Sometimes in the midst of raising a child that is a bit… strong willed, I lose sight of the countless moments of joy and beauty we’ve had in the last two years with her. Frankly, I often forget in the living day to day. I forget that every moment of stubbornness, every fit pitched, every smile, every huge belly-laugh– they are all, each one, my prayers being answered.
Because we weren’t always sure we would have her and then we weren’t sure we would get to keep her…
This week while cleaning and organizing, I found an old calendar from 2011, more than two years ago. As I paged through the days and months, I saw written evidence of the journey. The journey that ultimately brought us to a delivery room on February, 9, 2012… And brings us still to today. And tomorrow.
But because I’m taking strides against hanging on to pieces of paper I do not really need, these are my stones of remembrance. This is my account of just one of the great things that God has done that fill us with joy.
February 2011- Lab Work. Followed by each day with a written temperature at the top.. BBT’s. If you have struggled with getting pregnant, or experienced miscarriage.. you’re familiar with these. After we lost a baby the previous fall, my doctor determined that my problem was not getting pregnant, but staying pregnant.. So he recommended a few months of taking temperatures. And of course, this was a small price to pay– so I faithfully did it.
March- More BBT’s and we moved into our house that we now call home.
April- More BBT’s and I began doing the 30-Day Shred Workout (P.S. If you’re trying to have a baby– one sure way is to start an exercise program. Ha! It’s happened to me with both my girls!)
May- More BBT’s. Negative test.
June- Two Negatives and then one week later, a positive. More Labwork. Labwork results: good.
Late June- Ultrasound reveals very low heartbeat. (After my recent miscarriage and these current ultrasound results, I was given two weeks and then told to come back. I remember the concern in that sweet older man’s face when he wrote me a prescription for progesterone, put his hand on mine, and looked into my eyes and said, “We’re going to do all that we can. If nothing happens in the next few weeks come back and we will do another ultrasound.” Hopeful enough, but not hopeful enough to give me a due date.
Two weeks. Two whole weeks of waiting, wondering, WORRYING. Every morning, I woke up expecting to feel crampy. I kept waiting. Dreading. And amidst it all, trying to just enjoy those moments I had with a baby I knew might not stay. It was quite possibly the longest two weeks of my life.
That week I wrote a few lines in my journal. I wrote to help myself feel better. To memorialize those days of waiting. Lines that affirmed that I knew my baby had a heartbeat, (though low and slow) and therefore was alive. I knew she was loved more than any baby could be loved and that her life was in God’s competent hands. I wrote,
“My heart wants so much to see you, years from now–sitting next to your sister on our front porch swing. But right now, I just desperately want to be able to hold you. I know that you will be held either by me or your God– but I’m selfish and I want to hold you for myself and first. But you should know that either way, He came and conquered death and made it something not to fear. And we don’t. But my heart still grieves a little just thinking on it. Whether we see you in 7 months, safe and warm in a soft blanket– or we see you years from now… you are loved and you are ours.”
Whoa. Heavy. But that was my heart. And after losing one baby and never once seeing it coming, I was bent on over-preparing myself to lose this sweet one.
But we didn’t. We went back two weeks later and her heart rate was perfect. She had grown considerably and everything looked to be just right. By the end of July, I celebrated my 29th birthday by feeling very pukey and looking very green with nausea. There could have been no better birthday present that year. Feeling sick and having a baby that was growing healthy was such a gift.
September, 2011- First Kicks!!!
Late September- She’s a girl!! Abigail Grace Stuckey will be born February, 2012!!!
I’ve never doubted once that God not only answered our prayers, but that He had a plan for her all along. For many, the story did not end this way– and it grieves me to think of the mama who reads this and is still waiting. Or has given up. I do not even begin to think I know how you feel or that our situations are very similar. But I do know this, I believe that even though He answered our prayers in the way that we hoped, I know HE would have sustained us either way. Even in the difficulty. But this is only one small part of our story. We do not know the future, but whenever it becomes uncertain, I want to choose to LOOK BACK and see His past Faithfulness to us.
She is one of these. She has brought us so much joy and plenty of exhaustion along the way, but this morning when I stood behind her at the kitchen sink and tried to wash bits of dried banana from between her still-babylike fingers, it struck me.
We are living surrounded by these moments of grace.
These moments that testify that our God hears and answers prayers. And even if He hadn’t, my hope and prayer is that we would still trust Him and be thankful. There is always, always, always something to be thankful for. But being that He did answer our prayers and bless us with not, one but two healthy kids– I don’t want to waste one moment not being aware of these evidences of HIS LOVE for us.
***Can I challenge you to look back? LOOK BACK at your last few years, look back at a journal, a calendar, a Facebook wall– and SEE and REMEMBER how He has ANSWERED, SUSTAINED, UPHELD. He is Good. All the time.
Courtney Sexton says
I love this post. And join with you in thankfulness for sweet Abby.
Meredith Bernard says
I love these words from your past and your present and your future today. What a beautiful story of grace. We do serve a loving God and I’m so thankful you were blessed with this little girl. I can’t imagine the pain of losing a child or never getting one after wanting one so badly. I love your heart and your cry that even if you hadn’t gotten to hold your baby first, you would still Praise God in the storm. That’s a cry of my own for when the time arises. Knowing my life is not my own and I have no control over it. Oh, that when the storms come I will remember He is STILL Good. Blessings today. Now go get that sweet one’s hair clean. I see something similar in my three-year old’s hair as well… 😉
Thank you, Meredith. It’s so hard to let go and still hold on, isn’t it? Thank you for your kind words.
precious. precious Jesus. precious you. precious grace. precious girls.
Mom- Linda Blythe says
Words don’t give credit to the feelings of thankfulness and humble praise to THE ONE who gives life, and hope, and strength, and mercy from a perfect heart of love. I love this post. I love that you are my sweet daughter. I love that little Abby is my sweet granddaughter. Gifts of love from our Father above.
Women of Warren says
Hey! I’d love to talk with you about doing some writing for Women’s Ministry and/or being a guest post writer on my blog sometime.
I would LOVE to Jacqueline! Thank you for thinking of me!
Love this. I remember you attended my baby shower that year and told me you were pregnant again. Not sure if you knew….in the same month that you felt her kicking, my miracle baby was born. It was a 3 year struggle for me to get pregnant…and stay pregnant. Our stories are almost identical. Also, the other day I was flipping through a past Bible study from 2011 and it was such a blessing to see God’s faithfulness.
Oh, Elaine. I DO remember. And I’m glad we can share this memory. Sweet Ethan– He will always know how much his parents prayed and waited for him! Love you!