Monday, January 5, 2015

On the Occasion of my 30th Birthday and a New Baby

I wrote this last month on my thirtieth birthday (while I was on "sabbatical")

Today is my thirtieth birthday, and I am sitting alone on the balcony of a coffeeshop overlooking the river. The weather shines impossibly beautiful for December 16th, warm enough that I don't even need my favorite military jacket, though I'm wearing it anyways. The sun shines bright on my shoulders, I sip mocha from a wide mug and read All the Light We Cannot See, which is exactly my favorite kind of book. In other words, today might just rank as the kind of stuff of birthday dreams.
Jayci had an elaborate plan to celebrate me today, and she woke up extra early to execute said plan all on her own. Which meant I opened my eyes early to an excited pumpkin jumping on my bed, offering me a lovely tray of homemade pancakes topped with strawberries and whipped cream. She also presented me with a beautiful card and hugs and kisses, as per her plan. I am struck, of course, as I continually am, by the sweet precious heart of our daughter. She truly thinks all-of-the-time about other people and how to make them feel special and loved. We prompt this very little, because we are not nearly as good at it as she is. And I am grateful for the ways she is teaching me generosity, and love for those around us. I am finishing breakfast as Caden climbs up into bed with me too, his bedhead wild and sleep clinging to his eyes. Happy birfday mommy he says, before asking for some of my cream. His own special heart beats wild against my chest as he snuggles in tight.

I've been thinking a lot about hearts lately. Mostly because of this tiny grain of rice being formed in my womb. To imagine something so tiny, buried deep inside me, feels slightly terrifying and more-than-a-little vulnerable. Like anything and everything might crush the tiny dividing cells of brand-new-life.

I sailed through both pregnancies with Caden and Jayci with very little in the way of anxiety. Lots of throwing-up and nausea, yes, but not a whole lot of fear. And then Caden was born. And suddenly, I became hyper-aware of all the things that can (and did) go wrong. So this pregnancy is different, the kind of fear-laden stuff I possibly allowed myself to feel a tinge-prideful for not having during my last pregnancies. I remember sharp, and try desperately to cling to, the peace I felt while Caden was in the hospital, but mostly it slips quick through my fingers and I default to worry. I worry we are irresponsible for bringing another baby into the world who will have a higher risk of heart-defects. Or that Caden's next surgery will end up precisely the same time this next baby makes his/her entrance into the world. Or that we can't afford any of it.
We make baskets to deliver to babies in the CICU, and I'm not sure I can face it. The smell of soap, the families with haggard faces and tear streaked cheeks. The code blues and blinking lights and beeping machine. It all feels like something from some distant dream, both far away and near enough to grip me in waves. For over three years now, since Caden's birth, I haven't been able to stomach anyone talking about their birth stories, quietly excusing myself from conversations to cry in the bathroom over the trauma of that day, the memory of words and diagnoses dropping like rocks in the pit of my stomach. I feel them again every single time. People ask about home birth and c-section and I try my best to ignore the clenching in my stomach.

Here's the weirdest part about it all though: I never ever would trade the first month after Caden's birth. It was absolutely the hardest and simultaneously the most beautiful month of our lives. The nearness of a God who came near in the form of a tiny baby, the One who is with us in every sense of the word. We couldn't deny or forget the ways He held and carried us, no matter how hard we try. And so I am trying to rest in the peace my friend Kathryn describes. The kind that doesn't depend on WHAT GOD will do, but on Who HE IS.
I pray today as Jayci kisses the tiny rice baby goodbye and heads out the door. I whisper it to my own heart as I sit and watch another year of life solidify for me. I wrap my fingers around my warm cup of coffee and breathe in the scent, along with the knowledge of how good God is. The reminder that He does not leave us, nor does His goodness depend on our outcomes. That even if this next baby is born with heart defects too, God remains faithful and good. I absolutely know this and believe it to the deepest core of my being, even if I sometimes forget to actually live as if it's true.

So today I eye water slipping over rocks, imagining the little one busily knitting together deep inside me. And I am rooting myself in His goodness. I think of making the Lord our hope and confidence for our future, and becoming miraculously like the trees planted alongside this river. They grow tall and their roots are deep, drinking unbothered by changes in the weather. Continually nourished by a source that does not run dry.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they go right on producing delicious fruit.


  1. i LOVE it when you write.
    and i'm praying and asking Jesus to just carry you.
    he's enough and he's good and all of what unfolds will be perfectly His plan.
    he's got you and the itty bitty baby, in His hands. he's got the whole world in his hands.
    {you know I had to write that.}

  2. It really is magnificent, isn't it? A tiny human the size of a grain of rice is growing inside you. Our God is so great.

    Happy Birthday to one of my favorite girls. Thanks for shining your light in your city and your home. You are an inspiration.


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