It’s hard to write about our experiences yesterday. Not because they were difficult (even though they were) but because everything seems so hard to explain.
We went into the hospital at about 8 and started the induction around 10. Even though I had delivered both of my previous children naturally with no pain medications at all, I found it very hard to motivate myself to relax through the contractions. With my previous deliveries, I could focus on that pink, chubby, healthy, happy newborn that would come at the end of all this pain and with this delivery, I couldn’t focus on anything at all. So I got an epidural, which was the first of many new experiences.
It was a long day of waiting. They had a couple different counselor type people come talk to us, but after a while, I got tired of talking to them. I napped and visited with my parents and in-laws and the other visitors that came in. Because of the epidural, I couldn’t feel a single thing the whole time. Late that evening (almost 7?) I felt a weird vibration in my belly and a gush of fluid as my water broke. I joke that it felt like the scene in Coneheads. (My siblings will get that.)
Within a couple hours, Luna was delivered. It was so different from a healthy delivery. I will spare you the details, but what we saw could be considered grotesque by some. For us it was a beautiful and joyful experience. Yes, joyful. I can’t explain that except to say that it was all God.
We knew that Luna had structural issues and a lot of fluid retention, so it was not surprising that she looked so different. She was discolored, swollen and very delicate. (Dr. A did a great job keeping her together during delivery. We couldn’t move her around much because she would literally fall apart.) Her skin was peeling and her nose and mouth were not fully formed. But to us, she was beautiful.
We were prepared to feel grossed out or uncomfortable, but the only thing that kept going through my head was “How blessed are we that we get to see and hold our baby when so many others lose their babies before they get to?” I know for Patrick, the moment he got to hold Luna he was filled with joy. Here was this baby he never thought he would get to meet and he held her hand and felt her warmth before it dissipated.
It doesn’t sound rational, but there truly was joy in the midst of our suffering. We held our baby and we held each other and we realized what miracles our two healthy children are. We recognized the miracle of our salvation and how Jesus died to save even our little Luna. We accepted the fact that God allowed this for us for a purpose and that our little family would be forever shaped by this short little life we held in our hands.
In some ways, I feel like Luna has experienced life more than I have. It’s like she has climbed Mt. Everest, gone to DisneyWorld, won a Nobel prize and wrote the great American novel in her short life and I have so much to do to catch up. Holding her, I felt like I was holding someone who had taught me so much and who would continue to teach me. I felt proud of her…and I couldn’t stop smiling.
Kim came and took some awesome pictures of the family and baby Luna. I am amazed at the sensitivity and tact that she showed taking pictures of our tiny, sick baby. I am glad we documented her in photos but I will never forget. How could I forget?
We came home to our miracle babies today. I had a small breakdown in the car on the way because it was so strange to be coming home with no baby. But that was an accumulation of emotions that came from the ride in the wheelchair through the hospital. They were nice enough to keep us in the labor room so we wouldn’t be surrounded by baby noises, but we passed the nursery on the way out. I kept thinking that people passing me in the hall must be wondering why I don’t have my baby with me. I sat waiting for Patrick to pick me up at the entrance of the hospital and felt naked without a car seat on my lap with a baby making noises as they react to the outside world for the first time.
There is such a finality in Luna’s situation now. I do not feel like I am forever waiting for the next ultrasound or waiting for that next movement or waiting for the doctor to give me news or waiting for the next appointment or waiting for the next step. Now I am waiting to see her again, but this is waiting that we are familiar with. Waiting for heaven.
Who knows what the days and weeks to come will bring, but I am sure that God will surprise me. He always does.