I fell in love with my sweet, pale, sometimes-funny husband in 2009, right before our junior year of high school. He was typically silly, sweated far too much, and kissed all over me until I couldn’t breath. But he loved me, and we had shared values for what we wanted in this life. I believed him when he said he wanted to marry me, and five years later, he did.
It started in early 2009 when I needed a ride to RPM (our high school bible study). First thing I noticed unlike my other friends Jeffrey would come to the door when he picked me up. Unbeknownst to me he was strategically executing a plan to spend more time with me. He approached it casually; offering to buy me iced tea on the way to church (there was not a drive thru “on the way”; looking back it was obvious what he was doing). These quick stops evolved into quick bites to eat, dessert after bible study, and coming over hours before youth group started. After a couple of months of this evolution, Jeffrey was very honest with me and told me he wanted to date, and viewed dating as a search for your spouse. That is when I decided to take dating seriously, and that I wanted to date Jeffrey. Fast-forward through two fun years of high school, 5 school dances, and two years of long-distance dating in college, and I’m moving to San Angelo to finish my undergrad degree with him. I had decided I was going to marry him, and the sooner the better!
Our last year of college came quick and we began to ring shop! A week after we started our shopping I found myself not feeling well. I am a type 1 diabetic, and had frequent but minor complications that entire year. I assumed this was another exciting UTI due to high blood sugars. The school nurse, after a UTI test, corrected me. Jeffrey and I were pregnant. We journeyed through a lot of shame, hurt, tension, and tears with each other and our family. Here we sat, 20 years old, 30 hours shy of a degree, working part time jobs and pregnant out of wedlock. The hope we clung to was that God is good, our little baby was coming, and we would be married in two months. Much of our hope and a chunk of our hearts were broken during our second ultra sound. Six weeks before the wedding our little baby’s heart stopped beating. We were one of the 33% of first time pregnancies that end tragically. The last thing we wanted is to be pregnant. Now, I had to lie down on an operating table to have the deceased baby removed. We wanted our baby. I did not feel ready to be a mother nor him a father, but we were all in. He or she was gone. I was introduced to heartbreak and loss like I’d never experienced before or since.
My journey didn’t end there. Nine months later, after a night of pumpkin pie and a malfunctioning insulin pump I landed in the ICU. Once again, with little warning, a nurse told me that I was expecting. Unlike the first time, this was what we wanted and had been trying for. Our only concern was to live through another miscarriage with the anger and disappointment it brings. After a nerve racking first trimester, we made our pregnancy public. Pregnancy has peeks and valleys but the highest peeks were always ultra sounds where we could see and hear about our little girl’s progress. Since I am diabetic I had more frequent tests and ultrasounds which meant more face time with our little baby. As our confidence and anticipation grew with every update, our fear and anxiety disappeared. She was healthy and she was coming. Ella Kate was born 7 weeks early on May 1st 2015 weighing 5 lbs 13 oz measuring 21 inches long. My first days of motherhood were spent looking at my daughter through a plastic box in the NICU, but goodness was it awesome! A new ooey gooey feeling has taken residence in my chest. I could look her in her eyes and see Jeffrey and myself. She is the most amazing gift I have ever known. I am consumed with pride and am at total peace. The one we have prayed for has finally arrived. The best way I can describe it is how I felt when Jeffrey and I were dating. It is like falling in love, but better because she doesn’t make me mad like he does! One day, she may look at me in the eyes and tell me she hates me, or say she wishes for a different mom. But not yet. For now, she is in every sense of the word, my perfect angel. Ella Kate is almost one and half now. It is a high and holy privilege to be a mother. More than anything, I want to do it well. It has been the easiest and hardest job I’ve done simultaneously. Easy because I long to be around her all day and night. Nowhere and nothing else on this earth can capture my full attention 24/7 like her. Motherhood is the hardest job I’ve had because I cannot stop worrying about her heart, health and happiness. Ever. All day and all night long. Her personality includes all of my favorite and least favorite characteristics in myself and in Jeffrey. Truly wonderful and frightening how similar she is to the two of us.
There are times that my heart still aches to know our baby, but there is no greater peace than that our baby is held in the arms of Jesus. I hope Ella Kate one day knows the healing power of Jesus, so the four of us can have our first Williams family reunion together at the pearly gates.