There are times when God reveals himself through precious, tender moments. There are also times where He chooses to send His message in such a blinding or deafening manner that His presence is absolutely unmistakeable.
Last Friday wasn't the 'painted sunset sky and nature's holy beauty' type of moment.
He left our ears ringing.
In the midst of what was easily one of the most terrifying moments of the pregnancy, He was shouting at us, "You can't do this alone. Stop holding so tightly to the idea that you have any sort of control. Why are you afraid? I've got this. Now let me hold you."
It was an incredibly painful way to receive it, but the message was clear.
And this is where I say "And with that, we soldiered on. Facing each new battle unafraid, fully clothed in the armor of God." Right?
God's doesn't do on/off switches.
Heading into this week of appointments we were both still absolutely terrified. The thought of seeing her little heart pump so slowly and her heart rate plummet still brings me close to tears. But regardless of that anxiety, Tuesday still came and the appointment was still on.
Appointment # 3
When I walked into MNPP that morning, the receptionist (a temporary replacement) was eager to greet me, "Everyone here knows you! You're here so much."
Yay? I think?
Side note: always go for the morning appointments — everyone is in a great mood and things are usually running closer to on time. (Thanks to my receptionist mama for teaching me that trick!)
The nurse settled me in and checked my stats.
"Your heart rate's a little high."
My fear of this appointment was FOR REAL.
The nurse strapped the monitors on and Norah quickly turned them into punching bags. She was kicking with such ferocity that there was no doubt in my mind she wanted those monitors off.
Mom? These? These things right here? Can we just not?
The NST was half an hour of me sitting, staring at a wall, breathing and praying. Listening intently to her heartbeat, my anxiety rose with every healthy and normal variation and fell as I took deep belly breaths, giving it to God. (while this sounds like a beautifully simple process, it was SO BEYOND difficult to keep pulling myself away from that anxiety cliff. Thank you yoga-taught mindfulness for playing a supporting role here.)
My prayers had changed their tune since Friday. No longer was I praying, "Dear God, please do A, B and C in that order so that the doctors don't worry." but instead, "Hold me. Hold us. This moment is in your hands."
The NST results? Beautiful. Exactly what they wanted to see. Still some uterine irritation, but did you hear her moving? Contain that and tell me how enjoyable it is.
Seems like par for the course.
While the BPP wasn't quite as nerve-wracking as the NST, I still feared seeing her heart slow on screen every time her heart was shown. I continued on with the praying and cliff-avoiding.
Once Norah checked every other box for the BPP, we were back to waiting for practice breathing.
"Oh, there you go, sweetheart! You know how to practice breathe! Now keep going."
I could've cried. Norah showed practice breathing not once, but twice! This is the piece that she had completely failed to show every other time. Twice still isn't passing, but twice is better than nothing and was HUGE progress in my eyes.
Even the sonographer said, "She knows how to do it, she just doesn't want to show us."
I think they're finally picking up on Norah's personality :)
For the first time in months, the appointment wasn't that bad.
We were headed back to the clinic where the scary deceleration happened.
I am so grateful to have had Lane by my side for this one.
The NST nurse also happened to have been one of the two helping during Norah's deceleration. She understood my test anxiety without having to call it out.
I wasn't the only one who enjoyed Lane's presence; Norah got more active at the sound of his voice. (We now have scientific proof of her being a daddy's girl) She was right back at it, punching and kicking away at those monitors.
Her results were beautiful. This time there was no mention of uterine irritation. It was actually the calmest reading either of us had seen yet — amazing to me considering her upswing in amount and intensity of activity as well as the excess fluid.
On to the BPP.
Norah was quite the wiggle monster! She did a backbend stretch that she clearly learned from mama's cat/cow yoga poses :) She yawned, moved all her limbs, and almost put her hand in her mouth!
They have to allow up to 30 minutes to see the breathing, and, well, Norah was taking her sweet time.
We were back to playing the waiting game. I could feel my anxiety rise again as we sat staring at the screen, her little heart pumping away; nervous for each beat and looking for any sign of practice breathing.
Here again, I had to let go and let God. I had to let our little family be held in this moment. Whatever happened would be up to Him.
After more sitting and waiting, Norah hicupped.
And then she did it again.
And then her hiccups continued into a clear rhythm.
"Does that count as practice breathing?"
Norah passed her BPP for the FIRST TIME EVER — with a mere 20 seconds left on the clock.
I laughed so hard I could've cried when the sonographer told us that. Norah has CLEARLY been way too exposed to the suspense and excitement of last-minute scoring. #TheLittlestWildFan
Joy. Pure laughter and joy.
It may not seem like a lot, but to us it felt like we summited a mountain.
I. Can't. Even.
God is SO good, guys.
He is good in the valley AND at the peak.