When I was teaching literature to four homeschooled girls, one of the mothers gave everyone a copy of a CD called "Saints." Created by a local preist, Fr. Kent O'Conner, each song is about a different saint. Three of my favorite songs are on there: one about Saint Gianna Molla, St. Maxillian Kolbe (I love his story so much and would love to use his name but think about Maximillian with Adam's last name) and Mary.
Mary's song is a lyrical version of the "Magnificant." Taken from Luke, they are Mary's words to Elizabeth when she goes to visit her cousin before the birth of John the Baptist:
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever.
The first stanza is the chorus of the song and this chorus has been played over and over in my head. Every morning when I go to swimming, or when I am alone in the car, or when I pull rank on the kids and listen to MY music, I play this song at least once. It's become my mantra, my meditation, what I needed to and try to remember through this pregnancy.
"My sould proclaims the greatness of the Lord..."
Today, I am 37 weeks, 0 days. I am not term; full term is considered the end of 37 completed weeks of pregnancy. Babies do "better" at 38 weeks. But I am ONE DAY away from the time Joseph was born. ONE DAY. Joseph was a take home baby.
I had very little going for me at the beginning of this pregnancy. I had carried one baby, Camille, into the "safe zone" of pregnancy, as even 37 weekers can have breathing problems. My most recent birth had been to a preemie and that had only been 8 months before. I have a history of miscarriage, luteal phase defects and low progestrone. I was anxious. My dr and I figured I had a 60 per cent chance of another preemie.
Those aren't horrible odds but they aren't terribly great, either.
My dr, therapist, husband and myself were very pro-active this pregnancy. I took progestrone and zinc for a long time. I've exercised and Adam's listened to me when I told him I can't do something, like run the vacuum. He's stepped up to the plate in so many ways. My friends listened to me and didn't dismiss my feelings. They acknowledged and help me work through the post-partum trauma that was still haunting me from Georgie's birth. And they never, ever judged me for it.
"My spirit rejoices in God my savior..."
At the end of the day, the only reason I have made it this far, in good spirits, in great physical health, is because of God's grace.
"For he has look with favor on his lowly servent..."
I don't think God gives (for lack of a better word) a pre-term birth to anyone to smite them for their lack of faith. I don't think we were being punished for something. I won't begin to understand why some babies have to go through the pain, the suffering, the long term ramificants, of being a preemie. I don't get it. I don't begin to get it. I won't get it, as I am a mere mortal, a lowly human and there are some things I won't ever understand.
I can tell you that, in the NICU, I prayed for my friends who lost children. As horrible as it was, I knew that some day my baby would come HOME and we would deal with whatever problems were thrown at us. Some of my friends would NEVER bring their babies home and would have gladly accepted the NICU cross because it ment a live baby. I offered my suffering for them.
In the months that followed, when I was plagued with flashbacks, with fear, with guilt and then riddled with anxiety about Cheesie, a scene from Mel Gibson's "The Passion" would come to mind. In it, Jesus is carrying the cross and stumbled. Mary flashes to when he was a baby and would stumbled; she wants to run, pick him up and make it better. She's a mother and that's what we DO. She couldn't comfort her baby. I knew, I was reminded, as I sat their crying and suffering with my son, that Mary was hugging me, telling me she knew EXACTLY how I was feeling and how she wished she could have suffered for Her Son too.
And I was reminded that there is redemption in our suffering.
Today, I am 37 weeks. Barring an emergancy in childbirth, my baby will come HOME with me. Today, my sould proclaims how great God is, that with His help, I have made it this far. I have gifted my son with healthy lungs and the ability to suck, swallow and breathe- to EAT.
It will be over any day now. Any day now, I will post that I had my baby. God willing, I will post that he stayed with me the whole time and needed no medical help.
We still need and want prayers. But I made it this far and that is WONDERFUL.
St. Joseph, pray for us
St. George, pray for us
St. Faustina, pray for us
St. Gianna, pray for us