10 years ago today i was amazed by Grace.
10 years (i feel my heart clench within me).
10 years that i have missed my Caleb.
BUT 10 years closer to the day i will hold him...
i was 8 weeks pregnant in August when the bleeding began. The doctor told me the sack had not attached completely to the uterus. He said there was a 50/50 chance baby would make it. With a 2yr and 1yr old in tow i went on bed rest.
Every time there was excessive bleeding i was in a panic.
But i believed anything was possible with God (my own mother was born, 53 years ago, weighing 1lb something ounces).
There were weekly visits to the obgyn to monitor baby. Hearing the heartbeat every week brought me great relief.
On Friday Sept. 15th i was 14.5 weeks pregnant.
Michael took Noah and Emilie to the grandparents house then went on to work.
i had a weekly obgyn appointment that morning that a girlfriend graciously transported me to.
i wore a lavender t-shirt, denim overalls, and birkenstocks.
i waited in the waiting room with other pregnant women and a woman with her newborn. i hoped again to make it another week(and then another, and another, and...).
moments later i was lying down, my belly exposed, with dr. peters measuring, then searching for the heartbeat. i waited....waited...waited...looked at him with a desperate "Please" in my eyes... waited..."barump, barump, barump, barump, barump." Tears of relief and joy!
i scheduled an appointment for the next week, and was driven home.
Obedient to bed rest, i arrived home and laid down for the remainder of the day.
It was a cool September day. i left the front door open, letting the breeze find it's way through the screened door, and drifted off to sleep on the couch.
At 4:30 there was a knock at the door. My dear friend, Cari, showed up unexpectedly (and yet expected by God. Tears). i stood up, took a step towards the door, and fluid ran down my legs.
My water broke.
In that moment emotions attempted to surface, i was heading towards reeling into complete panic, BUT GOD took His place in front of my fears and questions. As i asked, "is this happening?" The Comforter said, "I have not left you alone, I AM with you all the way."
Cari now in the house, phoned Michael, helped me into some fresh clothes, and held me up before the Life-Sustainer in prayer.
Michael arrived, and we made the 1.25 hr trip to the hospital.
There isn't a book titled "What To Expect When Your Not Expecting." (Nobody would want to buy it). I didn't know what to expect. I only knew to EXPECT GOD to be with me all the way. I prayed, "Father go before us. Let everything happen as you have already orchestrated. You ordain our days, You've ordained this one. Let us live every detail you have already written."
After my water broke, contractions began. They were minuets apart when we reached the hospital.
We were directed to go to the E.R. (this policy should be changed). There i demanded to go directly to a room. My labor and tears eventually convinced the receptionist to comply.
Once we were in the E.R. room i ran for the toilet (it's not pretty. it is what it is). The labor increasing. The moment to deliver was here.
And it was finished.
Labor was over.
My womb was childless.
The arms that should have been holding a baby, were childless.
I found my way to Michael. Sat on the E.R. bed. So, So sorry that i had no gift in my belly, or in my arms as an offering for him.
A few moments later our nurse, Sheila arrived. Sheila was sent by the Alpha&Omega (Beginnng & the End). She found us defeated, and then gave us Hope.
Sheila retrieved our 14.5 week old baby from the "throne." She cleaned baby off. She wrapped him in cloths, and laid him in a small tray. Then Sheila spoke the most beautiful words, which are forever etched on my heart, "it appears that you have a son, and he has his daddy's strong chin."
Sheila excused herself from the room, and from the Sacred to be shared only between mommy, daddy, and child.
i asked Michael if i might have some time with Caleb alone first. It wasn't out of selfishness. i longed to share in the beauty of this gift, our son, together. Honestly, i feared what my expression would be when my "eyes saw his unformed body." i wanted Holy. Just as that Mysterious Unity from which we were derived had fallen on us in the hospital rooms when Noah and Emilie (and later, Josie) were born, i desired It here.
With Michael out of the room, i prayed, "God please make me to see Caleb with your eyes. i don't want to miss a thing." i unwrapped him from the cloth, and increased in love as my eyes beheld "fearfully and wonderfully made."
Caleb was just barely the length of my small hand. He had Michael's strong chin. His long fingers so delicate on hands no bigger than my pinky nail. His 10 tiny toes were beautifully ugly (they are just like his great grandmother's, his daddy's, his sisters. no one loves those ugly toes more than me). Then God took me past Caleb's physical body, and showed me his character. He showed me integrity, tenderness, and a boy who suited his name, Caleb Michael. In Joshua, Caleb is said to have "followed the Lord wholeheartedly." That is my greatest desire for my children. Caleb's journey had sent him on a course from my womb directly Home.
i held Caleb in my hand and sang over him. Worshiped our Creator with my son. Though Caleb was born into Heaven, i believed that as i worshiped we were before the throne of God together.
I sang "As i look back on this road i've traveled, i see so many times He's carried me through, and if there's one thing that i've learned in my life, my Redeemer is Faithful and True. My Redeemer is Faithful and True, and everything He's said, He will do, and every morning His mercies are new. My Redeemer, is Faithful, and True."
And I sang and cried, "How Great Thou Art," the enormity of every word magnified by the child i held...thinking, "Your works ARE WONDER-FULL, i KNOW full well!
and Glory filled that room, and my mommy heart.
Michael returned. He entered Holy. He held his boy. He adored Caleb. We prayed with Caleb together, and pondered, "God's precious thoughts," and that He had so graciously given us our boy.
Hours later, we stole Caleb from the hospital (with Sheila's help).
We brought him home.
It was 3:00 a.m. when we wrapped his body in a piece cut out of our wedding-gift-quilt that hung behind our bed. The name given to the quilt is "Surrounded by His Love."
We laid his body in a cedar box that was a gift to me as a child. It said, "Girl's Treasure" on top. i had finally found a treasure to place in it.
We were enveloped in God's amazing grace upon grace.
We longed for Home.
The following day we took our Treasure to our family home to lay his body in the ground, and to release him to his Father.
The moments of this day were also written by God. He went before us and lead us through every beautiful detail.
Flowers carefully picked by Caleb's Nana. Slate lovingly made by his Gramps.
Today you will find us at Bass Lake. We'll be releasing balloons, watching them drift into the sky, hoping with a childlike faith that someday we'll arrive Home to find our son (and brother) in a room filled with our offerings (mine are the ones covered in lipstick kisses). And as we release them we'll delight in Caleb, in God's mysterious ways. We will "look back, and hope forward" until that magnificent day when we finally make it home.
Photo taken September 15th 2007
May God be glorified.