I have a miracle I get to tell you about.
I can’t talk about this without crying, so just understand that as I write, I have snot and tears rolling down my face.
There are these favorite people of mine whom I’ve loved for a long time. They are having a miracle baby. But it’s not just any ‘ol miracle baby. It’s a whooooooaaaa nelly miracle baby.
My tale of their miracle baby will include a bunch of stuff about me, too, because I’m a fat head and it’s how I do.
We met them at a bible study thing about 7 years ago. It was my birthday and I didn’t want to be there. I had just gotten out of the hospital, where I’d spent a week in the ICU for a zombie bite/viral bug thing and lost a pregnancy. Robb made me go in, but we sat in the car outside the house for a long time arguing about whether we should just turn around and go home.
I’m awful glad we didn’t.
The pastor, this very sensitive and kind guy, perceived that I was a fucking trainwreck that day and wasn’t speaking up about it…he pried it out of me and I cried all over myself to the group. At some point I realized that the blubbering was in stereo, and it turned out that this beautiful lady in the corner, and her adoring husband, were crying about similar horrible bullshit.
Turns out, that was my Mandy and Jason.
They had been infertile for a long time. They had no reason for it. They’d seen all the fancy crotch doctors and no one could tell them what was wrong.
So we ate cupcakes and cried and later we ate sushi and cried and Thai food and cried…and when I had my second miscarriage a few months later, she was the first to say “WHAT THE FUCKING SHIT HELL?!” and made me laugh, and realize it was OK to feel perplexed and pissed. She always says the perfect, most pirate thing.
And their infertility persisted, as that bastard sometimes does.
They decided it was time to adopt a kid, while they continued to try to make one.
There was a very, very dark time when an adoption of a little guy was at their fingertips and then stolen away. Tears came hard on that one. So hard that there was vomiting in a kitchen trash can as the grief squeezed so hard and so suddenly, as that bastard sometimes does.
After all those years, hope had kicked them in the nads. ‘WHAT THE FUCKING SHIT HELL?!’ I said, because I knew it was the perfect pirate thing to say.
And then, out of this blackness, there came a little golden ray of sunshine. They were matched with a healthy, perfect, baby girl. And it stuck. That adoption stuck. And thank the Lord it did, because she is hilarious, brilliant and strong as hell, fitting right in with her mom and dad. That kid. She is perfect. She made them a beautiful three.
But they’d planned for a big family. They’d planned to have their kids close together in age. They’d planned, planned, planned. But infertility does not care for our plans.
Through the course of 8 (eight) years, they had over a dozen unsuccessful attempts at IUI (intrauterine insemination) and one very gory, exhausting and financially draining IVF (in vitro fertilization). There were so many big needles, full of big hormones. Mandy’s feet grew out of all her lovely shoes, as sometimes happens when women have babies….but still no babies. Just the hormones, and their changes. Son. Of. A. Bitch.
They tried all the hippie methods, too. They ate bear meat and dandelion stems and drank the pee of unicorns, filling vials with their spit and taking a million pills a day.
Science and “science” failed them, too.
Have I mentioned yet what rockstars they are? This shit implodes marriages. This constant disappointment and longing and grief wrecks a person and each side of that marital bond. Each 30-day menstrual cycle that doesn’t end in a positive pregnancy test seems like an indictment, a little piece of death. But they’ve persisted. They’ve clung to each other. They’ve kept smiling, and, instead of folding in and falling apart, they’ve both thrived as partners, as parents, as friends and family members, and in their careers. They’ve both taken advancements and done great big things in the midst of this pain.
Mandy is the classiest lady I know. She’s always so glamorous and put-together. And laughing. She’s always laughing. It’s marvelous. I can show countless pictures of her looking like a movie star, but my best memory of her is in her pajamas and headgear, at my back door at midnight on a school night to stay with Henry while I went to hatch Anna at the hospital, because my family lives across state and I needed the help. She’s my family here, now. She always says yes. And she couldn’t have been more enthusiastic and loving, while I went and had a 2nd baby while she longed to birth her first. That’s grace right there.
We prayed. We begged for God to put a baby in belly. They had many friends and family praying all over, for baby in belly. We made a prayer group online, dedicated to baby in belly. We got as many people involved as we could. Sometimes we concentrated on praying at the same time together. Sometimes we just found “keep the hope!” bible verses and reminded each other to keep focusing prayer their way. I found ‘the Jesus prayer’ (in reading some Salinger, actually) and kept meditating/chanting, “Come, Lord, Jesus, have mercy on them. Come, Lord, Jesus, have mercy on them.”
And then….and then…8 years after they started trying….5 years after their daughter arrived on the scene….discussing whether it was time to somehow give up the dream, or find funds and patience to adopt again? Try IVF again?…..
Suddenly, spontaneously, there was a positive pregnancy test.
The first one. Ever.
Not just one, but many. Followed by positive blood tests and ultrasounds and thumbs-up from the experts.
(Her actual urine droplets, in her actual bathroom. This is exciting like reality TV)
They’re about 14 weeks along now. There’s still a long way to go. But…there’s a baby in that belly where for so long there was none.
I will never know if it was the prayer. But I know it wasn’t the fancy technology and science that made it happen.
My faith changed the day I found out. I’m listening, believing more now. I always wanted “it” to be true, now I’m really suspicious it might be.
Come, Lord, Jesus, have mercy on them. And thank You.