Monday, September 30, 2013

Meet Azelia Josephine

I'm finally coming up for air.

If you don't want to see baby pictures, or if you're not in a place to be receptive to baby-talk, I totally get it. Just skip this post. It took me a long time to get there myself. But some of you have been on this journey with me, and it has been a long time coming, so I will share her with you. My greatest hope is that she will be a sign of God's faithfulness and that she will be the face of His love and kindness.

We named her Azelia after Blessed Marie Azelie Martin, the mother of St. Therese of the Child Jesus. I have felt a connection to this beautiful (almost!) saint for a long time, and have asked for her intercession often. Not only did she lose children (five out of nine!) to death--some while infants, some in early childhood, she also died from breast cancer, a scourge with which my own mother has been afflicted twice. I have a feeling I'll never run out of opportunities to run to this saint with my prayers, and she, having raised such holy children, will hopefully never tire of my pleas. I highly recommend this book about her, written by one of her daughters.

We gave her the middle name of Josephine, because it is the origin of my own middle name, and because it follows a family tradition.

She was born on Tuesday, September 17th at 1:50 in the morning, after 9 hours of fruitful labor (many Divine Mercy Chaplets were said for you all!). She was 8lbs, 10 oz, and 21 inches long. It is no wonder my belly was quite literally "out to here." (I would show you a picture, but my hubs decided all the pictures of me before she arrived would be from the shoulders up...ahem.)

I give you our beautiful rainbow. The sign of God's hope to us and the image of His faithfulness:
She's about 1 hour old here

At about 12 hours old (and quite a sassy expression too!)

Really proud daddy.
We let Little A come to the hospital to see her at 2am.
Because we're great parents like that.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

What He's Really Saying is...

..."Let Me make this work for you. Trust Me to make it work."

When we were discerning how late into the year we would keep trying and being open to life, we decided that if we were really to trust that God could take care of us, we couldn't worry about a baby being born right when my program started, or any time of the year. We decided that if we stopped being open to life, for fear of that intersection, we'd be showing a lack of trust in what the Lord could do and in the fact that His will is perfect. And, obviously, after the death of our baby, how could we act like we had control over the gift of life? We decided to give God the power, and out of all the times we tried, all the failed cycles, all the times I was supposed to have ovulated--and didn't--the Lord blessed us with this little girl, just in time for my program to start.

And now, He's saying to me, "Yes, she's going to be a week late. You're not in charge, I am. Remind yourself of My sovereignty. Remember My faithfulness. I will not abandon you."

And what I need to say is, simply, "FIAT."

If He doesn't will her to come before then, I'm scheduled to be induced on Monday afternoon (9/16). That means she will likely be born on Tuesday. And that means I'll be showing up to orientation with books and laptop on my back, and less-than-one-week-old-baby on my front. And you know what?

I can think of worse things.

You know what the strangest thing is? Our God asks us to do hard things. He asks us to look like fools to our fellow men. He asks us to exhaust ourselves for His sake. He asks us to witness at all costs. And I'm feeling a new positivity and peace in that. It's not just the relief of "letting go, and letting God." It's the peace that passes understanding. It's the peace of fiat.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Courage and Trust

Today is my due date. I wish I could report that baby girl has arrived or will arrive today, but I'm afraid it isn't going to happen.

I'm feeling so discouraged. My body just doesn't do what it is supposed to do. I've been having false labor for two weeks. TWO WEEKS of thinking "today might be the day!" or "This really has to be it" or "I had better call my husband and have him come home." All for nothing. I've had all the signs that labor is coming, and nothing is coming. And I feel guilty even writing this because I know I should be thankful for every second that I'm pregnant, because it may never happen again, and because for some it doesn't happen at all.

I know I've only arrived at my due date just today, and many women go overdue. But I'm worried. I'm worried that my body won't do this on its own, because it doesn't do anything right when it comes to reproduction, and I will have to be induced again.

It's not that induction is the worst thing ever; in fact there would be a few really good things about being induced (my mom could be here in time, our new insurance would kick in and we'd be better off financially). It's just that induction means we wait another whole week for her birth. That has me the most anxious.

My teaching orientation begins on Sept. 23rd, and school starts the next week. I have two weeks from today. Every day that goes by without her here is one less day I have with her before I'm working. I feel incredibly guilty about that. I am afraid I'm going to show up at work and be a hormonal and emotional wreck. I doubt and doubt and doubt what I was so sure the Lord was asking me to do. I feel like a bad mother. I fear the difficulty and the stress. I fear the ramifications of not having/taking the proper time to heal, physically and emotionally.

Satan is whispering in my ear, encouraging me to fear. If there's one thing he hates, it's a holy birth. And all my prayers and offerings are getting on his nerves. I really feel Satan attacking me sometimes. When I lay down at night, he is putting terrifying thoughts in my head about stillbirth and my own death. He is saying everything he can to get me to doubt and to fear: "You should have just given up going to school when you found out you were pregnant. You shouldn't have trusted God. You shouldn't have gotten pregnant. You should have gotten rid of that baby so you could go to school without worrying about it. This exhaustion is too much for you. You're going to be a bad mother if you go through with this. You're going to fail at school. You're taking on too much. This isn't what God wanted of you after all."

I don't believe all these things. But some of them haunt me more than others. I do not have the fortification of courage I had the last time we did this, and part of it is because I was naive then. I didn't know how hard it would be, and I didn't care. I didn't know anything about losing a child, and I couldn't have imagined how that would forever change me. It was good that I was naive then; I needed that courage. But most of it is that evil wants me to fail before I even try. Lord, how I need that courage now, too!

I look back over the past year and think, what did I learn about God through this? How do I assuage these fears based on what I learned? Sometimes I find myself forgetting the trust and dependence upon God that I needed to cultivate over the past 15 months in order to survive RG's death.

But today, I must remember that apart from God, I can do nothing. Nothing. I can do nothing without Him. And it follows that if I am doing His Will, and if I depend on Him for everything, I can do this.

With God, I can do one more week of pregnancy and exhaustion. I can maintain the energy I will need to keep my hormones in check when I arrive at work. I can be a good mother, even if I go to work one week after she is born. I can be successful in school/work and in motherhood at the same time. If I give all of these fears to God, He will transform them.

Let her come when and how she will, in the Lord's timing. It is He who made this possible in the first place, and He will sustain me through the mission. I have to know that. I have to know it every day.

St. Gerard, pray for me. St. Gianna Molla, Pray for me. Blessed Marie Azelie Martin, pray for me. Mary, my mother, speak to Jesus for me.