Days go by and it seems not much changes, but when I look back at where we are today compared with the last time I posted I see that the days build something more than I see in the midst of one. I have moved out of the Ronald McDonald house and now stay with a family in a home that has a fire place, a kettle that is often boiling, three children that make me laugh, and sweet friends who care deeply for us and our daughter. Eden and I are no longer in a “satellite room”, sharing a small space with two other babies; rather, we are in a private room where we set the tone and create an environment. Jon and I just get to be with our Eden. Our Eden…
Our girl is now 5 pounds! She has gone almost a full 24 hours without oxygen and is on her way to being without any breathing support in the very near future. Eden eats from a bottle at each feeding and has on one occasion, taken the whole bottle so that the feeding tube was unnecessary. As soon as she does this for 24 hours, we can start discharge planning. Which also means homecoming planning. Which means much rejoicing. Eden has a glorious head of hair, which she likes to have washed. She is a deep pink-brown color, like a little flower. She breathes well and loves being snuggled. She is consolable, responds to our voices, and can now track us with her big, beautiful, clear eyes. In other words, she is healthy. Truly, in the last month and a day, we have been “in the presence of the God who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that did not exist”. The more we have learned about Eden’s first hours, we have seen this to be true. Before our eyes. In our arms. He gives life.
Eden introduced me to my first friends in Wichita, the dear nurses who have loved her first, before I even knew she existed. I have come to really love some of these women, and consider them friends, even getting to attend one of their weddings. Gift upon gift. Last week, I sat in a room with one of these sweet nurses and an officer who was the first responder after Eden was born. Hearing the details of those terrifying first hours, as a mother, broke my heart and simultaneously attached our daughter to me all the more. This man, a stranger to me, yet with the hands that first held and cared for our Eden. This girl, who responded to the helping efforts of the officer and the EMT team by making noise, turning pink, and breathing, and now continuing to amaze and shock the doctors. This God, knowing and seeing all, moving to care for the orphan and for my mother heart.
And now, most recently, another significant relationship has begun to form: Jon and I met Eden’s birth mom last night. Kirby has a tattoo of tinker-bell on her shoulder, and is not unlike the fairy, quite small in stature with fluttering mannerisms and some shyness. In all honesty, I was nervous to meet her. And I found out later she was nervous to meet us. In all honesty, there was some anger in me, knowing how sick Eden was from the manner of her birth. In all honesty, it didn’t last a second after I saw her. She walked in and it was clear to me that this woman, for a long time, has lacked the love, kindness, resources, support I experience in spades daily. We approached each other, hugged, and both cried. Like when I met Eden, I felt such love for this woman from the moment I met her. Kirby wanted to see pictures of Eden, which I showed her while telling about her progress with eating and breathing. The health and life in the baby in the pictures caused visible relief and joy in Kirby’s face. “She’s really going to be okay. God told me she was going to be okay,” she kept saying. Jon and I sat with Kirby, drinking tea and coffee, talking about Eden and life. Kirby loves the name Eden and likes that we don’t appear to be boring people.
As tears of joy and tears of anxiety, sadness, and fear visit me daily, I am aware that not all stories go like Eden’s. Each moment and detail of darkness has been followed by a sunrise of redemption and restoration: a dying Baby Girl being given a name and new life, poor prognoses met with exceeded expectations, infertility being filled with a daughter, moving to a new state and finding friends, a woman who thought she injured the child she carried beyond repair seeing smiles and health.
“He opens rivers on heights. He makes the wilderness a pool of water and the dry land spring up with water. May we see and know, may we consider and understand together, that the hand of The Lord has done these things. He has created the good.”