Like a rubber band with to much tension, I snapped.
I had done every.thing.right. After experiencing Logan’s premature birth, I would do whatever it took to make sure our 3rd baby had a healthier arrival. (As if I could control that.😬) When the doctor said bedrest and medication at 24 weeks, I did it, no questions asked. Mom took a leave of absence to take care of our two toddlers, just 18 months and 3 years old. Bedrest and toddlers are incompatible. 😳 But Mom and Randy swooped in and took over. No one wanted to relive the NICU trauma of our son’s birth.
It was a rocky road but Ashlyn made it to 36 weeks gestation. Everything was planned out. Per the doctors request I stopped taking medication that Sunday in October, and our little pumpkin was born just after 3am Monday morning. My bags were packed, the music was queued up for her birth, everyone was on stand-by….it was going to be perfect. I mean, I deserved a perfect birth after what we had just gone through, right?
High expectations can lead to free-falling into reality, it’s jolting. What started out as a routine birth, changed rapidly, as her heartbeat and respiration were frighteningly low. A button was pressed, notifying the NICU team and they rushed into our room. Ashlyn was handed off to the team, not me, and my heart sank. If there was anyone ever on the brink of “losing it”, that was me. They held her up so I could see her, told me to kiss her cheek…and there went my 3rd baby, my dreams of the perfect delivery dashed out the door.
Her prognosis was actually far better than Logan’s. She had “wet lungs”, presumably from her rapid birth. Nothing to serious, but, something snapped in me. My rubber band of emotions busted. I couldn’t contain it…I was angry. Angry that I was here again, in the sterile NICU. Angry that I couldn’t hold or feed my baby, again. Angry that I had tried so hard, but still hadn’t achieved my goal…how was that fair? Anger seemed inappropriate at the time, so I withdrew into depression. Nothing felt good, tasted good, looked good, nothing. Everything felt blah, colorless. Part of me felt like I had failed and the other part felt that God had. Feelings are fickle.
Ashlyn came home a week later with a breathing monitor. Yet again, another disappointment….why couldn’t I have healthy babies? That machine shreaked randomly in the middle of the night, always false alarms, just enough to give us a good dose of adrenaline in the wee hours of the morning. She ended up with RSV at 2 months old which meant we got another 2 months on the dreaded machine. So much disappointment, and complete exhaustion.
There were no easy fixes for my struggle, though most people wouldn’t have detected my inner pain. Depression didn’t just evaporate when Ashlyn healed and grew. I prefer quick fixes, but healthy fixes can’t be rushed. Taking my anger and disappointment to God was the first step. I prayed, journaled, got angry, cried….emptied out all the tension. Over time, I started counting my blessings instead of my wounds. God reminded me of how blessed I was to have the “problems” I had…He had given me babies to care for. My sense of entitlement was humbled by the thought. There were many years my arms were empty, and now they were full. What a gift. I remembered that I had once thought infertility would be the hardest problem I would ever face, then I had children…it turns out that the possibility of losing a child was far scarier than having no children. There is ALWAYS something harder.
In this life we will have troubles….whether we are trying our hardest or giving up. God’s love remains the same. He doesn’t expect us to handle it all perfectly. Nor does He withdraw from us when we are angry, hurting and confused. He stands at the door, ready to receive us just as we are, even if we kick the door open.
Are you overwhelmed by disappointment today? Let God meet you there, right where you are. Unload your feelings of hurt, anger and pain on Him. He alone can miraculously mend our stretched out and snapped rubber bands. You may not feel better overnight, but healing will come and you will be stronger in the end, as you cling to Him. Expect that God will work it all out for His good and for your growth. Nothing is wasted when our expectations are in God’s will above our own. Free-fall into His love, compassion and grace. You can do ALL things through Him!💪🙏🙌
Romans 8:28~And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Psalm 46:1~God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Psalm 121:1-2~ I lift up my eyes to the mountains– where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.