Monday, March 3, 2014

What's in a name?

That sweet head belongs to our baby girl! If you know anything about our baby naming process, then you know it is so important for me to choose a name that has significant meaning. Choosing a name for our sweet girl was no different, but I can't tell the story of her name without telling a different story first…

On Christmas day 2012, we found out we were pregnant with our 3rd child. Bryan and I were overjoyed, but for various reasons we decided to keep our little Christmas present a secret for a while. For one thing, Asher would turn 4 on January 8th and we didn't want to detract from celebrating his sweet birth by announcing a new one. Also, sometimes when you announce you're having another baby people choose to respond with cynicism and scoffing and we didn't want to hear that either. We just wanted to enjoy our tiny child together without having to process any negative reactions or comments. And so we did. We would lay in bed at night and whisper and giggle about baby names and due dates. It was a time filled with hope and wonder, unscathed by doubt or fear. However, on January 4th, 11 days after we found out we were carrying a sweet baby, I started cramping and bleeding. Some of my closest friends had experienced miscarriage so I knew what the signs meant. I prayed that God would stop the bleeding and save our child if He saw fit to do so, and if not that He would grant me the grace to endure such a loss. That afternoon, we lost our tiny baby.

Since we had not gone public with our pregnancy, we shared our loss with only some of our closest friends. Those who we knew would pray for us and those who had walked the painful road of miscarriage before us. One of my greatest comforts during that time was the women who had experienced the same type of loss and who were not afraid to share their scars with me. They had known great pain and had endured. They also understood that my baby, no matter how tiny, was more than just a lump of flesh, but was a child who was worthy of my mourning and sorrow. The hardest part of miscarriage, other than the obvious loss of a child, is listening to what others have to say about it. Many times well meaning people try to say comforting things that end up causing an already hurting mother more hurt. I was going to write a whole blog post on what NOT to say to a mother who has miscarried and I may still do that one day, but for now I came across a blog that says it so much better than I could: Why Miscarriage Matters when You're Pro-life.

Because of my miscarriage, when we found out about our current pregnancy, I was nervous. I went to the OB-GYN as soon as I found out and had them do blood work and tests to see what the chance of a viable pregnancy was. The chances were good, great even. I was still nervous. As I shared my fears with some of my friends who had experienced miscarriage, one of them shared that Philippians 4:8 had encouraged her during her pregnancy after miscarriage. "Whatever is true…" In that moment, despite my fears, the truth was that I was pregnant and our baby was healthy. Every day thus far I have thanked God for the truth of a healthy baby. On January 4th 2014, we were 12 weeks pregnant with our little girl. One year to the day that we lost our Sweet #3 (some find it helpful to name their lost little ones, however, since we didn't know the gender or even how far along we were, we've taken to calling ours Sweet #3). God's display of His grace to us did not go without notice or without tears. We celebrated that 12 week mark as we remembered the child we had lost.

Our baby girl, our sweet #4, will be called Alathea (truth) Jane (God is gracious) because our God is so full of truth and grace. We will call her Thea (Gift of God) because we have been well taught that every child is a miraculous gift whether we ever hold him or her in our arms or not. We have been so very blessed by our 4 children thus far and we are praying for and anxiously awaiting the arrival of our Alathea "Thea" Jane, our sweet little gift of truth and grace.

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