Saturday, May 24, 2008

sweetly broken

I was given a gift Friday night.

My friend Ashley gave me the honor of witnessing her baby boy come into the world.

She allowed me to be there to say hello and goodbye.

Ashley found out on Thursday afternoon that her baby no longer had a heartbeat and most likely had passed away somewhere around 16 weeks gestation.

Sadness.

My love for my friend drove me to making a meal and arranging for meals for the days to come. That is all I could do - because I couldn't do anything else to make it better.

After dropping off dinner for her family, I just had to go visit her at the hospital while she was laboring. I know that no words take away the pain, but I was hoping that having a friend stand beside her in her grief would strengthen her to get through the agony of labor and delivery of her son who would not be coming home to nurse and be cuddled.

Ashley and I laugh a lot together. I am so grateful that our friendship is deep enough to cry together too. She was my very first friend when we moved here and has since become a confidant, a mentor and encourager. She is a woman who practices what she preaches and is genuine, loving, generous and wise. When I peeked my head in her hospital room door, she saw me and said, "My friend!" She didn't know I was coming down to see her, and I didn't know that I would be staying for her long night of labor.

As we chatted, I sat on the doctor's rolling stool at the foot of her bed and started to rub her feet and legs. The tears came in waves for both of us. I noticed the baby warmer waiting with receiving blankets draped over it. The instrument table was set up, covered with green hospital drapes to be unveiled for delivery. The monitor screen showed the peaks and valleys of her contractions.

I quickly noticed what was missing. There was no "woosh-woosh-woosh-woosh" of a baby's heartbeat from the monitor. In fact, the plugs where those cords would be attached to the machine remained empty and the graph at the top of the screen was blank.

I have no answers. Only questions. I don't know why God allows tragedies to happen.

I do know that when we walk with Him through valleys with a broken heart, wholly surrendered, that He uses circumstances for change in us and in others.

Ashley labored seven more hours while I just sat and rubbed. Her husband Brian read scripture and prayed with her. He was an emotional rock for Ashley to rest upon. Her nurse Alicia was amazing. She had the perfect balance of sympathy and care. Ashley's brother arrived and some dear friends from their church added to the mix. We laughed, talked and prayed.... and waited.

It seemed that her labor wasn't progressing. She seemed anxious about that. Alicia kept assuring us that delivery would probably be a whirlwind and happen quickly.

She was right. When her visitors left so that she could get her next dose of labor inducing medication, her contractions finally kicked into high gear and she started focusing on the end.

Soon the end arrived. With one push their little boy was out. Oh, so small. He weighed only six ounces. More tears, but relief that it was over. As Brian comforted Ashley, I quietly walked over to the warmer to see the little guy. His face was quiet. His eyes were still fused closed. His hands and feet were so TINY, so detailed, so perfect. His hand was smaller than my fingernail on my little finger.

Precious. I feel honored to have witnessed this intimate moment with my friend. Please keep her and her family in your prayers.

"For you created my most inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Psalm 139:13-16


1 comment:

Mountain Mama said...

Oh My Friend!
Thanks so much for all your love. Brian and I were blessed by you and are so thankful that you came to be with us. Our time was sweet with lots of laughter and tears. I will treasure that time with you forever. When are coming back to rub my feet?
Um Ok - talk about making cry. Your words were perfect.
I love you so much!
ashley

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