We are expecting again.
We've just made it to the second trimester and are looking forward to the in-depth anatomy scan in late July that will both reveal gender and any possible major anatomical abnormalities.
We are due December 23 and in a lot of ways this pregnancy is a huge part of our year of restoration.
But assuming that everything goes well and we welcome a healthy baby around Christmas, this will not be the restoration of our family. We lost two babies who will never be replaced and our family will not be whole until we are reunited in heaven, assuming that all of the children we raise on earth make decisions to follow Jesus.
This is, however, a huge step in our restoration of our relationship with The Lord. In the midst of the intense fear of the first few weeks (the weeks in which we lost our two little ones in my last two pregnancies) we discovered that our hope in The Lord as a good God is now deep and true. I remember praying, "Lord, I know that you are capable to intervene on our behalf and protect this baby. And Lord I ask that you would, I ask that you would be moved with compassion on our behalf. But I will not stake my belief in you as a good God on your willingness to intervene for us."
Just days after we found out that we were expecting I had the opportunity to be a part of some prayer ministry at our church. Up to that point I felt like I had been able to hold in tension my very real fear of another miscarriage with my trust that The Lord is with me and his grace is enough for me no matter what happened. But it was taking all of my brain power to do that. When I left I felt like the weight of the intense fear had been lifted. There were no promises and I still have no promises of a healthy baby but I know without any doubt that The Lord is present with us in our joy and he has been with us in our sorrow.
I'm reaching that awkward stage of pregnancy where I'm showing enough to make people wonder if I'm pregnant but not enough that people will ask. And I've found myself hesitant to share our big news. I'm not bursting at the seams, excited and unaware of the ways that our pregnancy might yet go wrong or for the ways that other people around me are presently hurting--with the ache of their own loss or the pressing longing for their own children. I find myself wanting people to be excited for us but also wanting to explain to them that we are still scared and that we still miss the babies that we lost. . . but at the same time I don't think I need to share about our miscarriages with anyone who notices that I'm pregnant. So I find myself in a mental dilemma. For now when I tell people who are already aware of our miscarriages I just explain that we are excited and also nervous. It's getting more real as my belly grows. And to those who aren't necessarily aware I try to just accept their congratulations and let it rest there.
I also know that there may be people out there who see our situation, having two kids on the autism spectrum and wonder what the heck we must be thinking. And to a certain extent I would say that this is our decision and if there are any people who have a place to speak into our decisions to grow our family or not, the list of those people is very short. But more than that, I would say that my kids are amazing, full of joy, and they teach me so much every day. I wouldn't trade them for anything and I know that I will feel the same way about this new baby whether he/she is on the spectrum or not.
I think there have been a few people who have struggled to know how to respond to this news. Since this is my blog I'll just take the liberty of offering a few suggestions to anyone who might be unsure. Please avoid anything that attempts to diminish the hurt or pain of our losses. . . things like, "See it all worked out for the best," or "God knew you needed this particular baby," make us feel like we are wrong to mourn the death of those children. On the other hand, "Congratulations, we'll be praying for your family," is a perfect response. "We're so excited for you, we'll be praying for the health and for the Lord's presence and guidance for your family," is also a good one :)
We are so thankful for each of the people who read this blog, who ask us how we're doing, and who have walked alongside of us as we have mourned and as we rejoice. Thank you for being a part of our journey.