“Baby, do you think I should just go ahead and throw the clothes in the attic away?” I asked my husband a few months back.
These weren’t just any clothes....no. These were bins and bins full of baby clothes, toddler clothes and everything in between for girl and boy, both Milo and Ellis’ complete wardrobes. I kept them tucked away in a space in our attic, because maybe....just maybe.
But my maybe was turning into resignation. Another baby clearly wasn’t to be for us.
When my husband and I got back together we immediately talked about how much we loved our kiddos, but wouldn’t it be amazing to have just one more child together? He knew my lengthy history with infertility and I had told him to not get his hopes up. I also swore I would never again do anything fertility related to get pregnant. Been there-and it was brutal. We both agreed, if a baby was meant to be for us, it would have to somehow happen on its own. Highly unlikely, I told him over and over again.
Only it DID happen-to our surprise the very first month we tried. That elation soon turned to sorrow when I lost the baby a few weeks into my pregnancy. That was a difficult one to get through, painful as can be. But slowly we had made it to the other side.
Since then we had never prevented anything from happening....it’s just that nothing did. Ever. And it had been a year and a half. A year and a half where I certainly wasn’t aging in reverse. Things seemed pretty bleak.
Here’s the thing about me: I believe in redemption. I believe it is one of the things God promises us. Yet I also know redemption doesn’t always look the way we think it should. It also never really happens in the way we think it would or the timing we expect. Sometimes-we don’t even get to see it with our own eyes. That’s part of the tension we live in as humans-the belief that even though we can’t always see it-He is still at work. He is still good.
I believed this fully. I asked Him to redeem the lost pregnancy and all the years of infertility preceding it. But I also knew better than to believe redemption would happen MY way.
Yet if there’s a hard fought truth I’ve learned over the years, it’s that His way is best. Always. Even when it doesn’t make sense to me. His ways are higher and He has a heart to be trusted. All that to say, I wasn’t exactly mad I wasn’t getting pregnant, I simply felt it most likely wasn’t meant to be. And I was ok with that.
Which brings me back to the conversation about the clothes. I was ready to get rid of them, wipe the slate clean, and move on.
My husband....not as ready.
“I think...we should hold onto them just a little bit longer.” he said.
I shrugged my shoulders and said “fine” still convinced we would be getting rid of all these clothes sooner rather than later.
A couple of weeks after that conversation I had a normal dinner, only I woke up in the night and had gotten sick, which was odd because that never happened to me.
So I’m in the bathroom feeling terrible and all of the sudden a thought dawned on.....could it be?
I started to count back and realized my cycle was late. I began to think back over some symptoms I had experienced within that last week and had just assumed it was because I was about to start. But now, in the middle of the night on my bathroom floor I was starting to wonder. I eventually felt well enough to crawl back in bed and decided if my cycle didn’t start within a few days I would go buy a pregnancy test.
When I woke up the next morning I felt even worse. I was suspicious but still doubtful as I had taken many pregnancy tests over the last year at any HINT of a pregnancy symptom only to see a negative test. So disheartening I had finally stopped.
Yet I knew how I was feeling was not the norm. And in that moment I had to know.
I began riffling through my cabinets hoping to find a random pregnancy test buried somewhere. Success! At the bottom of one of my cabinets was the very last Dollar Store test in my possession. I opened it up, did the test and continued getting ready. A few minutes later I looked....and got the shock of my life...two.red.lines!!
I absolutely could not believe it. I looked from the test to the box and back again-even though I knew good and well EXACTLY what that test was saying. I still couldn’t believe it.
I hopped in my car and went through my entire day of photo shoots, just waiting for the moment I could race to the store and get another test. Actually I got two, just to be sure!
I got home, ran to the bathroom and did the additional two tests. Both popped up positive immediately. Three positive pregnancy tests in one day. I started to cry. I absolutely could not believe it. I was 37 years old with an extensive history of PCOS and too many infertility problems to list. Yet here I was-pregnant, naturally. Miraculous. I fell to my knees crying and asked God with all that I had:
“God please, please let me hold this baby healthy in my arms one day.”
My thoughts then switched to my husband and how I would tell him. I knew he would be just as shocked as I was. A baby was something both of us wanted deeply but not something we talked about constantly. Life always kept us busy and the baby thing was kind of off our radar these days.
At the beginning, when I would get down about not being pregnant he would encourage me by telling me we were already raising a family together. And biological kids don’t make any relationship special. At the end of the day, when all the kids are gone, it would be just he and I. And what we shared is special regardless of if we added a biological child to the mix or not. He was right. Telling me that helped take away any pressure I felt. It was he and I always, no matter what kids came into the picture or not. He and I are the center and there’s nothing in the world like what we share (and have since we were teenagers).
Here’s the crazy part though...what he and I had always wanted, was now coming true. The very thing we talked about as 14 and 15 year old kids, who had no clue about anything in life, was now happening-we were married and about to have a child together. What on earth? He would be so excited. But he also didn’t know yet. And I had to figure out how to tell him. I spent all afternoon thinking and came up with something simple but sweet.
He has this dresser in his closet (we have side by side his and hers closets at our house) where I’ll often leave sweet notes, cards or candy for him just to make him feel special. I decided to leave a card there that said:
“I love you more than anything in the world....(open your sock drawer....)”
When he opened the drawer he found another piece of paper that said:
“And I know our baby will love you just as much. Congratulations soon to be Daddy!”
Then when he picked up the paper the positive test was under it.
The wait for him to get home from work was endless, but he eventually came home and as per usual went straight into his closet. I rounded the corner with my heart pounding out of my chest to find a shocked husband holding the test.
“Are you serious??” He said.
“Yes. I took 3 tests. I’m as serious as can be.” I replied.
Shock turned to the most beautiful smile on his face and the fiercest hug. Our dream was coming to life.
I would like to tell you this first trimester has been easy, it’s been far from that. Of course there’s the usual parts of feeling sick, getting sick, constant exhaustion and the like. But the true worst part, was every single day fearing the loss of another pregnancy. At first it was all I would think about. I would worry non-stop.
I finally got to the point of trusting in what was to come, that I would be ok no matter what would be. He wouldn’t leave me. I would see His goodness. No matter what that looked like. The truth is I NEVER hardly start there. I have to fight to get there. But once I do, I land there, I stay there and I’m safe there.
Hearing the baby’s heartbeat weeks later was the most beautiful sound. And hearing it again last week was as well. The baby is growing perfectly and I couldn’t ask for anything more as I head into this second trimester. I can’t believe I made it.
I never thought I’d get here. And I still can’t believe I am. There’s no reason why I should be pregnant now. I’ve never been able to naturally conceive. Rarely do I ever even have consistent cycles. I’m 37 and my most fertile years are behind me. I’ve never known pregnancy without charts, and doctors and labs. There’s truly no reason this should be happening, yet it is.
I’m here, every day living in a moment I thought I’d never have, but only by the grace of God I am. And on this weekend I reflected on all things being made new, in ways I never had before. Many Easter’s I felt the sting of loss, this year though, the beauty of life was abounding.
Resurrection. Redemption. What a beautiful thing it is.