The one thing you can always count on is change. Although I still have kids at home, I have been wearing my new role as mother-in-law and, and now, Nana. So many parts of both of these roles are wonderful, but there are parts that are hard to navigate (go figure). The truth is that I had been asking God to clarify and better define my roles so that I could carry them out more intentionally. Be careful what you pray for! As we approached the time for Brittney to have her second baby, each day carried more of a load as we walked out the “pre-labor” days. We only had our experience with losing Issac just a year before to relate to, and that made it hard to visualize anything. I really believed that this baby would be just fine and that’s where God would lead me back to every time I prayed about it. What that journey would look like, was a mystery. Deciding when I would make the seven hour drive was up in the air as Britt was doing some natural things to get labor going. This kept us on pins and needles for days and I finally just had to be done waiting and head over so that I would at least be close if labor started. I need to stop right here and make a confession: As much as I tried not to, I had some ideas in my mind that made much of what we were about to walk through harder. When Isaac was born, I remember God telling me, “I will redeem this”. I have seen fingerprints of redemption over the past year, but I also anticipated that “redemption” would look like a wonderful, natural birth (with a few possible hiccups), and that I would be there to hear his first cry (after not being able to hear Isaac’s)-the cry of my first live grand baby. It would also look like me being able to be helpful and involved, like I was at Isaac’s birth and the days immediately following. God had other plans. Baby was in a wonky kind of side-ways position(head down, but turned and off to the side). Some induction was attempted one day, but with no progress. Jacob and Brittney headed home for a good night’s sleep with another attempt planned for the next day. If that didn’t work, they planned to wait a few more days to see if baby would move. Next day’s induction did get things going and doctor was pretty confident baby would move and cooperate. He started to in early labor, but then went right back to where he was. Long story short, his heart rate kept dropping and then going back to normal and a c-section was decided after Britt had labored all day and was over halfway to full dilation. This is the point at which I came into the room so that I could talk to the anesthesiologist. Brittney had asked me to because I have had 8 c-sections and also knew the meds she was sensitive to. Everything was a whirlwind after that. I walked the halls praying for Brittney, for the baby, for the doctors and nurses. I was also trying to come to terms with the upheaval that had just happened. Couldn’t this have been easier? Hadn’t Brittney and Jacob been through enough?? God calmed my heart by reminding me once again of His sovereignty…that HE knew the labor, baby, circumstances, and Brittney better than I did and He had a GOOD plan in all of this. Baby arrived safe and sound 7lb 6 oz, 20 inches long. When I walked out to meet him for the first time, I will never forget his sweet little face and huge eyes looking up at me. What a moment that was! It wasn’t the first cry ( I saw that later on video), but it was a moment I will never forget!
We were all enjoying the little man when we were informed that Brittney had a complication in the recovery room. It was like another wave hitting and I was feeling like we were never going to be able to relax and just enjoy this time. Everyone in the room was family (there were quite a few of us) and we quickly rallied together praying and doing whatever we could to be helpful. It appeared Brittney was fine (we weren’t 100% sure yet), but would need to spend a night in ICU. She couldn’t have her baby there with her, but Jacob would keep little Nate by his side and bring him to her for visits. We had two family members who were nursing their own babies and since Britt couldn’t nurse him while in ICU, these women lovingly took turns through the night nourishing little Nate. What a beautiful picture I have in my heart of the sweet care and sacrifice these women took to help in such a real way and then go home to their own busy houseful of little ones. God’s love and grace with skin on! I spent the night at Britt’s bedside. It was NOT where I had imagined either of us would be that night, but I can say it was sweet in so many ways. Mommies tend to be awake after having babies and Britt was no different, in spite of the medications. We talked through the night about all kinds of things, including all that had just happened. It was a processing time for both of us. We talked a lot about Nate and we looked at pics of him on my phone. In the end, she was only away from him for 6 hours, but during that time, I struggled a lot with not being mad at God. It sounds so ungrateful after finally getting our baby boy here safely, but I just couldn’t understand WHY this had to be so complicated and why she had to be away from snuggling her LIVE baby ONE MORE NIGHT. I can only say that I had to go back to my basic beliefs in who God is: that He is sovereign and He is good. That His plans always work out for our good and His glory. That HE knows better than I do what is best, even though I don’t always understand. He is often gracious enough to give some glimpses into the wisdom of His plans, but not the full picture. That is where faith comes in, being defined in His Word as “Being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” If I can see it, then it’s not faith. And believe me, I couldn’t see it. Britt was moved back to the birth center the next morning and was able to be with Nate and Jacob as a family for a couple of nights at the hospital before going home. I stayed several extra days to help out and finally got to experience the joy of bonding with our grandson and helping Jacob and Britt out as much as I could.
It was hard to leave, but so good to return to my own children at home. After almost 2 weeks of feeling somewhat displaced as I struggled to define my role in that particular circumstance, it was a huge comfort to step back into doing what was familiar: being a wife and mom. I know that this experience is a taste of the season ahead: when I will no longer have children at home. God seems to have done this more than once: ease me into the next season by giving me tastes of it ahead of time. For now, I am thankful. Thankful to be home. Thankful for my clear role. Thankful for our new grandson. Thankful that our daughter is safe. Thankful to finally be on the other side. Now…take a deep breath and get ready for another new grandbaby (Sam and Jenna’s) arriving early December! I already have a pink tu-tu and wings hanging in my closet waiting for this sweet little girl!