A year ago I woke up ready to run 22 miles as we prepared for our first marathon, the Portland Marathon. It was just weeks away, less than a month, and we had been training for the bulk of the year.
Earlier that year I had watched a second line turn pink, parallel to the first litmus line of the pregnancy test. It was the culmination of months-turned-to-years of trying to conceive a biological baby in my womb, the culmination of doctor's appointments and fertility medications and cycle-tracking and finally making the decision to begin the adoption journey earlier rather than later. I watched that second line show up, not on just one test but a second and then a third and then a fourth and a fifth. Pregnant for sure, we were thrilled and put our not-yet-official adoption journey on pause to "spread the babies out."
If you've been following our journey, you know we said goodbye to that first baby conceived in my womb, mis-carried by my body itself.
We decided to pick our pace back up, make our adoption journey official, knowing I may conceive again and I may [mis] carry, but we knew we were growing our family via adoption regardless. Our pace for the adoption of a baby, growing our family, was steady and certain as we trained for our first marathon, paralleling the journeys as one.
So many things wrapped into one story being written, being lived.
As I pulled my running shirt over my head, laced my shoes, and pulled my hair back all in preparation for the run that would prove to me that my body was not entirely broken, entirely useless, entirely barren...an all too familiar thought coursed through my head, I should have restarted my cycle a few days ago...what if I'm pregnant?
We had just finished our last home study visit three days earlier. We were nearing the marathon, the endeavor that would prove to me that my body was beautiful and capable; the culmination of months of hard work and training coming to a victorious exhaustion, crossing that finish line with arms raised and salt dried crusty from the hours of sweat dripping.
I pulled out the test that I was sure would scream negative. Within seconds the pink line revealed a partner, a true twin, lying parallel to itself.
The test screamed positive.
Staring in disbelief, I heard a shaky voice that couldn't be mine saying, "no, no, no, no, no." My limbs trembled and I collapsed on the bathroom floor unprepared for the fear that had overtaken my entire self. Will I have to say goodbye again? Will our adoption journey be interrupted? What if we lose our adoption journey AND this baby? How will I get through another loss? How will I keep breathing?
Loren thought I had seen a spider when in reality I was staring at proof of our second born son.
He was just the size of a tiny mustard seed, life barely sprouting but certainly beating.
A year ago today, I was gripped by fear and questions and uncertainty. I feared losing not only our biological baby, but also the forward movement of our adoption. I feared losing two pieces of our family that I knew in my gut were meant to be with us.
Today, September 19, 2016, we have two very important pieces of our puzzle. We have them both, in our arms.
And you, my son, are loved by all of the world's best people. The celebration of you has been real and lovely, encouraging and empowering. The village that surrounds us and you knocks the wind out of me.
Your sibling whom we said goodbye too soon to...he paved the way for us to be all the more grateful for you. He revealed to us how fragile life is, how delicate and precious. He gripped us tightly and told us to appreciate babies born to us, biologically or not, reminding us that being carried in a womb is no easy task. That conceiving and carrying is a miracle, no matter what. He paved the way for a true heart of gratitude, even when the simple task of breathing seems difficult. His short lived existence has reminded me time and time again that I am deeply grateful for you (and your brother), even if this is the hardest thing I have ever done. Wear the title MAMA, be your mama. I would not trade that responsibility and privilege.
It is amazing all that can and has happened in the short year since discovering you, Ira. We have changed careers, moved cities, transitioned into a transracial family, and grown by not just your two feet but also two more feet. I sit in awe, wondering how He writes such stories with grace, even if drenched in uncertainty.
Ira Man, you are so sweet. I love your fingers and your toes, your budding personality.
You are difficult and hard and stretching me in so many ways. You are teaching me how to love deeper than I ever thought I could. You are revealing to me how deeply I need Jesus...but also how desperately I crave for you to have Him. Because I am not enough for you.
You are a miracle, conceived and carried, created so perfectly within my womb. A treasure I will not take for granted.
You are a gift, one I do not want to live without.
You are beautiful. You are sweet. You are so loved, forever.