Astounded. That’s all I can say. Finding out that I was pregnant at age 42 was quite the shocker. I had been feeling a little funny, tired and achy, but thought I was just catching a cold. When it persisted while visiting a friend in Texas I mentioned my symptoms and shrugged it off. Then when I was hardly able to eat at dinner, she began to stare at me and cocked her head asked, “Melissa, could you be pregnant?!” At first I laughed, then I thought, “Oh my gosh! What if she’s right?!” I quickly got up from dinner, drove to the drug store and bought a home pregnancy test. As I was staying at my parent's home and did not want to have to explain the Clear Blue Easy box to my mom, I took the test right there in the Walgreens bathroom.
“Positive” it said.
I said out loud, “No way.”
I bought another one, thinking this one must be faulty.
“Positive” it said again.
Leaving my test in the stall, I ran to the eyeglasses isle and borrowed a pair of strong lensed “readers” to make sure that my eyes were not playing tricks on me. I then began to laugh and cry thinking, “If I have to use a pair of ‘readers’ to view my pregnancy test--I’m too old to have a baby!”
I ran back to the stall and sure enough...it did in fact say, ”Positive” my eyes had not failed yet.
Oh boy! How was I going to tell Dale? This one was, well...quite unexpected! I had had so much trouble getting pregnant in the past and now, almost ten years after my last baby was born?! I must say, half of me was elated! I had always wanted five kids, God in His goodness had given me three. The other half of me thought… “NOW?!” With such a large gap between my kid’s ages and twenty years into my marriage?! Did God really know what He was doing….?
I called Dale from the stall, rather unusual I know, but hey, this felt like Guiness Book of World Records information. Needless to say, he was as surprised as I was. Overjoyed at the thought, like me, but still...we were not spring chickens.
After going to the doctor we told our girls who were ages nine, eleven and thirteen --all about to have birthdays-- making them seem just that much older. They were puzzled and a little grossed out, but overall very excited.
Then Dale said the funniest thing…”I can’t wait to tell my dad he will be a great-grandfather!” I looked at him and said, “You know Dale, we are NOT going to be GRANDPARENTS...we are still the PARENTS! Your dad will still only be a grandfather!” “Oh yea…” he said. But I knew just how he was feeling.
To top things off, every time I went to the OBGYN the words “ADVANCED MATERNAL AGE” peppered every sentence. I had been “advised” upon my first visit that my ADVANCED MATERNAL AGE placed me in a much, much, higher risk category for “genetic disorders”. Coupled with the fact that Dale’s sister had Down Syndrome put me at the top of the charts for high risk pregnancies. After my exam we were taken into the doctor’s study, seated and then counselled about our “options”. Dale and I looked at each other and said that we were good with whatever God was going to give to us. Still more information was pressed into our palms and we were greatly urged to have invasive testing procedures done to determine the “viability” of the birth. We were told it was all “for the sake of the child.” We opted to simply have a sonogram to see if the baby had spina bifida and would need to be delivered by C section, confirming once again, we would do nothing to interrupt the life God was bringing into this world through me.
When the sonogram was performed by a specialist, the baby’s neck measured “normal” at her stage of development but her tongue was protruding from her mouth, something that greatly alarmed the technician. Again, we were taken into an office, seated, and “counselled” about our “options” and greatly encouraged to do further genetic testing. We, again, confirmed that we had already made our “choice", actually long before this baby came into being.
When we got home after having been given so much information, much pointing towards Down Syndrome, I looked at Dale and starting crying. I became overwhelmed thinking that this might be more than I could handle and wondered how this would affect the other girls. Dale took my hand and gently said the sweetest and most reassuring thing to me. With great compassion and love in his eyes he said, “Mel, you know in every life there is happiness and there is sorrow, there is pain and there is struggle, but have you ever known anyone more joyful than my sister?” I knew at that moment that God would give to us the “perfect baby”. The “perfect baby” would make our family the family He intended for it to be. I did not need to worry, projecting all of my fears about the future into the present moment, I just needed to trust God. My husband was the kindest, most patient and longsuffering man I had ever met, and I was quite confident that his deep compassion and tenderness had something to do with growing up with a sister with “Special needs.” And if this was the kind of sibling it produced I need not worry for my girls or myself if this was the gift God chose to give to our family.
Daisy Ellen Morningbird was born March 8, 2006, practically perfect in every way, a pure joy! And when they handed her to me and said, “No Downs” I thought, “Well, either way…she is the perfect gift to us from God.”
On March 29, 2019 the movie UNPLANNED will be making its way to theaters. Please watch this trailer and support this movie.
And with all of the HORRIFIC legislation being passed, please educate yourself on what a 2nd TRIMESTER ABORTION REALLY IS and see which CATHOLICS are supporting it. And be a VOICE for those who have NONE. This is not only a “Women’s Issue,” as many have been happy to say in order to wash their hands of the whole grisly business, millions of lives of UNBORN MEN are at stake as well.
If you are suffering in any way as the result of an abortion, read these encouraging and consoling words from the Church. And this is what Pope Francis has to say as well: "I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life...In the same way, however, I can and must state that there is no sin that God's mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with the Father."
And please pray, pray pray for all involved, on both sides. And ask God what YOU can do to transform our culture from a culture of death into a culture of life.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you…”
Please forgive us for the wrongful deaths of over 60 million babies since Roe vs. Wade. If I have been a part of this actively or even passively (by doing nothing), forgive me now and restore, heal and set me ablaze for You. If there is something You are asking me to do now, give me the strength, courage and grace I need to do it, I pray. We are sorry. Lord, please help us.
I ask this in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
PS- If you are "old" and reading this and God gifts you with a "surprise package"—REJOICE! Daisy is the happy in our everyday! She keeps us feeling young and "swinging" through life! :)