I’ve sat down to write this blog unsuccessfully for three weeks. This topic is just so hard for me to talk about, think about and especially write about. However it’s Autism awareness month and I know it’s time to share my story!
“No more babies for me please, I’m too busy being great” ….
There are times in life when everything seems to be going right, and we feel like we are invincible. In 2010 this was me. I was thriving in my business life, my spiritual walk and my relationships. I felt like I was on top of the world. Wearing my accolades as a badge of honor, I could easily rattle off why I thought I was somebody. I was winning world medals, I was killing it as a mom, and I was running track professionally at the highest possible level. Utterly content, I didn’t want anything to change.
Looking back now, I can see that I was arrogant and needed to be humbled. Foolishly, I believed I was the summation of my accomplishments and not a person blessed to experience these many victories granted to me through God, only by His grace. Don’t worry; God was ready to humble me in a way that only He could.
Traveling the world with my husband and 3-year-old daughter, I was Beyoncé’s, “Girls Run the World Anthem,” live in the flesh. I bore my child and was already back to business. My prayer life was the best it had ever been, I felt empowered, unflawed and complete. My constant prayer was, God, please search me and remove anything from my life that is unlike you. Welp, be careful what you pray for because you might get it. After breaking the American Record for the second time that year, I had a sense of accomplishment that indicated to me that I had finally made it. I successfully climbed from maternity back to the top of the world’s stage and my joy overflowed in ways that I didn’t know were possible.
In the spirit of celebration, my husband and I decided to take our first trip away from our daughter. We left her with family and traveled for two weeks as I competed. We hopped from country to country, Sweden, Spain, Switzerland, Paris, and London, frolicking like newlyweds. Each stop, enjoying being childfree for the first time in 3 years. Mind and body, we purposely, reconnected by becoming engulfed in each other’s love. There was no tip-toeing or whispering around a sleeping toddler, just grown-adult-intimate-reconnection. In both of our hearts, we knew this was only the beginning. The final leg of our trip came as we left Switzerland and headed to London.
Our two beautiful weeks alone had come to an end, and it was almost time to re-form our perfect little family of three. I tossed and turned all night and couldn’t sleep…. because of…. what!?! That stupid apple on the other side of the room that smelled way too strong! “Oh my gosh, what is that?” (Wait, did I say I smelt an apple?) I woke my husband up frantically exclaiming, “Babe, please, take that apple out of the room and set it outside of the door.” Confused, he staggered out of bed and did as I asked.
Waking up the next morning I laughed at myself. I was so dramatic, I had to apologize to my hubby. I credited the strong smell of the fruit to the fact that Europe must have different food. Maybe that is how real, “Non-GMO-fruit” should smell. (Y’all know they put way too many chemicals in our food nowadays. Mommination vegan tips here). That morning we left Switzerland for London. In the airport “HANGER” griped me (No I didn’t misspell; the struggle was real) and sent me into an uncharacteristic rage. I wanted some curry, and I wanted it right now. Surprisingly I found some from a Chinese food restaurant. It was watery and looked disgusting, but I didn’t let that stop me from eating every drop of it. Still hungry, I washed that down with a large sandwich and a salad. (Everyone knows calories don’t count when you travel abroad.)
Within hours I regretted all those decisions because by the time we landed nausea curled me into a ball in the backseat of our cab. Then, in the same way, the five fingers said to the face in the infamous Dave Chapelle skit, reality slapped me HARD. “Oh Crap, I’m pregnant!” Heightened smell, irritability, extreme food cravings, mood swings, and nausea. Nine positive pregnancy tests later, my suspicions we confirmed. Baby number two was on the way!
Ladies, I know that we are not supposed to feel like this, but I was angry and in shock. The timing was horrible! I had the best performances in the world in my sport and the season was only half over. I had just signed a new shoe contract, and my husband and I were reconnecting! There was no time for this right now. I fought, I clawed, I sacrificed to rise from nothing to get where I was. A baby would set me back precisely 3 years and nine months (Yes! I was counting). No, thank you. “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” At that time, I honestly had the nerve to wonder how God could be so careless. How could He let this happen to me after I had worked so hard to get back to being the best in the world.
Knowing that I had no other options, I reluctantly accepted my fate and caught a flight home to regroup. Once the shock began to wear off I, I found that my acceptance was turning into joy. I started to get excited about being a mother of two! Though the timing didn’t seem right, I knew that God’s timing was perfect, and I was pretty sure that He knew what my family needed. However, pride once again reared its ugly face. “How big of me! I gave up my plans to selflessly bring life into the world. Neglecting my desires, I yielded to God’s plan.” With thinking like this, what could possibly go wrong?
It seemed like as soon as the words left my mouth an excruciating pain gripped my stomach and threw me to the ground. Days before my 8-week prenatal visit, I began experiencing cramping and heavy bleeding. Immediately I was overtaken with guilt. The Bible says that children are gifts from God, but initially, I saw this child as a deterrent from my plans. I was ungrateful, and because of that, I was going to be punished by losing our child.
I now know that this is not true, but at the time, this is what I thought. Many women bear the guilt of losing a child. We believe that it’s something we did, something we ate or didn’t eat, or just that something is wrong with our bodies. Even though medical evidence proves this to be untrue in most cases, it doesn’t change how losing a child makes a woman feel.
During my appointment, my doctor confirmed our greatest fears. She conducted her examination and concluded that I was indeed miscarrying. Trying to be compassionate she gave me the option to have them medically help the process along, or to go home and experience this in private. This experience was all too familiar for my husband and me. We had suffered an ectopic pregnancy within weeks of our honeymoon, a miscarriage of twins and a loss during the 2008 Olympic Trials. I was numb and felt as though my heart had stopped beating. No matter how many times she asked me what I wanted to do, I just stared non-responsively at the wall, as tears streamed down my face.
“Wow look how the tables have turned little girl. Just a few weeks ago the news of this child and the inconvenience of her timing ticked you off. Now, facing the reality of losing her, your whole world comes crashing down. You deserve this!”
I didn’t make a sound, but my soul wailed deeply inside of me. My husband stepped in and said we would do it at home. At this point, I was so weak and so low that he had to stand in the gap for me. He reminded me that we serve a mighty God and that we still have hope in prayer.
Let’s talk about feeling humbled. So much of my year has been spent marveling in, “I did this,” and “I did that” and now here I stand powerless at the throne of God, broken in my sin, helplessly needing the One who has the power to breathe life, to breath it into my womb. So, choosing to ignore the visible signs of life lost, I repented of my ungratefulness, and we prayed for the life of our baby. Ignoring statistic, Dr. Google, or people’s opinions we kept praying. Having faith that God can make the impossible possible (Luke 18:27), that He can bring life to dry bones (Ezekiel 37:5), and that He loves and care for me (John 3:16) I decided to trust Him with the precious gift that He gave me.
Keeping our baby and this issue of blood a secret, we bled heavily for six additional weeks. To our amazement, the baby’s heartbeat continued to get stronger, and she began to grow. Grateful, I continued to grow in faith by reading scriptures of promise over her. By our 16th week appointment, the bleeding had stopped entirely, and our baby girl was growing and progressing normally. With a heart full of praise, I understood the error my ways. God had blessed me beyond measure because I had been faithful to all that He asked me to do. Once I started reaping the blessings, I believed that it was me that created these blessings for myself rather than the creator.
Unaware that I was doing this, I allowed these blessing to be my idol which
I wish that I could say the rest of the pregnancy was uneventful, but I can’t. By 24 weeks we learned that the baby had stopped growing in the womb. Not deterred by the news, we did what we knew worked and prayed. God had already been faithful in giving her life where she was declared a miscarriage. Though at a slower than expected rate, she continued to grow, and at 37 weeks five days it was determined that I would need to be induced. Weighing 4 pounds 11 ounces, with joy we welcomed Aurora into the world. Even with her dramatic entrance, I, filled with gratitude, vowed never again to let my plans come before God plans in my life or to allow pride to become a part of who I am. In all of this, I also learned that there is redemption in repentance and miracles in prayer.
I hope that in some ways sharing our past trials and pain helps you in your life. These situations lead to even greater victories of faith. Have you experienced something similar? If so, I would love to hear from you. If you know someone that needs to read this, please forward them the link. You can also follow us on Instagram and me.
Thanks for reading Part I of this Saga! Parts II coming soon.