Lately I’ve been looking through old pictures and was reminded of a crazy time in my life, when I found out I was pregnant with my sweet Annabelle Lee. So my post today is dedicated to how thankful I am for the biggest and best surprise I’ve ever had!
Eleven years ago I was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycycstic Ovarian Syndrome) a fairly newer diagnosis and in its very early stages of being understood. After the doctor explained to me what it was she told me I would never have children. At 19 years old, not even having met my husband yet this was devastating news. When I was a little girl and the teacher went around the room asking what we wanted to be when we grew up I proudly said, “I want to be a mommy!” This doctor shattered one of my deepest desires for my life. I remember crying and mourning the loss of this dream. Later that year I met my future husband and the next year we began dating and were engaged. The whole “I will never be able to carry our children” talk was very emotional and hard. We discussed adoption in pre-marital counseling, coming up with a plan of being married for 4 years and then beginning the adoption process. regardless of how severe my PCOS was and what the doctors said I prayed daily for the first three years of our marriage for a miracle. We never used birth control of any type and every late period (which is very common in PCOS patients) I took a test only to see a negative result.
I took comfort in Hannah’s story from 1 Samuel, a woman who knew the pain of a barren womb and yet still trusted God with her heart’s desires. I remember some days having to read and reread her story several times to calm my aching heart. She had it much worse with another wife giving her husband many children and throwing it in her face, if she could be strong in her faith then so could I. Eric and I struggled with giving up our plans and learning to go with God’s plans for us. After three and a half years we had given up on having our own child and I began researching adoption agencies. We decided there must be a special child/children out there God wants us to love and parent.
At this point in our lives Eric was ministering at a church in Virginia, and I had a new doctor for my PCOS. I went to see her because I have to be checked every 6 months, and she asked the normal new patient questions like, “is there any chance you are pregnant?” Well this day I was pretty emotional after having a negative test earlier in the week and I started crying when I said no. She was a really sweet woman and talked with me about my PCOS and how there was a new treatment being tried somewhat successfully with PCOS women to help control it and get pregnant. It was a diabetes medication and said she felt pretty confident it would help if not get me pregnant. I was so excited and willing to try anything that would give us our own child. So I went through the rough few weeks of my body getting used to the new medication with only one thought, “any pain or discomfort is worth a baby”.
After 6 weeks of the new medicine I was late but didn’t think much of it after 3 years of unusual periods. Eric came home really late on a Saturday night after a youth group kids school ball game and brought home Taco Bell since he missed dinner. I was excited to see him but one whiff of his taco meal and I ran upstairs about to throw up. Never in my life can I remember not being sick and smelling a food and feeling nauseated by it. I blew it off to Eric not wanting to get his hopes up and told him I was probably just catching a bug. That night I could barely sleep and was up really early before Eric (on a Sunday morning this is a big deal) and went to the bathroom to take what felt like my hundredth pregnancy test. I didn’t expect it to be positive but prayed for the whole 5 min I had to wait for results. I prayed that my heart would accept it without too much pain if it was negative again, I also prayed for a miracle that I would be carrying our child. I checked the test and it was positive! I ran into our bedroom screaming “we are pregnant!” and kissing Eric. He woke up confused and in disbelief. He looked at the test like it was in chinese and keep asking, “Are you sure this is right? Did you read the directions? Do you have another test?” It was plenty early in the morning before church so he made a trip to the local drug store and came home with several brands of tests that I took and every one said positive! He keep reading and comparing the tests to the instructions over and over. Finally he believed it and we were so happy and excited it was very hard to contain it at church (we didn’t want to broadcast it until we had seen a dr. because of my PCOS). After church we drove to a nice restaurant and celebrated just the two of us.
Once I’d seen the dr and had a blood test and a urine test, I had taken exactly 11 pregnancy tests in a weeks time! Yeah, yeah go on and laugh at us… we needed the assurance after years of trying. I praised God constantly, I didn’t forget that part of Hannah’s story. While growing up my parents taught me to thank God for answering my prayers twice as long and hard as I prayed for it. So needless to say she is only 4 1/2 and I’m still thanking him daily for her.
When I got pregnant with her I was working at a private preschool and about 3 months into my pregnancy I had some spotting. Being a high-risk pregnancy I took it very seriously and saw my doctor immediately. She confirmed that my baby was ok but started asking questions trying to find the source of the bleeding, like have you fallen lately? are you stressed? what does your daily life entail? When I told her I was working with preschoolers all day, up and down and picking them up, she immediately told me that due to the high risk nature of my pregnancy and bleeding I needed to seriously consider quitting my job if I wanted the best chance of a healthy pregnancy and baby. It was a no-brainer for us, I quit the next day. I had really great administrators of the school I worked at and they were very supportive of me and my decision. I ended up having a very good pregnancy aside from some minor increase in heart problems from my already elongated mitrovalve prolapse.
Katie must have loved it in there because she was a week late and no signs of coming out when the doctor decided to induce labor. I went into the hospital at 10 pm and went through a great labor all night and the next morning. After receiving my epidural my heart and hers started slowing and my blood pressure dropped dramatically. I’m told this by my mother and husband because I don’t remember, I passed out (in active labor) which felt like I was just going to sleep. I woke up when they took the epidural away and I went through the last three hours of labor naturally. It was fine and not as painful as I thought it would be without medication and I had a gorgeous baby girl. I would have done it 20 more times to have her. This was the beautiful life I prayed for, for years! I love Katherine Elizabeth more than words can accurately express. Eric has been wrapped around her cute fingers since the moment he saw her. She is our miracle.
She has grown so fast and I’ve loved every minute of being her momma. She has brought us laughter, joy, tears, love and hope. Since Katie, we have had another daughter, Annabelle Lee and a son, Noah Thomas. We are finished having our own children due to some major medical issues with my last pregnancy, but haven’t totally ruled out adoption. God put that on our hearts early on for a reason and if he leads us to it we will follow him faithfully. If not, we are more than satisfied with our sweet family of 5.
I’m thankful this Thursday for Katie’s life. Today she is beautiful and loves everything pink and girly. Always wants her “outfits” to match, needs accessories, nails done and wants to wear a tutu 24/7. She loves art (like her momma), animals (especially horses), her sister (they think they are twins), playing piano, cooking with momma, her best friend/next door neighbor Parker, pretending, tea parties, dancing and singing bible songs. She is smart, silly, sweet-hearted, has a loving spirit, mommy’s her baby brother, loves God and wants to be a mommy when she grows up. I can’t express how proud I am to be her mother, I’m crying just typing about this beautiful life God allowed me to be part of creating. I am immensly blessed by her life.
Today for my thankful post I want to talk about how grateful I am for my husband, Eric. We have been together for 10 years this month, married for 8 years this June, have moved 8 times, lived in 4 states, have 3 beautiful children, and I love him very much.
God has blessed me greatly through him. We have grown together, learned from each other, we compliment each others strengths and weaknesses, we make each other laugh, and we love to work side by side in ministry.
I’m not saying everyday is perfect or either one of us are perfect, by far that is not true. But, instead we have grown in the acceptance and forgiveness of each others faults. Learning unconditional love for another person who will undoubtedly let you down or hurt you has been one of our greatest gifts of marriage. Eric loves me at my best and when I am at my worst, not many people honestly love me unconditionally like that and its something I treasure. When I’m tired and grouchy (pretty much every morning) he loves me. When I’m sick and throwing up, he loves me. When I’m having a down right ugly cry over something, he loves me. When I get mad over crazy stuff, he still loves me. When I am pulling my hair out over the kids, dinner is late, and the house is a mess when he gets home after work and I just kiss him and lock myself in a room for 45 min, he still loves me!
Eric is a man who loves God and does his best to lead me and my kids closer to him. Eric is a man who knows cars, its pretty nice having a mechanic for a hubby. Eric plays just about any instrument he picks up, he is an amazing musician and his guitar playing wooed me :). Eric has crazy pancake making skills! Eric encourages me even when I feel like a total failure. Eric inspires me to be better tomorrow than I am today as I’ve watched him embrace that concept especially over the last year. Eric loves kids, especially ours just seeing how my daughters can bat an eyelash and he will do just about anything they ask. Eric is a morning person, this alone baffles, amazes and makes me happy since he enjoys getting up for breakfast with the kids while I cherish the little bit of extra sleep before he leaves. Eric builds things and fixes things. Eric is my best friend and my love.
We’ve been through hard times, but wow was it worth all the good we have together. I’m proud to be his wife. I’m thankful God brought us together, and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life by his side.
Today I just wanted to post a simple blog of gratitude. Sometimes I let myself become overwhelmed by life, children, cleaning, cooking, activities, youth group stuff, Bible Bowl coaching, crafting, etc. I forget to stop and be thankful for all the blessings that surround me. So I decided to start taking Thursdays as often as I can to post a quick blog about something I am grateful for. I have many blessings in my life, but I’m going to attempt to stick to one specific blessing per post.
Today, I stopped to think about what I’m most thankful for in my life right now. It came to me over and over, I’m blessed with so many great women of faith around me and supporting me. At all times in my life as I’ve grown and matured in my faith and life I’ve encountered women God had placed in my life as amazing examples and encouragers. Growing up I had my own Mother, teachers, youth leaders, Bible Bowl coaches, Aunts, and of course my best friend in all the world my Grandmother. As I moved on to college and a new environment I gained a “second mom” who cared for me just as much as if I were her own, and wonderful professor’s wives who guided and encouraged me. Once I’d left college and entered the ministry with my husband I gained more women friends and motherly figures which I needed desperately since the ministry rarely affords a family to live near extended family.
Every time of my life I look back on God has brought strong, loving and most importantly Godly women into my life. They have all loved me, encouraged me, guided me, supported me, prayed with me, cried with me, laughed with me, and pulled me through when times get tough. I can’t possibly thank God enough for bringing me these women to help guide me. I’m tearing up just thinking about how much I’ve needed them and they were there for me. I’m blessed beyond what I deserve. Titus 2:3-5 in action. I hope some of these women read this, if so thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your love has done more for my life than you could ever know!