Archive for September, 2008
Still Birth, September 22
by Karsten Piper
Oh sister and brother,
your eyes change color
holding your daughter.
You dress her shoulders
in cherries, as pearly cold
threads under her collar
against the deep warmth
of your labor.
You say her name again,
your whole gladness with her,
and nurses cut you
a walnut lock of hair.
She lies right here,
so close, if you could reach
through the pale flannel layer.
Hope after hope splinters
She is infinitely far,
while here are sighs and stinging tears,
everything you ache
to feel turned
forcibly into former things—
and this is still birth.
Ten hours are left in the summer
ten hours to hold her
and oh sister and brother
have already changed color.
I am in love with Abraham Christian Piper. There are too many reasons to name, but here’s a feeble attempt at a few.
A—Affectionate. With his words and actions.
B—Brilliant. I’m so glad to have a husband who uses his brain so actively. He’s not content to sit on the couch and veg in front of a TV; he has to use his brain. Not that he doesn’t like a football game once in a while, but I am deeply thankful that this is not the norm for him. I couldn’t decide between this adjective or “blogging genius.”
R—Responsible. I know this might be a no-brainer, but I respect my husband for the responsibility he takes for our family every day. He is responsible before God to be the head of our family, and he handles that HUGE commitment with grace and dignity.
A—Addictive. I seriously cannot spend enough time with this guy. Whenever I think of something I want to do, there’s no one I’d rather do it with than him. Whether it’s an exotic trip or a laid-back night at home, he’s my favorite company.
H—Honest. “Honest Abe,” right? Truly there are times when I’ve been tempted to fudge something here or there, but Abraham always insists on doing things the honest way. Do I always appreciate that at the time? No, but it doesn’t take long for me to realize that he’s right.
A—Accepting. No one has seen me fail more in my life. But he has never turned me away—never. He has never made me feel like I am “too bad” for his love, which is how Jesus is. He has never told me I’ve sinned too much for me to be his child. I’m thankful that Abraham accepts me and challenges me at the same time.
M—Married. To ME!
(Song “Both Of Us’ll Feel the Blast” by Waterdeep, my favorite husband/wife musical duo.)
It seems impossible that our little baby is already 3 weeks old. At his doctor appointment last Thursday, he weighed 8 pounds, 8 ounces. Abraham and I are already wondering what happened to our newborn!
The transition into motherhood when we had Orison was definitely a lot rougher than this transition has been. I’m not saying there haven’t been moments when I’ve felt overwhelmed, but for the most part, going from 1 to 2 children has been pretty good for me.
I don’t know if that’s because I knew what I was in for (at least more than when I had Orison), or because we have lost a baby and have longed for this for so long. It’s probably a combination of both.
When Orison was born, I felt like I was in a fog for about 6 months. I was sick and weak from a during-delivery hemorrhage and subsequent blood transfusion. All of a sudden the working woman with a Master’s degree was covered in spit up and up to her elbows in messy diapers. It took me a long time to transition, and for God to remake me.
I’m so glad He did.
It’s hard to conceive of, but there have been other things going on in my life since Morrow’s arrival. Actually it’s been a really busy few weeks. Here’s a quick update:
- Duplex: The “tenants” who were in the house when we bought it finally left the first floor on 8/31. They left it a total disaster, as far as cleanliness goes. We were pretty sure that was going to be the case. Since then we’ve been cleaning like crazy, painting like crazy, installing a new IKEA kitchen, and trying to get it ready for our awesome, extremely forbearing, new tenants. They should be able to move in next week. Right now all the hardwood floors are being refinished. It’s going to look so good when it’s done!!
- Books: I’ve been going through the comments that were left on my post about funny books awhile back and systematically requesting them from my library. I read Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods and nearly died of laughter. Right now I’m making my way through Alexander McCall Smith’s series The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. They are delightful novels, set in Botswana. If you haven’t read them, do it! Basically I need books that will keep me awake during nighttime feedings.
- Our house: We’ve had a really promising lead come up for renting our current house—praise God! Turns out it’s a friend of a friend who found me via blogging. I LOVE THE INTERNET! But seriously, they are good friends with one of my best friends from college, so that excites me, making new connections and all.
- Knitting: I finished a pair of socks that I’ve had on my needles for a year and half. It was a lace pattern and they turned out nice, it just took me forever to have the motivation to get ’em done!
- Marriage: Our fifth anniversary is on September 20th! I can’t believe it’s been five years. More on that later.
- Felicity: Following quickly on the heels of our anniversary is Felicity’s birthday on 9/22. There are so many thoughts going through my head about this. That will have to be its own post.
- Oh, and also this has been on my mind a lot.
Orison has happily assumed the role of big brother. There has been no resentment at the arrival of Morrow. This is something I hardly dared to hope for, preparing myself for a rough transition from almost four years of being an only child to now having a sibling.
Orison is constantly touching the baby’s cheek or giving him a kiss. He is eager to get the diapers whenever I need a new one, always asking, “Did he poop in his pants?” Then he take the dirty diaper and disposes of it for me. And if Morrow gets upset on the changing table, Orison is quick with a lullaby-like song to calm his brother.
It’s been sweet to watch Orison love his brother. He’ll comment with things like, “Mommy, he’s so cute!” or “Mommy, I like this baby!” He’s even asked to have Morrow sleep with him. Not happening.
There are no words to express how joyful we feel right now as we welcome our second son into the world. One thing I asked people to pray for us after we lost Felicity was that God would restore our hope. We were looking for a tomorrow that somehow made more sense than the one we were in.
As we considered this name for our child, the last stanza of Great Is Thy Faithfulness often filled my thoughts:
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide.
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.
Blessings all mine with ten thousand beside.
Great is thy faithfulness!
Great is thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed thy hand hath provided.
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.
There are so many beautiful references in the Bible to the morning (when his mercies are new, when we want him to satisfy us, how we should long for him, etc.). But the one that resonated the most with me was Psalm 30:5, particularly the second part of the verse.
For his anger is but for a moment,
and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.
We chose John for a middle name after Abraham’s father. We have known such strong support and sweet affection from him in particular as we have lived through the last 11 months. Also, Abraham holds a deep affection for his daddy, who has been his most faithful fan and encourager through the last 29 years. We love you, John, and are so thankful that you are Morrow’s granddaddy.