I'm sharing a little more, because it feels a little like being a fraud not to update the balance to the last post. Debbie, you wanted updates - well, here is one.
I'm not strong, not really. And since Mallorie, I cringe when I hear it said, because I know more than anyone how weak I am. During the time I carried Mallorie, I had no reason, really, to expect her to be born alive, or if she was, to be with us long. I think it took me a month (because of my habit of "trying" to be strong, I guess) to reach the end of my own reserves, pick up the phone to my OB, and ask for help. She found me the most wonderful priest/therapist to meet with, and both he and the OB learned better than anyone else how very not-strong I was. On each and every appointment with either of them, basically 90% of what I did was sob. It was therapeutic, mainly, because I was not alone, and they patiently allowed me to let it all out, to stay current with where I was. There were no epiphanies, and there was no "resolution" or growth during that point, that I saw, or that they probably saw. I was a dripping wet rag, wrung out weekly, by the time delivery approached.
But God did a work in me that I really didn't see the results of, until this side of delivery. I started the pregnancy as a girl who knew in my head and honestly believed that I was loved by God. But it was more like knowing there is a loving God and that He created me, and gave me gifts ... just as He loved everyone. I had zero doubt about that part. But I never, ever felt very special to God. Yet, the unwavering belief I had when we left that ultrasound where we learned about all the "anomalies," and went over to see the OB, was that the baby I was carrying, with all his/her abnormalities, was all about God letting me know He loved me specially. Where did that thought come from? I have no doubt it was placed in me by God, because it sure didn't follow logically.
I didn't instantly feel special to Him, either. That change took several months to accomplish in me, and lots of ups and downs (mostly downs). I am so grateful for that time, though I think sometimes that if I knew then what I know now, it would have been so different! I would have laughed in ultrasounds, instead of staring up at the ceiling. But, without going through those dark periods during which I had no idea at all of the outcome, I would not be where I am today. Not because Mallorie lived (though I praise God every day when I look in awe at her grin, her healthy body and bright spirit), but because He stayed close to me that entire time, understood me, listened to my prayers, my pleading, my cries, all of my thoughts, and never seemed to not "get" me. I was never abandoned, and I watched first-hand as God provided for our family just the right people in our lives to pray, to support us, and to go through all of it with us.
So here I am, again. After then initial shock settled in, true to form, I sank. I had read that getting lots of sleep was important in fighting cancer, and since I had just had surgery, I did a lot of sleeping, when I felt like it. I got tired really early of telling the same story to everyone in my life, so I stopped answering phones, and left it to my family to do that. I didn't sleep all day, but didn't do a whole lot else, really. THAT is me. I'm not strong, I'm not brave, I'm not really full of faith. And I'm an impatient mother and wife, and sometimes just plain mean if I'm really stressed.
But what I said about the One who knows this road? That part stays true, no matter how much I go up and down. And the difference this time is that I have a history with my God, now. I know Him as a Father and Brother who will be there every time I look for Him. I will see Him sometimes in the faces of sweet sisters and brothers who bring food for my family. In the form of donor milk for Mallorie that arrives just at the right time, and erases my fear of having to deal with dietary changes for her right now. In the texts and emails that arrive to tell me I'm being prayed for, or that include scripture verses that speak truth to my spirit. In my husband's voice when he tells me that for the first time in his life, when he was in a group of men (for his ACTS retreat reunion), he felt that he truly fit just as himself, no effort, felt accepted. In my children's voices when they tell me funny stories that tell me in the subtexts, that others are loving them and watching over them.
I guess my biggest need, besides prayer for healing, is that I will open myself during this time to the people all around me who longed to be God's arms of comfort while I was pregnant. Because THIS time I do know what I didn't know before. That I am not strong, but I don't need to be. That I am not alone, and am not meant to be.
The Trisomy 18 Connection
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