Sunday, February 1, 2015

A Season of Joy

On an indian summer day before Jonah died I remember feeling pure joy.  The moment was simple.  Jordan was home from work laying in the blue nylon hammock strung up between a fence post and our pine tree. Jonah was in his swing, giggling uncontrollably each time he approached my waiting arms.  His laugh was infectious and seemed to fill the air and my heart with the same magnitude.  I had a sweet moment where I recognized the pure joy that I felt.  It was a feeling of love and gratitude without fear or longing. It felt set apart and holy.  In hindsight I know that it was both of those things.  

Only a few days later our whole world seemed to crumble around us. We said goodbye to Jonah, soaked our pillows in tears, and tried to pick up the pieces of our home and family. 

In the three years that have passed since Jonah's death I have felt an amazing array of emotions. Some that I would not have believed were possible.  The day we lost Jonah I experienced indescribable pain and the feeling of my heart being crushed by the weight of intense sorrow.  In quiet lonely moments I have felt anger that burned inside of me and seemed unquenchable, peace that surpassed my limited understanding, and overwhelming fear as we faced seemingly endless disappointments.  I discovered a deep and new found empathy for the heartaches of loved ones and total strangers.  I have also fallen deeply in love with my husband as I have witnessed his kindness, endurance, and constant selflessness.  

But I am not sure I have recaptured the joy that I felt in that moment in our backyard.  I have experienced happiness, laughter, peace and love, but joy has felt elusive.

Twelve weeks ago Jordan and I began our third and final round of in vitro.  We had two remaining embryos to transfer and several obstacle to overcome including genetics, my killer immune system, and a blood clotting disorder.  I felt excited about the possibility of getting pregnant, but I also felt an overwhelming fear of the additional pain and heartache that might come with another miscarriage.  I woke up every night worried and anxious, my heart racing and my mind imagining all of the ways in which my heart could break again.

After a long two weeks of waiting I went for my first blood draw I braced myself for bad news and disappointment, but only good news followed.  I was pregnant and my hormone levels looked great.  Still each day I wondered if I felt sick enough or tired enough and waited for the signs of another failed pregnancy.  

At 6.5 weeks we went for our first ultrasound expecting the worst only to discover that we are pregnant with TWINS!  We were both stunned. 

We have had five ultrasounds and each time Jordan and I are a bundle of nerves, yet each time we have seen and heard beating hearts, wiggly arms and legs, and growing babies. It is nothing short of a miracle.

And yet I am still so afraid. Every day I wake up and wonder if I am still pregnant. I have been afraid to share the news because it feels like celebrating will inevitably be followed by heartache.  Each time I say the words "I'm pregnant...with twins" it feels like a lie or a crazy dream. But I am trying to be brave and say it and rejoice in it.  I want to be joyful and I want to share that joy with our amazing friends and family who have supported us, and prayed with us, and loved us through 5 very difficult years.  

I fully recognize that it is still early and anything could happen.  But I think my fear has become a barrier to the feeling of pure joy I want to recapture. I felt prompted this morning to read in the book of Ecclesiastes about times and seasons.  I read the following words:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven...A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

Heaven knows that we have had our time to weep and mourn.  It has been a long, painful, and sometimes shockingly beautiful season.  But as I read this scripture I felt like I was given permission to move into a new season - a season of joy, and hope, and laughter.