Saturday, December 20, 2014

A new generation

Looking back, I wondered if something was wrong with me. I waited to be swept away by the flood of emotions and river of tears I heard would come. I wanted my heart to fill and nearly explode after being overcome with a primal and new sense of love and joy. But alas, I experienced nothing like that.

Don't get me wrong. I love my children. I love my children more than an ocean of words could ever describe. And yet, their births were not the made-for-movies kind of experiences. With Caleb, it was hard work. I decided I wanted to experience childbirth in it's rawest form, which, come to think of it, may not have been the wisest decision ever made. Labor was not fun. It hurt. It was exhausting. It tore me - literally. It was the hardest thing I had done to date. So maybe my lack of gushing emotions was simply due to relief of getting the kid out into this big world.

Fool me once but not twice. I didn't make the same mistake on the second child. After a couple hard contractions it was "Hit me with the epidural." It worked. I thoroughly enjoyed the labor experience without the pain. But my relief of birthing Seth was different than pushing out Caleb. Seth was a hard pregnancy. Unlike post-pregnancy with Caleb, I did not miss being un-pregnant once Seth was born. I remember begging my doctor three weeks prior to my due date to make him come out and play. Seth was relentless in his kicking, jumping, punching, and general state of uninhibited activity. But the doctor declined my suggestion. Instead, despite my best efforts to coerce his arrival, Seth stubbornly awaited the appointed day to make his appearance. So after I pushed and the doctor pulled, I was ecstatic to be no longer with child. Now maybe I could sleep. Silly me.

Am I an unemotional, hard-hearted woman? I don't think so. Ask anyone who knows me. I have a wealth of emotions that show themselves often. But never would I have guessed them to be so front and center than at the birth of my first grandchild.

Asked to drive Claire to the hospital while Seth was racing from work, I felt my heart begin to pick up the pace. But when I walked into the room and spied all the accouterments needed for birthing newborns, the lump in my throat grew to grapefruit size. Nevertheless, as the night wore on as labor slowed down post-epidural, the lump melted away. I felt only tired from the long day. That state would not last for long.

"And the number is 10. Let's have a baby," nurse Brooke declared after checking the progress slightly after 2 a.m.. With that proclamation from the nurse (who, incidentally, had lived for two years in a basement apartment at our house), the room awoke to quick, but quite and calm preparation. I was beyond fortunate to be included as one of three spectators allowed to stay during the delivery. That lump in my throat returned, but grew to basketball size as it became all too real that life was about to change forever.

Seth assisted Claire by holding one of her numb legs while I held the other. Corrie, Claire's twin sister and photographer, captured the scene. Someone observed, "Seth, you look terrified," as Claire bore down once again.

"Pretty much," was his honest response while fixing his eyes on Claire, silently urging her on in the delivery of this special package.

Her labor efforts were effective as the tiny haired head explored the new world a little bit further with each push. "Seth, you need to see this," suspecting the next push would usher his daughter into the world. He turned and looked down just in time to see long-awaited Baby Addyson slide into the doctor's hands. I glanced up to see his face take on the most incredible expression of awe mixed with love. Then came the tears. Then came my tears as I watched my second-born child contemplate the arrival of his own flesh and blood.

Only now, in this first week of Addyson Leona's life, do I understand the many comments from other grandparents. "It's better than having your own kids."

Thank you, Seth and Claire, for helping me better understand love for my own children in the context of love for your child. May you grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ as you raise your precious daughter. May God be pleased as you present your family a living sacrifice to Him.

Thank you, Father, for Addyson Leona Trittipoe. I love her. I love you.

Thanks to Corrie Fewell and Lilybird Photography for capturing these moments on camera.

A walk in the park and a pink finish line

By the time I finish most races, I've figured out at least the first paragraph of my post-race story. This was one of the few where the ...