Yesterday I took Nora to church for the first time.
The last time I went was August 12, when later that day I ended up in the hospital at 29 weeks of pregnancy, not knowing that I would be stuck there for 5 weeks before my daughter would be born. We wouldn't be home together for 2 more weeks after that.
It was kind of a last-minute idea to go to church. Nora's doctor said that should be the LAST public place we take her because of people wanting to touch her (and as a church family naturally would, think they have some "ownership" in her they'd be more likely to rush up to do that).
But she's grown so much and is doing so well, and I just felt like going, that I figured it would be as good a Sunday as any to go to church with her.
As we sat down behind Paster Mark, he turned, smiled and said "You're going to be mobbed."
And we were.
I didn't think about the fact that Sunday was "All Saints Sunday" -- that first Sunday in November when we remember those who have gone before us. I think of my Dad too, who's been gone for 15 years now. But our most recent loss of Jacob is the one that still stings.
I can't tell you how emotional it was to be holding our real live baby girl, and going up to light a candle for our babes lost. My Mom offered to hold Nora, but I just had to have her with me while I did it.
As you can imagine, having a baby after all we've been through is certainly healing -- more than I even anticipated. But while I knew it would feel so good to finally have a baby in my arms, it also has the inevitable feeling of realizing the depth of the losses we've suffered all over again. Throughout the service at various times, I'd fight the tears, and sometime I'd just let it roll.
What is amazing to me though is that while I have moments like yesterday, I don't dwell on it as much as I thought I would. I guess I don't want Nora's early days to be one of her sensing her Mom and Dad are sad instead of happy, if that makes sense.
During the "meet & greet" portion of our service (they call it sharing the peace, but it's mostly a chance for us Lutheran types to feel especially self-concious because we have to say hello to everyone around us, and if you're new like I am, that means always meeting new people I have no hope of remembering names for), I was rushed by a number of Grandma types who all wanted to see Nora.
During the "sharing of the peace" and after church, so many people came to tell us how happy they were to see our girl. How many of them prayed for her health, and how relieved they were to see us doing so well.
That, is what a church family is all about, I say.