spirit

celebrating isaac

This month has worn a hole into my healing heart.

Today, isaac would be one. As i grab hold of the reality that a year ago today, i was blessed with my first son, the weight of would be pulls me back into the heaviness of that empty space where isaac does not reside in. i am overcome by grief all over again, as if it was yesterday, and i wonder if i ever made a dent in this healing process.

Sunday was mother’s day. Last year his birthday fell the day after that. I remember being admitted in the late afternoon on mother’s day and not seeing the sun for two days. I remember how pink isaac looked. His small body wrapped in tubes and wires. I was so scared to touch him, but i wanted so badly to hold him close to me. To hear him crying for me. Something. Anything. But he had to be without me his first day of life. And i had to be without him my first day of motherhood.

micro preemie

Such a violent birth day to remember.

I remember the days and weeks that followed. My fears quickly transformed into hope and a fierce love that i will never be able to put into words. I learned how to express milk so that he would get his nourishment from me when he was able to. I used to quench his thirst with a little swab of water dabbed on his tiny tongue. I changed his diaper and i cleaned his little body when i was able to make it to the hands on sessions. I sang him to sleep. Read him stories. I even got to finally hold him against my heart so that he could hear the beats he had listened to for almost six months.

tiny baby hand

In those moments i became a mother.

No, motherhood didn’t look like i had imagined and i didn’t get to do everything i had hoped i would be able to do. But when i look back on that time, i got to be a mother. Isaac was too small to offer anything to me or this world, but somehow him being here, existing in this space was enough for me. Enough for me to be his mother. His existence alone was significant. What a powerful freedom he lived in. To be weak and dependant in every way, not performing or doing anything to receive love.

That is why I choose to remember. Even when it hurts. God, it hurts! But i am learning to cherish that simple thought of humility. To cherish what the Lord has blessed me with, both with isaac and his brother or sister. To cherish the mundane,

for it has excitement of its own.

 

Tiny Movements

It’s 3 am. i am tired.

There’s this tiny little human inside of me getting comfortable in a new position. I know I should be irritable right now. I probably will be irritable later, but right now, I savor baby’s stretches and twitches as if I were watching baby sleep through the night in my arms.

I experienced about six weeks of Isaac’s movements before he came. I never really felt him at night. Every time I went driving, he would start moving. I used to sing to him in the car as I drove. When I worked part time as a barista and stood on my feet for four hours, I would feel him then too. His movements were so gentle though. Not as vibrant as his baby brother or sister’s movements are.

I was so afraid to feel any excitement when I felt the first flutters around thirteen weeks. Even as baby grew stronger, I withheld my heart. I knew if I let baby, those tiny movements would stir my love at its foundation and I would be bonded from that point on. I knew I would smile the way I smiled when Isaac would move. I knew all the purity and freshness of this pregnancy would be distilled by the life that was cut short. But this baby continues to make his presence known to me.

Mama, I am here. I am strong. I am growing.

The activity never gets redundant for me. I don’t know if it ever will. Every day that I get to feel baby with me, is a new day I have never experienced before with Isaac. As I lie here awake while baby rolls around with great effort, I wrap my arms, my heart, my love around my womb and I smile.

It’s 3 am. I feel alive.

thirty-four

Turning another year older barely scratched the surface of my mind this week. After spending two days in the hospital because of the early signs of preterm labor, and just being released yesterday, I was more elated that I would not be spending a birthday at the NICU with my child.

IMG_0565.JPG

I lay in bed, the early signs of morning peeked through my blinds as baby stretched inside, the best birthday present i could’ve received so far. Keith was already up, getting ready for work, the sound of rustling paper clueing me into the fact that he was probably in the dining room wrapping my gift. God, i am such a blessed woman, i thought to myself.

As i sit here trying to wrangle in the last thirty-four years of my life into a single thought, I am grateful for my journey’s complexity. I have always desired wisdom. I prayed for it at seven after I heard the story of King Solomon asking for it. I truly believe God honored that request because over the years of success and failures, I have often been told by young and old that I am wise beyond my years and I am deeply humbled that God blessed me in this manner. The year preceding my thirty-fourth birthday has taught me one valuable lesson--uncertainty is inevitable.

Resting in the Uncharted Territory

I remember when Isaac was born and Nanna called to tell me that everything was going to be okay and that Isaac would be fine. You’ve been a good Christian girl all of your life and followed the Lord, she said.

I cringed in silence at her words.

There was something so formulaic about that statement. If all things are good, I am right with the Lord. If all things are not so good, then I immediately must “figure out” what the root of my suffering is. I knew God wasn’t one-dimensional or severely conditional. He made the sun to shine and rain to fall on the unrighteous along with the righteous (Matt 5:45). But when Isaac died after weeks of petitioning to God for a miracle, I realized how deeply rooted I unconsciously was in the “prosperity gospel” understanding of God.

I didn’t have him all or even mostly figured out. His unknowings actually unsettled me. It nearly broke me to suddenly feel so distant from God, and I thought for sure that I would receive further punishment for entering a season of darkness and stillness. I knew the landscape of God’s obscurity existed, but to go and abide inside of His unknown parts without ever having them revealed to me, terrified me.

IMG_0561.JPG

I am not sure when the transition actually began--somewhere in between Isaac’s passing and our failed attempts to try to conceive again--but I found myself wading out into uncharted waters. I thought that the lack of control and foresight would consume me and wash me away, but I found myself tethered. Tethered to the parts of God I had come to know and trust. His grace, His faithfulness, comfort, and peace. I slowly relinquished control in those tumultuous moments, letting my spirit sink into His deepness. I began to let go of my need to know when, where, and how.

I am still a planner. Still a “figure it out” person, but my hope is that this year I’ll continue to loosen my grasp and find peace in the unknown.