The most significant bathroom break, ever.
“Jean Marie,” read the very short text from my husband.
I was at a red light when I read it, out doing errands with my 13 year-old son, Grant. It was five days after my mother had passed. Her name was Jean Elaine.
“Wha…???” was my response, aloud.
I called my husband. “Are you saying that if we have another baby, you want to name her after my mother? You know I hate the name Marie.”
Our youngest turned four in October. I will turn 40 in June of next year. I’ve wanted “just one more” for a couple of years now… It just never felt like our family was complete. I wanted one more shot at having a home birth. I wanted one more baby to nurse. I just… wanted another baby.
My husband? Not so much. I would bring it up about once every six months — enough to let him know it was still on my heart, but not enough so that it was nagging. It’s not a good idea to nag one’s husband into having a baby, I figured. We needed to be in it TOGETHER, wholeheartedly.
“It’s already too noisy in here,” he would say.
“WHAT??” was my kind response. “You’re vetoing the life of a child based upon the noise factor??”
“Yes,” he replied with finality. “And I’m not ashamed to admit it. One more baby would send me over the edge, noise-wise.”
I couldn’t help but persist, “But a baby doesn’t make much noise. A three year-old makes a lot of noise.”
“Yes,” he agreed, “But that baby grows up to be a three year-old.”
“But by that time, Ethan [our oldest, who is 15] will likely be out of the house.”
“That doesn’t count,” he replied, “Ethan hardly makes any noise at all.”
I had to admit he was right about that.
So, when the thought would surface, as it often did, I would just submit the whole thing to God, to His plan, to His timing… I spent much time wondering if that was just the way He made my heart: That I would always long for another baby, and that I was to funnel that into encouraging and equipping other mothers in their efforts to birth naturally. And, it hasn’t escaped my notice that I could be a grandmother before the decade is out. Maybe He was preparing my heart for that.
About a week prior to that text, I was at my mother’s bedside, praying. She had been in the hospital for nearly three weeks. She had had a series of strokes, plus the doctors had discovered a large, vegetative growth on one of the valves of her heart, which was likely sending off bits of itself around her body, resulting in the strokes, as well as threatening the viability of her heart. She had been in poor health before those incidents: complications from Marfan Syndrome, two extensive back surgeries, a nerve problem similar to multiple sclerosis (CIDP), a half-paralyzed diaphragm that caused one lung to continually fill with fluid… And on top of THAT, she had aspirated a bunch of fluid and now her good lung was full and not functioning well.
It was a hard time. During the first two weeks, I was at the hospital nearly every day. The last week, I was there almost 24/7. She needed someone continually at her side, and as good as the care in the hospital was, they just couldn’t provide that. My stepdad took many days off from work — he works part time as a school music teacher — and is not in great physical health himself. My sister works a “part time” job that is just a few hours shy of full-time, plus has a two-year-old daughter. My older brother flew in from Texas for a time, and my younger brother drove down from Portland… But eventually, TJ had to fly back to Texas, and Brian felt like he was behind the eight-ball, knowing how to care and advocate for our mom. Everyone pitched in as they could; everyone spent hours with my mother; everyone spent nights at the hospital. We called on friends and extended family to fill in the odd hours when no immediate family could be present. But in the last week, I was the one able to be there most often.
I was continually thankful, especially that last week, for children who are acquainted with our routine enough to manage fairly well without me. My dear husband, too, felt very strongly that someone should be with my mother continually, and was very supportive of me being there so much. I was also thankful that, with our move, I was less than two miles from the hospital. And for us homeschooling, which lends a great deal of flexibility to our schedule, further enabling me to be there.
“And…” I reluctantly prayed, “I have to admit your wisdom, God, in not allowing me to have a baby, much as I have wanted one. If I had an infant right now… or even a two-year-old, this would not be possible. Instead, I am able to be here at my mom’s bedside when she needs me.”
I was incredibly thankful for that.
During her last weeks, my mom would drift in and out of lucidity. She would often be asleep, and visitors and conversation continued in her room. It was always pleasant. One of my favorite things about that time is the peace and kindness present in the room, by the Holy Spirit and His work in my mother’s life. I had so many great conversations with family members and with friends who had come to spend some time with my mother.
My husband and I have five children; most of my parents’ friends know that. And when one has “a bunch” of children, it is frequently asked of me, “Are you going to have any more?” As a response to that question, one of the several times it was posed to me there in the hospital by a visitor, I responded by saying that only a few months ago, my mother had said to me, unprompted, “I know you and Martin aren’t likely to have any more children. And I think that for most families, six children would be problematic. But I want you to know that I think it would be fine if you have more children. If any family should have more children, it should be yours.”
After I related that story, my mom, with eyes closed — I had thought she was asleep! — piped up weakly, “It’s because you’re such a good mother.”
Back to the conversation following the text from my husband, I continued, saying, “I’m really glad you are… amenable to the idea of having more children, but I’m not pregnant. I would know.”
He responded, “I was just going to the bathroom…”
Let me interject here to say that my husband’s work-bathroom-break-prayer-times have always been inspirational to me. How often have I, as a stay-at-home, homeschooling mother of five, thought — or said, “I just don’t have enough time for a ‘real’ quiet time.” However, I have long known that Martin uses those few minutes of alone-time, purposefully to check in with God. It doesn’t take long, really, to reconnect with Him. Martin prays about what’s on his mind. He listens to anything the Father might say in return, all accomplished within a few minutes in the middle of his busy day. I now do similarly.
“…and I feel like God spoke to me,” he continued. “If you are pregnant — and I think you are — and if it is a girl — and I think it is — we’re going to name her after your mom. I’m not tied to the middle name, but her first name will be Jean.”
I was shocked.
“But I’m not pregnant!” I repeated.
“Go get a test,” he responded.
“What if I am?” I asked, “Are you going to have a hard time with it?”
“Nope. God spoke to me. I already dealt with it. It’s all good.”
I really don’t like that saying: “It’s all good.” But in this instance, I did.
I also have to interject a positive note for serving a God who SPEAKS, a God who speaks TODAY to the people He loves, if their ears are tuned to His voice, not only through His Word — the Bible — but directly from His Spirit into our spirit, into our thoughts, into our lives, RIGHT NOW, words of significance to where we are in our daily lives, in our minute-by-minute concerns, in our current needs. What if we didn’t? What if my husband didn’t? What if I got pregnant and he was upset? That had been my lone concern about becoming pregnant: I’d be thrilled, my husband would be distressed and worried, and I’d have to spend nine months reassuring him that it would be OK, and knowing that we weren’t in unity… I didn’t know if I could handle that. But, in a few minutes, within the space of a bathroom break, God spoke to my husband and changed his mind entirely on the subject.
“Go get a test,” he repeated.
And I am.
Baby Jean will be born likely the end of June, next year, just after my 40th.
Posted on November 12, 2012, in Babies, Birth, Birthdays, Christian Living, Extended Family, Family, Health, Homeschooling, Marriage, Motherhood, Pregnancy, Prophetic, Sad Things, The Dear Hubby, The Kids. Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.