You'd think I would have been jumping for joy. It was something I had wanted so desperately for six months, and as each month passed, I was growing more and more desperate. You'd think this news would be a sweet relief to my weary soul, my still-grieving mama heart. But no. I felt ... nothing.
Maybe it was my sense of desperation; maybe it stole the potential for true joy. Maybe it was the fact that my then two-year-old was being especially two that day. Maybe it was the sense of sadness I felt for the person in the difficult predicament with whom I had just ended a phone conversation. I really don't know. All I know is the relief and joy I thought I would feel when those twin pink lines appeared wasn't there. And the only thought I had was, here we go again. After losing Evie it was so hard to imagine another pregnancy ending well. I was fearful. So fearful.
Fast forward about three weeks. The pregnancy seemed to be going well. First trimester symptoms started to set in, which, despite their unpleasantness, are always reassuring. And in just a few short weeks my husband would be taking final exams for the program that had consumed our lives over the last twenty-eight months. It all seemed too good to be true. And I told that to the Lord.
Really, Lord? Can I believe that all these good things are coming to pass? Is something crushing waiting around the corner?
Of course the sovereign Lord who knows my every thought had the perfect thing waiting for me that evening. As I sat in the bathroom while my bathtub boy splashed away the dirt of the day, I read these words from Jesus Calling (Nov. 12):
This is a time of abundance in your life. Your cup runneth over with blessings. After plodding uphill for many weeks, you are now traipsing through lush meadows drenched in warm sunshine. I want you to enjoy to the full this time of ease and refreshment. I delight in providing it for you.
Sometimes My children hesitate to receive My good gifts with open hands. Feelings of false guilt creep in, telling them they don't deserve to be so richly blessed. This is nonsense-thinking, because no one deserves anything from Me. My kingdom is not about earning and deserving: it's about believing and receiving.
When a child of MIne balks at accepting My gifts, I am deeply grieved. When you receive my abundant blessings with a grateful heart, I rejoice. My pleasure in giving and your pleasure in receiving flow together in joyous harmony.
That helped a little. At the very least it stuck in my heart and became something to strive for. Rejoice in these gifts. I was allowed to rejoice in these gifts despite all the heartache I had endured and all the heartache of loved ones around me. God was giving these things to me. And it was ok to be happy.
Just a couple weeks later I was on the ultrasound table again. The same table where I first learned something would be terribly wrong with my sweet Evie-girl. It took everything in me to stay calm.
When I saw that sweet little figure on the screen, a tiny gummy bear baby, I wanted to cry. I wanted to, but the tears wouldn't come. I wanted to rejoice, but something inside stopped me. I wanted to feel, but there was just a haze. And the thought ... everything is ok ... for now. We'll see ...
Shortly after Thanksgiving we told our families. And then friends. And then the world. As the weeks passed and more people congratulated us on our special news and the first trimester "danger zone" was over, I started to feel a little more reassured. This could happen. If things go well and we follow this to the logical end, a baby will be coming home with us this summer. How wonderful.
|Joci and Me, 11 weeks <3|
I was pretty emotionally well for several weeks. Thanks to the tone of my stomach muscles being something comparable to that of a snack-pack, I started feeling the baby move somewhere between eleven and twelve weeks. That was a really special blessing. I was feeling so positive. That is, until about nineteen weeks, one week before the twenty week appointment where we would find out this baby's gender.
After what I'd been through with Evie, one would think I would just be happy to find out we were having a baby that would be well enough to come home with us. But instead, I was a bundle of nerves, not over the baby's health, but the baby's gender. I felt so lame.
Truly, I had just assumed this baby was a girl. I dreamed of it, planned her name, imagined Micah with a real live baby sister. But exactly one week before that twenty week ultrasound I realized I had to come to grips with something: this baby could be a boy.
I wrestled with this for some time. There were tears. The wrestling with God kind of tears. The ones where I poured my heart out honestly and told Him all the reasons I desperately wanted another daughter, but one I could keep and grow memories with here on earth. It was truly my heart's desire.
After all of that I felt the Lord prodding my heart to answer just one simple question. Sarah, if this baby is a boy, are you going to be ok?
Phrased like that, the answer was easy. Of course I would be ok. I would love another baby boy just as much as I loved his big brother. I would be more than ok! And I truly felt at peace either way, pink or blue.
Februrary 14th, 2014 revealed that we were having a healthy baby girl. I was so very happy. But I was also, again, wrestling with some things.
It was so hard for me to wonder why, when I prayed so desperately for Evie to be healed, the Lord chose to answer those prayers with a very loud no. And yet, my prayers for a healthy baby girl this time were answered with an easy yes. Of course I was grateful for this, but it just felt confusing. What was the difference? Why now and not then?
At the same time, people all around me were rejoicing and saying that God knew the desires of my heart. True, these were the desires of my heart. But it was absolutely never the desire of my heart for Evie to die. So ...? Again, confusion and more wrestling.
After more tears and prayers and deep talks with my husband, I felt at peace with these two big questions. The Lord still answers our prayers according to His will. No matter my heart's desire, if it doesn't match up with what works best for His kingdom, it will not come to pass. That may be incredibly oversimplified, but it helped me, and continues to help me to know these things, these requests, are out of my hands on whether or not they are "granted". God's sovereignty still reigns supreme, and I can be ok with that. Father knows best. And one day I am confident I will see all the reasons why.
|Me and the kids at 23 weeks gestation. For the record, I'm now one day away from 25 weeks ... not that anyone is counting ;)|
It's been about five weeks since that day and I am really doing just fine. Reconciling life without Evie is still hard - everything about my little family just seems a little more complicated. This is my third pregnancy but only my second child that I get to keep ... Joci is the first girl to be born in our family except not really ... things like that. But really, life feels very sweet right now. I am so very excited for this summer and to experience life as a mommy of two. I can't wait to see Joci melt her daddy's heart and bring out even more sweetness in her big brother. I can't wait for bows and swaddling blankets and footie jammies. And sweet baby baths. I am hopeful. The topography of a rainbow pregnancy might be rugged - certainly the journey is far from over - but right now I am strolling through sweet green valley grasses. And I think the best is yet to come.