Dear Jennifer From Two Years Ago

Dear The Jennifer On the Eve of Warner’s Birth,

You always used to say that your biggest fear was one of your kids dying. One time you heard of a story of a baby that lived for 2 hours and died in their Mom’s arms. That story made you feel all the feelings and you thought “I could never ever do that”.

Right now, you have no idea that you’re going to meet your first son tomorrow. You’ve had contractions on and off for weeks now but they’ve always gone away. You’re exhausted from all of the blood loss and the low iron and the fact that your body isn’t even sure what it should be doing anymore. Every night you go to sleep claiming Scripture because you’re scared.

And, it’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up for being scared. Who wouldn’t be scared? You’re doing exactly what you’re supposed to do when the fear or the thoughts pop up. You go to His feet and open His Word. All of those verses that you didn’t even know existed about safety, security and protection? They’re preparing that hospital room to become holy ground tomorrow. You keep praying and memorizing those verses. God will bring them out in the right moments tomorrow.

Right now, you don’t think you could handle what you’re about to do tomorrow. That’s okay. You can’t handle it in this moment because God isn’t calling you to it right now. Don’t stress about the “what ifs”. It’s cheesy, but when God calls you to it, He’ll walk you through it. Today, He’s asking you to do exactly what you’re doing. Tomorrow will be a different path to walk, but He’s already preparing you. You just don’t know it yet.

Up to this point, for the last 12 years, you’ve dealt with panic attacks and intense anxiety that have waved in and out of your life. There’s been a whole lot of fear. And, while I wish I could tell you that will be a thing of the past, it hasn’t yet. But, that little boy you’re going to hold tomorrow, he’ll show you that if you can survive this, you can survive anything with Jesus. You’ll even say that to the nurses that surround you speechless while they watch you say goodbye. You won’t realize why they think it’s so profound until later. God will show lots of stuff He’s done in that little life later on down the road.

When you arrive at the hospital tomorrow morning, you’ll know what’s going to happen that afternoon. You’re not giving up. But, you’ll look at the bulletins on the wall and notice the L&D rooms everywhere. You’ll remember what it was like to meet your girls in those rooms. And, how this walk is a very different one. You’ll look around you and know that your life is about to change forever. But, here’s what’s hard for you to believe the night before this walk, you won’t be scared. You’ll be hurting, on many levels, but you won’t be scared. Instead that walk will be a sacred one. Almost as though Jesus is physically holding you up. Each step down that hall is one that’s ordained.

You’ll get settled into that Labor and Delivery room. You’ll remember the details of that room for a long time to come. The doctor will come in and examine you. Don’t worry, God has gone before you. Guess who’s on call? The same doctor that delivered the girls. You’re in good hands. And, that nurse? Her husband is a pastor just down the street. She’s got your back. And, guess what? They’re going to fight. They’re going to join in the fight for Warner’s life. They will give you more hope and faith in your situation than any other medical team would. God has placed them there. Because, He’s good. Don’t forget that. Especially today.

A lot of the day will be a blur and that’s okay. You’ll try all of the medicines and the tricks. Things will get a little scary at one point. They’ll stand over your bed as the fever still goes up and they won’t be sure what to do next. They’ve tried everything they can try and it won’t come down. At this point, you and your husbands prayers will start to turn towards your life. Listen to me: THAT IS OKAY. You’ve prayed over Warner for hours and days and weeks on end. It’s okay to turn the tables for five minutes and ask God to spare you for those little girls at home. You’re not giving up on Warner. You’re fighting for him and your girls.

There will come a point tomorrow when everyone realizes that baby is coming despite our efforts. You’ll learn that his heartbeat is still strong. This is when you’ll panic. Again, that’s okay. You think you can’t deliver a baby that’s alive only to watch him die. That’s a natural reaction. But, let me tell you, God will not be taken by surprise like you. He knows what He’s doing. He created that life and He has ordained every single second that heart beats outside of your womb. You will look back on those 45 minutes as being one of the most holy times in your life. Don’t fear it. Welcome it.

Today you don’t realize that tomorrow you’ll have to make decisions. Do you bury or cremate? The nurse will kindly tell you to start thinking about those options just a few minutes before he’s born. You’ll feel like you’re in a daze at the thought. It’s never crossed your mind before because you never saw yourself ending up here. You’ll be you and think you have to make the decision immediately. Girl, calm down. You’ve got time. The answer will come and it’ll bring peace.

Despite being in full blown, painful labor, you’ll walk it with grace. It’ll be the most graceful of all of your children’s births. God can be funny like that. He’s in the business of taking the ugly and making it beautiful. You’ll hand the day to Him and you’ll be right to do so. I promise that beauty will rise.

You’ll ask the nurse when she thinks he might here, she’ll answer she’s unsure. Fear will threaten to creep in at the thought of being all alone when he’s born. Squash the fear immediately. God has it all figured out. Warner will make his debut with two nurses present. Then, the room will fill quickly. Moments before he is born, you will scream the name of Jesus and ask Him to come. Do that. Do that a million times. He comes and He comes in power. Those verses you’ll start reciting? It’ll fill the room with the Truth. You can never go wrong with speaking out the Bible.

For the first time of the day, as Warner is born, you’ll cry and scream that it isn’t fair. Your eyes will be closed because you’re scared to look into the face of death. Again, it’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up for that. Why? Because it isn’t fair. At all. And, you were never created to see death. This was not God’s design. You’ll sense the enemy prowling in a way you never have before. But, get ready, because warring Angels will battle on your behalf. God will protect that time with your son.

Don’t feel bad about having John hold him first. He’s your husband and Warner’s Daddy. He’ll be strong for the both of you in that moment. Let him. You’ll both treasure it later. I know, it’s hard to believe you could treasure any of it, but you will.

God will give you a peace and you’ll see your son for the first time. Nurses will be checking his vitals. And, then you’ll work up the nerve to hold him. It’s hard to believe now that you could fall in love that quickly, but you will. You’ll do all you can to show him the world around you in those 45 minutes. You’ll tell him about Jesus. About how much you love him. About how hard you tried for him. Daddy will show him out the window, giving him a glimpse of the outside world. You’ll later realize that was the only glimpse he’ll ever get.

And, here’s the thing, your Mama heart will ache later that you didn’t hold him long enough or didn’t tell him enough. That’s a lie. You did what you could and God was gracious to give you 45 minutes. That’s right. The night before you wouldn’t think of that as gracious but as terrible. But, it will be a gift. A gracious gift from a gracious God. You’ll always wish you had more time, but that’s just because death was never a part of His plan for creation. The day will come when He redeems all of that, but, for tomorrow, cherish the time you do get with that little boy.

You’ve loved that little boy well. And, you’ll love him well tomorrow. Tomorrow will change your life forever. You would think that it’ll change your life for the worse, but it won’t. Warner’s life will make you more like Jesus. His life will shift yours. And, that’s a good thing from a good God. People will try to look at you tomorrow and question how you could think God is still good. But, you know better than that.

I wish I could tell you that two years later, you wouldn’t hurt as much. But, the intensity will be just as strong, if not stronger in some ways. Again, don’t worry about what’s to come. Just walk what God’s asking you to walk today. And, for now that means going to sleep like every other night and asking God to have His hand on your womb. Take it from me, He’s listening and answers in a might way

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