Tag Archive | friendship

One More Round…A Terminal Case of Baby Envy Part IV

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We thought (well, at least David thought) we were done wanting a baby.  I wasn’t yet. I’d fairly drool each time I passed a baby in the grocery store. I fully understood why people posed as nurses and stole babies from nurseries. (I’d never do that…honestly!!) People all around me were having babies and I was insanely jealous. Everyone would want me to hold their new bundle of joy, and I would, but inwardly, I just wanted to die. If they only knew how much I just wanted to take that baby with me and not give it back. Working for an OB/GYN didn’t help this one bit. I found myself saying things to patients like, “If you ever decide you don’t want this precious little baby, let me know. I’d take him/her in a heartbeat.” They would look at me like I was a stalker or something and I hand the baby back to them realizing that I must appear crazy or something. They didn’t know. They just thought I was a weird nurse.

We continued to “try” for pregnancy. Nothing every month. It was so frustrating. Finally, we reached a point where we decided it just wasn’t fun anymore. We hated planning our intimate times to occur at just the right fertile moment. There was no spontaneous moments. We were beginning to loathe the bedroom. (Again, feel free to stop reading if this is too much for you!) We were ready to give it all up and take measures so that pregnancy did not occur. Besides, I had health issues. My blood pressure never did return to normal after I had Katie. It was, and still is, a constant battle to get just the right medication to control my hypertension. We talked about our options. The plan had been all along that when I had another baby, it would most likely be a repeat c-section and I’d have my tubes tied. Since that had never happened, Dave wasn’t willing to let me go through a surgery for a tubal ligation. “You’ve been through enough.” Dave stepped up to the plate and decided he’d go under the knife instead.

Plans were made to proceed. We would be done. There would be no more children for us, and we thought we were okay with this decision. But, the day came when we were offered another wonderful gift.

My co-worker and friend, Carol, came to my desk. “I need to talk to you.” She took me to a private area to talk. “There is a girl in the prenatal history office right now whose pregnancy is a result of rape. She wants to give up the baby for adoption. I know you said you’re done, but would you consider it? She’d like to meet you. I already told her about you.”

I agreed to meet *Jenny (not her real name), but made no guarantee that I’d want to adopt her child. I walked into the office and there sat a beautiful young lady, eyes cast down, looking sad. She was heavy set like me with dark eyes and black hair. Based on her looks alone, I knew she was someone I’d relate to. Carol introduced us. Jenny says, “Would you like to adopt my baby?”

I was taken aback. She didn’t know me at all. She had no idea what I was like. She hadn’t asked me a single question other than would I like to adopt her baby. I responded, “Before I say yes or no, can we talk a little?”

“Sure,” she replied. Carol slipped from the room so we could have some privacy. Jenny told me the story of her pregnancy. She was embarrassed and humiliated I’m sure to have to repeat it again. “I have an 8-year-old daughter and I can’t tell her about this. I plan to just go to the hospital when it’s time and come home a day or so later and just tell her I had surgery on my belly. She doesn’t need to know anything else. I just need to find someone to adopt my baby boy.”

So, it was a boy. Dave sure would love a hunting buddy!  She seemed sincere and I had a good feeling about the whole situation. We exchanged names and phone numbers and I went home to talk to Dave.

When I told Dave about Jenny, he just smiled. “Maybe this is why we didn’t get the last adoption,” he said. “Maybe this is the baby we were to have. We can do it if you want to.”

I was so excited to call Jenny and tell her. “Wonderful!” she said. “My next appointment is in 2 weeks. You can come along with me if you want and hear his hearbeat.” We talked for about an hour about the pregnancy and each other. Once again, I had found a young lady with a love of music and a love of God. Certainly, God had brought us together. As I hung up the phone with her, I looked at the calendar, it was “Maggie’s” due date. What timing God has!

I went to each visit with Jenny with the excitement an expectant mother has. I cried when I’d hear his heartbeat. I met Jenny’s mother who hugged me and thanked me for being the one who would raise her grandson. Everything was just perfect. Jenny and I were becoming really good friends. We’d talk every night on the phone after her daughter went to bed. Not only was she giving me the gift of a son, she was giving me the gift of friendship as well. I was floating on cloud nine!!

Once again, I began doing research for just the right name for our son. I asked Jenny to be a part of naming him. She was excited and was thrilled to find out we wanted to name him Evan Matthew, (which means God is gracious, gift of God….or gracious gift of God).

Finally, the moment came when Jenny was to be induced. For 2 days, I waited at the hospital until my friend, Darlanna, a midwife at my office, came to waiting area and told Dave and I that Evan had been born. Moments later, we were taken to Jenny’s room and got to hold Evan for the first time. We were given our own room where we boarded with Evan. Jenny was discharged a few hours later and brought Evan to us. She hugged us both and we all cried as she said goodbye to her newborn son. Jenny’s mom hugged us too and told us to take good care of Evan. Then they were gone, and it was just the three of us. I looked at Dave as I held Evan in my arms and remember saying, “We don’t deserve him. He’s just too wonderful.”

David said, “Yes, we do deserve him. We’ll love him and care for him like no one else can.”

I went to sleep happy that night, the first time in months I was truly happy. I felt complete. While I slept, a terrible snowstorm came up. Dave called the next morning; it was Valentine’s Day. “I’m on my way in to get you! Your mom is with me and Katie. We’ll be there as soon as we can.”

I was excited! We were on our way home! Our family would be complete! The nurses at the hospital all fused over us as we left. There were congratulations all around as we left. We drove over some rather trecherous roads to take my mother home and for my dad to see Evan for the first time.  We finally arrived at my parents. Dad was overcome with joy as he held his grandson for the first time. After mom and dad had held him for a while, we decided to head home.

Home, as a new family. It was wonderful! The first night was sleepless. Evan cried every time I left the room, so I spent the night sleeping in the rocking chair just so he knew I was with him. Dave went back to work the next morning and Katie and I were left to care for Evan.  Katie loved running to get things for me and just fawned over her new baby brother. She was so happy to be the big sister!

In Pennsylvania, a birth mother has 72 hours to go to the lawyer’s office and sign over her rights to the baby. 72 hours after Evan was born, we had just said goodbye to Dave’s mom who had come to meet Evan for the first time. Dave was getting ready to shower from a long day of work. The phone rang. I was feeding Evan, so Dave answered it. “What? You’re serious. Okay, fine. What time do you close? We’ll be there as soon as we can, but this is going to happen tonight, or she’ll just have to wait until we can get there tomorrow.”

Dave walked into the living room where Katie and I were taking turns giving Evan his bottle. “We have to take him back.”

“David, stop it! That’s not funny!”

“I’m not making it up. That was the lawyer’s office. Jenny changed her mind. She wants him back.”

“NO!! NO!!!! I won’t give him back!! He’s ours!”

“No, honey, he’s Jenny’s and she has a right to him.”

“But she promised! She said there was no way she’d change her mind! How could she do this?”

“We have to go honey. Get him dressed to go.”

I knew he was serious. Dave didn’t joke about things like this. Katie began screaming and bawling. “You can’t take my baby brudder! He’s mine!” Her words just tore at my heart. She was only 4, how could she even begin to understand what was happening here? We quickly called my parents and Dave’s mom. We called our babysitter to see if she could watch Katie while we took care of things. We all were crying hysterically, including Evan, the whole way to town. We dropped Katie off at the sitter’s house. Nancy, our sitter, hugged me tight and said she was praying for us. My mom called our church’s prayer chain while we were gone. Prayers began going up all over the place.

The exchange was made at the lawyer’s office. Jenny was in one room, we were in the other. The lawyer carried Evan to Jenny. We were to wait until Jenny left with him before we were allowed to leave. The lawyer kept watch that we wouldn’t have to cross paths. Jenny and a friend waited and waited outside the office, we think waiting on us. An hour went by. Finally, our lawyer said, “I don’t know why she isn’t leaving, but I’m sure you’d like to leave. I’ll walk you to your car. You don’t have to talk to her. We’ll just keep moving past her vehicle.”

As the lawyer walked us out, I made eye contact with Jenny. Her expression seemed to say, “I’m sorry.” She seemed like she wanted to tell me something. I, however, had nothing to say to her. I counted her as a good friend. We’d become close over the weeks we spent together. I felt betrayed.

I cried the whole way home. We picked up Katie, who by this time, had cried herself to sleep. We’d explain things better to her later.

When we arrived home, my best friend, Becca called. “We’re coming over.” I wasn’t sure I wanted company, but it was the best thing that could have happened. Becca and Nathan arrived and just sat with us. Becca kept her arm around me as I cried, yelled, tried to ration what had just happened. Neither she or Nathan said a word, they just listened and grieved with us. They left us talk without answering or offering any reasoning or speculation why things hadn’t worked out. They were just there for us, a gift that was truly priceless to us.

We were finished. There would be no more children for us….natural or adopted. We’d been hurt too badly.

The next two weeks, I stayed home with Katie and just enjoyed every moment of her. I wasn’t sure I could go back to work. I finally did though. My coworkers greeted me with love and concern. Some just hugged me because they didn’t know what to say. Others sat and cried with me. Carol felt awful as though it were her fault. I reassured her it wasn’t.

The door to Evan’s room remained shut for 6 months before I’d even consider going in to package the clothing and items we had in there for him. I kept the outfit we brought him home in as well as a blue monkey and teddy bear we’d gotten for him. It’s all I had left. I packaged the clothes and gave them to a couple at church who had just had a baby boy. It was time to let go and move on.

We grieved a long time. It was like there was a death in our family. Though we had him just 2 short days, we loved him so much. He was and still is “our son”. That was 6 years ago.

We decided our “baby days” were over. But I still wasn’t cured of my terminal case of “baby envy”. There would be one more chapter yet.

(To be continued….)

♥Miriam

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New Friends in Different Places

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The last of my choral concerts for the year took me to Mechanicsburg. We were at Grantham Brethren in Christ Church as a matter of fact. I must say that this church possibly has the best acoustics I’ve ever encountered in my life and we (for an unprofessional group) sounded awesome!!  The crowd wasn’t really big, but I saw a few familiar faces in the crowd, many of which surprised me that they had traveled this far just to see us. At the end of the concert, I stayed on stage a bit longer and talked with my friend Michelle from the choir. I sort of felt like I hadn’t really had a good chance to talk with her the whole choir season, so it was nice to take a few moments to catch up with her. I was the last to leave the stage.

Katie ran up to me at that point because she “missed me” as she said.  At that moment, a lady from the audience came up to me. Now, this is not an unusual occurrance. Perfect strangers come up to me all the time after concerts to say nice things about my solos (a lot which I’m not sure I truly deserve), so I smiled and said “hello” just like I usually do when I meet a stranger.

The lady smiled at me and said, “Hi, Miriam.” (Okay, I wasn’t surprised….my name was in the program). But then she looked at Katie and says, “You’re Katie.” A million thoughts raced through my mind in that second. Things like, “That was weird,” and “Wow, she’s good!” and “She’s not a stalker is she?”

I looked at her and said, “Yes, this is Katie.”

She sort of giggled and said, “I follow your blog!”

Waves of relief washed over me! I was so excited! Wow! Who would have thought! We discovered that we have several mutual friends (that surprised me, but yet didn’t. I have great friends that share my stuff so this didn’t come as a true surprise). We soon discovered that her daughter is close in age to Katie and likes to play softball too. Ironically, her daughter’s name was Katelyn! 🙂

I was so glad that she came up to me and told me that she was one of my blog readers. It just made my night!

Thinking of my new “friend” made me think of a little poem my grandma used to recite:

Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other is gold.                                                                                                                  

A circle is round, it has no end. That’s how long, I will be your friend.                                                                                                             

A fire burns bright, it warms the heart. We’ve been friends, from the very start.                                                                                   

You have one hand, I have the other. Put them together, We have each other.                                                                                      

Silver is precious, Gold is too. I am precious, and so are you.                                                                                                                          

You help me, and I’ll help you and together we will see it through.                                                                                                                       

The sky is blue The Earth is green I can help to keep it clean                                                                                                                      

Across the land Across the sea Friends forever We will always be.

(Author Unknown)

Just goes to show, you never know where a new friend might pop up!

♥Miriam

Say a Little Prayer

I’m sitting beside a new person in choir this year.  I don’t know her well, but I can tell that she is really enjoying the fellowship that choir offers. I’ve also sensed that she’s lonely. We have very little in common, other than we both like to sing and we both suffer with arthritis. She has freely shared about her life with me. She’s suffered through 8 surgeries mainly replacing major joints like her knees and hips. She lost her husband about 3 years ago, and then nearly died herself just 4 months later during a surgery. She’s had a bad time of it the past few years.

Tonight, when I went to choir and walked in, I was in an awesome mood! I was at my favorite place to be on a Thursday night! I stopped and chatted with some friends before I went to my seat. When I arrived at my seat, there she sat, crying.  I quietly took my seat, not sure what to say or do.

“I’m not having a very good day today,” she sobbed.

Thinking of the things I’ve been learning as I develop my gift of encouragement, I answered, “What’s happening?”

“They moved my mom to a different nursing home today, and it’s terrible. I don’t understand why they felt they needed to move her. The place she’s at is dreadful. I don’t really want her there, and she’s blaming me for letting it happen. It wasn’t up to me, but she’s not understanding that,” she said, as a tear trickled down her cheek.

“Oh my, that’s sad,” I replied. The nurse in me started asking questions about her general health, where they had taken her, trying to assess what type of care the woman might get.  It didn’t sound promising the way she described it.

“I want to take her somewhere else, somewhere she can feel more at home and less like she’s in a hospital.”

I offered some suggestions of good places I knew of for her to investigate.

“Maybe I shouldn’t have come here tonight,” she said. “I called Fred (our director) and told him I didn’t feel like I could come this evening, and he said I should, that it would help. I hope he’s right.”

“He is,” I replied. In my mind, I journeyed back 6 years to this same month, pretty close to this same week. I was just getting over the shock of losing our adopted son after having him home with us for 2 days. I was devastated. I wasn’t sure I could return to choir. But, I was encouraged to return. I believe choir saved me that year. “He is right,” I said again, because I knew it was true.

We started to sing our songs, and soon I was seeing a bit of a smile on her face. It was time for me to do my solo and after I did it, I sat back down. The director said that he wanted someone to be a prayer warrior for each soloist this year. She leaned over to me and said, “I’ll pray for you!” I was touched.

Prayer_Team

As we were leaving, she was in the lobby picking up invitation cards for our concerts. I felt a subtle tap on the shoulder. I knew who it was. “Yes, God?”

“Pray for her,” I heard Him speak.

I sat down my music and purse and went back in to her. “Can I pray for you before I leave?” I asked.

“Oh, would you?” she replied.

So there, in the middle of the lobby, we joined hands and I prayed for my sister in the faith. “I’m so glad I came this evening! Thank you,” she said. I reached out and hugged her. I didn’t know if she was a “huggy” type of person, but it didn’t matter to me…she needed a hug.

“I’m going to call some of those places you told me about first thing tomorrow. Thank you so much,” she said.

Thank you, Lord for prompting me to reach out to her and touch her heart.

♥Miriam

My Cup Runneth Over

If you know me well, you know that I like tea. Well, maybe that’s not entirely true. I love tea! I love to drink tea, but more than that, I love to “go to tea”!

Homemade Scones

Homemade Scones

Have you ever been to a tea? You should try it some time. The tea, of course, is the featured  delight, but there’s so much more to it. There’s a small serving of soup, a salad, tiny little sandwiches barely more than 2-3 bites big. There are scones….oh, I love the scones…..especially with lemon curd and clotted cream. Yes, clotted cream. I know it sounds disgusting, but don’t knock it till you try it. Fresh fruit accompanies the scones. Then there are these little, rich, tempting  desserts….just a bite, but oh so decedent!  Some tea rooms will end your tea with a sorbet to cleanse your palate. The whole experience is just wonderful. But there’s something even better than the tea and food.  It’s the time spent with those you are having tea with. It’s a time to relax and just enjoy each other.  You can easily visit for hours sipping tea and nibbling sweets and savories. It’s not uncommon for each participant to consume more than one pot of tea.

Mini Desserts

Mini Desserts

Today, I enjoyed a different kind of tea. I was attending a conference. The people attending this conference are all involved in camping ministry in some way. We were having tea to experience what a tea would be like in a camp setting and to think about how we could incorporate teas at our own camps. I got to participate with some unlikely people.Across from me at my table, was an older woman, old enough to be my mother. We really didn’t know each other, though we had eaten a meal at the same table before. During the course of the tea, she asked questions of each of us and we were able to tell our stories of how we got involved in camping ministry.  She shared hers as well.

To my left, was the most unlikely of people to attend a tea. It was our camp cook. This was definitely a new experience for him. He inquired if he should extend his pinky to drink from his cup, as he knew this what proper English people did for tea. He began to discuss what he would prepare for a tea and began to recite a menu that sounded more like a feast than a tea.  Roasted marinated pork tenderloin, baked chicken….obviously, he had never experienced a tea before. He was a bit unrefined, but did his best to participate. He asked me many questions and began to refer to me as the “tea guru”.  But, during our tea, my table learned about his passion for cooking, his passion to reach teens with God’s love, his passion to be in service for God. We learned that he was a new believer, having just become a Christian in June of this past year. As he shared his story, I gleaned a new admiration for him.

To my right, was another unlikely guest. Like me, she was a first time attendee at the conference. But, to my surprise, we knew each other! We hadn’t seen each other for 37 years….we were in 2nd grade when we last saw each other.  Who would have thought I’d be having tea with a childhood friend? We were surprised to learn that we both have daughters that are close in age, that we both ended up in Christian ministry around the same time. She had gone through some struggles over the years, as have I. Our lives were pretty parallel to each others. We reminisced about our 2nd grade teacher and we pondered as to what had happened to others that were in our class. The years melted away and we were 7 again!

Tea Sandwiches

Tea Sandwiches

I thought of the devotional that was offered prior to the tea. What kind of cup were we? Were we a broken cup in need of repair. Were we a cracked cup in need of some reinforcement? Was our cup empty? I thought about this as we enjoyed our tea and goodies. I thought of the differences in the people at my table. Our camp cook was recently an empty cup and was now filled with Holy Spirit. The lady across from me was once a cracked cup, and just needed reassurance that she and her husband were doing the right thing in entering Christian ministry. My childhood friend had once been a broken cup, but God had glued her back together. And me….I was a full cup. I was full with the new respect for those around me, full with happiness for reconnecting with a long-lost friend, full of hope that I too would find fulfillment as I progressed on my journey to grow in my job.  Yes, my cup was full, so full that it began to overflow. I was so thankful for the friendships grown and strengthened over tea.  But more than this, was so thankful that I get to serve God doing something I enjoy.

David knew this feeling when he wrote the 23rd Psalm. Verse 5 says, “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; MY CUP RUNNETH OVER.” He knew the joy that comes from being in communion with God. What kind of cup are you?

♥Miriam