Waiting For Redemption
A public bathroom in Las Vegas during a business conference was not my choice location for an emotional breakdown.
“God!” I’m not sure if my heart sounded to him like a war cry or the guttural moaning of a wounded animal, but surely I had never called to him before with such desperation.
“Have you left me? DO YOU SEE ME?”
I had spent the last several days surrounded by 13,000 business women. It was a network marketing conference, but for me, it might as well have been a fertility conference.
Baby bumps and babies surrounded me.
I was decidedly without either.
Years before my crisis in the bathroom, I had given birth to a baby girl. My pregnancy was hard. Unplanned. Twice it tried to take the life of my unborn daughter, and once it tried to take my own life. I left that hospital with PTSD and postpartum depression. But I did leave with a baby in my arms.
The next time I was pregnant, I told myself, I would do things differently. Better.
I’d complain less. Love more. I’d see specialists to try to keep the disease away that could have taken our lives. I would cherish every moment … Because I had come to realize what a miracle babies were. And what a gift pregnancy really was.
It was no surprise that when those two lines greeted me first thing in the morning once again, I had everything all planned right from the start.
I was instantly in love.
A sister for my daughter, I thought. I imagined my girls playing together. I had never before (and never since) been filled with such happy expectation.
My feelings of giddiness and naivety did not last long. Not long enough, anyway.
Episodes of intense abdominal pain stabbed holes through my banner of confidence. Hope, however, remained undaunted.
Even when the doctors doubted. Even as tests and emergency room visits added up. I still had prayer, and with it access to the God who could save my baby’s life, and so I still had hope.
Until my body revolted against me. Reality could no longer be ignored.
Our little one had implanted in my fallopian tube instead of my uterus. She died when my tube ruptured.
Emergency surgery spared my life. But our baby we named Olivia was long gone.
I entered the hospital pregnant. And left without a baby in my arms.
Never had I felt so desperately alone and forgotten.
Friends and family sent cards and gifts. My sister in particular sent a beautiful memorial. Well, at least the thought of it was beautiful.
It was an acorn to plant in Olivia’s memory. One day it would grow into a magnificent tree. A life brought from death.
Except in spite of my faithful efforts, the silly thing wouldn’t grow. Then, right before I called 1-800-FLOWERS to thank them for sending me a dead tree to commemorate a dead daughter, our tree began to sprout. A single leaf clung to the tenuous, tender stalk.
Finally. Signs of life.
I snapped a picture, posted it on my blog, and ditched my call to the flower delivery service.
Months of intense grieving wore on. We were finally given the clear to try again.
And so I waited with fear and anxiety for two weeks until I could test. I brought hope along with some pregnancy tests to my conference.
A single line told me what my body had already been trying to say: I was not pregnant. My womb, which should have been burgeoning with baby Olivia, was empty still.
I could no longer keep in my tears or desperation.
When I returned home, we kept trying. My life consisted of the two-week wait, then the two-week wait to try again. We fell pregnant months later, only to lose that baby too. Later that year, we were told we’d been chosen to pick up an adoptive daughter from the hospital. The next day, we were told the social worker had changed her mind, and that we hadn’t been chosen after all.
Everything we had prepared in a flurry quickly was put away. But I kept the diaper bag packed. It was my last little act of defiance against the circumstances that raged out of my control. It was my last stand that, one day, we would have a baby.
Just weeks later, we received a call for a 10-month-old baby in foster care. After doing respite for her for a few months, we were asked the best question in the world . . . Would we like to adopt?
Our daughter moved into our home from a beautiful foster family who loved her well. Even as I overflowed with gratitude, I wished we had been her first family. On a whim, I looked back at my blog to see what I was doing the day our daughter was born.
March 2, 2012.
The exact day Olivia’s tree sprouted with new life, our daughter was born.
On the day of my breakdown in Vegas, the daughter God was preparing for me was already 2 months old.
God never promised me rescue from every hurt, pain or loss. But the beautiful part of God is that He is big enough and kind enough to redeem all of it. With God, no tear shed, loss born, or grief endured is wasted. All will be redeemed.
On March 2, a miracle happened. God gave me sign that he heard my cries even before I uttered them. And on April 15 a few years later, our daughter’s adoption was complete.
I don’t know what your story is. I don’t know all the pain, the loss, the suffering, and the grief you are enduring today. Maybe you too are crying out, “Have you forgotten me? God, have you dropped the cosmic ball? Are you willing to bless others, but have turned your face from me, my baby and our family?”
I don’t know how or when you will get your own story of redemption. But until you do — I hope you will hold on to mine.