Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Our Rainbow Baby: Light After Darkness

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.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Our First Big Outing

I thought I would record the events of tonight, and who knows - if I start to blog more, maybe I will have quite the collection of memories. ***I do talk about nursing, so you have been warned. (-:

Tonight, on the eve of Norah's one month birthday, we went to a wedding - with her. The wedding started at 5:00, and our plan was to leave the house at 4:20, but no surprise, that didn't happen. Between us scrambling to get everything ready to go, and then her not wanting to go in the carseat, we ended up leaving at 4:38. We made it to the church and Mark dropped us off. We sat in the last row, in the event that a meltdown ensued. Mark came in and we were all seated before the wedding started. #win

Norah was asleep and remained asleep during the entire wedding. She didn't cry or cause a ruckus. Afterward, she had her own little receiving line, as many people hadn't met her yet. She's quite the famous baby and so many people have prayed for her and love her. We are so thankful. She slept through that as well. #win

We walked to the reception, where she continued to sleep like a little angel baby. Pretty quickly after arriving at the reception, I realized we hadn't packed her wet bag. Norah wears cloth diapers, which means you bring home the dirty diapers to wash instead of throwing them away, and the wet bag is a way to transport the dirty diapers. (Kind of an important accessory.) So, I approached a catering lady and asked her if she had a plastic bag or ziplock that we could use, and explained the situation. Thankfully, the lady came through for us and brought me a ziplock baggie. #fail that ended with a #win

Things went well until we decided to change her diaper and feed her. Mark took her to the men's bathroom, where they had a fancy foyer area with a sofa that he used (he brought a changing pad, too!). He was almost home free when she started peeing mid diaper change, and apparently, said fancy sofa was at a decline, which meant the pee flowed up her back, wetting her super cute romper, and even managing to get on the back of her head. Meanwhile, I'm waiting for him to change her so I can then feed her. Unbeknownst to me, the "diaper change" had turned into a total outfit change. When Mark finally emerged from the bathroom, she had a new outfit on, and a new headband (even though the front of the headband was on the back of her head - at least he tried), and her hair felt odd. I eventually had the suspicion that he had used a wet wipe on the back of her head, which he confirmed via text when I asked. #fail

So, my turn in the bathroom. I went to the ladies bathroom to feed her, which also had the fancy sofa area. The first time went okay, but then upon returning to feed her later, things went downhill. Nursing at the reception was not easy. Between obstacles like trying to be modest and Norah being frustrated (I think maybe somewhat due to me wearing a dress that was not super conducive to nursing) we had a bit of a difficult time. Girlfriend was not always happy, and actually got pretty darn upset. After a pretty dramatic cry, she just quit - perhaps exhausted, and finally relaxed. So I had her held against my chest, and at this point I had multiple items in the bathroom - my phone and a pacifier cleaner wipe, my sweater which I had taken off, and a breast pad which I had just taken out. So I managed to hold her and collect those items and walk out of the bathroom (yes I knowingly walked out with the breast pad in my hand). #fail

I handed her back to her daddy and went back to the bathroom to fix the breast pad situation, etc. After fixing myself, I went back to the table where I noticed these straps hanging off the sleeve of my sweater, and messed with it a bit and then realized my sweater appeared to be on inside-out, which I had my friend confirm for me. So, I fixed it. #fail

After dressing for the wedding but before arriving, I realized that I had breast milk on the front of my dress. It dried, but was still there. After the nursing debacle in the ladies restroom, breast milk got on the other side of my dress, so bright side - things were at least a little more even? #fail

Also, bonus of the evening, my nursing bra kept showing. #fail

But, after all of that, Norah ended the wedding as a content little baby, and Mark went and got the car for us. We all loaded up in the car and went home, alive and well. #BIGWIN

As I was picking out her outfit for the wedding tonight, I got a little emotional. Just the fact that I was able to have a baby to pick out an outfit for a I am so, so thankful. I love our little adventures with our miracle.

After getting home, we gave Norah Bean a bath. Is this not the cutest baby you have ever seen?

Tomorrow morning, we go to church. I wonder what kind of adventure that will be? I am so thankful for our adventures with our Norah girl. Thank you, Jesus, for this precious gift.


Saturday, April 16, 2016

Great Is Thy Faithfulness

I have a tiny person asleep on my chest right now. I hear her little newborn sounds, the noises she makes while she sleeps. The little sighs, the snoring, her breath warm on my chest. I kiss her face and her head so many times she may end up with a permanent indention. I can't help it.

Her tiny body radiates warmth. It's late. It's my shift with her - her daddy is asleep upstairs. Actually, I should probably put her in her bassinet right now, but I don't really want to. I want to sit with her sleeping on my chest. I know all too soon she will sleep through the night, not preferring to hear my heartbeat. So for now, I hold her. I kiss her face. I sing her hymns, and I get a little choked up in the process. I am nearly suffocated with gratefulness and love.

Oh, Norah girl, how long we have waited for you, and how thankful we are that God would allow us to steward you. You are our miracle girl.

Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided--
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!


Thursday, April 14, 2016

She's Here!

Norah Grace arrived on Thursday, March 24th, at 2:18pm. She weighed 7 pounds 14 ounces, and was 20 inches long!

We arrived at the hospital early Thursday morning for an induction around 39 weeks. Our appointment was at 5:00am, so we called that morning beforehand to make sure they had a bed for us. Mark called, and I was in bed, waiting to hear if they had room for us. They said they did, which meant we were having a baby that day! Ummm.... wow. We got there a little early and waited.

Once they got me hooked up to everything, the monitors showed that I was already having contractions! Woohoo! I was dilated to a three, so we were at a great starting place. They hooked me up to the pitocin and got things going, sometime maybe around 6:00ish.

Sometime around 10:00am I got my epidural. Pain was getting real before that. Yikes! My sweet friend Leah, a past labor and delivery nurse, accompanied us at the hospital. She's awesome. We had other family members there as well, waiting for the big moment! We also had an incredible labor and delivery nurse named Bethany. She was extremely attentive and kind. She had me try various positions and use the labor peanut.

Things progressed quickly, and by noon I was fully dilated. They had me sit up and let gravity work until around 12:30 and we started pushing after that. After pushing for a while, it was discovered that Norah's head was turned to the side, which is not ideal. So we stopped pushing and they had me lay on my tummy with one leg up (called the running man, I believe) to see if she would turn. After about 20 minutes in this position, thankfully Norah had turned her head. I am so grateful she had turned! Before she had turned, our doctor had told us that basically she wasn't sure how we would deliver her yet (possibly c section) so I was a little discouraged after that. Things had progressed so well up until that point. I knew a c-section would be fine and it didn't really matter, but it was a bit discouraging. Thankfully, Norah Bean cooperated and turned her head!

So, we started pushing again, and after this round of pushing, Norah decided to make her grand entrance! Mark got to cut the cord, and there she was - our baby was alive and well! This is the first photo that Mark took of her after she came out:

Mark and I were able to have the "golden hour" for a while. Once we moved to postpartum, lots of people came in and met Norah. She has lots of people that love her. (-: 

We stayed at the hospital until Saturday, the day before Easter, and then we were able to go home. Leaving the hospital was very emotional for me. I was being wheeled out of the hospital with our baby. Our healthy, beautiful, perfect little baby. I thought about the moms who leave the hospital empty-handed. It was an overwhelming moment. The drive home was overwhelming as well. Lots of tears were shed. See?!

When we got home, some family members were there waiting for us. My brother recorded us arriving. (-: It was, without a doubt, the most wonderful Easter weekend we have ever had. I am so, so grateful for this precious gift.


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