I’m finally getting back to blog! After a way too long break with WAY too many things to update on…I’ll give the brief short version and then move on to the star of this blog- Eden! **I’m already feeling the pressure as a mother of two to keep things “fair” or “equal”…so I’m making myself include this little disclaimer: I share some honest feelings about my pregnancy with both kids in the post…but would like to include upfront that although sadness and shock and many other emotions were felt, I was never sad about the life of either of my kids and have rejoiced at the thought of them since the day I knew they were on the way! In our family, I never want Judah to feel sad because he’s not “normal” but I also never want Eden to feel left out or in the shadows because she is “normal”! God, give me the wisdom to parent my children that “normal” is not what matters, but rather, that their aim be to bring Glory to Your Name!
At about 34 weeks gestation in my pregnancy, I found myself having regular contractions in the middle of the night and thought to myself, “Here we go again!” Some super sweet friends came down to be with Judah (thanks Joe!) and we headed to the hospital. They were able to stop my contractions, but I was told no more work and to be on “modified bed rest”. (That is super hard with a 10 month old at home!!!) At 35 1/2 weeks, same thing…they were able to stop contractions and we went back home. Thankfully, my mom thought this was a good indication that she better come out a little early! And it was a good thing because at 37 weeks, same thing happened again and this time she was “cooked” enough to come on out! I had a repeat c-section on October 27, 2011 and our sweet girl made her way into the world at exactly 6:50 a.m. Now, onto Sweet Eden.
If you know me well, then I’m sure you’re not surprised that there is a bit of a story and meaning behind her name- and I thought it was time to tell it!
While driving home from work one day (before we had kids) I was listening to my new Phil Wickham album, and the first song is called “Eden”. It was one of the first times that I had really thought in depth about the concept of the Biblical Eden. A place with no pain, shame, fear, sin- but, most poignantly, never ending, physical communion with God! I thought about the devastation that The Fall brought to every aspect of life as we know it here on Earth and the deep sorrow that we would never get to experience Eden like Adam and Eve did…but the joy that filled my heart knowing that the story did not end there was almost overwhelming. We humans totally screwed it up, but thankfully, it doesn’t end with our screw up…
I then started to think of how the concept of perfection and Eden and how, on hard days, I just longed to be in that place rather than the reality of the world that we live in. Meditating on perfected communion with God, the Father reminded me of the redemption that we have in Christ and that although we will never be in Eden, one Day, Believers will experience the same serenity of a painless and perfect world, unmarred by sin and shame- and all of this through the Blood of Jesus Christ! I still love to think back on Eden, because it points me onward to persevere through the hard days in life.
Fast forward to about 9 months ago when we (SURPRISE!!) found out we were pregnant again! I couldn’t have imagined all that this sweet girl would teach my heart about miracles and the Redeeming Lovingkindness of God, the Father. In fact, I think I sort of just assumed that it would be another boy, since that was my only point of reference…I’m so glad that His way are higher than our own! We had talked about names before, so when we found out it was a girl, we immediately knew that she would be Eden Elizabeth (Elizabeth is a very strong family name on both sides).
Looking back, it was a scary pregnancy where, around every bend, I was waiting for something bad/similar to the complications I had with Judah to appear…but they never did! I wanted to make this pregnancy one without regrets, though…I wanted to embrace the good parts! It may sound stupid, but after Judah was born early, I so regretted being too cheap to buy cute maternity clothes because they were “temporary” (boy, if I had only known!). I was sad that the fun things about being pregnant were stolen from me when we found out that Judah may not even live after he was born…everything was tinted with sadness and fear of the unknown as much as we tried to overcome, and each doctor’s visit was so disheartening because they ALL brought more bad news. Having my little one taken to the NICU instead of watching happily as he got his first bath and then came to cuddle with mommy, the joy of being wheeled out to the car with my beautiful, healthy baby in his carefully selected “homecoming outfit”; the opportunity to nurse my baby at home from birth and on; my very health jeopardized and, therefore, clouding my perception of when Judah was born and many other “happy” moments- ALL of these stolen by the Enemy. I feel like I’ve never felt the heaviness of Truth in John 10:10 more than in those dark days, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
I am so glad that I serve a God who never thinks any heart break is silly or unreasonable and that He seeks to give perfect gifts to His children, because after all the sadness and loss felt in my pregnancy with Judah, in comes little Miss Sunshine! Practically no morning sickness, nothing negative or scary at any of my check ups and…I bought some cute clothes! My little girl stayed with me right in the OR until they were finished with surgery and I got to watch as she screamed through the first part of her bath and loved her shampoo! I got to hold her in the recovery room, and on the stretcher down the hall to my post partum room and say, “Thank you!” as everyone that passed by congratulated me…she never left my side! She’s been a GREAT eater from day one, sleeps well and is happy almost all the time! I got so choked up putting on her “homecoming” outfit (complete with girlie accessories, of course!) and I felt overwhelming mixed emotions of pride, joy, thankfulness as I was wheeled out to my car…this time with my baby in my arms and everyone ooo-ing and ahh-ing as they passed! All of the things that had been taken away from me, God had restored to me and healed my heart of so much pain…He knew we needed her in our lives much more than we could have ever guessed. I feel like this time around, I’m learning the meaning of Ecclesiastes 3:11, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
I know that his whole life, Judah will hear that he was a miracle baby and that God (literally!) saved his life several times, and that is so true. But, I want my daughter to hear that she was a miracle baby too! I feel like I’ve learned that the miracles she brought to our family were the simple joys of a newborn that most people take for granted…but not me!! I’ve thanked God so many times for these simple moments that I may have otherwise completely overlooked. I marvel at this because the Lord is already weaving the story of their lives as individuals and as members of this family together…they each have such powerful truths that they have taught their Mommy (and Daddy!), and already, both their lives are testimonies to God’s goodness and grace over our lives.
I can only pray that every time I look at the sweet face of my beautiful little girl or hear someone call out her name, that I would be encouraged to look back at the redeeming love God gave us in her and to look forward to the promise of our coming King to restore the beauty and perfection that were once found in Eden.