On my last day in the hospital I was surrounded by my family. Not all family that I can plot on a tree or with genetic code linking our blood line through time. God sent HIS family to me on that last day with my babies. Throughout that day they were there. Most of it is a blur in my mind with moments of clarity.
My parents came with Nora. We snuggled in the big hospital bed together. She tucked her baby doll in with us.
She played peek-a-boo with the room curtain while sitting on my dad’s lap. She ate my ice cream. I tried so hard to be a mom to all of them; to love her and snuggle her while doing my best to protect them. My mom was there trying to take care of me and my daughter. Stepping in when she had to, and back out when I could actually do something.
Nurses came in with things that had been left for me. The care package from Krista filled with healthful snack foods. The beautiful gift basket from the Mothers of Multiples group filled with hope (kindness from complete strangers coordinated with love from another triplet mom).
The gift basket from Melanie with the hand soap that will forever make me think of my babies and the super soft pink blanket that was wrapped around me and my babies the next day, wrapped around me for weeks to follow, and now is tucked around my Nora each night.
A visit from Karen, my babies’ ultrasound “videographer/photographer”. God sent her during her training when I went to have free ultrasounds at the college. I have the most precious images and videos of my babies thanks to her. That day she came and shared her story of the tulips.
Two timid girls from the local radio station who delivered a “warm winter wish” gift basket. My sis-in-law Amy nominated me on their very last day.
Nate came after work. He sat in the chair in the corner and we tried to have a “how was your day” conversation. One day prior we even had a “date night” watching Burn Notice on my laptop while he stood by my side.
Liz came to visit and read to me out of the book “Secure in the Everlasting ARMS”. She told me that she’d been reading it and felt called to share part of it with us. As she was reading the perinatologist came in. I remember looking Liz straight in the eyes and begging her to pray for us. I knew the conversation wouldn’t be an easy one – and it wasn’t.
A visit from Andy and Allison who spoke comfort to my heart from the perspective of parents who have walked the life of a disabled child which I was now facing with my little Alice. They prayed for me before leaving that night.
The nurse who came in to do my vitals just before bed and shared her own story about the son she lost to a neural tube defect. The same nurse who was there when my own were born the next day.
My ever-present OB who was at the end of her 24-hour shift and came to check me when I felt like something was off just after that nurse left. Her tired eyes with no answers.
I can’t write about those who blessed me so powerfully without also mentioning our pastor Kyle who came to be with us twice. The first time, after Alice was born and I was still in labor fighting to keep the other two. The second time, that following morning. He shared the name of the child he had recently lost to miscarriage and prayed over our children and the family.
Anna and Nicki who came first thing in the morning to hold me, hold them, and forever capture the memory of my children with photographs. A gift that I will never have enough words to thank them for.
The necklace that appeared on my bedside table that morning from Sarah. A nest with three little eggs and a blue crystal the color of Nora’s birthstone. I’m wearing it in every picture with the babies that day.
My brothers, sis-in-laws and in-laws who sat in the waiting room all night, not able to change the path we were on (and apparently nearly taking out a janitor who didn’t know when it was time to leave the room). My sis-in-law’s mother, Barb, who took care of all of the children, including Nora, all day/night without question. Kaylie who searched up and down our neighborhood in the dark to find our “lost” dog who was safe and sound with our neighbor. And a few other family members who worked in the hospital stopped by during the week to make sure I was ok. My cousin Lisa spent weeks in the same room and was so hopeful I would do the same.
I can’t even begin to list the blessings we’ve received in forms of prayer, gifts, cards and moments that someone remembered them/us following these days (although I hope to post an album of some of the beautiful gifts we received for their birthday when I have the time to do it).
The moment that sparked this entire post is THIS:
Today I was cleaning the house and opened the top drawer of my dresser. The drawer filled with the things I got while I was pregnant. The remnants of the gift baskets from Tawnda. The belly cream I never even opened. The “Hang On” poster from Leslee.
There was the book from Liz. She left the book on my table that day. The day we left that room it was shoved into a bag and hurried out the door with me. I pulled the book out and what do you know… the author’s name: Elisabeth Elliot. My eyes swell. Elliot. The spirit moved my dear friend and she listened. I opened the book to the marked page (a coloring page with Liz’s notes hold the spot). What did she read to me that day? What did she pray for us?I tried so hard to recall but these are the things that stand out to me today.
“Faith is a decision. It is not a deduction from the facts around us. we would not look at the world of today and logically conclude that God loves us. It doesn’t always look as though He does. Faith is not an instinct. It certainly is not a feeling–feelings don’t help much when you’re in the lions’ den or hanging on a wooden Cross. Faith is not inferred from the happy way things always work. It is an act of the will, a choice, based on the unbreakable Word of God who cannot lie, and who showed us what love and obedience and sacrifice mean, in the person of Jesus Christ.”
“Put your trust in Him. not in people or circumstances or dreams or programs or plans, not in any human notion of what will or won’t happen, but in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, of Daniel and all the others–the God whose Son went through the darkest valleys so that you and I might be saved. If somebody was willing to give his life for you, would you trust him? Of course you would. Jesus loved you then. He loves you now. He’ll be loving you every minute of every hour of every day of the rest of your life, and no matter what happens, nothing can separate you from that love. I know it’s true. I have found that sure and steadfast Refuge in my Lord and Savior–the only real safety–the Everlasting Arms! I’ve walked with God a long time. I know He keeps His promises.” (Secure in the Everlasting ARMS by Elisabeth Eliot)
This is where I wrap it all up into a perfect package. Where I tell you that I have it all figured out and those words in the book today have perfect clarity for me in the moment. Sadly I don’t have it all figured it out (my high school english teachers would be so disappointed). I don’t understand why this happened to us. I don’t know why we were chosen to walk this path. I just know that God was there. That He orchestrated a family of love and support around me and my children. He helped clothe me in armor for the battle I was about to begin and would continue to fight until the day I meet Him. Although I can’t seem to wrap my heart around why God would chose this for me I can stand firm in my trust that we were not alone at that time and we are not alone today. He does hold us in His everlasting arms whether we’re walking in the midst of joy or sorrow.