Snuggling Heaven on Earth
(Linking up over at SarahBessey.com today!)
Prompted by “I used to think ____ but now I think _____.”
The day after my second daughter’s seventh birthday party, just three days after telling a curious friend that I was “for sure and most definitely done making babies,” I found out I was five weeks pregnant. Shocked, thrilled and overwhelmed all at once, I immediately had this sobering thought: “Well… we’ll see how this plays out. Just because I am pregnant doesn’t mean that I will ever get to hold this baby.” You see, a few years prior, I had miscarried a baby who I loved and wanted very much: a few hours before I was scheduled to go in for my 12 week ultrasound, I was standing at our stove, cooking eggs for my two little girls, when I suddenly doubled over with labor pains. Recognizing that very distinct flavor of pain since I had gone through it a couple times before, I immediately knew what was happening: I was going to lose this baby— this baby I had never met and yet already loved to the core of my being. In great pain, I climbed the stairs and locked myself in the bathroom. I sat on the toilet, desperately crying out to God and asking Him to please change this, to please stop this expulsion that was beginning, to please save the life of my baby and reverse whatever was wrong inside me. But it didn’t turn out that way. Less then 10 minutes later, I saw with my own eyes and held with my own hands the tiny, bloody proof that we don’t always get what we pray for.
So how could I help but doubt my prayers for the health and safety of this new one I was caring in my womb three years later?
Every step along the way, I held fistfuls of doubt and only a mustard seed’s worth of hope that I would ever be able to meet and know and kiss the cheeks of this baby in my womb. Even my then eight-year-old daughter, who definitely remembered the loss of our baby three years prior, asked me when we told her about this new pregnancy: “So… will this baby go straight to heaven too? Or will we actually get to keep this one?” With obviously no way of knowing, and asking that question with my own aching heart as well, all I could say in response was “I don’t know, Sweetie. All I know is that we can love it as much as we want to— and God will take care of both us and this baby— no matter what.” That felt like such a crappy offering to hand over to a child. But it was honest and true and I didn’t know what else to say.
Several months later, a week before my due date, I was scheduled to go in for a “natural induction.” Because he was measuring over a pound bigger than either of my daughters had been, and because I had labored so fast with my first two and I lived kind of far from a hospital, the doctor wanted to make sure I was able to get to a hospital in time for a safe delivery. We had agreed for me to come in and have my doctor break my water in the hospital in hopes that it would get labor started. And honestly? The morning I woke up for that: I was still terrified that I might not be able to have the honor, privilege, and hard job of raising this little guy here on earth. Even though all tests showed a healthy, strong baby boy, I still doubted that we would be able to bring him home. Having experienced such devastating loss before, it just seemed too good to be true.
You can imagine my relief and indescribable joy when, four hours after my water was broken, I held in my arms a chubby, vernix-covered, dimple-faced, angel of a boy. His cry was so deep that he sounded like a little man already. His grip on my finger was so strong. The birthmark on his leg was so delicious-looking. The deep dimples in his cheeks, which reminded me of my big brother Andy and my Grandma Velma, absolutely delighted my heart. And a few hours later, when his big sisters arrived with my dad to come meet their baby brother— we all just looked at each other in awe and utter joy: miracles really do happen. Yes, sometimes babies do go straight to heaven without touching feet to earth first. But sometimes? Sometimes we get to snuggle pieces of heaven here on earth too.
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What about you?
Have you ever had an “evolution of the soul” (as Sarah Bessey calls it)? Can you share a story about how you changed your beliefs or opinions— and why?
Please share your journey in the comment section below.