Seven days. I awake without the cause being life scurrying within. Sugary treats are allowed, and my companion insulin shots and finger sticks are gone – the callouses and bruises are fading. My night’s sleep is longer than four hours. I rest soundly and longer, yet multiple awakenings from this gift. I’m still tired, but because of life on the outside. I can climb the stairs and pick up for floors, and extreme physical exhaustion and pain is no more. Yet, I miss life within. Seven days – Selah Joy Caroline – we love you.
We celebrate her life. I’m continuously proclaiming and whisper-praying, “Thank you Jesus for this gift.” I’m in awe. My heart is bursting.
If feels only a few days, they all run together. Eating, feeding, sleeping, diapering, kissing, and snuggling. Children learning to share a sister, answering questions, and helping this miracle and gift of life, wash and fill every soul and heart in this home.
I’ve shared the excitement on social media, friends and family want to hear, and we all should “rejoice with those who rejoice”. It’s fun to say “Salisbaby 10”, because it is just the craziest thing ever to write and say out loud. I joke and say, “I’ve become my crazy patient” – the days I practiced medicine as a PA, I had some “crazy patients” with a lot of kids – like five or six, whom educated at home and declined many immunizations. LOL.
But in all seriousness, we did not strive to be birthing ten kids, or to homeschool – yet here we are. We didn’t know that twelve years ago, when we felt three kids were enough – that Tucker’s life would soon end. The Tucker chapters of our life story changed our hearts. We survived by knowing and trusting God with death, that all of Tucker’s days were planned. “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” Psalm 139:16 If we could trust HIM with death, we certainly could trust HIM with life. The past twelve years since Tucker’s move to Heaven, we’ve wrestled with family size and planning, had 22 miscarriages throughout these past 23 years of marriage, and now birthed ten children. We weren’t striving for this – it’s just where this journey of life and love has brought us. In fact, for the first time – we’ve both commented this past year – “We have a lot of kids”.
My heart has pondered much these past seven days – that many of our friends and family are hurting. I’m sensitive to the fact and have prayed that our celebration posts don’t hurt hearts, as others walk through the valley of death, sit with empty arms or wombs, and are suffering in different capacities. Social media portrays a still shot of life – it leaves room for interpretation and tone that the author may not intend – and we certainly are not boasting – only grateful for this gift of Selah Joy Caroline. For those hurting, we acknowledge that and have been praying for you. “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and mourn with those who mourn.”
Now that birth has passed, I’ve pondered my funny and weary comments and attitudes throughout this pregnancy. For some of them, I apologize to God and those that heard. While they are a reflection of the difficulty of this tenth pregnancy, they also grieve my heart as pregnancy is such a gift and privilege. Now it’s over, and how could I ever say NO to such a gift!!!! In jest, with a strong hint of seriousness – I have commented multiple times throughout Selah’s pregnancy, “I think I am done with this sport of birth, there comes a point in an athletes peek that they realize it is time to retire.” It was a hard pregnancy as I never felt I had enough of me to complete anything well, and I always was slow, hurting, or exhausted in some capacity. One morning as I rested on the kitchen bench, Irv commented, “Some women know they are done after one, two or three – you just took ten,” and we both laughed. At an appointment with Dr. Grace, after hearing me comment that I was feeling complete – he replied, “Something tells me your body is done, and if you were here in a couple years desiring a baby, you wouldn’t be able to.” (My recent pregnancies have been spaced with miscarriages, required progesterone first trimester, and insulin shots 4+ times a day throughout.) His words bothered me a lot, but they are likely true – and even more reason for me to cherish the days my womb was full – and that I did. There was humor to share in the conception of this sweet girl. When Dr. Grace reviewed the ultrasound and due date, it was 2+ weeks different than my cycle predicted – and holding up my iPhone I proclaimed, “That’s impossible, I have an app for this.” He laughed, and replied, “Welcome to peri-menopause, I’ve seen it all – all things are possible.”
This gift hangs on my bedroom wall. So true, so true. (Weeks 2,3,4… posting soon)