Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Lord works in miraculous ways

Once upon a time, there was such baby-hunger in my heart that I could hardly handle it. I prayed (fervently, consistently) that either 1) we would have the funds necessary to make a baby a reality -or- 2) that I would simply stop being so hungry.

For months, long long months, I prayed for relief.

And then friends started to get pregnant. Lots of friends. Close friends, faraway friends, neighbors, you name it.

I had a brief and bright moment of "Everyone-Is-Pregnant-But-Me"....and then continued to pray. Asking that Heavenly Father would give me whatever I needed.

I thought maybe I needed to understand this feeling. Maybe I need to learn what it is to want a baby, given that I have been spared from ever feeling that before now.(post-edit to clarify: I WANTED all my babies...but I have never had to try very hard at all. I am well aware that that, in itself, is miraculous, and a blessing.)

Maybe I needed to understand that what I want is not always what I need.

Whatever the reason, I prayed and I waited, watching bellies grow and waiting for the worst/best part--those babies--the deliveries.

My dear sister Qait came to visit, and shared with me the news of her budding pregnancy while we stood in the kitchen. She just slipped in the announcement, almost unnoticed, amongst our otherwise-boring conversation. I hugged her close and felt a mix of aching and joy. I sat next to her on the couch each night as she nourished her body with foods I made, watched her rest, and watched her tiny swelling of a belly grow in miniscule proportions during her stay. I quietly relived the earlier months of my pregnancies, and felt some sense of happiness in watching my sister experience it for her second time. 

And then on December 31st, I got to hold the still-very-new twin girls of Cara, one of my dear friends. 

I breathed in their new-baby scent, smoothed the fine layer of hair on their heads, examined at great length the fingers, toes, folds, nooks, and soft curves of their perfect little bodies. I felt an ache, and worried that this was not good for me, and silently begged in prayer. And that is when something miraculous happened. Filling me up, bottom to top, was peace. The aching wasn't gone, but much less, and finally manageable. In its place was the ability to enjoy the little bodies in my arms, the understanding that I don't know the timeline God has in store for me, but that he will give me ways to handle whatever it brings. Longing. Loneliness. Unwillingness to let time go at its proper fast pace.

I held another perfect newborn only days later, and again was filled with peace. And something else was added--patience. I finally FELT what I have been trying to feel, which is, "I can wait. I can wait for whatever is to come. What I have is enough, and it is alright if it's all I ever have."

And then my sweet and dear friend, Sarah....

Sarah, who has kept me informed and allowed me to almost-obsess over her pregnancy. Sarah, who even asked me to document the birth, something so sacred and so personal. A part I miss most. And here is where I really begin to understand that God doesn't give us things we can handle, though it sometimes feels that way.

Sarah had a practice run, otherwise known as prodromal labor, an extended and painful episode (complete with back labor) that had her, her husband, and me in the hospital on Sunday night. (I would like to state for the record "prodromal" does not always mean "false" and most definitely not "ineffective") And while it didn't amount to much that Sarah could see, it proved instrumental for me. (Sorry, Sarah...I grew at your expense.) Once again I was watching someone I love and reliving the moments I miss--and once again that longing was tempered. I least expected to feel relief in watching my friends and family go through the experiences I crave so much, but I firmly believe--actually, I know, I know for myself--that God knows what I need. He knows how to teach me, how to help me, and most definitely, how to give me more than what I want.

So....with a lot of gratitude in my heart as it is, I'm thanking my pregnant and/or new mom friends for their (however unaware) participation in what has been a healing and learning process in the last few months for me. All my love to you.


Sarah said...

I can't find the words right now but know I love it, and you. He brought you to me and you know that and how I would never make it without you to keep pointing out that this is a miracle and to enjoy it all,m even the hard and disappointing times. (Hmm, maybe I could find the words!)

Shayanne Snodgress said...

I love this post Rae! I love you more!!

Heidi said...

I needed this. Thank you for sharing it, and if allowed I would LOVE to see those birth photos! (Me and my birth story/photo addiction...)

The Leishman's said...

Beautiful post Rae.. Your words spoke right to my heart! I feel the same way you do!! Your presence and spirit AND friendship blesses so many of our lives!

Anna said...

I felt like that the year before I got pregnant with Sarah. ALL of my SIL's were pregnant that year, and I really wanted to be. Being filled with peace is indeed a sweet miracle. Thanks for sharing Rae. (You can come cuddle Sarah next time you are in Cedar if you want!)

Qait said...

I love you, Rae. Very sweet post.

I had similar feelings while we were trying to get pregnant, and it was really hard sometimes to be okay with the fact that it would happen someday (and to be grateful for the blessing that had confirmed that fact).
I read a lot about the barren women in the scriptures, and my goodness, what a trial. I've joked before about how us Boatright girls are so fertile, but it's a huge blessing, too.

By the way, you look so heavenly holding those twins. That's my favorite picture of you lately.

Lara said...

First of all, I'm sorry it's taken me so long to read this! I have not marked my favorite blogs "all read" because I want to read them, but life has been insane.

Anyway...this was such a beautiful post. I relate. I think I am done with my own family. Just the last week or so do I feel like I can finally say that. I am nearing 40, pregnancy has always been hell, and I don't know that I could handle another child as much as I think I want one. I've been praying my guts out, and we've been trying and not trying as I change my mind. I think I was in a stupor of thought! And now one of my friends here is finally pregnant, and I think that's enough for me. Weird. But true. But I think you understand.

And also, I loved reading all about your family and seeing their pictures. It is an insight into who you are, too. Loved it. Love you!

Rae said...

I'm so glad you can relate, Lara! I love you, too!

C said...

Rae, you and your baby hunger has helped another. I don't know if you know how much. Your obsession with all things newborn has helped me beyond words. Childbirth terrifies me. It is a great unknown (especially with certain conditions I have), and I fear it. BUT my fear has been greatly, greatly ebbed by your excitement and happiness over the whole process of bringing a baby into this world.
When people used to bring up babies or childbirth or pregnancy I would literally shake in fear and cry if they kept going or I kept listening. But now I smile and cry with a mixture of happiness, excitement and only a little fear. That is huge for me. Thank you.

Please, please, PLEASE obsess over and document all my babies. I want you to. It's one of the things I'm most excited for.

P.S. I loved this post, it was truly beautiful. Also, I love you, you're truly beautiful. :)

Rae said...

Sweet C, I will be honored to document each of your births. I am at this moment, this very moment, looking into doula certification so that I have some additional credentials as a birth photographer! So hopefully I'll be able to know exactly how to provide support to pregnant and birthing mothers.