"I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord, "plans to give you a hope and a future."

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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tired Arms, Endless Thanks

Last night, around midnight, came a very upset cry from Emma's room. I'd gone to bed early hoping to catch up on some sleep but Emma it seems, had other plans for me. I went to her room and she was thrashing in her bed, very upset.

I offered her the pacifier and her Lovey but she refused them and cried even louder. She cried harder and harder. I tried to pick her up but she pulled back and continued to wail. I asked her if she just wanted mommy to leave and as I turned to go her crying lessened and she reached out to me.

Picking her up, she rested her head against my shoulder, wrapped her little arms tight as she could around me, and let out a heavy sigh. Her crying ceased and she held onto me for dear life. I began to quietly sing Jesus Loves Me to her as I swayed back and forth. She only weighs around twenty eight pounds but at mid-night, already tired, my arms felt heavy and tired. My first instinct was to grumble. I needed sleep. Tomorrow was church and I was on snack which means I needed to be there early and absolutely could not sleep in.

I realized Emma's breathing was slowing and her tight grip on me was relaxing; she was drifting back to sleep. I also realized a part of me wasn't quite ready to put her down. It felt good to hold her, to comfort her, to sing to her in the dark hours. Like a flood memories came back to me. I thanked God for my little girl, prayed for her, and held her longer than I really needed to.

I remembered a time when having a baby seemed impossible. I was young. So was Chris. Why weren't we able to get pregnant? I remember the tears, the prayers, the long talks, the what if's and the endless doctor appointments and tests. I know it only took us a year when for others it takes so much longer than that but even so that year was a tough one, emotionally.

I remembered pouring my heart out to God. I knew with Him all things were possible but even so He might have had other plans that what I had planned. I prayed and litterly begged God for a baby and I even went so far as to ask Him for a boy. He gave me the desires of my heart. That month I got pregnant. It was no surprise to me when the ultrasound tech told me I was having a boy. I wanted to tell her, "I know."

That first pregnancy I did EVERYTHING by the book and maybe even beyond. I didn't drink a single drop of coffee or tea fearing what it would do to the miracle I'd prayed so hard for. I made them switch one little communion cup at church to white grape juice fearing what even one drop of wine would do to my baby. I refused any medication, even Tylenol, and took my vitamins every single day. After all, I knew fine well that what God gives He can also take. I hate that that I ever thought like that but I did!

When I was six months pregnant, we had just moved into our first home. On maybe the second or third morning of being in our new home I woke up with horrible pains in my stomach. I was terrified. "I'm losing my baby," I thought. Chris rushed me to the ER barely able to stand. He checked me in and as he parked the car the woman at the front desk came over and talked to me. I was in tears and in tremendous pain. I prayed. I am not really sure of what all the woman was talking about but it did help to distract me. She was kind and understanding and stayed with me until Chris returned.

They wanted to give me medicine for the pain. I refused. They said the baby would certainly get some of the medicine through me but not enough to do real harm. It was too risky for me to even chance it. It felt like an eternity before they brought over the little Doppler and put it on my stomach. I prayed to hear a heartbeat. "Please, don't take my baby. It's more than I could bare," I remember praying. Then I heard the most comforting sound. My baby's heart beating strong and sure. The more calm I become the more the pain lessened. They did an ultra sound and then sent me to maternity ward for observation. I remember listening to the steady and sure beat of my baby's heart. I prayed. I thanked. I cried.

I was sent home with a diagnosis of muscle spasms. Little did I know the next 3 months I would suffer with these spasms so bad that I would cry in pain. I would have to stop mid-grocery shop and find a chair when they hit. I got the point where Chris had to come with me to shop. I couldn't do it by myself anymore. And all I ever thought was, "This is so hard but it will be so worth it."

Only a day or two after that ER visit Nathan would decide to scare the living daylights out of me. He was so active in the womb that one day, mid-morning, I realized I hadn't felt him move all day. Off to the ER again. Even the doctors sounded concerned on the phone. This time though, right as we were about to pull into the parking lot for the hospital I told Chris to pull over. I'd felt something. Sure enough, a kick, a movement, then another and another.

So needless to say, when the time came, and I got to hold my baby in my arms I was overjoyed. We named him Nathan, which means gift of God and gave him the middle name of Ross, which is my dad's middle name.

Then there is little miss Emma. The one who according to the medical world wouldn't happen. I had mentioned to my doctor that maybe one day we would like to have another baby. He told me flat out that he didn't think it would happen for us, not without some help of some sort. Four months later, I was pregnant. :o) Our big surprise. Another gift from a loving Savior who saw fit to give us more than we even asked for or hoped for.

So back to the present. As I laid Emma back in her crib and tucked her beneath her purple Tinkerbell blanket; I stayed a moment longer watching her. I fought the tears at all the memories that had come flooding back. I stroked her cheek, smoothed her hair back, and took one more moment to appreciate the little girl that God has blessed us with. Yes, even at mid-night.

I thought of others I know who have lost their children or who have been through illness with their children like cancer. I thanked God once more for two healthy children. I thanked God that yes, even at mid-night I had a little one I could hold and comfort.

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