It began with a pregnancy test. After multiple negative tests in the past, my wife didn’t want to see another. “You tell me,” she said.
I watched as the test worked, looking up in realization towards the heavens. “Not my will, but thy will.”
Then I showed her the positive test. Five tests later, we still had trouble believing it.
The Worst Kept Secret
In the past we told everyone, and lost the baby. Not wanting to go through that again, we kept the circle small. Well…tried to. My wife’s dream came true and she couldn’t resist. Both our Pastor and I tried to rein her in.
After church we ate at a local restaurant, enjoying a date together. To our surprise, a waitress grabbed our ticket. Looking down at the total, her eyes met ours as she slid it into her apron. “It’s on me.”
I looked at my wife, “God’s telling us it’ll be okay.”
The next day, we made our first appointment with her OBGYN. After a brief struggle to make sure an ASL interpreter was present, it was done. We just had to wait for her new doctor to come back from maternity leave. The idle time led to her stressing about this and that.
“At this stage, it’s out of the doctor’s and our hands.” I tried to assure her.
Then the symptoms arrived. Morning sickness. Heightened sense of smell. The mood swings. While she ‘enjoyed’ that, I cracked open my Life Application Bible and started taking notes on parenting.
My sister, one of my confidants, was giving us pro-tips like buying clothes one size bigger so they last. Cheapskates unite. I was going to remember that one for sure.
I wondered which part of our personalities the kid would have. Reserved like me, or, outgoing like mom? Maybe a combination of my brain and her heart. That would be awesome.
Then she began spotting. I repeated what the nurse said over the phone, ‘pain alone, cramps alone, okay; together is bad.’ It soon stopped. Brow furrowed, she asked me to call the doctor.
They slid us in the next day to see a different doctor. Then we prayed. This kid was bathed in prayer.
The next morning, she asked if we should do another test. I tapped her on the head with an envelope, smiling, “We’ve done five already, you goof.”
Unsurprisingly, she passed the test they gave her before the ultrasound. In the darkness of the room with our interpreter, M, and lab tech, I noticed the black spot on the screen with the little speck in the middle.
My eyes moistened, that’s my kid on the screen. She started to cry when she realized what she was looking at. It became real.
The picture in hand, we went to talk to the doctor.
He told us the baby is small, and the heartbeat was 57 bpm, where it should’ve been over 100. But, it’s alive. This is typically called a threatened miscarriage, and, “I’ve seen it presented in a patient before, and the next week everything was normal.”
He peered at his collage of babies he delivered, looking for that particular one. We scheduled to return the next week to check up on it.
Walking out to the car, I text the picture of the ultrasound to my sister. She immediately dubbed it “Squiggles”. Because “it looks like a squiggle.”
Better than saying ‘it’ all the time. “Squiggles” quickly grew on us. While driving home, I bounced between praying and worshiping. It was all I could think of to do.
At work I did some research on heart rates. You know that saying, “ignorance is bliss”?
We needed a miracle.
My mind raced. Squiggles is an answer to prayer, surely this won’t end in a miscarriage? Could this be a miracle of an infertile woman getting pregnant and according to my research, having a baby that has no chance, yet lives?!
I was holding onto that thought.
I could identify with the man who asked Jesus if he could save his demon-possessed son (Mark 9:14-29).
“Can you save Squiggles?! I believe! Help me in my unbelief!”
I wanted to throw a pity party. Instead, I stopped myself. It’s not over yet. The baby was alive, and by my estimation, the size of my thumbnail at the most.
Let The Fight Begin
The next day I skipped my kettlebell training. Going on a fast, I spent the day praying for Squiggles. Then to remind myself the power and control of God, I listened to Job 38-42.
Afterwards, I felt a deep sense of peace. The peace that surpasses all understanding. I knew the odds, I had also seen miracles.
I confessed to one of my friends and prayer warriors in this that I felt the peace. It was peace enough that I could lead GriefShare without distraction that day. When we left, my wife and I filled in our pastor on the nickname and the name sign.
The sign for worm across the belly. Take your index finger, and make a motion like an inchworm moving across a stick. Squiggles’ name sign. She loved it.
The Circle of Confidants Grows
Sunday brought a strange man yelling at the church from the street corner. An interesting mystery to distract me. I was trying to piece together what four cornered haircuts, tassels on pants, and covered heads had to do with the church.
When it came time to pray for whatever need you had with a prayer pastor, I went up. Casey did the night before. I simply asked for “Squiggles and no stress.”
After church, we went to visit her grandmother. The atmosphere was thick with tension, enough to cut with a knife. Our conversation was awkward. Casey was about to burst with the news and I weighed whether to spill the beans and spoil the surprise.
The thing is, Nana’s no fool, she had it figured out. We swore her to secrecy. Our plan was to surprise everyone at Christmas.
Chuckling to myself, “this is the worst kept secret.” Only Facebook and our parents were out of the loop.
The chuckle faded when my uncle text me. A friend of our’s just died hours earlier. Nekidgoat, partner on the first book, Howls From The Wolfpack. From that, he published many other books, a poet and friend.
He was the second partner I lost this year. Randal had died earlier in the year, also an editor for Howls. A week before him it was my buddy Michael who died in an accident. Three was enough this year.
Oh The Plans I Have For You
On the ride home I thought of that and the child my wife was carrying. Making plans for the child my wife was carrying. I didn’t care if Squiggles was a boy or girl, I was going to teach them the same things.
Things like Jeet Kune Do, conflict communications, de-escalation, how to read situations, and not be a target for bullies–like dad was. How to help others, be generous, and serve. Be an example to them.
I thought of the Old Testament prophets who looked ahead to see things unseen. All the evidence they had of Jesus’ day was the steady accumulation of prophecies. It’s how I felt with Squiggles.
The evidence told me the baby is alive. Trusting in that evidence–faith–enables me to look ahead and prepare. To be ready. This week and a half taught me more about faith, and relying on God to do what I can’t.
The doctor visit was the next day.