Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Happiest New Year's Day

It was December 31st. My daughter Rachel was in the hospital with premature labor and toxemia. The doctor was concerned for the development of the baby's lungs, so Rachel was under heavy medication to stop the labor and to hurry the lung development of her soon-to-be born child. It had been a few weeks of worry and testing, of off and on labor and of miserable medication. They called it a stress test, but as far as I could see, no test was necessary. Rachel was definitely stressed. She already loved the little daughter who was coming. Her name was to be Adelaide, after the Australian mission city where Rachel had served and loved the people. Her middle name was Rose, after her sister and her grandmother.

Rachel's husband was exhausted, with his own set of stressors. I was elected to sit with Rachel as she slept fitfully that last night of her first pregnancy. My heart was heavy as I listened to my daughter moan in pain. The medication slowed the labor, but made her feel miserable in other ways. She hated most the feeling of only being half-alive, drugged and semi-conscious. We were all worried about the baby's health and also about Rachel's. Sometime deep in the night, I heard a new baby cry. "If only we were at that point," I thought sadly.

Rachel stirred. She tried to sit up. She, too, had heard the baby. Her confused mind worried that she was hearing her baby. "My baby, my baby," she cried. "Please, someone help my baby."  It took some reassuring to get her to relax and try to sleep once more. She was strongly bonded to her daughter before she was even born.

Rachel and Addie
By the next night her child had been delivered and all was well. Addie was rushed to the newborn intensive care, but she was soon released with a clean bill of health. The new year had started out in a most wonderful way, with a new child, a beautiful and much-loved daughter. In fact, two much-loved daughters, my daughter and her own first child.

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