Thursday, April 15, 2010

Labor, Distress and Finally Reward: Changed Forever Part VI

Jay attempted to describe to me the images he saw when he went back to New Orleans. They took pictures, of some stuff, but not all. One of his descriptions blew my mind away.
We had a car that we left behind because Jay had taken the engine apart to fix the clutch. When we left we knew the car would be destroyed. Indeed, it had spent all those weeks submerged in the putrid flood waters. Jay opened the back of the car to see if he could salvage any of his tools. He found a mucousy, web-like covering on the inside of his car. His description fit perfectly with what I had seen in my kitchen cabinets in my nightmares.
None of his tools survived the flood. Some had even been completely eaten through and corroded.
Next he described some sort of hard shelled bugs stuck to the outside of our refrigerator. Again, his description fit the little bugs I had seen in my nightmares.
The city of New Orleans was so contaminated at that point, all the men had to get a vaccine just to enter the city. E-coli was rampant in the ground all over the city. It was a dangerous environment. So as the men unloaded all my rescued items, I stood by with a spray bottle of bleach water. Everything was bleached no matter what. Some items, such as my table, had mucky, nasty, blobs of gooey something growing on them.

We had some of our belongings back, and between gifts, Red Cross, and the Church at Edmond, we had almost everything we needed to make a home. The little parsonage we were living in was very nice, but we needed a home we could call our own.

We began house hunting without any luck. Then we stumbled across a house for sale by owner. Our realtor and good friend, Frankie, set up a tour for us. We loved the house. It had the same green walls and gold carpet our apartment in New Orleans had. It was like God created this house just for us to live in. It was His gift, like with Job, to return and double what we'd lost.

We bought the house and happily moved into our cute, early 20th century home, complete with a white picket fence and tree swing in the back yard.

We found we had some of the best neighbors in the world. On one side of us was a retired couple who adored our children. The boys would go to Mrs. Joy and Mr. Vernon's door and ask, "Can I have a cookie?" They were precious.

On the other side we had Mrs. Lola. She was an elderly lady whom Jay had the privelege of mowing her yard for her. She came to me one day to offer her services to me in return. She had thought that she could keep my little ones in the morning while I took Benjamin to school. It was such a blessing to not have to get my babies out in rain and snow every morning. She was a jewel in our life.

God had given us a wonderful home close to my mother. But the bad feelings did not go away. My mother began to help me with Bible study, exercise and diet. But I still couldn't stop crying. I even questioned why God allowed me to be pregnant at such a time. There were even times I had thought, "I wish I wasn't pregnant right now."

I finally told my doctor's PA how I felt and she responded with, "Well, there is no reason for you to feel that way all the time."

Kelly was my good friend from church, and God had once again blessed me by making her my PA as well. I would say it was coincidence, but I believe it was God sending me the person I needed to take care of me at my most difficult time.

She put me on Wellbutrin and I soon began to feel better and cry less. Within a month I was happy again. But damage had already been done in our family. Once my body had healed, I realized my husband had been suffering many of the same things I had been going through. I hadn't even noticed, and I am certain he didn't notice what I was going through either. We had completely disconnected ourselves from each other, becuase our own pain was all that we could handle. It was a time that we couldn't bear each other's burdens, because to double the burden was just too much.

I also realized I had missed out on so much of Levi's childhood. I didn't remeber him going from a baby, to a toddler. But there he was in front of me, a talking little toddler. My heart broke to realize Katrina and depression had stolen so much from my life. They stole my peace, security, safety, time with my children, and worst of all my best friend.

I tried to help Jay, but he had to deal with it all differently. He not only had the stress of rebulding, but also the stress of working full-time at a new job and finishing his school online. I tried to help him however I could, but he truly needed time, and a break.

It was almost 8 months from the time Katrina hit, until we finally found peace again. It was April 13th, the baby's due date. I had been induced early in the morning, and began my labor with the intention of going completely natural. I had tried my hardest to prepare Jay for his role in the labor, but we were so disconnecte it had been difficult.

The time came that I needed him. The man that I had struggled to reach over the last 8 months came through in a way I never expected. He set up our computer to a slideshow with pictures of our boys for me to focus on.

He held me, rocked me, massaged my back, spoke loving words into my ear, encouraged me, and showed me the love and tenderness I had always known. About 10 hours after labor began, I received an epidural to try to help labor along. Soon after, I became numb up to my neck and began having trouble breathing. The baby also began to show distress. His heart rate plummeted for almost 9 minutes, far below a safe rate. I was given an oxygen mask to wear and the room became tense and quiet as the nurse worked to protect both of us. I looked over at my beloved and saw a tear roll down his cheek. I knew he was scared and praying for our safety.
 God had showed me great blesings once again by giving me my good friend, Tracy, as my nurse. We went to church together and I loved her and trusted her. She worked into overtime to stay with me while I labored. When his heart rate dropped, she worked constantly to get it back up, until she was finally successful. Twelve hours after induction, little Jude was ready to make his entrance, thanks to all the work Tracy had done for us.
That evening I laid in my hospital bed holding my precious little angel, with Jay next to me. I laid my head on his shoulder and suddenly realized, I had my husband back.

The labor and all the measures Jay had taken to care for me had connected us once again. I felt like in my little baby's face, God was saying, "Here is your reward, and the means by which I have healed your heart, mind, body and spirit, and most of all, your family."

A baby! Who would have known that God had plans throughout the entire events of Katrina, to bring us through it all by using a baby. It was exactly how God works. Every time God has changed the world, he started by sending a baby.    

This week we celebrated Jude's fourth birthday, and the day our family found peace again.


  1. Good story! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Though I don't/can't trully understand. I do. for some of our friends, coming back from Africa was no big thing. Even how Jacob and I handled it was very different from one another. After being overseas for almost ten years, and having seen all the suffering and experiencing all of the insecurity we had- I did not cope well. I couldn't explain it, couldn't stop the tears, and couldn't find anyone who understood. I'm glad you're able to write about it!! (and that you guys have found healing).

  3. How did I handle it... That's a tough one. I prayed a lot (and cried a lot (obviously)). I knew that it would take a lot of time and that the first year is always the worst (of anything). so I tried to hunker down and wait it out. I journaled a lot and tried to talk to other people who may understand (though my experience was def. unique to me). Ultimately, I had to find solace in the fact that I am an alien here. My "home" is in Christ alone. Feeling disjointed and like we don't belong probably means we're in a better place to understand the love of Christ and the call of being His. Seeing people hurting or roadkill would leave me in the car crying for a long time, totally broken over the broken state of our world and my helplessness to help others (and my overwhelming feeling of guilt for leaving suffering people behind). Over the months- I found what would trigger me and would avoid those things or try to pray through them. That's how I dealt. It took me a good year to feel better...


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