I discovered I was pregnant just before my 40th birthday. Whew! Just before the deadline I had imposed upon myself. A few weeks into the pregnancy I started the characteristic bleeding that I had experienced with all of my miscarriages, as well as with my younger daughter. We were headed off on a cruise to celebrate my milestone 40th birthday and wanted confirmation since the blood test showed steady Hcg levels, so we went in for an ultrasound. All looked well. We even saw a tiny heartbeat up on the monitor. I felt a little on the queasy side and had to pee all the time, all great pregnancy signs. We headed off on our cruise. But several days into the vacation I began to spot and my tummy felt fine again. I knew what was going on. I was angry with myself for even getting my hopes up. I grieved because it was my last chance and once again my body was too broken to sustain this little life. We were traveling with another family, dear friends of ours. I could not even discuss my miscarriage with my long time friend. I told myself it was because she had a recent cancer diagnosis and should not be burdened with my problems. But in truth I could not answer any questions. I especially did not want anyone to ask me why I kept trying after so many disappointments. This baby was large enough that I recognized the tiny sac when I passed it. I buried it under my banana trees. I named my baby Haydn, after our family’s favorite composer. With that little one, I buried that dream.
I am neither overly emotional nor a very dramatic woman. I chose to delight in the two precious daughters that God had given me and raise them the best that I could. We traveled and had adventures. We took two mission trips to Haiti that were really transformational for us as a family. We would not have been able to do this if Haydn had stayed with us. I learned to cut more stress out of my life and take better care of myself. I began to plan my exit strategy out of homeschooling back to full time law practice a few years down the road. I enjoyed my morning run, increased my speed and continued to fine tune my health, with the help of Dr. Fenton. Two really wonderful years floated by on clouds of independence.
Shortly before my 42nd birthday I went on a women’s retreat with my church. It was a wonderful time, but I was suffering with some anxiety. My oldest daughter had been diagnosed with scoliosis and the doctor had nothing encouraging to say, except “let’s wait and see.” I began to get stomach aches over it. In fact, every time I ate I felt sick. I fasted. I asked for prayer at the retreat. Undoubtedly I had given myself an ulcer over the whole thing. And the Lord granted me peace and hope over the scoliosis situation. But my stomach did not respond to this hope and peace. And about that same time my period did not come as expected. I discussed it with my husband. He began to worry about it. I did not. I knew the routine. I had been through this six times before. I was likely pregnant, but the bleeding would start soon. The indigestion worsened. Two weeks went by with no changes, except increased digestive discomfort. Still I insisted that we were not having a baby. My husband went out one morning, before I was even awake, and headed to Walgreens. Shocked at the prices he walked out the door and headed to Walmart instead. He brought back a pregnancy test and waved it in front of me. I reluctantly took the test. Pregnant. I was unconvinced that this meant anything but enduring another miscarriage. My 46 year old husband freaked out.
Now understand that he is an amazing Dad. He is everyone’s secret mentor about finding work – life balance. He is involved in every aspect of his kid’s lives, from birth to discussing their celebrity crushes. He is known as the Baby Whisperer. He can calm any baby. He can calm anybody, for that matter, though oddly, he is a bit hyper active himself. He freaked because he cared so much about being there every step of the way for his kids. He was not sure he would have the energy to be the same dad, starting over at 46. He began to analyze all the families around us, looking for great dads that were as old as he was starting out. And he found them. He did get teased by some insensitive people. But mostly he found encouragement. About being an older dad. About the 11 year age gap between this baby and her sister. About the Lord’s provision. He found some great dads he knew wished they were in his shoes instead of facing empty nests.
My sister was due to have her first baby at this time. I was her unofficial doula. And while I was with her in the hospital I began to spot. I was expecting it and my feelings were pretty neutral. I texted my husband from the hospital that the spotting had begun. My sister had a beautiful, chubby girl. That was the last spotting I ever saw during this pregnancy. It began to dawn on me as I vomited for the first time, this baby was going to stay.