Thursday, February 26, 2009

Welcome Love

My cousin had her second baby, a boy, two weeks ago. It was a dramatic birth. She had planned to give birth in a tub, in her living room. They had their first child that way and were hoping for the same thing this time around.

She and I spoke at least 2 or 3 times a day leading up to the birth of this baby. The last few days before the birth she had been having contractions on and off, nothing regular. I heard from her around 9 am and then again around 11am and then that evening I got an email announcing that her son had been delivered by her husband at 1:41 that afternoon!

It was fast.

She sent the birth story along. She sent pictures along. Adorable shots of her new son. Precious moments between her daughter and the new baby. And, of course, the shots of her new 9lb 9oz baby boy with chubby cheeks all alone.

As can be expected she has been busy the past two weeks. Busier than any of us realized. She and I chatted briefly in the past few days but nothing much. Last night I received an email that I'm sure was significantly harder for her to write than for me to read.

Their precious little boy has Trisomy 21, Down Syndrome, and a heart defect that will need to be repaired with surgery in a few months. They received their confirming test results on the same day that they celebrated their little boy's bris.

My first thoughts were of sadness and compassion. The thought of any little baby having to go through major heart surgery, any kind of surgery, is painful. My heart went out to them in every way possible.

My next thoughts were of guilt.

When I explained this to my husband and a friend of mine they both kind of looked at me as if I was a little crazy. I did not wish any malice on my cousin or her baby, it was not that kind of guilt.

I felt guilty because of my own children. I thought about our son, born deaf, who can now hear perfectly well. Who, after 2 surgeries, is doing wonderfully and thriving. I thought about our daughter. My precious little red head who really probably should not have made it after radiation exposure and the levels of medicine she took in while I was pregnant. I thought about the fears I had in those months of pregnancy knowing that every time I took my medicine to keep my body running and functioning, I was slowly strangling her.

And I felt guilty.

My cousin is an all natural, holistic type of individual. She does things very, very differently from how I do things. She chooses a different path for how to raise her children. But she and her husband love them fiercely and that is the most important thing.

I thought about the different hands we get dealt. I had no idea what long term effects my son's deafness would have for him. Nor did I know if my daughter would have compromised health because of all of the exposure, and I still worry about that.

In an instant my cousin's life changed and life has taken on all new meanings.

She wrote in her email that she and her husband are a mix of emotions, of course, but they are so incredibly lucky to have their new little boy and believe God truly sent them this soul to love and their little boy chose them.

I firmly believe that, as well.

We are handed unexpected things so often and rising to the occasion and dealing with what lays ahead of us can be daunting. But I truly believe that what we are handed is handed to each of us, specifically, for a reason.

I have had a hard time finding the right words to say to my cousin. I have tried to put myself in her shoes but I cannot. I can only speak from what I know and empathize with what I do not know.

The moment that a child is born everything changes regardless of anything else. In an instant our whole world transforms into something it never was before and never will be again because this person, that once wasn't, now is.

There is a reason we each go through what we go through, good and bad. This little person has come into this world for so many reasons and is undeniably loved by all of those who know he exists, and he would be no matter what.


Anonymous said...

There's a story told about a woman who had planned a vacation to Italy for years. She saved and planned and scheduled the trip for the right time of year and then got on the plane headed for her wonderful Italian destination. When the plane landed she left her seat thinking she would be greeted by the wonderful Italian scenery and instead as she walked out onto the tarmac she saw windmills and tulips. Apparently the plane went in a different direction and landed in Holland. Her comment was that it wasn't what she had expected, but it would be a beautiful experience getting to know this surprising land that she knew nothing about. Sometimes our birth experiences bring us to Holland instead of Italy. But the tulips and windmill can be very beautiful and enriching.

Leendaluu said...

It's been said (and I realized) there are no guarantees in life...and no return policy. We do our best to prepare but sometimes we are handed the unexpected. True grace is how you handle the experience..and make it positive. True grace is realizing how we've been blessed by our experiences...good and bad

Momo Fali said...

This part here...

"We are handed unexpected things so often and rising to the occasion and dealing with what lays ahead of us can be daunting. But I truly believe that what we are handed is handed to each of us, specifically, for a reason."

...made me cry. My son just had his ninth surgery. He had his first heart surgery when he was 13 months old, and still faces another one. I don't know why he was sent to me, but I do know FOR CERTAIN that he is the biggest blessing I could ever have.

I know your prayers have been there for me... and I will offer some to your cousin.

Veronica Lee said...

Greetings from Malaysia! Welcome to MBC!

Helen E.M. Wright said...

Yeah, more and more I want to live in my bubble where everything goes my way...selfish?!?! Maybe! But I would let everyone else in my bubble have things go their way too! :)
Keep smiling and just be there!

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