Yesterday, Hope turned a month old, and I couldn’t help but think and reflect on where we were a month ago. I often think about my “birth story” and feel a mix of emotions. It was a long and drawn out labour. I was admitted to the hospital on Friday, and I didn’t have Hope until Sunday evening. I can relive a mix of emotions from being relieved and excited when we finally met Hope after months of uncertainty, and cringing while remembering the pain – both physical and mental.
I will spare you the nitty gritty details of Hope’s birth, but there is one part of our story that I think about almost every day and have felt the need to share. It was my interaction with one of the many nurses I met over that long weekend. With being in the hospital all weekend, I had met quite a few nurses – some that were wonderful, and some that would talk your ear off while you’re in pain. You know the ones. But there was this one – one that I will never forget. She was the one that came in to tell me it was “time” and she rolled me into the OR to deliver. She was the one that kept telling me to open my eyes when I would push because it would make it easier (HA!), and she was the one that roughly tried to give me an iv after the birth. But those are memories that will eventually fade and probably not really be a thought in my mind in years to come.
This nurse rolled me back into my room and congratulated me on the delivery. At this point, I hadn’t really seen Hope. At the moment I delivered her, the doctors let me see her for a second and then whisked her away to the resuscitation room. They were cleaning her up and said they would bring her into my room before bringing her upstairs to the NICU for the night. As you can imagine, I was exhausted at this point, and feeling extremely sad that I didn’t get to have my baby there with me – that I didn’t get to hold her right away. It was just me, Lawren and the nurse in my room.
After congratulating me, the nurse said something to me that I would never forget. She said to me that Hope was beautiful and was normal looking. I thought it was weird that she said Hope was normal looking, but she mentioned that being a high risk hospital they’ve seen it all. She then said to us… “good for you for carrying her to term. I couldn’t have done it and would have ended the pregnancy.” She proceeded to tell us that she has 4 children, and knowing that she’d have another child that would have special needs would be too much for her family.
I sat there, shocked. I literally gave birth 5 minutes ago, and THAT is what she said to us? I calmly responded and told her that we believe that God is the only one who gives and takes life away – that we have no right to make those decisions. She awkwardly agreed with me, but again told me how hard it would be for her and her family.
And the thing is, even without having 4 children, I could understand. I could understand that it would be hard and most likely “inconvenient” for anyone really. I had those thoughts the second I was told that Hope would face many challenges. I couldn’t believe that I was one of those women who would be asked if she wanted to interrupt her pregnancy – never did I imagine that I’d ever face a pregnancy like I did. I thought over and over again about my midwife asking me at my 12 week appointment if I wanted to do genetic testing, and responding with “no, regardless of what happens we are keeping the baby”. As much as I believed what I said 100%, I underestimated the weight that those words carried. We were all of a sudden faced with a situation that no one would ever want, and all of a sudden I found myself questioning whether it was kind or cruel to bring a child into the world that would face challenges, and in my mind, have to suffer. I surprised myself that those were now thoughts that consumed me.
All this to say, the Lord used this situation to not only renew and refresh in me the value of life, but also to grow in compassion for those who were faced with those same difficult choices. You can believe and know deep down in your core that God is the creator and sustainer of life – that He is the only one to give and take away, but we can never know the depth of someone’s pain unless we’ve been faced with a similar situation – and even still, every situation is different.
All that to say, Lawren and I believe that no matter what Hope is faced with, the Lord created her fearfully and wonderfully, and He has a great purpose for her. He will be the One to have His hand on her, sustaining her day after day. That goes for any child – the moment they are conceived, there is life and there is great purpose. Whether that child comes out healthy with everything working “the way it should” or is faced with disabilities. I believe that He will (and already has!) glorify Himself in Hope’s little life. She’s already impacted so many people and it’s been amazing to be a part of that. Early on when we received the news of her diagnosis and my prayers would be lots of “why is this happening!?” the Lord continually led me to the passage in John about the blind man. In John chapter 9 people are asking Jesus what this man did, or what his parents did in order for him to be born blind.
Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”- John 9:3
I may never know exactly why God is allowing this in our lives, but what I do know is that He will use whatever means He chooses to show how great and powerful He is – even if that means using a little girl named Hope.
When I remind myself that we are His vessels created to honour and glorify Him, all of a sudden this situation doesn’t sting as bad.
And speaking of celebrating LIFE, here is Hope at 1 month old, simply perfect ❤️ (that first picture 😂)