We all enter circumstances with expectations.  When Adam and I went through our pre-marriage class, I realized we both had a lot of expectations for one another.  I expected Adam to take out the garbage, fix things around the house, go to work, be faithful to me - you know the normal stuff!

When we were in the early weeks of pregnancy with Simon, we had expectations for him - like bringing him home, fighting with his big brother, Teddy, heading off to college and getting married. The "normal" milestones.  Again, with Thomas, we had the normal dreams and expectations you have at the beginning of a pregnancy.  While I was nervous during Thomas' pregnancy, I still tried my hardest to enjoy the time I had with him and dreamt of what life would be like with him.  And I was desperately hoping he was just an average child who would come home to live a long life in our home.

Our due date with Thomas was two days ago.  I quickly realized when we first were pregnant with Thomas that his due date was the day after Simon's death on May 22nd.  How perfect.  It was. Until we lost Thomas the weekend of Thanksgiving 2014. We hoped and expected to meet him come May.  While we met him far sooner than we expected to, we still found joy on his due date by continuing his legacy through the delivery of the CuddleCot to St. Luke's Hospital Kansas City.  We walked through the same doors we would have if I would've been in labor with Thomas.  But we carried a much different delivery.  We carried a delivery that will give so much time to families walking the road of stillbirth and infant loss.  I'd be lying if I said that May 22 wasn't hard. I had some quiet moments of deep grief.  But I find great comfort that we did deliver Thomas and we know his life story.  It just wasn't what we expected.  I am thankful that we did meet him; that we saw by sight he was in fact a little boy; and that we held him in the palm of our hands.  So symbolic - just like the way Our Father holds us in the palm of His hand.

Webster's defines the word expect as "to think that something or someone will likely arrive or certainly happen."

My friend, Courtney, once said to me that she thought the word "expecting" was a bit of an old fashioned word to describe that you were due with a baby.  But recently, both Courtney and I have come to very much appreciate that description of the word for pregnancy.  You are expecting.  You do have expectations.  And one major expectation is that the baby will be coming home, alive.

After walking the journey we are on, I know we can set expectations but we really do not know exactly what the outcome will be.  We hope and pray for what we think is the best result with our children.  But ultimately, we take life day-by-day, enjoy our life, plan our best, and lean into the Savior for help daily.

So today, I share, instead of being 40 weeks pregnant, I am actually 21 weeks pregnant with baby Balentine #4 who's expected arrival is October 4!  We are thankful, overjoyed and hopeful.  We would appreciate your prayers as we continue to walk this journey of a new pregnancy after two losses.  It's scary.  It's unfamiliar.  Unfortunately, I think daily I have a terrible thought about this baby dying.  I know that's normal for me so I give myself grace, drink something sugary and lay around waiting for this new baby to kick and wiggle.

Will you also please pray for me as I lead the You Made Me Mom moms?  I know what it feels like to find out someone is pregnant after you've experienced loss.  Sometimes it hurts.  You are still happy for your friend but there's a tinge of jealousy that sometimes passes over us.  I want to be extra sensitive to my dear family and friends who want nothing more than to bring a baby home.

Sweet Balentine baby #4, I am so excited to meet you.  I pray I meet you breathing and alive come the end of September or beginning of October.  I pray we head back to our home where your living big brother, Teddy, spends his days and the two of you live long lives together which outlive your daddy and me.  Before your big anatomy scan around 18 weeks, I fell to my knees in the doctor's office bathroom (yes, gross) and prayed for the ultrasound to return normal and healthy results.  When I was on the my knees crying and praying for you in that bathroom, I knew I wasn't the first mommy to do this.  I was in good company of other moms who've been in this same position praying for their child's good health and bracing themselves for terrible news.  The ultrasound tech and doctor scanned your sweet body, I cried remembering the last time I did this was with Simon and he was so sick.  I begged God for a different outcome.  And a different report we have received.  As far as we can tell: You have a full brain!  You have kidneys that are of normal size!  You have a four chambered healthy heart.  And for this, plus all of the other healthy aspects of your body, we are thankful.  I love carrying you new baby and I can't wait to see what God will do with your life.

Lord, I pray, Your will.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.  Just your will for this child. ~Amen

A little 20+5 weeks pregnant selfie with Baby #4 
prior to donating the CuddleCot on what originally was Thomas' due date.

The ring I wear daily, Thomas in the palm of my hand, Simon facing out into the world.


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