Friday, July 20, 2012
If I could write a book about my life over the last year, I’d have to title it “Barefoot and Pregnant: a bed rest story”.  Though the title is somewhat tongue-in-cheek to match my distinct sense of humor, there is nothing funny about my story.  And for much of the last year, it has been really hard to be thankful.  And last year at this time, I wasn’t.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’ll start my story a year and a half ago as a bright-eyed Pollyanna and a newlywed.  My husband and I always wanted to have kids and planned to start building our family a year after our wedding.  So when the time came to start trying, we read the pregnancy books, researched all the cool baby gear, and prayed that we’d be blessed with a healthy little baby 9 months later.
But that isn’t what happened.

After about 4 months battling extreme morning sickness and fatigue, we lost our baby girl, Frances.  I was at my doctor appointment before my planned trip to visit my mother for her end-of-October birthday the day we discovered I’d miscarried.  My husband and I were devastated!  I took some time off of work, and we both cried a lot.  I was very angry at God for taking my sweet baby away from me.  So I was decidedly unthankful last Thanksgiving.

Two months later, I discovered God was giving us a second chance.  I was pregnant again!  My husband and I were cautiously excited.  We’d planned to try for another baby, but it happened so soon.  My body just wasn’t ready to support another life.  Two weeks after my positive test, the trouble began.  I was put on strict bed rest to prevent not only my baby’s death but my own as well.  As my first trimester came to an end, I was rushed to the hospital because I was starting labor due to a placental abruption.  My doctor told me I wouldn’t be pregnant in the morning.  But my son and I are fighters, and we survived.  In all, I spent 6 terrifying months lying in bed, including 6 long weeks in a hospital bed praying the baby would just “stay in one more day”.   I was angry at God for putting me through such a terrifying ordeal and angry at all the people who just didn’t understand what I was going through.

My beautiful son, Anthony was born 9 weeks premature, weighing just 3 lbs. 12 oz.  He spent 6 weeks in the NICU and came home on oxygen and an apnea monitor, but he was finally able to eat and breathe on his own by then.  At 4 months of age, he is now thriving and weighs more than 12 lbs!
While I still have a tough time dealing with the horrors of the last year, I’ve come to realize that gratitude is a process.  I am still angry at God a lot of days.  I feel like my babies and I are being punished, though I don’t know what for.  But in all that anger, I’m thankful, too.  As my confirmation students can tell you, I believe most bad things happen so we can appreciate the good.  So without much further ado, here is what I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving:

I am thankful for my husband who selflessly put his life on hold to care for me and our son. 

I am thankful for friends and family who shared stories of their own angel babies, too beautiful for earth. 

Who brought us pre-made dinners, cleaned our house, or even just came for an afternoon visit.  Who prayed every night or even just one time that we would get through our crisis and that everything will be ok.
I am thankful for doctors and nurses who took the time to ensure my needs were met, not just medical needs, but more personal needs as well, sharing stories about their lives, the doctor who brought his terrier in to visit me, and the nurse who searched the whole hospital to find me the Garden Salsa Sun Chips I was craving that day.

I am thankful for the women on my message boards, who shared their strengths and even their weaknesses and made the time a lot more bearable.

And most of all, I’m thankful for my son, Anthony.  Every morning, his bright smile gives me a reason to get through the day.  His cries remind me that someone needs me.  And his sleepy head on my shoulder tells me I’ve done my job of mothering well.

So I guess I am actually grateful to God, grateful because He put all these people in my life because He knew that I’d have to go through this and that I couldn’t get through it alone.


Precious and priceless so lovable too, the world’s sweetest littlest miracle is, a baby like you.

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