Tuesday, August 25, 2015

a very long post about a very short chapter

I have been writing this post in my head for 6 months, but can't get the courage up to do it.  I have been avoiding Facebook for that long as well.  I don't know if you've missed me, but I'm finally ready to explain my absence.  Whether I'm ready to rejoin the FB world is another issue.

Near the beginning of 2014, Jason and I were trying to decide what to do with our lives.  O.K., not exactly, but we were in deep discussion about family planning.  Did we want more kids?  Were we done?  What were the reasons we WEREN'T having any more kids?  Convenience? Money? Our time?  All "great" reasons not to have kids.

At that point, Gideon was almost 4.  We were out of diapers and moving on to the next phase in kiddom.  Despite that fact, we decided to give baby-making another go.  Then about April, we found out that Jason had cancer.  Testicular cancer.  Which is great as far as cancers go, but not so great as far as baby-making goes.  Jason's surgery and chemo happened pretty quickly and by that summer he was on the road to recovery.

We got the all-clear from his docs in the early fall, but didn't know if my getting pregnant was even a possibility.  We found out we were pregnant Thanksgiving week.

At that point, I was 37.  I was feeling more worried about this baby than the other boys, mostly because of my age, I guess.  I told Jason that I wanted to wait to make the announcement.  I had it all planned out.  We would tell the boys Christmas eve morning:

(telling the boys)

And since we would be here in Seattle on Christmas, we would tell our immediate families via Facetime on Christmas Day.  I wanted to wait until after our first doctor's appointment to tell our church family.  And I had an even grander reveal planned for everyone else. 

The chapter of my sorority was having it's 20th anniversary in February of this year.  I asked my parents for a plane ticket for Christmas and got the flight booked.  I had imagined walking into the sorority house with a baby belly and surprising all my girlfriends.  I made similar plans for the telling of my other group of girlfriends.  After that, I'd make the official announcement on Facebook.

I had my first doctor's appointment in early January and everything went fine and normal.  I got to hear the baby's heartbeat and talk about all the normal pregnancy stuff.  We told the church, started shopping for maternity clothes and started dreaming about names.  One night, after the boys were in bed, I felt the baby kick.  Jason and I were thrilled.

I had my next appointment February 12th; about a week before leaving for my sorority reunion trip.  It was late on Thursday and Jason came home to watch the boys so I could run up to the doctor.

Dr. Koo did all the normal formalities and then started listening for the heartbeat.  She tried for several minutes before saying that the baby must be hiding and went to get a portable ultrasound machine.  I knew.  I could have left that minute because I knew what she was going to say.  The baby was dead.

Through tears, I quickly learned what my options were.  I somehow made it back home and told Jason.  He tried to shield the boys from me, but Gideon saw me crying as I came in.  In his innocent almost 5 year old voice, he said "I hope the baby's not dead."  With no room to now wait, Jason immediately told the boys.  Jonah and Gideon came into my bedroom and cried hysterically with me for the next several minutes.

Jason and I talked over our choices and decided that I wanted needed to deliver the baby in the hospital, instead of some of my other options.  I wanted to go as soon as possible and go when Dr. Koo was on call.  So on Saturday morning, Valentine's Day, Jason and I went to the hospital to deliver our baby.  Less than 24 hours later, I delivered our 4th son, Philemon.  In Greek, Philemon means "affectionate" or "loving."  We couldn't think of a more appropriate name for our Valentine's Weekend baby.

Through it all, I never doubted God's love for me.  During my pregnancy, well-meaning friends would often say "I bet you're praying for a girl."  I'd usually answer, "Nope.  I'm praying for God's will.  And I believe that's what I got.  I don't know why, other than, why not?  I believe Matthew 5:45 is true: 
"For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust." 
We live in a fallen, sinful world and last time I checked, I am a part of that world.  There were so many "good" things that were a part of the miscarriage, and I know that God was providing for me even then.  I was mad and sad and hurt and devastated and empty and broken, BUT I know God was there the whole time taking care of me.

So here we are six months later.  I survived the first month mark, the births of other pregnant friends, and his due date.  But I'm still not "better."  I don't know when I will be better, and I know part of me never will be better, but I hope for normal again.  I pray for contentment with my 3 wonderful boys, if we never get pregnant again.  I pray that I can stop being mad at all of you for going on with your lives and not dying with me that day.  And I thank God that I had the chance to see and hold my son, even for just a few brief moments.