Friday, October 28, 2011

Having Bryson

Yesterday, we celebrated the birth of my first son, Bryson Daniel Bray, born nine years ago.  Of course, this has me reminiscing about the hours leading up to my first child-birthing experience, and the beginning of my motherhood adventure...

Friday ~ October 11, 2002
My husband, Keith, and I arrive at Randolph Hospital, certain that I am in labor, and certain that Bryson will be born in the next 24 hours.  After a couple of hours in the triage room and walking the halls of the maternity ward, we are told, "You are not in active labor, which means you do not need to be here right now.  However, you are in the early stages of labor, so this baby should be coming in the next 24 hours.  Go walk around the mall, and we'll see you tomorrow." 

Saturday ~ October 26, 2002
FIFTEEN DAYS LATER!  I am at my parents' house, surrounded by my family.  We are celebrating my oldest sister's birthday.  There is so much food.  I am so hungry!  I've been starving myself for the past 15 days, fully expecting to go into labor, and hoping to avoid any uncontrollable bodily functions during childbirth.  However, my contractions stopped about a week ago.  And there is no indication that this baby is coming before Monday, when I am scheduled to be induced.  So, I decide to enjoy the meal.  I eat, and I eat, and I eat.  I even helped myself to a second piece of birthday cake, for the baby, of course. 

Keith and I go to bed that night around 11pm.  Keith falls asleep, as he always does, as soon as his head hits the pillow.  I lay there, wide awake.  I can't get comfortable.  My back hurts.  After about 10 minutes, I decide to get up.  I settle myself in the rocking chair in the nursery, gazing at all the baby stuff just waiting to be made useful.  That's when the contractions start.  But these contractions are different.  They hurt.  So much in fact that I cannot stand during the contraction, and I find myself utilizing those ridiculous breathing exercises, that before this moment, I could not imagine myself doing.  Between contractions, I walk to the bedroom.  I call to Keith, but he's snoring.  I wonder if I should wake him.  I had felt so foolish after convincing him I was in labor two weeks ago, only to be disappointed for the following 15 days.  I decide to let him sleep.

I walk to the living room.  I sit on the couch for a little while, as the contractions become closer and more intense.  The pain is more than I expected, so I pray.  Lord, please help me to know if this is real labor.  Please give me a sign.  I turn on the TV.  I had not anticipated that God would use my favorite show as a sign, but there in the middle of my living room, one of the the main characters on ER is in labor, about to give birth to twins.  I literally feel her pain.  Okay God, thank you!   I stand, fully intending to walk to the bedroom and wake my husband, but I hurt so much now that I cannot move my feet.  I sit back down.  I need Keith.  I yell to him.  Keith!  He doesn't hear me.  I yell again.  Keith!  Nothing.  Ugh!  I turn up the television as loud as it will go, thinking surely this will wake him.  Nope. 

I get on my hands and knees.  This is easier than walking.  I crawl to our bedroom door, open it and reach for the light switch.  Keith, it's happening!  We're going to have a baby! 

Sunday ~ October 27, 2002
When we arrived at the hospital at 2:00 this morning, I expected to give this child the push he needed to start his life on earth.  That is the whole reason I refused the epidural.  I wanted to go all-natural.  I wanted to feel him come into this world. 

Now I lay in my hospital bed, unable to move the lower portion of my body.  I feel so many things right now, and yet I feel nothing at the same time.  That's the only way I know to describe it.  I'm elated that Bryson is finally here, but I am so disappointed that I couldn't get him here.  I labored for fourteen and half hours.  I pushed for two and half of those hours, but I could not get him out.  I had an emergency c-section.  Bryson was born at 2:48pm, but not because of me.  The doctors had to cut me open and pull him out.  I did not see that moment.  I did not even feel that moment.  I feel like a failure.

The nurse asks me again, "Can you wiggle your toes?  Well, look at that.  They're wiggling.  How would you like to hold your baby?"

I cry as I remember the first time I held him in my arms.  I am in shock.  This is my child.  All I can say is, "Unbelievable."  I say it over and over again.  I can't believe he is mine.  I can't believe he is mine.  I can't believe he is mine.  I look into his blue eyes, and I feel an overwhelming sense of purpose and belonging.  I am his, and he is mine.  Thank you God. 

Monday ~ October 28, 2002
Dr. Lennon comes into my hospital room.  "There's the new mommy," he says.  He tells me I did good.  He tells me I am tough.  He tells me I have a beautiful baby.  I smile.  Then I apologize for all those bodily functions I wasn't able to control during child birth.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Finding Joy

Have you ever hoped that something wonderful would happen?  And the more you imagined it, the more real it seemed it would someday be?  I do that, probably too often.  I get this idea in my head of a romantic evening planned by my husband, or an unexpected visit from my parents, or a thoughtful gesture from a friend.  And then when they don't actually do what I hoped they would, I find myself disappointed and feeling rejected. 

I recently inferred this type of situation upon God, thinking it would be such proof of His awesome power if He would allow this one thing to happen.  What a testimony it would be of His control in my life.  I really became quite engulfed in the fantasy, to the point that there was little doubt of it not coming true.  But then it didn't happen.  And not only did it NOT happen, but the total opposite of my envisioned scenario occurred just days after I realized this picture-perfect fantasy was just that...  a fantasy. 

So I found myself back in reality, where life doesn't always go as planned.  There are no do-overs.  And much of the time, wishes don't come true.  How can I ever be truly happy in the real world?

The answer came to me this morning during our homeschool Bible study.  We've been talking about the Israelites leaving Egypt, and complaining all the while they journeyed through the desert.  (This story has been reintroduced to me time and again over the last six months.)  To provide my children with a current life application for this Scripture, I read a story about "whining".  We talked about how irritating whining is to those around you, and how we whine to get attention and/or to get our way.  We talked about why we whine.  We whine because we don't want to do something or because we want something.  It really hit me when I heard myself telling my children, "If you spend all your time thinking about what you don't have, you'll never be happy.  If you think about what you do have, you will never be sad."  It was a "light bulb moment" for me. 

Just days ago, I cried myself to sleep, so overcome with the grief of losing the hope of something that was never even mine to begin with.  Since then, while I've nurtured and provided for my family on the outside, on the inside, I was drowning in the sorrow of what I will never have.  If I only ever focus on that, I'll never be happy again.

So I've decided to find my joy.  Thankfully I don't have to look very far.  I am so blessed.  Look at all God has given me.  I have a wonderful husband, two healthy boys, a beautiful home, family, friends, church, and so much more.  Most importantly for me, I have an awesome God.  When I think about all He has done for me, and all He has given me, I can't help but make a joyful noise!

I thank you for taking the time to read.  I pray you find your joy!

God bless!