baby bump three: week 40

Dear Nan,

We've made it to my favorite bump picture: you on the outside, a balled up, pink newborn. This day always seems so impossibly far away when those pink lines show up--when your dad and I hug in the bathroom and with our morning breath thank God for the new life He has started to form inside of me. And then all of a sudden it seems, we're on our way to the hospital. I feel the labor pains that were promised and cursed to me in The Garden, and then they lay you on my chest. Nine months is really such a short time.

Nan Louise, you are simply a dream. All along I thought you were bigger, and I was right [by a few ounces anyway]. They laid you on my chest after another fast, though induced, labor where you promptly peed while letting out strong and steady cries. Oh, those first cries from healthy lungs are music. Eventually, after your dad cut the cord that had bound us together for all those months, they took you away to measure and weigh and clean you. Six pounds and fourteen ounces of healthy baby girl.

You were pretty beat up from delivery. You were in the birth canal the whole time we labored, and you had some blood vessels showing across your forehead, a bruised cheek, a slight bruise on your arm, and a bloodshot eye. I told your dad that as traumatic as labor and delivery is for me, it has to be equally or more traumatic for you. You don't know what's happening and then all of that work and then, then!, you're outside in this crazy, bright, noisy world. I would have peed on someone too! By the time we left the hospital, two days after your birth, your bruises and swelling were gone, which made me feel better.

Your sisters were so excited to meet you. Blythe simply adores you and can't get enough. She's always checking on you and patting you and singing or reading to you. Becks likes to touch your face and make sure you have your blankets. She makes us a little more nervous, but don't worry we'll keep an eye on her so she doesn't rough you up too much. Your dad has been, as always, amazing. Those first days in the hospital he just snuggled you and studied you and smelled you and kissed on you. The second night you were fussy, and I kept having to feed you and I was pretty tired. Finally he just took you, stripped you down, took off his own shirt, and you nuzzled right in under some blankets against his chest and finally settled down. I know in no time he'll be your favorite human on the planet. And I won't blame you one bit.

You've really only had one or two fussy times during the day or night, and are otherwise alert when awake, eat well, and sleep and sleep. Your Nana and Nini have been here taking care of us all too. They are amazing. It's like having the hospital nursery staff...and cleaning staff...and cafeteria staff... all come home with us! Actually, while I write this your nana is cleaning windows. Our house will be cleaner now than you'll probably ever know it to be the rest of your life time! I've actually felt pretty good since having you. My recovery would have been near perfect had it not been for one pesky thing: the cartilage in my pelvis separated. It's only been painful to do certain things like step up, twist, and get in and out of bed etc. My doctor told me the less I am on my feet the sooner it will heal, and when I feel pain to stop whatever I'm doing. So that has really limited me, but I'm starting to feel much more stable, and still feel like this has been my best recovery yet, minus not being able to do much.

I want to kiss your cheeks a thousand times a day before they lose their super softness. And I want to watch you sleep and breathe and eat. These days can be hard, because even though you're teeny, you're demanding in a lot of ways of my body and my time. But I want to breathe you in and whisper love into your ears in these slow moving weeks. When I was laboring with you one of the verses I repeated was Zephaniah 3:17. It says, "The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing." And now, as I hold you on the outside, I have prayed that verse over you many times as you snuggle against my chest-- that you would know this God of ours that rejoices over you, and that quiets your fears with His love.  Your dad and I will try and love you like Christ, but in our failures we pray that you'll learn to receive that love from The Source.

Nan Louise, we are so glad you are now a part of our family. We are excited to get to know you in all new ways each day. We pray you will be faithful to your Lord, and to your friendships, and to your future spouse. We pray you will be attentive to others, like your namesake was, and generous with your time and possessions. And we pray that you would be humble in a way that doesn't make you think less of yourself, but of yourself less.

At the end of my pregnancy with you, when things were tough, I had to keep saying, "I trust you, Jesus." Nan, may you trust Jesus, because I am entrusting you to Him.

We love you so very much.

Love, Mom

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