Lake Geneva, December, 2009
I looked up from my book; “Bob, this says that it’s dedicated to his son, Karsten. Isn’t that a cool name? Hey, if we ever have another child and it’s a boy, could we talk about that name?”
Bob looked at me, and then 2 week old Chase sleeping next to me; an incredulous look on his face …“Sure … uh-huh … uh, we haven’t slept in like, a year and a half … and you’re talking about another?!”
“I know, I know … I’m just saying … it’s a cool name.”
Inspiration and creativity carried my train of thought a step further …
“Hey, Bob …”
[a deep sigh from across the room]
“You know what? We should use your grandfathers’ names too … Karsten Robert Charles … doesn’t that sound amazing?”
“Sure, Love … whatever you say.”
I am not a good pregnant person. I like to be in control and being pregnant means being totally out of control for me. After being pregnant twice in two years, it had only gotten worse. After Chase, I fearfully and desperately wanted to be done. But still, I couldn’t shake our Lake Geneva “conversation” from my mind. I loved the name “Karsten”, and though I tried, I couldn’t get the idea of another little boy in our family by that name out of my head. I just couldn’t figure out where to put those feelings or how to deal with them. We had always talked about four children, but knew that any addition after Chase would be several years away. … yet, I couldn’t shake it … this place in my heart for a Karsten.
Lord, what are you preparing me for?
Saturday, February 5, 2011
Out on some errands with Bob and the kids, we decided after a week of wondering that we couldn’t wait any longer and so I ran into the nearest drugstore, and then the Starbuck’s next to it. Who takes a pregnancy test in a Starbuck’s? Someday; I thought, I’ll think back on this moment and laugh.
A few minutes later, I was back with Bob. Not wanting to share with the children yet, he looked at me, and I nodded back: Positive.
I lay in bed too sick and weak to move. My fever was high; too high for someone with a nine week old fetus. I no longer wondered why they make a vaccine for influenza. Then the bleeding started. Was I really just coming to accept another pregnancy only to have it end?
Lord, help me walk whatever road you have for me …
In the Office, Two Weeks Later …
The doctor looked up from the ultrasound machine, a smile on his face; “There’s a nice, strong heartbeat.” My baby was alive.
Being weak is humbling. I don’t like being humble almost as much (if not more) than I don’t like being pregnant. Yes, I’d made it through the year to a full-term pregnancy, but I was weak. Always tired, anemic and unable to lift anything of significance due to a bad back, I chafed … I want to be strong, Lord, and instead, I have to depend on others to do my work for me or deal with it not being done at all! The only way out is through.
Lord, teach me and prepare me …
Sunday, October 9th, 2011
It’s been almost 48 hrs already. So tired, I’d gone to the hospital to be checked on Saturday afternoon when my contractions were 5-7 minutes apart, and then everything stalled so I was sent home. …and then again, after waiting several hours through Saturday night and into Sunday morning, labor stalled and again, I was sent home. I don’t think I’d slept since sometime on Friday, and more than my bodily exhaustion, I was emotionally exhausted. I was weary from the condescension of the nurses … the “Is this your first baby?” question … the continual and even painful contractions … the thought of something being wrong for all of this going so long and not progressing … and the thought that actual labor (the hard part!) was still ahead.
That afternoon, I called a friend and as she prayed for me over the phone, I sobbed. Lord, prepare me for whatever you have for me … I’m so tired, Lord.
I sat on my bed with my copy of “Calm My Anxious Heart”. If ever I needed reminders of comfort and peace, it was now. Reading hungrily, the Lord helped me to focus and re-impressed lessons and verses on my heart …in particular, this passage:
I know of no greater simplifier for all of life. Whatever happens is assigned. Does the intellect balk at that? Can we say that there are things that happen to us that do not belong in our lovingly assigned “portion” (“This belongs to it, that does not”)? Are some things, then, out of the control of the Almighty? Every assignment is measured and controlled for my eternal good. As I accept the given portion other options are canceled. Decisions become much easier, directions clearer, and hence my heart becomes inexpressibly quieter. A quiet heart is content with what God gives.”
[Elizabeth Elliot on Psalm 16:5]
9:00 PM: “Bob, I think I want to go again. I don’t know what I’ll do if they discharge me again, but I need to go. Hey, if they discharge me, can you just deliver the baby at home? I can’t handle it anymore.” We laughed at the thought of him delivering the baby. It felt good.
Later: The nurse removed her gloves, “Oh Honey, you’re at a 5 or 6 …let’s get you into a room. You’re going to have this baby tonight.” Such relief.
Sometime after 10:00 PM: …waiting on the anesthesiologist, we prayed. Lord, prepare our hearts for whatever lies ahead.
11:30 PM: It’s funny how hours feel like minutes at times. The doctor was there and speaking to me: “Let’s get set up here and in just a few minutes, you won’t be pregnant anymore.”
Peace. I feel such peace. You fully supply all my needs. You restore my weary soul again and again and lead me in your righteousness and peace. You are my shepherd. I shall not want. I will dwell in your house all the days of my life.
12:04 AM, Monday, October 10th: My arms reached for the warm and moist towel holding the bluish infant. “Here he is! He’s beautiful!” Voices were talking around me. The nurses arms reached out and began massaging and drying arms and legs as his mouth opened; letting out a first, strong wail. The breath of life began to spread and he was turning pink as I heard myself repeating “It’s okay, darling, it’s okay. Mama’s here.”
Our Portion. Our Karsten.
Lord, prepare us for whatever lies ahead …