In our early marriage, Shawn and I did not expect to have children. After many years with a fertility specialist, we were convinced adoption would be our only alternative. However, we did not factor in a miracle-working God. After our church prayed for us, I became pregnant with James. After his delivery, I began making plans for a second child. We knew how challenging it had been to have the first baby, and we did not know if we would be able to conceive again.
When James was six months old, I began again to see a fertility specialist, in hopes of having another child. I expected it to be many years.... after all it had taken so long the first time. By the time I had gone in for a consult, an exam, and a treatment plan, James was 10 months old. I was feeling a bit queasy in the evenings and so took a pregnancy test. It was positive. Before I could ever begin treatment with the fertility specialist, we were expecting another child. We felt incredibly blessed that God would grant us favor, not once, but twice.
This pregnancy was different from the first. After all, I was taking care of a baby inside of me and a baby outside as well. But I napped when James napped, and laid on the couch and watched movies with James during the puking months. After 16 weeks, I felt super. I returned to working out and enjoyed every minute of the baby growing inside.
We had no money, and I was seeing a doctor at the county hospital. The medical care was good, but the location in downtown Fort Worth was not safe. Especially not for a woman alone. It was on one of these visits that I survived my only attempted mugging. I was walking from the clinic back over to the nearby McDonalds where Shawn had taken James for a milkshake. A man approached me with a knife and said, "Give me all your money." I laughed hysterically at him. (this may not be wise, but I couldn't help it.) You see, I was wearing an almost sheer sundress due to the 100 degree temperature, I had no purse, I was not wearing any jewelry, not even a wedding ring because I was so swollen. And to qualify for free medical care, you had to be REALLY, REALLY poor. What was I going to give him? Without thinking, I said, "Do you know how poor you have to be to go to the doctor here? I don't even have a purse. I'm not wearing any jewelry. What money do you think I have?" The man looked at me in shock. I guess it had never occurred to him that it was foolish to mug people at the county hospital. He put the knife away, crossed the street, and kept right on walking. Late in my pregnancy we got insurance, and I was able to swap over to a "real" doctor in a safe location.
It was the hottest summer ever. We had 30 days of 100+ degree heat before July 1. I was enormously pregnant. Our air conditioning was ineffective, so I took icy cold showers several times a day and tried to find cool places to hang out. Every morning I would get up with James, sit under the shade tree and swing him in the cool breeze. If Shawn was at school and did not need the car, then I would load James up and go to McDonalds or the mall or somewhere with air.
Because James had been such a large baby, weighing in over 9 pounds, my doctor decided to deliver Grace a little early. July 10 I went to the hospital in the wee hours of the morning to start my induction. It went well, Grace was born around lunch. She was an easy delivery. In fact Shawn just almost got to catch her. The labor nurse told me to push once. When I did, the baby crowned. The labor nurse left the room to find the doctor while Shawn is left standing there looking at the baby's head. The doctor ran in, threw on a glove, and caught the baby. I took some Demerol at the very end of the labor and it kicked in about time Grace was born. I had a bad reaction to the drug, hallucinating and fading in and out of reality. I regret that I remember very little of Grace's first day of life.
Today on her birthday, I am thankful for my daughter. She is strong and decisive. She works hard, and attempts big things. She looks her fears head on, and conquers them. It has not always been easy to parent her, but I am so proud of the woman she is becoming. I am praying hard for her as she has hit puberty early. Praying that God will guard her heart as she becomes interested in boys. Praying that her emotions will be stable. Praying that she will learn to seek God in all things with all of her heart.