I remember my first pregnancy with such clarity, and I recall my first ultrasound as if it was yesterday. There was a nervous excitement in the air as the ultrasound technician moved the wand low across my abdomen. Before my appointment, I felt anxious and worried. What if something is wrong with my baby? How would I handle that? What would I feel? Thankfully, my baby was fine and healthy. However, my friend Jessica’ experience turned out a little differently. Although her ultrasound results were not what she imagined, she found an unexpected miracle in her story and began an incredible journey of faith.
Here is an excerpt from her book, Sunlight Burning at Midnight, A Memoir:
I walked into the ultrasound room and felt the complete absence of warmth. No beauty relieved the coldness, no picture of a mother holding a child or a sunset over the water. Nothing to remind those who nervously waited of the potential for joy within the world.
A large, heavyset woman poked with her stubby fingers at my thin, slightly rounded body. As the silence continued to descend, the air thickened with unspoken thoughts. I looked at this doctor, the expert I had been sent to, repeatedly trying to catch her eye, to shake her unmovable countenance. I wanted to see a glimpse of understanding in her cold stare, but she refused to make eye contact. She refused to make me an individual. She refused to feel anything for me. And I began to despise her.
The pokes with her finger turned to prodding with the ultrasound wand as she silently walked about the room with an air of intellectual superiority, contemplating the defective nature of what lay within me. I found myself suffocating beneath her smugness and the uncomfortable silence, thinking about her large belly looming over me. I focused on her obesity to avoid thinking about the imperfection held within my womb, about the diagnoses around the corner.
I lay on the metal table, completely still, as she spoke in hushed tones with the nurse. The gravity of the situation began to set in. Hot, confused tears started to flow uncontrollably.
The doctor glanced at me and asked, “Where’s your husband? He should be here for this news.”
I explained, blubbering through tears, that we hadn’t realized the severity of the situation, and he had remained home with our other son.
The doctor stretched out her plump arm and began drawing repetitive circles on the whiteboard, a demonstration of how she viewed my baby’s predicament. I sat there feeling like a child who was failing miserably at a particular subject in school, but the subject I was failing was that of being pregnant. My teacher drew a large head representing the accumulated fluid and then continued to draw circles around that head, signifying continued growth as the fluid increased month by month. I half-expected her to draw a big BOOM with scribbles and chaos as the head ultimately exploded.
She didn’t. She simply said, “If I were you, I would take care of it and try again. You are a healthy young girl, and you won’t have any problems getting pregnant. In fact, you will be doing this baby a favor, because these kinds of fetuses have a way of spontaneously aborting themselves. They are not supposed to make it. It’s just nature’s way.”
Thus, began my story; a story filled with overwhelming pain and tragedy; a story born on that fateful day in May upon hearing the devastating news regarding my unborn child; a story that would progress through the next few years after hearing another horrific diagnosis regarding my husband’s health; a deep story of God’s faithfulness as my husband and I fought for three years to defeat cancer while raising our four young children. This is my story which is ultimately His story for His glory. It is a story of stumbling through the darkest of nights as my Savior picked me up time and time again to prove his faithfulness. It is full of redemption, beauty from ashes, and a glorious story that became as miraculous as Sunlight Burning at Midnight.
My life today is drastically different from that fateful day where I lay upon that cold, metal table. That unborn child is about to turn 13 next month, and his life is a complete miracle. He has changed me and so many around him in beautiful, unexpected ways. I am a blessed woman married to a wonderful man, and we now raise eight beautiful children in the hills of Tennessee, attempting to cultivate a simple life with chickens, and gardens, and a “do it ourselves” attitude. I try to live thankfully, but sometimes I fall short, and his mercies prove new time and time again. I look for the miraculous in the mundane, the sunlight burning at midnight moments, and I always strive to “just keep livin!”
To keep up with the madness, find me at www.jessplusthemess.com where I occasionally blog or on Facebook/jessplusthemess or Instagram/jessplusthemess. I’m running a summer deal on autographed copies of my memoir Sunlight Burning at Midnight for $11.99 (plus free shipping!) on the blog or the Facebook page, or you can find the book on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
I have a signed copy of this book to give away to one lucky reader! Simply leave a comment below, and a winner will be chosen at random!
Her story is a beautiful one of faith and encouragement, and one you will surely enjoy.