The Fraggle Turns One – A Retrospective On My Last Birth

This week marks one year since I gave birth to my last baby.

The Fraggle is amazing. God knew that I needed an easy baby this last time around. He blessed me with an eager nursing, long nap taking, not very needy, easy going baby. The Fraggle is responsible for many, many smiles and has caused so much joy in our home.

One Year. The Fraggle is one year. And she is lovely.

In our family we have a tradition. On your birthday, you hear your birth story. It always begins, “______ years ago today…” and what follows is the story of joyous birth. But when I start The Fraggle’s story, I can’t remember joy. I remember this.

One year ago this week, I was in the hospital. It was the last place I wanted or expected to be. Up until that week I had only known easy, peaceful, simple homebirths. But, as I laid in that hospital bed, strapped to monitors and totally exhausted, I was filled with fear, worry, homesickness, disappointment, and stress. With my blood pressure climbing daily and the worries about the baby’s heart and being separated from my five children for days and days, I was a total wreck. Her birth was great as far as hospital births go I suppose, but I wasn’t used to hospital births. Compared to my previous five birth experiences, it was horrible, terrible, awful. A memory that I’d rather not have. An experience not for reliving on special occassions.

But, then I look at this little girl, this amazing blessing, and I wonder if that really matters. Sure it began in turmoil, but the turmoil was temporary, and once she got the “all clear” from the cardiologist and my blood pressure came down, we began a year of bliss. I feel robbed of the blissful experience that I associate with birth, but better and more beautiful experiences followed – an entire year of them. Memories to cherish, documented with pictures, and remembered with joy.

The tears come to my eyes and the disappointment returns to me again as I relive the story of her birth, but The Fraggle is too young to understand what I whisper to her while I hold her tight. I am determined to have a better version to tell her when she can understand. I will find a way to tell the story from a better perspective, when the joys of the years of her life have dimmed the pain of her birth. Just as a mother forgets the pain of labor, so I hope to forget the pains of my heart.

How ungrateful am I to dwell on a painful moment instead of celebrating the weeks and months of bliss? No, I will not do so. I will find the good in her birth and remember that. And where is the good in her birth story? Here. The good is right here.

And today it is right here.

And between those two moments is an entire year of bliss.

Happy Birthday, Little Fraggle! I love you!

(For the full birth story click here)

One Year Ago Today….

Do you ever think that?  I did recently and wanted to share it here, but now a week has passed, so it is a little more like this:

One year and eight days ago….

…. I was pregnant. Very pregnant. Uncomfortable pregnant. And it was blazing hot. The kids and I met our friends at the lake for a picnic and a  cooling swim. Pleasant conversation and hours of knitting under the big shade tree with my dearest friend were what was on the agenda. Then tragedy struck. (As an aside, you never prepare for tragedy. You don’t plan it in. Notice it wasn’t listed in the agenda sentence a moment ago.) My four year old daughter, after stripping down to bathing suit, ran to play on what she thought was a big, white rock. That big, white rock turned out to be a smoldering pile of ash leftover from a control burn earlier that week .

Fast forward a few hours later. Sitting next to my daughters hospital bed fighting back the tears and the fears. The doctors had been wonderful, but brutally honest. After stripping her legs and feet of all the burned tissue, they were grim. Third degree burns that probably needed skin grafts. Swelling that could cause her to loose toes. There was talk about developmental issues and growth problems. They put her on morphine and kept her in the hospital overnight. I was terrified, crushed, and so, so sad.

I like to play this little “One Year Ago Today Game” because, when I think back to that horrible day, that led to horrible weeks, and even a few horrible months, I am encouraged. Through it all, I wondered how it would turn out and I prayed to God everyday for strength, healing and a good outcome. And He answered my prayers. My (now) five year old girl runs, laughs and plays with only a few ugly scars on her right foot to show that she has been through any trauma at all. She barely remembers the pain, the hospital or the physical therapy (which, by the way, was the worst part).  She has already overcome her fear of fire, too, which was the thing I worried most about. One year (and eight days) later, and I can see how far God has brought us, how blessed we are and the answers to so many prayers I prayed through tears.

He kept the new baby in the womb until Beka could walk again.

He provided a way to pay for all the hospital bills.

He erased her memory of the most terrible parts.

He kept her strong and high spirited.

He healed her wounds and kept her from most of the scarring.

He is faithful.

So, what happened to you one year ago today?