The day was cold and dry, much as any other winter’s day. The children were playing downstairs, but upstairs by emotions were churning as I realised that my cycle was due, but there were no signs of its arrival. I had a pack of pregnancy tests idling quietly in my bedside drawer, I dithered over whether to use one. I was startlingly aware of my increasing age and the likelihood that at 44 any pregnancy might end quickly, should I therefore even bother to find out? Should I wait a week and just see what happened? It would hurt less if I lost a baby before I even knew they were there. I wanted to protect my heart, but I also wanted to know, had God blessed us, even just for an hour or a day?
With trepidation I used the familiar test and then waited, not really believing that I would see even a hint of 2 pink lines. But there they were staring me in the face, filling me with an awareness of what could be ahead. A thousand thoughts raced through my mind, but mostly I was in denial. I struggled to believe the test was even working. So I took 2 more! After 3 positives I hesitantly crept into Phil’s office with my test hidden from view. Waiting quietly for him to finish his call I pondered over the news I had just received. We’ve been here nine times before, in our experience a positive test has led to breathtaking births, tempestuous toddlers and turbulent teens. Would Phil be delighted, or had we both moved on, a new home and a new chapter? I placed the test before his eyes and stood back examining his face for his first response. A grin spread widely across his face, he had no fears, ever the optimist, he beamed with the certain knowledge that God had chosen once again to bless us with an eternal gift.
I spent the next few weeks checking every time I used the bathroom, thinking the worst may well come. I’d swallowed the world’s negativity surrounding older motherhood and failed to remember the God who had given Elizabeth and Sarah babies when they were far older than me. After about 8 weeks I started to accept that one way or another I was going to give birth to this little one, maybe it would be imminent, or maybe I would be blessed beyond measure and carry this tiny gift to term. The fear of miscarriage hovered over my head, fearing haemorrhaging, as a friend had at 7 weeks, and knowing we now lived 40 minutes from the hospital. I had to find peace and that came through trusting the One who had placed this little baby in my womb, knowing exactly where we live and our circumstances. Slowly I started to embrace the joy of our blessing.
By 11 weeks my belly was beginning to swell and one of the children pointed out my increasing girth. This seemed the moment to pull together a family meeting to share the news. The following night we gathered the children around the table and I presented each child with an envelope containing a letter. Each child curiously opened their envelope and pulled out the contents laying them on the table, creating a random word ‘nbobtyean’. I encouraged them to rearrange them to create a word which would solve the mystery. They soon discovered the secret we had been keeping for so many weeks, as they saw they letters before them stating, ‘baby no. 10’. Their reactions were priceless. Each one of them was delighted but it was Christopher’s response which will stay strongest in my memory. My tough farmer boy, my eldest, the one who has heard this news more than any of our other children, didn’t respond with the nonchalance others may show, but with tears of joy. His reaction was so precious, his obvious delight and his joy when he exclaimed that he would be the eldest of ten siblings!
My cautious fears rose to the surface again as I became aware that if anything happened to this tiny child it wouldn’t just be my heart which would break, but my children’s too. Maybe my fears stem from the pain I felt when I lost Mum at 14, I don’t know, but I do have a tendency to wrap my heart in cotton wool to protect it from pain. I also never want to cause my children pain and yet, this wasn’t just my choice, this wasn’t just Phil’s and my will, this was a gift from God for all of us. I determined again to put my trust in God and to not focus on my fears.
Weeks passed and I started to feel tiny flutters. Along with my ever increasing size I began to grow in confidence. Without the reassurance of a scan I was evermore dependent on God to give me the peace that I needed.
We have chosen, with the last few pregnancies, not to have scans until nearer the end. Having met many women who were given doom-filled predictions about their baby during scans, who then went on to have healthy babies, I felt convicted to leave knowledge of this little one in the Lord’s hands, as He is the One who is, ‘knitting them together in the secret place’.
And so we wait…I grow…and I learn to trust. Today I am twenty weeks into this journey, a huge milestone to cross, halfway there. I’m finding joy in the little kicks and sharing those movements with our children. Do I still fear? Not often anymore, I am at peace, that is, until I look at Google! What have I learnt? God has reminded me that he is sovereign over all things, including the development of our baby, my health, the birth, the spacing of our children and the world we will bring them into. I could fear, but I choose faith and faith brings hope and in hope we find peace and joy.
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