My Journey: Through Grace to Gracie
by Grettel Loney
My kids are six years apart. That was definitely not planned. My son was born July 4, 1997. Yes, a firecracker baby! What a glorious day that was for me. I had no idea how much you could love a little creature that could do absolutely nothing for you except stare back. His was the purest form of love I’d ever experienced. I wanted to take care of him, love him, and protect him. Somehow, he gave me more love and joy than I felt I could ever reciprocate.
Approximately 20 weeks into my pregnancy, I had found out I was going to have a boy. My question to the doctor had been, “Are you sure?!” I had asked because I was hoping he’d say, “Oh, wait, I was wrong, you’re having a girl!” I had wanted a daughter my whole life. I just assumed I would have one because how could God not give me the daughter I’d always dreamed of having, raising, and loving?!
When my son was born, and I became a mom for the first time at 26 years old, I remember saying to him, “I love you so much! I wouldn’t trade you for five girls!” I was hoping he hadn’t felt the disappointment or any kind of rejection from me when I found out he was not a girl!
My son was easy-going—always smiling with the friendliest of dispositions. I became a stay-at-home mom. I cherish the memories of those early years with all my heart.
Two years after my son was born, my plan was to get pregnant and have that baby girl I’d always longed for. My Mom and I had been very close. She was killed in a horrible car accident on Highway 169 in Tulsa when my son was just five months old. He helped me to not fall into an abyss of depression. My son needed a mom to greet him every morning with a smile and to be all there for him. He hadn’t been planned.
Isn’t it amazing how God knows exactly what we need before we even know it?
I got pregnant, but as with approximately 20-25% of pregnancies, mine ended with a miscarriage. I never imagined a miscarriage could be so devastating. My doctor told me I could try to get pregnant again as soon as I wanted to. He assured me I was healthy and it was actually quite normal I had lost the baby. So, once again I got pregnant, and once again at nine weeks, there was no heartbeat. I remember realizing something was terribly wrong as I was getting the ultrasound. The two nurses’ tones changed. I didn’t see a heartbeat. I finally asked even though I already knew the answer, “Is the baby OK?” One nurse told me she needed to go find the doctor. I started to cry. This couldn’t be happening. But it was, and my heart was broken all over again. My body didn’t naturally abort either miscarriage, so I had to have another D&C. Each time, it felt like a piece of my heart had been taken out of me, along with my unborn babies.
I felt a combination of devastation, shock, and shame. Someone actually asked me, “What are you doing wrong?” Wow. Not something a woman wants to hear after losing two planned pregnancies.
I wasn’t ready any time soon to try again, even after my doctor told me I could. I’d always wanted to run a marathon, so I thought it would be a good goal to work towards—run my first marathon before turning 30. I ended up running two before my 30th birthday. I loved running. I had trained hard and had run two marathons in eight months. I was on top of the world until I tried to get pregnant again. I had gotten very lean after all my training—maybe too lean—and I had quit ovulating. I couldn’t get pregnant. It took a while to find out the problem and to try to find a solution. I started to take a medicine called Clomid. I was to try to get pregnant in three months, and if didn’t happen, I’d have to wait six more months to try because it can be hard on the ovaries. I really hated the suspense. Even though a lot of my plans never come to fruition, it’s definitely not for lack of trying! The third month I was elated to find out I was pregnant, but almost instantly, fear gripped me like never before. I told myself this was it, if I lost this baby, I could not try again. I’ve heard of women having multiple miscarriages—I just didn’t think I was strong enough to be one of them.
Thankfully my church family knew I was scared. A wonderful couple asked for seven couples in the church to pray for me once a week on their assigned day for the entire pregnancy. They got almost twice as many couples. It was extremely comforting to know these strong men and women of God were bathing my pregnancy in prayer. Still, I had to face the realization that I might be one of those women who could only have one child. I surrendered my dreams of having a little girl to God. I was so thankful for my son. I loved being a mom. I knew that even though women have unwanted babies all the time, there were many who would never live out their dream to become a mother.
I remember my tenth week checkup. I had lost both babies at nine weeks, so I could hardly breathe during that ultrasound… but there it was, nice and strong and fast… my baby’s heartbeat!
At 20 weeks, my husband and I decided to take my son to find out if we were having a boy or a girl. When the doctor said we were having a girl, I started to cry. “Are you sure?!” I asked. This time I was incredulous because it seemed too good to be true. I remember saying to my son, “Did you hear that?! You’re having a baby sister!” His matter-of-fact response in his sweet high pitched voice was, “Of course I am, Momma. I asked God for a sister, why would he give me a brother?” Oh the faith of a child!
My daughter Gracie turned 13 this month. My mind is racing with so many thoughts and emotions. Where did the years go? Have I done a good enough job raising her? Will she grow out of this feisty phase or did she turn out just like me?
As I bought her birthday presents this week, I wished so badly I could be buying her Barbies, or Build-A-Bears, or American Girl doll stuff.
Yes, the years are flying and that makes me sad because she’s my baby. But more than anything, I’ve shed many tears these days as I think back to my journey of having a precious daughter. I’m so thankful!
“I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him.”—1 Samuel 1:27
Grettel Loney moved to Tulsa in 1989 to attend Oral Roberts University. She is married and has two children: a son at the University of Tulsa, and a daughter at Carver Middle School. Grettel enjoys Bible study, playing the guitar, traveling, learning languages, and is an avid sports fan. Her other work for the918 includes Her Journey with Chronic Pain Part 1, Part 2, and Tips to Help You with Your Spiritual New Year’s Resolutions.
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