It is finally beginning to sink in… And I truly didn’t think that I would utter these words again, but:
I AM PREGNANT!
The due date has been set for May 19, 2016 and we could not be more shocked/excited.
Like with his big sister, it wasn’t some simple occurrence. The Lord has had his fingerprints all over this one yet again, and because of that, we would like to share the story with you.
This goes back to summer 2008. I had been studying at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel and, before returning home, a group of friends and I decided to take a quick trip to Cairo, Egypt.
While I did check a major item off my bucket list, I ended up coming home with more than a camera full of memories. Despite all my extreme measures of precaution, I ended up contracting an airborne parasite… and it literally changed my life.
The parasite led to advanced stages of c. difficile, and I almost dropped out of my senior year of college temporarily. I had false positives for colitis and the trauma to my colon had permanent consequences. Each year the list of food allergies continued to grow. I began to struggle with my weight, anxiety, sleep and fertility. It’s amazing how vital each part of your body is to the rest. I coped for years (adding even more to the weight struggle) and eventually a seminary friend introduced me to growing my own kefir, while in Dallas. This solution was a band-aid to a wound that wasn’t healing… but it was the first time I had experienced some sort of relief.
If you remember from a previous blog post (here), the fertility had the strongest emotional toll of all. With many dollars and tears spent, I was finally able to conceive my daughter and actually maintain the pregnancy. A miracle. My saving grace was that I knew God had called us to adoption. My void would eventually be filled in one capacity or another.
With that said, we were not sure if I would be able to conceive again.
And that was ok!
We are so fulfilled and thankful for our little bundle of energy. The joy she brings is so undeserved. My constant prayer has been that the Lord will help me become the mother that is needed to raise a daughter whose purpose is for the Kingdom and not of this world. For her to not be swept up in this self-centered culture, but to always have a heart of gratitude that she is -but a small piece- in the things that truly matter.
So fast forward to this summer (2015). I was recently led to yet another doctor in pursuit of finding a solution to my many health problems. This guy is a bit off the beaten path, but has somewhat of a reputation for being a magician in healing the mysterious. Long story short, it has been a NIGHT AND DAY difference. While I still have a few allergies, I am never sick after meals (a huge feat after being sick 3 times a day for 7 years!), my weight is under control, my thyroid is in check… and apparently my fertility is back in motion.
Separately, I had a check-up with my OB and she asked me about family planning. I told her that I wasn’t willing to go through fertility treatment again because I could not justify the costs. Jordan and I took Dave Ramsey’s, “Financial Peace” and have worked SO HARD at becoming debt free. [AND NOTE: NONE OF THE ADOPTION FUNDRAISING MONEY HAS GONE TOWARDS OUR DEBT. IT IS SET ASIDE IN OUR ADOPTION FUND!] All this to say, we could not willingly put ourselves back into that position. We have worked too hard to climb out of that same pit. My OB understood, but told me she could run a few cheap blood tests just to see if I was ovulating regularly. Ok, sure. I’m willing to see IF it’s truly that inexpensive. So to the lab I went.
In the meantime, Jordan and I had been learning a lot about surrendering. And it wasn’t just things like finances and plans— you know, the typical stuff you have to wrestle with when considering a life in ministry. It was more complex concepts like burdens, timelines and callings— the things you KNOW God called you to do and SPECIFICALLY placed on your heart, but for some reason wants you to wrestle with before He does anything about it. Ugh. That kind of stuff. While we covered many subjects, we discussed the trap of pursuing fertility and decided to drop it. Let me be clear, I think fertility is a FABULOUS route to take for many couples. It teaches the heart and spirit so much (as it did ours)! But Jordan and I are wrestling through different topics now. The hope of fertility would be a costly distraction. So despite what my results would be, our hearts were leaving the option of fertility treatment behind.
Results came in: Negative. I wasn’t ovulating.
A little hard to swallow, but so at peace.
We were going to have one biological child and two adopted.
Each holding the same value in our hearts.
Nothing could be sweeter.
I started my next cycle. And then I quickly stopped. I was feeling sick. There was a headache that I just couldn’t shake. And I had a “full” feeling that I recognized. Hmm. But how could this be? There’s no way.
So I took a test.
Were my eyes tricking me or was that a faint line? I sent out a text to a few of my girlfriends asking them if they saw a line too. The consensus was to call the doc. It was the morning of my daughter’s 18 month birthday and I had planned on doing some fun things with her, but everything was set aside for a quick lab to test for pregnancy. And around 2:00 pm, I got that phone call. “Brandin? I don’t know how this is possible, but you’re pregnant. DEFINITELY PREGNANT. And your numbers are better than they were with your first pregnancy. Healthy, on track… honey, congratulations! You’re going to be a mommy again!”
And like with Halle, I didn’t have much time to plan something special to tell Jordan. We had our big adoption fundraiser the next night and then we were leaving for Brazil just after. I had so many crafts to finish (in hopes of making extra money at the fundraiser)…. we had rehearsal with our band right after Jordan got home from work…. There were bags to pack and wedding gifts to wrap… and a toddler to chase. So, this is where my flesh comes in. Let’s be real. When you’re a sleep deprived- hormonal- maxed out in tasks mommy, sometimes you can be a little short. I’m a task-oriented person, and consequently my struggle is not letting my agenda take the front seat. Jordan is a super helpful husband, but my “honey-do” list turned more into a “DO-IT-NOW” order.
I needed to apologize. And here was my opportunity with a twist.
I would have preferred for this to be done over a nice dinner, perhaps involving a waiter bringing something to our table, but again… TIME LIMIT HERE. So an apology message in a bottle -at my parent’s house- with no excuse, but perhaps an explanation. A 5 week old one to be exact:
He thought I had been lying about not ovulating and that I suspected this all along.
(Hence the face!)
But I hadn’t. And in fact, while we were in Brazil celebrating his brother’s marriage, the bleeding had returned. Something was wrong. Once we returned home, I was rushed in for an emergency ultrasound. They found that I had a hemorrhage where the sac had attached to the uterine wall. The baby was ok, but my condition took me one step above “high risk” to “threatened miscarriage.”
Honestly, I was still having such a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that I was pregnant in the first place, and we had just been SO busy, that I just wasn’t able to get emotional about it. I don’t know if it was more out of self-preservation or because I had already handed over fertility stuff to the Lord, but either way, we were emotionally protected during these months.
I had to go in many times for details that I will spare. But basically we were convinced that I had miscarried on a weekly basis. Talk about mind and heart games. Usually hemorrhages are gone by 12 weeks, but mine went well into my second trimester. In fact, it wasn’t until 18 weeks that they confirmed that it had finally gone.
BUUUT because of my frequent scans, we found out at 13 weeks that there was 98% chance for a boy! And at 18 weeks they confirmed: A son. We were having A SON!!! We are overjoyed! ONE OF EACH!? God is gracious beyond our understanding.
As for the name. Ahhhhh…
Let’s just say that when you struggle with fertility, you get plenty of time to dream. Names, reveals, nursery themes… they’re all there. Over the years my once unique names either became super popular or taken 🙁 . So this time we decided that we would just go with names that we have always loved, despite their popularity, and focus on their meaning.
We have decided to name our little guy:
Owen means “Warrior”
Elias means “Yahweh is my God“ (Greek word for Elijah). Elijah, an Old Testament prophet, appeared in the New Testament during the Trasfiguration. We see the name translation into “Elias” because the New Testament is written in the Greek language.
So his name will literally mean “Warrior for Yahweh.”
And this is our desire. As this world grows darker, as members of the Church deflect and succumb to social, worldly pressures, as literal Bible interpretation becomes an ancient art, we want to raise our son to be a WARRIOR for the ONE TRUE GOD OF ISRAEL.
We will raise him with intentionality. We will have a continually open and honest conversation about world events. We will teach him how to view difficult concepts with a theological mindset. And we will do our best to instill a spirit of hope in the Kingdom to come. Our goal is to encourage him not to be timid, but to “act justly, love mercy and to walk humbly with our God.”
Our verse for Owen is from Psalm 89:19,
Once you spoke in a vision,
to your faithful people you said:
“I have bestowed strength on a warrior;
I have raised up a young man from among the people.”
Thus far, to the best of his capacity, our little Owen has already proven himself to be quite the warrior. From fighting his way into existence, to survival of a traumatic trimester, to even a few things we are going to have to monitor from our anatomy scan (nothing too alarming!), this guy is tough!
We love him deeply and ask for your prayers as we go in for future scans and screenings (all of that saved for another post). For now, we celebrate Owen Elias! Jordan, in typical fashion, has already made everything so special. I’ll post pics of this soon!