Monday, August 20, 2012

Growing Wings: Part Two

Sunlight streamed in through the floor-to-ceiling windows. The busy sounds of nurses, doctors, and family bustling about was just outside the door. A machine dutifully printing out baby's vitals stood beside the hospital bed. From my chair across the room, I watched my friend, Diane, lying there with her eyes closed, the sweetest smile on her face. It had been only a few days since I'd returned to Utah, but here I was watching one of my dear friends give birth to her first child. My job was to photograph it all. It was my first time viewing a live birth, and I was honored to be there there.

My husband and I hadn't talked much. He remained distant any time we tried. It was a rare day when we got through a conversation without arguing. I wished it were different, but I couldn't shake the deep, black hole that had grown inside of me. I had nothing to give. Right now, all I cared about was basking in this moment of joy.

"Ready to push?"
The doctor entered the room, flipping through his charts. It was time. I got up from my seat and we gathered round.

How I wish I could describe the experience of a child being born.
It literally changes you.
Heaven and earth come together in that moment.
Love fills the room
cocooning you in its sweet warmth.
It swells up from deep inside of you
so thick and so tangible
that you feel your body is not big enough to contain
so powerful a feeling.

In that moment, I knew that my husband needed to see our baby's birth. He would be changed, too. Then we'd forget all of this and go back to the way things should be.

I tried calling him to share this experiencen and reached voicemail. Another day passed, and still no word.
Diane came over with her sweet new baby. We shared in the joy of such a beautiful miracle and looked forward to my own.

That night, I got a call from my husband. He wanted to know how things were going. I told him of the birth of Diane's baby, how she'd come over today, and how wonderful her daughter was. Instantly, he became upset. I was supposed to be working on getting better, not spending time with friends. I was so hurt that my husband couldn't see that being uplifted by others was an important part of my healing. I was going to counseling and would soon get medication, but I also needed love, support, and encouragement. He didn't want to hear about it.
We were both angry and hurt. We both wanted love, but had none to give.
Our relationship was starving.

After that conversation, my husband stopped returning my calls, texts, and emails. Weeks went by with no word from him. I became increasingly panicked. It was all I could do to make it through one day, waiting, wondering what was going on. Every night I prayed and asked that my husband would call me.
Finally, that call came.

He called! I ran outside to get some privacy from my family.
But there was something wrong about his voice.
He didn't want to talk

My husband wanted a divorce.

I freaked. FREAKED! I left all dignity at the door and begged my heart out. But he remained firm. It had been over a month since I'd left and we'd barely talked during that time. My husband had officially checked out of the marriage. Out of us. He wasn't changing his mind. Once I realized this, my world fell apart.

My baby.

My sweet girl. She wouldn't have a family. She needed a family. I didn't have a job. My husband's wasn't going to make ends meet. I wondered if I should put her up for adoption. Most horrible feeling of my life. My sadness gave way to anger.

I couldn't do this. I hung up the phone, and went inside. My face was soaked with tears and snot. I couldn't see. I couldn't breathe. I wanted to die.

I need my mom.

She had been fearing this moment and put her arms around me. I cried long and hard.

A couple of weeks later, divorce papers arrived in the mail.
Mediation would be soon. We needed to figure out where our daughter would be living once she was born.
My husband was fighting for full custody on the basis that I was emotionally unstable.
I couldn't bear the thought of losing her.
All because of someone else's decision.

I realized I needed heavenly help.

I've never prayed so hard in my life. Several times a day I prayed. Incessantly. Desperately.

"Heavenly Father, please don't let them take her away."

My faith was strong, but so was my fear.
I went to bed each night hoping that maybe this was just a terrible dream and that it would magically go away.
But I'd always wake up in the morning
back to reality
feeling like I was going to throw up.

On the day of mediation, I prayed all morning long.

"Please help me, Heavenly Father. If you give me nothing else in this life, that's OK. But I can't lose my baby."

God heard my prayers.

At mediation, my husband softened his position. To my joy and relief, it was determined that I would be given full physical custody.

My arms would not be empty.
My baby would be mine.
Nothing else mattered.
I was complete.

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