Thursday, January 01, 2009

Season of Miracles

It’s still not real. I mean, it can’t be. Right?

Early December found me exhausted. I was falling asleep everywhere.

I fell asleep at work. I fell behind on vital projects and was called on the carpet in my boss’ office with no excuse for myself. When she tried to figure out what was wrong, I said something very unkind and promptly burst into tears. She sent me back out with tissues, a pat on the back, and a confused look in her eyes.

I would get home in a daze and couldn’t seem to summon the strength to keep up with laundry and cleaning. Several nights I fell into a dead sleep as early as 6:30 p.m. and didn’t wake until the following morning.

I was convinced it was my new higher-dose, time-release blood pressure medicine. The bottle mentioned drowsiness was a condition of the meds. I went to see my doctor complaining about the exhaustion and my sudden aversion to foods. She said drowsiness she could attribute to the meds, but the food aversion didn’t connect with any conditions she could think of.

It has been two months or so since my last cycle, so I decided I would try to fill my nasty, period-inducing medication prescription and see if that would help me feel any more normal. The doctors have always recommended taking a pregnancy test before filling that particular prescription, just “in case.”

So I went to Wal-Mart and purchased my 200th pregnancy test and took it at 4:00 a.m. the next morning. Normally, I put the stick down and come back in the three minutes. This time, I just stood there tapping my foot and waiting.

To my absolute surprise, for the first time ever, I saw not one but TWO pink lines. I just stared. It couldn’t be, could it? I’d taken the test wrong (not many ways to screw that up, but still!) or I was the 0.01% that wasn’t accurate.

In a daze, I bundled the test in Ziploc bag and stuffed it in my purse.

At work, I called a trusted co-worker into my office and shut the door. “I’m going to show you something and I need you to tell me exactly what you see,” I said, furtively. I was afraid to believe my own eyes.

I flipped the bag dramatically out of my bag and shoved it towards her. She studied it just for a second before saying, “Two pink lines.” Her eyes drifted to the guide on the left, and she let loose with a whoop and a common three word expression that includes the Lord’s name.

I shushed her quickly and swore her to secrecy. She hugged me tightly and with tears shining in her eyes before retreating back to her desk.

In full-blown disbelief mode, I called my gynecologist and explained the positive test. “I don’t believe it,” I told the nurse.

Since my gynecologist and his two nurses are well aware of our long struggle, she didn’t even pause. “Come on in, and we’ll do a blood test,” she instructed.

So, on my lunch hour, I went to the clinic and got my blood test. Later, as I drove home over an icy bridge, my cell phone rang. It was the nurse. She told me congratulations and that I was definitely pregnant. I made her repeat it about ten times before I let her hang up.

The rest of the drive home was surreal. The nurse called back to set an appointment for a viability ultrasound. As soon as she said the word “viable,” I imagined all the things that could go wrong. I imagined an ectopic or tubal pregnancy or a blighted ovum or any number of pregnancy-positive-testing-gone-wrong scenario.

I began to pray as I have never prayed before. Besides my dear co-worker, I told my friends Alice and Carleen. They each rejoiced with me, promised to keep the secret, and gave me books on pregnancy. Carleen even helped me brainstorm ways to tell Brett.

A long time ago, in 2003, I thought I was pregnant. I went out and bought the whitest, softest, most life-like stuffed bunny I’d ever seen. After my test (and subsequent tests) turned up negative, I hung on to that rabbit with the promise that if God gave us a child, the bunny would be his or her first toy.

So, that night, I placed the bunny along with a bib that said, “I love Daddy” on Brett’s pillow. When he got home at 11:30 p.m. and ran up the stairs to talk to me, he found the treasures on his pillow.

“Are you pregnant?” He woke me up to ask.

“Yes,” I said nervously. “I know it’s bad timing financially.”

“Are you kidding me?” He climbed into bed with me and wrapped me in a giant bear hug. “This is the best news ever!”

It was the reaction I had been hoping for, and it took a huge burden off my shoulders.

On December 12, we went for the viability ultrasound. We had prayed before the appointment and were prepared to hear that the pregnancy was not viable. In fact, we were so prepared, that when the nurse told us she saw “it,” we both shouted, “Where is it?!”

She gave us a knowing smile and put her hand on mine. “It’s in the right place.”

Relief and a hundred joys flooded through me as I looked at that tiny little curve and listened to the hushed heartbeat on the screen. Brett smiled at me, and the endless thought stream through my head was thank you Jesus thank you.

For a long time, I’d dreamed about announcing my pregnancy at the Rehfeldt Christmas Eve party. But, since infertility, I thought my chances of getting pregnant were so slim, I’d cast aside that dream and would have been happy with ANY time!

Now, the Lord was not only giving us a baby, He was giving me my exact dream of telling Mom.

It just about killed both of us not to tell anyone. Well, Brett broke down and did tell our Pastor, and I told my friend Angie over our pre-Christmas movie night. But we resisted telling any family.

It was more than worth it on Christmas Eve when “Santa” handed Mom a package. She unwrapped it, gave a look of disbelief at the ultrasound photo, and searched the crowd for me. As soon as she had me in her sights, she looked at me questioningly, and I enthusiastically nodded my head. A moment later, she was yelling, “I’m going to be a grandma,” and running around with her hands in the air like a contestant on The Price is Right.

We pulled it off! The room erupted into pandemonium as family members, all familiar with our struggle, converged on us with hugs, laughs, and many tears of joy. It was a wonderful, memorable night that will live forever in my memory. Thanks be to the Lord for this very real, specific-to-me Christmas gift!
We told Brett’s dad the next day, Christmas, with a tiny red onesie that said, “Who needs Santa when I’ve got grandparents?” His family couldn’t have been more thrilled. His dad said he was hanging the onesie in his front window by way of proud announcement!

There are so many more details to this story, and I’m sure I’ll be boring you with them before long. I just wanted to post this unflowery update to all my friends who may not have heard through the grapevine – and by that I mean – my mother.

God has proven to me, once again, that this is His season of miracles!


Jennittia said...

The other night, I was on facebook and saw a couple of comments that seemed to imply something. So I got on your blog... nothing! So I went on your mom's and there it was!! Oh, Ann-Marie, I was soooooo overjoyed for you I was crying! I even made Paul sit down and read the post. Welcome to mommy land! Please tell us all the details of your journey, I can't wait to hear!

CANDICE said...

Me and Brielle are so happy! We can't wait to meet the little one! I have seen so much cute bunny stuff lately too! I haven't bought any of it yet! I'm so happy for you guys!

Laura Brown said...

I'm so happy for you, Ann-Marie. I know how long you've been hoping and praying for this. When is the little one due?

Ann-Marie said...

Laura - We won't know for sure until the January 8 ultrasound, but my OB estimates I'm around 10 weeks right now.

The Silsbee Family said...

Our journey to parenthood wasn't quite as long as yours has been, but many of the events you record here were very similar for us. I share your joy and sympathize with your delirium, drowsiness, disbelief, and all the rest. How very exciting and what a joyous blessing from the Lord! Lori :)

Colleen said...

I can't wait to be a not-aunt. how exciting

Valorie said...

Thanks for sharing your story. I was in tears while I read it! So, so happy for you!!!! And I am not bored at all hearing about it. ;o)

Alice said...

I've already told you of course, but congratulations!!! Still so thrilled that dream came true...

Bixby Bulletin said...

Wonderful story! So happy for you!

The Beard Bunch said...

I can't believe that you just left this post today, and I am comment #10! YEAH!!!!! Mom told me, of course, but I am so excited for you. It was good to hear your full version of the story. Love ya!

JenEbix said...

God is so good!!! So thrilled for you and can't wait to see you and hear all about it again!! :-)

MommaHarms said...

I have tears in my eyes. Praise the Lord for His unspeakable gifts! Rest assured that the overall exhaustion will go away.

Sun-Kissed Savages said...

I'm shaking, ohhhhh, such excitement!! Let me calm down and then I'll write again!!!!

Sun-Kissed Savages said...

Okay, I' m still barely able to type!! I know you are just my awesomest cyber-friend, but I am SOOOO happy for you and Brett, and will be praying daily for you and the baby! I sent this post on to Tob ...and my grandparents.I know they don't know you, but they will rejoice anyway, and they are prayer warriors.
Love you, Girl!!
This is fantastic!!
(And I can't wait for more details, name ideas, room decor, you name it... wooooo-hoooooo)

Anouk said...

So, so, so thrilled for you two! That is wonderful news. I love the way you told your husband and then your family. I can imagine you were shaking with anticipation that Christmas party night! I wouldn't have been able to eat! :) Praising the Lord with you!

a joyful nusiance said...

Ever since I read that 1st comment on facebook, my heart has been singing for you! I have thought about you at different times during my days, and I have such joy for you. CONGRATULATIONS!!! I will continue to pray for you!

And I want to help with a shower for you.

Heidi said...

Again, when I think about you, tears come to my eyes. Once again, I say that I am soooo excited for you.
I have been looking forward to this entry and was overjoyed to read those wonderful details over again.
I look forward to coming home and giving you a big hug.

SturgillMom said...

Oh, Ann-Marie! I am sitting here with tears in my eyes....God is SO good! We are so very excited for you guys and TOTALLY understand your worry. We promise to pray :)

Parke said...

Very happy for you folks, Ann-Marie! Thanks for sharing the good news with us.

Melody said...

I saw Brett's status and immediately started looking for more clues....I am so happy for you! I also was crying while reading your post! God is so good. I hope that the sickness doesn't last too long. I will be praying for you!

Juliet said...

I can't wait to hold my first grandchild! I'm still on cloud nine.

Deb said...

Finally! I have been waiting for you to post this wonderful, beautiful Christmas surprise. Yeah, like every day I'm checking your blog! I'm so happy for you and will definitely be praying for a healthy you and a healthy baby. LOL! :)