On Friday night, I was having contractions for about 6 hours when we headed into the hospital just after midnight (Sat morning)... It turned out to be a horrible experience because they checked me and I was still only 1cm. They wanted to give me a couple of hours and recheck, but I asked if I could just go home so I could get some sleep. They agreed until they noticed the baby's heart rate was too low... they had me move around and it was still too low... so they ordered an ultrasound and it was the longest ultrasound I've ever had - literally. She stared at the screen, wiggling my belly, with a concerned look on her face for over 20 minutes before she called for a second set of eyes and said "I'm not seeing any movement or tone."
She got off the phone and said she didn't want me to worry... hmmm... yeah, no problem lady. Low heart rate, unable to see movement, thought I was in labor and I'm not, hadn't felt the baby move much all day - yeah, I'm not worried at all...
I just said "Well, I guess I'm in the right place for this to be happening..." but inside all I could think was I should just schedule a c-section and get this baby out before I lose it....
They sent me home an hour later telling me everything was fine... I didn't really believe it, but what choice did I have? Not much.
We got home and in bed around 5am, I had been up all night long. The kids woke me up an hour later and I tried to sleep through their morning commotion and arguing.
I got up a few hours later and before long, between being exhausted and worried, I was in tears. Matt's not usually overly good at making me feel better when I'm upset - especially if it's something he doesn't understand, but while we talked, I figured out that I was really worried about the chance of not being home on Christmas. I didn't realize that it was weighing on me like it was until then, but he had just the right words for me. He encouraged me that no matter when this baby comes, even if it's on Christmas, we will be together and the kids will be ok with however it goes. If we have to wait a few days to do Christmas together, we will. (a huge bonus in not doing Santa) And then he just told me to do whatever I needed to do for me for this weekend... to rest and enjoy the kids and our time off together... and to trust God with the rest.
So I ate breakfast and lounged around and slept on and off throughout the day - snuggled with the kids on the couch - and enjoyed the last moments of being pregnant and feeling this little one move around inside of me. And it was exactly what I needed.
We went to church this morning, on time for the first time in I don't know how long... I felt so much better after taking time to rest and also in letting go of what I thought would be best for timing of this baby's arrival. My mind and body just felt lighter.
I don't regret asking for specifics, even if I didn't get them... I did the same with Rachel and most of the things I asked for, God said "no". I've learned that it doesn't mean He didn't hear or doesn't care, but rather that His ways are not our ways, yet they are always better.
I know I've talked about this before, but you all know that the word "HOPE" was Rachel's word... it was the constant theme of my time with - and now without - her. And I've mentioned a few times that this baby's word has been "JOY".
I didn't realize it until the year after Rachel died when I was sitting in church the weekend of her birthday and they lit the first Advent candle, that the first candle of the Advent season is the candle of Hope. I hadn't even considered how she would be born in the first week of Advent, but every year that has been a very special way to start December without her - as I remember her and her life and death, I'm also being reminded of the hope we have in Jesus and in eternity because of Him.
Today, because God didn't answer my prayer to have the baby last week, I was sitting in church when they lit the 3rd Advent candle of the season... the candle of Joy! Matt & I just looked at each other and smiled - and I started to cry. I knew at that very moment that I was supposed to be there today. The songs, the message - it was all just what I needed to hear.
As we sang Chris Tomlin's Joy to the World...
Joy, unspeakable Joy
An overflowing well, no tongue can tell
Joy, unspeakable Joy
It rises in my soul, never lets me go
I rocked this baby and felt his/her twists and kicks and relished in how amazing it is that I have a life inside of me... and that (s)he can hear me singing those Christmas songs. And for as much as this baby wasn't moving on Friday night, it made up for it today!
But at the end of the day, what I feel is total contentment and trust in whenever God sees best for this baby to arrive. I have gotten so much prepared and have a few things I want to get done still, but mostly, my one and only goal is to let myself rest in God as I bask in the joy of being pregnant... the fact that I feel exceptionally good physically and mentally for being 39 weeks along... feeling this baby move around and how I alone get this sacred time with him/her... knowing that when God says 'no' there is a reason and it's always a better one than any reason I am asking for... and believing wholeheartedly that whatever He does decide is right will be amazing and I get to be a part of it.
During today's service, I was so thankful I was there (I didn't think I would be because I was sure I'd have had the baby before today!) and got to see and hear the things I did that only confirmed for me how safe I am in God's hands... I was so humbled. So thankful. So overwhelmed with emotion. God is so good to me.
And I hate even trying to write about any of this because words don't do it justice and I almost feel like they take away from what actually happened in my heart today at church. But as I was leaving today, a friend said she would be praying for the arrival of the baby and for me to have joy through it... and she knew none of the above...
I just responded with a smile and said "unspeakable joy" - and I think that sums it up...