All Things Do Work Together For Good
My youngest son got married this weekend.
He was the child I was never going to have.
I got married the month after I graduated from college.
I married my high school sweetheart.
We spent three years getting used to marriage, then had a daughter and a son right on schedule. Thirteen months later I got pregnant by accident.
I was devastated. I was panicked. I'd never done anything "unplanned" in my life. Just as I was getting used to the idea of having a baby when I hadn't intended to - I had a miscarriage. It all happened in about twelve hours. And I was devastated again.
No one could tell me what happened - or why. These things just sometimes happen. Yeah, well, maybe to other people, but it had never happened to me before. I wanted answers. I wanted to understand what had gone wrong. But no one could tell me.
My husband would find me crying and assure me I could not have wished away a baby. I'd look at my year-old son and my three-and-a-half-year-old daughter and know that baby would have been just like one of them. How had I ever not wanted it? Him? Her?
I started to think maybe two children were enough. We'd started out wanting four. After my second child, as an Army wife left alone so much, I was ready to say "enough." But I really didn't want it all to end with a miscarriage. So we were discussing when and if we might want to try again for a third, when, low and behold, I got pregnant again - by accident!
But this time I was thrilled. And grateful. And terrified. I had to get past the thirteenth week before I would even tell anyone. That's how far I'd gotten the last time. After that I caught every flu bug, every infection, every seasonal allergy, and was generally miserable. I was more than thirty years old, and having a baby was no longer like falling off a log. Plus I had two preschoolers to chase after, and I was five to eight months pregnant during the summer in Georgia. I wanted to hang a sign around my neck that read "I didn't do this on purpose."
The other two had each come four days early, so I started expecting labor a week before my due date. Not smart. Makes . . .time . . drag . . .by . . . Also, this time I knew what was coming. It was the eighties and natural childbirth was expected. Well, I'd already done that twice, actually three times, and I knew how overrated it really was. I'd talked to my doctor about an epidural and fully intended to go the easy route this time. I'd had my daughter after two hours at the hospital. My son arrived a half hour after we made it to the hospital. I was expecting a record-short, medically-assisted delivery. I already had my badges of courage. I no longer needed to prove anything to anybody as a woman bringing a baby into the world.
This third baby did arrive four days prior to my due date. But he took eleven hours. My other two labors added together and quadrupled. Oh, I had my epidural all right. Plus this was my first through-the-night labor. No sleep. Transition at five a.m.! I was exhausted.
But then he finally came. And what a happy, easy-going little guy he turned out to be. Ladies at church would literally pull me into the nursery for me to see him smile. They didn't realize it was hardly news to me. He smiled all the time. People would ask me what kind of feeding schedule he was on. I'd tell them if he wasn't strapped into his car seat, I fed him. Hey, he had two busy siblings from day one. He was lucky he got fed at all!
But he was a delight. He was my "All things work together for good" baby. The one I would not have had if things had gone according to my master plan. The one who last Saturday stood tall under the oak tree with the sun setting over the pasture and promised to love, honor and cherish another woman.
It's OK. It's the way it should be. All things do work together for good.