Thursday, May 8, 2014
Eden Eliana Lopez - Paradise
On Saturday May 3, 2014, ten days ahead of schedule, Eden Eliana Lopez made her way forcefully into this world. Her brief labor began at approximately 10 a.m., and after a quick visit to the cemetary to see Gabriel for good luck and intercession, we arrived at the hospital some time after 2 p.m. Eden was born shortly after that, at 4:58 p.m. weighing 9 pounds, 11 ounces, and measuring 20 3/4 inches long. She's perfect.
"Eden" is Hebrew, and means paradise, and is quite obviously a reference to the Garden of Eden. The name was selected when I was 13, at the time more in honor of a favored character from a long-discontinued soap opera, "Santa Barbara," than in appreciation of my faith or the signficance of the name. "Eliana" is also Hebrew, and means "The Lord answers our prayers." It represents that whisper of my heart, sometimes so faint that even I couldn't hear it, that ember of faith that burned within me even in the darkest of hours. The Lord has answered my prayers.
My house is a nightmare. I was ill-prepared for Eden's arrival and her presence makes catching up difficult. My files at work are not where I wanted them to be before maternity leave, as I closed them up on Friday May 2 expecting to return to tend to them on Monday. I have a terrible case of PUPPS rash, a symptom of pregnancy and delivery I was unaware existed.
But I live in paradise.
This is not the Biblical paradise that witnessed the Fall of Man, innocent until that moment. Quite the opposite, this is a paradise that has already known grief, and violence, and heartache. This is a paradise that feels the missing presence of Eden's brother Gabriel, deeply. This is a fallen paradise, and it's beautiful.
It's not been lost on me that while Gabriel lived only ten days, which must sustain me the rest of my life, ten days were given back to me with Eden's early arrival. She was here in my arms, giving me comfort yesterday, the 13 year anniversary of the assault. She'll be in my arms this Mothers Day, the first of my four Mother's Days where I will have full arms. Sometimes I cry at the flooding feeling of gratitude that I have for this beautiful child and her loving father, who moves me daily with his affection and love for us. How did I get here?
The Fall of Man in the Garden of Eden is attributed for the pains of childbirth, and Eden's birth, though quick, was painful. That pain was quickly forgotten when they placed my beautiful daughter on my chest and I could only murmur, "You're real." I can't remeber now who said, "It's a girl." I remember the words. I remember what I heard: "Welcome to paradise."