Saturday, December 17, 2011

From Chris' Perspective (get comfy; it's a little longer)

It’s the night before we finally begin the process of meeting Hallie. I can’t believe we’re already here. I’ve been sitting rather quietly for the last six months regarding Hallie, especially in social media. I tend to speak confidently about the things I (at least think I) fully understand. This has not been one of those things...until now.

I’ve felt a responsibility to be careful about my public thoughts on the pregnancy. I don’t want to mislead people about what it’s really like. Most of us can’t process something like this when asked. We need time, maybe a lot of it. I, nor Katie, are attempting to be awesome, amazing, or even full of faith. Those words have definitely been an encouragement as we look at each other and ask: “we are?”

Let me explain.

When we found out about Hallie having Trisomy 13, I’d never been so knocked off-kilter. I am ashamed to say (in full disclosure), I found myself considering the humane (for us) option doctors seemed to push often: terminating the pregnancy. Although that was a very short-lived emotion, my immediate, horribly weak response in desperation was to control the outcome of the pregnancy, even if it meant: abortion. [For the record, Katie never wavered once. She’s the amazing one!]

Let me explain further while I digress for a moment.

I watched a documentary earlier this year called “Anvil: The Story of Anvil.” It’s a rockumentary about an 80’s hair-metal-band that almost made fame, but just missed. The story was sad, because it displayed these men’s childlike bliss still chasing a dream that will clearly never happen.

(Now on to the point…) For whatever reason, after finishing the movie, I felt an overwhelming sadness come over me. I went back to the bedroom, woke Katie up, and cried my eyes out as I told her that I thought we were about to have a season of sorrow. The feeling was so palpable; I could taste its truth.

I don’t claim to be a prophet. I don’t tend to lean heavily on strong emotions. However, I cried like a baby. That never happens, and I knew something was coming.

I didn’t tell anyone (but Katie) because…well…I didn't want people to think I’m crazy. Try this on for crazy: I watched the documentary on June 14, and we found out about the problem with Hallie on June 23. Remarkable.

I was certain that God was preparing us ahead of time for a bomb. It’s as if he was saying: “Chris, it’s going to get ugly for a while, and I need you to know something: I know what I’m doing, and you can trust Me.”

Now…let’s go back to the diagnosis moment before I digressed…

I forgot about this whole prophetic experience when we found out about the diagnosis. It was just a week prior! My mind didn’t go to what I was certain that God had told me. It went to how I will control the outcome of the pregnancy, and how I can create security where there seems to be none. How faithful am I now?

I mean…there are some serious feelings at play here.

At first, at that early stage of pregnancy, I was worried about having a special needs baby for which to care for my entire life. I was worried about the intense emotional destruction of possibly losing a baby. I was worried about the expenses of care and constant testing. I was worried about her actually living, not dying. How faithful is that?!?

June 23, 2011, was my faith crossroads. And…after most of the emotion subsided, and we found out the final diagnosis on June 27, I began to reassemble my faith in a God who knew exactly where we’d been, where we were, and where He was taking us.

The aching emotion that both Katie and I felt for a long time is this: Katie is going to carry a baby for nine (actually ten) months, pregnancy pains, varicose veins, constant discomfort, gaining weight, maternity clothes, wearing the same jeans every day, swollen everything, and gracefully smiling at those who squeal “congratulations” when they see her bulbous belly…after going through all of that…we would have absolutely nothing to show for it.

But if there's one thing I've learned this year, we already have plenty to show for it.

Katie and I are as solid as ever. Our marriage has matured greatly. For those who think the bond of marriage has anything to do with happiness, it doesn’t. There were many nights driving home from work that I dreaded having to see Katie cry yet another night. These last six months have not been “happy.” But just as truth is sometimes bitter to the taste, we’ve found a new normal…much greater than the cheap and often-temporary emotion of happiness. We have discovered a level of joy and gratitude that has reconstituted our marriage, our family, and us.

We’ve seen our family, friends, and church surround us in prayer, offer service, and provide gifts. We’re beginning to understand what “loving others” really means. We’ve never needed it, and until you do, it’s a mystery. We’re not kids anymore, and life has become a richer gift.

This experience has also provided me with a new perspective on my relationship with my children, Bella and Farrah. You might think that losing a child would cause you to hold your other children a little tighter. But honestly, I think that creates an anxiety that God does not wish for us. Hallie has taught us to let go of our wishes for our children, so that God may be glorified through them. (I can’t believe God has brought me to a place where I can say this. And, it will be a constant struggle for the rest of my life.)

We are now hours away from the pleasure of seeing our third-born daughter, Hallie. And as every parent clings to the hope that their child will accomplish great things in life, I have no doubt that Hallie has already exceeded my wildest expectations.

I hope you choose to see God in your circumstances. He’s there, and I’m thankful that He trusted us with Hallie. I only hope we’ve been a good steward of our time with her, and your time watching her little life develop.

We appreciate your prayers as we begin Phase Two of our journey: the birth.

(Katie, good LORD, you are amazing. I respect, honor, admire, and adore you more and more every day. Thank you for giving me perfect children, and for selflessly bearing the burden of being pregnant for three years of your life. I hope I can be as faithful to you, as you’ve always been to me. I love you.)

-Chris

30 comments:

Katie said...

Brought to tears- what an amazing story God is writing in your lives & sweet Hallie's through all of this. Thank you both for sharing this journey with us!! Praying for a safe delivery & can't wait to see pictures!!

Kelly Ford said...

Bawling now.
Seriously... there are no words.
Wow.

shea said...

As always, thank you for sharing your lives with us. May God continue to bless you all.

Beth Lathem said...

Katie and Chris....WOW...you both are so amazing and God has definately blessed you all with love, caring, and faith in him and each other. I will continue to be praying for all of you through this birth of Hallie and please know what a blessing you both are to everyone. Love you guys!

RB said...

Hi, guys...
I'm a little embarrassed to say that I haven't read your blog in a while and I had no idea that you all were going through this time in expectation of sweet Hallie. I am crying with you as I read some of the posts, and rejoicing with you as I see how God is already using this little life to show you how big He is and how near He is. It took me quite a while to see just how strong He is in our weakness when we give it over to Him, after losing my sister (almost 3 years ago, now), but He is so strong and so near. And He doesn't just sit in the pain and suffering with us, He uses it to transform us and show us who He really is. What a gift!
I am praying for you and your family and your sweet little baby girl, right now. God loves you and He loves her so much. We may never fully know in this lifetime, just how much. Just wanted you to know that even out on the west coast, you are covered and interceded for.

Love you! ~Rachel Bos
Isaiah 43:1-3

Tara said...

WOW! So well written. Praying for your family as you enter the hospital today.

apitts said...

I am praying for all of you. We surrendered our 4th child, Matthew, to our Lord on Jan. 23, 2010. He had trisomy 18, and decided to meet us at only 29 weeks. Carrying him knowing the possibility of losing him was both the most difficult and joyous experience of my life. He brought us so many blessings and touched so many lives during his brief time with us. I pray that you are able to continue to see the blessings in this journey and that your hearts will be full of joy despite the difficulties that may lie ahead.

Whittakerwoman said...

Loved this Chris! Thank you! H

Anne Baker said...

Katie and Chris,
I can't tell you how much this post means to me; thank you for giving us a true glimpse into your process and the way the Lord has led you to so many new perspectives and blessings through this wrenching process. Beautiful. I'm praying for you as you enter this new part of this journey and am inspired for my own life as well.

KatAp said...

You guys have been on my heart so much today. Chris, thanks for courageously sharing your thoughts and how this journey has impacted you. Hallie's life is such a gift -- and I suspect that all the days of your lives, you two will say that Hallie was the most meaningful, life-changing, ever-deepening gift, besides Jesus, you've ever received. She is refining you, and she probably will until your dying day. I can't imagine what the next days will hold or all you will feel, but our good God will be with you every moment. I am praying that you can have joy in whatever time God grants you with Hallie and that she shows you more clearly than ever before how beautiful the gift of Jesus coming to earth as a baby is. I am praying that this Christmas your hearts are bound more intimately to our God, that your peace passes all understanding, and that Hallie's life is a continual song of Hallelujah to our King. We are praying and praying and praying.

Anonymous said...

Chris, Thank you for sharing your thoughts so honestly. You have learned the lesson we trisomy 13/18 parents come to learn very early. That is, indeed, these little ones are perfect. They are a different kind of perfect than our society would describe or understand.
Research reveals that when parents reflect on the lives of these little ones they unanimously describe them as enriching, with most marriages improved. Most state that if faced with the same situation, they'd do it all again.
My prayers are with you both as you prepare to meet your sweet baby Hallie- such a very special gift-the gift of humanity.

Sue Hankins said...

Well your journey has been a gift to all of us who watch from outside.... your thoughts so real, so poignant, so powerful. I hope that God does give you peace. Hallie has touched us all in such a positive way. We have you in the light....shining bright as Hallie does.

Becca said...

This is so beautiful - found your blog through Katherine and will be p raying for you guys!!

Might as well, can't dance... said...

Amazing words that touch the heart...
Praying for comfort ans strength... You are an amazing family!

mbehm said...

I saw your link on another blog, and will be praying for your family tonight. I know that Hallie was fearfully and wonderfully made for YOU....and what a gift she will be. Will be praying for an easy delivery and some sweet time with your precious baby girl.
"Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand" Isaiah 41:10 NLT

Julie Tiemann said...

Seriously... What does one even say... Other than "full of faith" or not, watching you two love Hallie, love each other, love your girls, and love your God, is an honor and a privilege. I have no idea how you've done it, but somehow you've maintained your faith but also kept it real, even on the hardest of days. I continue to be moved by your faithfulness, your love and your transparency. Right now I pray above all that you will feel God's Presence and Peace in such a tangible way in the days to come that others will be awed by how awesome our God is. I am praying for precious time with Hallie, and that this will be a time of pure joy and pleasure for your entire family. God can do that. And if anyone could let Him, it's y'all. Much love from all of us.

celia said...

I will be praying for your family and baby hallie. What amazing faith you have.

Katie said...

Your family continues to be in my thoughts and prayers especially tomorrow. My son Mitchell has trisomy 13, he just turned 7 on Friday. I can relate to so many of your feelings-though we did not know before he was born. Hugs to your family as you travel down this road it is not an easy one, but I've never heard a mom/dad of a baby w/trisomy wish they haven't traveled it-no matter if they met their child for 5 minutes or 5 years. Many many prayers for you.

Beth.. One Blessed Nana said...

praying for you all as you await the culmination of this step in the journey that God has laid out for you. I pray that He overwhelms you with goodness and that you sense His presence with you every step of the way.

Anonymous said...

Dear mom and dad,
Thank you for giving me life and love!
See you tomorrow!
Love, Hallie

Anonymous said...

Praying for you and your family. Katie and Chris you have shown the true light of God through this experience. I have been inspired by your story of faith and courage. Stay strong!

-Erin weaver

Travis Fish said...

Blown away at how God has worked through you both and I can't wait to see how he will continue. Praying for you guys tonight! Your Heavenly Father is right by your side.

Dawn Murphy said...

Katie and Chris,
I feel so blessed to say what an amazing story being written for your Hallie. I have been following the blog for sometime. Praying for all of you. I know and believe that God is totally in control of all of this. He is amazing and never gives us anything we can't handle. I know that if he brings us to it he will most surely will bring us through it. Take peace in knowing that you are adding a beautiful gift to your already precious family. Thank you both for sharing this gift with us. I pray for the entire staff of Dr's & nurses that they hear what God has in store for them as this new miracle joins your lives,and that they will truly know he is the great physician. God Bless each and everyone of you in both sides of the family. You both are incredible examples of what Christ has taught us. Love and prayers to you. Jim & Dawn Murphy

Jordan Baker Watts said...

Chris - I just saw Reid Greven post a request for folks to pray for you guys on FB, so I stumbled on your blog. I had no idea...You guys are amazing. I've read your wife's blogs - she is clearly a very, very special woman. I am praying for your family today, and will keep doing so in the future. You guys have encouraged me today with your writing and with your faith - thank you. I'm forwarding the link to some other friends to ask them to pray for ya'll as well.

Masi said...

Dont know you guys....but follow several people on Twitter that pointed me to your blog! My my my how Hallie on her birthday has just challenged my life! Her story and your devotion to all Mighty God has caused me to pause as I drive up I75 and reflect on His faithfulness! Much love my friends by social media....He is changing lives through you and Hallie!

To Him be the glory....great things He hath done!
Masi

Lucy C. Holloway said...

this is a lovely post. thank you for sharing with us throughout your journey, and i pray that god will continue to bless your adorable little family.

Eldabee said...

I should NOT have read this at work. Chris, you amaze me. I can't even begin to tell you how much your family is on my mind and in my prayers.

Anisa said...

Thanks for your honesty. What a great post and Hallie is lucky to have you both. Praying for all.

Sherri D said...

Seriously couldn't read that without crying. I was trying to read it to John, and finally just had to hand the phone over. We have been praying for you guys for the past six months, and our hearts are especially with you today, as you meet your sweet Hallie. We are here for ANYTHING you need!

Dana + Ryan said...

God bless you all for letting us see a glimpse of what you are enduring. You are doing God's work.