“For this child, I have prayed.” 1 Samuel 1:27
Every new baby arrives with a story.
For us, our baby story began… and ended…. and began… and ended… and began… and ended. By the time we wandered into an ultrasound visit one December, I had grown to expect the crashing thud and heartache of the coming words, “I’m sorry.” The first loss had caught us totally off guard. We had been in the thick of the high of a first pregnancy that had come easily. We’d allowed all the joy in, talked of names, imagined life with this coming bundle, and loved so fully. And then, this loss that seemed impossible. With each coming pregnancy we became more protective, most hesitant to allow the heart to fully attach (even though there’s really no stopping that ocean tide). And with each loss the same lonely grief, the same heartbreak, but the shock of it was gone.
So that December day, when the ultrasound tech seemed extra quiet, I was “prepared” for the news that seemed inevitable. The surprise and joy that blanketed us in realizing that she was not communicating yet another loss, but rather TWO strong heartbeats, still feels tangible.
The quote on this board is from 1 Samuel 1:27. “For this child, I have prayed.” I think so many can feel those words resonate in their soul as they think about their baby’s story.
We prayed so heavily for the safe keeping of those twin babies.
At 26 weeks I went into pre-term labor. I was rushed to the hospital, and we were met with NICU staff preparing to deliver and layering us with grim statistics about what that would likely mean for the babies. Through the course of that night, the doctors were able to medically control the contractions. For the next few weeks, we stayed in the hospital with constant monitoring and communication that each day longer is a gift, but that they expected the medical ability to off-set the pre-term labor would not last.
Eventually I was released to strict bedrest at home. With the exception of 2-3 doctor visits each week, I did not leave my bed. Mike had already rocketed to the most an amazing dad. Each day before he left to hit his grad school, he prepared a cooler of food and water, and left it at my bedside. Both our lives had become consumed with the care and preservation of these tiny growing babies.
Prayer for the babies, seemed to be ever present. Every thought was in some way connected to praying that we would get to know and actually hold these babies. There were low moments too, many in truth, when the stress and fear of possibly losing them took over, and that inner prayerful voice was lost and silent. We bore the scars of the other losses, and the fragility of it all was ever present. We were fortunate though that we had a strong community behind us. Peace of heart would filter in when I remembered just how many other people were also praying for these babies, that even when my voice became silent, other loving voices filled in.
To the surprise of our doctors, we made it to 38 weeks! Two healthy babies were delivered, and finally in our arms. So many prayers of thanksgiving.
Like many, I look to creative outlets in the processing of emotion. This wooden board was inspired by our journey of loss and prayer in the creation of our family. When thinking about design for this project, I choose a product that creates a gray washed stain and promises “instant weathering” to the wood. When I saw it, I knew immediately I would use it for this project. “Weathering” seemed like just the right description of a walk toward and through parenthood, worn but so much richer for it. The arrows on this board represent the journey, and the small flower is a forget-me-not blossom which has come to symbolize the losses. Maybe your journey was smooth and beautiful like the first arrow, or broken with loss like the second, or full of ups and downs, twists and turns like the last. But regardless of our individual journeys, “For this child, I have prayed,” binds us.