Tuesday, February 20, 2007

This Baby Girl

On February 20th, 1995, this baby girl was born...

8 lbs 4 oz of beauty and she brought with her some of the greatest changes I have encountered thus far.

This baby girl came to some really young parents. Somewhere around our 2-year anniversary at the ripe of old ages of 21 & 23 we decided to embark on parenthood. We felt like in those two short years we had encountered a such an immeasurable amount of wisdom and growth that we were certainly ready to become parents. Ignorance was bliss.

The nine months that I carried this baby girl were healthy but hard. I commuted to Dallas a total of 3 hours every day and worked in an environment of all women. You would have thought that with me being enveloped by mothers all day long, I would be encouraged to relish my pregnancy and seek out a way to spend as much time with my baby girl as possible. This was not so.

So I drove home each day and sobbed into the chest of my young husband, because I knew that I would soon be leaving our baby girl for another to hold and cherish. It never really made sense. The lives of the ladies that I worked with were all nestled around their desks. Pictures of their babies and children.....their favorite candles.....coffee cups.....back pillows. Ways to get through the day and still feel like they were close to the people & things that they loved. Phone calls from the babysitters who had their sick little ones, always yielded unpleasant reactions from our boss. "Can't someone else pick them up?" Sometimes they would cry but mostly they would just work....and work......and work. All the while, I was taking mental and emotional notes. Could this really be the plan for our baby girl?

So, we met with a babysitter home care provider. She was pleasant enough and had a warm home with all the right safety features, stimulating toys, and adult/child ratios. Yep....all the ducks were in a row. She was definitely the one. Now, she wanted to know, "did I understand that when babies cry they don't always get picked up?"

Well, sure I knew that but what was her point? I'm paying you to pick MY baby up when she cries.

She continued. "You understand that while we don't use the playpens very much, they are sometimes necessary and it's actually good for babies to cry"

"Okay" I said and my chest started to hurt with the most incredible pain. "Sure" I nodded and rubbed my tummy and tried to catch a breath that never actually came. I knew this fact. I had been around babies my whole life and I knew they could -cry- and still *survive*. Why was this statement so profoundly difficult for me to hear? When we got in the car, I mumbled in a voice that was hardly audible, "I want to decide......I want to decide when our baby girl's cry should be ignored." I didn't say it very loud. But I didn't have to.

So while God had been working in my life from the get go, I began to truly see his hand quite clearly when our baby girl was born. He was revealing His sovereignty by unveiling a plan that was certainly not our plan and most definitely one that *NEVER* worked on paper! I have come to learn that His plans hardly ever require paper.

Baby girl was born and have mercy was I ever scared to death! My mother had passed away several years before and Chris' mom was wonderful, but she came from the decade where women were clubbed over the head and then woke up to their little red bundles of joy. I really didn't have anyone to cling to for advice and because I was but a spring chicken myself, most of my friends were just standing around with their jaws gaped open. Let's put Chris in that category as well, because for goodness sakes he was such a young man and what experience did he have??? Yes. Yes, without a doubt, I recall his jaw gaped open rather widely at certain points of the event. I tried not to look his way too often, but rather dig my fingernails into his skin hold his hand for support.
So there I am, looking for some good ol' fashioned motherly advice when in walks the most cleverly disguised angel I've ever seen.

-Let me pause here for a question to the ladies--- Ladies, have any of your friends ever prepped you for childbirth (think....razor) and then inserted a catheter?.... That's what I thought.

So when Nurse Tricia (my friend- who I did not realize worked at this hospital) came in and oh was she just squealing with excitement to see her girlfriend all "ready" to have a baby, I did not see this as a good thing. Of course (in His sovereignty) it was completely perfect. What a precious addition she was in the birthing of our baby girl. Kind, patient, funny, & discreet. You know, I think that's why I could never be a nurse. Because there are some fun-ee things that happen during childbirth and I'm not sure I could selfishly keep them all to myself!

Time passed ever so strangely after the Demerol and I have vague memories of trying to establish a protocol for bowel movements and how to ensure the security of that happening discreetly. Then.....the blessed epidural and without much time to enjoy that.....we met baby girl.

I remember silence in the room, even though it was not silent. I distinctly remember her eyes. They were open so wide and so determined not to blink.....and blue. Then she cried, then I cried, and I looked at Chris and he had been crying. God, you are okay with this? You believe we will do right by her? I felt like asking the hospital the same question.

So we took home our sweet baby girl and we spent the next several weeks trying to tread through the murky unknown waters of parenthood. On the good nights we would rock you to the sweet sounds of Kenny Loggins sing about Christopher Robin & Pooh Corner. On the bad nights, I would stand in the kitchen in my gown that was dripping with milk, on the phone with the hospital. Yes. The hospital. Because I could not fathom that babies actually cried like that for no reason. Something was terribly wrong. "No, she's fine" they would say and I could actually hear the snicker in their voice.

Hmph. I thought, well you just wait. A baby is going to cry to death for the first time in history and it'll be mine, I tell you!!!!

When we took baby girl on our first outing, we both wanted to cry because she wouldn't stop crying and for crying out loud (pun intended) it was just to the stinkin' Kroger! Not even necessary, but remember our blissful ignorance as you peer into our history. The very clever, newly invented carseat-that-hooks-to-the-grocery-buggy was causing the biggest ruckus of all. While Hannah did the full-on, "ha-waaaa......HA-WA-A-A-A" billy goat impression you've ever heard, her young daddy tried to manhandle the babyseat from the grocery cart and just at the point when he began to violently shake the metal contraption that was clinging to our firstborn, it broke lose.

Can you see both parents in a full sweat and real tears and little baby blue-eyes was a'cryin no more. Mercy. Thank God for sweet mercy because we did improve over time...especially with the carseat.

As the 6-week mark rolled around I had come to the most difficult and precious realization. I could not leave this baby girl. On the Sunday night before I was to return to work, I sat with Hannah in my arms. I wept for what seemed like forever and as my tears fell on her sweet face I came to know this....She belonged with me. She should be in my care all day....all night. Even if I couldn't console her or even if I couldn't get her blasted carseat off the buggy, she was still our baby girl and she belonged with me...disabilities and all.

The lady with the really safe and sterile "home care" environment could let "other" people's babies cry. Not mine. Now I was Mommy....full-time...forever.

This baby girl could invoke so many different story tellings from our life. Like the story of how God used the beginning of that precious life to change ours forever. How our desire to become "better" for her only revealed how truly sinful we are. It was on that journey that Lord converted two wannabe parents-of a baby girl into two saved by grace- children of God.

Happy Birthday Baby Girl! Twelve years have gone by way too fast. You are an everyday reminder of God's grace and mercy. We are forever humbled by the truth that He chose us to set your path on this earth. By His grace and wisdom alone, shall we find favor in doing so.
We love you Hannah Marie!


Jenn said...

Happy birthday Hannah! So ... how was that yummy cake?

Leslie said...

Oh my goodness! You made me laugh AND cry! You said: "How our desire to become "better" for her only revealed how truly sinful we are." Amen!

Kelly said...

They change us forever, don't they? Happy Birthday, Hannah!

Christina said...

What a wonderful story! Happy Birthday Hannah!

BTW, I tagged you to tell us a few "tidbits" about yourself if you feel like it.


Kim said...

Happy Birthday,Hannah! What a great tribute to her! You were(and are) a beautiful mommy!


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Hannah! Jeffrey and I just sat here and read all about you while waiting for carpool to come pick him up! We love you and are so thankful for God's blessings in your life over these past 12 years!

You are a beautiful young lady!

Love....Tiff and Jeffrey