The pictures of the new Waldrop sextuplets are so gorgeous (as is the mom - how does she DO that??!! My obstetrician put it best when she said I looked like I had 30 pounds of water weight in my face alone!). However, I admit that my feelings about these new high-order multiples are mixed - as they were with the quints in Australia in 2016. Another family, the Ferraros, also had quints around the time we did. The difference? Theirs were the healthiest ever born, spent minimal time in the hospital and just thrived from Day 1. I remember reading their story as I held David and Will, with Seth struggling for his life in the incubator nearby, Gracie not yet two pounds and either just about to go into PDA surgery or just recovering, and Marcie "bradying" a frightening amount to accompanying machine alarms. (Bradycardia is when the heart rate drops suddenly.) I think Will and David were the only kids I could hold that day. So I sat there, read the news articles, and cried. In fact I sobbed to the sweet NICU nurse on duty, who continued to pass me tissues and encouraging words. I was so happy for the Ferraros, was beyond glad that their quints were doing so well, but was overwhelmingly heartbroken that my quints weren't.
I still struggle with feeling some of that. What could I have done differently to keep my kids in the womb longer and spare them from suffering? Why did I "fail" at this job when other much smaller moms did such an incredible job carrying their high order multiples so much longer? I'm tall-ish (5'6), had already had a 8 lb 2 oz baby full-term, and followed all the doctors' orders to a T. Still, Will broke his water and called it quits for all the quints early in the morning on August 9th, two days shy of 28 weeks. Will's always been a little more easily stressed than the others, very dramatic and a bit demanding, so it still makes me chuckle to recall this early manifestation of some traits we've noticed ever since! And it's good I can laugh about it, and it's especially good that I can remember God is sovereign. He ordained every day of everyone's life before it even came to be, including the days of conception, delivery and death. I didn't like it that His plan for us included so much grief over poor baby Seth in particular, but when I see Seth running around the house, laughing and yelling at the top of his previously-severely-damaged lungs, I tell myself: Shut up! Get over it! You are so blessed, Carrie Jones! God is SO GOOD!
Then I ask myself: What if God hadn't saved Seth? What if I was like another Facebook friend whose quints were born at 25 weeks and four survived? Would God still be good? And I have to answer: Yes, because that's His character. Aside from how incredibly kind He's always been to me, in easy times and in excruciating ones, His goodness towards me at the Cross is all the proof I need. It's His right to do as He pleases with me - and with the family I love more than life - because apart from Him there is no life, no thing, nothing. I belong to Him, bought and paid for in pints of blood and unimaginable suffering on the part of His Son, Jesus. There is no more wrath for me, in all my sins and failings, because it was all poured out on His Son. I am a beloved child and am disciplined by my loving Father for my good, but no discipline or hardship He ordains for me to go through on this earth can compare with the glory that is to be revealed in Heaven. It will all be worth it. Everything in my life as a believer, as a Christ-follower, is ultimately to glorify the Triune God and to prepare me for an eternity with the Savior. And He never, ever, ever leaves me to go through it alone. No matter what my feelings may say, His Word holds the ultimate truth, and the Spirit continues to whisper - sometimes shout! - it to me . . . as He so faithfully did last night in my human feelings of failure while reading about the Waldrop quints.
So that's why it's okay, even best, that our journey wasn't a People Magazine special. That wasn't God's best for us. I hope and pray and trust we glorified Him - albeit imperfectly! - in the journey He called us on when our kids were newborns. I trust and pray He will continue to enable us to glorify Him, not because we have any inherent goodness or strength or wisdom, but because He is infinitely good, strong and wise - and loving.
By the way, I can't wait to watch the special on the sextuplets later this year! :)
In His Grip,