It’s 7:46 p.m., and I’ve been snuggling and rocking my second-born for over an hour.
I’m listening to her soft snorts as she breathes out her nose, silently willing her to just. go. to. sleep. as she fights it with every fiber in her now overly tired body. As I stare at her features barely visible in the dim light of the nursery, I wonder how I could find something so sweet still so incredibly … terrifying.
It’s been more than three months now since she entered our lives. A span of time that has mystifyingly stood still and yet passed so fast. The terror I speak of started the morning of her birth. Well, I’m sure it started before, but that was the moment it became so real that I wanted to run screaming from Labor & Delivery triage.
“I don’t want to do this,” I sobbed to my husband, who looked at my tear-stained face completely bewildered, as I lay shaking on the hospital bed in preparation for my scheduled c-section.
“Can we just go home?”
He paused a second before carefully responding.
“Hon, I think it’s a little late for that.”
This was not how I pictured the birth day of my second daughter. I had thought we would talk and laugh and wait in excitement until they walked me back to the OR. Instead, my stomach was a tangled mess of knots and my heart was thudding and my mind was spinning. I don’t think I had ever been so nerved up about anything more in life.
I wasn’t scared of the surgery. Or of the recovery pain I knew was coming. What had me so horrified was what I had wanted every day for nine looooooong months: the thought of this new life entering into the world.
This new life we had to bring home. To care for. To raise. For at least the next 18 years, Lord willing.
And it absolutely freaked me out.
I didn’t feel this way before the birth of my first; at least, I don’t remember feeling it so strongly. Maybe it was because I now knew what I was getting into and the significance of it all.
My husband was right–there was no turning back. And as scared as I was, when the time came, I didn’t run. Actually, once I scooched my very pregnant self onto the operating table, I was at peace.
Minutes later, at 9:01 a.m. on September 15, sweet Aurelia Ruth made her debut.
The minutes and days and weeks that have followed already have blended together into an indistinguishable twist of time, as we try to figure out how to best meet the needs of this precious little soul.
Our second-born is definitely more challenging than our first, but that is not saying much, because I think I somehow birthed the World’s Easiest Baby with her. I have joked that wolves could’ve raised Olivia, and she would’ve turned out the same. So when it has become clear that I don’t have all the parenting answers (not that I ever thought I did), the terror starts creeping back in to lurk in the corners of my heart.
But that terror, I have learned, also cracks open a door to turn to God. To seek Him, instead of run in fear. To cling to truth, instead of listen to the lies of the Great Deceiver. To realize finding the “right” answer doesn’t rest on me, or in some book, or on some mommy blog, but in the Creator and Provider. For if He cares for the lilies of the valley and the birds of the air, He surely cares so much more for my children. And for our marriage. And for me.
That’s why I am glad I don’t know it all when it comes to being a parent. If it were totally easy, it would also be easy to think “hey, I’ve got this,” puff out my chest, and leave little room for God.
I am sure there will be bigger challenges ahead than how to get my baby to sleep. And I pray He uses those challenges to keep me humble and on my knees, asking for His direction and help.
As I lay my finally dreaming babe ever, yet ever, so quietly and carefully down in her crib and tip-toe backwards through the darkness of her room, fingers silently wrapping around the doorknob, I am not leaving the terror behind. I am simply choosing to let the Almighty wrap us both in His powerful arms.
He is there in the darkness.
He is there to conquer my doubts.
He is there in the late-night feedings. In the cries that cannot be soothed or explained. In the exhausting yet oh-so-rewarding moments that each new day brings.
And I’m so grateful He’s got this, not me.
“My help comes from The Lord, who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 101:2)