It's amazing how slowly 9 months of my life passed while pregnant with Madison. Once I found out I was pregnant I immediately felt a sense of anticipation for the time our baby would arrive. It seemed as though the weeks could not pass by soon enough and that I would be pregnant forever. But of course I wasn't and 6 weeks ago today Madison arrived and changed my life forever. Since her entry into the world the time has flown by and I can't believe she has been a part of our family for 6 weeks now. It is possible that in the past 6 weeks I have experienced every human emotion possible since becoming Madison's mommy and it has left me both overwhelmed and amazed.
The first thing I felt was sheer amazement that the baby I had carried for 39 weeks was finally outside of my body and she was beautiful. Then I felt joy because my baby could move her legs, which we were afraid she wouldn't be able to do. Madison's surgery to close her spine had me feeling helpless. Seeing her tangled in the wires of monitors and IVs in the NICU made me ache with sadness. Strangely enough I felt very calm about bringing her home to care for her on our own. Then in the blink of an eye I felt exhausted. I will say that I think all the restless nights in my last months of pregnancy coping with indigestion and the world's smallest bladder helped prepare me to sleep very little with a newborn in the house. Next, I was baffled that such a tiny, beautiful little girl could make such stinky and disgusting messes in her diapers. Before I knew it I had my first taste of fear as a parent when Madison's incision cite became swollen which led us to admit her to the hospital once again for her second surgery. That whole ordeal produced feelings of anxiety, frustration, panic, and heartache (refer to Dustin's blog "No Words" if you missed that story). And now that we are back at home with Madison and she is doing so well I've begun to feel adjusted and happy with life as Madison's mommy.
It has literally felt like we've been on a roller coaster of emotions these past 6 weeks and in the midst of all these experiences, several things have occurred to me. Not once have I felt alone. That's because the Lord has never left me. He's been there during every high and low right along with me. And it's also because the Lord gifted me with an amazing husband, a loving family, and incredible friends who have supported me in every way possible- physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It has occurred to me in these past 6 weeks that God is using my infant daughter to teach me lessons in faith and love that I've never learned til now. I have experienced a new kind of love since Madison arrived and it completely overwhelms me. I understand for perhaps the first time just how much my Heavenly Father really loves me as His daughter and would do anything for me, even give His life (John 3:16), just as I would do for my daughter. Because of Madison's Spina Bifida we have encountered challenges that many parents do not and God has worked through them to demonstrate His power. I have seen Madison, in her 6 weeks, demonstrate more resiliency and strength than most will in a lifetime. Her strength comes from the Lord- I have no doubt about that. And He has given me supernatural strength to meet Madison's needs and cope with overwhelming circumstances when I thought I couldn't anymore. It has also occurred to me that a medical prognosis is no match for God's power to work miracles and heal, as evidenced by Madison's progress with her Spina Bifida. Does that mean I have no faith in modern medicine? Absolutely not. God has used the hands of many doctors, surgeons, and nurses to care for our sweet girl after her surgeries and we are so grateful for them. Though Madison's body bears scars from the surgeries related to a birth defect, I WILL NOT allow her to believe she is less beautiful or perfect because of them. She has made my life full and I will spend every day of my life making sure hers is lived to the fullest as well.
My greatest realization from the past 6 weeks is that God is in control and nothing I ever did or will do can change that. God has used the birth of Madison and her Spina Bifida to show me that He can heal, He knows what's best, and He loves me despite my worry and fear. God knew all along that Madison would be born with Spina Bifida and that he would heal her and make her strong. And while I wish Madison did not have to endure what she has and will continue to endure, I know He formed her just the way He wanted her. Nothing I did or didn't do created these circumstances. To think I could possess such control and power is laughable. "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." Proverbs 19:21 I'm grateful the Lord's purpose for Madison Grace involves me and humbled that He has used our 6-week old bundle of joy to help me better grasp His awesome.
The last few things I'll share are a few insights into Madison's development over her past 6 weeks (much like the Top 10 List I wrote several weeks ago):
-Madison's nickname is "peanut"...that's what she looked like the first time I laid eyes on her in our first ultrasound.
-We think Madison is not too far away from showing us a full fledged smile. She's shown signs of trying, but she hasn't quite got the hang of it yet. I know my heart will melt when she finally does.
-As reported in an earlier post, Madison has tons of headbands. I'm glad to report the headband collection has increased by 4. That brings the grand total to 31! I'll post some pics of her later to prove to you that she is the cutest thing in a headband you will ever see!
-Madison is mesmerized by Lambie, what we call the stuffed lamb my friend Shelia gave her, that plays the song, "Jesus Loves Me." We wind it up and let her listen to and look at it when she's going down for a nap and 9 times out of 10 it lulls her to sleep. Thank you, Shelia!
-I know you won't believe me, but the hair on top of Madison's head naturally stands ups and resembles Elvis' hair. You probably think that since I'm such an Elvis fan I've tried to style her hair that way but I promise I have not. Anybody know where we can get an infant Elvis costume? I think she's destined to be Elvis for her first Halloween! :)
-While sleeping, Madison positions her arms beside her head like she's being arrested. It's too funny!
-The last thing I'll report is about her eyes. I made up a song that I sing to Madison to the tune of "Camptown Ladies (Doo-Dah)"...
Guess who's eyes are turning brown? Mad-i-son, Mad-i-son
Guess who's eyes are turning brown? Mad-i-son Grace Rawls
They are turning brown. That makes Daddy frown.
Guess who's eyes are turning brown? Mad-i-son Grace Rawls
If you couldn't tell by my lyrics, Dustin is upset that Madison's once blue eyes, are turning brown like mine.
Well, in the words of Porky Pig..."That's all folks!" Take care and God bless each of you!