Sunday, February 6, 2011

Choosing Grace

When I was pregnant with our third baby Adam and I tossed names around. The first two girls have, unintentionally, presidential names and we wondered if we should stick with the theme. If we changed it up would this child feel left out? If we had a girl I wanted to name her Joslyn. Adam's middle name is Joshua, mine is Lynn. It was a perfect combination. But we didn't have a middle name and we didn't have a boy name. We had time, we didn't even know what we were having.

And then when we found out the baby was no longer living we suddenly had to come up with a name. Two names because we still didn't know if the baby was a boy or a girl. My friend brought a baby name book to the hospital. As we sat there each long day and each long night we would pour through the hundreds of names trying to decide what we would name this baby. There was a sweet nurse who made the baby blankets and gowns. One set was pink and the other was blue. And the gowns were so tiny. Our other children were named names that we liked not for their meaning. This time we felt like the name should have meaning. We finally settled on names. If the baby had been a boy we would have named him Joshua Nehemiah. Joshua means God is my salvation and Nehemiah means compassion of Jehovah. And for a girl we picked Joslyn Grace. Joslyn means joy and Grace means graceful - full of grace.

After the baby was born that Friday we still didn't know if it was a boy or a girl. The nurses were afraid to check too closely, the umbilical cord was between the legs, for fear that they might disturb something and mess up the testing that the baby was to have done. When we held the baby we covered it in both the pink and blue blankets.

On Monday we had to go to the funeral home and make arrangements. We had to write up an obituary for the newspaper. We still didn't know if we had lost a son or a daughter. The funeral director wrote it up twice once as Joshua Nehemiah, son of Adam & Becky, and then he wrote it as Joslyn Grace, daughter of Adam & Becky ....

The geneticist called us that afternoon to let us know we had had a little girl. She was a very kind, very compassionate. She even got little footprints for us and held them until we could pick them up. Joslyn Grace. We were sure that we were seeing God's grace through the kind nurses, the doctors, friends, and our church. We knew, we said we knew, that God grace would see us through.

We had the funeral. I was not prepared for how small the casket would be. It took my breath away. I wanted to see her one more time but the funeral director would not let me. He said it would be too frightening. We had the funeral service open to friends and family and then we buried her. Just Adam, myself and the girls. We watched as they put that tiny little casket in the ground and threw dirt on top. I can still hear it. And Kennedy, just 3 years old, asking why they were putting dirt on the baby.

When we went in that Tuesday morning 3 1/2 years ago for the BIG ultrasound I felt like something was wrong. As the tech move the wand across my belly I could feel that she was afraid. She asked if I had been sick. No, not sick at all. It was my easiest pregnancy. While it had been a shock to be pregnant again just 9 months after giving birth to our second we were happy. I wasn't afraid. I was ready for another baby. I had some morning sickness but not as exaggerated as it had been before. With the girls and Haden, I had thrown up for 20+ weeks. With Joslyn the morning sickness subsided with the end of the first trimester. I was on track for weight gain, hadn't gained too quickly or lost too much. It was easy. I loved it. I loved being pregnant for the first time in 3 pregnancies. I had an ultrasound at 8 weeks - we saw the heart beat and the little bean. I had an ultrasound at 12 weeks. We saw a strong heartbeat and a perfect little profile. I had an ultrasound at 15 weeks and we saw a baby moving and turning and kicking inside me. Not long after that I felt her squirm. Not often, but I felt her and became familiar with her.

Whenever I've told others of how easy this pregnancy was, that I had not been nearly as sick, it almost always elicits sad eyes. Oh, well, that should have been a clue to me that something was wrong. I've wondered it myself. Why? Why did the easy pregnancy have to end? Why did the pregnancy that I most enjoyed stop so suddenly? I knew that not being sick had nothing to do with losing the baby. My hormone levels we good, the testing done on the baby showed that she was by all accounts perfect and that there was no reason as to why the pregnancy ended. So why? Why was it so easy?

I'm a little slow I suppose. Just the other day I was thinking about this. It had been so easy and then snatched away. But just the other day I saw Grace. God had allowed my pregnancy to be easy. He had allowed me to enjoy every second of it. It wasn't easy because something was wrong. It was easy so that my memories, all that I have of that sweet baby, would be good. I hadn't spent days and days on the couch from sickness. I got up every morning and enjoyed being pregnant. I enjoyed that little life inside me to the fullest. I am choosing to see God's grace.

I couldn't think of a better name. I believed we could see grace, I knew I had seen grace, and I am thankful that years later God is still showing me His grace.

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