I'm sitting on my couch watching the Oscars, and Will is sleeping soundly next to me wrapped in my favorite fuzzy blanket just sucking happily on his paci (see picture below). 8 weeks ago he was not even an hour old. I was dazed in a recovery room trying to figure out what in the world had just happened. So happy. So scared. Just trying to figure out what was going on.
This sweet baby. What a ride. This morning as I was in church with Will snuggly wrapped in the Moby and sleeping against my chest, I remembered this day seven weeks ago...and I wanted to write it down to remember it.
Raw...that is what described January 9, 2011. One week old. My Dad and sister had just left town. Donny and I had had a hard night. My Mom was at home with Hunter and Millie. Will was in the NICU still, and we were heading to church. Before leaving the hospital, Donny and I stopped by the NICU to check on Will. Most of our visits to the NICU were really, really hard for me. They were such a blur.
Anyway, that Sunday morning was the morning the doctors told us that they were suspecting some kind of virus in Will. I can't remember if they had done his spinal tap yet...I think that horrible morning came the next day on Monday...but Will was sick, and the doctors needed to figure out what it was. Donny was very concerned, but I just couldn't handle another emotional burden to carry. Perhaps it was a bit of post-partum depression or just hormones raging on top of being apart from my baby. It could have been anything, but all I wanted to do was get out of that NICU...let the doctors do their thing, and get to church.
We went to church that morning. Staci had already gotten the kids and taken them to Sunday School. So many of our dear church friends were shocked to see us there...but where else would we go? We needed to be with family...and they are truly family. Of course as soon as I walked through the doors, the tears welled up and hardly left while we were there. People continued to tell us they were praying for us and Will, and a simple "thank you" was all I could muster in most cases. I was walking through the fellowship hall in a haze, but I needed to be there. We both needed to be there.
God really used Will's birth and NICU stay to show us the love of the body of Christ through our church. My strongest memory of that Sunday morning was our dear friend, Justin Borger, who was assisting in worship. When he led the congregation in the pastoral prayer, he prayed first for the marriages of the church and specifically for the recent marriage of Jimmy Crandall of our church. Then he prayed for all the families of the church and prayed specifically for Will. With a crack in his voice as he said Will's name, Donny and I both lost it. Donny doesn't cry. That morning, at the sound of his friend mentioning the name of our son who was too far away in a NICU bed, I reached my hand to Donny's back and we both lost it. Our son was not with us. My arms felt so empty. But his name was spoken and known to our entire church. In a way, God gave me the gift of Will's presence in name as he was mentioned in prayer. Our son, who had not been seen by very many people at all, was known...and that meant so much.
Raw...that's the only word to really describe how I felt that day. My son was a week old, and he was not with me. I sat in church without him, and all was not right. Every song sung, every prayer prayed...it was so raw. Everything had a different meaning, because part of myself was not there...it was back at the hospital. I could have sworn I had an open wound, because it felt so raw to be exposed in my pain and loneliness of not being with my newest son.
But our church was there. Our family was there. And God was there through them. All was a haze, but I knew God was there because of the love of our church family.
Many friends crowded around us after the service for hugs and to ask about Will. I eventually had to sit down, because it was getting to hard to stand (since I was still recovering from my c-section). The crowds dwindled, and our friend Ted and Staci asked if they could take us to lunch. Normalcy. I just wanted some normalcy. So we went to the Olive Garden. We went home, grabbed my mom, and we went out for Sunday lunch.
We then returned to the hospital...still raw...but with newness of hope. We were planning on leaving the hospital the next day to begin long days of multiple commutes back and forth...but we had hope and strength. We were being carried by our God mainly through the love and prayers of our church family.
Happy 8 weeks, Will. I still feel a little raw even with you sitting here beside me. A part of me lives on the outside, and I will continue to trust my God with you.
I will try to chronicle your story as I am able. Please know that I am crazy about you. You have me wrapped around your little finger. 8 weeks and, Lord alone willing, many more weeks, months, and years to hold, love, kiss you, and trust my God in the rawness that comes with giving birth to you and watching you grow.
Now it's time for you to eat...and watch the rest of the Oscars. I'm especially enjoying the movie/musical remix as I finish this post.
Good night. Gonna go hold my little 8 week old...this little piece of myself that is not my own. He belongs to God, and I will hold him even as we are both held by His good arms.
In case I don't get back to blogging for a while...here are a few things about Will at 8 weeks:
- You LOVE your paci...sometimes won't sleep without it
- You are still really squooshy and love to be held tightly and in a ball...very womb-like
- Your longest stretch of sleep is 4 hours...you are getting up twice in the night
- You haven't smiled yet...excited for that day.
- Your eyes are dark, dark blue. Gorgeous...just like I prayed (and have prayed for all of your siblings).
- I think you would sleep all day long if someone would just hold you...you LOVE to be held and snuggled...and I love snuggling you.