Tuesday, May 22, 2012

3 Years and Counting...

On May 22, 2009 at 5:39 a.m. Benjamin Lee Hemminger came into the world. His newborn cries cut through the cold air, and my heart leaped inside me! Little did I know that it would be four long hours before I would be able to see my baby, nine tormenting days until I would be able to hold him in my arms, and four weeks that felt like a short life-time before my son would come home.

On May 22, 2012 at around 6:20 a.m. Benjamin's toddler cries came from his bedroom, announcing that he was indeed awake and ready to begin his day! He smiled big as I walked in the room. "Happy Birthday, Benjamin!" I exclaimed. "Are you three today?!" I sang him happy birthday as I changed his diaper and we headed to the kitchen for breakfast. The next few hours were filled with toys, movies, songs, clapping, kisses and cuddles.

After his mid-morning snack, we loaded up in the car to head to Sooner Park. He was more than excited to go for a walk in his stroller out in the beautiful sunshine. He squealed with delight when we stopped by the creek to watch the water. He smiled big when we sat down in the grass to roll a ball back and forth and blow bubbles. He was delighted to swing in the baby swings and watch his shadow go by underneath. It was a good birthday morning!

Now he's had his lunch and is taking his afternoon nap. Tonight I will fix one of his favorite meals for supper--pancakes! We will spend some quality time as a family. As I write, I am thinking back over three years that have flown by so quickly, yet have felt like their own lifetime as well. It's hard to remember life before Benjamin. Three years ago today, though, I couldn't imagine a day like this one, yet here we are with many more days to look forward to by God's grace. In spite of the pain and difficulties we have experienced, these last three years have been the richest and most joy-filled of my life. My marriage is stronger than ever before, my walk with God has grown so much, and by His grace I am a stronger person. I have a beautiful child to love and cherish. I so delight in being a Mommy!

It's been three years and counting...counting on many more years to come, counting on many more experiences through which to learn and grow, counting on love that overflows, counting on Jesus' goodness to see us through each new day. That's reason to celebrate!

Benjamin's first day

First Birthday

Second Birthday

Third Birthday

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Three Years Ago Today

Three years ago today, I sat on our living room couch feeling the discomforts of 3rd trimester pregnancy, and watched the heavy downpour through the front window. Three years ago today I considered cancelling the ultra-sound appointment with the specialist for that morning, which would require an hour long drive one way. I was confident it would be routine, and she'd tell us our baby was growing fine and send us on our way. Three years ago today I prayed a two-second prayer, asking God to stop the rain if I should go to the appointment. I was surprised and a bit disappointed when the rain stopped minutes later. I was so tired.

Three years ago today, Shawn and I drove to Tulsa under clear skies for what was to be the last of three ultra-sounds. Three years ago today our hearts sank as the specialist told us my amniotic fluid was measuring low, and she wanted to see us back weekly until the baby was born. How could we keep up with this pace when I already had weekly appointments with my OB doctor 45 minutes away?

Three years ago today, I convinced myself that low amniotic fluid wasn't too big of a deal, and though my baby may come a week or two earlier than expected, he would come healthy and whole. Three years ago today I daydreamed about holding my perfect newborn in my arms. Three years ago today, I had no idea of the nature and intensity of the journey we were about to begin in two weeks time. Even if I could have known, I probably wouldn't have believed it. Three years ago today, I still had it figured out what things would look like with our new baby (or at least I thought I did).

Now it is today, and I am reflecting back over three years that have been very different than I ever thought possible. And yet, there are still many things that are not so different. This morning I have experienced many of the typical activities for a stay-at-home mom with a young child (except for maybe Benjamin's hour in his Super Stand!) There have been dirty diapers to change and messy mouths to clean. There have been noisy toys and a busy boy. There have been kisses and cuddles, songs and giggles. Most importantly, there has been a lot of love.

Just as I could never have been prepared for how much trial we would face after Benjamin's birth, I don't think I could have been prepared either for the depth of love I would feel for my child. Oh, I knew I would love him crazy, but as any parent will tell you, I didn't really know until I got to meet him. What will the next three years hold? I have no idea, but I do know they will be full of love. This time, though, I'm going to work hard at not trying to figure it out!

This picture was taken less than a week later at our childbirth class.

Almost three years old!

Monday, May 7, 2012


How is it possible to so deeply miss someone you have yet to meet? This is an ache with which I have become very familiar. I experienced it with many tears and prayers for two years before finally conceiving Benjamin. It has been my companion once again for these past 16 months. Today my hopes of being pregnant with a second child before turning 30 were dashed. At least this time I was wise enough to wait another day before putting myself  through the heightened disappointment of another false pregnancy test. It still sits untouched in a drawer waiting for a more opportune time.

A few months ago I was driving and praying, silent tears streaming down my cheeks as I told the Lord, "I ache for my future children!" I felt Him whisper back, "I ache for Mine too." His words caught me off-guard, and my prayer that day shifted from seeking the fulfillment of my desires to seeking the fulfillment of His. If I can feel such a deep pain of longing for my children yet to be born, how much does His heart ache for His children who have yet to be born again? Father, fill me with love for the children You are longing for, and use my life to help "birth" them into the Kingdom. Sustain my heart as I wait for the blessing of my own future babies. Thank You that they already exist in Your heart.