Friday, March 19, 2010

The Story of Sarah

Back in September, I shared with you The Story of Dan and Gerri which was the start of this wild ride I call my life. All along it was my intention to share the stories of each of my children on their birthdays. Then life intervened, I became a slacker blogger, and two of their birthdays passed without so much as a fare-thee-well. Since the third birthday is fast approaching, I guess I better get caught up. This is the story of my oldst child, Sarah. It's not so much a story about her, as it is a story about how she came to be. While no mother has a favorite and you love different things about each child, your first child is special in a special way only mothers can know. And so it is true with mine. She is the heart of my heart, a miracle of God, and when I look in her eyes I see the promise of tomorrow. She is everything good and true and wonderful about the world and she has grown into such a special young woman. She is amazing. I marvel every day that God entrusted her to me. I'm not only proud to call her my daughter, I'm so very proud that she's my friend. (It's one of the perks of having adult children, that you can finally be their friend.)

The Story of Sarah

When Dan and I decided to get married we talked a lot about having a family. We knew we wanted one but we were unsure about when we wanted to start one. After much discussion we decided that since we had dated for 4 years we had already had a lot of time to ourselves and we were ready to start building a family. We got married on a sunny and rather hot September afternoon. I was almost giddy with happiness. I was marrying the man of my dreams and soon I would attain the ultimate goal of my life, motherhood. I was so sure that I would get pregnant within the first month. It didn't happen that way and it upset me but I knew that it would happen soon enough. As the months passed I started to wonder why God was making me wait so long. I prayed, pleaded and even bargained with God to send us a baby. Nothing. I couldn't understand why He wasn't setting the plan in motion. Hadn't He revealed to me that motherhood was my calling? Or had I only heard what I wanted to hear?

I watched women who had gotten married after I had, get pregnant, have their babies and get pregnant again. I began to dread baby showers. I hated the sight of strollers, playpens and baby toys. It was painful to watch all the young mothers with their babies while my arms where empty. I wanted to cry out "What about me?". I was bitter and angry. I wondered if we would ever conceive. Dan was patient and kind, always reminding me that good things come to those who wait. Well, I was tired of waiting. I was tired of doctor appointments, taking my temperature and fending off well meaning, but nonetheless hurtful, questions about when we were going to start a family.

About three years into this process I just decided to forget it all. I was so fed up with everything. I wish I could say it was a voice from God telling me to slow down or that I had a great epiphany of some sort, but no. I think I was just so emotionally worn out. I didn't have another ounce of fight left in me. (As an aside here, I must give it up to all those women who hang in there for years and years and fight the good fight to become mothers. I know so many of them who have waited much longer than I did. I don't know how they do it, but I admire them.) So, I stopped everything. No more doctors, no more thermometers and no more worrying. I prayed about it and asked God for his forgiveness and that His will be done.

I started thinking about adoption or just living out my life without children. I felt peacefully calm for the first time in so long. About 5 months later I missed a period. I didn't really think much of it. This had happened many times before. But the days moved into weeks and I missed another one. I finally bought a home pregnancy test. Now, this was back in the day when you had to wait a couple of hours for the results. Let me tell you, that was the longest two hours I ever spent. Much to my surprise, it was positive. I was excited, but cautious. This had also happend before, false postitives. I made an appointment with my doctor and waited some more. All tests were positive and we were given a due date of December 26th. Ironic since both our birthdays' are in December and Dan's is the 27th. We figured, first baby, we probably won't deliver until January anyway. We were just so happy to finally be pregnant.

I had a wonderful pregnancy and tried to enjoy it without wishing it away. I really just wanted to deliver and hold that baby in my arms. As the last weeks of December approached we readied everything and began to wait. There were the obligatory jokes about delivering before the 31st to get the tax deduction. I was ok with that…the sooner the better. Christmas Eve was a beautiful sunny Arizona day. We did some last minute shopping, looked at Christmas light displays and went to 9 o'clock Mass. By the time we got home I was tired and ready for bed. I went to bed but for some reason I just couldn't sleep. I was restless and uncomfortable so I got up and vacuumed the living room and did some dishes. Hmmm…guess I should have figured it out. When the contractions started at about 1:30am I was so surprised. Christmas Day, I was going into labor on Christmas Day?!? At first I thought, it's just a false alarm, they'll calm down in a while. At 6:30 when they were 15 minutes apart, I decided maybe it was for real and maybe I should wake Dan. At 5 minutes apart we headed to the hospital.

I was still in denial about delivering on Christmas. All the horror stories I'd heard from people who hated their birthdays being on Christmas began running through my head. The doctor made his appearance at 10am, told me he thought I'd deliver around 1pm, and left. I decided he was wrong, asked for an epidural, and spent the next couple of hours trying to convince myself I could hang on until midnight. I was wrong, of course, and amazing things happen when you give your destiny to God....

At 1:09 PM on Christmas Day 1984 our wonderful, beautiful daughter was born. The miracle of birth makes you forget all your negative thoughts. All I could think was what a beautiful little life had been entrusted to my care. And how apropos, after waiting such a long time, that we should deliver her on Christmas Day. She was and continues to be the best Christmas present we've ever received. We have always told her how special it is that she shares her birthday with the Savior. She has always felt special because of that and has certainly never felt cheated. So, Christmas at our house is much more than gifts and holiday meals. It's a celebration of two special births, and a reminder of how lucky we are to have them both in our lives.

So, there you have it. The story of my own little miracle baby. If you stayed to read the whole, long story, I appreciate it. In a couple of days I'll be writing about my youngest child who turned 21 in January. To know her is to be totally exhausted 24/7/365. She still keeps me on my toes!

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

1 comment:

  1. Gerri, thank you so much for sharing such a beautiful, touching story. Your Christmas baby truly is special in many ways. I love how you were vacuuming just before labor. I remember cleaning the bathroom just before my 2nd son. My husband was upstairs sleeping away.

    Your post reminds me to continue to trust in God. He will come through for us in His own time. Have a great weekend Gerri! I really feel wonderful after visiting here today :)