I hadn’t felt normal for several days, so I decided to skulk into Wal Mart, snatch the first pregnancy test within reach off the shelf, and slide it under my purse, which was strategically awaiting its purpose, as a shield, within my cart. I casually threw a tube of toothpaste into my cart while strolling nonchalantly up to the self check-out aisle. I wondered if anybody had seen me.
Quickly I slid the test across the screen while trying to pry the stubborn plastic bag open. Did the kid behind me see? Why did he need to buy gum from my aisle?
Minutes later, in a Barnes and Nobles bathroom stall, I stood shaking while trying to read the words. “Darn!, I need my reading glasses. Oh my! PREGNANT! I can’t believe I’m pregnant. I’m 45, how can I be pregnant? I’ve got a nursing 13 month old. Pregnant! I’m so scared! I’m, alone. No, I’m not alone. I’ve got the baby, my husband, God. Oh! I can’t believe this happened again so soon.” I start crying and pray for my tiny, unborn child. “Please, God, keep my baby safe.” I love my child already.
I stumble to the Family Life aisle and begin flipping through pregnancy books. I’m a Book Junkie. My cell phone rings. My friend bursts through the cell phone, “Stacy, are you pregnant?” I look around. I search the aisles. Is someone watching me? I respond with a giggle, “Now what would make you ask such a question?” And I tell her I’m not. And by the way, where IS she?
During the drive home I ponder. Like Mary, I hold the mysterious baby in my heart. Now I have my response to another 45-year-old mother of 11, who wondered how I was handling fertility in my mid 40s. I was receiving, with joy, any gift God wanted to give my husband and me. For my 46th birthday, I would have a newborn. How Awe-some. How incredulous I feel. How I praise God.
I pull up in the driveway planning to tell my husband the happy news that night. Instead, my 4 year old greets me with a mouthful of blood and a handful of teeth. Several hectic days of swim meets, football games, and house-guests follow. I hold the secret, cradled with love, in my womb.
Finally, on Sunday morning, I call my husband who is at a swim meet several hours away. I tell him I’ve been meaning to tell him something: “I’m pregnant”. “You’re pregnant!” he rejoins. “Why are you telling me over the phone?” I reply, “Because I’m miscarrying.” And I begin to weep. I tell him how I realized my loss at church and how I found Father Mark to bless us. I recount Father Mark’s sad face and his impassioned, “Call me if you need me.” I cry, into the darkness, that Father blessed us with water from the Baptism of the Lord.
My husband tells me how sorry he is and how, “We’ll try again”. (We weren’t “trying” before). I end the conversation with, “The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Like Joseph who was believed dead by Isaac, our beloved child has gone away for a time. He prays for us and will lead us safely home. My 12th child will always be remembered as my “little one” who was so loved by God that he went directly to the Heavenly Banquet on the Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord. He adores God night and day singing, “Holy! Holy! Holy! Lord. God of power and might!”
“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.”
Into His hands I commend my baby.
“The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord”