From early on in our journey, it was a dream of mine to be able to share Rachel with our church family. I wanted so much for her to live long enough for this and it happened...we took Rachel to church yesterday! As we drove to church, with me cradling Rachel's little head in the back seat, I felt so incredibly thankful to God. Someday I want to write a list of all the ways that God has provided for us along the way. It will be a long one! I said something like this in the sharing time. I hoped that our friends would not pity us (and shy away from us) but feel our joy as well, our thankfulness for having the chance to know Rachel. It was so wonderful to see these people I care about holding and enjoying our little girl.
...Then Sunday afternoon happened...It didn't take much to topple me over. Just some chest pain. Every deep breath hurt. I was grumpy with Dave and the kids. Everything felt wrong. I didn't feel very thankful - I felt agitated and anxious. Sure, I will enjoy and treasure the time we have with Rachel. But after that? After that, my arms will still be empty. God I feel like a fake. I tell people that I feel blessed to have been given Rachel but today I'm just a hurting mother trying to make sense of this.
By Monday afternoon the physical pain had really increased. I talked to my Doctor and she suggested that I go over to Emergency to rule out a blood clot (because I had a c-section) so I did. I spent four hours there and no blood clots. Perhaps a muscle spasm or gas.. But as I stood waiting in the line for triage, all of a sudden I started crying..the kind where I didn't know if I could stop. I hadn't been away from Rachel much before today and the thought of what life will be like after she's gone, suddenly loomed before me. But as I stood crying in that line, a kind grandmotherly woman listened to me share about Rachel and I was reminded again that so often the people I have admired the most, are people who have gone through suffering. Thank-you God for sending this kind stranger.
I know there will be more of this to come - both times of praise - and of raw honest grief. Did you know that Job, when tragedy hit, tore his robe in grief and worshipped at the same time? This really surprised me because I don't think I would respond the way he did. God, help me to stay open to you even when my heart is fighting to close in on itself.