Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Monopoly is a game that has always puzzled me.  Why do people play it?  People actually enjoy it!  Not me, not thanks.  Money stresses me out, how is playing with money fun?  Right now life in the Ford family household feels a lot like a game of monopoly, one where we keep landing on the pay up square.   The stove, the garage... (the stove BTW is a whole other shameful story *sigh*)

I'm not going to go into our financial situation, but for some background info: those days a few years ago when we though it was tight? we were rolling in it. David and I have marveled how much more peace we had when Gideon was alive, dealing with the constant threat of his loss, than we do now with fiances.

Money. Seriously. I have weathered the death of a child and I am stressed out about money?

I have had a week assaulted by grief.  My life has taken some turns (good ones) in the past few months, leading me to be the supervisor of and adult mental health crisis program.  As part of this program I assess risk and make placement recommendations for adult's in mental health crisis in our local emergency rooms and I'm in and out of these emergency rooms a few times a week.  Last week, God put me in the right place, at the right time to comfort another one of his children, and put me in a place where I was challenged to turn to him for comfort.  At one of the local ERs the mental health patients are tucked safely away in the corner office, its nice, quiet and private.  Its also next to their major trauma room, and on this foggy morning, I found myself a silent observer to a great grief.  a family lost a son, a grown son, in a terrible car accident.  I listened as several family members heard the news for the first time. I silently slipped to the copy machine as ER staff stood shocked, stunned and shedding silent tears.  The young man was one of their own, a fireman and an EMT.

I quietly hugged a fellow sister from my church, a nurse who worked with him, finished my work and slipped quietly out of the ER.  But the sound of his family crying out reverberates in my psyche.  its a sound I know, the sound my heart still makes if I let my self get too close to remembering those moments when Gideon went home.

mind you, not that I do that much.  No, I'm much to ladylike/professional/grown up/good at managing my own counter-transference to let those emotions loose.  So I choked down the wave of grief, something like forcing oneself not to throw up, and drove myself back to work, spending a great deal of the rest of the day somewhat dissociated.

mind you, it is important to be professional and the ER was not the time and the place to let that mess loose, but there is such thing as too much control...

a friend of a friend lost her little baby boy, nine months old.  from healthy to gone in a few short days.  As a group of women I am proud to know mobilizes to create some kind of comfort in the form a care package I wonder what God is trying to tell me.  is that terribly selfish, to be thinking about myself?  what does God what ME to know?

today I believe he told me something.  today the man behind me in Kroger paid my bill when my credit card didn't work and I rushed out of the store to avoid making a blubbering mess. today I heard a statistic about the number of people in Indiana that go hungry every day.  Yesterday I found out that my church has volunteered to fix our garage roof   Without this gift, our garage would not survive the winter.

And then. there is this ...

That perfect, beautiful, round head, that sweet little smile, and that amazing man I get to call husband.

Today God said very clearly to me.  

"you Kati Jane, are not a victim.  Worry does not plague you, you are not somehow at the mercy of anxiety,"  (this is where it gets kind painful) "this worry in your life is a sin."  An act of disobedience to God who has command me Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?" (Matthew  6:24-26 NIV) (emphasis mine).  

Worry has been allowed to much liberty in this home.  I was held accountable today, and I will rebuke the worry that has held my home captive.  

2 Corinthians 10:5

New International Version (NIV)
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

God has brought me through the death of child, blessed me with another.  I will not worry about finances, or the economy, or Obamacare or fill in the blank.  Because I have seen the God who will not leave my pain, my brokenness, my hurt or my fear answered for.  I don't have to be in control, in fact I'm not supposed to be in control.  Yes, I do have to be professional, but I don't have to be strong all the time.  I grieve this week. For, and with, these families that have lost sons.  I believe this week, the feel good truth that God cares about all my problems.  I also believe the not so squishy truth that if I am to mature as a women of Christ I must take responsibly for sin of worry in my life.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

My help comes from the Lord.

Ezra had his first bath yesterday.  My sweet, round headed, tons of beautiful dark hair son lost his umbilical stub on Monday and was smelling like sour milk.

Ezra Louis was born May 18 at 1:09 in the morning after a week of agonizing about being induced, a week of yelling at God, pouting because Ezra's birth was not supposed to be this way.  It was supposed to be normal.  No tough decisions, go in to labor on my own, rock it like a crunchy mom with no meds, put him right on my tummy not on a warmer, wait to cut the cord kind of normal birth.  David and I had talked a long time about how we needed this birth to be different than Gideon's.  We needed some healing, healing that comes from an experience not saturated in hurt and loss. We'd made all the plans to make it so, different hospital, different doctor.

For the most part, Ezra had a wonderful birth.  Despite being induced, I was able to labor and deliver pain medication free, I moved, I breathed, I even did some squatting.  According to my husband I was amazing.
I'm pretty proud that I didn't drop the "F" bomb.  Not once.  I did however, during several contractions in a row, beg the nurse not to hand my baby to me wearing a hat.

The first time I saw Gideon, he was wearing a hat. I held him and admired his sweet little face in blissful ignorance.  Family filtered out, NICU doctors filtered in.  Then they took off his hat.  No one had told me about the severity of Gideon's brain malformation.  No one warned me that a very large portion of brain and spinal chord was puffed out from the back of his head.  It is a moment branded in me, sitting there marveling, somewhat dissociated at the blatant visibility of my son's brain.

No hats. "Please don't give him to me with a hat on" I begged.  She smiled and said "no hat".

24 hours of cervidil, 13 hours of labor, two times in the labor tub, ten minutes of pushing and he was there. 7 lbs 11.5 oz and 20 and 3/4 inches of perfect.

Ezra was wonderful, healthy and beautiful and I should have fallen madly in love.  I was supposed to fall madly in love, that's the normal response, but what has washed over me in the past week has more often been sadness, fear and even some disappointment.  Some pain, and a lot of worry.  Worry because Ezra would not nurse, from his biliruben to his blood sugar he has struggled to latch.  Angry because Ezra was supposed to be my "normal" baby.  My "everything is perfect because God 'owes' me that in this baby".   I have cried many, many tears over this past week.

I missed the memo that normal newborns are hard, that normal newborns sometimes struggle to nurse, and that normal new mom's often feel some sadness and postpartum anxiety.

And, like a little child sometimes I need things repeated.  God will give me what I need, when I need it.  He will use everything for his good if I will allow him too and Ezra is my perfect baby because he was given to me by my Father, just like his brother Gideon.  And I do love him, but it has taken some time.  More time than I expected, just like nursing has taken more time and many more detours than I expected.

It has been a journey of the unexpected this past few weeks, including how giving my little Ezra a bath, brought me back to my last morning with Gideon. One of the very last things we did with Gideon was give him a bath, in my big farm sink that I knew from the first day we looked at this house would be the perfect placed to bathe my babies.

As I reflect on washing Ezra's little hands and feet and all the parts in between, I have been reminded that as people of faith we've been washed in something much more potent than water.  We have been washed in the blood of our savior.  So I must come to terms with the notion that these new experiences with Ezra, may be saturated in some pain.  But our healing isn't born out of the lack of pain and grief in our new experiences, it comes from recognizing that the the blood we have been washed in also saturates our lives with the power to birth joy from the grief.

Ezra reminds me that no experience, no perfect nursing baby, no perfect birth "heals" me.  Only God heals me.  And I still need him to.  My help comes from the Lord.