"Two isn't any better than one. We should have a couple more kids."
Back in 1989 our two boys Ben and Joe, then 8 and 5, were the joys of our lives. But when Tom said those words to me one night as we were talking about our family life together I was not surprised given the fact that he'd had a lonely childhood, being raised an only child. It was meant to be, that we'd have more. I'd been having the baby craving but didn't want to say anything. I ALWAYS have the baby craving.
After a sad miscarriage, God sent us Cassie. JOY! I've already posted about her, in October. Fabulous funny Cassie!
Now it was time for us to pray and hope for another child, so Cassie would have someone to grow up with, the way the boys had each other. We humans tend to think we can plan things any old way we choose; we tend to be dense.
Another miscarriage. Another tailspin. Another time that God graciously pulled me up and out of heartbreak and pain before I could crash and burn. Times like these reveal just how much God is loved, husband is loved, wife is loved, kids are loved, and friends are loved. The pulling together and support......but that's for another post.
Six months later I found myself pregnant again. Dare I hope! I did, and to my horror, right at the same number of weeks where my other two miscarriages had occurred, the familiar symptoms appeared. No. NO! Please, no.
Tom and I went outside, under the kitchen window, on a little white bench, and I cried. He cried, his arm firmly around my shaking shoulders. I so much wanted this baby. My arms needed her. My heart needed her. Our family needed her. "I guess we've taken our fertility for granted," said Tom, the practical one. I could only nod, and feel the utter emptiness, the heavy sadness. I trust in God's decisions for my life, I do. However, coping is not always easy.
Well, I fully expected this baby to leave. In anguish I waited. I hoped, I prayed, I cried, I talked, I was silent. Another doctor visit. "What? Everything is fine? I don't believe it. I can't believe it. I have to guard myself." My poor mind wanted to do cartwheels of joy and clam up in fear all at once. But then, I heard it: her heartbeat. Strong, clear, fast. A living baby!!
"Don't get your hopes up. Wait until you feel movement," I instructed myself. Defensive guarding.
It wasn't long before I felt that little bubble, that flutter we moms know so well. Caroline grew, she stayed. She didn't leave us, she stayed.
Twelve years ago I went into labor at night, heading to the hospital at eleven o'clock. Two hours later, Caroline came into this world hollering to beat the band. She didn't want to be held, to eat, to be bathed. I think she wanted to go shopping.
After she and I settled into our hospital room Tom went home and told the boys, who were taking care of the sleeping three year old Cassie, that they had another sister. They nodded happily, and fell right back to sleep.
Me? I slept for a few hours until Caroline needed my attention. Delighted, I tended to her needs, then peacefully counted her long fingers and toes again, and decided her head was about the size of a softball. I kept my tiny pink daughter right there on my chest until the sun came up. I was so 'high' that I could do no more than doze a little.
I prayed a lot that night, prayers of gratitude, of thanksgiving, of wordless, tear drenched emotion. "Thanks for letting this one stay."
Caroline turns twelve in May. She's my sensitive child, the one who teaches us to slow down, to notice the little lovely things, to appreciate the deeper side of life. She's athletic, smart, clever.
She can find just the clothes and accessories she wants and save money at the same time. A very good trait in a little girl!
"Thanks for staying, Lima Bean!"