I thought he would leave me and I wondered if I was making the right decision in continuing on in this pregnancy. Most family kept their opinions to themselves. Support, encouragement, hand holding, prayer…boy, did I need that! People, even our loved ones, often do not know how to handle hard things so they say and do nothing. It’s hella lonely. It made me question every lonely step I made. I wanted someone to tell me I was OK, that I was doing the right thing. No one told me I was doing the right thing. No one told me I was doing the wrong thing either. Our walk with Christ is a funny thing sometimes, however, because what I saw so clearly months and months later was that I was never really alone; Christ was actually carrying me in His arms the entire time.
I experienced morning sickness like crazy and because Dennis was out of town, I went to stay with my mom and dad for a few days. While trying to recover from another rendezvous with my good friend, Porcelain, my mom called out that someone was at the door for me. Uuugh, the last thing I needed was to hide my sweat drenched straggly hair and paint on a plastic smile.(We did not tell people of my pregnancy for many, many months–I mean, how do you do that? This was NOT a celebration!) Mom insisted, so I begrudgingly dragged myself to the door. It was the flower delivery man with the biggest bouquet of flowers I’ve ever seen.
The card, from Dennis, read, “We’ll get through this together. I love you”.
I slept soundly that night for the first time in weeks. I didn’t know what the future held, but I knew I wouldn’t be going it alone.
Later, when I asked Dennis what made him change his mind, he said he had been sitting in a bar in Florida and because his thoughts were so heavy, he began talking to “friendly strangers” sitting nearby. They encouraged him to love me the best he could. And that’s exactly what he did! God totally works in mysterious ways–and in bars!
I scheduled an appointment with a midwife and moved through the next couple of months still not knowing exactly what we were going to do: raise this baby as our own or place her for adoption. I did not get attached. I did not fall in love with her. I did not curse her either. In actuality, I felt sorry for her because no matter where she ended up, her story would be one that begins tragically, or at least that’s what I thought then (I really want to write about that someday).
Five or six months into the pregnancy, the doctor discovered an abnormality with the baby during a routine ultrasound and was concerned enough to send us to the hospital for a more detailed ultrasound. The only problem was they couldn’t get me in for a couple of weeks. No worries. It was what it was and I went about my business.
I was indiffernent.
I found myself crying. I found myself praying over her. I said to myself over and over again that I didn’t love her or care about her, but I was lying to myself. I was trying not to love something that the world often deems as evil or monstrous or broken, or so worthless they’d throw her away… The problem is I did.
I did L O V E her.
I loved her so much my heart nearly broke when I realized I might lose her or that she might be experiencing pain or be born with an irreversible abnormality or…
Timidly, I confessed to Dennis that I loved her, that I wanted to raise her as our own. He sat there for what seemed an eternity before a smile slowly crept across his face as he nodded, gulping hard, he said in a near whisper, “Yeah, me too”.
The days waiting for the in-depth ultrasound passed slowly and by the time the day arrived Dennis and I were both so nervous, I doubt either one of us had any finger nails left to bite off! Laying there in the dim room, lit only by the machine itself, we waited with baited breath for the news. The technician didn’t say anything. Instead, she moved the Doppler quickly from one place to another and then back again. Her brows furrowed with each movement. Her concerned look caused our hearts to sink because we knew the news could be bad. Finally, she looked up, smiled and said, “I’ve no idea why you are here. There is nothing wrong with your baby. Would you like to know the sex?” My eyes filled with tears and kept filling no matter my efforts to pull my act together. I was having a baby. We were having a baby. I loved this baby and this baby was in perfect health. She proceeded to tell us we were having a girl.
Dennis and I thought of names for a few weeks, but nothing seemed special enough. Then one night, I covered the names in the baby name book and read only the meanings of the names. When I came across the meaning: “Pearl” with the scripture reference in Matthew 13:45-46, which says, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a Merchant looking for fine pearls. When He found one of great value, He went away, sold everything He had, and He bought it”. That was it! I uncovered the hidden name and there before my eyes was the most beautiful, perfect name for our baby:
When she was placed into my arms sixteen years ago, she cried and cried and nestled into the crook of my neck, right where she belonged. She nestled and oohed and cooed and we held her, thanking Jesus the entire day and night long. I did not sleep that night. On purpose. I didn’t want to miss a single moment of her. I wanted to breathe her all in. I wanted to looked over every square inch of her body. I wanted to pray fervently over her hands and feet and her heart and ask the Lord that they would glorify Him her whole life long. I kissed her more times than I am able to count. I nuzzled my cheeks against hers. I breathed in her sweet baby smell. I loved her.
I loved everything about her.
About midnight the phone rings. It was Margie, my midwife. She was crying, which completely threw me off. I asked her if everything was OK, if there was something wrong with my baby. She apologized for scaring me, for calling at such a late hour, and then she tells me she has a confession to make. I’ve no idea where this conversation is going, but my eyes are firmly fixed on my baby in my arms so the world could have exploded all around me and I would have been none the wiser.
She proceeded to tell me that she watched Dennis and I closer than most of her patients because of our circumstances. She confided that although she is not for abortion under normal circumstances, she would have recommended it in our case. She went on to say she never gives her opinion unless asked directly and even then she’s cautious. We never asked. She said with each appointment, she did not understand our increasing joy– and today when she placed our baby into our arms she glimpsed God in a way she had never known Him before. I cry still when I share this part of our story because my response was, “Me too, Margie. Me too”.
God is SO good. I cannot help but to think of Isaiah 61: 1-3
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives, and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord”.
Man, I love this! If I could ever get past my fear of needles, I would totally tattoo this on my body somewhere. Since the likelihood of me not getting over this fear is great, I will instead try to live from this place; this place of grace and freedom. #adjustingmycrown