12 days: It’s a Wonderful Life
One of the classes I taught on my recent blog hiatus was Anthropology. Since I am a chemistry and mathematics teacher, social studies was a stretch because outside of required courses for liberal arts I had not really studied these areas in detail for quite a while. I am well read and a lover of history which helped, but I still spent hours in the evening reading all sorts of material that I thought would benefit the students in my classroom. The final unit for the Anthropology class was a cultural anthropology project where the scholars would study their own families and traditions. As I was outlining the expectations for the unit, the students asked for examples for each one.
When we got to favorite family memory, I honestly choked up a little bit. I explained that I had many as a child, but my most favorite memory as an adult occurred on the day my youngest child was born. I told them about the magical moment our family shared that first night together, but my storytelling didn’t include the background of why it is my most precious memory.
Our family lost two babies between our two daughters, and one of those babies is the twin to the little girl celebrating her tenth birthday. Our daughter Erin’s birth was so traumatic that we weren’t sure if we wanted to have more children, but God certainly had other plans. Yet losing two babies within 6 months of each other was more than all of our hearts could take. Following the second loss, I became very ill at school and passed out. When I was at the doctor, they asked if I could be pregnant. Reminding them that 6 weeks previous we had a miscarriage, there was no way I could be pregnant. Imagine my shock when I learned that indeed I was still pregnant with a second baby.
We waited to tell our children because of their brave, but tender hearts. When we finally did, they were excited, but after we put everyone to bed that night, Reed came with tears in his eyes asking us the question heaviest on his heart. “Mom and Dad, are we going to lose this baby too? Because if we do, I just don’t think my heart can handle it.” There was nothing we could do beside hug our redheaded boy and cry and pray with him.
Five people held their breath until that beautiful December day when on her own terms she came into the world. But if there is one thing true about the members of Team Stevens, we live life. We celebrate the big things, but we specialize in the little stuff. Because the big kids were in school at the moment their baby arrived, we decided to get some sleep ourselves (having been up through the night) and our meet-n-greet would occur as soon as school was out.
The moment was joyous. We all breathed a collective gasp of relief, as we prepared to be a family of six here on earth. My sweetie and I had a plan long in the works for how we wanted to spend the evening. The big kids were ecstatic when they learned the details. In addition to the hospital bag with necessities for momma and baby, we sneakily had a bag packed with favorite Christmas movies.
Although it took some coordination with hospital staff, we requested no visitors so we could simply bask in the glow of happiness and joy at receiving one of God’s most beautiful blessings. We had food brought in; shut the door, and all four kids snuggled into the hospital bed with me, daddy tucked in the rocking chair bedside. Our first team huddle was under blankets while watching Christmas favorites on the OB floor; all six of us snuggled so close because we didn’t want to forget one moment.
When I was little, I only wished for two things when I grew up – to be a momma and a teacher. I never imagined the journey either of those dreams would take me. Nestled under cotton blankets, I breathed in every moment of the way God made that happen (once again) at our baby’s very first movie night.