Last night, my friend, Amanda, called to check in. Amanda and I met during our first semester of college. We joined a dance company together, became floor-mates in a dorm, "brothers" in a co-ed Honors Fraternity, and also lived in the same house for two years. We've known each other now for 14 years...wow, that went fast!
Unfortunately, she moved many states away from me five years ago. I try not to make her feel too guilty about it when we talk....love you, Amanda! Yes, the truth is I would rather her live close by, but I know she is doing great things at the Mayo Clinic and I am proud of her accomplishments. Below is a picture of my college roommates at Amanda's wedding from a few years back (It was in a frame on my desk...I just grabbed the closest picture to scan in): so, there's me, Gail, Amanda, and Joy.
Anyway, at the end of our conversation, Amanda hesitated and said, "I have something to tell you". Through her tears, I could feel her empathy as she went on to say, "We're expecting and I didn't want to tell you...". She is due in February, so she has been holding this in for awhile. I was touched by her sensitivity and overjoyed for her! I could picture her belly close in size to mine and immediately felt a unity, not a division.
One of my first questions was, "Have you had any ultrasounds? Do you know if you are having a boy or a girl?". But, honestly, I realize what I was really searching for was whether or not they knew if the baby looked healthy. (I just realized that while she told me the sex of the baby, she may not be ready to share that information with everyone.) But, I will tell you that everything seemed to look good and healthy. (I can let out a sigh of relief...thank you, Lord) Congratulations Amanda, Brian, and Big Brother Samuel!
As I explained to her, and now to you....having two boys already--I know the joy and understand the miracle. Through God's grace, I have no bitterness in seeing other women pregnant or seeing newborns. In fact, to me, it's reassurance that pregnancies can go well and babies can be born healthy.
See, I don't think I will ever look at a pregnancy with the same innocence I had before this diagnosis. For now I know of 1001 reasons pregnancies can go all wrong and have heard too many stories of babies (whether in the womb or newly born) dying. So now, I look at newborns in complete awe and realize what a miracle it is for them to be here.
Of course, I still have a deep sadness about our pregnancy. It's easy to start thinking about what I will be missing in the process of mothering Lily. I am heart broken when I think about picking out sweet little outfits, the early coos and smiles I will never see or hear, or watching her grow and play just as my two boys do (well, not exactly, I see dolls and coloring vs cars and constant wrestling : ) ) Yes, those are the thoughts that can easily turn on the waterworks.
But, I have choice. I can dwell on what I will be missing with her here. Or, I can set my eyes on Heaven. As you can imagine, that's easier said than done. But, when those sad thoughts start flooding in, I force myself to remember there is nothing here on earth that can compare with the glory and riches in Heaven. There is no safer or sweeter place for her to be. There are no tears in Heaven, because there is no hurt or pain. Lions will lay down with lambs. And, our time here is but a grain of sand in comparison to all of eternity.
I also like to listen to the song written for Audrey Caroline: I Will Carry You
Here are some of the words:
There were photographs I wanted to take
Things I wanted to show you
Sing sweet lullabies, wipe your teary eyes
Who could love you like this?
People say that I'm brave but I'm not
Truth is I'm barely hanging on
But there's a greater story
Written long before me
Because He loves you like this
So I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry you
All my life
And I will praise the one who's chosen me
To carry you
Such a short time
Such a long road
All this madness
But I know
That the silence
Has brought me to His voice
And He says...
I've shown her photographs of time beginning
Walked her through the parted seas
Angel lullabies, no more teary eyes
Who could love her like this?