being pregnant so soon after losing jonathan has been a blessing as well as a challenge. i think the blessing part is obvious, and i'll be honest: in our case, being pregnant has been healing for us in many ways. of course, the new baby will never "replace" jonathan. but we are excited about adding to our family again, and already love this new baby so much.
however, the challenge has been to separate this pregnancy from jonathan's. with jonathan still so fresh in my memory, this new pregnancy inevitably gets compared at every milestone. at every appointment i anxiously await the exam results: is the heart beating? is the heart rate normal? are the measurements normal? am i normal?
since the trisomy 13 gene is not hereditary for us, there is no reason for us to think that this pregnancy would be anything but normal. however, having had such a devastating experience as we did, as much as we try not to "remember the former things", sometimes we just do. our scars are still fresh.
there is also the challenge of "moving forward" without feeling like we're leaving behind jonathan. time just marches on relentlessly, and we get further and further from that day we last saw him and held him. and yet simultaneously, the intensity of the grief is (thankfully) less and less as time goes on. this concept of time is very paradoxical. i despise it and appreciate it all at the same time. and so even though there is nothing i can do about how quickly time passes, i do feel guilty for wanting to move forward. for wanting to enjoy this new pregnancy. for wanting it to be separate.
for the first 15 and a half weeks of this new pregnancy, our journey was still tightly knit to jonathan's journey. and then finally, we came to a crossroad: our first big ultrasound with my OB.
our baby BOY is healthy and growing perfectly!
our prayers have been answered and the Lord has restored our loss, double! (1. healthy baby, and 2. BOY!)
and while jonathan's journey will continue on the path purposefully mapped out by the Lord Himself, greg and i took our first steps onto a new road filled with great hope and expectation.
and of course our visit was not complete without God showing up in a big way. i was telling my OB about feeling like greg and i were finally able to begin walking the new road that has been graciously laid out before us.
she asked me if i had done my bible study homework for that day. (i've been meeting with a small bible study group led by my OB since june 22, which also happens to be a year to the day we found out something was wrong with jonathan. we've been studying the book of Ruth.)
sheepishly, i admitted that i hadn't yet...i had been so consumed with praying for good news at this appointment the past couple of days.
she explained that our study and homework for that very day was about ruth changing out of her mourning clothes and putting on new clothes. it was symbolic of moving past her loss and trusting God's plans for her new life.
i was amazed at the timing of this message! but not as amazed as i was once i finally did my homework for the day.
here is what it said:
"When we're wrapped in garments of mourning, we're unavailable for whatever else God has for us. In a sense, we take ourselves out of the game. Though we can't be certain what Ruth had on, we know her new dress signaled a change, a readiness, an availability to Boaz and to God for the possibility of something new.
Please know that if you have walked Ruth's exact journey of a dire loss, I am not at all presuming on your grieving process. My simple hope is when God has held us, healed us, and lifted our heads, that we'd be ready to move forward with Him; and though our hearts may always ache, we won't stay in our mourning clothes forever." ~ Kelly Minter, Ruth: Loss, Love, and Legacy
and then, there it was, AGAIN. i could hardly believe it. at the end of that day's homework, we were asked to read Isaiah 43:18-19. you know what it is by now:
"Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."
and for the THIRD time in just a few weeks, God had my attention. (apparently He knows i might not get it after just one time so He is gracious enough to keep after me!)
i can barely contain my complete and total appreciation, thankfulness, joy, etc., etc. i have that God would be so kind to me to give me that message (again) on such an important day.
"This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous to see." ~Psalm 118:23
"How amazing are the deeds of the LORD!
All who delight in him should ponder them.
Everything he does reveals his glory and majesty.
His righteousness never fails.
He causes us to remember his wonderful works.
How gracious and merciful is our LORD!" ~Psalm 111:2-4