One of my favorite parts of writing my book Baby Changes Everything: Embracing and Preparing for Motherhood after 35
was telling all the different mommy-come-lately stories.
Today, I'll give you a glimpse inside the book and share Susie's story:
Susie and I met when we both lived in Florida and attended the same women’s Bible study. Pregnant with her second child, Susie was also my husband’s OB patient.
When Susie was seven months pregnant, her husband, Mark, an Air Force pilot, was killed in a plane crash. With an unwavering faith in God, Susie soon became the single mother of two young boys.
Within two years, I rejoiced as Susie fell in love and married Pat. Her son, Zachary, was then four years old and Alex was almost two years old.
“Pat and I decided that we were very happy with the challenge of two boys. That was quite enough kiddos, thank you!” Susie said. “We were not planning on having any more children.”
But, as the poet said, “The best laid plans. . .”
“I went to the doctor to be sure my home test was not accurate. Much to my surprise, I was, indeed, pregnant!”
Susie found out she was going to be a Mommy-come-lately when she overheard a conversation between her doctor and a resident. Sitting in an exam room, Susie heard her physician say, “Oh, this is going to be fun!”
“Immediately, I knew they were going to tell me that the little stick was pink.”
At thirty-eight, Susie struggled with the challenge of redefining what her life would look like once the baby was born. At that time, her sons were independent nine and eleven-year-olds.
“I was just getting into the days when I had more freedom—looking toward the possibility of taking on more ministry opportunities during the day while they were in school and having lots of extra time for non-mom endeavors,” Susie said. “I struggled with the reality that I would be back to naptime schedules, lots more time at home, and having a baby strapped to my hip.”
As her pregnancy progressed, Susie was excited to feel her baby kick and move.
“I hoped I would be a more relaxed parent this go-round and take more time to really enjoy each stage. The big question was whether I would have the energy to stay on top of everything. Maybe I need to invest in a motorized scooter and a bullwhip,” she said with a laugh.
Susie felt catapulted into a higher risk category—and at twenty weeks, an ultrasound detected cysts on her baby’s brain that were a possible marker for Down syndrome.
“We were given the options of seeing a perinatologist for further testing, as well as to consult with a geneticist. After much prayer and talking with a family friend who was a physician, we were confident in our decision to have a 3-D ultrasound, but not amniocentesis,” Susie said. “The point was made that unless further testing would change our decision to have the baby—which was never an option—or give us more peace, there was no need to have a test that could put our baby at risk.”
The ultrasound revealed that the cysts had resolved and that there were no other markers for Down syndrome.
“Even though I think I’m in control of my life, anything can happen. I’m thankful God reminds me daily, ‘I know the plans I have for you. . .plans to prosper you and not to harm you. . .plans to give you a hope and a future.’”
Susie wondered how her husband, Pat, would handle labor and delivery, saying, “Pat does not have the stomach for anything medical. Much to my relief and delight he was a great coach through labor—although he did stop at McDonalds on the way to the hospital. All the while he was ordering I was contracting and breathing, breathing.”
Piper, a healthy baby girl, changed the family for the better.
“Life with Piper is so much fun. We call her the ‘JFB’—the Joy-Filled-Baby. Her brother, Zach, will often get her when he comes in after school, take her to his room, and just play with her. Her other brother, Alex, loves to make Piper laugh. He enjoys being the much older, strong, macho brother. Piper goes in every morning to wake Alex up. She crawls on top of him and playfully slaps him in the face until he wakes up.”