I’m not even sure how to describe how much we appreciate both your words of comfort and your words of rejoicing for us this week. We are overwhelmed at the way each of you entered into our pain and our joy! Saying “thank you” just doesn’t reach the depths of gratitude that my heart is swelling with this morning. This little blog has drawn a community to us that has impacted us in more ways than we can count! You guys are amazing… and we truly love you…
I’m sitting at my parents kitchen island as I type this, sipping a hot cup of organic (swiss water process, decaf) coffee – it’s my little treat I allow myself to have while pregnant. As a side note, if you didn’t know, decaf coffee is typically full of chemicals because of the way they extract the caffeine from the bean (typically using a solvent). BUT, if you can find a brand that provides a decaf coffee that uses the Swiss Water Process (SWP) method- they use steamed water to extract the caffeine, you’re free to indulge without all the added chemicals! Thank you to Kezia at The Whole Food Diary for giving me that pro tip! If you don’t follow her blog or instagram account – you need to, a wealth of information I tell you and lives on a budget! This is the brand I found at our local grocery store Kroger, but if you don’t have one near you they sell it on Vitacost & I’m sure on Amazon.
We’re down in Florida, visiting family for Christmas, and as the holiday approaches I can’t help but think of my favorite gift this year – our baby girl, Emsley Hope. I feel overwhelming blessed to be her mama. Like her brother, I can tell that the Lord’s anointing is on this sweet gift because her testimony already shines forth the glory of the God! So without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to my girl, my precious gift from God – Emsley Hope!
Her story starts well before she was even conceived, so let’s back up just a little. After my postpartum appointment in January for Caden, my biggest prayer was that my body would recover well. If you’ve been following my story for a while, you know that it was a long journey of healing to even get pregnant with Caden, so I did have some anxiety that my hormones wouldn’t level out normally. But February came, and so did my first postpartum cycle – which was such a healthy sign for me! And subsequently the next 3 months were all normal cycles as well. But then the summer rolled in and all of a sudden I wasn’t have monthly cycles, but more like 45 day cycles. Things seemed to be heading in the wrong direction… Ovulation was getting to harder to predict (even with prediction kits) and hope was beginning to wain.
I’ve shared before, but I felt ready to get pregnant fairly quickly after Caden. I’m sure there were several motivating factors that contributed to my readiness – I’m sure some of it was in hopes of quenching the ache of grief, some of it was the longing just to be/feel pregnant again, the desire to be a mama and have a baby to actually raise… But I know that my timing isn’t always the right timing. I trust God’s timing to be the supreme standard of good and right, and yet the waiting for that perfect timing can be so excruciatingly hard. Month after month I would be baffled to see another opportunity to conceive come and go without success. My life was beginning to revolve around this desire to get pregnant. I realized that I was so fanatically focused on this one dream that God had placed in my heart, this one desire, that I was closed off to any other area in which the Lord may have been wanting to move. I began to see that I was postponing making any sort of decision for the future because my internal dialogue was programmed to ask “Well what if I get pregnant?”. I was living for an unknown future, and actually missing “being” in the present.
As I’ve grown older, one of the things I’ve become most appreciative of is the fact that God never wastes anything! While I may feel like I’ve wasted precious time, resources, money, etc. – Jesus is always redeeming on my behalf for His glory! Even in my season of waiting, once again, He was using it to polish areas of my heart that were still tarnished. To learn to not be afraid to move my gaze from a dream that my heart craved, and leave it in His hands. To see what else He was doing in my life and participate in that. Learning to be present really helped to remove the subconscious pressure I had placed on myself and my body to conceive. One of the great truths that kept me trusting, kept me hoping and faithful during this season of waiting was a simple line of Scripture that a dear friend and mentor of mine kept speaking over me. With each passing month, as my hope would begin to wain, she would call me to Hope Against Hope – to press into the Hope of Jesus to Hope for the impossible. It quickly became an anthem for me. I couldn’t have told you where in the Bible that portion of scripture could be found, or even what context it was speaking of – I just knew it was in there and the truth of that short phrase was the reminder I needed daily.
As odd as it sounds I can distinctly remember the moment that I conceived Emsley. I knew it from both a physical sense and a deep spiritual knowing. I even told Josiah that I was pretty sure it had happened (to which he, understandably, looked at me like I was crazy – but also held a glimmer of hope in his eyes that I perhaps I was right). Fast forward to the morning of September 11th – it was a Monday, and Josiah was working from home that morning. I had gotten up and was enjoying breakfast and had decided to listen to a sermon from a Pastor back in Jacksonville for my devotional time that morning. The sermon was centering on Romans 6, so before I hit play – I decided to skim through Romans 4 & 5 just to get my bearings and figure out what the author had been saying leading up to chapter 6. And that’s when it happened y’all! I found it! Well I didn’t really find it, the Lord graciously lead me to it – but I found the verse about “hope against hope”. If you have a minute – I’d love to share it with you:
18 In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” 19 Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; 20 yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. 22 Therefore it was also credited to him as righteousness. 23 Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, 24 but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.
Y’ALL!!!! Can you even believe it?!? The anthem of my season of waiting actually centers around a miraculous story of hope in the midst of the impossible for the promise of a child that God had given to another couple from millennia ago! I felt so encouraged that morning, that even in my waiting and my longing God saw me – He knew my deep desire, He was proud of me for releasing control of my dream to Him and reassured me that He is able to do WONDERS with the impossible. I quickly got up and headed into the office to share what I had just learned with Josiah. Encouraged himself, my revelation seemed to jolt his memory and he quickly yelled out “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I haven’t told you this yet!! I had a dream last night and you were in labor again delivering a baby. A baby boy was born, and while the doctors were tending to him, I looked down to realize that another one was coming out – a girl, because she was already wrapped in pink… yeah it was kinda weird but it’s a dream so whatever. I yelled to the doctors “umm, hey guys, there’s another one coming!” but they were busy with our baby boy so I just bent down to catch her.” Dreams are one of the main ways that the Lord communicates with Josiah, I rarely dream (or at least I don’t remember my dreams) but when Josiah dreams, they’re vivid and usually have great meaning attached to them.
As soon as he shared this dream, I felt an urgency to take a pregnancy test. The onslaught of messages felt too much to ignore. I had a test saved that came with my last ovulation test kit, so I ran upstairs and took the test. I decided not to mention that I had taken the test to Josiah, just because if my “feeling” ended up being wrong I didn’t want to create any additional discouragement in him. While I was waiting for the test to read, I changed into gym clothes to try and get a workout in that morning – as soon as I was dressed my phone rang, a FaceTime call from my favorite little peeps in Florida! Distracted by their sweet faces and the timing of the gym class I planned to attend- I left the house without checking the test! It wasn’t until I arrived home from the gym and headed upstairs to take a shower that I remembered I hadn’t checked the test!! I ran into the bathroom to see the test sitting on the counter – with 2 LINES!! 2 LINES!!!! I couldn’t believe it – could this actually be happening again, could I really be pregnant? I had pictured this moment in my mind so many times, would I tell Josiah or would I try to do something to surprise him… in real time I couldn’t contain my excitement and I just yelled for him. He came into the bathroom and I showed him the test. He was so shocked & confused – he hadn’t even known I’d even taken a test, so it took a minute for all of it to sink in. I told him that we needed to go to the store immediately to get a few more tests (I wanted to be SUPER sure!). We grabbed 2 more tests, the ones that read”pregnant” or “not pregnant” so there would be no way to mistake the results. We got home and I took the first test… “not pregnant”. Wait what?! How could that be? So I decided to take the second one right then as well. Again, “not pregnant”. Josiah looked at me with empathetic eyes, pulled me close and said “I’m sorry babe. We’ll keep trying.”
The odd thing is, I wasn’t sad – I looked right back up at him and said “I don’t believe the tests, I think they’re wrong”. Skeptically he looked at me because 2 tests just read “not pregnant”, so how could I even think that they were wrong? I explained to him that I thought perhaps the results were skewed because I had just done a pretty intense workout, and drank a bunch a water to hydrate so I was sure the samples weren’t accurate and concentrated enough. He let me think what I wanted, but I knew he didn’t agree. While I was out grocery shopping that afternoon, I decided to pick up 2 more tests – I was going to wait until that evening to take another one to make sure I gave my body ample time to level out. Time seemed to tick by SO slowly and finally before it was even dinner time I told Josiah I was going to take another test. He came over from his office and stood with me while we waited for the results… minutes later results came that have changed our life (again) forever… “Pregnant”!!!!! We agreed that I would wait until the next morning to take the last test, and that would be the final test we’d take to determine if we were indeed actually pregnant. I didn’t need that final test, I knew I was and I was so excited!
That night I felt like a little girl trying to fall asleep on Christmas Eve, the excitement was too much to bear and I ended up just tossing and turning all night long. It wasn’t until around 5:15am, when I realized I had to pee that I decided to “wake up” and take the final test. I rolled over to tell Josiah, and graciously got up with me to see what the results read. The 3-5 minutes it takes can feel like a lifetime, but it’s completely worth it to see the results flash “Pregnant”. Pregnant!!! We were pregnant!!! We couldn’t contain our excitement, we hugged, we cried, we laughed, we cheered, we thanked God! It all felt surreal, and we were soaking in every euphoric moment. I waited patiently until 5:45am to FaceTime our parents – I knew my Dad would likely be up and that news like this would be something they wouldn’t mind a sunrise call for. My Dad answered, and the first thing he asked was if everything was alright? I told him yes, and asked him if Mom was up yet as well? His response is something that will forever be etched into my mind… “Why do we have some news?!?” As tears welled up in my eyes and a giggle came out of my mouth, he shouted “Oh Jesus we have news!! Thank you God! Thank you God!”. As both parents came on the screen (praise pause for living in a time when I can SEE my parents instantaneously from states away!!) we got to share the exciting news that we were pregnant again. My family are criers, so there were tears being shed all around! We called Josiah’s mom next, and she happily woke my father-in-law up from a dead sleep to hear the good news! Rejoicing ensued once again! This little love was coming into a family that had been LONGING for her for months!
Part 2 of baby girl’s story is coming right up…