Even though I wanted (and had been promised) another baby, grief and fear kept us from thinking too hard on the subject for awhile. Plus, there was the matter of interpreting the prophesy. Even though God was promising me a baby, did that really mean a bio? Could He not be pointing to our next foster placement that might become a severance case? We had always said we would be open to that, but all of our cases had gone to reunification. Praise God! Then, lo and behold, January came along and out of the blue, we had a move and new job and new place to explore all within a 3 month window and the thought of ‘should we try again?’ shoved to the background. This also definitely closed the door on adoption for the present time since our certification would not transfer states and we would need to start the whole process over again. I’m not sure what brought it about, or when I started to think that I could handle trying just one more time. I think that maybe finally my faith overcame my doubts and I began to trust that one more of our beautiful children was destined to be part of our family.
By May, we had started to settle into our new routine and home and I started to have more time to breathe and think and pray. We started to think that if we were going to try again, we might as well try now while we are still figuring out our new activities, school groups, and church responsibilities. It would be the least stressful time for my body, with no foster kids and not quite a full schedule for our kids or even for us as we hadn’t gotten into any new sports yet. So, we decided to go for it. I sent out an email to my prayer warrior friends and family and the fun part started. 😉
There are some ‘miraculous occurrences’ that I can remember during this pregnancy, I’ve numbered them in the paragraphs below.
Amazingly, the morning after we made our decision to try again, (#1) Benjamin patted my belly and told me there was a baby in my tummy. This had been a conversation we had a lot during my last pregnancy and following the miscarriage, but he hadn’t brought up the subject since we had moved so I took it as confirmation that we WERE going to have a successful pregnancy.
We’ve never had a problem with the getting pregnant part and this turned out to be no exception. I was excited, but hesitant to get my hopes too high and went back and forth between preparing for baby and dealing with all the hormones and pregnancy symptoms to preparing myself for another loss. I specifically chose not to go to the OB until I thought I was about 14 weeks (all our previous losses appear to have occurred before that time frame). Nate wasn’t happy about this, but I figured I wanted to avoid seeing a live baby and then losing it. This is not a rational thought, but sometimes our brains don’t think logically in the face of fear and hurt. So I was either going to make it without prenatal care through that first trimester or I wasn’t. Either God would come through, or I just didn’t understand his promise. I finally went in, and we had a confirmed live baby on ultrasound. But OB was concerned that my cervix wasn’t long enough AND she sees something on my uterine lining that she wants checked out. Ugh. . . we are put on bed rest and sent to the specialist. Another email to my prayer warriors and family. Looking on doctor google seems to indicate that cervix length changes slowly but it is possible to get thicker. So I start preparing for 6 months of laying on the couch and attempting to keep H and B occupied. Meanwhile, we have prayer at church over the weekend. (#2) When we get to the specialist, after prayer and only 10 days of bedrest, he says my cervix is just fine and the ‘wrinkle’ on my uterine lining isn’t anything to be concerned with and there is no need for bedrest or any other restrictions. Either I had an incompetent OB, or something amazing just happened!
The rest of the pregnancy proceeded as normally as could be expected. We had quite a few ultrasounds and sizings since my OB considered me high risk due to the previous losses. Looking back, there is something I think is probably miraculous, though I can’t prove it. I was HOT through almost all of the pregnancy. (#3) But toward the end there were a few times that I would wake up in the middle of the night with chills and the baby wouldn’t be moving. It would freak me out. I would be shivering and have to get up and move around a little bit before I would eventually feel baby move and the chill would pass and I would be able to go back to sleep. Knowing what we know about the umbilical cord being wrapped around Joel’s neck, I think it is possible he was choking or heart beat might have stopped during those times.
(#4) About 38 weeks I started having contractions. I would go steadily for a couple hours, then my contractions would just stop. It was very frustrating. Finally, the day we were scheduled to be induced, labor was short but a bit stressful with the heart rate dropping often. I am glad I went to the hospital when I did and my OB was there when she was and I had a great labor nurse who was attentive to the heart rate issue. Praise God for modern machines, I’m sure he would have been a stillbirth just a few decades ago. His umbilical cord was wrapped twice around his neck, but was very thick and also very long.
Also, even though it wasn’t enjoyable, spending 5 days in NICU due to fluid in his lungs was our final test of faith. The father’s cry of “I believe, help my unbelief!” in Matthew had become my repeated prayer during this pregnancy and by the time we got to this stage, I only had a little nagging doubt that we wouldn’t make it through. Besides, I was in recovery and there wasn’t anything I could physically do or not do anymore. Everything was out of my control. But everything turned out fine and we have a beautiful, healthy, little boy to raise!
I believe God has something special in store for this little guy and I’m excited to be able to watch it unfold. Do I believe in miracles? Yes, I do.