I began 2011 with a vision for the year: The Year of the Cup. I imagined the twelve months before me as empty vessels to be filled with God’s trademark creativity, blessing, and challenge. And fill He did. Filled with giggles, nose pickings, imaginary friends, ocean swimming, summer swinging, temper tantrums, and talk-talk-talking. Little Friend is enough to fill anyone’s cup.
Then, back in September, we found out that our cup was going to get one baby fuller. Little Friend grew into Big Sister to a brand new Little One.
It’s a lot to adjust to, those first pregnant weeks, when exhaustion drops like a blanket each afternoon, smells become unbearably poignant, and nausea tip-toes in the door of the day.
I would have written about this family expansion long before now had it not been for some unexpected roller coaster climbs and drops to this pregnancy. Namely, when we went in for an early ultrasound, we discovered that Little One was not just One, but Two. We spent the next eight weeks of the pregnancy mentally adjusting to the idea of TWINS (capital letters, in my mind, always) while we watched two hearts flap wings in silent flight on the ultrasound screen.
Then came week 14 of the pregnancy.
At a routine OB visit, just one heartbeat thumped through the crackle of the monitor. A second ultrasound showed the newest truth we’d need to adjust to: Little One stretched her(?) legs up, raised a hand in leisurely salute to the sonogram wand’s probing eye. The black hole where we had previously watched Little Two’s butterfly heart was just that…a black hole.
I peeked over the ultrasound tech’s shoulder to read the clinical diagnosis: “Diagnosed Demise of Baby B.” I actually find comfort in this word “Demise.” When I had to tell friends and family who had celebrated Little One and Little Two’s lives with us for the past eight weeks, I found myself falling back on the phrase, “We lost one of the twins.” And I came to despise those words: “We lost a baby.” Saying it like that, I feel responsible to go looking for and finding, at all costs, what we’ve lost.
And I can’t find what we’ve lost. Demise is a better word. A more final word.
That’s the grief of this pregnancy, the drop in the roller coaster’s thrill ride.
But I can’t stop there. Because we have joy, too. A coaster’s climb into joy.
Joy that Little One is still with us, growing, expanding, heart fluttering, kicking at the sides of my belly as I type.
Little Friend is convinced she is Big Sister to a Little Sister. No “Baby Boy Sisters”, as she calls them, for this family. We’ve elected to wait until those final moments of delivery to find out the gender of Little One, but Little Friend in the meantime frequently discusses the issue with Jesus:
“Hey Jesus,” she says, head dropped down toward her belly (where Jesus lives, she’s convinced.) “Jesus, can I have a Baby Sister?” [Slight pause.] “He said ‘Yes.’ He will keep the Baby Boy Twin in heaven with him, and the Baby Girl Twin can be mine.”
Sometimes the simple faith of a child is the most healing balm of all.
So until May 15, when Little One is due to make her(?) appearance in the world, we pray for a smooth roller coaster ride of ups and more ups.
Then we’ll say with heartfelt gratitude, “Our cup overflows.”