Four years ago today I was finally a mother of two. Joel arrived at 831pm on February 17th. Yesterday as we were eating a birthday breakfast, Heath and I started to recount the day he was born. I woke up that Tuesday morning pretty sleep deprived. I had slept on the couch that night and just felt sick. Around 9am I called my doctor. I told her I just didn’t feel good…maybe I had the flu. She said I should come on in for a visit just to make sure all was OK with Joel.I should stop right here and tell you that the last couple months of pregnancy with Joel were terrifying for me. Soon after learning we were pregnant with Joel, I quit my job. We moved about 45 minutes away and I knew no one. At first it was ok but as the pregnancy progressed, I felt more alone. Around month 6, I was having contractions. I was put on modified bed rest. I can still remember going out of state for Christmas and thinking he could come before we returned home.I spent many days on my couch in my new home alone and scared. I wondered how I would do this thing called motherhood with another child. I learned to lean on God in new ways those last few weeks of pregnancy. I found days when I was renewed with hope and strength. I learned how to pray more intimately than I knew possible. I honestly felt God’s arms wrap around me and give me peace when I felt alone in a new house and new area.February 17 felt like any other day to me. I called my mother in law and asked if I could bring Isaiah to her house while I went in for an appointment. The wise woman that she is would not let me drive to the office that day. She appointed my father in law my driver and informed me that I was not going by myself. Keep in mind the ONLY time I had someone with me was for an ultrasound or to hear the first heartbeat. However, I learned early on, don’t argue with the person providing free childcare!So off my father in law and I went to the doctor’s office. My nurse came in, put her hand on my stomach and asked me if I was feeling the cramp still. I nodded and simply said they are coming and going, blowing off her question. She proceeded to check me and informed me I was at 2cm. Again, thinking nothing of it, I figured I would head home. Then she told me that I was in labor.I am not kidding I thought she was joking. I mean, I had already had one child and surely I would know what labor was! She hooked me up to the machine that monitors contractions. Within the next hour I went from 2 to 4 while still in the doctor’s office. I walked over to the hospital (father in law still in tow) and checked in. All the while trying to get hold of Heath.After two doses of pitocin and several screams, Joel made his entrance. It was eerily quiet when he came out and then we heard his cries. Do you know how as a mom you know something is wrong? I felt it in my heart. They quickly whisked Joel away and took him behind a curtain. Heath followed to see them taking fluid out of his airway. Joel came so quickly that he did not expel all the fluid needed. I often think of how Heath must have felt torn in that moment, wondering whether to stay with his son or be with his wife. In the next few moments I would show a side of me that is less than polite as I pushed a nurse off me…twice. My uterus was not clamping down…basically, I was losing tons of blood. Now, what tons means I have no idea but that is the word the doctor used. The nurse I pushed off was trying to manually cause my uterus to shrink by pressing on my abdomen…and it hurt worse than labor! In the blur of the next few minutes I remember the doctor calling for a shot and feeling the need to pass out. At some point I became aware that I no longer knew what was going on with me or Joel. And yet, that peace I felt on the couch enveloped me. Today, as I watched him play with his brothers, I laughed. He is a tough little guy with no fear. He really believes he can do anything he puts his mind to. I have a friend who thinks he can be a lawyer because he is adamant when he believes something. I love how his smile lights up the room and how he says hello to anyone who will listen. I often say he gives me the most grief but it is he who makes me laugh until I think sweet tea will come out my nose! To be honest, I think we were not really prepared for his arrival. We had the crib and clothes and such but really, I had no clue how to be a mom of two! I had no clue how I would love another little guy. And today, I can’t imagine not having him to love. Happy Birthday Joel! You are a light in my life and I thank God that He created you, that he formed you in my womb and that that he brought you to us, safe. You are a gift that we might not always openly express gratitude for but a gift that helps complete our family!
My Second Gift – Joel February 18, 2008