My firstborn. The child gave me fits before she ever came out. I puked on her father at Carl’s Jr. in the drive-thru. I mean, when a pregnant woman tells you that a bacon-mushroom, double-down, triple cheese, $6 burger doesn’t sound good at the time….well, you should put your own “wants” aside and head for wherever she tells you sounds good. Right???

I had heartburn, restless leg, morning sickness, insomnia, extra saliva, memory loss….and the list goes on and on. Once I was shopping at TJ Maxx (LOVE THIS STORE) and literally hit the ground with some strange sharp pain. I had to have my friend push me in a wheel-chair. I wish I were lying. I could not even walk because of the nerve this child was laying on.

And, if these things were not enough, in my 8th month, I developed Bells Palsy. Let me just tell  you that when that evilness hit me, I was more than done. I went into a depression and a state of mind that was not good. I couldn’t have cared less about anything. I literally wanted to DIE. I could not eat or talk properly. I could not smell. I could not shut my eyes. I could not apply make-up. I could not taste.

So the time came to deliver said child. I knew I was in labor but not a lot was going on as far as contractions, I was overdue and miserable. MISERABLE. Exhausted and stressed. Life was just yucky. There was one bright light at the end of the tunnel, my best friend, my cousin, was also having a baby. We had the same doctor. Same hospital. And…we were delivering our babies, AT THE SAME TIME. Across the hallway from one another.

She had arrived a few hours prior to myself. She was sitting in a chair rocking, having a beautiful natural child-birth. I remember walking from her room thinking that she made it look do-able. I was going to experience this same “bliss” and have a story-book delivery as well! I was ready to get on with life and come out of my funk.

About 3 hours later my family came in who had been coming in from time to time and going to each of our rooms and announced that my cousin had her baby. Everything was fine. She was done and even came in herself to visit me. Wow! That looked easy enough! I couldn’t wait to make my stroll to her room in a couple of hours and return the favor. About 4 hours in, the Dr. said that I was just not having productive enough contractions and so he broke my water. And then things began picking up. Pain-wise anyway. Eventually I asked for my epidural and let nature take its course. 1 hours. 2 hours. 3 hours…..8 hours….10 hours…12, 14, 16, and finally, 18 hours later after pushing for 3 hours, having to resort to forceps, born “sunny-side up,” and the cord wrapped around her neck, Hannah Elisabeth was born. And,  she had pooped. POOPED while inside of me! There were doctors everywhere waiting to up-wrap the cord, rush her to NICU and make sure she had not inhaled the meconium. (Poop.)

I was not well. Try pushing a baby , with Bells Palsy. You feel like you want your face to “push for you” but it won’t move. Because with Bells Palsy, your face is paralyzed. Oh yeah, and my epidural had worn off during the process, so I was having a “natural” birth after all. And for those who know about child-birth, I had a 4th degree “tear” and that’s all I’m saying about that……

My baby was screaming so loud, the entire floor could hear her. I did not care. I just simply, did not care. I was tired, angry, depressed and just wanted to be left alone. I got word that she was banged up from the forceps but otherwise checked out OK. I gladly let the nurses take her for the night so I could rest.

After a couple of days, I went home. This sweet, little baby was demanding! She wanted to eat, like clock-work, every 1.5 hours. Non-stop. I was trying to breast-feed. I couldn’t figure it out. So I got a pump. I pumped, and pumped, and pumped. Fed, and fed and fed. I couldn’t go to the “bathroom” for 10 days! I did not sleep. I could not focus, function, I could barely walk and never mind getting out to see the light of day. I was not enjoying this experience. Not even slightly. I still had Bells Palsy and frankly, I felt like everything “womanly” about me had been stolen.

My mother came to stay for a few days to help. I also remember my aunt coming one day to let me sleep. God love them, I do not know what I would have done. My mother prayed for my healing and within a couple of days I began feeling my facial nerves coming around. Ticking, and muscle spasms. My face was being restored and I was hopeful.

After about a month, the Bells Palsy was gone. After about 2 months, I finally got out of my house and went to the store. I had healed for the most part both mentally and physically. But I never wanted to have another baby, ever again. That was 12 years ago. I DID have another baby, and thank the Lord it went exactly opposite of the previous experience.

Now, let me tell you about this little baby that turned my world upside down:

Her name is Hannah Elisabeth. Meaning: Grace of God: Concecrated to God.  I mostly refer to her simply as “Elisabeth.” She came into this world screaming, giving me fits and never sleeping. For the first few months of her life anyway. Once I got over myself and my “issues” I was able to properly “see” this child for the first time. I seen a baby with her fathers cleft chin. I seen a child with a sparkle in her eyes. I witnessed a toddler talking way before her time.

I watched a child being strong when no one at her age should have to go though the pain of their father leaving. A child that was comforting me, when I should have been comforting her. I seen her go to kindergarten, with a little smile on her face. Never crying. “Just go mom, I’ll be OK.”

I watched her share with whomever was around. With gladness.  I watched her cry over someone homeless on the street. I have watched her offer her last dime, pennies even, to anyone who needed it, including me. “Mom, you can have my quarter if you need it to buy groceries”.  From the time she started talking, she wanted to talk to the adults, anywhere she went. She wanted to “visit.” She always has, and she always will. She wants to go to church,  and she loves God with every fiber of her being.

Every year she is chosen to participate in the “Bucket Club” at school. A group where they help people, encourage people, visit nursing homes, etc. She is not especially popular, she does not care if her clothes come from Goodwill or a garage sale.

She has a lot of fear about simple things. She is afraid of me walking out of her sight too far. She is not especially confident in her physical capabilities, she gets her feelings hurt and is very sensitive.  She cares who invites her to do something, and is crushed when she is left out. Sometimes she feels she gets “lost in the shuffle” of our blended family,  as she is the “middle child” with one older sister, one younger sister and a boy. She gleams with pride when she accomplishes something that others would consider small.

This morning she got up before me, got a shower and dressed in her new clothes that I got her over the weekend. She fixed her hair and straightened it. She really looked beautiful. I wish I had snapped a picture. I do not like watching her grow up so fast, but I am watching her “grow” in another way. She wants to try new things, things that she may have been fearful of before. She seeks approval from elders in her life and she realizes that it isn’t always that simple. She is figuring out that people are not always nice. She has dreams, visions, and wisdom of spiritual things that go beyond the surface.

She has a heart of gold. A compassion for people. Sympathy for the less fortunate. A desire to serve. A love for the un-lovable. A purpose. Maybe it is not to be the best basketball player, the athletic sportsman, the popular kid, the class-clown. Maybe, just maybe, it is to be a light. Someone who will make a difference. Someone to look up to, someone who has made their “mess,” their message.

My daughter is a better person than I. That is all I could ask for. She is smarter and way nicer and certainly more patient.Sometimes she still drives me to the looney bin 🙂  Be her friend, you will not be let down.

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Categories: children, love, relationships


I am Rachel. I have a skewed sense of reality and I like to live through my imagination. Unfortuntely, that has taken me down some rocky roads and I am here to share some snippets of what happens when a girl has a mind of her own.

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4 Comments on “Elisabeth”

  1. September 14, 2011 at 2:32 pm #

    Yes, my precious grandaughter, Hannah Elisabeth, is everything her Mother described. The grace of God IS on her and she IS consecrated to God, to be a light in the darkness, to be a wonderful, beautiful child and a wonderful, beautiful woman of God. She believes the best of everyone and I know that life will put that to test but I don’t believe her heart will change. “Hannie”, as I call her, has a great destiny, as all of my grandchildren do. Cannot wait to see what God does for her and in her life!

  2. Heidi Rutledge
    September 14, 2011 at 11:00 pm #

    It is pretty hard to type through the tears, but I’ll do my best. Love love this story and you are right about it all. Of course Hannah has a special place in my heart since she is Riley’s non-biological twin, but more than that she is one special young lady. I am excited to see what God has in store for her and all the rest of them. Thanks Rach for the beautiful blog and am glad that we are cousins and best friends 😉

  3. September 20, 2011 at 10:21 pm #

    A very lovely tribute to your daughter.

  4. September 26, 2011 at 12:27 pm #

    Precious! I still remember her coming into my room and chattering nonstop that night I stayed with y’all. Amazing how God’s grace allows children to overcome so much and become amazing people.

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