Recently one of my favorites asked me why I haven't been writing. And as I usually do, I answered with blatant honesty explaining that when I write I expose my heart and right now my heart is being guarded. This morning I read a post from a friend that lost a son in 2011 and as I read I realized that all families that lose children suffer the same. Some come out stronger, others lose themselves in the pain and fall apart. Thankfully my family and his have managed to stand strong even in a storm as fierce as the one that comes with the death of little people.
We are almost 13 weeks pregnant with Baby Hall # 4. Our fifth pregnancy in five years. The pregnancy thus far has been filled with nothing but normal pregnancy symptoms. At this point you would think we would be bouncing off the walls with excitement, but you would be wrong. Instead we talk about the pregnancy with words like hope and if. We plan for tomorrow instead of February. We prepare our thoughts and days and hearts for the worst and think briefly about how exciting the best would be. But not for long. I wonder at times if the whole family is doing this or just us? We smile at each other as we search for a midwife to help us and shake our heads at the fact that the Lord has always used pregnancy and birth as our challenge, humbling us along the way. We remember the nightmare that was the birth of our boy and we discuss how we will prevent things from getting that out of hand again. And then at night, when it is quiet and everyone sleeps, I rub my tummy and I thank the Lord for the chance to carry another one of His children. I fall asleep pleading for health and life for me and this precious little heartbeat that rolls around inside of me. I try to explain to Him how hard it would be to have to tell Kathryne another one of our babies has gone to live with Jesus, begging Him to show her what a successful pregnancy and birth are like and give these girls another sibling. Knowing. All the while knowing full well that I do not get to choose. That I do not want this baby anymore than I wanted Bennett. That I am talking to a Lord that sacrificed His own son, watched Him suffer and die on the cross for ME and I am asking him to spare me from what!? From what He Himself has gone through!? Realizing once again that I am not exempt from pain or loss or suffering and that each day with my husband, these girls, this pregnancy is precious.
And so I remember my boy. Not the loss and the pain and the grief that still lingers on any given day, but the JOY. The gift that he was. The fact that I am the only one that ever knew him alive. The fact that his daddy and I are the only ones that ever got to see him. The precious moments that the Lord gave us with the boy that we wanted so badly, that were His to give and His to take away. I think about how he changed our lives. How he reminded us that the Lord was in control. That he brought us back to what was important and literally changed me as a mother to these girls. I rejoice in how he strengthened our marriage. I giggle at the responses we get when we tell the whole story visualizing how people look at us like we should be in a padded room somewhere, shaking their heads in disbelief at what we went through alone, at home, in the bathroom, in the car, in the hospital, beside that Natchez Trace bridge. And it makes me thankful. Thankful for a Lord that brought us through it all, thankful for a husband that was unwavering at any given moment, thankful for a midwife four hours away that helped him make decisions in the middle of the night, thankful for family that came to help, thankful for health baby girls that needed me when I got home. Thankful for my son, who I carried for months, who I had prayed for for many years, who changed our lives and the lives of those that love us. And I rub my belly.
My girls have a journal, I started one for them both when I found out I was pregnant. I never started one for Bennett, I was so sick the whole time I just never felt well enough to enjoy it. I have not written one word for this baby. Not one. And honestly, I think of how one day I will have to explain to this child that the reason I did not write to him/her until I was in my second trimester is because I lacked faith and had fear. But that is the truth. It is like we forget what the Lord has done for us, what He has brought us through already, what He has gifted us with before our loss. How do we forget? We are a family that knows full well that the "Lord heals the brokenhearted and binds us their wounds" psalm 147:3. We live by verses like Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." yet we have fear over a miracle such as birth?! No more. Today I start enjoying the pregnancy I have been asking for since the loss of our last. Today I smile and rub my belly all day long! Today I start my journal for my fourth baby.
Dear Baby Hall #4,
You are almost 13 weeks old, due in February on your daddy's birthday!! Mama is so very sorry it has taken her so long to write. I am ashamed to tell you that the reality of your very existence has been hard for me to accept. Please know that we have prayed for your for a very long time. Mama has worked very hard to be healthy again so that I could carry you as long as I needed for you to be healthy and happy and perfect! ;) So far the pregnancy has been a breeze, and one day I will explain to you what a gift that is to us!! For now know that we are beyond blessed to have you. We cannot wait to meet you and we already love you with every ounce of our being. You have two beautiful little girls here praying for you every night, arguing over who will hold you first! Just wait until you get here, oh the fun you three will have!!!
You are a miracle sweet person, perhaps that greatest one the Lord has blessed us with thus far. I promise to write again soon.
Thank you for reading, for caring enough about us to pray, for walking with us for the last two years and for continuing to pray for this sweet person I am growing.
Love and Blessings,