Sometimes Thanksgiving feels like that holiday you need to get through so that Christmas can start. We’re so eager for the magic to begin that we forget to stop and savor the holiday of gratitude. I’m totally guilty of it. However, Thanksgiving is particularly special to me this year because God has blessed us in crazy, unexpected ways.
We had a really great summer. Truman started his new job and he was home often, the girls were all at an age where we could go do fun things, and I was feeling like myself again after surviving the baby stage. I was closer to God than I’ve ever been, my appetite for His word was so strong and I had the mental capacity to invest in others and cultivate relationships. I was even leading a bible study and organizing a women’s retreat! It felt like we were thriving and it felt good. When autumn came, I entered this unexpected and abrupt dry season for no particular reason. Negative thoughts were setting up camp in my mind and I felt like God was silent. I knew that God is steadfast and I knew He was still there, but I couldn’t feel his closeness like I did in the summer. It’s happened before, this numb-spell, and I knew that relying on my own feelings was fruitless so I continued to seek Him in little ways and hope that He would breathe life into our relationship again.
It was mid-October and I found myself walking down the street to the local pharmacy to buy a pregnancy test. I wasn’t doing it because I thought I was pregnant, I was doing it to ease my husband’s mind. We were both on the same page about the timeline of our family. We wanted more children, but after three kids in three years, we needed a break. We needed time to invest in our marriage. I needed to give my body time to heal. We wanted to be in a place where we were thriving and not just playing defense constantly and it finally felt like we were getting there. We liked the feeling of not being in constant chaos. We liked the feeling of not drowning. We liked feeling like we had enough room to breathe.
As I watched two pink lines flash across the test, I felt the blood rush to my head. I’ve only ever cried tears of joy when I read a positive pregnancy test, but this was different. I turned around into the towels hanging on the wall and I cried into them. Tears of confusion and fear and shock. How could this be? Why, God? We were just getting our feet underneath us. I was just starting to feel like myself again. I can’t do this all over again right now. How on earth was I going to tell Truman? The hysterical part of me legitimately considered keeping it from him, but we all know how well that would go. I eventually mustered up the strength to tell him and we processed together. For a long time. We went through all of the stages of emotions that you go through when you get unexpected news and at the end, we came to this conclusion. God is good and life is a gift and a miracle. Whether it was planned or not. Whether it’s convenient or not. We truly believe that. The tears are welling up in my eyes as I think about the glory of God that shines through in all of this. Being pregnant right now was not at all part of my plan, and yet I still cherish and love this tiny life so deeply. Truman held me as I was crying the night that we found out and he said something that I’ll never forget. He said that even though we don’t understand God’s plan, life is a gift and we are going to love this life just as though we had been expecting it. I felt a peace in that, in surrendering to God’s will.
Fast forward a week. I had been having horrible back pain and cramping for a few days and it was causing concern. I went into the doctor just to make sure we weren’t dealing with an ectopic pregnancy. They were behind schedule and Truman eventually had to leave to pick up Penny from pre-school before we got to the ultrasound. When I went to the bathroom, I saw pink and my heart dropped. I have never once seen pink with any of my pregnancies and I just knew. I knew what was happening. I hopped up onto the ultrasound bed with a lump in my throat, shaking. The ultrasound tech scanned over my stomach for what felt like an eternity and couldn’t see an embryo or detect a heartbeat. She tried to reassure me that it was still very early and it’s common not to hear a heartbeat yet, but she was concerned with the shape of my gestational sac. I tried to let my body go numb. I wanted to hold my tears until I was alone. The midwife gave me information on miscarriage and explained my options if that’s what it came to. She told me not to lose hope yet and that it’s not over til it’s over. The pain in my back was so intense that I had to rest in bed for two days. I couldn’t stand without feeling like I was going to pass out. My mind had shifted from a place of hope and gratitude to a place of sorrow. I cried out to God in bed, begging that it would just be over soon. I had finally accepted this pregnancy and even gotten excited about it, all to have it taken away. On the day of my 27th birthday, the pain had become so intense that the midwife advised me to go into the ER. I was poked and prodded and my blood levels were checked and somehow they were still slowly rising. It didn’t make sense. How was I bleeding and cramping? The doctor speculated that we were possibly dealing with a blighted ovum (when an embryo never develops but your body thinks it’s pregnant), but said there was nothing she could do since it was still so early. The next morning I got a call from our family doctor, asking me why I was in the hospital. After explaining to him, he offered to let me come in to check my levels again to see if they were rising. I just needed a clear answer. I needed someone to tell me that it was going to end. Holding onto hope hurt too much. When I met with him and explained what I had been going through, he wasn’t hopeful either. He told me he doubted that this would be a viable pregnancy, but would call me later that day with the results. When our family doctor called, he was shocked to tell me that my levels had jumped once again. He told me that he really wasn’t expecting those results and that he thought that was a good sign. I was driving when he called and when I hung up the phone I bawled. This back and forth motion was taking a toll on me, but this good news felt like a sweet kiss from God. He felt so far away, I felt so alone, yet I knew He was still there.
A few days later I went in for my second ultrasound. My emotions were all over the place. I didn’t know whether to expect bad news or to be hopeful that things were okay. This baby that I hadn’t even planned for had become something I desperately longed for and now I feared that it would be taken away. As I waited for the ultrasound tech to scan my abdomen, a tiny little speck appeared. There was, in fact, a baby. “Shall we listen for a heartbeat?” she said. My own heart was racing and then the sound of a miracle pulsed through the speakers. She smiled and tears rolled down my face. I had spent the weekend in bed, my birthday weekend, waiting to miscarry a baby that I didn’t even know I wanted and now the sound of a beautiful little heartbeat filled the room and all I could do was praise God. I felt so undeserving of this blessing and so, so thankful for this precious life.
It turns out my intense pain and spotting was due to a small hemorrhage in my uterus that had formed when the embryo formed. It’s a small sac of blood that dissolves over time. The first ultrasound tech had been looking at the hemorrhage instead of the gestational sac, leading me to believe that the shape was concerning.
I felt emotionally exhausted after such a long week. I think God took us through that detour of fear and lost hope to help us see how precious and valuable this life is. We didn’t realize how much we wanted this baby until it was almost gone and after all of that, I feel a confidence that God’s plan is greater than ours. Even when it doesn’t make sense AT ALL. He knows what this life will be and He believes that this is the right time for it to join our family. So we will trust that and move forward with joy.
I apologize for the novel. I know that this is very personal, detailed information, but it was easily one of the darkest and most beautiful weeks of my life and I believe in sharing those vulnerable moments with others. We are getting close to the end of the first trimester and sharing this news with the world is very scary for me. I feel so fragile. My hormones are running in every direction (much like my children) and a part of me is fearful of what others will say. “What are they thinking?! She can barely handle three! Don’t they know how babies are made?!” Believe me, I’ve thought the same thing. Some days I break down and think I can’t do this. I liked being the person that wasn’t falling apart! I liked being the person to help others, not the one who constantly needed help. I liked wearing high-waisted jeans! But after all we’ve been through in the past few months, I firmly believe that this was not an accident. God will use this life for a very special purpose and he will sanctify us through it all.
SO. It is with deep gratitude and joy that we announce that another Faeh baby will be joining us in June of 2017. And according to Penny, it’s a boy and he will be named “Nergis.” TBD.