My New Beginning

[Written in early 2011]

I was woken by a bright light from the hallway shining into my room accompanied by Dad's voice. With hardly any explanation he sent me to get something for him. I got dressed, retrieved the item, and was sent on more errands. Mom was going into labor, almost a month early, and the baby was coming fast. We had no midwife, (there were some last minute complications that made it impossible to have the midwife we had planned on.) Dad was worried and we were packing up to go to the hospital an hour and a half away.

I was dead tired, trudging back and forth between the house and the truck in below freezing weather in the middle of the night was exhausting. On one of my trips it suddenly dawned on me the gravity of the situation, I stopped what I was doing right there and prayed "Oh God keep Mom and the baby safe, don't let anything happen to them." When I had finished my prayer I went on working.

Levi was up too, he was helping but he was scared, in one of the few spare moments we had he said "There are only three outcomes to this situation. Mom die and the baby live, the baby die and Mom live, or they both die."

"There's four" I told him, "They could both live." After a short pause I swallowed all my own fears and said "They will be fine. Mom is healthy, the baby is healthy, we're going to the hospital. Mom has all ready had four baby's, she knows what she's doing. And besides, I was born this early" Little did I know what troubles lay before us.

My little speech seemed to help Levi. Just a little thing that happened to help relieve our stress was the incident with the frozen soda can. It was root beer and it was partly frozen. Levi opened it and fizz started going everywhere. Levi quickly reacted and started slurping the pop from the top of the can. He ran out of breath and passed it to me. I slurped the fizz coming out. Oh it was cold! I can out of breath passed it back to Levi. It was still fizzing! He kept slurping and it eventually stopped. It just helped to relieve our tension and later Levi and I looked back on it and laughed.

It is amazing how much stuff one needs in the case of an early birth and a drive to the hospital.
Pillows, blankets, candles, pizza, honey, tissues, Cd's, napkins, movies, just about anything you can think of; just for the record, we didn't even use any of it that night. At last we were all loaded up and we were ready to go. Slowly, painfully, and with many stops, Mom made her way, with Dads help, Down the hallway, out the door, and to the truck. Levi and I stood by and watched, the cold air made me cough. I had a cold and had lost my voice earlier that week.
At last mom was situated in the back seat and we were ready to go. I looked back at Levi standing in the driveway and waved goodbye. Dad got in started the truck, said a prayer, and we were off. Dad called the hospital notifying them we were on our way.

The drive to the hospital was long, stressful, and wearisome. Mom was in full labor and Dad had me count in between contractions, while he talked to her and tried to sooth her. When we were about thirty minutes away Dad called again and told them to be ready for us when we got there. He wanted them to have a stretcher ready for Mom and waiting outside. He said this very clearly and from what I heard it sounded as if the nurses agreed. Ten minutes away Dad called again saying we were almost there.

Finally we were at the hospital. We pulled up to the door but nobody was there. No nurses, no stretchers, no nothing. Dad told mom he would be right back and ran inside. I saw through the windows that there were nobody in the lobby, Dad looked for them and when he couldn't find anyone he started to bring the stretcher out himself. (There was one sitting in the lobby) Almost immediately when Dad started messing with the straps on the bed a nurse came out and started talking to him. I saw all this through the windows. I could tell by their body language that Dad and the nurse were talking urgently, Dad made the motion you do when you say you'll be right back and ran back out to the truck. Dad opened the door of the truck just in time to catch the baby as it came out.

"Oh praise God! Thank you, thank you, a gift from God! He's a boy! Oh thank God!"

He and mom cried tears of joy. I sat in the front seat just grinning. Oh this was a happy day! Mom held the baby close and kept saying to him through her tears,
"Oh my baby, my baby boy, my baby ------, I love you."

All this happened in less than a minute. Now there were nurses in abundance, they wanted to make sure the baby was fine, make sure he was breathing, make sure he wasn't blue. He wasn't; he was perfectly fine and we told them he was. But still they insisted on seeing him. Dad still wanted to bring Mom and the baby inside. After all he was born early and he wanted to be sure there were no later complications. The nurses said that the only way Mom could come inside was if she could walk in and then they would get a wheelchair for her. Dad tried to explain to them that it was impossible for Mom to walk in with the umbilical cord still connected, but they wouldn't listen. The head nurse came out and said very bluntly
"Sir you either accept our help now or you leave."

This put Dad on the spot. Of course he wanted to be in the hospital, but the only way Mom could go inside was if they would bring the stretcher out, and they were not willing to do that. So in reality we were forced to leave.

Dad asked where the nearest Wall Mart was. They told us and we drove there. Dad parked and went inside to get some nice sharp scissors to cut the umbilical cord with and some clamps. He returned sometime later. He called our good friends the Davis' and told them the good news.

At some point after the phone call and before the cord was cut we were surrounded by five police cars. One of the officers tapped on the window. Dad opened it a crack not wanting to let the cold air in. They talked on the verge of argument when another officer cam up and said
" You open this door right now or I'll break the glass and open it for you" (It was locked couldn't be opened from the outside)

Dad got out.

The policemen were walking all around and looking through the windows. Jubal still hadn't started nursing. I was leaning against the door when the same officer who had tapped on the glass opened it. He didn't even knock. He rudely shoved his whole upper body into the truck and leaned over me with his flash light to look at Mom.
"Show us that baby ma'am we need to see him and make sure he's breathing, this is no time for modesty."

Mom had just giving birth and was trying to nurse so of course she wasn't decent. That, however, was the last thing on Mom's mind. She pulled the blanket tighter over Baby and said,
"He's going to get cold, I don't want him to get cold."

They went back and forth a few seconds then Dad came over. The man shut the door.

Things went on, eventually an ambulance pulled up. Dad talked to the paramedic's they looked through the window at Jubal and my mother. Dad signed some papers saying that the hospital was in no way responsible for the child. This all happened in the middle of the brightly lit parking lot with my
mom only being covered by a blanket that didn't really cover.

Finally everybody left. We drove to a more secluded spot of the parking lot, and tried to get Mom and the baby situated, the Dad cut the cord. (It doesn't take a doctor to know how to use a pair of scissors and two clamps)

Now this was the time Mom needed to pass the placenta. If she retained it it was possible she could die. When you give birth, the baby typically starts nursing fairly soon, nursing sends a hormone or signal that makes the mother give the after birth. In order to nurse you have to be relaxed so the milk will come. Mom was not calm at all, it was all very stressful. The milk wouldn't flow, Baby wasn't nursing, the placenta wasn't coming.

Things were looking bad and we started to get worried. Dad prayed aloud and asked God to help Mom. Then we called some friends of ours. She knew about natural birth and told us all she knew and said to call her mid wife. We did and the lady talked us through the process of birthing the placenta. There were some difficulties but thankfully everything turned out all right.

By this time it was getting light out. We arranged Mom in the seat, Jubal in the car seat, discussed plans, then headed to the Super 8 Motel near by.

After parking under the awning Dad went inside to the front desk to make a reservation. It turned out that the lady at the desk also worked at Wall Mart, she recognised us and was wondering what had went on. Dad explained briefly and we got a room.When we had finished bringing in all the stuff Dad went to the breakfast room to get some food for him and Mom, I followed soon after. After eating my bagel I ignored all the text messages on my phone, layed down flat on the bed with no pillow, and fell asleep.
woke to the sound of a strange voice. I lay with my eyes closed a minute and listened to the conversation. I discovered she was a social worker from the Department of Family Services (DFS). Finally I tired of acting like I was asleep still, and got up. After introductions I said I was going to get something more to eat. I went to the breakfast room and returned with a plate full of food. After knocking on the door the social worker answered and said
"Your parents would like for you to wait outside for a minute."

I sat in the hall a while and ate my bagel. After knocking on the door a second time and receiving the same answer, I went back to the breakfast room and watched Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader on T.V.
The lady at the desk and her friend were also there, their conversation reminded me of what a sad state our society is in. Neither of them knew Christ and I felt sorry for them. I was depressed thinking about it.
Eventually Dad came and got me. We went back in the room. Mom was crying buckets of tears and Dad face was drawn. He turned towards me and hugged me while saying,
"Lydia, today is a happy day, we have a new child in this world. But it is also a sad day..."

Here I prayed, "Oh God, don't let them take my brother!"

"... because our house burned down."

My first reaction was relief then shock. "What?" I almost yelled then dumbfounded I starting listing some of my special belongings. "My sketchbooks, my Cd's I got for Christmas, my jewelry box, my piano..."

Dad choked out "And Dixie, Lydia."

At that instant, January 14, 2011 standing in the motel room my world crashed down around me. My dog. My piano. My home.

I bursted into tears and sobbed into Dad's shoulder. In my head I screamed "God why?"

Dad started crying, Mom cried even harder "My baby's oh my baby's!" she kept saying.
A few moments later I calmed myself, pulled away from Dad, sat on the bed, and stared at my feet. A few times I lost control and hot, silent tears poured down my face.

I don't remember all that happened after that, it was kinda a blur, but at some point the social worker left. We discussed plans. Mom wanted to get back to "all her baby's" as soon as possible. It was decided, we would leave that day instead of staying as previously planned. The drive back seemed longer than it had coming, and indeed it was, we made several stops. Every time I thought of Dixie I would see her scared, helpless, and in a terrible amount of pain being burnt alive. I cried. My throat was aching too, I still hadn't recovered my voice and I had done a lot of talking and crying, it burned somethin' awful.

Finally we made it back. It was around three in the afternoon when we pulled into the parking lot of the winery owned by some of our friends. Here we met the rest of our friends, family and pastor. One of the first things Levi told me was that Dixie hadn't died as I had imagined. She was perfectly fine. When he told me that I made a little squeak, my face lit up instantly and my eyes were shining. I said,
"Really? Oh thank you!" The latter being directed to God

Levi laughed and said " You should have seen our face Lydia, you looked so happy."

He also told us that his own dog Pete had died. Levi had left him in the house because he had a cold and Levi didn't want him to start coughing. Savannah's dog Jill, hadn't died either as I had supposed. They were all outside except Pete.

All the chickens had fried on the back porch that had been converted into a chicken coop. The blue suburban was nothing but a charred metal frame now, mine and Zachery's car had been right behind it but it was fine. Part of our red storage shed had burned, the headlight of the pickup truck had melted, and the big water tank we used to fill up the cistern had melted in on itself and looked like a bubble gum bubble that had just been popped, the ground all around was black. The only thing left of the whole house was the steel metal frame, and even that had gotten bent. There had been fire trucks, one fire man had grabbed the neighbor boy by the shoulders and shook him saying,
"Is there anybody in there?"

"I don't know." was all he could answer.

Thankfully nobody was. All this I learned from various reports later on.
After I was done showing off Baby to his older brother I got out and Levi and I went inside. As I walked in the door I was arrested by my pastors sympathetic eyes, I could see his pain for us. He greeted us and we talked. One of the things he kept saying was "I can't imagine what you must be going through right now."

To me I didn't feel anything. It was as if it hadn't really happened. But yet here was my proof: We were surrounded by friends, one of the lady's who worked there offered us clothes, there was the memory of the motel room and later Pastor was driving us to our friends house where we would be staying.
When we arrived, and after Pastor had left, Mrs. Debbie got out some mattresses for us. We had all ready had dinner. I sat on the couch upstairs and fell asleep. I woke up when Mrs. Debbie tapped me on my arm, I started and she said I could go to bed if I wanted. I followed her advice and went to bed with unbrushed teeth wearing the same clothes as before.

The question I kept asking myself in the days following was "God why?"

Mom and Dad were given one day of "rest" before they had to go to the hospital again to get a check up on Baby. This time it was Children's Mercy. They had only expected to be there one day but instead they had to stay... well from January 16- February 1. The hospital kept on coming across just one more thing that they had to take tests on. Baby had a high bili rubin count so they were putting him on... antibiotics I think it was. He had high bili rubin because the umbilical cord wasn't cut soon enough, and whose fault was that? We were surrounded by police cars before we had a chance to cut it so that took about an hour and a half to deal with, so of course the cord hadn't been cut soon enough! It was just one thing after another in the hospital that delayed their day of release. And don't even get my Mom started on all that they did to Baby, man you'll get an earful.

Despite all that, God still gave Mom and Dad some bright spots in that place. There was one vice manager who took special interest in my parents. He helped them out at the cafeteria giving them more food for the amount of money that would normally buy not even half the amount they got. The also met a few nice people and made some friends of whom include an Amish family whose daughter had cancer.
While my parents were busy fulfilling the demands of the doctors at the hospital, us kids had a somewhat normal schedule. After the first few days we started our school again. Tuesday through Friday we would go to our pastors house and do school with their children. We had breakfast at 7:45 in the morning and would get back in time for dinner at half past five.

Every evening when we got home I would do some home work and start going through the huge mound of clothes people had sent us. We were set, and the clothes kept coming. Baby clothes, toddler clothes, girls clothes, boys clothes, men's clothes, women's clothes, all different shapes, sizes and colors. Our aunt gave us backpacks and notebooks for our school work and gloves. A church down in Australia said they wanted to send us a box! People in Alabama that my grandparents had told about us sent us boxes of stuff. Savannah's and mine girl scout troop made their February community service project collecting stuff to give us. We made a list of things we wanted, just stuff, like books, radios what ever, and gave it to the girl scouts. They got as many things on the list the could. The Red Cross gave us a debit card that had nearly one thousand dollars on it to buy grocery's and things we needed. A furniture store said we could go and shop for free. Friends and relatives sent us cards filled with their condolences and money. My grandpa bought Mom a new laptop to replace the old one. People sent us old school books they were finished with. My piano teacher gave us a Target gift card and she gave me lessons for free. We were showered with blessings.

About a week after Mom and Dad got out of the hospital we got a hold of a house for rent. It is in a little old dead town, a completely refurbished double wide mobile home. We filled the house with all the things people gave us and a few things we bought ourselves and now it looks like a completely normal house.You would never guess what we've been through.

Sometime during all this while we were still living with the our friends, God answered my question. I don't really know how it happened. I was reading my Bible (the new one I had been given to replace the old) and it flashed on me how much God loved us. God used this experience and showed me who our friends were. He showed me that everything comes from Him and that all the things people were giving us was from Him. God is a merciful God. He made sure every one of us was out of the house when it burned down. Of course I read Job and that helped a lot. I know there was much more to this revelation but I just don't know how to put it in words.

I guess what would put into perspective is this. In 2010 I was going through some times when I was just not satisfied. I was angry, confused, and depressed. There wasn't really anything going on that made me like that, it was just how I was. This is what I wrote regarding the subject:
Depressed, Happy
Sad, Glad,
Angry, Not
Bitter, Forgave
Pointless, Purpose
2010, 2011
Myself, God,
Without Him, With Him.
Now I am happy, glad, not angry, I have purpose, and I have God. I have begun my new life. This is what the Lord gave me through this experience. Happiness and Purpose. My life has been changed for the better. I would not ask for our house back for anything. I love my Creator. He is infinitely good, loving and just. My prayer is that God will use this experience and that through my and my familys reactions and attitude that He would be glorified.

James 1:2-3
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.