And so it is we find ourselves back in the machine, barreling through tubes and squeezing through cogs, along once again for the ride. A week away afforded rest and family bonding time, to be sure, though it was but a second in its lasting. Life as a dad has been wonderful so far, and I'm sure it'll only get better. Avonlea has already peed on my hand, as well as the couch, and it didn't phase me one bit. Had it been the dogs, I would've been perturbed, but my daughter doesn't generate ire yet.
Much of the week was tiring, learning to semi-sleep and still function firing all cylinders. This is still a work in progress. We also had many visitors, and while this is a blessing (many brought delicious foodstuffs), it's also very tiring. One night we found ourselves upstairs and abed 'ere nine in PM, a thing most unheard.
As for the birth, the word that keeps coming to mind is surreal. Keisha had been having high blood pressure, though two lab tests showed no preeclampsia. As it were, we arrived at a routine appointment two Thursdays ago at 2:30 to have another round of measurings and what not. Fluid levels were low, blood pressure was high, and the doctor decided to ship us out to the hospital for monitoring (nothing to worry about, normal, happens all the time, don't worry about going by the house). So at 4pm-ish we walk through the doors of Labor & Delivery, looking to be hooked up and Keisha monitored. Bloods taken. Pee, too. Lab results done in the post-haste. And come 5o'clock-ish, the doctor says that things aren't well and that Keisha's gonna need an emergency C-section (a thing unheard of!) This was not in the plans, as Keisha intended to go au natural, and my sweet, lovely, and perfect wife freaked out.* Yet, after we understood that the longer she went with Avonlea inside, the greater the chance for a stillborn birth, she decided a C-section fit the bill. And so I was given scrubs, Keisha was given drugs, and we were rushed to the O.R. And, lo, at 6:02, a daughter was born. I shall never forget it. I'd say it was the insanely dry air that caused tears to sting my eyes, but I'd be lying, and that I am not.
Avonlea arrived, crying, peeing, and the world dipped heavily. I saw my wife's insides, all purple and red and blue, as the backdrop to my new baby, upheld by the good doctor's hands. Avonlea was beautiful. And then we got a quick picture and I was rushed to the nursery with the babe, where soon we were reunited with Keisha for permanent.
The hospital stay was three nights, and it passed quickly. We arrived at Stewartland, where the dogs curiously sniffed the new arrival, and life resumed. The world was wonderful, and it's been ever since.
As it were, something happened to me the very day we arrived home, and then again two nights later. Something that hit me hard and shook my faith in the world a little bit. Something that honestly put a wretched damper on my glorious week, sickening me to the gut and wrapping against my faith. In short, and without going into much, I was rejected. I was going to be a deacon at church, but in order to do that, one must be questioned. My answers were apparently too liberal/immature on the matter of alcohol, tithing, and a qualification of deacons, though I based all of my beliefs on my understanding of the bible. Scripture doesn't prohibit drinking, only drunkenness. Tithing is required, but to the Lord, as I see it, not necessarily the local church (excepting the OT). And deacons, well, it says plainly a man of one wife, as it were, and that's enough for me.**
This rejection hurt. A lot. Not so much that I was found lacking, but that these three issues were enough to cause such dissension among the deacon body. Romans 14:17 says "For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." Jesus said to love God, love people (obviously paraphrased), and that's the important thing. How can we as a church hope to reach the lost when we're too concerned with these less-than-important things? Sure, they matter, to a degree, but they're not issues to base a foundation on. On Jesus and His love, these are foundations.
While my heart still grieves over this, I've prayed for guidance and understanding. I've prayed for unity in the church like never before. I've prayed for a loving and forgiving heart, one that holds no grudges (I thank God I've never been one to do so) and one willing to serve as Jesus. I don't have to be a deacon to serve God. Amen.
So, yeah, an unimaginable wonderful and tragic week. What a great juxtaposition, eh?
In the end, the birth of Avonlea trumps anything. Like eternal life will always trump out any of life's problems, simply holding my daughter against my chest works miracles for an aching heart. My daughter is beautiful, healthy, and fierce. She's got Stewart blood in her, olde and magickal. She's a noble, as her da. And we bow to no man but the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
*freaked out probably gives it justice. She was definitely upset.
**I've obviously simplified this. The interrogation spanned three hours over the two evenings. It likely was the most intense thing I've ever been involved in.