Monday, November 23, 2015

For This Child I Prayed.

It has been four years since we celebrated the best Thanksgiving of my life. At the time, I didn't know it would be the best Thanksgiving of my life. At the time, all I knew was hope, and a little fear, that what we'd prayed for would finally occur.

Now I know that it would be the last Thanksgiving my father would spend with his brother and sister and their families. Now I know it would be the last trip my brother would take with our Dad. Now I know the house my in-laws had, at the time, just purchased, a house in which we'd celebrate subsequent Thanksgivings.

But in that week, all I knew was hope. All I knew was living moment-by-moment. All I knew was prayer that at least one of the eight lives living in a lab in Rockville, Maryland would continue to grow.

That Thanksgiving week, as my brother and father spent time four states away and my mother-in-law was another four states away (in a different direction), we all waited for the daily call telling us how many lives were left, whether they'd grown. I remember trying to distract myself by shopping, getting the call that there were eight embryos - more than I'd ever had before. I remember screaming out "EIGHT, Mama, EIGHT!" in the middle of that store, both of us sobbing with joy and hugging while people hurried along around us. I remember calling my husband, sharing the news, believing together that maybe this time God would say yes to the thousands of prayers.

I remember my husband driving me to the embryo transfer, knowing that several of my babies had died, not knowing how many lives would be left to welcome into my womb. I remember the news that three babies had lived. I remember them handing us the photo of those three little lives. I remember the embryologist coming out with the syringe containing my three babies, holding my husband's hand as they transferred those babies into me, then checking to find that one had been "sticky" and was still in the tubing. I remember waiting for that sticky embryo to be brought back and transferred to me. I remember joking that this was the one - the one that would be stubborn enough to stay with Mama.

I remember gently walking to the car, knowing that nothing was going to "fall out", but still not wanting to disturb those lives nestling into my womb. I remember reclining in the seat all the way home, looking at the photo of the three embryos, talking to my husband about the possibilities ahead. And then I remember going to bed and staying still, praying for those lives inside of me, mourning the other lives lost.

I remember Thanksgiving day, a meal my Mama cooked, a meal shared with my father-in-law who had to be away from my mother-in-law while he finished up his job locally. I remember gently leaving bed only for the meal and then rushing back to make sure those babies had every opportunity to attach and grow. And I remember the prayers we offered that week in thanksgiving for life and family and provision and love.

I remember the wait, the pain of not knowing whether life had taken root. And I remember the call that told me God had said yes. I remember the tears of joy as I called my husband and my Mom and Dad and brother and in-laws to share the news we'd all hoped for: there was finally at least one baby growing inside of me. There was life.

So as we enter into this season of Thanksgiving, I'll continue to remember how that one Thanksgiving changed my life. I'll remember how my family and friends rallied around me, praying from many states away that God would answer our prayers in the affirmative. I'll remember the beginnings of that year. And I'll forever be thankful for the provision of life that was rooted in that week. From that week on, Thanksgiving has never again been the same.

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