Friday, July 11, 2008

Looking Ahead

My Emily Rose. She, too, was an expected baby. When I watch her from a distance, in her feminine, pink-dress glory, I am utterly amazed. We never thought we would have a daughter.

My first pregnancy, conceived on our first anniversary while camping at Mt. Lassen in Northern California, ended in a missed miscarriage in the year 2000, at 20.5 weeks gestation. The cause of death was unknown, but the pathologist said the baby looked perfectly normal; we did not order an autopsy. It was a boy, named Issac Abraham - a symbolic name which I derived from the Biblical story of Abraham having to sacrifice his son Issac.

We went on to have two more boys, then another miscarriage in 2005, at ten weeks gestation. When we got pregnant again in 2006, we expected a boy, since the more one has in a row of the same sex, the more likely it is you'll keep having that sex. But alas, the 20 week ultrasound revealed a girl. We were amazed and gloriously happy!

This time, we've another unexpected pregnancy, and it matters less what the sex of the baby is. We're experiencing the raising of both sexes; it feels well-rounded and complete, from our perspectives.

The more I think about the baby I'm carrying, the more I draw the conclusion that this baby is for the siblings, more than for us. Don't get me wrong; I'm looking forward to the experience in every way. Well....maybe not the sleepless part. But, I'm 42 and my husband turns 50 later this month. Shocking, I know, if you haven't reached anywhere near those ages. As you get closer, the shock wears off, believe me. You don't feel older usually; you only look older.

I look about as old as Brooke Shields, who happens to be my age. The age comes out most when one smiles. My complexion is in no way flawless, like hers, but the wrinkles are the same; the older look in the eyes is the same. I have Nicole Kidman's small-boned curves, (imagine her without the height) which can sometimes make guessing my age more difficult, or so I'm told. Wishful thinking, I'm sure. Aging is what it is; not pleasant, but one can find silver linings and manage it gracefully.

My husband has the body of a 30-year-old and the face of a 38-year old; he's really fortunate that way. We make the health choices necessary to stay around as long as possible, but that still doesn't give us a lot of grandma/grandpa years. God knows this, and I believe he has it covered.

Having a lot of siblings is beneficial for the children of older parents. There's an unusually short window of physical and emotional support we'll be able to provide for our adult children. They will have each other, however, and that feels me with great peace. Support softens the parenting experience, making it more full of blessing than labor. I desperately want them to have that fullness, that relief. With much prayer and purposeful fostering of their relationships with each other, they will be fine. More than fine. Full, in fact. Lord, I trust you.

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