“Hope deferred makes the heart sick: but when the desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life.”
At one point in my life, I had no hope that I would ever be in a delivery room, staring into the face of a baby I had carried for 9…err, 8 months. I’m not sure we could have entered into the joy we did in that moment, had we not once been told it would never be.
A year ago today, Nathan was handed to us. Prior to his arrival, I used to ugly cry whenever I saw the slightly terrifying miracle that is childbirth on tv. I thought I would cry the moment I saw Nathan for the first time, but I didn’t. It kind of reminded me of my wedding day. I was so sure I would bawl if I saw anyone else crying, but instead, when I looked out into the audience and saw my mom all choked up, I just looked down at my imaginary watch like, “Mom, get it together, we have family pictures in 10 minutes.”
I know most newborns look like potatoes, but I thought he looked just like Dan. So much so that it had me yelling over the curtain, “Wait, are we SURE this baby is mine?” The nurses laughed. And then when they had to move me from the OR table to the hospital bed, they all picked up a corner of the sheet and “on the count of 3,” they lifted and moved me to the bed. So then I said, “Aren’t you guys glad I am 6-½ pounds lighter?” And the nurses laughed again, and so did the anesthesiologist.
I don’t know why I didn’t cry. I think I was truly just in shock that I could look at Nathan and finally say, “it was you we have been waiting for! It was you who we have prayed for! It was you who was violently kicking my crotch for months!”
Motherhood is hard and challenging and wonderful. It has been so rewarding to watch Nathan grow, hitting milestones and learning new things, even if that means learning to test us. Which, BTW, I was under the impression didn’t happen until the “terrible twos.” But I guess he is starting early because he is Dan’s child. He knows he is not allowed to touch our laptops, so imagine my face when he unplugged the power cord that was attached to the computer, and proceeded to run the cord over the keys and screen and look at us like, “Hey I’m not touching it. I’m smarter than you.” And I was just like, ”No you’re not because when you pull your shirt over you head during peekaboo I CAN STILL SEE YOU. And that Quinoa powder you wouldn’t eat, well I’ve been mixing it in your yogurt for weeks.”
Living on a farm, baby animals are born pretty frequently, especially rabbits! And I am always amazed at how independent they are for having just been born, like 6 minutes before. You know, like hey I just dropped out onto the ground, but let me get up and get some food from my mom. But human babies? Well I am 29 and whenever I am at my mom’s house I still ask her if she can make me some food.
I have watched Nathan go from a helpless blob to a super happy baby that smiles with his whole face. I’ve watched him face plant while learning to crawl. I’ve watched him take his first steps and then start to walk, even if it does remind me of someone who took and failed a sobriety test. Each sleepless night, round the clock feedings, each dirty diaper change, they don’t seem like much at the time. But before you know it, your baby is turning a year old and you see those how those simple things caused you to love and invest in them even more than you already had.
Somewhere, on some Pinterest board, there is a pin that reads, “Making the decision to have a child – it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking outside your body.” As mothers, we are truly gifted in imagining the worst possible things that can happen to our little hearts that crawl and walk outside of our body. In many ways the years or infertility and a rocky pregnancy actually prepared me for motherhood.
If there was ever a time I had accept the hard truth that I am not in control, that I cannot prevent something from bad from happening to my child, it was then. That truth is both terrifying and freeing at the same time. That doesn’t mean that I will throw caution to the wind and hand my one year old a fork and watch him head for an electrical outlet. But it does mean that when I lay my head down at night and my imagination starts to wander, I am reminded of the One who has the hairs on my baby’s head numbered and the One who gives and takes away. So far I have been given three hundred and sixty five days.