September 18, 2008
Every September, I find myself reflecting on the past. God has singled out this month for us and filled it with life-altering events. I wrote about these events last year on my old blog and you can read about them here. This year marks the 7th year that titanium rods have literally held me upright. Though some of the pain has resurfaced, I have to continually praise my God for the way He healed me so that I could walk without my legs caving underneath me, sit and stand for long periods of time without my nerves constantly haunting me, and so that I could carry and deliver a beautiful, brilliant baby girl 5 years ago today.
Ella was born on September 18, 2003, at 9:55pm. She weighed 8 lbs., 3 oz. and was 21 inches long. After a long labor at home (around 19 hours!), I headed to the hospital somewhere around 1pm. When I went in, I was 4cm dilated, but after waiting around for an hour, my water started leaking and I was up to a 5 - ready to be officially admitted! I continued to have strong contractions for a few more hours. Because of the instrumentation in my spine and my "wacky" anatomy, I wasn't allowing an epidural anywhere near me. I did have something to take the edge off, which helped me sleep off and on through some of the contractions. At around 8, I was getting close to being ready to push. That's when things went awry. Ella was sunny-side up and after some not-so-fun "interventions" by the doctor, and pushing for an hour & 1/2, I was screaming for a C-section. Again, because I couldn't have an epidural, I was put completely under and Paul was not allowed to come in with me. Half an hour later, Ella came into the world. I hated not being able to hold her right away, but was so thankful that she and I had both made it out alive! ;) She was born on the 2nd anniversary of my 2nd major back surgery (the very thing that God had used to prepare my body for this miracle!!).
Though I am eternally grateful for what I consider to be one of God's greatest gifts to me, tonight I find myself a bit sad to have reached this milestone with her. Turning five just seems so grown up all of a sudden. It's that stage when she's much less baby and much more "kid". Her personality is so well-developed by now, I feel as if I'm seeing glimpses of who she will be when she's 15, 20, and 25. She's so very independent, so spirited and funny. She mulls things around and makes such interesting observations. Ella is sensitive and compassionate. Stubborn and intense, yet soft and silly. Always the entertainer, her number one goal is to make everyone laugh. When she was born, I never would have imagined this firecracker that she would become...this ray of sunshine. I pray that she will not lose these wonderful qualities, but that God would help us to cultivate her strengths so that she will become a young woman of integrity and great character. I pray that while we teach her to come into her own that she will not lose her fierce love for us and her family. I pray most of all that God would draw her to Himself, as I already see Him doing in all of her questions and curiosity about Him. Thank you, Lord, for this dear, sweet treasure that you entrusted to me five years ago.
The sadness over her birthday stems also from the feeling that this is it for us. She may very well be our one and only. God has brought me leaps and bounds beyond the days when He first began working on my heart regarding this issue. However, part of me is still grieving and days like today dredge back up those hurt feelings. This could perhaps be the reason that I couldn't stop crying on Tuesday after I took cupcakes to her Mother's Day Out class and was told the class couldn't eat them (since I didn't notify them ahead of time), but they'd be happy to send them home. I was so sure that those homemade cupcakes I'd spent so much time preparing would just be thrown in the trash when the kids got home. But, the underlying emotion that day was that this is the last time I will have a child that turns 5. This is the last time I will ever take cupcakes to a class (she will be too old for MDO next year and I plan to homeschool til one of us dies, lol!). She is the last child I will raise from tiny infant to "big girl". So many "lasts" encapsulated in this one day. Yes, God continues to heal my heart, but He hasn't taken all the pain away. One of the toughest bits of this for me is worrying that Ella will be lonely. My prayer today is that Ella will be able to cultivate friendships (and family relationships) that will become surrogate siblings to her. I also pray I will continue to trust in His Sovereignty in this matter. I'm so grateful He hasn't given me a full-picture view of life. I gladly surrender such difficult things to the One Who knows the rest of the story!!
Thank you all for allowing me the indulgence of my memories. Next week, I should be able to post some updates on school and all the other goings on around here.