I read a poem titled Dreaming by Barbara Crowe on a blog I discovered today. I had to share because it reminded me of the hope my husband and I felt as we were planning our little family. We would talk late into the night about the children we would have someday. What would we name them? What would they look like? What traits would they have? It was our favorite topic of conversation.
We were so full of hope only to be continually let down. After a year of trying on our own we sought help. We went through dozens of unsuccessful fertility treatments and were finally left with the diagnosis of “unexplained infertility.” There was no medical reason we could not have children. We were heartbroken.
There were so many people in this world that didn’t want to be parents and yet had no difficulty conceiving. There were also many who didn’t deserve to be parents, neglecting, abusing, or even worse, killing the sweet little life that was entrusted to them. We wanted children. We would be loving parents. We would never harm them. We would give them a wonderful life. Why couldn’t God see that?
Despondent, we gave up and resigned ourselves to a life without children. Six months later I became pregnant without the assistance of fertility medicine. We had a little boy and I will never forget the moment they placed him on my chest. His lips were so red they appeared to be stained with lipstick. A milky white substance covered his body and his dark hair was matted against his head. He was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.
“If only I had a child as white as snow, as red as blood, and as black as the wood in this frame.”
He was a fairy tale come true. He was, and still is, my perfect little boy.
The words written on a card from a friend summed up my feelings perfectly. I believe it’s a Japanese proverb and the words have stayed with me since:
“Hope deferred makes the heart grow sick, but a longing fulfilled is the tree of life.”
A year later, we wanted to give him a sibling but suffered the same agonizing process as we had before. Years of fertility treatments with no results. Presented with the option of more aggressive treatments, we opted instead to be thankful for the blessing of the one child we had. Nine months later my daughter was born.
She wasn’t the little “Snow White” I expected. She was a bluish-grey and my heart hammered in my chest as I said, “Something’s wrong with her!”
I held my breath and prayed for her life as they whisked her to a table and cleared her lungs. When she was able to breathe on her own I finally exhaled.
The extended family in the waiting room was anxious to hear the gender of the baby, but my husband just shook his head and brought my son in the room instead. He was four and a half years old at the time. We had talked about giving him a baby brother or sister since he was old enough to understand the words. It hit me then, that he’d waited most of his life for this moment. He had spent the last nine months watching my belly grow with amazement, talking to it, singing to it, and rubbing it affectionately. He had wanted a baby brother…until just two weeks before. He changed his mind. He wanted a baby sister instead.
He stood next to her bed and my husband said, “Meet your baby sister.” He looked up at my husband and grinned. Then he hesitantly put his hand toward her to touch her. In that instant she reached up and grabbed his little finger. Newborn babies aren’t supposed to be able to do that are they? It was a sign that this moment was extraordinary. My son caught his breath, turned to look at me and said, “Oh Mama, I love our little baby so much!”
I was overwhelmed with emotion, as I am now, retelling this story. I was a witness as my son experienced love at first sight and I said, “I know exactly how you feel, Buddy.”
Both times my husband and I tried to take matters into our own hands, to control the creation of life, only to be thwarted again and again and again. It turns out that some things cannot be planned or rushed. They happen in their own time and only with hindsight will you understand why. It took over three years of trying for both of my children to be born and it turns out that God needed all that time just to make them. They are that special. They love to hear that, by the way 🙂