Sunday, March 15, 2009

mom's hospital

I once lived in a hospital.
for 5 1/2 weeks.
it was one of the most difficult periods of my life.

and I wasn't even ill.

so when I think about all the hundreds of thousands of people who are currently ill and living within the confines of a hospital's walls, I want to fall to my knees and thank God for the grace that has surrounded my own life.

this is me, 33 years old, grad student:
I am a mom of jake (nearly 5 and quite disabled) and beau (3), deep into my first year of studying for my Master's in Social Work. I retired from my career at Nordstrom just over a year ago, and have known for the past 4 months that I am pregnant.
a planned pregnancy . . . even timed pretty well, as my due date is the middle of june. finish first year of school, have baby during summer break, then finish school next year. yep, all is good.
we laugh when the doctor writes her order for an ultrasound: "history of twins."
we laugh when the ultrasound tech talks to us about the two babies in my belly. that is, after the shock and instantaneous tears have had their moment.

and all goes remarkably well until we go to the doctor for my 28-week check, when we are told that I'm starting to dilate --- okay, pre-term labor --- and that they will be admitting me to the hospital.
skipping a bunch of unnecessary details, I soon ended up at the University of Utah hospital, ante-partum unit, drugged up and getting checked by medical students every morning at 5.

for 5 1/2 weeks.

the physical part was tiring (who would think that bedrest could exhaust you?), but the emotional part was the difficult piece. I feared for the lives of my babies, yet I held onto my faith that all would be okay. God was giving us the opportunity to have our twins again, and all would be fine.
and that is what I clung to.
my health was not at risk, and the babies were healthy. they just needed to incubate within for a while longer.

everything was fine, and those little babies are now close to turning 13.
yet it was still a traumatic time period for me, full of doubt and sorrow and loss and overheated emotions.
mainly because I had so little control over the outcome.
I could stay in bed as ordered, I could eat and gain weight as ordered, and everything else was up to . . . what? fate? God? nature? destiny? my doctor?

when we're ill, stressed, out of sorts, being hammered by life, whatever the situation, we want to be able to do something about it. and when we can't, we feel impotent. helpless. and sometimes we lash out, sometimes we withdraw, sometimes we accept the help we're given, sometimes we weather the storm on our own.
holding onto faith is the most difficult thing of all, yet it is often the most important thing of all. if only we were born with the knowledge of exactly how to grip that faith and let it light our way.

the hospitals around our city have been nicknamed by my kids: the hospital where Jake has stayed numerous times is Jakie's Hospital, the hospital where the other 3 kids were born is Our Hospital, and the hospital where I lounged for all those weeks is Mom's Hospital.
though they have different names, and different staffs and locations, I know that they are all filled with the same thing: people experiencing and working on different levels and understandings of faith.
my wish for all of them today is just a tiny increase in that level, wherever it --- and they --- may be.

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