Her little face was purple. I was alone. I picked her up and squeezed her to my chest. My throat closed up and the cry I tried to give came out in a gargle. I finally caught my breath and started to scream. Then she started to scream. Her little face became bright red. We sobbed together as I sat on the couch and held her so tight against my chest I thought we could become one. That was the first time I saw my 3 week old Rachel stop breathing.
It continued to happen off and on. But when I took her to the doctors and emergency room she was fine. She giggled and laughed. She was a healthy and beautiful baby. They explained to me that babies sometimes do that when they eat or maybe I was over exaggerating. Finally my doctor gave me a consult to go to Pittsburgh Childrens hospital. At night I would put Rachel in her cuddle U in my bed and sit up and watch her. I was not sleeping. I was watching. Rachel seemed to sleep better when she was slightly propped up, and I could not control my racing mind. What if she stopped breathing while I was asleep? What if I walked out to use the bathroom, and she turned purple again. I didn’t sleep the night before we took Rachel to the hospital. We were on our way before the sun was up, and I remember pulling into a Sheetz to get gas and seeing people walk in and out of the convenience store. They are so lucky I thought. They are not going to watch their daughter stop breathing and leave you.
I have struggled with anxiety my entire life. Even as a very small child I remember episodes where my mother was lovingly reassuring me. I tried to pull it together. When I was a teen, one of my best friends gave me an article talking about generalized anxiety disorder. I have researched and studied it. There are some really awesome things about about being different in the way you process and think. There things that are not so awesome.
Even if you don't deal with anxiety becoming a parent opens a whole new world of possibilities. I remember looking at tiny WIlliam and thinking “how can they just hand him over to me? What of something happens to him? You are just giving me this tiny little human and expecting me to know what to do with him? “
It is hard to imagine that anyone could love my child as much as I do. I would move heaven and hell to make sure they are ok. As parents we would sacrifice money, sleep, comfort, and more for our little mini mes. We don’t even see it as a “sacrifice”. When they are happy, we are happy. When they are hurt, our chest is laying open bleeding. There is no hurt like the hurt you experience when your child is in pain and you can do nothing to help.
I remember reading an article early in my parenting career talking about how God loved our children even more than we do. I will be honest in admitting I scoffed at the idea. That could never be possible. After all, I would never sit idly by and watch my child in pain. If I had the ability to step in and fix it, I would. How could you not?
Sitting in that Sheetz parking lot, I got mad. I got mad at God. I am your child God. This innocent baby in yours. Why aren’t you doing anything? Why am I here? That quiet voice that speaks only to your heart reminded me “she is mine. I will provide.” I scoffed and said then you would fix this! You would not put us in this situation. Again, in a way I can’t explain, I felt quiet and at peace. I felt like he was telling me to be still. Know that He is God. When I walked into that doctor’s office with Rachel clutched to my chest, I did not know where we were heading. I didn’t not know if this would be life threatening or not. If she would recover or not. If she, and in return I, would suffer or not. There was one thing I did know. God loved Rachel. As unfathomable as it was to me, He loved her more than me. He loved her and I so much, he would allow things to work together for our good. Even if that meant that we and in turn He would suffer.
I have been through things in life I wish I hadn’t. I have received the unexpected phone call that my father was now in heaven. I have struggled through situations in which I was terrified that death would always be the next call for loved ones. I have struggled with heath, professionally and personally wanted to give up. I have said goodbye too soon.
Time and time again I can see God’s hand. I can not see into the future. I can not see where this pain will lead. I am not ashamed in telling you that if I could stop it I would. Even knowing the good things that come out of the suffering. We think (and wish) for more control than we have. The most powerful thing we can do is place them in God’s hand and believe that He will work everything together for their (and our) good.
Rachel had many tests ran. I had to lay her on tables and trust the machines to do their job. I cried and prayed. Rachel was found to be born with a lung infection. Hers, thankfully, would heal. There would hopefully be no lasting damage. Her body would fight , but it would take some time. I cried again.
God, not I, is in control. He loves me and my loved ones more than I could ever imagine. When I place them into his hand, they are safest. It's not that things will always end as I wished for them to. I must believe that GOOD will come. That my Father can see more than I can will be my warrior. My goodness in times of darkness. That in all things He will be there. He loves me enough to suffer through my trials. To allow me to grow and learn. To trust and believe. To grieve and grow.
Time and time again I see God’s hand in my life and the ones I love.I see Him work miracles and I see Him ask me to let go. I know I can't control it all. I can remember who can and who does.