Roller Coaster

Step right up, folks, and I’ll tell you the tale of the biggest (emotional) roller coaster I’ve ever experienced. There are extreme highs and sudden drops, with lots of loops and twists thrown in for fun. You must be this high to ride.

It all started about a month ago with two (highly unexpected) itty bitty pink lines. How unexpected? Well, the last of our baby stuff was hauled away over a year ago. Once we picked our jaws up off the floor, we were thrilled, of course.

I’m somewhat of an oversharer (not exactly a shock, I know) so keeping a secret this big was going to be super hard for me. So I began to journal little blurbs to have an outlet. Here’s a little bit of what I wrote after a week of expecting:
“So many nerves this time around! We’ve had some time to get used to this new idea. I’m excited. Attached. And that makes me so nervous. I’ve had two healthy pregnancies. Statistically speaking, am I due for my share of heartache? It seems that for every happy ending you hear about, there are nine horror stories. It’s not fair for me to be exempt. Praise God for grace. Just have to walk one day at a time, trusting in Him no matter what.”

Then this was written a few days later:
“Dear Baby, Your life is so precious. We thought we were done but God had a different plan. He meant for you to be. Your tiny heart is starting to beat. It beats for the glory of the Lord. Your very existence is such a gift.”

Four days later, as we were getting ready for a dinner party, I began to miscarry. Once my mind registered what was happening, my heart sank to my toes and I began to sob. I knew there couldn’t be any hope. We were advised to go to the ER to rule out an ectopic pregnancy. This is what I wrote that long, horrible night:
“The ceiling tiles needed cleaning. There was a cobweb dangling over me like a crib mobile. The tech apologized for the warmth of the room but I felt like I was frozen through. A tear slipped silently down my cheek and into my ear as they discussed KFC’s latest chicken creation. The ultrasound wand was heavy on my abdomen as if it carried the weight of my fear. It pressed hard against the still, quiet place where you were. Instead of the relief that comes with the sudden rhythmic whirring, there was only the silence. The sound of our hearts breaking.”

Once the official report came from the radiologist, a big tough doctor brought us into this little room where he told us that I had miscarried. They could see the beginnings of a pregnancy but there was no heartbeat. He looked terrified that I would burst into tears on him. I felt like I was already cried out. For now. I was to follow up with my OB in a couple of days to make sure everything was progressing as it should.

This was from my follow-up:
“Sitting in the OB’s waiting room in the furthest corner I can find. The isolation doesn’t protect me from happy, rounded bellies and cheerful ultrasound photos. I wait. Try not to let the tears fall. Try to sink into the floor and disappear. Please call my name. Let me get this over with. Put it behind me. Move on. Can I? I’m still so queasy. Unfair… Dry mouth. Hands shaking. Trying to chug water from bathroom sink. Hands still shaking. Feeling sick… Waiting in the room for the doctor to talk to me. There’s a large painting of a raccoon staring at me… Still waiting. Raccoon is still watching to see if I’ll cry. The ultrasound is next… Nothing has changed. There’s still no heartbeat but I’m leaving with more questions than answers. The OB isn’t ready to call it a lost cause. I have to wait for the phone call tomorrow to tell me what my HCG numbers are doing. I’m afraid to hope. My chalkboard at home is a huge drawing of the word HOPE. I don’t believe in coincidence.”

That night, I had a long drive from my parents house back to my home. It was a rare solo drive and I had the song, Oceans, on repeat. After I sobbed it out, I cried out to the Lord to breathe life into our baby and to help our teeny tiny one grow. I spent the entire drive in prayer. I kept remembering what I had written the week before. “Your heart beats for the glory of the Lord.” I had to come to a hard place of realization that God would be glorified even if baby’s heart never beat. My heart would be broken, but I would still praise my God. A peace came over me that I cannot explain. This child was God’s idea. His gift to us. As hard as it was to let go, I had to mentally release this baby back to God. This little life was in His hands all along.

The next day, the only words I could get onto paper were these:
“Waiting for The Call. For this child I have prayed. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

A nurse called at the very end of that Friday. My numbers had not doubled as they had hoped. But they had increased. If they had decreased, then we would have known it was a loss and we’d be waiting for the next step. But they had gone up. The nurse warned me not to get my hopes up but to come in for another ultrasound on Tuesday.

From Tuesday:
“It’s time for the ultrasound. What will we see? Lori’s kind voice is extra sweet today. She remembers the limbo we were left with the last time I was here. The bed raises until I can almost touch the ceiling. I grip Jake’s hand tighter and try to control my breathing. The screen turns on. Lori gasps and almost giggles, “We have a heartbeat!!!” We turn to the screen. There is a beautiful, glorious flickering. The tears once again stream down my face and into my ear. She allows me the moment I need to totally lose it. We have a heartbeat. Baby’s heart is beating steady and strong. We are speechless. Basking in the grace and mercy of our mighty God who is writing one heck of a story for this little one. Glory be to our God.”

We’re having a baby.

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Flight Lessons

The unmistakable smell of jet fuel hit my nose and I immediately felt the cold sweat break out across my forehead.  There was something stuck to the wheel of my suitcase that created a rhythmic whirring as I rolled across the dark parking lot.  I tried to match my breathing to the sound, but my pulse wasn’t as cooperative.  It seemed to speed up with each step.  Despite the predawn hour, our little regional airport was already bustling with activity.  By the time I made it through the sliding doors, my head was spinning.

This was happening.

I waited in the security line, trying to keep up the appearance of being an active listener to my new friend.  What was actually going on in my mind – about a thousand and one things that could go wrong in the next 20 minutes.  What if my bag was too big?  What if I was wrong about the allowed liquids?  What if I didn’t make it through security?  What if I didn’t have a seat?  What if had a complete and total breakdown in front of all these strangers?

There was no backing out.  I was getting on this plane and I was flying to Kansas City for the weekend of a lifetime.  And I was going to do it no matter how terrified I was to fly.

From my seat near Gate B7, I stared at this seemingly tiny jet and watched the pilot through the window as he checked gauges and turned dials and did whatever pilots do before they take off.  He gulped some coffee from a cup.  “Yes sir,” I thought.  “Drink up!”

As we began to board the plane, I walked down the tunnel with all the enthusiasm of a death march.  Just before I walked through the little door, I placed my right hand on the cold surface of the plane and whispered a desperate prayer.

In the blink of an eye, the flight attendants were in their seats and we were zooming down the runway.  I felt my body sink into my seat as we defied gravity and left the ground.  My eyes shut tight as my lips moved over the words of Romans 15:13.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

When my ears popped for the last time and the plane leveled out, I managed to squint my left eye open a tiny bit.  And this is what I saw…

flightlessonsadp

Seeing the sunrise from 30,000 feet just took my breath away.  For the rest of the flight, I was completely fascinated by my view from the tiny window.  When I had my moments of wishing my husband was there with me to hold my hand, I felt God whisper to my spirit, “Not this time.  This time is just for you and me.  We’re going to do this together.”

I had no choice but to rely on God.  I went to him with my fear.  I went to him for comfort.  His words calmed my spirit.

How many times in my life have I seen this?  When all is stripped away, when there are no other options offered by this world, when I just can’t do it on my own.  Those are the times when I am closest to him.  When I’m desperate to grab hold of him.

And he is always there.  Again.  And again.  And again.

He is faithful.

When the jobs are lost.  When the bank account is in the red.  When the diagnoses come.  When I am feeling lost and alone.

He is with me.

Now.  Did I still jump two feet when the landing gear popped open?  Of course, I did.  Much to the amusement of my neighbors.  But I am holding tight to those lessons I learned and I’m taking them with me.  Now when I see that streak of white against the blue sky, I smile and remember that sweet time I was able to spend one-on-one with my Father.

Glory.
Glory.