I was only twenty-seven years old when a nurse called to tell me I had diminished ovarian reserve. I was young and healthy yet unable to conceive. It was obvious to me that something wasn't working right, yet when I watched my rich red blood swell up in a laboratory test tube a few days prior, I didn't imagine it would hold this dark secret: my eggs were aging without me. Or at least, ahead of me. I was young and healthy. My eggs were not.

Upon receiving the news, a gust of breath rushed from my lungs as if I had been kicked in the stomach. I hung up the phone and called my husband, crying, gasping. Fear and pain flooded my body: what if I couldn't bear a child? What if the dream I carried since I was a  little girl stuffing pillows under my shirt never materialized? What if I couldn't get pregnant?

Over the next two years I became well aquatinted with the pain of being kicked. More diagnoses, more treatments, more negative pregnancy tests than I ever imagined taking: kicked, kicked, kicked.

I turned to my God and asked for his divine hand of protection against the pain. Make it stop. That prayer was long left unanswered, but others filled its place: I learned how to heal from each blow, how to endure, how to get back up again each time I was knocked down. How to set my eyes on the heavens even as I lay writhing on the ground.

When I finally became pregnant after a year and a half of surgeries, medications, and fertility procedures, I raised my hands to the heavens with a loud HALLELUJAH! Every scar I bore, both real and metaphorical, served as proud battle wounds in my victory. For two weeks my husband and I celebrated with joy. We told our friends. We shared our news. We put our four-year-old son (by adoption) in a "big brother" shirt.  Soon it was time for our first ultrasound.

While my hormone levels had risen exactly right and I had not bled nor shown any signs of miscarriage, the ultrasound screen before our eyes showed nothing but a black hole where our baby should have been.

Unprepared for that enormous blow, it hit me with unprecedented pain. My ears rang, my vision blurred, the world around me moved in slow motion.



My baby! My baby. 


Kicked down, again.

Slowly I turned back to the lessons of my faith: first, how to breathe. Then, how to heal. Finally, how to get back up and try again.

Half a year later, we did try again. Again we got the good news: I was pregnant! Again my hormone levels rose appropriately. Again I lay back, half naked and vulnerable in every way on a sheet of crinkly white paper, waiting for the ultrasound to begin.

This time the black hole on the screen before us held a beautiful surprise: not just one white bundle of hope, but two! Twins! Two babies. Two heartbeats. Two long-awaited answers to our prayers.

The next few months passed with a mixture of unprecedented happiness and fear of loosing it.
I loved my babies. I believed I would hold them in my arms. Yet part of me was still waiting for that kick to come.

From September through December I waited, breathing easier with every passing week. With every additional scan, every OB visit, every beautifully rhythmic heartbeat sound emanating from a doppler machine, I lowered my defenses. Maybe- prayerfully, hopefully, blessedly- that kick wouldn't come this time. Please let this be it. 

The kick did come. It came unexpectedly one December night as I sat by the lights of our Christmas tree.

But this time, it came from the inside.



My baby. My babies! 


Those kicks, they were small at first: like the rise of bubbles in carbonated drink, the soft brush of cat's tail, or the tickle of a minnow flopping in a wet hand. Stronger and stronger they grew through December. On New Year's Day I called my husband to my side where he placed his warm palm on my swollen belly.

We waited.

Then: bump!

Did you feel that!? 

We grinned.

A kick.

Three weeks later, I feel those kicks every hour of every day. I wait with anticipation for the serendipitous moment when my son will feel them too. His little hands explore my belly impatiently; we wait for that moment when his touch will match up with his brothers' kicks.

These kicks from the inside do exactly the opposite of the blows I endured for years. While they knocked me down, these build me up. While they took my breathe away, I inhale these deeply with delight. While they caused me great pain, these bring me great joy.

This weekend my husband, son, and I were shopping, talking to a sales person. Halfway through a sentence I lost my breathe and winced a little. I stopped and smiled at their expressions:

Don't worry. I said, I'm just being kicked. 


1 comment:

  1. I continue to be inspired by the spiritual perspectives you share. My journey is so different from yours, yet I still am so touched by the way you share so openly and honestly about your faith. Thank you! And may God continue to bless you and keep you. I pray for you, your babies and your family every time I read one of your posts.


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