She's here. Our Ivy Reine. And traces of glory still cling to her, our surprise gift from God. I can almost smell heaven when I hold her close, can almost see it's pure beauty reflected in her eyes. God waited until the last month to whisper her name to us. And when He did, I wasn't at all surprised. The name "Ivy" puts me in mind of green summers, fragrant springs, and decadent autumns; of whimsical woodland walks and lush valleys. God must have made her out of these very things. I was so vibrantly aware of the beauty around me while carrying this womb baby. I craved freshly picked flowers and overripe peaches, I dreamed of moss covered baby beds made out of twigs. Ivy means "faithful" and Reine (pronounced "ren") means "queen". She's full of grace, this wee babe--from the tip of her delicate nose to the bottom of her little toes. And my utmost prayer for her is that she will indeed be faithful to the God of grace, for His faithfulness to her is as sure as the rising of the sun.
She was born in the blustery cold second week of November. I had prayed and cried the night before she was born, my heart set on a natural birth, but my history of big babies with broken clavicles had everyone worried. But God gave me a verse to hang my heart on, that he had not given me a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind. I rested in that and refused to let my heart be troubled again over her birth. It would happen as the Lord willed it to. It turned out to be one of the easiest deliveries I've ever experienced! I went into active labor sometime around 12:30 in the afternoon and Ivy was born at 1:40! I was so surprised and shocked and exhilarated. She had this full head of dark hair and I remember thinking "She's perfect. Just like a little queen." She weighed 8 pounds and 12 ounces (mostly in her cheeks), and was 21 inches long. I had asked for no Vitamin K ointment to be put in her eyes (as I always have requested for all my children) so she could see me clearly and that first glimpse of her world would be of those who would always love her most. She stared into my eyes so calmly, held my gaze so steadily. She nursed for two hours immediately after she was born. And then Daddy swaddled her tight and wouldn't let her out of his sight. I love watching my husband with his newborn babes. His face is always so enchanted, so awe-filled and lost in love.
A week before Ivy was born, I envisioned her surrounded by ivy vines and I couldn't wait to capture what I had dreamt. There were vines growing on our trees beside the house and they were turning deep colors of russet and gold. I picked a few one day and even took a picture of them in a photo arrangement for Instagram. A couple days later, I awoke to a terrible puffy red rash spreading across my face. I thought I was breaking out in pregnancy hives and slathered coconut oil all over my irritated skin. I mentioned it to my midwife, but she thought it must be hives as well. I was still suffering from the rash when I went into the delivery room, it was spreading to my arms by then. One of the nurses took one look at it and exclaimed "It looks like Poison Ivy! I'm almost sure of it!" And yep, sure enough, I had picked poison ivy! And what are the odds that I would have poison ivy while delivering Ivy. We laughed so hard and I itched even harder. You can imagine the stories she'll hear of her birth.
We brought her home in the fog and drizzling rain to a warm house full of excited and enamored brothers and sisters. They all clamored to hold her and the look of awe and amazement in their faces was enough to fill my heart forever. I don't think there's anything on this earth as beautiful to a mother as the love of her children for one another. Story is constantly by her side, begging to hold her, kiss her, hug her. A few days after we brought Ivy home, we called for Story and we couldn't find her. We looked everywhere, started to grow frantic. We finally found her in Ivy's cradle, holding her. Needless to say, we can't let her out of our sight.
She sleeps in a little corner of our bedroom, in a cradle I painted and skirted for her. In the months before her birth, I had such a creative burst of energy and was sewing and painting and starting all sorts of handmade projects in anticipation of her arrival. I made her a little dress and hung it above her bed. I invited friends over for a "Quilting Bee" for Ivy's quilt and several friends lovingly made her quilt blocks. I stayed up late into the night fashioning her headbands out of moss, lace, and twine. I kept my hands busy because I knew that once she was here, my hands would be full of her and all else would become less than important.
And it's true. She fills my every waking hour. My hands are full and my heart is overflowing. I had worried before she was born, worried about how I would manage a house of six children on very little sleep. But I forgot, as I am sheepishly prone to do, to take God's grace into account. His grace has been on our home, in my bones, carrying me through each day. He smiles in the face of my doubt and says "Trust me. I don't give good gifts without the means to care for them." And she's on loan to us for just this little while, this Ivy Reine, His faithful little queen. And with her here in our home, filling every nook and cranny of our hearts, our family feels that much more complete.
P.S. A very lovely friend of mine (that I met on Instagram) came and took pictures of our family after Ivy was born. She captured this last picture, a precious moment of Ivy in her brother's arms. I can't wait to share more of her photos!
|photo credit: Above and Beyond Photography|