The precious women of my church threw a baby shower for me. I was so nervous the night before I literally slept for 3 hours and spent the rest of the time praying. You see, for a long time baby showers were nothing more than a source of pain for me. There isn't much worse for an infertile woman than being surrounded by other women, who most likely have had children, talking all about the miracle of pregnancy.
I am not now, nor have I ever been, bitter or jealous towards my friends' blessings. I mean that sincerely. I think baby showers are absolutely wonderful and essential not only for material things but also for support and encouragement. But it is very hard to be there. I make myself do a lot of things that many other infertile women would not or could not do. I love to babysit my friends children. I love serving on the children's ministry team at church. I love to meet new babies in the hospital. In fact, there are only two instances I can think of in my whole journey that I chose to protect my heart instead of subject myself to hours of tears later: Mother's Day and baby showers.
To say that attending a baby shower for myself was surreal is an understatement. However, I was so so so blessed. Blessed by the amount of women who love me and our baby enough to come. Blessed by the sheer amount of things our baby girl got! But mostly blessed that I was able to share a small part of our testimony. For those that weren't there, I'd like to share it now here.
For those of you who don't know me or Eric well, pregnancy was not something we ever thought we would experience. We spent a very long time praying that God would bless us the way he had Hannah, Sarah, and so many other barren women in the Bible.
After a while God really began to change the desire of our hearts - instead of praying for a pregnancy, we began instead to pray for parenthood. God softened our hearts toward adoption and we began the journey to become licensed foster parents. After a year and a half we were literally no closer to the end of that road than when we had started. It was a painful and heart-wrenching decision to end that time without bringing home a single child.
A month after we ended that pursuit, we discovered I was pregnant. In three years we had never seen a positive pregnancy test (in fact I was sure they didn't exist and joked with Eric that it was the one test I couldn't pass!) We were deliriously excited and naively hopeful. We didn't realize how badly we wanted to experience pregnancy until it actually happened.
Our first baby was only with us a few short weeks, but I'll never forget the impact she made on our lives. One day when I hug Jesus, I will get to hug her too.
As if waiting for years wasn't enough, losing our first baby felt like too much to bear. We didn't understand what God was doing, nor could we see the light on our path. However, we trusted the Lord. It wasn't easy and we were confused, but God had been right there with us on our whole journey, why would he turn his back on us now? I clung to the verse in Psalm stating "the LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
Exactly seven months to the day later, God once again blessed us with a pregnancy. We felt the same unimaginable joy, followed quickly by much anxiety - pregnancy after loss is filled with mixed emotions.
I am now 30 weeks, a milestone I never let myself imagine I could get to. There are many couples out there with similar or even more heartbreaking stories. I am not sharing this with you for sympathy or to prove anything about "perseverance." I am sharing our story because above all other things, we want God to get the glory! Our individual relationships with Christ have grown exponentially during the last four years. Our marriage is stronger and more rooted in Christ than it ever could have been without our experiences. We want nothing more than to be a living embodiment of God giving us "beauty from ashes, gladness instead of mourning, and a spirit of praise instead of despair."
God is faithful.