Thursday, February 20, 2014

Eating Bon Bons and Other Such Nonsense

I wasn't quite thirty weeks into my pregnancy when I found myself in the back of an ambulance deftly maneuvering through rush hour traffic.  The twins moving beneath my hand gave me comfort that everything was okay for the moment.  Still. I was still terrified.

Twenty nine weeks was too early.

What followed was a weekend of in-hospital, around-the-clock observation; scary words like "placenta previa" and "placental abruption" being thrown out and then retracted; and those horrid fetal monitors strapped around my belly as they constantly struggled to find two separate heartbeats who simply wanted to be left in peace.

In the end, the entire panel of doctors who passed through the revolving door of my hospital room simply shrugged, none having an answer as to what had happened.  What everyone agreed upon, though, was that I was now on total bed rest until a planned section at 36 weeks.

At the time, my only son wasn't quite eighteen months old and a bundle of nonstop, all-boy energy.  We quickly settled into a routine wherein my mother would come up each morning before Wyatt awoke to entertain him until his naptime.  Then, my mother in law would come take him to her house until husband made it in from work. 

The logistics were taken care of, and life plodded forward seamlessly without my help.

During those first few days as I looked up at the Strawberry Shortcake calendar pinned to the closet door beside my bed, I could not imagine how I was going to manage the monotony of staying in bed for six whole weeks plus a handful of days.  So, I did what I do best--I made a list of projects I could do in bed, a list of movies I wanted to watch, and I continued to teach online so I'd be completely caught up with papers no matter when the babies came.  My time was as full as it could be in that circumstance.

The main problem was that I couldn't imagine my mother and husband serving me for that long.  I was the whiz bang wife and mother who could do whatever she put her mind to--take an axe to those saplings, can a wheelbarrow load of pears, and make curtains all in one day?  Sure.  I could do that.

Yet, suddenly, I was helpless if I wanted these two babies to be born healthy.  My mother took over the laundry, cleaning, and childcare while my husband took over the shopping, cooking, and taking Wyatt to church.  I lay on my side, hugged my expanding belly, and just waited.

One of the hardest parts was watching others fill my shoes.  Husband would dress my son and take him to church without me for all those weeks of Sundays and Wednesdays.  Sometimes when they left, I'd sleep.  Other times, I'd cry at the silence and loneliness that comes with being on bed rest, stuck in the back of the house away from life, itself.

I remember the sadness of hearing my little boy's laugh outside the bedroom window but being unable to run and play with him.  Grand-mama stepped into my shoes to go on nature walks, sing songs in the back swing, read the same books over and over, and play games with him. 

Over the past week and a half, I've relived this season in my mind while I've had the honor of joining with others to help a friend recently sidelined by a difficult delivery that just so happened to occur the week she and her husband closed on their house.

Although she and I are different in so many ways, she reminds me so much of myself, a go-getter mom who doesn't know the meaning of "can't."  As you might expect, watching others fill her shoes has been one of the most difficult things for her to do.

Like me, this isn't what she planned either.  Instead, she and her husband tried for months to finalize the sale of their old house and purchase of the new one, but delay after delay plagued them.  When all seemed to be on permanent standby, suddenly, the closing /  move in date was scheduled for one week before the baby's birth, but again, that marker was moved forward until there was no time left for her to do it by herself.

God had worked out the timing perfectly to where she needed the help of her friends and family, so many of whom stepped up to help this woman who usually needed no help.

I have been so blessed to be able to clean, paint, remove nails, and cook a meal for her...all things she could do herself had God not placed her firmly on her bottom at this specific time.

As I held her newborn son this afternoon, I couldn't help but think back to when my mother and husband were doing everything for me.  Sometimes, I think this is what God has to do for those of us who can do so much.  Since we can, we usually won't ask for help, even if it would make things easier.  So, He arranges life's circumstances to put us in positions where we have no choice but to accept help from others.

In that way, we are blessed by being able to see how much others truly love us in their giving of themselves.  And in the process, they are blessed, too, by being able to show their love for us by being His hands and feet.

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