If I Ever Got A Tattoo… Part 2

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Read “If I Ever Got A Tattoo Part One” Here

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”.
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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.

Except…

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:

Megyn.coffer-281251_960_720

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.

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Meg and I. Sixteen years later, this photograph still makes me cry! #happytears

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


Related Posts:
My Testimony
From Where I Stand
Rewriting Our “Ish-tastic” Past Pt. 1
Rewriting Our “Ish-Tastic” Stories Pt 2

 

If I Ever Got A Tattoo… Part 1

toddler-1208260_960_720By God’s grace, becoming pregnant the first time was easy. Too easy, actually, since Abigail came as a complete surprise! We assumed that when we were ready to bring a second child into our home, it would be just as “easy”.  Three years, many tests, and a complicated surgery later, found us sitting in the doctor’s office taking in the deafening words that the surgery, which was supposed to increase our chances of pregnancy had in actuality left my husband, left us, sterile.

Our chances of having another child, according to the urologist were “less than 1%”. In the midst of this process, the term “secondary infertility” was tossed around from one doctor to another and yet, I never allowed it to penetrate my heart. I could not accept it. Until this day. This day, I had to accept it. I had to move forward. I had to accept our seeming lot in life and learn somehow to make peace with it. But, goddamnit, Why? I was meant to be a mother. I dreamed of being a mom from the time I was a little girl. I played with dolls and house and played dress up–always as the mom. I always wanted to be the mom. I was supposed to be a mom. I didn’t know how to be anything else. I didn’t want to be anything else.

Dreams had not just broken; it was if someone had shattered them into a million pieces, lit them on fire, and then skipped around them while licking an ice cream cone. The pain was unmatched by anything we had ever known.

The shame of an abortion in my past ate at me, adding more shame to my already bruised and battered heart. I knew better, but my mind wondered if God was punishing me for what I had done. This led me down a path of wanting to control everything. I strove for perfection at all costs, trying desperately to earn—I don’t know—to earn forgiveness, to earn acceptance, to earn something. I cannot accurately put into words the madness in which I lived those years. It was exhausting, and utterly wasteful because God had already forgiven me, I already had His love and devotion. I had His favor.

He does not punish.

People often blame God for the consequences of their actions. I did. I learned that my love for Him was conditional. If life was going well, then I was like, “OK God, I love You and You love me” and I would skip and sing merrily throughout my days (OK, slight exaggeration). If life was hard or I didn’t feel His presence, I was like, “You’re out there somewhere God, but I clearly don’t matter to You because this pain is not love”. Nothing could be further from the truth and this is one of my many stories of just that:

Sitting on the cold bathroom floor in April of 1999, eight weeks after I had been raped, I faced the fact that I was pregnant as I stared into the double blue lines of a home pregnancy test– and the likelihood that it was my husband’s baby was slim to none. I cried while my husband and daughter slept in their beds. Through the night, I sat huddled in my blanket on the cold bathroom floor, rocking back and forth, racking my mind for answers, for direction. None came. I hesitated leaving the bathroom without an answer. I wanted to confine the situation. I didn’t want it to breathe all over my life. I realize that sounds absolutely absurd and yet, that is where I was emotionally in those hours.

I had had an abortion 7 years before and had been emotionally wrecked, damaged, really, only to be picked up, loved, and forgiven and then put back together by the gracious hands of Christ. I had been selfish back then. I hadn’t wanted my parents to know I was living a “double life”, a “life of sin”, so I had the abortion to hide my iniquities. I was not that person now. And yet the thought of abortion entered my mind. I felt I could justify it. I felt that even God would understand my struggle to carry my rapist’s baby for nine months. That was asking too much. TOO MUCH!

feet-349687_960_720Watching my husband turn out of the driveway that next morning for work, I rushed to the phone to schedule an abortion. I didn’t want him to know I was pregnant. The rape itself had been too much for him to handle. This…this would put him over the top. I wanted to protect him. I wanted to protect myself. I wanted to move past the rape. I was just starting to gain some normalcy. Carrying a baby to term would prolong the pain. Anger stirred within me and I resolved sometime in the wee hours of the morning that this was my only option.

A woman answered the phone and I immediately began sobbing. I told her I had been raped just two months before and had discovered I was pregnant. She empathized with me and told me we could bypass the counseling portion of the visit, which is usually required, and schedule the abortion itself in just a few days. My heart twisted and turned as we spoke. My stomach knotted painfully and I felt as if I was going to be sick. I clung to the kitchen counter, bending over in excruciating pain and my head began to pound so intensely that I felt a need to hurry to wrap up the call so I could lay down.

I hung up the phone and instantly felt all pressures and signs of illness fade away. I stood up straight, thinking it was just heightened pregnancy symptoms. But then my mind filled with thoughts that I can only attribute to God’s voice or His way of getting my attention. You see, Dennis and I had been begging God for a baby for three years. It was our all-consuming thought and prayer and now one lived within me. I cried aloud, “But God, this baby is not of me, of us. What if it’s a reminder of my attacker? What if she’s broken? What if I can’t handle it? What if… and you know what I heard (not audibly)? In the most pronounced manner possible, “But… she’s… mine”.

“But she’s mine”. pexels-photo-27118-large

I didn’t need any more answers in that moment. I knew what I was supposed to do. I immediately called the clinic back. The woman I had just spoken to answered the phone. “Hi, I just called to schedule and abortion, but I need to cancel it”. The woman clearly taken aback because she remembered my circumstances, questioned, “If it’s not too personal, may I ask why are you canceling?” I remember my exact inflection, my exact words as if I had just spoken them yesterday because they were hardly my own.

“Because being raped is not on me; an abortion is on me. I’ll have no one to blame for that part of the story but myself”.

She didn’t understand. She didn’t need to.

I called Dennis at work and told him to come home. That was asking for the moon and we all know that when we ask for the moon, we rarely get it! I didn’t get it, so I had to wait the entire day for him to get home. Telling him I was pregnant was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. For a few minutes he was expressionless and then his anger exploded and continued to erupt sporadically for a very long time; I’m talking weeks. I could take his yelling and frustration. I could not take his silence. It was deafening and it played with my emotions and imagination. Fear was my constant companion.

pexels-photo-57529-large.jpegHe was in the midst of transitioning positions at work and had to go across the country for six weeks. Talk about bad timing! His last words to me before leaving were, “I owe this baby nothing”. What the hell do you do with that? What does that mean? I know in hindsight, he was dealing with a lot, wrestling with more than any man should ever have to!

If I Ever Got A Tattoo… Part 2


Related Posts:
My Testimony
From Where I Stand
Rewriting Our “Ish-tastic” Past Pt. 1
Rewriting Our “Ish-Tastic” Stories Pt 2