It had been almost six long years of disappointment after disappointment, trying with no success to get pregnant. We had almost given up. We had both been through a bunch of testing, and I had endured a surgery for endometriosis. We had prayed and prayed, and hoped and wished and…..still nothing. It was difficult watching all our friends and family members welcome babies into their arms and homes. Not that we weren’t happy for them and rejoicing in those precious new lives. We were so happy for them! But there was always that ache in our hearts for that to be US. People who haven’t experienced the devastation of infertility can’t really understand what it is like. They don’t know the depth of sadness and grief that comes simply from being invited to someone else’s baby shower, just walking by the children’s clothing at a store, or seeing a new mama kissing a soft head or snuggling her newborn close. They don’t know how extra heartbreaking it is to see women on the news who abandon their babies, or severely neglect them, and to wonder why they were allowed to have a baby that they didn’t even want, but we–we, who would love and cherish and care more for a baby than anything in the world–we couldn’t have one. It’s inexplicably painful.
We hadn’t had the money to even consider fertility treatments, so that had been out of the question. But just over a month before this day, ten years ago, my grandmother had died. She was one of our biggest prayer warriors through those years of infertility. She hurt with us and wanted us to have a baby so badly. And when we received some money from one of her life insurance policies, we both knew immediately, without even discussing it, that we needed to put it toward infertility treatments. There was no better use for that money, in our minds, and we knew Grandmother would approve wholeheartedly. So we started the process of preparing for our first visit to the infertility specialists. There was so much paperwork! I went through and filled everything out and got it all ready to send. We were apprehensive, yet excited about possibly moving forward in a way we hadn’t been able to before.
It was that week, just after I had completed the mountain of medical forms, that my cycle was late. It had NEVER been late before. Not in the history of time. And of course I took notice of that, trying not to get too excited, but having this strange and elated feeling just the same. A few days passed, and I wanted to take a pregnancy test, but Rex wasn’t at all convinced that this was any kind of a sign to get excited about, and he didn’t want me to take an expensive pregnancy test until it we had waited a lot longer than a few days. It’s hard to let yourself get excited about anything when you’ve been let down and disappointed so many, many times. I understood where he was coming from, on the one hand. But on the other, I was feeling very hopeful and very anxious to find out if this was truly what we had been waiting for almost six years.
But Sunday, February 19th, 2006, on that cold, cloudy, drizzly day, I convinced Rex, as we were getting ready for church that morning, to let me take a pregnancy test that afternoon, after we got home. Can I just say that our pastor preached the LONGEST sermon in recorded history that very morning (haha–not really, but it seemed that way!!) I honestly don’t know that I even heard a word of it–it was so hard to concentrate on anything else! After church, we headed to Walgreens. I had a pregnancy test in the cabinet at home that I had bought several years before, but it was past the expiration date and I wanted one that was fresh and unquestionably accurate. I read the directions for it in the car on the way home because, of course, I didn’t want to waste any time once we got there!
I think the 5-minute wait that the pregnancy test required lasted longer than the sermon that morning! But I still think I held my breath the entire time I waited, watching for two lines to appear in the display. The first line was there. Nice and dark. And in a few moments, my heart leapt as I saw a faint bit of color appearing there on the second line. But it was VERY faint. I showed it to Rex and he was skeptical, of course. However, the instructions said that the test was positive if even a faint second line appeared. Just to be sure, I went and got the expired test to see what it would say. In no time flat (more like 5 seconds instead of 5 minutes) that one showed absolutely and difinitively positive. Rex, still not allowing himself to get his hopes too high, wondered if it could be a false positive, but I made HIM read the literature himself. Everything we read said that there were never false positives–only false negatives. He couldn’t argue with it any longer.
I was pregnant.
I WAS PREGNANT!!!!!!!!!!
At first, we just looked at each other in disbelief. We kept pinching ourselves to make sure it wasn’t a dream. Was it too good to be true? But as reality started to sink in, we hugged, and together started jumping up and down like little children (even though he was 40 and I was 35!) Then we did this hilarious happy dance in the hall outside of the bathroom, and then around and through the house. I was pregnant!
We had a great day of telling family and close friends, and of course, everyone was so excited for us. So many people had prayed with us and for us, and getting to share this huge answer to prayer was so much fun, but so humbling at the same time! But mostly, there was just so much rejoicing! It may have been cloudy and dreary outside our home that day, but inside, it was anything but cold or dreary! We were going to have a baby, and we were on top of the clouds!
Now that wasn’t the end of the story, and my pregnancy wasn’t all glorious moments and happy dances. There were some unexpected challenges. There was fear, anxiety, sadness and even grief during those nine months. I tell a little more about that in another post here and one of these days, I’ll tell even more about that. But in the end, we were blessed with a healthy baby boy who has brought us more joy than we could ever have imagined. And he will be TEN this year! It seems impossible that something that I swear happened just YESTERDAY could have been TEN YEARS AGO. We rejoice in the life that our sweet boy has been given, and the privilege of being his parents. And on this day, February 19th, we remember getting that wonderful answer to so many prayers, and thank God once again for such an incredible gift. (Incidentally, Nathan means “gift of God.”) We are indeed blessed!