Just before leaving for work one summer day, my husband said, “I think our little girl would be a great big sister.”
The thought of that stirred up some conflict in my heart and, since he had gone out the door already, I did not get a chance to protest or acquiesce. I jokingly said to the room, “Okay, Lord, before the second coming just make sure I get to have a boy!” Suddenly, the thought of that had my heart beating more quickly, but I was too afraid to hope for it.
Another summer morning came and, as I kissed my husband goodbye, I whispered, “By the way, I think we might need to pick up a test.” I had not been feeling well and there was some suspicious activity happening with my body. But, even though I had my beautiful little girl in my arms, fifteen years of believing I would remain labeled ‘infertile’ prevented me from allowing hope.
Later that same summer day, as the evening was beginning to set, I grabbed the test out of my husband’s hands, ran toward the bathroom, and hollered over my shoulder, “Well, here goes nothing!”
Less than two minutes later, I ran back out of the bathroom waving the test around and screeching. I am not sure what I was saying, but I know I was screeching something about seeing blue lines and ‘oh-my-goodness-is-this-happening-this-cannot-be-happening’. Our daughter, who was almost two at the time, joined in on the screeching and waving her arms around. While she had no understanding of what was going on, she sure thought we were having a good time. I did not even have the chance to process what those blue lines meant before I heard my husband on the phone telling his mother that we were going to have another baby. I nearly passed out trying to wave him off the phone. I was ready to get to the dollar store as quickly as I could and buy every test they had. I needed to be sure before I called the doctor, because those fifteen years sure left me jaded.
My obstetrician marked my chart ‘advanced maternal age’, just as she had done when I was pregnant with my daughter. Being a senior citizen in the obstetrician’s office had some perks that included finding out in advance whether we were going to have a boy or a girl. It was the same genetic blood analysis I had when pregnant with my daughter. My belly had started to round out and I willingly rolled up my sleeves for the needle.
As we waited for the test results, I told my husband, “We will call this baby Hank, whether it is a boy or a girl. I cannot get the Waylon Jennings song out of my head. I also think this baby will be a boy, even without the test results.” The obstetrician’s office called the following week to confirm that we would be expecting a boy named Hank.
Around the 20 week mark, we showed up at the hospital to have the perinatologist have a look at our boy, Hank, with a higher quality ultrasound. She patted my leg when she reminded me it was just one of the perks that came with being of ‘advanced maternal age’. My belly was getting huge and, at my advanced maternal age, I did not mind laying there for an hour with my feet up. My husband held my hand the whole time and we were both teary-eyed seeing every single detail of that little boy bouncing around my womb. It was just as emotional as it was when we were watching our daughter on the ultrasound. Toes, bones, kidneys, bladder, a tiny heart, a sweet little nose, and look at the teeny-tiny toes again!
When we put up the Christmas tree last year, as is our Thanksgiving tradition, I couldn’t help but cry. I had spent so many years believing I would not have children and one of my fantasies had always been to be gigantic and pregnant during the holiday season. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I felt gigantic, but I was merely a couple of months along during the festivities.
Pregnant with my son, I was well on my way to being mistaken for a giant butterball turkey as my limbs started competing with the roundness of my belly.
My dream of being gigantic over the holiday season had come to fruition.
As it is, I have had the privilege of spending two Christmases expecting a child. Who am I that the Lord would bless me this way?
We will be putting up our Christmas tree this weekend, since we will be too busy over the Thanksgiving holiday to tend to it then. It has become tradition for my husband and I to stand around our tree, admiring our hard work, thanking God for His provision, and proclaiming our family name with a kiss. My husband and I are deeply grateful to have added a couple of tiny humans to that tradition.
I am thankful to have a husband who loves his family as deeply as he does. I am thankful to have a daughter and a son after spending so much of my adult life believing I would never have this opportunity. I am thankful for new, budding friendships and I am thankful for old friendships. I am thankful for the healing and restoration of marriages and families. I am thankful that I have a miracle puppy, an old dog, and a kitty who tries to hog my desk when I am working on the computer (even if she walks on the keyboard and messes things up from time to time).
I am thankful that there are cracker crumbs all over the dining room floor, toys taking up residence in the living room, and that I have a mountain of little clothes to get laundered. I am thankful for tripping over my daughter’s shoes, having to pick up my husband’s socks, the sound of my son whining in the middle of the night, all of the snoring these people do, and the task of worrying about my family. I am thankful I have been afforded the opportunity to get annoyed at hearing “mama, mom, mommy” a hundred thousand times in one day. I am thankful that my job is to is to feed, clothe, clean, nurture, chastise, teach, nurture again, chastise a little more, and secure the safety of the three people I love deeper than words could ever do justice for.
That my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!
Parts of the post appear in the book: Shattered in Him © 2016 JD Mays