Guest Post: November the 5th
For the first time ever, I’m posting something I haven’t written myself!
A friend of mine recently saw to completion one of the most heartbreakingly joyful years of her life… and when I read what she wrote about it, I knew it needed to be shared as much as possible.
So, if you are friends with her on Facebook as well, where the original note is posted, this will be familiar. 🙂
My hope is that it reaches out and communicates the joy of loving the Lord and trusting Him in ALL things. Especially the hardest things.
Any comments (except those pesky ugly ones) will be forwarded to her.
I wanted to share about my day yesterday. It was bittersweet…and I found it pretty ironic that this November 5th found me sitting in NICU with a sick baby. I’ve been both dreading and anticipating this November 5th for a year now and it doesn’t help that, of all the days in November, this one has a catchy little poem that goes along with it. “Remember, remember the 5th of November…”. No, God, why can’t we just forget that one? See, last year God took my hand and gently led me in the exact opposite direction of what I had planned His will for me to be. It’s taken me a full year to come to terms with it all and be able to sort out what’s in my heart, but I have finally reached a place where I can truly be inexpressibly grateful for the way God revealed Himself to me and called me to come closer and know His character a little more deeply.
Last September we were thrilled to discover I was pregnant. No crazy Clomid doses, embarrassing doctors visits, prescribed sex, charting, or witch doctor teas…just pregnant. It was a miracle and from the second I saw the positive line on a test I took out of pure boredom one September afternoon I just KNEW that God had great plans for this baby. And He did.
After a couple weeks of what felt like forever we finally got to see the OBGyn. I can’t say I was surprised when he couldn’t find the heartbeat because I had no idea how far along I was and I was reassured by the fact that morning sickness was starting and by all appearances things were progressing just fine. They decided to do an ultrasound just to confirm that everything was okay. The nurse didn’t say a word as she scanned me. A few minutes later the doctor came in and said he believed I had an ectopic pregnancy and needed to terminate immediately. We were stunned. Dan asked if we could have a few days to research and think about it because we were not comfortable with ending a pregnancy, even one that could put me at risk.
We prayed all weekend and by Monday we knew that taking a shot that would end our baby’s life just wasn’t an option. We were going to trust God and pray He would intervene. I went in for another ultrasound and declined the abortion. My doctor wasn’t happy. He lectured me and pretty much made me feel like a terrible mom for choosing to put myself at risk. Then, lo and behold, the ultrasound screen lit up and there was my tiny baby right where it belonged! I cried. The doctor did some measurements and was quiet. Afterwards he turned on the light and said, “None of this means you are going to come home with a healthy baby in 9 months.” Dan and I were dumbfounded. He went on to tell us that things appeared misshapen and I would most like lose the baby. Also, since I hadn’t “taken care of it” last week by terminating the pregnancy, I was now facing an indefinite amount of time carrying a baby that would more than likely never reach full term. I had chosen to put this heartbreak on myself when I could have already ended it all and be well on my way to trying again. Dan had some not-so-nice things to say right before we fired our doctor.
We went home and prayed and prayed. God had worked one miracle, surely He would work another. This baby was special. And she was.
Every day that I woke up pregnant was a blessing. I watched my prayer life grow from “Thank you, Father, for this day…” to falling on my knees and pleading with Him to intervene and give us a baby, healthy or not. I began to share with the Lord things that were on my heart that I had chosen to withhold from Him up until then. I let go of bitterness and petty resentments that had been hardening my heart towards Him over the past year. He met me there and I experienced more spiritual growth in those weeks than I had in years.
We chose not to go back to the doctor. I had an appointment with the midwife scheduled for the following month, but I knew I didn’t need to put myself through weekly ultrasounds and rely on what doctors said, good or bad. I placed my trust in God and decided to just be thankful for every day I got to be a mommy to our third child. I embraced all the ugly first trimester symptoms and counted down the days until the second trimester hit. When I started approaching the second trimester I began to daydream about how God was working a miracle and what a testimony we would have when we held up our baby that next spring and told everyone how we were told to abort it but God intervened. I relaxed and started making plans for the future with this little baby. It was a sweet time and feeling the Lord’s presence so closely made it a thousand times sweeter.
On November 4th I noticed some cramping and by that afternoon I began spotting. It was such a shock. I went to the doctor later that day because I couldn’t stand not knowing what was going on any longer. The doctor did a scan and baby was there, just fine. He said that things could still go either way, but baby appeared healthy and bleeding sometimes just happens in the first trimester. I was reassured and went home. On the evening of November 5th I felt some strong cramps and woke up covered in blood. That was when I knew things weren’t going to be okay after all. Dan drove me to the ER, but when we got there all I could think about was that they were going to take my baby away and throw her in the garbage. It made me sick. I went home and got in the tub. An hour or so of labor and I was able to meet this baby that we had prayed so much over.
I’ll spare the details, but I just have to say that God truly is the author and creator of life. Having the opportunity to see and hold such a perfectly formed human being at that early stage of life was amazing. It made me realize how lovingly God designs each and every one of us. It also made me realize how heinous abortion is. My baby was the same gestational age as most of the 1,564.5 abortions performed today in the U.S. at the time of writing this note (http://www.numberofabortions.com/). Believe me when I say that my baby was not a piece of tissue. She was perfectly formed and made in the image of God. It was amazing to see and hold such a precious creation that was so intricately designed and woven together. I knew this baby was special from the moment I learned I was pregnant. And she was.
We prayed over her and gave her to God because she was never ours to begin with. It was such a heartbreaking moment, but I could feel angels surrounding us and ministering to us as we said goodbye. I didn’t know why God chose to work in the opposite direction of what I wanted Him to do. I assumed that my plan for Him to work a miracle was what was best, because it was “good”. I learned that it is not up to me to define “good”.
Over the past year I’ve come to experience God in such a deeper, more meaningful way. I’ve learned He is truly a good God. That He leads us through painful experience only in order to show us His goodness and bring us into His marvelous light. I’ve also learned that while He allows pain to enter our lives, He is so efficient in His use of it. Our pain brought us to new knowledge and understanding of Him, restored our marriage, brought about unity in our family, gave us a testimony, and drove us to seek God with a renewed passion that we’d grown deficient of in recent years. I have honestly reached a place where I can thank God for November 5th.
I’m still learning and being reminded by Him that He alone determines what is good and what His goodness looks like for me life. It’s hard not to run ahead and start planning the ways His goodness will manifest itself. In January we had another miscarriage, much earlier, but painful all the same. That was good. In March we found out we pregnant with Ruth. That was good. This November 5th I planned to be celebrating the birth of my healthy baby girl, which I did, but I did it while sitting in a NICU room unable to hold her or comfort her cries. That was good too. No matter which way the pendulum swings I am learning to see God’s goodness coming through as a steady and overwhelming constant display of love. The type of love that even my mother’s heart can’t express. It’s been really awesome to experience.
In case you’re wondering, we named our baby. That tiny one that the world would view as a “loss” we have seen only as an addition, so we named her Josephine, “God will add another”. And He did. Not the way we first imagined, but in a way that is rooted in the eternal instead of the temporal. We knew our baby was special from the first time we thought of her. And she is.