So if you’re just joining us, I would encourage you to jump down and read part 1 before diving in. You’ll feel much more part of the story. We pick up here right after Zach & I found out we were pregnant and he left 4 days later for a 6 week school in Tampa, Florida. I would have loved for him to be home for my first trimester, but fortunately the next 6 weeks that we were apart flew by! I felt amazing! I’m convinced I got the best pregnancy in the world – sure I had your typical first trimester tenderness, zits, food aversions, & fatigue but it was all pretty mild compared to the horror stories I heard and I was just so happy to be this baby’s mama. It is absolutely amazing how much love & the immense sense of protection you can feel over a life you haven’t met yet face to face! I know that’s true for both biological parents and parents going through adoptions. I was loving every second of pregnancy – well, almost every one 🙂. I’d sit and pray over the room that would be the nursery, I wrote prayers for the baby in my journal, I started a journal for the baby that we would give it one day that had the words we heard Father speak over their life, and I even went ahead and ordered my favorite Dr Seuss books to have on hand (because surely our kid would be reading fresh out the womb?!). I’m a planner & researcher by nature and by the time Zach got home from Tampa I was fully ready to report on my top choices for a Pack N Play, stroller, car seat, crib & I’d enrolled us in our childbirth classes. Lets do this! He got home a week before Christmas and I was so glad he was back for us to enjoy this personal season & the Christmas season together.
We had a 12 week OB appointment 4 days after he got home (Monday, Dec 19) and I was eagerly anticipating this step that we would get to take in this pregnancy together. We arrived at the office and were walked back to the exam room. We talked with our provider about how healthy I’d been and all the things I’d done to make sure I was giving this baby its very best start to life. After reviewing my lifestyle and history, she told me “You can’t get more healthy then you are honey!” <> I gladly put that awkward gown on and laid on the table for the ultrasound. It was in that moment that we realized our season was changing. They looked, listened and searched but they couldn’t find a heartbeat. We watched the screen for what felt like ages as they tried different angles & different types of ultrasounds. I realized at one point that I had been holding my breath so I quickly took a deep breath and said from my heart to the baby’s “beat, you little heart!”. The baby was several weeks behind in development and they gently and graciously told me that I’d had a “missed-miscarriage”. My body showed absolutely no signs of miscarriage and my hormones had stayed high for a pregnancy. I was feeling the symptoms of pregnancy but there was no longer life in the baby. Zach put his hand on mine as they began to explain the situation but we were both in shock. They told us they wanted to send us for a second ultrasound on a stronger machine to confirm things at their sister practice. We agreed but it wasn’t able to be scheduled until about 36 hours later. We had the rest of that day & a whole day in between to wait.
There was dead silence & tear soaked faces on our ride home. We were both processing what we’d just been told with the Lord. I told Zach when we got home that I was going to take a little time to myself. I went and sat in my car and put worship music on & I wept & I sang. As I prayed, I began to feel a boldness rise up in me in the face of what looked like tragedy. I determined there in my car that the enemy would have ABSOLUTELY NO foothold in my heart in this. I knew he was prowling around this situation looking for a place he could get in and I was not having it. I declared it out loud “You do not get one inch of victory in this! (I don’t advise always yelling at the devil –he’s not normally worth our breath, but it just came out here) Jesus, you have overcome and made me an overcomer. I love you. You are always good; you are always faithful; you are near to the broken hearted; you have plans to prosper our family that bring us hope and a future…” In tears, I began to declare everything that the Lord brought to my mind that spoke truth over this situation. I wasn’t denying my heart brokenness, but as I chose to worship the Lord I felt His peace come in and fill the car. The sadness was still there, the grief was still there but there was peace. I realized then that the lesson the Lord taught me as I learned to praise him through negative pregnancy tests was the same lesson that would help sustain me today in this. My response, no matter what my circumstance, can be thanks and praise for who He is. It isn’t denying the reality of this world, it isn’t denying sadness, it is just declaring a higher truth that he has given me all I need in Jesus to deal with this life. Grief doesn’t define me. I feel it, I may experience it, but it never consumes me. As I denied the enemy a foot hold in my heart, I had another realization in that car. We were still waiting on a second ultrasound – and this isn’t over till its over! I’ll be dang’d (yes, Dang’d!) if I’m going to throw my hands in the air and give up on this little life if there is one ounce of hope that the life could be restored. (Doesn’t your southern come out more when you’re fighting for something??) I am this baby’s mama, and I am going to fight for its life in prayer and faith with all that I have until we know without a doubt that life isn’t being restored. The mama lion in me lifted her head like I’d never felt before. I went inside and told Zach “I don’t know how you’re feeling or how you’re grieving and I don’t want to be insensitive to that, but I have to tell you what I’m believing for. I am not accepting death until we know from that second ultrasound that there is absolutely no chance of life. The Lord is a god of miracles and He can restore a heartbeat to a lifeless baby in my womb. That is what I’m praying and believing for! This baby has a destiny and this world will be blessed because of its life. I have to declare it will live in Jesus name!” Zach said he was feeling the exact same way so we entered into the next day and a half standing in faith together & contending for a miracle. We weren’t in denial of what the ultrasound said, but our God is bigger. We were standing for the miraculous in faith until there was no other option. We messaged our prayer warrior friends and let them know what we were believing for and asked them to join us in this bold prayer for Jesus to restore a perfectly healthy life. Whatever the reason this baby stopped growing, whether is was a chromosomal mismatch or something else, He could completely heal and restore it.
Over the next 36 hours, Zach and I flexed our faith muscles in more strength than I think we ever have for something before. That second day, the Tuesday of just waiting, was the hardest day for me in all of this. It was such a strange place of my mama’s heart wanting to begin to grieve , but also wanting to put off grief to stand and declare a miracle. That day had huge ups and downs for me. I decided to work that day since I would be alone delivering a few Christmas gifts to offices and I could do that relatively easily with no one knowing what was going on to bring it up. Maybe that was not the best idea in hind sight, but I didn’t want to just sit at home all day with heaviness on my heart. I’d love to say I was a rock of unwavering faith that entire day, but I had several moments of exhaustion. One moment I would be driving to deliver a Christmas basket while praying boldly and declaring in faith “Thank you Lord that you are the giver of life and you can resurrect this baby in me. The first report isn’t the last report. I speak to you baby Brinson-live!” The next moment I would be sobbing in my car “I just want my baby back”. Despite the ups and downs, I felt such a grace over me that day. I didn’t feel weak in the moments that I just wanted to cry. I didn’t feel like I was failing in faith for a miracle. I felt like I was letting grief come out of me. I didn’t try to push it back or stifle it. I just refused to lay down under it. I let it come out how ever it needed to, and then I rallied again. I don’t think I’ve ever cried that hard or long in my life. I was exhausted at the end of that day. I got home and processed the day with Zach & he felt the same way. We’d received so many texts throughout the day of our friends praying, declaring life & encouraging us. It was so sweet to know we weren’t contending for this alone. There were people holding our arms up for us in prayer. When we were exhausted, our friends were interceding for us. My parents came over that night to intercede with us. I can’t tell you what peace it brought me to just sit and listen to someone else pray over the situation. I didn’t have to muster or rally in those moments, I could let someone else’s faith carry me while I took a deep breath. At the end of that day, my last prayer was “Lord, I’ve given you everything I have for this. I’ve given you all the faith I have. Please take what I’ve given you and put it with what you have. If you can take 5 loaves and 2 fish and feed 5,000, I know you can take what I’ve given you and make a baby live.” We’d done all we could, and the rest was out of our hands. Zach and I were able to go to bed that night with more peace in our hearts than we’d felt in 24 hours. We both slept deeply and woke up the next morning rested to go to the second appointment.
OK, since I told you in Part I of this story that I love transparency, I’m going to be real with you. I woke up that Wednesday morning and as I began to get ready, I was playing the song “God of miracles” in my bathroom. I began to sing that song and tears filled my eyes. I wanted to be a flaming beacon of faith that was ready to run head first into that appointment, but in my heart I just didn’t want to go at all. I would love to say that from the moment my eyes opened that morning, I was confident we were about to see a miracle, but my heart was in my stomach while I got ready. I went downstairs to grab a bite of breakfast and Zach asked me how I was feeling. I burst into tears again and said “I don’t want to go do this!” He hugged me and spoke strength over me, and I rallied for this baby once more. As we drove to the appointment we prayed together, rejoiced in miracles, and recalled testimonies of life being restored in scripture. We went into that office united in faith and ready to receive whatever the report would say. We could confidently rest in knowing we’d given this baby all we had. It was so loved and fought for. We had the second ultrasound and the outcome was still no heartbeat. We had a choice in that moment to question God and/or question ourselves, but we knew neither one needed questioning. We know God’s goodness, and we know we gave this our all in faith and prayer. We could rest in knowing we did everything we could, and know there are great plans instore for our family that bring hope and a future. The enemy often tries to get people to ask “Why” after something doesn’t go our way, but asking “Why” is rarely fruitful. It usually just gets people thinking in circles and constructs a barrier to keep them from moving forward. Bill Johnson says “If you want to have the peace that surpasses understanding, sometimes you have to give up your right to understand.” It takes great trust to not feel the need to ask “why”, and we want to walk in great trust. We didn’t ask why because it didn’t matter. There was nothing more we could have done to change the outcome and we have great peace in that. Our family may not be growing in number on earth, but it certainly grew in faith and unity. Zach and I united to fight for this life and it brought us closer than we may have ever felt before. We supported each other at a level that we’ve never had to before. As I’ve been reflecting on this, I’ve found myself thankful that, if this was going to happen, it was during the Christmas season. We’d already sent out our pregnancy Christmas card announcements and at first I regretted that immensely, but as I thought about it I became thankful that more people would know about that sweet life and celebrate it with us no matter how short. Christmas is so full of the hope of Jesus. There is so much joy in the atmosphere everywhere this time of year that I’ve been able to be encouraged by. It was 4 days before Christmas that this happened and even though we can’t have our baby here with us, we can celebrate its short life and celebrate another baby that did make it into this world who is the reason we can have peace in this situation.
In moving through this situation, we felt led to name the baby. We both felt like it was a girl so we’re calling her by her name. Some people may think that’s unnecessary, strange or even dramatic, but I threw myself into being her mama from the day we found out about her. We believe she was & is significant and I want to honor her little life in every way that I can. I hesitated to share this part but I kept going back to the fact that I’m celebrating her, and this is part of that celebration for me. We’ve named her “Ezra” which means “help, or helper”. Oh, did she help me. In the weeks that Ezra was alive in my body and heart, she helped me more than I could ever express in words. I loved every moment of being her mama here and I will never forget what she’s given me. She helped a part of my heart come dancing alive that I didn’t even realize was dormant. She helpedreleased a joy in me that is unlike any I’ve ever felt. She helped reveal a sense of purpose in my life that had never surfaced before and that I know will only grow in the future with her siblings. She helpedme and Zach unify for something like we never have before and grow in strength together. She helped me learn to press into Jesus for sustenance in a new way. She showed me a lens that I’ve never had to look through before to see, in a new way, that He truly has given me all I need for any circumstance in this life. I’m so grateful for her help and how Father has used her in my life.
I wanted to share all of this with you because it was so helpful to me. Thank you for letting me process with you. I also wanted to share so those who knew about our pregnancy & those that didn’t know what happened and that you hear straight from my heart: We are at peace. I want you to know that its ok with us to acknowledge this. I have so appreciated it when friends and family have pressed through any perceived awkwardness to bring this up and ask how I’m doing. I hate elephants in the room, and I certainly don’t want this to be one. I appreciate it when people recognize it either through words, a text or just a huge hug to empathize with me. It makes me know that someone is standing here with me. For me personally, it also helps me heal as I’m able to celebrate Ezra’s life and share my heart. I realize not everyone is like this, and you may not know that about me unless I explained it but there it is! I see this as a testimony of God’s faithfulness and nearness in times of pain. In Isaiah 61 we have the promise that “he gives beauty for ashes, the oil of gladness for mourning, and a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” He is making these exchanges in my heart more deeply with each new day and His mercies continue to be new every morning. I could never do this life without Him and I’d never want to. Jesus told us “…in this life, you will have trials, BUT.TAKE.HEART, for I have overcome the world” (Jn 16:33) He is the overcomer, and he passes that to me as an inheritance.
Any strength you may have seen in this story is truly only because of Jesus and what He provided for us through the cross. Through knowing Him and relationship with him, He has given us all we need to journey through this life. Struggle, despair, even death have no victory because He has overcome for us. Jesus gives us his strength as if it were our very own and through him we can do all things. (Phil 4:13) We can’t do all things by going around Him or even being beside him – we must go THROUGH Him. He is the door to freedom. If you see anything in this post, see Jesus. See Him and his faithfulness. See Him and the goodness of his presence in the middle of trials. He is love and he is unchanging. I want to leave you with one of my favorite songs. It is the song Zach and I had played at our wedding and it was the first song our ears heard together as husband and wife. We chose it because we wanted it to be the declaration and foundation of our family for the rest of our lives. Here we are 2.5 years later still declaring it as our foundation. I sing it when I’m celebrating, I sing it when I’m in a struggle, I sing it when I’m confused to realign my heart with truth. The more you listen to it, the more it grows with in you and becomes an anthem. I feel a progression every time I sing it in times of trouble – often I’m declaring it first to myself, reminding my own heart of its truth. Then I move to declaring it with my whole heart to the Lord in worship. Lastly, I declare it with the Lord out loud so the enemy knows what I stand on. If you’re in a season of struggle, try moving through it and see what happens in your spirit. I promise you will feel yourself coming into alignment with truth and the peace that accompanies that. Bless you friends! Thank you again so much for letting me share. It has helped me greatly. May the joy of the Lord be your strength.