Published May 31, 2007 by
I was nursing six-month-old twins, a beautiful gift after eighteen (18) months of infertility treatments. We took my temperature every day, spent our savings on fertility drugs, maxed out credit cards on IUI (intra-uterine insemination) treatments, studied the Bible stories of Hannah longing for a child, and solicited the prayers of our church family to bless us with a child (or two). In August of 1996, we received the wonderful news that we were expecting twins. In October of 1997, we moved into a townhouse in Northeast Ohio. On moving day, I picked up the phone to order pizza for the friends helping us move. I felt nauseous at the thought of pepperoni and mushrooms. I rudely hung up the phone and chose another vendor for our supper. My disdain was the same as I struggled to order the sustenance for my moving crew, and I excused myself to the bathroom.
Surely the stress of the move with the infant twins was causing my monthly cycle to be irregular, but I still followed up with a generic pregnancy test. As the indicator turned distinctly pink, my husband and I were in shock. Surely, I had not conceived a child with my infertility issues while I was nursing twin girls.
After two (2) more confirming home pregnancy tests, we had to face the harsh reality that we were expecting our third child when our twins would turn one year old. Still paying off the medical bills from infertility specialists, the high-risk twin pregnancy, and the NICU bills, we fretted about everything from finances to the car we had just purchased that would not accommodate three car seats.
I was pregnant with our third child in two years' time. Still not over the sleep deprivation of caring for newborn twin infants, I now faced morning sickness and fatigue of my second pregnancy.
The shock was overwhelming. The announcement of the second pregnancy also came as a shock to our family and friends. But, somehow, by God's grace, we survived the pregnancy and prenatal preparation.
My third daughter arrived in May of 1998. I savored the quality time I had with my new daughter in my hospital room. It took us three days to name this newcomer. We settled on "Paloma Joelle." Paloma is Spanish for "dove" or "bringer of peace." Joelle is Hebrew for "the Lord is willing." Our prayer was that the Lord would be willing to bring us peace with this third child so close in age to the twins.
It was my last night in the hospital with Paloma. During her 3:00 AM feeding, I was watching praise and worship videos on the television in my room. The nursery at home contained two perfectly matched cribs and had been adorned in Noah's ark décor in a "two-by-two" theme for the twins. I began to imagine what it would be like to bring her home and be a mother of three girls under the age of two. I pondered how she would fit in to our family, and the thought came to me that she would be sharing a nursery decorated for twins in a Noah's ark motif. What a shame that the nursery was so theme-based to welcome the twins. Would Paloma be the third wheel?
I visualized the nursery decor. As if in a movie, my thoughts zoomed in on each Noah's ark sculpture and picture on the wall. In each instance, Noah held in his hand... a dove.
Paloma had been "in the picture" all along. God knew she was coming even when we didn't. The Bible says, "Every good and perfect gift comes from above."
Paloma Joelle was, indeed, a peace-bringer. She ate, slept and laughed.
No child is a "mistake." A surprise perhaps, but never a mistake. Daily, I am thankful for my unexpected gift.