Friday, January 20, 2017

This Is the Story of How We Begin to Remember: Meeting Sallie

I realized when I made the slideshow at the end of this post last week, that I had never shared the pictures of the big kids meeting Sallie for the first time and never shared my feelings on those first few days. 

Part of me feels like it's SUPER weird to write this post now but the truth is the pictures are some of my favorites and the emotions are worthy of being documented. So while I'm sure it appears strange to some people, it would feel strange to me not to share it. 

The pictures are very special to me mostly, of course, because they are just so sweet and Peyton and I are so NOT talented behind the camera, but somehow the wonder and amazement in Annie and Graves's face when they saw Sarah Lamar for the first time shown through. But, beyond that, I have to admit that they are some of my favorite pictures I have of myself. Like ever. I just feel pretty and I can't overstate how much I love that I felt pretty in that moment- almost exactly twenty four hours after giving birth. I felt natural and when I look at those pictures I feel beautiful knowing that I was doing exactly what God created me to do. I was living my calling. 

And those days- the two in the hospital and the first few at home were some of the best days of my life. I just felt so complete and fulfilled and whole. I wasn't worried about the past or the future. It's very, very hard for me to live in the present, but for most of that week, I did. The post birth euphoria was real. Every emotion felt so intense (which I'm used to, TRUST) but only in a good way. I mean it when I say I wonder if that's how Heaven feels. 

Every time I changed Sallie's clothes (heck, every time I changed a diaper!) I just felt awash in joy. I took care of her almost exclusively since Peyton was doing so much with the older children and I didn't mind it one bit. We were already forming our sweet little bond and learning one another's ways. It was such a happy dance and it was my great honor to be her singular partner for as long as need be. 

I'm so grateful for that week. After a difficult pregnancy, on the heels of an overwhelming birth, and right before I would begin to struggle emotionally and mentally as much as I ever had, there was this glorious relief period. It was such a good gift. I remember thinking how grateful I was to be done with pregnancy forever and how the birth experience had provided some closure and I had no real desire to do it EVER again. And those really hard days where I would feel such sadness about my last birth being different from what I had hoped and much greater sadness really acknowledging that I could be experiencing it all for the last time hadn't arrived yet. 

Sallie's birth not what I had imagined, or frankly, hoped for. But these moments were more than I could have imagined or dreamed of.

Unlike birth, this I could plan. It might not go perfectly but having a plan and working really hard to prepare turned out to be super helpful.

I remember the hospital room at UMC feeling, at first, like a little sanctuary. I had bought new pjs for myself and I had brought my absolute favorites for Sallie to wear. Peyton brought me lots of snacks and I was able to sneak in a few naps when Sallie was sleeping. I had so much time to absorb and process my emotions and Sallie and I also got a lot of time to really get to know each other. It was nice to get a head start on that while we had some time just to ourselves. She wasn't, and isn't, a high needs baby but it was clear from DAY ONE that she loved her momma so good.

I got to think and be by myself, but I also felt like Sallie and I enjoyed just the right amount of visitors. Our dearly loved pastor from church came and two of my very best friends and Mickey (my mom and Cookie had been there when she was born, of course). And I know Peyton really wanted to just lay low with the big kids at home in anticipation for what would likely be a chaotic adventure for a bit once Sallie and I got there, but he indulged my every request to bring them to me. I remember Susan, our pastor, praying an thanking God for the life we were making together. She thanked God for the beautiful world. And said something about Sallie experiencing all its delights. It was so beautiful and I got really choked up. 

These are my favorites of the pictures Peyton took. A lot of them are similar but I had such a hard time narrowing it down because of all the beautiful expressions on my older children's faces as they met their sister for the first time. 



As I said, these were some of the very best days and I am so deeply grateful for them but even mores o for the people who filled them!

1 comment:

Mallory Pickering said...

I love the ones with A&G looking at each other. <3 <3 <3