Astounded. That’s all I can say.
Finding out I was pregnant at age 42 was quite the shocker. I had been feeling a little funny, tired and achy, but I thought I was just catching a cold.
When it persisted while visiting a friend in Texas, I mentioned my symptoms and shrugged it off.
Then, when I was hardly able to eat dinner, she cocked her head and asked, “Melissa, could you be pregnant?”
At first I laughed. Then I thought, “What if she’s right?”
I quickly got up from dinner, drove to the drug store, and bought a home pregnancy test.
I took the test right then and there in the Walgreens bathroom.
“Positive,” it said.
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I said out loud, “No way.”
I bought another one, thinking the first one must be faulty.
“Positive,” it said again.
I ran to the eyeglasses aisle and borrowed a pair of strong-lensed “readers” to make sure that my eyes were not playing tricks on me.
I then began to laugh and cry thinking, “If I have to use a pair of ‘readers’ to view my pregnancy test, I’m too old to have a baby!”
But sure enough, both tests did in fact say “positive.” My eyes had not failed yet.
Oh boy! How was I going to tell my husband, Dale?
I had had so much trouble getting pregnant in the past and now, almost 10 years after my last baby was born, I was pregnant?
I must say, most of me was elated. I had always wanted five kids. God in His goodness had given me three so far.
The other part of me thought … now? With such a large gap between my kids’ ages and 20 years into my marriage? Did God really know what He was doing?
I called Dale — and he was as surprised as I was. Like me, he was also overjoyed at the thought, but still — we were not spring chickens.
After going to the doctor, we told our girls — who were ages 13, 11, and 9, and all about to have birthdays, making them seem just that much older. They were puzzled and a little disgusted, but overall very excited.
Then Dale said the funniest thing: “I can’t wait to tell my dad he will be a great grandfather!”
I looked at him and said, “You know, Dale, we’re not going to be grandparents … We’re still the parents! Your dad will still only be a grandfather!”
“Oh, yeah,” he said.
But I knew just how he was feeling.
To top things off, every time I went to the OB-GYN, the words “advanced maternal age” peppered every sentence.
I had been “advised” upon my first visit that my advanced maternal age placed me in a much, much higher risk category for “genetic disorders.” That, and the fact that Dale’s sister had Down syndrome, put me at the top of the charts for high-risk pregnancies.
After my exam, we were taken into the doctor’s study, seated, and then counseled about our “options.”
Dale and I looked at each other and said that we were good with whatever God was going to give to us, believing each life is created in the image of God.
Still more information was pressed into our palms and we were greatly urged to have invasive testing procedures done to determine the “viability” of the birth.
We were told it was all “for the sake of the child.”
We opted to simply have a sonogram to see if the baby had spina bifida and would need to be delivered by C section, confirming once again that we would do nothing to interrupt the life God was bringing into this world through me.
When we ultimately had the sonogram by a specialist, our baby’s neck measured “normal” for her stage of development, but her tongue was protruding from her mouth, something that greatly alarmed the technician. Again, we were taken into an office, seated, and “counseled” about our “options” and greatly encouraged to do further genetic testing.
We, again, confirmed that we had already made our “choice,” actually long before this baby, by God’s grace, came into being.
When we got home after having been given so much information, much pointing toward Down syndrome, I looked at Dale and starting crying.
I became overwhelmed thinking that this might be more than I could handle and wondered how this would affect the other girls.
Dale took my hand and gently said the sweetest and most reassuring thing to me. With great compassion and love in his eyes, he said, “Mel, you know in every life there is happiness and there is sorrow, there is pain and there is struggle, but have you ever known anyone more joyful than my sister?”
I knew at that moment that God would give to us the “perfect baby.” The “perfect baby” would make our family the family He intended for it to be. I did not need to worry. I just needed to trust God and know He would give me all that I needed to handle anything that He brought my way.
My husband was the kindest, most patient and long-suffering man I had ever met, and I was quite confident his deep compassion and tenderness had something to do with growing up with a sister with special needs.
Ask God what you can do to transform our culture from a culture of death into a culture of life.
And if this was the kind of sibling it produced, I need not worry for my girls or for myself if this was the gift God chose to give to our family.
Daisy Ellen Morningbird was born in early March 2006, practically perfect in every way — a pure joy! And when they handed her to me and said, “No Downs,” I thought, “Well, either way, she is the perfect gift to us from God.”
This is partly why I want to share that on March 29, 2019, the movie “Unplanned” will be making its way to theaters. Please watch this trailer and support this movie.
And with all of the horrific legislation being passed today, please educate yourself on what a second-trimester abortion really is and see which Catholics are supporting it. And be a voice for those who have none.
This is not only a “women’s issue,” as many have been happy to say in order to wash their hands of the whole grisly business. Millions of lives of UNBORN MEN are at stake as well.
There were a total of 17,284 reported murder and non-negligent manslaughter cases in the U.S. in 2017.
There were 882,000 abortions performed in 2017.
If you are suffering in any way as the result of an abortion, read these encouraging and consoling words from the church. And this from Pope Francis: “I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life … In the same way, however, I can and must state that there is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with the Father.”
Find healing in and through the sacraments of the Church.
And if you find yourself in need of counseling, reach out to Project Rachel, Hope after Abortion.
And please pray, pray, pray for all involved, on both sides. Ask God what you can do to transform our culture from a culture of death into a culture of life.
Remember these words from the Bible: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you” (Jeremiah 1:5).
Dear Lord, Please forgive us for the wrongful deaths of over 60 million babies since Roe vs. Wade.
If I have been a part of this actively or even passively (by doing nothing), forgive me now — and restore, heal and set me ablaze for You.
If there is something You are asking me to do now, give me the strength, courage and grace I need to do it, I pray.
We are sorry. Lord, please help us.
I ask this in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Check out this early look at “Unplanned” below:
Melissa Overmyer is founder of Something Greater Ministries in Washington, D.C., and has been teaching the Bible for over 30 years.