I got a new name on January 7, 2009. My name is Mama, sometimes Mommy, or just that woman who has a reason for getting up in the morning with a smile.
I've always wanted to be a mommy. Sometimes I wondered if it would ever happen, or if I'd just be that girl who loved on other people's children. But one day last May, I didn't have to wonder any longer.
As we survived the first trimester of intense sickness, reveled in the wonderfully energetic second trimester, and watched our baby boogie in my womb during the third trimester, we hoped and planned and dreamed big for our little boy. So it was with much excitement and a bit of trepidation that we headed to the hospital to meet the one who had previously only been known to us as "Grasshopper".
When I look back on the labor and delivery, I see God's handprints all over it. My husband's car was in the process of breaking down when I called him to tell him to come home since my water had just broken. He didn't tell me what was happening until later, but a friend of ours just so happened to be driving through that area to our neck of the woods and was able to get him back home without me any the wiser. A nurse who was the mother-in-law of my husband's boss was our primary nurse, and if there was ever a woman meant to be a mothering and nurturing sort of nurse, this woman fit the bill. She was exactly what I needed. My own doctor was working a twelve hour shift at another hospital, but came by afterward when she heard I was still in labor and things were not progressing. And I see God's hand in sustaining the life of my son and my own, even when some medical folks made some poor decisions. Of course, I wouldn't know they were poor decisions until nearly three months later.
When our sweet Grasshopper finally made it out of the womb, his exit via forceps injured me severely. Days later an abscess would form. Three surgeries later, we would think the abscess was finally healed. One plane trip of 2,232 miles to the States to see family who wanted to meet our sweet boy would lead to the news that the abscess had developed into a fistula. Suddenly, an American girl who had always grown up with wonderful private health insurance would understand what it is like for the millions of uninsured Americans because she is now living in Canada and has their "free" government health care that comes with its own caveat. Waiting. That led to wondering if we should risk our financial stability to have the surgery immediately in the States, or if we should wait for surgery in Canada. The wait just to have the initial consultation with the specialist is over one month, and there is no guarantee that surgery can be immediate. That means balancing pain pills with nursing schedules, and praying that infection doesn't go further and that the fistula doesn't grow. And this is just the short version of a long and hard journey that no one planned on.
On this long and hard journey, I am discovering some things and learning some valuable lessons.
I understand now what it means to truly act selflessly, to lay aside selfish wants and even needs to care for someone else. And with that, I understand now why the motivation to act unselfishly cannot be the simple rightness of that quality. No. The motivation must be love. And oh my goodness, no one ever could help me grasp the depth of the love a mother feels for her own. But my sweet Grasshopper has captured my heart, and I find myself acting in ways I never thought possible. The love of my sweet boy spurs me on to be strong for him, to keep pressing on even when the pain becomes unbearable, to keep clinging to Jesus, and to concentrate on getting well instead of getting angry. When I look into his trusting eyes, I know that I cannot let him down. And when he wakes me up before dawn with bright eyes and a grin that begs one to play with him, I can't help but smile back.
I am a mama, and I will give my efforts to fulfill that name my whole heart. Because that grin - his grin - is for me.
*This post is for Scribbit's Write Away April entry on the topic of "Mom". While it may not be my most fabulous specimen of writing, it was written while truly experiencing the topic. Four diaper blow-outs, two baths, three nursing sessions, two hours in the rocking chair, and one cd of lullabies later we have ourselves a complete post. Honestly, we're lucky to have one coherent thought after all of that. Motherhood - there's nothing better.