Monday, February 16, 2015

Brody's first birthday

This time last year I had already been pushing for several hours and laboring most of the day.  There was some beautiful snow on the ground that night as well. As we drove to the hospital on the 15th it was a bright sunny day and the snow was sparkling brilliantly. We were on our way to say hello and goodbye to Brody. I remember feeling like I was out of my own body watching it all unfold from afar. Then Brody would give me a swift kick in the rib and I came reeling back!

As the epidural wore off and the pain of Brody’s face up position started to drain the last of my energy I remember hearing voices. I couldn’t even keep my eyes open. Jeremiah kept encouraging me and even found ways to make everyone laugh now and then. I remember once hearing Juli whisper, “you are so strong… you can do this”. I heard instruction from the nurses and Dr. Towards the end of every pushing session everyone would say, “There he is! This is it!” And then as soon as the last push stopped, nothing. Then there was whispering between the staff as I rested for a minute, and then boom, right back at it. I could hear Haley here and there as she captured precious moments on camera and helped encourage my mom as she struggled watching her daughter in so much pain and took turns helping to hold my legs.

There were so many moments where I wanted to say, “No more! I can’t do this anymore! He’s not coming and you just have to cut him out! I am going to die as I watch my son die.”

By some miracle he finally came at 1:28 am, a Monday morning, February 17th.

It was relatively quiet.

Brody didn’t cry. The Dr. and nurses went about their business quickly taking care of me with their swift skills. I heard the clicks of Haley’s camera. Miah was saying how beautiful he was.
I think I made the most noise as I was still in such pain. Even my arms were so weak that I needed pillows to prop them up as I held my boy for the first time. I knew he was already gone. Suddenly the nurse was there with a stethoscope to check for his heartbeat. She silently shook her head at Miah and I said, “I don’t care.”

I was finally holding my baby. Bonding with him as only a mother knows. Feeling his weight in my arms rather than on my hips! Holding his little hands and stroking his (hairy!) skin I marveled at this gift from God. Yes I was upset. Yes I immediately questioned – why God did you take him from us?! Why couldn’t he have lived for even just a few moments?! But at the same time I felt peace. I knew my Brody was at peace. He did not feel any pain. He did not know heartache. He never felt lonely, betrayed, rejected, inadequate, nervous, frightened, or even this sorrow that we remember now and still feel on his birthday. He went straight from my arms to Jesus’s arms.

We have learned so much this past year and God continues to graciously teach us through our weakness. Tomorrow on Brody’s birthday we will not put a candle in a cupcake and watch him smear icing all over his face. We will however celebrate.

We celebrate a life that was not an accident but perfectly created for God’s perfect purpose.
My plan is to release nine balloons for the nine months he was with us in the womb. I understand however that the cold will likely thwart our plans… science. (Google helium and cold)
The reason behind a balloon release though is more important than if we actually get to see them float away. We are given many gifts from God. All things though belong to God. He lets us take care of them and enjoy them, but we must hold all things with an open hand. This open hand acknowledges that what we are holding is truly God’s and He is free to do with it as he pleases. Whether it’s a job, a house, a loved one… do we hold them with open hands and say, “Your will be done in my life.”?

To some that may sound cruel. He controls everything? He doesn’t let us have anything?

No, He gives us gifts and the responsibility to care for things and the free will to choose as we please. But really it’s a relief to know that He is sovereign and ultimately holds all things. This can open a whole discuss on the sovereignty of God, free will, and the problem of evil… But back to balloons…
My friend Mandy, who has walked a similar road, explained it to me. If we hold onto things as tightly as possible, it will really hurt if it has to be pried from our fingers. But if we hold with an open hand, we can say, “you give and take away, but blessed be the name of the Lord.”

And so we will once again open our hands as we release balloons and choose once again to give Brody back to our Lord. His plan was different than ours, but His ways are higher and one day we will get to see the full extent of how He used Brody’s life. Possibly even to save another life.

We open our hands to You Lord and give you our lives. Do with them as you see fit.