On March 14th, Paul and I found out we were expecting our second child.
We had just come home from a trip to Target when I decided to take a pregnancy test. I walked out of our bedroom to not hover and sit in my anxiety over what the test would unfold. Having forgotten that I took the test, I walked back into the bathroom to a result I did not expect. I gasped as uncontrollable tears began to flow from my eyes as the stick showed the double pink line result. I couldn't believe my eyes. I shook it again and again. Rubbed my eyes and blinked a few more times before focusing onto the test once more. The result, still the same.
I yelled for Paul to come quickly from the kitchen. Together we cried, embraced, and thanked God for blessing us again (and so soon) with another life! We made the decision to keep the news to ourselves until we confirmed with our regular OB and an ultrasound. Two weeks had slowly passed until Paul and I found ourselves sitting in the same waiting room we sat in when we learned we were pregnant with Haven, discovered her heart condition and of my Incompetent Cervix. PTSD and a great deal of anxiety came with me that day as well as a glimmer of hope and redemption at another chance. In less than an hour of waiting, nothing else seemed to matter once we heard the most beautiful sound in the world. The strong and vibrant heartbeat of our newest little one.
With a complex pregnancy history, we were scheduled to see our doctor again in the next week to see if our baby was growing in size, if his/ her heartbeat was still strong, and if my hCG (pregnancy hormone) levels were increasing. We returned and all looked well (Praise God!). With everything progressing and looking promising so far, our OB turned our care over to one of the best specialists in the nation. Paul and I rest in the fact that we aren't just being taken care of by the best in the nation but that God has his hand over us as well. After confirmation that our baby and everything else was looking good, we excitedly shared the news with our immediate family only - my parents, brothers and sister, and Paul's sister.
Paul and I wanted to keep our newest blessing to ourselves until we felt comfortable enough to share for several reasons. (1) Immediately into this new season, I became very protective and learned for myself that pregnancy after loss is no easy feat. Especially when just a few months ago, we had to part ways with our first baby. We hadn't reached a full year of healing yet (though healing will be life long) when finding out we were expecting again. Learning how to balance grief + pain along with joy + hope has been and is still hard, terribly hard. During the earlier months of my pregnancy I didn't allow myself to open up and feel 100% in the excitement and delight that comes with a new life. I was afraid. Afraid of giving all of my heart again, all of me, to the little jelly bean on the screen that screamed h o p e up at me. Afraid to dive in again so soon, all the while still missing and longing for my other baby that should be here. This pregnancy has re-taught me to not only open my heart back up again but how to love someone new while still grieving for another that is gone.
We lost Haven right before the third trimester mark, so keeping this little one to ourselves for awhile was best for Paul and I. (2) We desired intentionality, mindfulness, and intimacy with this child. As parents who have recently experienced loss, we wanted nothing but to protect our newest. Uncertainty and fear of consequent loss are never far from our minds even this far along into our second pregnancy; I think this is a new reality that unfortunately loss parents will always carry. We know that we will. (3) My heart has become passionate and sensitive towards others still trying to grow their own families and are still waiting on their rainbow babies. After Haven, I recall feeling bitter, anxious, angry, and feeling like a failure when I'd sign into my Instagram account and see pregnancy announcements, growing bellies, beautiful births, and even baby products. All of these feelings turned me into someone I knew I wasn't - mentally and spiritually. I became exhausted and depressed which then led me to the 4 month Instagram (the only social media platform I have) fast/ detox I took on earlier this year. I know what it feels like to be on both sides. To all those going through pregnancy/ infant loss, please know you are not alone and that I carry you in my heart while in the wait.
Yes, the first half of my 2017 has been hard and heavy but it's also been a year of recovery and rejoicing. God continues to show up time and time again in our story - proving His love and faithfulness even in the darkest of days. Proverbs 3:5 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding" comes to mind often and rings as a constant theme for us throughout this season. He has graciously helped Paul and I find hope and joy in pain and proves ever more that He does make beauty for ashes. God is never far and is always at work. He makes miracles and gives them to us in HIS perfect timing - in this case, our new son - Haven's baby brother. We are confident with His plan - however it may look like. This child has been fiercely and fervently prayed, waited, and longed for and God knew our hearts needed him.
Paul and I welcome your love, thoughts, and prayers as we continue to heal while learning the delicate dance of loss and of new life.