When you work with a bunch of women or even if you hang around with a bunch of women, you will eventually get to the topic of your children and childbirth and all that goes with it. Not everyone has an exciting story to tell other than that feeling of becoming a mom for the first time. Every once in a while you hear a truly amazing story of how that little person came in to the world and all you can do is say awww...
I don't think I ever shared Michael's story here but here it is. We had no trouble conceiving Nick. I had a textbook pregnancy with him and really, I couldn't have asked for more. When he was 18 months old, we decided that we were ready to try for another baby.
Lightning didn't strike twice.
For the next six years we struggled with infertility and one miscarriage. I went to doctors but with no health insurance, I was extremely limited on what could and couldn't be done. I went to workshops, read books and listened to countless amounts of advice from people who had gone through the same thing. Let me just stop and say that there is no "same thing". What works for one couple, doesn't work for another. Believe me, we tried.
I went to a natural family planning workshop - which was actually geared as a way of teaching birth control but I knew the instructor's and they decided to work with me on the opposite end. I took supplements, I lost weight...I made myself crazy! I prayed and I prayed and I prayed and nothing was happening.
One afternoon I was on the phone with a dear friend who was the reason I ended up becoming a Christian. She was a powerful prayer warrior and I turned to her in despair. She was also a nurse and I think my main objective was to get medical advice but in the middle of my request she began to pray out loud. I was more than a little surprised but within minutes she quieted and said "You are going to have your baby...you need to go to the pastor's and elders at church and ask them to pray over you."
Um...sure, thanks. Good talking to you. I cannot even begin to tell you how disappointed I was. Talk to the pastors and elders? Seriously? About what? I sat on the info for a week or two and asked around the church if that was even something that was done and it was confirmed that it was. Now, at the same time that this is going on, my doctor had me on the depo-provera shots to try and calm what were erratic periods. The shot was making me crazy: I had migraines, I gained weight, I was EXTREMELY moody and...I had an extended period that was going on in to month number three. No chance of pregnancy there!
I got up the courage to talk to our outreach pastor (who I had a good relationship with) about the whole "praying over me" thing and he was like "Sure, we can do it on Sunday after church" and then he said he'd like to say a quick prayer over me right then and there. When I got home? The period had stopped.
I kid you not.
That Sunday, five men prayed over me while Frank and Nick sat and watched. I walked out of the office feeling a lightness that I had never felt before. When I got in my car, the song "I can see clearly now the rain is gone" was playing and I was like YES!!! That's exactly how I feel!
Six weeks later I was pregnant.
This pregnancy, however, was not the carefree one of years earlier. I was sick each and every day. I actually LOST weight. I had periodic spotting, I had premature labor and constant contractions, MY JAW LOCKED OPEN and I had to go to the hospital where I became a 'teaching moment' for the interns! I had gestational diabetes, I had to give myself insulin shots and check my blood several times a day. I wanted to die. Literally, I told Frank that I wanted to die and he became afraid to leave me home alone.
I asked my friend, why, why would God give me this answer to a prayer and then make it so hard? What she said stays with me in every hard time of my life: God wants us to be thankful in all things. When I'm having contractions, praise God - there's a baby there giving me contractions. When I feel sick - praise God that there's a baby there making me feel that way. Let me tell you, that is not an easy mantra to hang on to when you are throwing up for the seventh time in a day.
Michael was born three weeks early and the doctor's feared that with my diabetes, that his lungs weren't going to be fully formed. Let's just say that his lungs were pretty much the only thing working well for him at the time of his birth! He spent the next six months suffering from a whole protein allergy that had him on hospitalized for a week and needing to see a doctor weekly while on a prescription formula. He needed to eat every two hours to ensure that he gained weight and we were all exhausted. He had all kinds of skin issues...my baby was a mess.
The differences between child number one and child number two were so great it was mind boggling. I don't feel like we were able to relax and just enjoy Michael until he was over that 6 month mark.
What I learned from this experience is to not take life for granted. That little life - which started tearing mine up at the six week point (did I mention that I was on a plane when that first wave of morning sickness started and never left?) kept me in a constant state of prayer and thanksgiving for the entire time I carried him. He is my miracle baby on so many levels and my gift from God.
After he was born and I'd be holding him, I would tell him that. When he was two he said something to me, I can't remember specifically what, but he was being adorable and I looked at him and said "How come you're so cute?" and he looked at me and said "Because God made me that way."