August 18, 2015

Always Enough

A little while back, a friend said to me that she thought it was fitting that I shared our pregnancy news through my blog.  “How come?” I asked.  The gist of what she shared was that the blog had documented so much of our journey and this baby is a continuation of the same journey, so it seemed only right to tell the story behind this baby coming to be.

“You get me,”  I told her.  Because she was so right and that is exactly why it did not feel right to just announce it on social media.  Even for just my own memory, it felt important to document how we got here.

Somewhere along the way, these past six years have become less about having a baby and more about who I believe God is and how much I trust Him.  God used my desire to have a baby and the pain and loss that came out of that to show me more of Himself and to allow me to experience more of Him in real and tender ways.

He’s still doing that.

This baby’s life is a tangible marker of the work God has done in me these years.  And though I’ve no idea what the outcome will be, I trust Him.

I know this baby’s life can end at anytime because sometimes stepping out in faith still ends in losing and dying.  Sometimes it still means your heart is crushed and your hope crumbles...momentarily.

Maybe it’s because I’ve lost so much that I fear it less.  

I know what it’s like to to see and hold death; to walk in the day but feel consumed by the dark; to feel out of control and consumed by grief, jealousy, anger, you name it; to wonder if you’ll be okay and will make it another day; to loathe laughter and celebrations; and hardest of all, to wonder if there is a God who sees you.

I know these things intimately well and yet I can tell you with a sincere heart that losing and dying are actually all counted as gain. 

It doesn’t mean that our pain is any less painful, or our longing any less agonizing.  It just means that the pain and loss we experience on this side of heaven are not the end of us or what He’s doing in and around us.

After all our losses, I know something for certain: we can only see the page that we are on in the story of our lives.  But God- in His supreme wisdom, never-ending love for us- knows the whole book because He is the Author of our lives.  And He is an Author to be trusted.

My book is still turning pages and though I’d like nothing more than to skip ahead to the next chapter to see how this will turn out, I trust Him.  And that is enough.  

Somehow, it’s always enough.

August 8, 2015

The Way We Mend

I can recall two times in the last year that I very clearly heard God’s voice.  Both times I was in crowded places, panning the room.  Both times I saw a mother with an infant.  And both times, God said “I’m not done yet.”

I tucked those moments away in my heart.  I knew that Jason wanted to try again for another baby and it seemed the logical time to start trying again, but I didn’t feel ready to start this journey again. 

Several months ago I began feeling anxiety and fear at the thought of being pregnant again.  I felt certain I had some level of PTSD because I’d break out in a sweat and have heart palpitations just thinking about it.  And if I heard about someone having a miscarriage, I’d experience their loss as if it was my own.

I felt gripped by fear and too afraid to move forward.  Staying put was what felt safe.

I spoke to Jason and several friends about this and finally decided to see my counselor.  In the back drop of the time that passed were the words God said to me, which propelled me forward, willing to enter the dark places of my heart and mind again in pursuit of overcoming this crippling fear.

As I kept considering what God said to me- “I’m not done yet”- I didn’t believe He was promising us another baby.  I believe He was foretelling the work He still wanted to do in me, knowing that if I was going to get to that place of trying again, it was going to be an act of obedience and a step of faith on my part in response to the heart work He wanted to do in me.  

I believe He wanted to do some mending.

Sometime in May I felt ready as I ever would be to try for another baby and in June we found out I was pregnant.  God acted fast!

Shortly after finding out our news, we went in for an early ultrasound to see if things were progressing and much to our delight we saw a heartbeat.  We went back two weeks later for another ultrasound and while we did still see a heartbeat, it appeared our baby only grew a week in those two weeks.

Our hearts sank a little and the midwife told us to be cautiously optimistic and to come back in a week to see if anything changed....for the better or for worse.

I did what anyone would do- I researched reasons why slow growth like that could happen and there were plenty of benign reasons, but there were also fatal ones.

I often thought about what would happen and would play out each scenario in my mind in lame attempts to prepare my heart for what would seem likely to happen based on my history.

More than anything, I prayed.  I did not plea or beg for this baby’s life.  I did not make bargains with God.  I just told Him over and over that I trusted the outcome of this baby’s life to Him; that I knew that He knew best; and that I believed He was unceasingly working for our good.

We went back for another ultrasound this week and got great news!  Our little baby was measuring right on time and the heartbeat was strong.

In the dark of the room with just a glow of the screen that displayed a bouncy baby, I cried.  I cried because I was happy, of course, but mostly I cried because I saw the gift that came out of my act of obedience and step of faith.  This is the God I serve- He is faithful to do the work if I am willing to trust Him.

So we are expecting another baby in March and our hearts are full!  

And I think this is the way we continue to mend.

It’s the way we mend 
We tear it all down and we’ll start it again 
And I don’t know how but you find me where we begin 
And that’s just the way, the way that we mend

"The Way We Mend" by Bebo Norman

March 24, 2015

Mothering a Miracle

My son is a miracle.  

A few years ago I was told that each time I became pregnant I had a 30-40% chance of carrying to term (the average woman’s chances are 80%).  So with numbers like that and after six miscarriages, I am confidently calling him a miracle.

The whole time I was pregnant I was convinced he would die.  Each appointment to hear his heartbeat was one that I dreaded and forget about the 20 week ultrasound.....I near had an anxiety attack were it not for my coaching myself to remain as calm as possible for my baby’s sake.

When all you know is death and disappointment, it’s hard to believe that life and happiness will come.

But they did.  Life was born from me and I held him as I looked around the room and told everyone repeatedly, “This is my baby!”  They all nodded because they knew where we had been and they knew this boy was long-awaited.

I was the mother of the miracle baby that day.  

Fast-forward 18 months and now I am the mother of an active, curious, funny, and determined little boy.  He’s sweet when he wants to be and a pistol the rest of the time.  He makes my brain tired, my knees bruised, and my heart swell with love for him.  Because even when he is defiant and drives me nuts, I adore him and would do anything for him.

We are what feels like eons away from those first few weeks where everything was so new and sacred and the glow of having our miracle boy home with us was still as bright as the day he was born.  Now we are settled into the same hum-hum of parenting a toddler like so many others.

But there is still something so different from us and so many others.  And the difference is that we almost did not get here.  That we have a son almost did not happen.

But we are here and he did happen and sometimes I ask myself and GOD, “How do I mother a miracle?”  I am learning the answer is that I don’t do anything different than anyone else.  

But what is different is me.

Sometimes in the morning when I walk into his room and he reaches for me all warm from sleep with a smile on his silly face, my heart skips a beat because HIS mercies are new every morning and joy comes in the morning and I am swimming in that sea of provision.  

And I almost didn’t get here.  

Sometimes when he is throwing a tantrum I sit back and watch him because I am in awe of his lung capacity and the way his legs kick while his arms pump up and down, all while releasing a flood of tears.  I can’t be upset or annoyed because I am too busy marveling at this creation that was born out of me. 

And I almost did not get to see this.

Sometimes at night when I am holding his slow-breathing body and running my fingers through his hair, I cry because now the weight that sits on my chest is him and not longing.

And I almost never had this.

In those moments- in the quiet of my heart and in humble gratitude to HIM- I thank GOD for my miracle boy.  That HE chose me to mother him is something I will never get over.

A friend was once said that my son must be so strong and a real fighter because he did what six other babies weren’t able to do- he grew and grew and grew until he was born pink and loud and he amazed us all.

And he still does.