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Saturday, July 2, 2011

In a Heartbeat

When I found out I was pregnant with Baby Girl, I was initially less than thrilled.  Let me give you a quick chronology of my childbearing years.  Eddie was born in September 2005.  I found out I was pregnant with Baby Boy in May 2007.  Eddie died in August 2007.  Baby Boy was born December 2007.  Then on Mother's Day, 2008, after nursing my five-month-old baby, I walked into the kitchen where my darling husband was cooking me a special pancake breakfast.  I immediately had to run to the bathroom and throw up.  It was a bad moment.  Although I've been known to throw up for odd reasons, the smell of pancakes hardly triggers one's gag reflex, unless...

Phillip thought I was crazy and assured me I wasn't pregnant.  After breakfast he ran to the store to pick up a test so I could take it and "enjoy the rest of my day."  I took it and was welcomed by a big, bright blue + sign.  Happy Mother's Day!  I spent the lion's share of next three days sitting on the bathroom floor, sobbing uncontrollably and declaring, "I can't have a baby.  I have a baby."

I knew I was being an ingrate.  Knew plenty of friends who struggled with infertility and would kill for my "problem."  I prayed for God to change my heart about my pregnancy.  I suffered worse morning sickness than I had with either of my other babies.  I was really tired.  But as I have found any time I approach God with "change me" prayers, my prayers were answered swiftly and dramatically.  I went to my mid-wife for my initial check-up and she couldn't find a heartbeat.

It is amazing how fast our hearts and prayers can change.  How we can go from "Dear God, I really don't want this baby" to "Oh God, please let everything be okay with my baby" in a heartbeat...or in a lack thereof.  My midwife, April, had stood with me through Eddie's sickness, through his death, and through the joy of Baby Boy's birth.  She had more compassion than you can imagine.  She assured me that this could just be because it was very early in the pregnancy but also helped me get an appointment with my neonatologist in just a couple hours.  I remember calling my husband at work and meeting him at a library in East Austin, the awful, dull pain of WAITING all too fresh in our minds and hearts from life with Eddie.

Sometimes God speaks to me during these times.  An actual, blessed, still, small voice in my soul.  Sometimes He speaks through sensations, through an overwhelming feeling of peace or reassurance, a deep knowing.  And sometimes He stands silent and lets me learn.  On this hot May afternoon He taught me about gratitude.  About trusting that His way is so much better than my way.  Nothing happens by mistake, least of all the  conception of a new life.  I had spent nearly a week grumbling, crying and missing the blessing.  And God could take that blessing away as swiftly as He had given it if He chose to.

The gratitude I felt, later, as I watched the tiny beating heart on the screen in front of me was mind-blowing.  I tear up every time I think of it.  The baby was okay, just little.  I was only about seven weeks along.  I didn't cry anymore.  I broke out the maternity clothes and the prenatal vitamins and got ready to have another baby.

Baby Girl came on December 26, 2008.  She is one of the most amazing blessings I have ever received.  I am grateful for her and Baby Boy every single day.  They are best friends; I can't imagine one without the other.  Sometimes I stare at them and wonder what I ever did or ever would do without them.  They are my heart and my life, mi vida y mi corazon, and I tell them that all the time.

Sometimes God's blessings come in ways we weren't expecting.  An unplanned pregnancy.  The loss of one job and the offer of another which is not the kind of thing we had in mind.  Losing a house; moving to a new neighborhood.  The loss of a relationship.  They seem like tragedies to us and we grumble, complain, and cry.   We only like change if it is change that we pre-approved or planned for.  God doesn't care about our plans though; He cares about our spirits, our souls, and our hearts.  And, quite frankly, more often than not, our plans stink.  The time we spend mourning the loss of our own stuff could just as easily be spent praising Him and looking ahead in joyful anticipation to where His path is leading.

My prayer is that God continue to change my heart.  That I learn to trust God that His plan is best...right off the bat.  That I learn to set aside my own fears and expectations and just train my eyes on Jesus.  Because He is God from whom all blessings flow, big, small, and in-between, and the One who keeps all of our hearts beating.

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