Dreams for My Daughter – Part 2

photo 5Take afternoon naps in the grass.
That I would take you to California for the first time, and you would fall in love with my home.
That your Aunt Mary would teach you how to surf. That your uncle Andy would teach you the “Single Whip.”
That you would meet my best friends in the world—Ste Tru and Brosky.
How I longed to accompany you to your first rock show.
To hold your hand to cross the street when you learned how to walk.
To hold your hand when we traveled out of the country.
To teach you how to speak Spanish.
To buy flowers for your mom with you.
To hear you speak.
Your first sounds.
Your first words.
Your first sentence.
Your first sarcastic joke.
To take you to Terri for your first Chickpea Tuna Melt or Bacon-Chicken-Cheddar Ranch.
To buy sweet vegan treats with you. To memorize your favorite dessert.
To memorize everything.
To sing a worship song at church with you. To pray out loud with you. To study the Bible with you.
To hear you talk about what God is teaching you.
To have an extremely large dog to take care of with you.
How I longed and dreamed of so much for you to do and for you to be.
To know you.
To be surprised by you.
For me to do things a man would only do if he had a daughter.
To be proud of you.
Every second
of every hour
of every day.

Malia June,
My daughter
My baby girl.
I love you.
I love you.
I love you.

-Dad

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Dreams for My Daughter – Part 1 (by Chris)

MJ - BeavertailShortly after Malia June’s death, Hope and I spread her ashes in the Atlantic Ocean to honor her short life and grieve our long list of dreams for her that will forever remain unrealized. We had an informal ceremony at Beavertail in Jamestown, RI, where we read aloud our lists of dreams for our daughter, and then cast them into the water along with her ashes.

In nearly a year since Malia’s diagnosis of anencephaly, I just found a copy of the list and re-read it for the first time. For those who may be reading this who have lost someone dear to them, whether an old friend or a child taken too soon, I hope this may bring a tiny bit of comfort and release. Here is the first half of my “Dreams for My Daughter”…

My daughter…
My baby girl…
How I dreamed to love you in this life.
To see you, alive and kicking.
Breathing. Crying. Smiling.
How I longed to hold you in my arms.
To rock you to sleep.
To comfort you in need.
To make you laugh.
To run my finger tips through your soft hair.
To count your toes. To tap each of your fingers.
To wipe your chin.
To clean your runny nose.
To kiss your forehead.
To kiss you goodnight.
To kiss you good morning.
To scratch your back.
To carry you through a busy city street.
How I dreamed of watching you sleep.
To stare at you without you knowing.
To play guitar for you.
To sing you songs by Jack Johnson, the Chili Peppers, Rx Bandits,
And songs we would make up.
How I wished I could dance with you,
And act silly with you and your mom.
How I imagined I would stare at your curious eyes taking in the world around you.
Take candid pictures of you.
Pictures only I would see.
And pictures of you in cute outfits that your mom picked out.
And rebel outfits that I picked out.
Pictures of you playing, with new friends, at special places, of you growing up.
How I dreamed of reading you stories of change-makers, freedom fighters, dangerous disciples, revolutionaries, those “anti-establishment-counter-cultural-buck-the-status-quo-types”…
How I longed to be one of those types that you were pleased to call your father.
How I dreamed that I would teach you to run fast, far, and efficiently.

To teach you to play soccer, softball, basketball, beach volleyball, tennis, ping pong, and Ms. Pac-Man.
How I hoped I would run hundreds of road races with you.
I would let you win.
And soon enough, you would let me…

A Bit of Closure

IMG_6989Four weeks after our daughter Malia’s death we decided to scatter her ashes at Beavertail, which is the park we went to on the night we found out about her anencephaly. This evening was similar to the night a few months back. We sat on the same cliff. It was cloudy. And the wind invited us to hold our coats a little tighter and speak a little louder than a calm day. We stood on the same rocks and although we were in a similar state of shock, this time we read Scripture, shared our lost hopes for our baby’s life and the tears flowed more freely. We threw our (biodegradable) lost hope lists into the crashing waves, I folded mine into the shape of a whale because we had planned on making Malia’s nursery whale-themed. Chris scattered her ashes and we threw dozens of mini-white roses into the waters as our final goodbye. Gungor’s “This is Not the End” echoed off the rocks and we stared off into the ocean allowing the reality of the moment set in. We will never be able to see our dreams for our little girl fulfilled in this life, but God has so much in store for her in these days with Him that we cannot imagine.

Grieving the Life Lost

Chris, my parents, my sister, my grandmother and I each wrote letters of things we had hoped to do with Malia in her life here on earth. Each person shared them with us. And it was a very moving experience for our family and an integral part of our grieving process. Here are some things I wish I could have done with my daughter, it is in ‘you’ language as it is written to her:

I grieve the hope I had …

To meet the one and only you alive and kicking, To rock you to sleep, To sing to you, To kiss you, To see your dad love you and you love him, To know the color of your eyes, To run with you in a stroller, To trim your hair, To read you stories, To take photos of you, To cuddle with you, To buy clothes for you to wear, To celebrate your first birthday with a party, To see you play the piano, To watch you dance, To go the ballet, To take you to the zoo, To take you on a plane to California, To see you walk on sand, To play games with you, To hear your first word, To see your first step, To hear you laugh, To hear you cry, To comfort you when you got hurt, To go with you to pierce your ears, To take you to Disneyland, To go camping with you, To push you on a swing, To take you to the bus stop on your first day of school, To see you kick a ball, To watch you eat an ice cream cone, To have a tea party with you, To see you open a present on Christmas, To take you to the movie theater, To watch you help someone else, To see you worship, To hear you pray, To learn from you … all these things I submit to the God who knows more about the bigger story than I do.

A poem written by our beautiful friend Princy

I gasp.
That is all I can do.
Encompassing human emotions into a poem,
What the hell- what can I even say?

I imagine little tears,
Running down her tiny face
A soul, a spirit, up in space
Watching her mommy and daddy,
And saying-
“Please don’t cry, I’m okay!”

How quickly we crouch in our fragile shells,
When the mighty man is overcome by Nature’s demands.

She a shining ray of light,
So pure. So precious.
So out of sight.
But we keep her in mind when life gets tough.
She the superheroine. The fighter. The vegan champ.
I pity the memories that will never be brought,
The laughs, the smiles,
The enemies fought.
But God as witness
Knows thy plans.
He is here dear mother and father,
Take heart and comfort from His hands.

Malia:
She is Queen.
She is calm.
She is peace.
She is “probably” everything in-between.

Love, thy hands give freely.
Lord, you are Love–
And take easily and as quickly.

Tears of a sister write these words,
But hope of another day to join with you in laughter,
Ignite them.

Condolences are applicable.
But my love and my peace,
I pray find you in dark clouded dreams.

Greetings

Hi, how are you? Cómo estás? Nǐ hǎo ma? Wie geht es dir? ça va ? āp kaise haiṅ? Most people around the world greet people with a “How are you?” phrase when they see each other. I do it, you do it, it’s cultural.

But now, as someone who has been going through a challenging season in life, my mind runs circles around what I should say as people ask me this dozens of times each day. It happens at the grocery, with my neighbors, my best friends and family. So, recently my reaction has been a few moments of weird silence then a stumbling over my words. Alright. Okay. Sigh. Pretty horrible. About an 18%. Or should I simply avoid the awkwardness and go with the “Fine, how are you?”

When do I want to know how people are doing? There are times when I really do want to know how the barista behind the counter is, how my coworker has been, or what is going on in the UPS delivery guy’s life – and I always want to know how my friends are doing. But, how many people feel the same way?

Most Americans don’t feel comfortable sharing anything about themselves but their joy and success in this “Facebook, Instagram-ing, put your best status forward” type of decade. And those who do share their complaints, negative experiences, and hardships in conversation are often seen as the Debbie-Downer in the room.

So, as I go forward in grief over our little Malia’s death, I am learning what it looks like to be authentic, but not overwhelming with the people I encounter. There will be trial and error as people have a variety of expectations of what they are going to hear as a response to their greeting that day. But, I will hopefully figure it out as time goes on.

The Valley

There is something about experiencing the pain and struggle of this world that robs us of joyful expectation. As a child all the way through the end of my teenage years I would always hope for the best and constantly talk about it with others. Then my eyes were opened to the world’s messed up, harsh, and unfair state. In some ways, I have gained that optimism back over the last decade through recognizing God’s goodness and provision. But, Malia’s death has brought a whole new depth to my experience with this world’s brokenness.

I was sharing with some friends this week that it feels like the moment one tragic thing happened to us that it would trigger an entire chain of horrible events. What would be next? Am I cursed? Has God left me here in my grief? Does He want us to suffer this way? Will He take everything from us now? Are we going to experience things like Job?

Yesterday I was meditating on a random part of Psalm 23, where it says, He has prepared a table before me. While I was reading, I was actually sitting at my table with some oatmeal, a cup of tea and some beautiful flowers, looking out the window over the city — and I recognized yes, it was true, He literally had prepared this table before me. And many other truths were made clear in that moment. He had provided. We are still protected. I have not been cursed. I am not forgotten by Him. He has not abandoned us. And I pray that I will soon be able to say the next line of Psalm 23 with confidence , my cup overflows.

Skinny is Overrated

The day we came home from the hospital after saying hello and goodbye to Malia, I walked into our bedroom and there were clothes spread out on our dressers and bed. (My mom is awesome and did our laundry while we were gone). On one dresser was a tall pile of clothes that I had taken out of my drawers and closet the week before. In the stack were various pants and shirts that didn’t fit any longer. I had gained 13 pounds, and was planning on gaining at least 10 more. So, I thought it was more important to have more room in my drawers than staring at clothes I couldn’t even wear.

In the grief of arriving home that afternoon, I had this strong urge to continue with my plan to put those clothes under my bed and simply wear maternity clothes every day. It’s so interesting that as an American woman, I have had this desire to be thin my whole life — but, this week rather than buttoning my old jeans for the first time, I would give anything to I see my baby belly grow and grow.

The size of pants I can fit into isn’t on my priority list anymore.

Padre DeMalia

ImageDuring this difficult season, I have been blown away by the reality that I have picked the perfect husband. Many say that hardship either brings heart-wrenching dissonance or deep bonding between couples.  I am delighted to know that the person I am entering this journey of life with is selfless, emotionally-engaged, compassionate and very funny. There is no one else I would rather be going through this with than this man, my best friend. Even though he is daily going through is own grief, he is constantly asking how he can care for me.

During Malia’s 21st-24th week of life we read the Jesus Storybook Bible aloud each night to her, as we thought we may not have a chance to read to her after birth. Hearing Malia’s dad read to her is a memory that will be ingrained in my mind for a long time to come.

On the day Malia was born, I was amazed as I watched Chris hold her, touch her hands and feet, and memorize our first daughter’s little features. He is a walking image of God in my life every day and I am unbelievably grateful.

Meeting Our Daughter

Sunday night we went into the hospital to deliver our sweet baby girl, Malia June. The nurses were so encouraging and helpful, as we were completely unprepared for labor at less than 6 months pregnant.

It was a very emotional and difficult night for us, but I delivered Malia stillborn at 7:38 AM on Monday, September 23rd. She was about a foot long and weighed less than half a pound.

We were so grateful to meet her, to memorize the details of her little body, including her tiny hands and feet, her nose, her lips, her little knee caps, her round stomach, and my favorite part — her baby tongue.

One of the nurses took her hand and footprints as well as some photos for us. They also gave us a tiny knit cap and a small blanket to wrap her in. We had the opportunity to hold her and my parents did as well.

I never could have imagined that I would go through something like this in my lifetime. But, through it all I have learned to love in a capacity I never knew I had and to miss someone so greatly who I feel like I hardly knew.

A New Chapter

Chris and I went for our first doctor’s appointment since we had heard the news about Malia’s anencephaly. We entered the office  after a sleepless night and we were both very nervous because  I had not felt the baby move in several days.

After an ultrasound, we found out that Malia had no heartbeat; she was very small and she was not moving. We were crushed. Immediately, we began crying and couldn’t stop thinking that we weren’t ready for this — not yet. We thought we would have at least three more months to carry her, read to her, go on excursions with her, and simply live life as a family greater than two.

However, the reality was she had died.

We would not meet her lively self here on earth, but we could only trust that she is in good hands, the best hands possible.

Over the next two days, we cried a lot, Chris wrote a lot, we baked, prayed a lot, had family visit, went to church, and prepared for the hospital. We bought a blue whale stuffed animal that we had planned on putting in Malia’s whale-themed nursery and a small lavender baby blanket.

This season was a short chapter in Malia’s life, sort of like in one of those ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ books. I would have chosen a much different page to turn to next, but the Lord ended up choosing differently. It’s hard to imagine that His choice was better, but it is also hard to argue with the One who writes the ultimate story.

All I Need

Since we found out about Malia’s anencephaly, questions about my faith have been arising in my mind … do I really believe God is enough for me? Do I really mean the words of hymns and songs that I sing, when I say this world has nothing to offer me? Would I give up everything on this earth for Him?

I want to say yes, but my thoughts have wandered to places this month where I want to have a strong and whole baby in my arms. I imagine that will make everything better. This struggle has been an opportunity for me to enter into prayer with open hands asking God to take over.

As I have surrendered these dreams … to have a perfectly healthy baby this winter, to wrap her up in warm blankets and sit by the fire, to rock her to sleep while we watch the snow fall outside, and to sing her songs while Chris and I drink hot chocolate in our cold apartment … I have come to understand that even if I don’t fully believe that this world has nothing to offer me or that God is really all I need – it is true. For me, there is something about meditating on truth and saying it aloud that causes it to sink in. It invites me into confession, praise and into the comfort of God’s arms.

This song was playing a few weeks back:  Healer (Hillsong). I realized as I was singing along, I didn’t know if I meant the words coming out of my mouth. So, I have been learning how to sing the chorus to this song and believe it. When I wonder if it’s true, I ask the Lord to give me a faith that is deeper than my earthly hopes, because I know he has something bigger in store — even if I don’t recognize that until the other side of this life.

Heartache

A theme I have noticed over the last month is that so many people around us have stories of brokenness, hurt, and grief. Some are our friends, some acquaintances, some we barely know – but there is this longing for healing around every corner. We have heard about experiences that we cannot imagine going through; death, disease, tragedy. At the same time, Chris and I are walking through something we know is beyond our bearing.

I rode my bike to campus the other day in a daze, watching a man rolling his trash can up his driveway, a mother and her children playing at the playground, a woman taking a smoke-break from work on the stairs. I wondered, what are they going through? What kind of pain did they carry with them when they left the house today? And what is going to get them through this except God Himself?

It has been heart breaking to be in the seat of grief, the carrier of anything but joyful news. But it has been such a learning experience to know that God really does comfort those who have pain, struggle and heartache.

Mom

Malia Baby Photo“Will I still be a mom?” I asked my husband one evening. This was one of my first questions when I found out our first baby would likely die soon after birth.

If I have no child to hold, to rock to sleep, to read to, to tickle and cuddle with, to teach how to ride a bike or do addition – am I still a mom?

We decided yes. I am a mom. And I will remain one. I will be the mother of all my children, whether they live or die.  Malia is our daughter. And she will be recognized as so every day for the rest of our lives.

Our culture in the United States values able-bodied, able-brained, and living children more than other children. But, we believe that God defines humanity in a different way. We believe that he creates a child from day 1 of conception. Their life actually begins on that day. Psalm 139:13 says “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” And even though it might be awkward for others to hear how many children I have, when they count heads in the back of my station wagon someday, they will learn as I did, moms are moms–from the moment her baby is growing in the womb, a mom will be a mom for the rest of her life, even if she outlives her children.

Clouds Rising

The evening we found out the news about Malia’s condition we went and got some falafel wraps from one of our favorite restaurants.  Then we drove down to Beavertail to reflect together. Surrounded by dark storm clouds, we sat in silence on the cliffs, watching the waves crash on the rocks in the wind. In my mind, I begged God for the storm clouds to lift off the skyline so I could see the sunset. And within minutes, they did.

I was blown away that night by the bigger reality that came to me as I watched the sunlight peek underneath the storm clouds. Our grief would end. God’s hope would break through our despair.

This news would not end our joy. It would not even end our baby’s life. It would be a snippet of her story in the midst of eternity. And God would lift these clouds too.

Inviting Support

MahanPackageWhen we arrived home that afternoon, Chris’ dad called out of the blue and he shared the news with him. Chris went on to call a friend from church and then spoke with his mom and brother. I realized I needed to postpone a meeting I had for work that night. So, I called my boss and tearfully told her the news. That was the only call I could make, so I drafted an email and sent it to my closest friends, family and some friends from work. Typing the email made the reality of the situation sink in. But, it was important for me to reach out and let others in, especially because I wanted to roll in a ball in the middle of my bed under all the covers and stay there.

It went like this:

Hello Friends,

As most of you know, I am almost 5 months pregnant with our first baby. We had our second ultrasound today of our little girl, Malia June. She has a strong heartbeat, is an active mover, and I’m pretty sure she waved at us.

However, we found out that during her first month she didn’t develop a brain (a condition called anencephaly).

We were told that Malia will live until delivery and possibly for a day, or so, afterward.

Please be in prayer for Chris and myself, as we are very sad beyond words. Pray that God would bind us together and to Himself. We are looking forward to meeting our little girl in December or January. Please be in prayer for little Malia. Pray for a miracle, if God wills. And pray that we love her well as she grows.

We are in complete shock at this point, but will spend the next few days processing and praying. When you think of us, please lift us up in prayer (if you are the fasting-type, we invite you to fast on our behalf as we enter into this difficult season).

When you see us, feel free to hug us, smile at us, ask us how we are doing, or simply tell us your latest joke. We also would love encouraging Scriptures. Please feel free to pass this news along to others that you know or your church family, as we are too grieved at this point to call friends and tell them this news.

Love, Chris, Hope & Malia

That was the beginning of an outpouring of love from our friends and family (and their friends and family, and their friends’ friends’ families…). We received hundreds of emails, messages, and phone calls in the next few days as we grieved in a way we had never done before. It is so amazing to live life alongside others.

Broken Zipper

upsidedownRight after we arrived home from our vacation we had our 4.5 month appointment. This was the day we found out if our baby was a boy or a girl. Chris and I arrived excitedly at our appointment with my mother. We went into the office and got to see our baby’s form on the screen. Foot. Hand. Heart. Stomach. Wiggly Body. Head. And lots of other neat intricacies. It was a GIRL. She still had a strong heartbeat. We were thrilled. After the ultrasound, my mom ran out to the car and reappeared with a fuchsia bag with heart-patterned tissue paper inside.  Malia’s first gift! She exhorted Chris, saying that he was going to be an amazing father of a baby girl and it was essential for little girls to have great fathers. We decided to name her Malia at the point and looked through our list of middle names that we had brainstormed a few months back. Malia June. Her name is  Malia June.

We then went in to meet with our mid-wife. As we were waiting, I looked at Chris more times than I can count and said “It’s a girl.” “We’re having a girl.” We couldn’t stop smiling.

Our mid-wife entered, sat down on a small rolling stool and shared that she had some difficult news for us. I took a big gulp as she shared that while looking at the ultrasound, they couldn’t see any evidence that Malia developed a brain. As a result, she would not survive long after birth. Our world instantly turned upside down. The mid-wife shared this was beyond her expertise and she would recommend us to a specialist immediately for a followup visit. She gave us a few minutes to process, but we were in such shock that we just sat there and stared at the wall. She then recommended we induce labor soon and end our pregnancy. My first questions were why is the baby moving around? How does she have a strong heartbeat? The mid-wife didn’t have answers, but said those questions could be asked to the doctor when we saw him later.

When she left the room, we cried and cried and hugged each other. I told Chris I didn’t want to terminate the pregnancy, and it had never been an option for us in his mind, so he quickly agreed. (Later we found out that 95% of families in this situation in our country do terminate their pregnancies.) Chris called my mother a few times and finally got a hold of her.

We drove home in silence, devastated, feeling that we were in an alternate reality. We cried and cried. We scheduled an appointment for the higher quality ultrasound at a prenatal center later that afternoon. I started googling what all of this meant. The condition was called anencephaly, literally ‘without brain’. Only five percent of affected babies live longer than five days. It was a neural tube defect. Some articles stated it had to do with lack of folic acid during pregnancy. Immediately I thought, it was because of me. Was it my fault this happened?

After a few hours, we went to the prenatal center. My mother came with us and we went in for a second ultrasound. I cried as we watched Malia moving around, the wand rolled over her hand so many times that it looked like she was waving to us. My mind and heart were overwhelmed. All I wanted to do was hold those little baby hands. She has  her dad’s nose, and rectangular feet like him too.

After the technician left, the doctor came in with two counselors. He looked at the ultrasound and confirmed the same diagnosis. He was the nicest doctor I have ever met. He shared that it was a neural tube defect. When the baby was about 20 days old, the nervous system usually closes up like a zipper. However, this did not happen with Malia. He was very direct in saying that it was not my fault, looked at my husband and said the same, and looked at my mother and said the same. They have not established the cause of this condition. He said there was nothing I needed to do right now. Except breathe. I kept on hearing Drew Barrymore’s voice in my head, like when she told herself to breathe in that old Cinderella movie, Ever After. So, I breathed.

I then started asking many questions. We met with the counselors afterward and asked them even more. They encouraged me not to google the condition anymore, but they would give me some quality resources.

This was a day in history that we would never forget, and looking forward, we realized we were living a life that we never expected.

Sunshine State

babymoonChris and I have heard from several friends that taking a vacation with your spouse before you have your first child is such a blessing to the beginning of parenthood. So, we booked the cheapest vacation we could come up with to a location with the warmest water we could find.

The whole trip was a celebration of our family, our marriage, and our new baby-addition. We explored the boardwalks, went for walks at sunset on the beach, ate at local restaurants, went running at low tide, watched a movie outside at a park, swam a lot, visited a local art museum, went paddleboarding, and I got the chance to see wild dolphins jumping around in the ocean near our hotel. It was great to read books, to talk more than usual, and to have nowhere to go.

One night we got into a long discussion which was sparked by my recent study of Philippians 1. We talked for hours about what it looks like to live a life of abandon like Paul describes. He shares that the reason he wants to live is for the people he is ministering to, rather than for any other reason. That concept is so foreign to Chris and me … what about the things we want to accomplish on this earth? The dreams and desires that have been prompted by the passions God has given us? Our conversation didn’t lead us to any conclusions, just more questions over the next 24 hours about who God is calling us to be.

The following morning we were having devotions on 2 Corinthians 12 out on our hotel balcony and I felt prompted to pray for Malia. I prayed that she would teach us more about living a life for God than we could ever figure out living life on our own, that we would learn through her to understand that when we live in our weaknesses, God’s strength is made evident. When we were done praying, I felt like God had responded to that request with something like “She will.” It prompted a deep curiosity of how she would teach us, but I was certain that she would.

Celebrating with Everyone

Celebrating with Everyone

We told everyone about our pregnancy by the end of month four, including the Facebook world, with a fun track-themed announcement. Malia is going to be born in January! I traveled to Wisconsin for work for two and a half weeks and had friends sing a “happy birthday”-esque song  with candles and so many others guessed I was pregnant by my unwillingness to hang out late into the night because I wanted to head back to my hotel room to sleep. Whenever we had group prayer, our friends begun to pray for our baby, just like she was sitting in the chair next to me. Thinking about it now make me so amazed, there was roaring anticipation.

We moved back from Manhattan, camped and hiked in the White Mountains, celebrated friends’ birthdays and took photos of half-asian looking babies that we saw in public and texted them to each other.

This is the month where I really learned how to pray for Malia. My stepmom sent me a bunch of books including “Praying Circles Around Your Children.” It was a short book, but blew my mind at the thought of God’s sovereignty and our formation through circumstances in our lives, especially raising a family.

BabyCover2

Telling the Family & Close Friends

Telling the Family & Close Friends

After three months of pregnancy, we were ready to tell the family and some close friends. To tell Chris’ parents and brother we sent them a crafty announcement with a small bird, that said “a little bird told me you’re going to be grandparents/an uncle”. To tell my dad and stepmom we sent an adorable book called “How to Babysit a Grandpa” with a little note inside. We told my mom, siblings and stepdad in New Orleans, when we were visiting for a wedding. Everyone was ecstatic. Some of them cried and all of them had hundreds of questions. Malia is the first grandchild on both sides of our family! So, people have been waiting for one for awhile.

During the month prior, our family moved out of our apartment temporarily to spend the summer doing urban ministry in New York City, we celebrated my 30th birthday with homemade vegan pizzas and friends, and we had the opportunity to join our friends, the Alberts, as they got married. We even danced as a family (to Justin Timberlake, of course).

This month was the season when everyone started giving us advice. “You should raise your kid with this expert’s method” “You should always go to your child when it’s crying, even in the middle of the night” “You can’t raise your kid’s vegan!” and so much more. I began praying and considering what it was going to be like to be a parent, raising a kid in this generation. How would God like us to raise this little one?

A Strong Heartbeat

Month 2

With much anticipation we hit the second month mark. Each day we would sit and dream, giggle and talk about our growing baby, then we’d enter into a room full of our friends and pretend like nothing abnormal was going in our lives. It was actually really fun.

We spent the month prior running our first race as a family (Chris beat Malia and me), traveling to New Hampshire for work, and hanging out with my best friend from Alaska.

Since I have had many friends in the last few years have miscarriages, I worried about that happening quite a bit this month. When I was at Toah Nipi one night worshipping, I prayed Hannah-like prayers, that God continue to give this baby life and I promised it’s whole life would be dedicated to Him. But, really it was in His hands.

We soon found out our baby was alive. We had our first appointment with the midwives at the two-month mark! We had a sonogram of Malia. She was a teeny-peanut looking object, but she had a strong heart beat. We verified that my pregnancy symptoms were normal and we were thrilled to see her grow over time.

The Excitement of Finding out We Were Pregant

The Excitement of Finding out We Were Pregant

The night I found out about our pregnancy, Malia was probably about 12 or 13 days old. Chris was out of town for the weekend visiting some friends. I jumped around, spun in circles, and couldn’t stop smiling. Since my husband and I both like surprises I wanted to wait until he got home to tell him. So, I went out and bought the most adorable newborn sized fleece snowman pajamas, wrote a note on them from baby Malia and hid them in a laundry basket of his clean laundry.

Over the next few days I shone with excitement and started considering plans for what our baby’s life could look like here on earth. Should we move to a bigger apartment? Would I stay in my job? How is this little child going to change the entirety of life as we know it? What was I going to register for?

When Chris arrived home on Sunday evening, I couldn’t wait for him to put away his laundry, so I directed him toward his clean clothes as soon as he walked in the door. He found the tiny winter baby suit, read the note and was thrilled, beyond words, overwhelmed with excitement. We hugged and began our dreams of what our baby’s life could change in our world.

For the next two months we kept the news about baby Malia to ourselves, except for one close friend and the librarian (who guessed I was pregnant from the pile of books I was checking out from the library). It was fun to talk, pray and learn as a growing family before we brought everyone else into the loop.