realization was like an exhale.
After she was born, I was waiting in the pediatrician’s office for her appointment when I heard them call out Norah’s name. My emotions rose as I carried her back to the exam area, flooded with incredible pride for this tiny perfect human.
Her first Sunday in church I held her and simply wept. There had been so many Sundays of singing in that space. Sundays shortly after miscarriages. Sundays after yet again, only one line on that pregnancy test. Sundays when I wasn’t always feeling the words on the screen. But there we were, mother and babe, swaying, singing, tears flowing. My heart was overwhelmed.
We took Norah to a wedding when she was around a month old. Before we left, I laid out her clothes for the event, and again, oh, my heart. We can pick clothes for our baby girl.
Standing at a Fourth of July picnic at the Guthrie Green, I chatted with two other mommas with their baby girls similar in age to Norah. I was one of the moms with a baby. I was one of the moms with a baby.
One afternoon I was at work and tired because, well, babies do what they want. Yet I was so intoxicatingly happy that I was tired. Because she’s here.
These moments are stitched through my life since Norah. She reminds me daily of this miracle. The happiness is greater than the grief. The gratitude has overtaken the longing. The perspective covers a multitude of inconveniences. The joy has replaced the sorrow. True to the meaning of her name, “light” has illuminated our darkness. Our rainbow has arrived after the storm.
I don’t know that these moments would have been quite so definitive for me if we hadn’t walked our twisty path to get here, and I don’t want moments like these to ever become mundane.
May I never forget our journey, and may I always see the small things as sacred. We love you, Norah girl. Thank you for the light.