I sat across the table from someone last week and started to recount the past year. I kept stumbling over words. I would break into spontaneous joy and then tears. When I think about it I still can't believe that the Lord orchestrated things so intricately.
Miscarriages and infertility have been our story for the last couple of years. Then my dad passed away in October. Until now it has felt too fresh to put into words all that I have felt and all that I’ve learned. But I want to share with you how I’ve gone from feeling like a displaced, forgotten orphan to a deeply cared for child of God.
I read this quote the other day that has stuck with me like honey to a comb: "If you numb the pain, you numb the joy." I feel like I've declared that to every person I've met with over the past month because we're all in some sort of pain that sometimes feels too big or too sudden or too uncertain. It's easy to numb the pain when actually dealing with it just plain hurts. I spent all last year drowning myself in anything and everything that wasn't my feelings. Which if you know me at all is really not me. So, I'm beginning to unravel the pieces and unmet desires and grief that have accumulated from the past year and finally beginning to talk them through. And then in turn, I have begun to see healing.
A year ago Kevin and I were going into our second year of infertility. The first year is still kind of an anxious blur with my first miscarriage and a natural thought that we would get pregnant again and everything would be smooth sailing. However, the Lord would have completely different plans.
Fourteen months after our first miscarriage we found out we were pregnant again. I left work early that day expecting that I was and we met at home both hopeful and so fearful. We found out we were pregnant. We spent thirty minutes crying and praying and taking photos that I can no longer look at. And then, we got bad news. We took more blood tests. We got more bad news. And then on May 1, I got the dreaded phone call that we were going to miscarry again. We would not not let ourselves get excited because we knew we could lose this baby too. And then, we did. Our worst fear happened... again.
In the midst of the heartbreak with losing two babies my family was dealing with the heartbreak of knowing we would soon lose my dad. For the past five years (though we assume much longer) my dad struggled with Lewy Bodies Syndrome, a mix of Parkinson’s and Dementia.
My lively, hilarious, caring and loving father was becoming completely bed bound. My beautiful and gracious mom became his full time caregiver and stayed strong throughout it all.
One of the most precious life giving moments I will forever hold onto was after a visit in late July I was saying goodbye to my dad. He had been pretty incoherent the whole time I was there and with tears streaming down my face I said goodbye to him. For a few minutes he came to know everything that was around him. Our tears flowed and mixed together. He knew me and told me he loved me. I kissed his cheek and told him how proud I was of him. I knew there was the potential that we wouldn't have another goodbye but little did I know it would happen sooner than I thought.
After going on hospice in the middle of August we knew he could pass any day. Then on October 10, I woke up after an annual trip Kev and I take to Asheville, North Carolina to catch up with my mama. She answered and I knew something was wrong. She told me his breathing was irregular and the hospice nurse imagined he only had a few hours left. Grief stricken and confused I called Kev to let him know and then I called one of my closest friends in California, Bethany. I told her my dad was most likely going to pass but I needed her to start praying that Kev and I would get pregnant that month. That I had a weird idea that the Lord would give and take away. She wept and prayed.
That day at exactly 4:00pm California time my sweet daddy went home to be with Jesus. Kev and I jumped on the next flight to California and the next week was a whirlwind filled with funeral plans and flowers and cookies and lots of hugs.
My dad loved each of us too well for us to not share our affection for him at his funeral. So my mom, brother, sister and I went hand in hand to share about how loved and adored we were by this man, my father and friend.
I miss him everyday. I look at the dress I wore to his funeral that hangs in my closest now and I miss him. I eat movie theater popcorn and I miss him. I see a bird and I miss him. But I feel his presence. Most of the time when this happens I can't breathe and I usually just wipe away the pain but recently I've been absorbing it.
One of the hardest things about him passing was that I am the only one out of the siblings who he will never see pregnant and never hold my babies. But Kev reminded me one night after his funeral that he already is holding our two babies in heaven. I can't help but smile at the thought.
So after coming back to our "normal" lives in Birmingham we continued to press on. And then a week later, after feeling insanely tired I decided to take a pregnancy test. It said yes. So much shock. So much praise.
We went to the doctor a few days later and there was a moment that will forever feel like a blur. Our doctor told us that she couldn't believe that not only was I pregnant again but that it was a healthy pregnancy. HEALTHY.
Because I am considered high risk I went in week after week for tests. First we saw the heart beat. Then we saw him get bigger. Later we saw his little spine and toes. Oh yeah, did I mention it's a BOY??! Our baby boy. The doctor may have been in disbelief but I wasn't. I knew our God was big enough. I just didn't think it would happen at a time where I felt so forgotten, so alone. And that little did I know - I was pregnant at my dad's funeral. It will forever be used as a piece of my testimony to the sovereignty of God.
As I sat across the table from my sweet friend this morning we were talking about what happens when God gives you something you prayed so fervently over for years. And yet doesn't give it to your neighbor or friend praying for the same thing. I have spent the past four months both insanely grateful for our little babe in my womb but deeply sorrowful for all of my friends who can't get pregnant. The years of infertility were some of the darkest. We were physically created to have babies and when you can’t its hard to come to terms with it. I wish I had some magically answer as to why we finally were able to get pregnant again and so far have a super healthy pregnancy. But, I don't.
I do know that the years of waiting do not go in vain. I do know that I have waaaay more of an appreciation for this baby and becoming a mama than I did two years ago. I do know that the Lord has instilled a desire for adoption because of this process. I do know how much I respect moms who give up their babies for adoption when it would be so much easier to do away with them. I do know that suffering does not go in vain. But more than that I know that every time we look at our beautiful baby boy we will remember that we are not forgotten. That the Lord has given and he has taken away. He hears our secret cries and fulfills our desires in ways that are so much more beautiful than we could ever imagine.
We don't plan to share his first name until I deliver (I'm half way there!) but we are sharing his middle name. In honor of my dad his middle name will be August. Which ironically my dad would love/hate because he always had a love/hate relationship with his first name. But, every time we see his name or someone says his name we will be reminded that His timing is perfect. Thank you Jesus.