You should see the looks on some peoples faces when they hear I have 5 boys. Everything from shock, to big wonderful smiles…
Those are the ones I like the best.
I’ve heard everything from “are you insane?” to, “are they ALL yours??” what we were you thinking?” to the worst one…” you poor woman”‘, I rarely tell them I actually have 10… 5 here and 5 in Heaven.
I’ve learned to laugh it off, but it still hurts, every time. I’ve answered with ” no, they aren’t all mine I just like to gather the neighborhood kids and take them grocery shopping with me”, ~ One cashier at the grocery store said…”My you must really like kids” to which I replied…Nope it is just the sex I like. That left her speechless!
Now, ironically, 20 years ago, I had to bear the questions ” so, when are you going to have a baby?” ” Haven’t you two figured it out yet?”.. I had no quick comebacks, I was wondering the same thing. All I wanted to be was a wife and mother! I mostly just answered honestly with, “actually we are trying”, or “well, I’m recovering from a miscarriage, so hopefully one day soon”. Those answers taught me to NEVER ask someone when they were going to have a baby.
We spent the first few years of our marriage dealing with first, infertility, and then miscarriages. I can’t tell you which is worse, never being pregnant, or having to deal with the grief of losing a little life. I knew God had given me the vocation of marriage and motherhood, why would he not give me the babies? We decided to go to an infertility specialist and he got me started on fertility pills, they were horrible, I became a different, angry woman. The hormones were more than my emotions could bear. I quickly went off them, as I was not a nice person to live with, my poor husband!
When we first found out we were pregnant, drug free, in 1994 we were ecstatic! We couldn’t believe we had finally conceived! We announced it to everyone and thanked God for finally blessing us with a baby. This joy ended quickly when we learned it had not made it much past fertilization. It was completely devastating. I went through pretty much all of those stages of grief they tell you about. But I was never really angry. Just really, really sad. It hurt – like, physically made my heart ache. I allowed myself to feel whatever emotions I needed to feel. I balled up on the floor and just cried and cried. The sadness came in waves. One day I would be totally fine and accepting of what had happened, and the next day I would have moments where I just needed to cry for a while. We had prayed for and wanted that baby so badly, we would never be able to hold that little child or watch him grow up.. I thought about the life that would never be, and what that life might have been like. The birthday parties and milestones that would never happen. Sure, maybe we could have another baby, but we’d never have that baby.
I carried on, trying to live life as ” normal”. I filled my life with great people and things to do. In January, 1995, we found out again that we were expecting.
New hope and joy, and cautious optimism grew into reality as I made it, week after week, no problems! I worked in a preschool and of course caught a cold, and one day at 10 weeks I was in bed, coughing, I felt a pop, and a gush, and knew, it was my water. I went to the doctor and heard the baby’s heartbeat. All was well -for now. I was put on bed rest and we prayed, hoping the water would replace itself. Every two days we went back to have a listen, and it was still strong. 2 weeks weeks went by, then one night I woke up, not for any reason, but with an empty knowledge that the baby was gone. That morning at the doctor, there was no heartbeat. He sent us for an ultrasound to confirm, and we got to see our baby, perfectly perfect on the screen.
SU-CHIN (calling out) Juno! Your baby probably has a beating heart, you know. It can feel pain. And it has fingernails.
JUNO Really? Fingernails?
We wept and wept, and the radiologist left us alone with tears in his eyes. He said his daughter had just turned 1 that day, and he was so sorry for us. That was a gift to us – not all doctors are as sensitive. I thanked him later in a letter.
We went home and waited for things to happen. A small cramp a few days later took me to the bathroom to see my baby, on his way out. I caught him in my hand and screamed to my husband. He came running and saw the baby, tiny little arms, legs and even fingernails. And it looked like a boy. We named him Michael and sat for hours, there in the bathroom, holding him, crying, praying, and marvelling at God’s handiwork. Finally we found a little box, and buried him by the Magnolia tree we planted for our first baby, we had named Maggie.
It was April, just after Easter, and I was in a numb, shock like state. One day, feeling at my worst, I went for a walk in the forest near my home and found myself beside a stream surrounded by trilliums. Feeling alone enough and safe to cry out loud, I began to really cry,and then yell. Really yell out loud at God. I wailed and imagined myself hitting his chest and screaming “Why??” In the beauty of the forest, I sensed God’s presence. I sensed him saying it was okay to let it out, to be mad, that he could handle it.
I cried until there were no tears left. In the quiet, I sat empty watching the stream, wondering how I was going to move on. I felt so helpless. I had no way to protect these babies I was given. Never had I ever surrendered my life to God. I thought I was in control. I went to my knees and gave God my life, and felt myself resting in his arms. I asked him to make something good come out of my pain. At that time, I did not even know how He would do this?
My husband suggested we get away for a while, from the well meaning “how are you’s”, and “I’m sorry’s”. We took a road trip to Saskatchewan. Hours and hours of driving in comfortable silence, talking about it when I needed to and crying when I needed to. It was a quiet time of healing, just me and my hubby, who knew what I needed most.
I had more peace than I can explain after that. Yes grief, but a calm peace that allowed me to carry on.
About a year later, in 1996 after an intense prayer and healing experience while on a retreat down in Arizona , we found out about pregnancy # 3. This time, we braced ourselves, did not feel happy, or feel hopeful. As expected, I lost a tiny little clot one day, that was all, and I knew it was the little embryo. I was numb,neither happy nor sad.We went to the doctor for confirmation. There was no baby on the ultrasound but amazingly, a full bed of lining waiting to be discharged. Not wanting surgery again, I decided to wait to pass it naturally. It was taking a long time, almost a month and I was getting impatient. I wanted to move on, try again and get on with life.So, the day I was getting ready to go to the doctor to get a prescription to start taking hormones to induce a period, I was in the shower and heard myself singing ” I’m gonna wait till the midnight hour…” And then, the word WAIT was loud and clear. Suddenly it felt like a neon sign lit up above my head flashing the word WAIT. so, following my gut, I cancelled my app’t and waited.. Shortly after, we found out it was a good thing we waited -we were expecting baby number four. This time this baby lived, it was Nathaniel who just turned 17.
I believe with my whole heart, that that baby’s purpose was for it’s younger brother to have a nice healthy bed to implant in. Suddenly I began to see that all life has purpose, whether it’s 100 years or 3 weeks, each soul, created by God is made to fulfil his plan.
All those years, my desperate prayers and tears,and all along he was saying, “no, my plan is perfect. I am your Father and I know what’s best . Trust me.” I can see in hindsight how His “no” set the stage for something better. Something I could never have achieved without Him. His plan for me, for those babies who died, was perfect!
The next 8 years went by with joy as babies were conceived and born healthy 3 yrs apart. Jonah in 2000, Samuel, in 2003, Dominic in 2005. In 2008, right on time, we learned there was another baby on the way.
Miscarriage was the farthest thing from my mind, all we had was joy! But shock and sadness came back to us when that little life ended suddenly- more shock and sadness than ever before as we we thought that horrible chapter was closed, we had 4 boys! We wanted more! And again, in November of that same year, baby number 9 was taken into Heaven so so young. This one was the toughest physically for me. I knew I had to have a D & C, and I was suffering badly. I decided to use my suffering as a way to pray. With the peace in knowing that my life was in God’s hands, and that His will for my life is perfect, I gave all my pain, sorrow and blood as a sacrifice for Him to use however he wanted. To know my suffering could save other women from the pain I had to go through gave me the peace and grace to endure it.after it was over, I felt almost strong enough to say to God, “Bring it on again!” But not quite…
In 2009, my 3 year old, Dominic started to ask for a baby brother. I was still afraid of losing another baby, but I also knew God cannot resist the innocent prayers of a child, so I encouraged him to him ask Jesus if he could have a baby brother to play with. We conceived Isaac the following month. Dominic has since made it very clear that Isaac is here because he prayed for him!
Here’s what God says about suffering:
For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried. You brought us into the net; you laid a crushing burden on our backs; you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace who had called you to eternal glory in Christ will himself restore.
My life was not how I expected it would ever turn out to be, but I expected so much less than what I have been abundantly given! I have more faith than I did before all this started, and because I suffered, and surrendered my life to His will, I survived and am the person God planned for me to be when he knit me together in my mother’s womb. Without Jesus and His grace, I would have been a bitter, faithless, unhappy woman. Perhaps depressed and never healed. By pouring my heart out to him that day by the stream, and by giving Him my life and begging him to take control, I have deep peace and joy and faith that my life is the way it is because He planned it that way. My boys know they have a purpose in this world. They are here because God has a plan for their lives, just like their siblings, Maggie, Michael, Maria, Thomas and Hope. We were all created with a purpose. Do you know what yours is?
Happy Mothers Day.
This post is an excerpt taken from The Christian Woman's Stonecroft Talk: When God says no.
Words by | Marnie Wynans
Marnie Wynans has been happily married to Glenn for almost 24 years. She has 5 boys ages 17-4. She is passionate about living healthy and chemical free with her home-based business Norwex. She homeschools, gardens, sings and loves travelling and sharing her testimony. To book Marnie as a a presenter, or if you wish to chat with your questions, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.