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A Revelation About Life’s Fragility and Strength

wonderful-blowball-1280699-mI’m going to be 16 weeks pregnant with my third child on Wednesday. And I’m so thankful that it’s one more week with no real news.

I was sitting here writing a card to one of three friends who lost their babies this week. And I realized something. Life is so fragile.

It’s more fragile than the finest of crystal, and we all take it for granted.

I know I do. But something this week taught me is to recognize that fragility. Every. Single. Day.

And that it’s a gift. A precious gift.

My heart is hurting for these three mommas.

They loved their babies as soon as they knew they were a plus sign on a pregnancy test.

Their lives were forever changed once again. Their minds filled with dreams, hopes and fears of adding to their families.

And then these losses took me back to dark days. Each of my pregnancies has been partnered with some hard times.

With my first baby girl, we lost my husband’s father. Bill was excited about his granddaughter and in the peak of his life. And then he was gone. Too soon.

I saw my husband grow up that summer. And I saw a selfishness in myself I never knew existed. I was upset with him for so many stupid, thoughtless reasons. I wasn’t dealing with my own pain and grief. I was projecting it on him – asking him to be something he couldn’t be at that time.

Then we had our sweet princess. She brought a joy to our lives we had never known. But what I remember most about her birthday was how much we missed Bill (my father-in-law). Warren said as he held her for the first time, “I miss my dad.” Then, he burst into tears.

All that selfish anger was gone. This is what life is about. Being real and in God’s presence. God showed up that day and gave us the strength to be her parents. And he gave us a love we’ve never known before – for each other and for that sweet princess.

My next pregnancy was the hardest of all four. August 2011 was such a hard month. I was sick. My gall bladder was making me increasingly sick. I had a cough that I couldn’t shake. And people kept asking me if I was pregnant. My stomach was so bloated that I looked like I was about four months along.

I took a test. Not pregnant. Took another test. Not pregnant. Took a third test. Pregnant.

And I can tell you I wasn’t that excited. I wanted that gall bladder out before I had another baby. I wanted our finances fixed before we had another baby.

Well, as I found out a couple weeks later, it wasn’t entirely my gall bladder making me sick. It was an uncommon pregnancy complication called a molar pregnancy.

It’s a condition where there’s no genetic material in the egg (in my case). And a placenta-like tumor grows in place of the baby at an accelerated rate. If you don’t get it surgically removed, it can turn into cancer.

So here I was thinking we were facing an unexpected baby one minute and the next minute I’m looking at emergency surgery and a year of close monitoring for signs of cancer.

The hardest part of losing this pregnancy was that I still felt like I lost a child. While the doctor told me it wasn’t a child, it felt like a child. And who knows, maybe I have a baby waiting for me in heaven one day?

I went through a six-month period of depression. I didn’t think I was depressed at the time. But after learning so much about molar pregnancy, the rapid increase and decrease in hormones took their toll on my body. It also took a toll on my marriage. I was stuck in a place of uncertainty and grief. And it felt like there was no one else there with me.

But God was there waiting for me. He picked me up and put the fragile pieces of my heart back together.

And he did it in the most unusual ways. He changed me from who I thought I wanted to be. He turned me away from wanting to win the rat race. He pulled me into his love and showed me the person He created me to be.

I spent a lot of those long months searching for what I thought I wanted. But what I really needed was a full surrender to live on His strength. I was (and still am) a work of God.

In June 2012, I finally got released from the prison of “Don’t get pregnant. You could get cancer if you do.” It was one of the happiest days of my life. I could finally move on with something God wanted me to do – be a mom to more than one child.

Not that I want to share too much, but we got pregnant on our first try.

We went on vacation for two weeks and I was miserable. Happily miserable. The 10 pregnancy tests I bought were all negative. But I knew I was pregnant.

I finally got a positive pregnancy test on July 14, 2012. (This is the day we supposedly met back in college. Neither one of us can pinpoint the exact date.)

We went to the doctor somewhere in the next week and saw a healthy baby. It was miraculous. I had said prior to this that I would never approach that first date at the doctor with a clear head. But I was wrong. God softened my heart and gave me hope. I knew my baby was alive and well.

The pregnancy went well until 34 weeks. Nothing tragic happened, but I got hit with a bout of pregnancy induced hypertension. Next came bed rest. Nothing makes you feel more worthless than bed rest. I could feel my muscles weakening and that extra five pounds I wanted to avoid came rushing on.

But I was terrified something bad would happen. That struggle to stay positive was really hard under the crushing blood pressure headaches. Again, I sensed the fragility of life. My baby was counting on me to keep him in a little longer.

And he stayed put until March 12, 2013. We got to meet the happiest little guy we’ve ever met that day. I thought the first one melted my heart, but my sweet boy changed me. This little prince took my heart hostage.

My two angels – Reagan-Leigh and Logan together made my heart even more fragile. It’s like it’s been cut in half and walking (or crawling) around from sun-up to sundown all day.

My son’s first six months were so much tougher than I expected. I relied a lot on God’s strength and some special people to make it through sleep deprivation and a terrible hormone imbalance. And then one day I started to see life going on again. We weren’t so much in survival mode. We were moving forward.

Then I got the shock of my life. Yes, we were pregnant again. I think I lived in denial about it for a couple of weeks. I felt tired and my pants were tight, but I had no other symptoms.

We went to the doctor on December 18, 2013 to confirm this pregnancy. Our little surprise had a heartbeat at six weeks. I breathed a sigh of relief.

And somewhere around my birthday at the end of January, I started to see the glimmer in the unexpected. God had answered a prayer I’d had for a long time.

My sometimes thrice daily prayer was, “Am I doing what you want me to do? Am I living in your plan or mine? Please give me a sign for what you want me to be.”

That answer was to be mommy. Just mommy.

It’s been several weeks since I’ve accepted this reality. I don’t work a lot, but I do work some. And it’s been a process of dying to myself to get over needing to work.

God has blessed our family with a business that more than provides. And I’ve not been able to count on that assurance for some time.

I finally pulled the plug today. I’m going to be just mom.

And that decision was spurred by some dark news this week. Three friends lost their babies. Their sweet little expectations.

These women’s loss showed me how fragile life is and how much we need to depend on God’s strength. These ladies have fragile hearts right now. And I can’t say mine isn’t. I went to the doctor in trepidation last week.

But my heart is most fragile for them. I ask you, dear reader, to pray for the women in your life who have suffered a miscarriage.

It’s a fragile situation. And we need God’s strength to carry them.

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