My 2nd child, Jessica Rachel, is 19 yrs old today.
Happy Birthday, Jessie!
We didn't realize our first pregnancy was a miracle baby until years went by and we didn't have another child. And so the tests, procedures and yes, even fertility drugs began. Trust me - romance loses it's fun when you can't move in the morning until you take and record your basal temperature and your 'play' time is down to a clinical 'every 48 hrs regardless how you feel'.
I won't go into the reason why I had a less than 20% chance of conceiving or why all 4 of our babies were preemies - 6 wks, 5 wks, 4 wks, and 7 wks early consecutively, because this is Jessie's story.
At the time, I was a backslider and hubby wasn't a Christian. We weren't attending church or raising our first child in God's light. However, I'd always kept my faith and knew without reservation that God was with me and everything I did.
A month after my 3rd miscarriage, I had a foreboding that the fertility specialist I was seeing was going to tell me he'd tried everything and we'd reached the end of the road. I went into that appointment praying yet trying to ready myself to follow God's will. Imagine my surprise when I found out I was pregnant - again. And so the waiting began - again. During the next 2 months I was wary of every movement I made even though I knew a spontaneous abortion or miscarriage would happen regardless if the egg wasn't viable. We were thrilled when we entered the 2nd trimester and started to hope - again.
Our joy was short-lived however, when I started spotting around 14 wks. It was the first time I understood what the word ‘keening’ meant. Frantic. Frustrated. Fatalistic. I remember going into the kitchen and cleaning out a cupboard (I abhor cleaning) before going back to the bathroom to check. Another round of keening ensued. Hubby came home and took me in for an ultrasound. Because I was already high risk, I was placed on bed rest. (I remember lying in a chaise lounge directing hubby how to plant the flower garden.)
Because of the tests, we knew I couldn't carry the baby to term so the birth date was a guessing game. Throughout those long, quiet days, I felt God's presence as he waited with me.
Five wks before my due date, I started contractions. We lived an hour from the city of Ottawa and a January blizzard had just started. My water broke just minutes later as I stood on my grandmother’s hand–braided rug ready to head out into the night. The highway was slippery and cars were driving slow but hubby stayed in the 'fast' lane and safely drove us to the hospital. Within hrs, I was being wheeled down to the delivery/operating room. Our daughter, Crystal, had attended all the pre-natal classes and the hospital tour so she was allowed to accompany us. Hubby squeezed my right hand, his face white, Crystal reminded me to breathe while holding the left. The nurse told me to wait for the doctor because the baby was a preemie. But when I felt that age-old urge, I pushed. (I found out with my 3rd baby that pushing out a preemie is a no-no.)
But out slid Jessie. Five and a half pounds of red, squalling baby girl. So eager to enter this world and so angry when she arrived. She spent a week in NICU because she was pre-term, and she battled jaundice like a trooper. I remember taking her out of her isolette, being careful not to twist or pull her IV cord. Bigger than our first baby, Jessie was still so small. I'd hold her while we bonded and taught each other how to nurse. And as I looked down at her, Sunday School choruses like Jesus Loves Me and There's Something About That Name slipped from my lips. His Spirit reasurred me. And in return, I worshipped Him, quietly, softly, in my little corner of the NICU while holding His child. Awed, I renewed my personal relationship with Him and promised to bring up Jessie in His word.
It was a miracle she was conceived. A miracle she hung on in the womb. A miracle she arrived safely. And a miracle she was able to go home after a week. God's little miracle.
Her dad, my hubby, became a Christian a few years after Jessie's birth and we have raised Jessie to know God.
In return, God has richly blessed us. Not only with 2 more children, but by giving Jessie the gifts of music, public speaking, and leadership - all traits needed by someone who serves in His church. At 15, she became a worship leader at our small country church. And in June, she graduated at the top of her class after a year of being Student Body President. This photo is of Jessie and her escort, Nick, at the 2009 Montmartre High School Graduation Ceremonies.
This past Sept, Jessie enrolled in the Edge program at Rocky Mountain Bible College in Calgary, Alberta. She’s part of their renowned choir and is the college’s Assistant Admissions Officer. She's doesn't know what God has planned for her but she knows it will involve serving Him.
If there is anything you take away from this post, I pray it is this:
God loves you so much, He blesses you even when you are neglecting Him.
Anita, what a beautiful story and what a beautiful daughter. I love birth stories. They are women's "battle stories" aren't they.ReplyDelete
My favorite line was "I'd hold her while we bonded and taught each other how to nurse." I sure know that feeling.
Birth is an amazing miracle and an amazing testimony of God.
What a wonderful testimony of God's grace! And to get the reminder every time you see your daughter's face or hear her voice is certainly priceless.ReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing with us and reminding us of the overwhelmingly unfathomable love of God.
Love the picture of Jessie and Nick. How cute! God has richly blessed you indeed. Have a great day, my friend.
Very nice Anita. It really touched me. I can even remember that far back, myself!ReplyDelete
Your daughter is beautiful (and you did an awesome photoshop job with adding words to the photo!)
She is obviously a blessing in your life and I wish her a happy birthday and a joyful life. She sounds like a very special young woman.
What a blessing to treasure:) Happy Birthday Jessica!ReplyDelete
Dina, D'Ann, Jill, Deb and Karen, thank you for sharing this day with me. I've directed Jessie to the site so she see's your birthday greetings.ReplyDelete
Maybe someday I'll read your 'battle stories', as Dina calls them?
Deb - that far back, eh? wow! :D
Yes, I enjoyed working with Photoshop although it'll be mucho time before my skill level equals Lisa.
I'm going to practice my Photoshop too.ReplyDelete
I was just thinking about how it seems so long ago that 6:30 at night meant you still had 2.5 hrs of sunlight left! My daughter's birthday is near the summer solstice. I almost called her Summer. I wanted Taylor, but her dad wouldn't go for that either.
Maybe Jessie could celebrate a half year birthday sometime and have it outside in the warmth and sunshine. January is a tough month 'up north' eh?
Good night, Inktropolis
i love Jessie's story. thank you for sharing it with all of us. the picture of Jessica and nick makes me smile and laugh. they obviously know how to have fun.
Anita I appreciate you allowing us a little peek into your life and the joyful portion that is Jessica.
Happy Birthday Jessica.
Precious post, Miss Anita!]. Your daughter is lovely, as is her momma! And I appreciate the reminder about God looking after us even when we aren't doing everything we ought to be doing... such a comfort when we have family and friends who've yet to commit to the Lord.ReplyDelete
great story about your daughter, I have one daughter and she is my 36 year old baby. She has 3 older brothers.ReplyDelete
She's lovely, Anita! Sometimes we see other folks' children and don't realize the struggle they had to bring them into the world.ReplyDelete
May the Lord bless you and your family.
Happy Birthday, Jessie. You're a very special young woman.ReplyDelete
Anita, thank you for sharing this very inspirational story.
God bless you and your family.
Your story gives me hope that good comes from trials. We never know what surprises might be awaiting us. Journey on!ReplyDelete
DebM - yup, long nights up here. It starts getting light at 8 which means it's dark enough that the boys' balk at going out for chores before the bus comes at 8:15. And the sun goes down around 5:15 and it's dark by 6pm. But the days are getting longer from now on! :)ReplyDelete
DebH - I really wanted to share my condition and the results with you when you told me you were expecting but I knew you were already worried and I didn't want to scare you further. And now you have a beautiful boy to treasure. Thank you so much for sending me his pics. :)ReplyDelete
Susan - That's how it was with our first daughter. I had a normal pregnancy and not once did it cross my mind that something adverse could happen. It wasn't until we tried for our 2nd that reality hit.ReplyDelete
Edna - 1 girl and 3 boys - wow! Is she a tomboy? Or are her brothers fiercely protective of her?
Thank you both for dropping in and sharing the day with us.
Niki, Suzie and Mary - It wasn't easy admitting the stage of my spiritual life I happened to be in during this time but I don't think the story would have the same impact if I didn't. Also, it's one thing to be told God is always with you but there's nothing like the reassurance of finding it out first hand. :)ReplyDelete
Happy Birthday, Jessie!ReplyDelete
What a gorgeous daughter you have, Anita, and what a lovely tribute this post is to both Jessie and our gracious Lord. His blessings are so beyond what we can ever ask for or imagine, aren't they?
Thanks for sharing; I loved this post. Good night.
Happy Birthday, Jessie. You and I are only a day apart. I'm tomorrow. Hint, Hint my Inky family. But I have to work all day. You have a great mom there, Jessie. Have fun!ReplyDelete
I really appreciate you saying that Susie because this is my first crack at writing a devotional. I tried to keep the length down and even took an extra 2 hrs trying to decide what to cut - after I streamlined it, even.ReplyDelete
Anita, you are so right. We know in our heads that God is always with us. But I remember this particular time when, like you, I found out first hand that He really is. I marveled at all of the feelings that went through me. Peace, gratitude, a warmth like I've never known. It is such a blessing to be bathed in His love in that way.ReplyDelete
Anita, this story sounds so familiar. HAppy birthday to your miracle girl! Mine was born on St. Patty's Day, 2000. NICU is a scary experience as a parent--your details about teh IV cords brought it all back. Katie is in perfect health to thi day, despite spending her first four weeks in the hospital and nearly dying of infection. Praise our awesome God!ReplyDelete
Just visiting this blog since Debra stopped by mine, and I'm so glad I did! : )
Hey Kathleen, welcome to the Inkwell. I'm so glad you found your way here whatever the route you took.ReplyDelete
Yes, it's amazing what a little thing can jog our memories and after 4 occurences in the NICU, I do remember it well, even though things changed tremendously from the first time in 1978 to the last in 1998.
I'd love to hear your story some day, as well.
Anita, what a beautiful story about a beautiful young lady. Thanks for sharing it with us.ReplyDelete
Happy birthday, Jessie!
Thanks Jen. :)ReplyDelete
Anita, what a beautiful post. This reminds me so much of my niece who was born three months early and nearly died several times. Actually she did code a few times but they were able to bring her back. Like you, our family knows God is who saved her. Yesterday she gave her heart to Jesus at church and she's about to turn 14. I pray for her and for your daughter that they always run hard after God and have a strong sense of His presence and are ever-aware is His unconditional acceptance and His great and tender love toward them.ReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing the story. She's beautiful...but then again look who her mama is so it should be no surprise.
What an inspirational story!ReplyDelete
Though not in such a dramatic way, God has used BOTH of my babies to teach SUCH truths!
One quickie: Hymn song drew me into my daughter's bedroom, where she sat cross-legged, an open Bible in her lap.
What're you doin'?
Just my quiet time, she replied, though she certainly hadn't shut up yet.
Quiet time? With God? I'd never heard of such a thing. And neither had we, though we attended church and loved the Lord.
It took a summer camp to teach my daughter, who taught me, and so on and so on.
Cheryl, that's wonderful! It must give you so much peace to know your niece is on the right path. I'll be praying for her as well.ReplyDelete
Oh yeah, there ya go with your sweet talkin'. I guess that means it was okay for me to switch your solo pic with the one of us together on your Monday post, eh? *Phew! :D
Thanks for sharing, Patti. I really like the image of her sitting their with quiet time.ReplyDelete
My sister's family move often and always stake out territory for their quiet time in each house. I remember one small house where Bonnie had hers in the basement under the stairs while her hubby had his in a corner of the garage. Their daughter grew up knowing that those areas off the house designated as 'quiet times' were of limits while occupied.
Kind of like when I'm in my cave and the kids know they're not supposed to interrupt. Although I must admit - now that my cave is back in the living room, I seem to be fair game when the family is home.