Since the earliest time that I can remember, I have wanted a large family. I know that lots of little girls dream of having babies, but for me, it was much more. I dreamed of having lots of children and having large family celebrations. If you ask someone who knew me as a child, they will tell you that I have loved babies and children since I was one myself:) It was my dream...and I believe a special calling that the Lord formed in my heart when I was a child. As a child, it seemed simple.
But, as an adult, the road to that dream has been a rocky one. I thought I would share here our experience because looking at the picture of six smiling children can be deceiving. It would be easy to deduce that having children has been easy for us...but you would be wrong...to some degree anyway.
In 2000, we were surprised by our first pregnancy while Peter was in law school, but quickly became very excited. After just a few weeks we lost that precious little one. Anyone who has gone through a miscarriage can tell you, that it is a truly difficult thing. You are in love with the baby as soon as you know that he/she is growing inside of you. Then to loose that baby is painful. In an instant, all of the dreams that you had for the future are changed. I wondered if we would ever have children. We decided to try for another baby. Month by month, we were disappointed all over again as we waited and prayed that God would bless us with another baby. Month by month, I tried to understand what really wasn't mine to understand. Month by month, I learned to trust God more with my dreams and to pursue His plan for my life...not mine. It really wasn't until I surrendered my plan and was willing to accept God's plan...even if it meant no children...that I began to live in peace and joy. I'm not sure that I could have learned that lesson so deeply any other way. Having to lay the dream, that was so deeply rooted in my heart, down on the altar as Jacob did his only son Issac was not easy. But, it was in letting go, that freedom truly came.
Looking at my family today you might think that I didn't need to worry, but, back then I had no children and couldn't see what my loving Heavenly Father had planned for me.
It took a year to conceive again after that first miscarriage. Nine months later we had our first baby, Nathan.
Knowing how long it had taken us to conceive, we decided to try again when Nathan was just nine months old. The first month, we were pregnant again. My heart rejoiced that I was being trusted with yet another little life...and Brennan joined his big (18 month old) brother in our little family. Thirteen months later we were surprised by a third pregnancy and nine months later, Abby entered our family. At this point I had three babies three and under and it was busy around our house.
We were pregnant again just twelve months later. Excited about our growing family and preparing to move into a new house, we were shocked when a routine checkup showed no heart beat. I was about 15 weeks along and we were heart broken at this second loss. I can remember sitting in the office staring at the ultrasound screen willing with everything in me to see a little heart beating. There was a perfect little baby...but no heartbeat. This may have been the most difficult loss for me personally. I had felt this baby move and seen the image on the ultrasound screen. But, we would not know the joy of raising this little one. Our children were still too young to really understand it all so there was little explanation needed.
We were soon blessed with another baby and Wesley joined our growing family. Two years later, Seth was born and twenty one months later Ransom made his appearance.
We were excited by another pregnancy just 12 months after Ransom but, once again, we lost this precious little one at 8 weeks. With this miscarriage, we had more explaining to do as the kids were old enough to ask questions. There really are few answers other than to trust our loving heavenly Father and guard our hearts from resentment. It was hard to watch the kids grieve but healing that we could talk together and praise God in the good times and in the midst of our grief.
We would love to be entrusted with more children and are hopeful that once again, we will know the joy of bringing a new little life into our family. But, we are also at peace knowing that we are resting in the arms of a loving Heavenly Father who knows what is best for our family. We will never forget the three little ones who are not with us, but we are at peace.
And, we are blessed!