Sunday, May 25, 2008

The gift of Luke

Becoming a mother or a father is a life changing experience. As for my children, Rose is the child who caused my life to make a 180 degree turn for the better. And Luke is the child who brought together his mother and his father which, in turn, resulted in the creation of our family.

I was alone and in labor at the hospital when the nurse noticed that Luke's heart rate was dropping. My mother had been with me at first, but I encouraged her to leave and go teach her class and come back later because the doctor said it was going to be hours before Luke would be making an appearance. I had convinced the doctor, who was trying to send me home because I was only 3 cm dilated, that I should stay at the hospital because of my relatively speedy delivery with Rose. I was told when Rose was born to remind the doctor of this during any future child births. And good thing I did. I don't even like to consider what would have happened to Luke had I left the hospital and not been hooked up to the monitor that caught the drop in his heart rate.

The doctor was called in to assess mine ond Luke's situation. He broke my water to put a monitor directly on Luke. The nurses gave me oxygen and repostioned me, but nothing helped. So, in a matter of minutes, the doctor ordered an emergency c-section and I was wheeled into the operating room. I was trying not to panic because I knew I needed to breathe in as much oxygen as I could for Luke, but it was unbelieveably scary not knowing what was going on with my baby and if he was going to live. I remember tears pouring out of my eyes as what seemed to be an army of doctors and nurses swarmed around me hooking me up to various monitors and then the anesthesiologist quickly putting the mask on me as I was fearing the worst. I was not only thinking of Luke, but also of Rose. What if she was about to lose her mother, the only parent she had at the time?

When I awoke, I awoke to the pain of the incision and surgery because I had not been given a local anesthetic. I was in such pain that I didn't want to even open my eyes and acknowledge reality. The first thought I had, after the shock of the pain, was of Luke. Without opening my eyes, I could feel the presence of a nurse in the room. I was so afraid to let her know I was awake because I didn't know if I was ready to hear the news she would have to tell me about my baby. Finally, without opening my eyes, I whispered, "Is the baby okay?" And much to my relief, she said that he was well.

It was hours before I saw Luke. I knew he was okay and I chose not to see him until I was well enough to sit up and hold him. I couldn't bear the thought of seeing my son for the first time and not being able to have him in my arms. A nurse asked if it was okay for Luke's father and his family to see him. They had been waiting outside my room, watching Luke through the nursery window. And, although, a father has every right to see his child, it was my choice whether or not this would take place at the hospital. Yes, it would have been unnecessarily harsh of me to keep Luke away from his father, but, considering my relationship with his father at the time, it would not have been unfathomable. Luke's father and I were not together and I had chosen not to be in contact with him despite his many attempts to reconcile with me over about a 6 month period of time before Luke was born.

During my pregnancy with Luke, I had acted out of fear. I wanted to protect myself, my daughter and my unborn son from a man who I thought had misled me. I thought I could not trust him and, therefore, I did not want him around until Luke was born when I knew his presence would be inevitable.

Allowing Luke's father to see him at the hospital was the first brick that fell from the wall around my heart. Rob's presence at the hospital was constant and considerate. He was there, but he did not make a scene about anything. He was glad for any and every chance to spend time with his son.

The first night that I spent in the hospital, one of my aunts stayed with me. The second night, I did not want to trouble any of my family or friends, so I stayed alone with Luke. It was a difficult night. I was still having trouble moving around because of the pain. I was weak. My son was so beautiful and sweet, but it was so hard to get out of bed to pick him up to nurse him and change his diaper. The next morning I was in tears because my body was so broken. I had little strength. Before Luke's birth, I prided myself in being very independent, capable of taking care of everything on my own. Now, I needed help. And there was a man sitting in the waiting room right next door to my hospital room ready and willing to help. The third evening in the hospital I climbed out of my bed, wheeled my i.v. out the door of my room and stood in the doorway of the waiting room and, as hundreds more bricks fell from the wall, I asked Rob to help me.

He stayed with Luke and me in the hospital room that night and he went home with us the next day. It turned out that Rob was the same man that I had fallen in love with. He had not misled me. I could trust him. Luke's birth set into motion a chain of events that knocked down the wall around my heart.

I believe that only God could have designed this scenario in which my body was broken and my heart was opened to seeing Luke's father in a different light thus enabling the creation of our family.

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