December 23rd, 2014.
You never know when you are seeing someone on quite possibly the best day of their life. Walking through Kroger looking completely average and exhausted wearing workout clothes – okay fine, wearing pajamas. Picking up tarragon vinegar (don’t ask – Christmas recipe that went horribly wrong) and a bottle of BBQ sauce and then headed to the Sample’s house for our second-annual-pre-Christmas-dinner-and-sugar-cookie-decorating extravaganza. I had just taken a positive pregnancy test for the first time in 12 months. That’s right. A whole year. We stopped preventing pregnancy in January 2014 and finally got pregnant in December 2014. I just KNEW I would have to be pregnant by Wills’ 1st birthday to have any sense of restoration. Again, God gently pulled away my preconceived ideas and said, nope you really just need ME for restoration and healing. And He’s right. I took a pregnancy test every single month just absolutely convinced that I was finally pregnant. Negative. Negative. Negative. Til December 23rd 🙂 no words can adequately express how overwhelmed we were at the promise of new life again. Shortly after New Year’s I call my doctor’s office to schedule my first check up. First available appointment was for January 30th, my birthday.
January 30th, 2015. Worst birthday, to date. It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to.
You never know when you are seeing someone on quite possibly the worst day of their life. God had been extremely clear with me (or so I thought) about this new baby being healthy and here with us. I was not even nervous going into the first doctor visit at 9 weeks. Before the ultrasound tech came in, I looked at Walt and said: Brave people do this. We have to be brave. Brave people try to get pregnant again after losing a child to a genetic condition without having a thousand tests and picking apart what the medical field might have to say. (Granted, through Wills’ amniocentesis results we found that we were NOT carriers for Trisomy 18 and therefore the probability of that particular condition happening again was less than 1% and were given the green light to have more babies in reference to Trisomy 18). Little did I know just how brave we were about to have to be. Ultrasound tech hurried through and we were ushered into an exam room. My doctor came in with THAT look on his face. Asked us a few questions and dropped the bomb on us. Our baby appeared to have a brain that was not developing basically. Too much black space in our precious baby’s head. He mentioned “neural tube defect” such as anencephaly, where a baby is born missing portions of their skull and/or brain. There are no words to explain how broken our hearts were. All on my birthday – selfishly my favorite day of the year. Hands down, the hardest day of my life to date. We were referred to our specialist (same one we had with Wills) for a 12 week ultrasound. Oh ya know, just 2.5 weeks away. Side note – that night, of my birthday, thinking this baby won’t make it to birth much less any time here with us as a healthy baby that we can smother with affection, I was at the lowest point I have ever been in my life. Normally for me, I feel despair start to set in and I can reach for my bible and He shows up and shows Himself to me and builds me up and encourages my heart. Every single time. This night, I reached for my bible and I felt despair start to get worse. It was the scariest feeling to me, to reach for my bible and feel I’ve somehow been wrong about hearing from Him and the depths of His love for us and His amazing story that I usually can’t get enough of. I set my bible down and prayed for just some good old fashioned encouragement. My skin was crawling, my heart was breaking, honestly my world was coming apart at the seams at the thought of carrying and losing another precious baby. 5 minutes later my phone rings. It’s my over the top, hilarious, live out loud, rambunctious, ridiculously loving and encouraging brother. He didn’t know about our bad news yet. I told him. And in all honesty God used Tommy to screw my head back on straight that night. The main take away he told me was this: This is not nightmare #2. This is experience #3. (not that Wills was a nightmare, but the diagnosis, doctor visits and death equaled a nightmare for this mama heart.) I needed that fresh breath of perspective SO BAD. Walt and I both did. I reached for my bible after we got off the phone and guess Who met me there…. God Himself 🙂 the next 2.5 weeks were like a warp speed sanctification. He taught us SO MUCH waiting on that doctor visit. Still was brutal. Still was REALLY hard. BUT we could tell God was bringing about steady, strong, real fruit in our hearts. Two minute rant… We can know SO much this day and age. Tune in to what God is whispering in the quiet moments spent in His Word. He has a plan for our lives. And sometimes that plan includes more TRUST and HOPE than KNOWLEDGE.
February 17th, 2015.
You never know when you are seeing someone on quite possibly another best day of their life. My maternal fetal medicine specialist visit. I could not fathom getting good news from this doctor after what we had already been through. The ultrasound tech comes in and first thing out of her mouth was that she knew about Wills and had followed our story. That was the first little obvious nugget that felt like a huge wink from God. We really bonded with her during the ultrasound, then our doctor comes in to review the measurements and results and to do his own ultrasound, etc. I kept waiting for the bomb to drop. But when it was all said and done, the word he had for us was one of the best words you can hear when you’ve had a baby die of a condition diagnosed in your womb……. our baby appeared: NORMAL. Again, no adequate words to express our joy. No. Words. Just lots and lots of REALLY happy tears. Brain was right on track. Skull was in tact. NT Scan was normal. I don’t know if God healed our baby in the waiting or if the ultrasound machine at my first visit was having a bad day. All I know is that God showed up and showed off in answering our prayers. Period. Baby #3 measuring 4 days ahead of schedule. We opted for a blood test that would go ahead and rule out Trisomy 13, Trisomy 18 and Trisomy 21. Oh and it tells us gender 🙂
February 23rd, 2015.
Our test results came back early. One day early to be exact. Nurse called yesterday and informed me that we are officially clear of the trisomies. I think I asked her to repeat herself 3 times. Then with the 3 of us at home and her on speaker phone she tells us the gender. It was such a sweet, much needed moment for the 3 of us. I’m still emotionally exhausted from those 2.5 weeks waiting and speculating. I mean, absolutely exhausted. But I’m so thankful for a normal checkup to this point. We still have a couple of screenings left to rule out other abnormalities that can happen during any pregnancy (no markers – just standard testing to come) BUT if this has taught me anything, it has taught me to enjoy being pregnant TODAY. Enjoy God’s promise TODAY. Today, we are 13 weeks pregnant with a baby that does NOT have Trisomy 18. To have lost my son, who had my whole heart, and to now carry the promise of new life leaves me speechless. A million emotions have already defined this chapter and I know a million more will come but the underlying theme here is simply gratitude. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to carry another baby. Quietly thankful that He has allowed me to walk this road and that He would humble Himself enough to walk with me through it – but really who am I kidding – He has 100% carried us through it. I hope this story is a light for God and His love and His Son. I hope you clearly see His fingerprints on our life and in return see our gratitude for those marvelous fingerprints. There is now a quiet knowing of His grace and goodness and mercy, although I’m gonna say it again: I’m completely exhausted. More to come as we’ve been processing and learning so much.
So. All that to say… we are expecting baby #3!!! This baby has been prayed for and has already taught us so much. We made the mistake of telling Fenley at New Years. She in turn told my parents and many friends. Needless to say we tried to keep this a secret but that didn’t really work! I’m thrilled at the prospect of having another baby. This time, knowing what a huge blessing we are being given. Probably safe to say I’ll exhale when we get home from the hospital and until then we will just walk this out with God Himself who loves us dearly. We trust that love. The Sunday morning after my birthday we were in worship at church and the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego popped in my head. And I said, I know Lord I know… they said even if you didn’t save them from the fire, they would still trust You. I get it. I need to trust You regardless of the fire. And I felt God say back to me: “But what happened next?” I got butterflies as I remembered the story. He saved them from the fire. Sometimes He does save His people from the fire and bless them with a miracle this side of Heaven. And I smiled to myself that this baby just might make it and that the Creator of the universe cared about this weary worn down exhausted mama and the baby she’s carrying.
Whew. I needed to write this blog post more than I thought! Feeling less exhausted than when I started it. It’s good to tell of His faithfulness, isn’t it? Whew.
Oh, and it’s a GIRL!!!!!!!! I can’t think of a better daddy to two daughters than my gentle manly man. He will just have to teach them to love hunting I suppose 🙂
Happy Tuesday from the 5 Bowies…
“They do not fear bad news, they confidently trust the Lord to care for them.” Psalm 112:7