Finding Joy Through Pain

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Photography Credit: Wendy White Photography 

Today is a really special post…Ever since becoming a mama my sister, Jenny (pictured above with her family), has been the person I have looked up to. The one I call for pretty much any advice other than my own Mom or Mother-in-law. She is basically one of those people who amazes me in how strong she is, mentally and physically. And when I say this, I am serious.. she used to be a probation officer you guys… When I created this blog, I asked her if she wanted to be a guest writer every now and then, because not only is she an amazing mother & sister, but she is also an awesome writer! I thought it would be good to hear from other mamas who have great stories, inspiration and style and Jenny has all of the above. She has sent me a few things she wanted to share and trust me, you guys will love all of her future appearances on this page. Her first post is a story I think any mom can relate to who has experienced loss. Grab a box of tissues and read how she found joy through an experience of motherhood that she will never forget.

By: Jenny Wilkerson

April 11, 2017

It was Tuesday, April 11, 2017 and the busiest week in my work life. Registration week. This is the week that I had spent months mentally and physical preparing for. You see, I work for a school district and in the specific building that I work, we enroll every single preschooler in the district. It’s the equivalent of the playoffs in the preschool world. These parents are ruthlessly determined to make sure that their child is selected for one of the coveted slots. I had made it through day one by eating at my desk and only taking bathroom breaks when necessary in order to get through the line that was backed up out the hallway.  “Only four days left,” I told myself as I arrived at work that morning, but today was different.

This specific morning, I had a secret. I had just found out a few days earlier that I was expecting and I was so excited that I felt like everyone in the room was going to figure me out at any second. Couldn’t they read it on my face? My day began as usual, with coffee. Before you judge me, let me say that I don’t drink cokes or soda so for me to function in my daily life, coffee is vital. I had successfully completed about seven registration packets and it was time for a break. While in the restroom, I noticed there was blood. Not a lot, but definitely blood. Panic set in. I grabbed my phone and immediately called my best friend Courtney. Besides my husband, Aaron, she was the only one I had confided in about my pregnancy. She is my person. “Is this normal,” I began. By this time, she was accustomed to me beginning our conversations like this. She was pregnant with baby number 3 at the time and this was the second time we had been pregnant at the same time together. “I’m sure your fine, but I would go ahead and call,” she told me. I hung up and phoned my doctor. I left a message for the nurse and called my husband. I immediately began to cry. “Everything is going to be alright,” he said. Anyone that knows him will testify that he is the eternal optimist. Vowing to let him know as soon as I heard anything, I pulled myself together and returned to my desk.

“I can’t work like this,” I thought to myself. My mind was going ninety to nothing. I was already there…you know, the point where every bad thought you could possibly have floats to the top of your brain and overtakes every other rational thought. While willing the phone to ring, I continued with registration. As soon as I heard that ring, I was out the door before my feet even hit the floor. “The doctor wants you to come in and let us take blood,” the nurse said. “If you are here before 1:00 we can have your results today.”

I stepped into my boss’s office and shut the door. Before I could speak a word, I felt the hot tears streaming down my face. She had never seen me cry. Our relationship is very professional, with a few light-hearted moments sprinkled in. “I’m pregnant and something is wrong, I have to leave.” She was silent. As she began to stand, I saw her tears. “I haven’t even told my mom,” I muttered to her. “You are going to be fine,” but before letting her finish her thoughts, I was out the door.

Once to the clinic, the process was pretty painless. Since it was so early in my pregnancy, a simple blood test was all that was required. My doctor’s appointment wasn’t for another two weeks. After the test, I drove home in hopes I could take a nap. That didn’t happen. I was still stuck imagining the worst, so I decided to binge watch Netflix in hopes the next couple of hours would fly by. At 4:00 I had been waiting for several hours to no avail so I decided to make the call. After telling the receptionist what I needed, I was placed on hold listening to the most annoying elevator music known to man. I waited and waited and waited some more. It was almost time to pick up my son so I got in the car, the annoying elevator music was now coming through loud and clear on my Bluetooth. In the ten minutes that it took for me to get to my son’s preschool, I was still on hold. With the phone up to my ear, about to exit my car, the nurse came on. “Loss of pregnancy.” The only words I heard. The only words I needed to hear. I could hear her talking, but it was just back ground noise. “Loss of pregnancy.” Those words just kept playing over and over in my head. I called my husband and despite the cracking of my voice, he was able to decipher what I was telling him. “It will be ok,” he said and then he was quiet. I knew he didn’t know what to say to me…. there was nothing to say. No words. I hung up and called my mom. I blurted everything out in about five seconds through my tears. Pregnancy to loss of pregnancy, the whole story in a minute or less. Bennett, I had to get Bennett. That was my focus, getting my son.

I stepped out of my car, fully aware that I was unable to control the tears streaming down my face, but I was on auto pilot. I walked into Bennett’s class without speaking a word to anyone and avoided all eye contact. I just needed to make it home where I had my son and my husband.

The next day, my brain was a fog. I had experienced every emotion known to man in the last twelve hours. Not much had physically started to happen with my body, so I was still in denial and hopeful that the results were wrong. I was home from work but decided to go ahead and keep an appointment I had scheduled weeks prior with my chiropractor. On the drive home from my appointment, I knew my body was confirming what I already knew. Through fresh tears, I began to talk to God begging him to get me through this, but also questioning why this was happening, then in my head also blaming myself. Then it happened. God spoke to me. “You will have another child, and she will be your Joy.” Now let me be clear in this. I have never heard the audible voice of God, but on this day, although not audible, God spoke to me. It was a day that is forever etched into my mind. He had made me a promise and all I had to do was trust in Him.

Over the next few weeks, I continued with my life just like normal, but everyday thinking about what I had lost. A baby I had only known existed for a few days but loved immediately. Gone was a name and a future. What would have been was a question I couldn’t escape. The voicemail messages from my doctor’s office about my missed appointment, served as a constant reminder. “Please stop calling me, I had a miscarriage and won’t be needing to reschedule,” I said to the receptionist after mustering the courage to finally call her back. “There, I said it out loud,” I thought to myself.

Six weeks later, I woke up preparing myself for my 5:00 a.m. gym class. This was a routine that I loathed but made myself endure. However, this morning was different. I knew immediately after waking up from the soreness in my chest that I was pregnant. This was my tried and true symptom each pregnancy. After my workout, I stopped at the store and bought a test. The line was faint, but it was there. Waking my husband up, he looked at it and denied being able to see anything. I knew he was wrong, so after work, stopped to buy a digital test. Seeing the words “Pregnant” appear left no more doubt.

“We are waiting twelve weeks,” I said. My husband is not very good at keeping secrets, but after the last six weeks of our lives, I knew he would keep this one. Once we reached the twenty-week mark and were able to find out the gender of our baby, we decided we wanted to wait. We agreed that it would be a fun little surprise, but again, I already knew. God had spoken to me. She would be our Joy. Ultrasound day didn’t go as planned, and while asking questions about the baby, our ultrasound tech responded with “that’s her hand.” There it was…. HER.

Now it was time to choose a name. Name. There are several different definitions of name. Six definitions to be exact, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. How does one decide what to name their baby? I’m convinced that this is one of the hardest decisions you make during your pregnancy. As my husband so simply put it, “She will have this for the rest of her life.” Talk about pressure! We combed through hours and hours of names and nothing seemed right. As our anniversary approached, we decided to take a quick overnight trip. While stuffing my face with pizza at one of our favorite dives, we began the search again. Looking through a list I spotted one. “Allie” I said. “I like it,” he responded. That was it. We had found her name.

I had not shared with Aaron about the day God spoke to me. To be honest, I didn’t know how. I had always heard stories that other people told about God speaking to them, but I never understood. How does this happen I wondered? I now understand that God speaks to us daily, but in the midst of our self- created busy lives, we miss Him. We are so consumed with us that forget to listen. I decided to share my testimony with my husband and told him of the joy God promised.

Sitting in our church, three weeks before my due date, I was listening to our pastor speak. We had been notoriously absent over the last several months because sleeping in on Sunday mornings had become routine throughout my pregnancy. After all, I only had a few months left of sleep, right? As he spoke, it became crystal clear that this message was for me. He had no idea of course, but that’s how it happens. God was speaking to me again, through our pastor. He spoke that the only certainty in life was that we would experience pain. There are many types of pain he continued, but it isn’t until you experience pain that you fully know joy. Joy. There it was again. I felt as if every word that came out of his mouth that Sunday was spoken specifically for me.

A rainbow baby is a term used to describe babies born after the loss of another. They are the rainbow after the storm. Wednesday, January 31, 2018 after 16 hours of unmedicated, natural labor, we welcomed our rainbow baby, Allie Joy into our lives. She was perfect. God had fulfilled his promise to me. All I had to do was trust in him. “The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all” Psalm 34:18. Before I had children, and even before I was married, He knew his plan for my life. My faith is stronger than ever and I continue to thank Him for every blessing. God is good ALL the time and ALL the time, God is good.

 

2 thoughts on “Finding Joy Through Pain

  1. I shouldn’t have read this at work! Although I know the story, and knew I would need the tissues I did it anyway! I hope your story encourages someone else, it encouraged me to wait on the Lord, and be still to hear His word! We are so blessed to have Allie Joy and Bennett!

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