This post is dedicated to all of my friends who are struggling with infertility. Please know that Bruce and I regularly pray for all of you. We look at our children and are in awe as both of them have revealed the manifest wonder of God. We know what it is to wait longingly and ache with desire. We know how one minute we can be so full of joy and the next broken in grief when we discovered the baby we were carrying was no longer alive. And, we have experienced God’s great faithfulness to fulfill this desire for us, and the fact that so many we care about are still aching is not lost on us.
Bruce and I were married in September 2000, and because we were older than the normal newlyweds, we decided to start trying for children right away. I really believed that I would conceive right away, and it was so surprising that I didn’t. I wasn’t discouraged. I was blessed and content with my life. I felt that if I conceived “great!” And if I didn’t, “okay!”
In January of 2004 I had a positive pregnancy test. Then the next morning I began to bleed, and the pain was excrutiating. I called my doctor who ordered a blood test. The results of the blood test were negative, and my doctor said that she didn’t think I ever was pregnant and my regular period was starting. In hindsight, I disagree. I truly believe I was having a miscarriage. The excrutiating pain was much more intense than anything I experience regularly. I have no way of proving it, just an inward knowing.
The following year one of the elders in my church came up to me and whispered in my ear, “God told me that you were pregnant.” I thought that was pretty bold to say something like that to a woman who has been trying to conceive for so many years. The same evening, another man was praying for me and Bruce, and he kept seeing a baby. The following week it was confirmed through a blood test and a phone call from my doctor…I was going to be a mommy! We were thrilled and couldn’t keep this wonderful news contained. So much hope for this little one whose arrival was announced prophetically. We went in for our first appointment with the obstetrician full of excitement. She began the ultrasound, but the only image on the screen was a black hole. No baby. She had me go to the “big” ultrasound room. After a moment we saw the baby on the screen! Bruce said excitedly, “There it is! Rebecca, do you see it?” Then the sonographer said, “Yes, but there’s no heartbeat. Sorry, folks.” I was devestated. We went to the appointment full of joy, and finished the appointment with meeting with a social worker talking about fetal remains and gravesites. I decided to have a D&C, and as we were getting ready to leave for the hospital, Bruce grabbed my hand to pray, and we released our child to heaven.
What do you do with something like that? When two confirming prophetic words given the same night end this way? This is what I did…I went to church the morning after I had the D&C, lifted my hands and worshipped God with all my heart. We sang, “Blessed be the Name of the Lord,” and the part of the song that goes “He gives and takes away…blessed be His Name” was so painful to sing, but I sang it anyway because He is worthy of praise even in difficult circumstances. The praise lifted me out of the pit of pain, and I was even able to pray for someone else that morning. Praise God for His grace!
The amazing discovery I made after this experience was how common an experience it is. So many women I knew had been through miscarriages, and no matter how many years had passed or how many children they now had, the pain of losing a baby (or babies) was still fresh. Within the last year, a book was released entitled Heaven is Real describing four-year-old Colton Burpo’s time in heaven. This book has done so much to bring comfort and hope to women who have lost children. It really ministered to me too.
A few months after the miscarriage it was Mother’s Day. I was walking around with a sword through my heart. My dear hubby decided that we should go out and celebrate anyway, and we did. A few months later, as what would have been my due date approached I was still grieving. We decided to pursue adoption. Years before I was content to be childless. No more. I longed to become a mother.
Going through the beginning stages of the adoption process was such an eye opener. I have a new found respect and admiration for families who adopt as well as for birth parents who release their children because they cannot parent. I learned that there is no happy reason for a child to be released for adoption, and it really takes a calling and equipping from the LORD to be an adoptive parent.
October 2006 during a church service I had a vivid image of a crib before my eyes through the entire service. The LORD said to me, “There will be a baby. The spare room across from the master bedroom will be occupied.”
We filled out the applications, paid our fees, and read the required books. We set up a meeting with our social worker at the agency to discuss the ins and outs of international versus domestic adoption. The week prior we were out eating with some friends and discussed all we were going through with the adoption. One friend wrote on a napkin, “It could happen.” Our appointment was on a Friday. That week at work was particularly stressful and I was tired. During the drive up to the Twin Cities I was a bit queasy, but I attributed it to nerves. We had a wonderful meeting and learned so much about the entire process of international versus domestic adoption. I was still queasy on the drive home. I wouldn’t let myself think about it too much.
The next morning I had to know. I took another pregnancy test. I just wanted to see the “Not Pregnant” in the little window and get on with my life. However, to my great shock and surprise it said “Pregnant.” I cleaned it off and took it out to the living room. I didn’t say a word and showed it to Bruce. He said, “It says that you’re pregnant!” Yes! We called our friend to tell him, “It happened!” On November 27, 2007 we welcomed Aaron Emanuel.
About a year an a half later, on Mother’s Day 2009, there were no roses and no card on the counter as Bruce normally does. He was just going through the normal Sunday morning routine. I took a deep breath and asked him, “Did you remember that today is Mother’s Day?” Bruce turned white. For me to be angry would have been ridiculous. Bruce is the most generous person I know. I knew it was an honest mistake. He made up for it later in the week, and on February 11, 2010 we welcomed Naomi Shoshannah (conceived on the first try!).
Bruce and I are very grateful for God’s faithfulness and all the ways He blessed us. Why our desires were fulfilled and others are still suffering is a mystery, but one thing I do know is that God is worthy of our praise because of His goodness and His love in every and all circumstances. Blessed be the Name of the LORD!