Saturday, December 12, 2009

Less Like Scars

I have been wanting to post more about our experience with Lancelot's birth and the journey we have been on since then but I haven't quite figured out how to begin. Besides that our life has been insane lately with a move and Prince Charming writing exams and two very busy kids. Lancelot is now six months old and the size of his sister at a year! He is so big I can't seem to keep him in clothes and we've already had to move him up a car seat size! It's awesome to see this from a kid who couldn't grow and we had to force feed. Lately things have been a bit rough for Lancelot since he has had a cold and has also been teething (he got his first eye tooth!). He's been fussy, not sleeping well, and crying quite a bit. But it sure is a relief to know that he CAN cry now! Anyway, I was asked to share what I had been learning lately with my church and so I decided to post what I am saying there so that you could read it as well.

What I'm going to share today is not so much what I've learned as what I'm in the process of beginning to understand. There is too much to share in just a couple of minutes, plus I'm not sure I'd get through it if I tried, so rather than a whole speech I'm just going to mention a few points and then play a song that pretty much sums it all up. This year, as I've kind of shared before has been by far the most challenging of my life. Moving to a city when I'm a small town girl and not putting down roots since I knew it wasn't permanent so therefore feeling very trapped and lonely a lot of the time. Having my husband gone a lot when my love language is quality time and I had a pre-schooler and was pregnant and then had a newborn. The strain of university life on a young family when neither of us was working. The exhaustion of a stressful pregnancy and selfishly, feeling like I was 25 and my entire life was on hold just so that I could maintain my families life. These things were difficult....but none of them compared,even slightly, to the main event of this year and largest crisis of my life so far which was having our son. In a way it seems wrong to say that the most traumatic experience in your life was giving birth to a child. After all, millions of woman do it daily. But even after already having a child and knowing the excruciating pain and emotional upheaval that can be part of the process....I still wasn't prepared for our experience the second time around. As most of you know, our son's birth was quick and complicated. It felt like a freight train screamed through me and then in the aftermath there was this baby who wasn't breathing and I could hardly process the situation. I was terrified we were going to lose him before his life had even begun. That terror passed quickly in reality although it seemed like eternity in that instant. But the following few weeks were even worse. Like a nightmare that I couldn’t wake up from. At first there was the confusion of not knowing why he kept turning blue each time he cried. The faint hope that it was something insignificant that would soon pass mingled with the dread that we were dealing with more permanent damage. The ride to a bigger hospital in an ambulance was the worst drive of my life. I remember thinking about how I had sometimes wondered what riding in an ambulance felt like and how I wished I had never wanted to know. It felt surreal to look outside and see sunshine but inside that ambulance my life felt like it was in shatters. Then there were the days of tests, night after night of not getting much needed sleep because every second I wasn't by his side I was wondering if at that moment something was making him cry and if we were going to get a call with the worst possible news. I felt torn because I didn't feel I could leave his side but I missed my daughter so much and just wanted to be home with her. I didn't want to talk to anyone or see anyone because the pain was just to intense and I felt that nobody could possibly understand. And for the most part not many people could. I didn't blame them, I knew that I wouldn’t have understood before it happened to me and I knew they meant well...but I couldn't bear to
talk to people in person. To hear them say things, however well intentioned...that just proved they had no idea what I was going through. I wondered if this was how I'd always feel...isolated by the pain of either losing a child or living with a child with severe medical issues. The fear and pain were so intense that I felt like my body was just functioning on auto pilot while my mind and heart were at war. I knew God was with me, I saw people’s prayers being answered, but I couldn’t FEEL it. All I could feel was some mixture of numbness and terror. There was one time in particular when he was having tests done and he was crying so hard and nobody could calm him and it didn’t seem like the oxygen was working...there was so much panic and I got sent out of the room and I broke down in the hallway and I thought this is it. It’s over. Some nurses walked by and asked if I was ok and I couldn’t even answer. How do you answer? And where is God when you are facing the absolute bleakest moment? That night I thought of the footprints poem... “when you see only one set of is then that I carried you.” I may not have felt completely hopeful and peaceful in that exact moment but it was God who gave me the strength to not completely lose my mind when I felt like I was losing everything else. Maybe he didn’t fix it all...although in the end our son HAS experienced healing and we give God so much glory for that....but we walked through some HORRIBLE times and experienced things I would not wish on ANY parent. The key thing though is that God did and is walking with us. And I think walk is the key’s a journey. I thought that if our son was somehow cured I’d feel better. That my paranoia about his health, my anxiety about being out in public, being around people who coughed or sneezed, my fears, obsessions, and panic and the constant state of stress would stop. But they didn’t. It is only now in the last few weeks that things are SLOWLY starting to ease up. I started seeing a Christian counsellor who has told me that I am experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Dissorder due to the experience. She is helping me to work through a lot of the trauma and in the process to discover a lot about myself and how I deal with things. For entire life I believed I was an extrovert and just recently realized I am very much an introvert. It sounds silly to only realize something like that about yourself at 25...even my husband told me “How could you not know?” but I guess I was raised to be extroverted and always just believed I was...never realizing that the heart of me did not react that way at all. Just learning things like that about myself and being okay with them...learning how I need to respond to stuff...being okay with the way I need to respond to stuff....helps. What I am understanding from this journey is that sometimes life REALLY hurts...and even then God is there. Maybe not in this way that makes everything feel better right then...but to give an ounce of strength to take the next step and eventually ...when you’re ready, to make something out of that pain. To sum up where I’m at lately I often think of the Chorus to the Sara Groves song..Less like Scars. “And I feel you here and you’re picking up the pieces, forever faithful. It seemed out of my hands a bad situation. But you are able. And in your hands the pain and hurt seem less like scars...and more like Character.”

I’m going to play that song now for you.

It's been a hard year , But I'm climbing out of the rubble
These lessons are hard , Healing changes are subtle But every day it's

Less like tearing, more like building
Less like captive, more like willing
Less like breakdown, more like surrender
Less like haunting, more like remember

And I feel you here , And you're picking up the pieces
Forever faithful
It seemed out of my hands, a bad situation
But you are able
And in your hands the pain and hurt
Look less like scars and more like

Less like a prison, more like my room
It's less like a casket, more like a womb
Less like dying, more like transcending
Less like fear, less like an ending

And I feel you here , And you're picking up the pieces
Forever faithful
It seemed out of my hands, a bad situation
But you are able
And in your hands the pain and hurt
Look less like scars

Just a little while ago I couldn't feel the power or the hope
I couldn't cope, I couldn't feel a thing
Just a little while back I was desperate, broken, laid out, hoping
You would come

And I need you
And I want you here
And I feel you

And I know you're here , And you're picking up the pieces
Forever faithful
It seemed out of my hands, a bad, bad situation
But you are able

And in your hands the pain and hurt
Look less like scars (x3)

And more like Character


Rus and Bonnie Reimer said...

Oh Carissa, I wanted to cry when I read this! Memories and emotions came flooding back. I still remember how excited I was to go to the Taylor Swift concert with you, and to spend time with someone who understood what I was going through with Maddie: to not have to explain sudden tears, or lack thereof, and who could comprehend the utter helplessness of it all. I was so excited to see you and your little man recently and to hear him cry without pain! Thanks so much for sharing your heart. And be encouraged; you're not alone!

Chelsa said...

great great post!!! good to hear from you again!