On Saturday afternoon, just a few hours after we took these pictures, I got a preview of the Labor & Delivery ward. And not for good reasons.
I had just gotten Liam up from his nap and carried him, perched on my belly, down a flight of five hardwood steps to the main level of our house. I was a) wearing socks, b) wearing a long skirt, c) had no arms free, and I'm sure you can imagine how things went from there. I slipped, unable to catch myself on the railing, and landed on my tailbone on one step with another step jutting into my rib cage and another hitting the back of my head. I hit my head so hard that doctors think I blacked out for a few seconds. When I came to, Liam was on the floor crying and I was sprawled on the stairs, stunned and in pain. "Am I paralyzed?" was my first fleeting thought, and then, "The baby!" I didn't feel her moving in that moment and panic set in.
I made a frantic phone call to Shawn - the kind of call no one wants to receive - and he raced over from a coffee shop where he'd been studying and drove us to the ER.
I'll spare the medical details for everyone's sake, but I ended up with a 5-hour hospital admission to monitor the baby and some strong contractions that were probably a result of the trauma of the fall. Thankfully, everything was still intact and the baby's heart and movements were strong. Thank you, Jesus. I can deal with the repercussions - some bruising on my back and a chipped tailbone. (Have you ever chipped your tailbone? Don't try it. Might be one of the most excruciating ailments I've ever experienced.) Liam is absolutely fine, which I knew almost instantly when he saw me crawling to my phone and asked, "Game?"
I contemplated even sharing this experience because all of us are ok, but I remembered it's part of her story, too. She's been through a lot this pregnancy, this tiny baby girl of mine. A minor car accident early on, some early contractions that were too strong (another story for another day), and now this. Things that couldn't be prevented or foreseen or stopped. Events that have brought me to my knees, pleading for her protection. And every time, I've gotten to hear that beautiful, steady rhythm of her heart. I've gotten to feel her squirms. I know that God has been abundantly good to her and to us, even amidst quite a bit of scariness. I know that He would still be good, even if things hadn't turned out so benign.
I've thought so much about her name (or lack of name, currently), it's starting to feel silly. But today, I thought about His name.
In Exodus 3, Moses asks God what his name is.
He responds, "I AM WHO I AM."
To me, that doesn't make a whole lot of sense at first glance. But, gathering more context, it's clear from how God responds that Moses isn't merely asking, "What should I call you?" He's asking, "Who are you and what are you like? What have you done?"
God replies (in summary) that He is eternal, and therefore has no beginning or end. He is the God of their ancestors, and He has seen their affliction and will redeem.
To this brave baby girl I'm carrying, Psalm 9:10 has become my prayer for her:
"Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you." I pray the truth about Him becomes the cornerstone of her life: that He is eternal. That He is the faithful God of her ancestors. And that He sees affliction, even of the tiniest of creatures, and He redeems. Only He redeems.