Nine years ago, I was a young mother, blessed beyond measure with three healthy, beautiful babies. While none of our pregnancies came easily, I held on to the hope of having just one more. It wasn't happening, and Steve and I were just beginning to think about possible adoption, when one day after picking the kids up from school, I began to feel tremendous pain. Steve eventually talked me into going to my doctor, who immediately admitted me to the hospital. At this time, our children were eleven, seven, and five. My sister and mother came to stay with the kids while Steve waited with me at the hospital. Finally, with the help of medication, my pain subsided, and my doctor came in to tell us that I was pregnant! It was very early on, and he had some concerns. I will always remember how he sat down and spoke with me, as opposed to at me, and explained that he was a doctor, not God, and only God knew what would happen to this new little soul.
Later that evening, after Steve had left to go home to our little ones, I prayed until I fell asleep. I had a dream that night, a dream that this baby was a little girl, and when I awoke, I decided to call her Grace. Steve arrived, and while we talked, he told me that he felt too the baby was a girl, and so she became our little Grace. I was discharged after a few days, and while my HCG levels were not rising, I held out hope. My doctor discharged me with strict instructions to rest, and told me to call him when the bleeding started. It didn't hit me until I was home. He said when... not if...the bleeding started.
Steve and I decided then we would not share the news of this baby with our children. I realize this is not a decision everyone would make. For us, it was the right one. Our children wanted a baby as badly as we did. They prayed for a new baby all the time. We just couldn't explain this situation to them when it was so raw to us. And they were still so young.
Eventually I did in fact experience the heart wrenching ache of losing a baby. I experienced a miscarriage, and spent the following week having my blood tested to watch the HCG levels diminish. It was the most emotionally, physically, and mentally difficult period of my life. But my faith carried me through that dark time. And God let me know that our Grace was with Him, and we would be reunited with her someday.
I will never forget the ways that our sweet Grace reached across eternity to let us know she was happy and safe and at home with God. The first time it happened was shortly after our loss. I was giving Rhett a bath, and suddenly he looked right at me. Out of the clear blue, he said, "Mom...I gave my guardian angel a name. I named her Grace." I will never forget the feeling of our baby letting me know that she would always be with us. I literally felt her. I knew. I just knew.
A few weeks later, Steve and I went to the gift shop at the convent here in town. We were looking for something that would keep our little Grace near to us and a part of our family as well. The sweet little nun helped us pick out the perfect piece, and as we were leaving she smiled and told us that God would bless us again very soon. I felt a sense of peace come over me when she spoke those words, and I clung to them during the difficult months that followed.
Later that year, on the day our little Grace was due to be born, Steve took me out for the day. We went to lunch at Red Lobster, and yet again I experienced the goodness of God. After we were seated, our waitress made her way over to our table. She was so happy, and approached our table smiling. Before she said a word, I knew. I just knew. She smiled again and said hello. Her name? Grace.
Finally, when we arrived home that day, the day our baby was due to be born, I saw that we had received a letter from our friend Father Leon. On the back of the envelope, he had placed a sticker. The sticker was of a young girl with long brown hair. She had angel wings. I knew once more. It was my Grace.
I am so thankful for those messages from God. Although this is a very personal part of our lives, I share it to give anyone who is in the same situation hope and peace...hope for the future and peace in knowing that God hears all prayers, and answers them in His own way, in His own time.
A year and a half or so after we lost our Grace and were comforted by a sweet nun in her gift shop, we welcomed our surprise blessing...our Flynn. Flynn Grace. I am convinced that our precious Flynn was sent here for us by not only God, but also by her sister Grace, as a sign that God does indeed hear all prayers. Our family is proof of that.
Including our little Grace...
And the sign that touched my heart and let me know that our Grace was happy in Heaven.