Sometimes, people don't understand those of us who 'do the most.' They think 'I didn't have to do all that stuff and things turned out just fine for me.' They turn their nose up at the idea of someone documenting a journey through photos or celebrations.
In the case of Tamara and Langston, most were excited to share in the moments leading up to LJ's arrival because we knew it took time, prayer and sacrifice to conceive. There are always those who, simply put, don't get it.
Why host a cookout to pull together families that are forever connected through the birth of their son?
Why take photos of a belly during this, the only time it will ever be full of blessings in this manner, when you can just remember it?
Why the hoopla?
Why the fun?
Why involve others in your excitement?
For those who share this mindset, I'll tell you why. Life is not promised to go as planned. Life throws fast curve balls to people who sit on the sidelines waiting for the "right" time to play. As it relates to pregnancy, I know from experience that nothing is guaranteed. I watched my friend carry god baby without any issues for 40 wonderful weeks. She had a perfect bill of health on Friday and three days later on Monday, when she arrived for her scheduled induction, there was no heartbeat and god baby didn't make it. In our conversations, my friend often reminds me that she was one of those people who didn't want a shower... or a nursery... or photos to document her belly. She thought it was too dramatic... that only 'extra' people do things like that... that she went along with these things "for me." Now, all she has is photos and memories to commemorate a time of joyous expectation. She is grateful for the times we shared during her pregnancy...
It would be remiss of me not to acknowledge October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month, particularly with yesterday, October 15th, reserved as the International Day of Remembrance.
Across the world at 7 p.m., those effected by the sadness of losing a baby during or after pregnancy light candles in remembrance. I lit candles in remembrance of god baby and countless other baby angels just like her.
- Rose Bush Baby: lost after the excitement of being pregnant settled on the couples but before the news was public information. Mrs T planted a rose bush in her baby's memory and each year its buds are a reminder of the joy and its thorns are a reminder of the pain. I've coined this as my name for the early pregnancy losses.
- God's Baby: Carried full-term, we arrived for a scheduled induction and learned there was no heartbeat. I came to terms with the fact that my god baby was never mine, she was God's baby all along. (please note: all lost babies are God's babies, I just use this for my personal situation)
- 26-ers: My friend April was a mother to a beautiful baby boy for 26 days. Born January 23, 2008 and gone February 18, 2008, Wesley Graham Sayler passed of SIDS.
I prepared today's post with an entirely different focus - reflection, awareness, prayer - but God! He sent LJ... I'll speak to the irony of his birth in a few. For now, let's get back to the point of savoring special moments. I am so glad Tammy and Langston maximized their pregnancy experience. Those intimately aware of their pregnancy story know what the growing bump meant to them. The couple knew it would take three to conceive - husband, wife and God. Three. They knew firsthand they couldn't share the news until she was successfully pregnant for three months. Three. It had been the two of them and they were excited to prepare for three. Tammy would be the only girl in a house of three boys (daddy, baby and dog). Three.
Shortly after Tammy's birthday in mid-September, the hospital stays commenced. It started with an ambulant transport from the Urgent Care facility to the hospital for an extended stay.
I rushed to the hospital and, BOY, was I overwhelmed but the sound of LJ's heartbeat was strong and comforting.
She went home for a day or so. Her follow-up appointment with her primary obstetrician turned to a helicopter transport to a more advanced facility for care. The promise of coming home faded and the news that she would remain in the hospital until LJ arrived (due December 16, 2014) came as a shock. It was a serious blow but everyone - family, friends, and medical staff - was happy mommy and baby would receive the care they needed. Just two weeks after the news she could set-up camp in the hospital room, it came as a surprise to learn it was time. Time for what, you ask??
LJ was coming!
Born at 3:57 p.m. weighing 3lbs 11.6oz, he was strong. A strong THREE pounds.
Yep. THREE pounds STRONG. Remember this photo?
Well, it still holds true. WE prayed. God answered.
LJ is proof that God still answers prayer. Our super strong three-pounder was born during this month... the same month we remember the tiny foot prints we've loved and lost. He is a miraculous dose of pleasant irony.
During times of remembrance, it is easy to slip into sadness and question His motives. But God. He gave us a reason to smile... to anchor in our faith and hold to our hope. He gave us a little rainbow in the storm.
LJ is our rainbow - a small symbol of God's faithfulness to His promise (for the biblical reference, check out the story of Noah).
Now do you get it? Do you understand why enjoying moments and celebrating milestones is so important for people like me? Can you understand how a baby shower and photos STILL don't guarantee a healthy baby? Those things don't change the plan God has for you... They do, however, make the memories that much sweeter. They serve as tangible reminders of the excitement surrounding life's milestones.
Tammy's pregnancy was cut short. In an instant, she was done. The memories of feeling him bump around in the belly are gone. The pregnancy is over. He is here.
I went to the hospital to meet my new little. I scrubbed in for the designated time, three minutes. I promised Langston I wouldn't cry but I did. I handed him my jewelry and I turned the corner to see him. Tiny and sweet and settling in for his nap. My eyes filled with tears, I stuck my head on the glass and said, "hello, handsome." He cracked his eye.
...and he grinned!!!
I watched him squirm and stretch and wiggle... I admired his sideburns and his cheeks. I celebrated the removal of the CPAP as it meant he was breathing on his own. I swelled with emotion that my friend is a mom... my other friend is a DAD. An attentive, gentle, calm dad.
A dad who rubbed the sanitizer on his hands, pressed the buttons to open the glass that protects LJ from the world to adjust his little hand so his baby was comfortable during his nap. The kind of dad who is proud to announce he changed the first two diapers... who uses his index finger to rub his son's back:
...and his thumb to rub his cheek:
I hope LJ can feel the love. Islanders, we have a new baby to love on! Thank you for sharing the little moments surrounding his arrival AND for sharing in the MAJOR news of our little blessing.
Keep praying for our super cute, super sweet, super strong little Superman!!! I also ask that you pray for other NICU babies who have entered this world fighting for their lives and the families who are remembering their tiny loved ones.