August 4, 2013

God Gave Me What I Didn't Want

I started writing this post a few months ago, but it gets pretty deep. It exposes some major openness and sin in our hearts. I was hesitant to post this when I initially started, so I saved it for Mikey's birthday. I feel much more vulnerable and comfortable with my audience now and so I pray that you recieve all of this as the Lord would have you, knowing that my desire is to share what He puts on my heart.

In His awesomeness, God has taught me a different lesson through each one of my boys. When Michael and I were married in April of 2005, we were pretty set on not having any children for 5 years. We had both started jobs fresh out of college and we thought we wanted to build our marriage before introducing any children into it.

The first weekend of December, 2005, we found out that He had detoured our plan. Out to a late dinner, giggling over a shared plate of pasta and a bottle of wine, I jokingly said "Um, I'm late."
"Like, late late?",  Michael asked. "There's no way.  How late?"
"2 weeks." I replied sheepishly.
As soon as we finished dinner, we headed out and stumbled into the CVS on our way home. We bought the most expensive test they had, because we figured that's the one that would have the most accurate reading. We didn't want to take any chances. It's 11:30 by the time we stumble home. I take the test to the bathroom while he lays in the floor outside the door. We wait. Two minutes finally pass. I pick up the stick. We bought the one that actually gives you the word PREGNANT or NOT PREGNANT so there would be no mistakes in interpreting little blue lines. There it was. That word.
"No. It can't be." I thought. I kept glancing at it, hoping it would change. But that word just kept being there.
I opened the door and handed Michael that awful stick.

Fright and shame consumed me. Michael was freaking out, glowing as if the baby were already here. I started sobbing. I did not want this now. I was NOT ready for this now. I wanted to take that stick, throw it in the trash, and pretend it never happened. It could not be. It was almost as if I was a teenager who got knocked-up and had no idea where to turn. Happy daddy over there is ready to start calling our family (it's 11:30 pm, remember?), and I'm just begging and pleading for this awful stick to say something different. So we proceeded to 'drunk dial' our families and let them in on the news. I remember saying to my mom, "Mom, I can't do this. Mom, I don't know what to do. I don't know what to do."

This would be the first grandchild in the family on both sides so everyone was beyond elated. This would be the first grandchild for both sides of the family. A little prince or princess, no doubt. But why couldn't I be happy? Why did I not want this?

So let's rewind just a little. One month prior to all this excitement, Michael's grandfather, Lou Caney, aka Grampy, was diagnosed with cancer of EVERYTHING. The best way you could describe him was the Godfather of the family. He was a 70 year old retired, Yankee beusiness man with a chip the size of Texas on his shoulder. But you could not help but love him. He cussed like a sailor and smoked like a chimney, but there was just something about him that made you want to work for his affections. He helped to raise my husband after Michael's own dad died and I even considered him my own grandfather. So when he was diagnosed with horrible cancer, the family seemed to fall apart and go into panic mode. He was a cranky and stubborn old man who had lived a very full life. He made the decision to forego any type of tretment and live out his last few days or weeks to the fullest. We received his diagnosis late October. The doctors told us it would be the last holiday season with him. "He should make it to Thanksgiving but more than likely won't make it to Christmas," they informed us.

Thanksgiving was okay. He was not great. You could tell the cancer was starting to consume his body as he would pick himself up off the couch to go outside to smoke by the turkey fryer.  He didn't eat as much pie as normal. And the man loved pie. It was ominous us all knowing that he probably would be gone in just a couple of weeks.

Well one week after Thanksgiving was when I peed on that awful stick. He was first on Michael's list of drunk dials and he was just over the moon!!! Within two days he decided that he WOULD do the cancer treatment!! He decided he would do anything and everything he could to see the face of his great-grandchild.

So here we are. I am approx 6 week preggo. Michael and I have been married 6 months. Grampy has terminal cancer of everything. I've been at my job teaching 5th grade science for only half a year. None of my close friends have had kids yet and only one is even married. Oh and to add to that my marriage sucks. Like really. It is nothing like how I expected it to be, he is still partying it up every weekend while I sit and wait for him to suck it up and be the perfect Bed Bath and Beyond frequenting husband I expected him to be. His top priorites were climing the career ladder at work and still making it home alive from happy hour. Oh and fitting in time with his cancer ridden angry Grampy. I had a picture in my head of how I thought the picture perfect marriage should look and this was not it.

I was beyond miserable. I felt completely alone. When you were the first of your friends to get preggo, the others are happy, but nobody really 'gets it', you know? There was nobody else in that secret mommy club that I could talk to about hormones and Taco Bell cravings. My job was good and they were supportive that I would be leaving at the end of the year to stay at home. But there was a girl who I worked closely with and she'd been struggling with infertility. A close friend of hers asked me *nicely* if I could not talk too much about being pregnant since it was a touchy issue with the other girl. So I had nobody. I couldn't be happy at work. My friends had no clue. My husband was spreading his wings a far as he could in response to growing up that he felt was placed upon him without his consent. When I was around his family, I felt like an incubator-- like my soul purpose was just to carry this blessed baby. None of them asked or cared about me. It was all about the baby. My parents were great, but my sweet mom was working full time at night, and so my time with her was limited. And I surely didn't feel like I could talk to Jesus about all this. In my mind and in my wrong theology at that point in life, I had clearly done something wrong to get myself into this situation.

So I prayed. I started praying that God would take this baby back. I prayed that God would end this baby's life then I could have my own life back. I could leave my husband who was so consumed with everything else in his life. I could do whatever I wanted that didn't involve this baby. I prayed daily for that almost every single day of my first trimester. Once that first trimester was over, I knew my chances of miscarriage were pretty slim. So I did what I always do-- I figured it out. I made choice in my heart that if I had to have this baby I was going to do it right and figure out how to make it easy on myself. I was already planning my 'pump & dump' method and weekends with grandparents so I could back to my own social life ASAP.

I figured out a way to tell people at work I wouldn't be returning. I figured out a way to deal with my husband who was scared of growing up and scared of losing his grandfather. I figured out a way to try to still be the same girl with my friends. I figured out a way to not show any excitement at work. I figured out a way to grow this baby that our families wanted and I didn't. I figured out I would just figure it out once he got here.

Why oh why would Jesus do this me???? Why would he do something that would leave me feeling so completely alone?  I just put my nose in the wind and figured out how to be pregnant and look happy about it and that seemed to satisfy everyone.

The pregnancy came and went. It was pretty uneventful. Nothing crazy. Oh I did have a couple baby showers. Both were alcohol infused parties with nothing really special for this baby I was growing. I am not dogging my friends in any shape or way. This was all we fresh college kids knew as means to celebrate.

Grampy hung on and faught for his life. Mikey was due August 8. Grampy was pretty much healed as of late May. But something happened a few days later and he took a turn for the worse. We had the "there's nothing more we can do" conversation. He came home early June and died just after Father's Day. My last memory of him was sitting on the side of his bed, him unable to speak, but placing his hand on my belly to feel his greatgrandchild kick. This was the reason he had faught to stay alive and had chosen to allow treatment that would make him sick, skinny, and bald. He had to make it to see this baby boy.  No.
All this fighting for the past 7 months was for nothing.

So now my pseudo-grandfather is gone. My husband has to deal with losing a father figure. And now, 6 weeks prior to my due date, I am feeling even more alone with this thing in my body.

With some ups and downs, mostly downs, we made it thourgh the rest of the pregnancy. We agreed on an induction date of July 31. I wanted this thing of me as soon as possible so I could figure out the next step.

I won't retell my birth story. Long story short it was just a long long induction and I refused to give up and have a C-section. Part of that was to spite Grampy. He kept telling me I should elect a C-section because it was easier on the baby. I flat out refused one just to spite him. This was about me. Me and this thing inside me. Finally, 22 hours after induction at about 5 am, I had myself a baby. I handed him off ASAP so I could sleep. Just as I got comfortable, around 7 am a pediatrician and a nurse came in with my baby. "What the heck? What more do yall want" I thought. I just had this thing now take him away so I can sleep.

That first day was a whirlwind. Nurses in and out trying to teach me to breastfeed. I wouldn't say that I had a desire to breastfeed. I just had a desire to figure things out and do them the "right" way. That's what women did and so that's what I was going to do. Lots of visitors in and out. All the fam and all the kidless friends wanting to see my new puppy. I was scared to hold him anyway so I was fine having everyone else take their turn. They were keeping my mind off of what was really going on.

Nightime came and I sent my husband home to sleep in an actual bed...

On a sidenote, I always get a lot of slack for this from my girlfriends for this. I've done that with all three kids. We live approx 5 miles from the hospital. To me, there is no sense in both of us being stuck at the hospital and tired. I would much rather him be rested and fresh so that he can be referee during the day. I also don't keep the baby in the room with me during bed time. I need some sleep before I get home to sleepness nights.

I drifted off to sleep to be awakened at 2am by the night nurse telling me my baby was hungry. Grrrrrr. So I roused up, took over the little bundle from her and proceeded to feed my baby. Wow. "MY BABY". For the first time in the almost twenty four hours that he had been alive, it was my first time to be 100% completely alone with him and the first time that I aknowledged that he was mine. All mine. THIS was my baby. This was my destiny. This was what I created for.

I looked down at the precious face and the tears just started flowing, ugly cry style. I spoke out loud to my precious boy telling him how perfect and precious he was.  Sobbing and stroking his tiny face, I told him I was so very sorry that I had not wanted him. I told him I was so sorry I had ever imagined a world without him. I completely fell apart and humbled myself before my baby and before the Lord. I repented to God for all the feelings of discontent I had felt over Him choosing the time to give me my first child. I repented for selfishly wishing away my pregnancy so that I could go on about my life. I knew after that special 2am feeding that I could do this. God had chosen this. God created this all in His perfect timing and He would not give me anything I couldn't handle. My life was not MY life. It was God's that he was allowing me to have.

Michael and I look back on that time in our lives and we know now that God was at work behind every single second of it. We know that the promise and hope of a great grandchild gave Grampy a new lease on life and it gave everyone here on earth just a few more months to be with him. It gave him the chance to go out with a fight, which is really the only way he would've settled for anyway.

And Michael Jr.'s birth gave Michael and I a reason to stay together. Yes, it is terrible for us to say that. But we both know it's true. We had some major difficulties early in our marriage and we had both brought up the "D" word several times. With a kid, there was no turning back. We had no choice but to figure it out. We both, in our hearts, desired to live out God's plan for our lives. God just decided to step in and make some decisions for us because clearly the ones we were making were just getting us into trouble. We have shared before in our Marriage Series post that we have had our ups and downs, especially at the beginning. And as I edit this post one last time before publishing, I realize that I make my husband out to be a big, mean, angry, drunk. That is not the whole story-- only the part that my self absorbed pregnant self remembered. In the seven years that have gone by since then, we continue to grow with each other and more importantly in Christ. We were young, immature parents who were both scared out of our minds. God gave us this special little boy to start the path of where we are headed as a family serving God first.

And Mikey, my sweet Darling Deuce.  If you have ever spent any time with him, you know that he is so charming. Adults and kids alike love him. They always have. Just this morning, a lady at church who he has only known for a couple of months told me that she had a soft spot for him in her heart. He is so fun to be around. I remember dropping him off for preschool- often late with 2 other kids in tow- and the entire class looking up and cheering that he had arrived. I pick him up from school in the afternoons and all the kids wave and speak to him. Oh, and the girls. Don't get me started on the girls. We already have them giggling at cafeteria tables pointing at him and showing up at our front door in their swimsuits.

He always gets complimented on being handsome.  He is just as beautiful inside as he is out though. He genuinely cares about people's feelings. He has almost a 6th sense for what other's are feeling.  He is THE most amazing big brother. He adores his little brothers and is an excellent teacher and leader to them. I could sit and watch him read them books all day.  And the boy loves him some Jesus!!! WooHoo! To listen to a little boy pray over a meal and tell the Lord "Thank you for loving us, thank you for dying for us so we can be with you forever, thank you for saving us", oh my, that makes my heart gooey almost daily.

My prayer for him is that he would view himself the way God sees him. I pray that he would grow to serve God first and the world last. I pray that he knows how special he is and how that God used him, this tiny little baby, to change the direction of this family and the lives of so many.

So I write this, not knowing exactly how to end except to say that I pray for you. I pray for any hardship, trial, or trench that the Lord may have put you in, Know that the Lord does not create any bad thing. Everything from Him is good. It may not look like it to you at the time. It may not look like it to you next week or next year. But one day, I promise, you will look down at what you thought was a problem and sob and thank Jesus for it. He gives us those 'problems' only so He can show off how awesome He is by carrying us through it. Then we look up at the end and realize He has been there all along. He gave us this. He created us and this to glorify Him. If everything turned out the way we thought we wanted it, we would never have the opportunity to cry out to the Lord for anything. We would never turn our hearts to Him. And that is all He really wants.

The internet is forever. I know this is true. And my sweet boy can read. Michael and I both desire to be completely transparent with our children about our mistakes and our sins. We feel this is the best way to learn. One day, we will have this talk with him. I will tell him my heart and how in my brokenness, I selfishly did not want him. But then I will tell him how God used him and chose him to break me and my selfish ways. I will tell him how his Grampy fought with every fiber to live and meet him. I will tell him how his mommy & daddy are together, so in love, and have learned to lean on each other with God through even the hardest circumstances. Those are the things that he will carry in his heart.

So friends I leave you with this---->

(from The Message version of the Bible)
2-4 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

16-18 So, my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures.