Four years ago, when I was 43 years old, I discovered that I was pregnant with my fifth child. The pregnancy was such a surprise because it had been over four years since the birth of my fourth child and my husband and I thought we had mastered the ability to prevent pregnancy. We felt that we had our ‘hands full’ with our four children under the age of 10, and because another healthy pregnancy would be questionable due to my age and the fact that I would have to have a fifth caesarian section, the thought of having another child seemed unwise. In fact having more than four children in the minds of many people is for some reason frowned upon even when it is clear that the parents are able to love and support their children. When my fourth child was due to be born soon, an obstetrician in my regular ob’s group questioned me as to whether I would be having a tubal ligation during the upcoming c-section. He reasoned that I was 39 years old, was having my fourth child, and he “should think (I’d) be done having kids by now”.
Although the pregnancy was initially frightening, and although we did receive some negative reactions during the pregnancy related to the number of children we were about to have and because my husband and I were in our 40’s at this point, we knew that the existence of this baby was God’s Will and our fear eventually turned into excitement.
The pregnancy went as well as the previous four had and we had a level two ultrasound during the pregnancy just so that my family could be prepared if this baby was going to be born with special needs. My husband and I never agreed to undergo an amniocentesis due to the risk to the baby and because we were told that any abnormality found with this procedure could not be corrected in utero.
Amelia was born healthy and normal at 9 pounds 8 ounces by c-section ten days early. Her four siblings were thrilled (and still are most of the time) to have a sweet, affectionate little sister. I watch Amelia now as I write this story, happily picking dandelion flowers in the backyard (the only flowers she knows she’s welcome to pick any time), and I think what a treasure she is and how blessed my husband and I are to have her in our lives. What was so frightening at first has turned into absolute joy.
We don’t always understand right away why we are presented with the challenges we are, but if we allow God to give us the gift of a new life and allow ourselves to trust that He knows best what we need, we usually discover the awesome impact His gifts have on our lives, and our previous fears, although understandable at the time, seem so silly later on.