It’s funny how things turn out.
As in, when things turn out pretty much exactly NOT the way you anticipated.
For example, when we got married in July, my sweet husband was starting work less than a week later, so we didn’t go on a big honeymoon trip. We planned to go a few months later when he got a long school break.
We planned our big 5-day-getaway to Colorado, to see mountains and feel cold and take hikes and cuddle up in a little cabin far from civilization and…you know, be honeymoon-y.
Well, we did see mountains. We did feel cold. And there was one night in the cabin, so that much went as planned.
However, instead of hiking, we took a trip to the ER (yep, the Emergency Room kind of ER) in an ambulance (okay, I was in the ambulance, Alex had to drive our car) and another trip to a health center and spent a lot more time on the phone with our precious families than anyone on a honeymoon would ever expect to.
So, our honeymoon didn’t exactly go the way we planned.
To explain why, I have to let you know there’s something else that won’t be going as planned:
the blog post where I officially tell all of you that my amazing husband and I are parents.
Baby Hanson was supposed to get an uber-cutesie blog post with pictures of Mommy & Daddy (me and Alex) doing cute baby-announcement things (I had only vague ideas about this, I’m not really sure what kind of pictures, that just seemd right) and all my siblings would be so relieved because they could FINALLY TALK ABOUT IT ON FACEBOOK and, and, and…and you get the idea.
Now, before we go further, I want to let you know: our sweet baby is still okay. Baby Hanson, or Peanut, as we affectionately refer to our tiniest family member, is okay. We had a real scare, and maybe there will be more. However, of the many things I have discovered about myself and my husband during the past week, it’s that no matter how long we have our sweet baby with us, we are determined that we will do our best to love him or her more every day.
We’d also like to humbly invite all of you to do the same.
Actually, I want to beg you: please love our baby.
See, I have thought about this long and hard. We told our families right away as soon as we were pregnant, and we told them pretty quickly that they could spread the word as much as they wanted. I know many people wait to announce their pregnancies, and I do understand all the reasons they decide that will be what works best for them. What Alex and I decided to do isn’t meant as a judgement or commmentary on what any other new parents decide to do.
However, I would like to explain why we decided not to wait to let people know about Peanut before the big 12-week-mark.
It’s pretty simple, really: the thing I talked about more than any other when I was doing pro-life work was that what we needed was love. We needed to love people. Loving people is the only way to make any kind of mark or difference or offer any kind of help. How many times did I tell people, “Even if a mom chooses not to love her baby, or to accept our love for her, WE can love her and we can love her baby. Even if a baby dies, you will have offered that baby love.”
I can’t do any less for my own baby.
No matter what happens to my baby – whether my baby lives 12 weeks, or 24 weeks, or 24 months, or 24 years, or 100 years…my baby deserves to be loved.
That’s actually why my baby exists: to be loved. And to love.
Or, as the Baltimore Catechism phrases it: “To know, love, and serve God in this life, and be happy with Him in the next.”
We hope with all our hearts that our baby will live long enough for us to have the greatest joy of our lives: teaching this sweet new soul to know, love, and serve God. And I trust that regardless of how many weeks or days or months or years we get a chance to do that first part, God will take care of the second part. I trust God has an eternal plan for our baby, and I trust that eternal plan is Love.
So, we will love our baby.
And, since you know about our baby now, you can love our baby too. I know that may be a lot to ask, because maybe something will happen, and if it does, that love will hurt. I think, in the end though, it will have hurt more not to love.
Thinking for a few hours that our baby was dying, amazingly, through God’s mercy, made us love our baby more.
It’s hard not to be afraid.
It is so hard.
But, I think, there will always be something to be afraid of – maybe we’ll have a miscarriage. Maybe we’ll have a stillbirth. Maybe we’ll have an illness or a car accident or a cancer or, or, or, or…
Or maybe not.
It’s a lot of maybes, and it makes my head spin and my heart ache sometimes. But, “perfect love casts out fear.” And I don’t want our tiny person inside of me surrounded by fear. I want our baby surrounded by love. Love, and prayers. That’s why we’re letting everybody know about our sweet little Hanson. We need your prayers. We need your love.
So, I am more than grateful.
I am grateful for the man, Aaron, who came running at that gas station in Colorado Springs to call 911 for us, who stayed there with us and told us he knew our pain and our fear, that his wife had miscarried and his heart was with us. I am grateful that man was not afraid to open his heart. I am grateful that Aaron was ready to offer love.
I am grateful for my precious midwife, Joi, who dropped everything to come to the phone and talk with me while I waited for help. I am grateful she told me everything that might happen in the ambulance and ER, so that I would know what to expect, because doctors and hospitals scare me. They always have. Joi offered me calm. Joi reminded me to breathe. Joi prayed over me and asked God that every person who met us that day would offer us compassion. And you know what? They did. I am grateful that Joi has the kind of heart that treats each mommy and baby she takes care of as if they are the only mommy and baby she has to take care of. I am so grateful she is not afraid to reach out to me, I am so grateful that when I talk to her or see her that she is so generous with her love.
I am grateful for the firetruck paramedic, Lisa, who came and knelt by me while we waited for the amblance, who was gentle and did her best to console me, who offered to ride in the ambulance with me because the EMS paramedics were both guys and she somehow read my mind that I didn’t want to ride with just guys, because I was worried about that right then. I am grateful she held my hand and was not afraid to be present to one more stranger she was helping that day. I am grateful that Lisa was ready to offer love.
I am grateful for the doctor in the ER who was actually completely kind and not at all arrogant or stand-offish or condescending like I am ALWAYS terrified a doctor will be. I am grateful he did an ultrasound and turned the screen so we could see our baby’s little arms and legs swimming around, bouncing and jumping like I used to see other people’s babies doing, though our baby is the prettiest. And I am grateful that doctor took the time to tell us what he thought might be happening, explaining everything really clearly. I am grateful he told us about his wife, and how the same thing happened to her three times, and all three of their children were born safely. I am grateful when he talked about our baby he SAID “baby,” and not “fetus” or “viable pregnancy” or something else cold or detached. I am grateful he didn’t rush, I am grateful that he was ready to share about the people he loved.
I am grateful for Emily, our ER nurse. I am grateful for the warm blankets, and the gentle words, and for the way she celebrated when we found out our baby was doing okay. I am grateful she was not afraid to come close, I am grateful she was generous enough to offer our baby love.
I’m grateful for our families, who held us up in prayers and gentle words and loving counsel and offers of help. I am grateful they have not been afraid to love our baby. I am grateful that when our baby’s life was threatened, they immediately loved our baby more.
I am grateful for my sweet, precious, perfect husband. I cannot even say how much. I am not a cryer, but when I think over everything he has done this past week, I cannot stop weeping. There is not one night I have not lay awake thinking how grateful I am. There is not one thing he could have done more perfectly. There is no one who could have loved me better. I am grateful he has not been afraid: of my weakness, my pain, my fear, my tears…I am more than grateful that he conquers every one of my prickly thorns and terror-built walls and wins my heart again and again…I am beyond grateful that he is so brave and steadfast and that he LOVES.
I am grateful that for a while, I will be able to carry around the sweet child of this precious man. I am grateful that he makes me strong enough to surround our baby with love. I am grateful our baby’s life is filled with listening to the sound of his voice saying how very, very much he loves that baby. I am grateful our baby is still here.
I am grateful, grateful, grateful.
And I think that must be because of love.