Author and blogger Dena Douglas Hobbs and I “met” while both in a blogging group shortly after I returned from Blogher 2013. Dena is a wonderful writer with a heart for God and family. While we tend to think of blogging as a solitary activity, there is a great deal of support given to one another within the community. Dena has been one of my biggest supporters and her words have provided me with endless inspiration. Yes, she is yet another person that I intend to meet face to face one day in the not too distant future. Here is Dena in her own words…
Thanks to Lisa for inviting me to share my story. Although I write about many things on my blog, today I wanted to share an excerpt from my unpublished book, Bound by Love (which is conveniently tucked away in a drawer mind you). This essay describes the most profound (and funniest) day of my life. May it be a blessing to you and an encouragement that in the midst of trials, you never know what happy surprise is waiting around the corner!
I have always wanted to be a mother. Always. My husband and I started trying to conceive at the first practical moment. But the hope of early efforts faded to confusion and then disappointment when periods stopped but all pregnancy tests came back negative. Month after month after month. Year after year.
After a brief period of grieving, we decided to adopt. For nine months we filled out paperwork. The day we finally put our bulging packet of documents in the mail to China, we rejoiced. The red thread that connects all adoptive parents to their future children had been tossed across the ocean. Now we just had to wait for our daughter to come to us. We celebrated in style with dinner, champagne, and all that follows.
The joy lasted a few weeks, but then I crashed. I began to feel tired and achy all over, like a seriously delayed hangover from all that champagne. I was missing my period again and my lower side constantly ached. I worried my ovaries had gone haywire again.
I called my gynecologist to see if she could give me some relief. I was too busy for all this drama. It was the end of October and our church was having a big fall festival. I had a million things to do, the least of which was picking up my Dorothy Halloween costume. I’ve always loved Dorothy. I marvel at how she goes from home, through chaos, into a totally new land, and then returns back home again a new person.
While on the phone with my gynecologist’s nurse, she encouraged me to take a pregnancy test before starting the progesterone pills, just in case. “No offense Lady”, I thought, “but I could line my bathroom with negative pregnancy tests.” I picked up my costume, prescription, and obligatory EPTs. I bought the two pack out of habit from the old days when they were widely used. Back home I dressed for the big party. With my blue checked Dorothy dress already on I decided to go ahead and take my first pill so I could begin to feel better. I set out the test along with my bottle of pills and a glass of water, ready for use just as soon as I saw that familiar one line.
After I took the test, I laid the stick on the bathroom counter and moved to my closet to decide which shoes would work best under my adorable ruby slipper shoe covers. I didn’t feel the wind begin to pick up, or hear the roar of the twister coming, but sure as anything our home was about to be turned upside down and thrown into a new and strange land.
I walked back into the bathroom to take my prescription and glanced at the pregnancy test. There I stopped, unable to move. For on that stick clear as day were not one, but two lines. I didn’t know what to do. This had never happened to me before. At first I assumed it was a faulty test. I pulled out the handy second test from the box. This time I stood and waited with my eyes glued to the stick as the seconds passed. It felt as if the room began to shift and turn and spin around me as I waited. Finally the test processed and there again, unmistakable as they could be were two purple lines. I grabbed onto the counter to steady myself and called out for my husband, Jason, my voice sounding strange. I don’t even remember if I said anything to him, or if he just saw me standing there, white knuckles gripping the bathroom counter, staring relentlessly at those two white sticks. “I need you to go get some more pregnancy tests” I finally squeaked out. He grabbed his keys and headed out the door.
I remember sitting on the sofa, time suspended, guzzling down water and trying to absorb the fact that I could be pregnant. We had of course been told the malfunctions of our bodies and how that made conception unlikely. But there was more. I kept thinking about how I was already pregnant, paper-pregnant. We had just mailed our documents off to China. How can one person be pregnant in two different ways? Throw in a high-risk pregnancy on top of an international adoption? Toto, we are not in Kansas anymore.
My husband returned with one pregnancy test as if to declare its results final. One can’t after all keep peeing on sticks all night. We walked to the bathroom and waited for the results to show. One final time two lines developed. Not much was said. My ruby slipper covers lay strewn on the floor while I collapsed on the sofa, Dorothy costume still on, until it was quite late.
Although we spoke little, the one thing we said was that we wouldn’t, couldn’t go back on adopting our daughter from China. The red thread connecting us to her had already been tied too tightly. To try and undo it now would just feel violent and wrong. It seemed now that instead of tying the end of the red thread to herself as we had assumed she would, our daughter had connected it to herself somewhere in the middle of the line, and tossed the end out so it could connect to another passing soul. In drawing herself to us, she brought a sibling along with her as if she or some divine providence knew this was just how it was meant to be.
Dena Douglas Hobbs is the author of Lighten the Darkness advent devotional and a blogger about finding grace and balance at Centering Down. She loves finding peace and beauty in her home state of Georgia whether it be hiking the Appalachian trails, kayaking the tidewater marshes along the Golden Cost, or just enjoying a beautiful day in Middle Georgia where she lives. She is blessed to share life with her husband Jason, two miraculously mix matched kids, and a couple of lazy hound dogs.