May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears. –Nelson Mandela
My countdown app says “4” days till Layla. And unless she makes an early appearance on her own, we are on the books at Children’s Mercy to get labor started this Monday morning, November 2nd. I spent my last day of work in the office yesterday, took today off for a couple appointments and errands, and tomorrow will work from home to wrap things up for maternity leave. Layla’s arrival is imminent, and the air in this house is eerie.
The last couple weekends we worked to organize and decorate her nursery. Despite some fun DIY projects and decor inspiration, I had been putting it off. The fears of her upcoming surgery have nagged at me for weeks, telling me not to get too excited for her arrival because it would just make my heartbreak more difficult if things don’t go well. So I stayed away from her room, avoiding putting that positive energy into it, just in case. If the worst happened, it would be much easier to box up random bags and boxes that looked like more of a mess than someone’s future. If I took the care to organize and decorate for her, I would have to face that loss more squarely, taking even more effort to remove the memories that had already been imagined.
But after a sobering fetal cardiology consultation that reignited all the fears and worries I thought I had already come to terms with, I saw the Nelson Mandela quote above and knew it was meant for me. And I felt guilty for not giving Layla the benefit of hope that she so deserves. I feel her strength in my belly every day and had noted this long before we knew about her heart condition. I never felt this kind of brute force strength before Skyler was born. She was active but gentle. Layla has been doing upside down squats and trying to push her way out with straightened legs for months now. She feels bigger and stronger than her big, strong sister ever did, so why not put a little faith in her that she’s going to fight through this and emerge a healthy warrior baby? She is going to be born into a family of fighters – Ronnie, Skyler and I have had our share of battles and continue victoriously. Why would Layla be any different? She’s a Kelley-Oswald.
Despite the hope in our hearts, the time ticking away as her arrival draws near is filled with anxious thoughts and an eerie intensity. Ronnie and I act calm but are both shrouded in racing thoughts and fears of the coming weeks. We have the Royals’ World Series and Halloween festivities with Skyler this weekend to distract us, in addition to last minute tasks we need to wrap up before we temporarily setup camp at Children’s Mercy for the next several weeks. We are so blessed with family and friends that have rallied around us to help with Skyler, the dogs, household duties, and meals as we hunker down for the approaching hurricane of life. I don’t know where we’d be without all this love, and never know what the future holds, but I do know that God is faithful and provides.