This story of love is about the third pair of crystal blue eyes to emerge from my once pregnant belly. Jude Abram, born a mere 10 1/2 months after his big brother, was from conception a game changer.
My husband Josh and I had just embarked on a new adventure, driving across the country with our then three year old son Beckett and his new little brother Liam. We were leaving dear friends in Fort Myers, FL and moving to Seattle, WA for Josh’s new job. We were giddy with the excitement of new faces, new opportunities, and new beginnings.
Life seemed to be moving right along except some days I couldn’t shake the feeling of being pregnant. I was having a hard time overcoming the “baby blues” after Liam; my hard days were just a little harder, and my tears falling a little more frequently than I had remembered with Beckett. I trusted it was taking a longer time to recover simply because of the massive changes we were experiencing as a family.
During my second pregnancy we learned I had developed an anti-body in my blood that caused Liam to be extremely anemic while in-utero. He was a high-risk, Pitocin-induced-labor nightmare; beautiful blessing– all wrapped up in one very loud and expressive baby. The transition from one child to two was exactly what those who had gone before me had explained; HARD. And I was drowning.
Finally out of curiosity, or desperation perhaps, I took a pregnancy test in a Target bathroom. On this day Liam was 12 weeks old; and there it was, taking record time to turn itself positive, another stick telling me I was going to have a baby. Shit. When did this happen? Had we even had sex? How could this happen? (well, I know how it happened..hehe)
Enter the mother load of emotion, slapping me around like a school girl, and the only word in my vocabulary that I seemed to remember was “shit.” That’s all I said. That’s all I could say. I only had cuss words trying to exit my mouth.
Josh took it better than I did, and we sorta walked around Target starring at nothing in particular. There were no words exchanged, only the occasional “what are we going to do now” glances at each other.
The amazing thing about pregnancy is that it makes you become acutely aware of what your body is doing. You feel everything. I was feeling everything. My body was still weary from just giving birth. The bags under my eyes were more pronounced as each sleepless night with Liam waged on. I was nauseous, and angry, and tired, and angry, and weepy, and angry all the time. I also drove myself crazy with feelings of guilt for being so upset with having another child. I knew women struggling with infertility, had friends who had lost their children and I was stomping around mad at the chance of motherhood again. The roller coaster of emotion those first few weeks sent me over the edge.
As mentioned earlier, we moved to Seattle for Josh’s job. He worked for an awesome church and we were building relationships that were life-giving to me. I loved everything about this church and our friends. Knowing this little life could possibly set in motion another move to get closer to family, I decided it wasn’t time for Josh and I to have another baby.
With reckless abandonment, I secretly started to self-abort our third child by taking a collaboration of homeopathic drugs to “naturally contract the uterus and expel the child.” It is amazing what “how to’s” one can find in a google search and home abortions are no exception. The herbs were easy enough to find. The conviction for me to stop was not.
My plan was simple. I would “naturally”-I use that term loosely-miscarry the baby blaming the failed pregnancy on the anti-body. Oh yes, my little C blood antigen anti-body. It was back with a vengeance, actually it never left, and was tripling in numbers compared to what Liam had experienced. Jude was being sabotaged. But it wasn’t working.
This is the first time I have written this out, and even while writing I am stunned at my absolute certainty, at the time, that he should not live. I was so lost in a black abyss of hormonal sadness that I couldn’t make sound, even rational, decisions.
I had my “coming to Jesus” moment in the bathroom floor of our Seattle apartment. I screamed and shouted at God, apologizing for my hardened heart but still begging for it to end. I wanted my old self back, to be a mother to my two already vulnerable baby boys, and a better wife to my husband who was watching me fall apart with no answers to my hysteria. I knew what my hysteria was called though-pregnancy-and I was done.
Now, thankfully, this story drastically changes. During one of my “crazy spells”- which happened often- I confessed to my husband about trying to abort our child. Through heaves of tears and complaints I stated my case of why my actions were justified and asked him to support me in proceeding with a clinical abortion. His reaction was not what I expected.
Josh accepted my apology and asked me to stop taking the herbs immediately. He also agreed to the clinical abortion under one condition.
He said “YOU CAN’T LIE.”
(by this time we had shared the pregnancy with a small number in Seattle who were praying for us)
It caught me off guard. He knew me all too well. Again he said, “You can’t lie. You can’t tell everyone that you miscarried. You can’t blame it on the anti-body. If your going to do this, then you are going to own it. I will not stand by you if your going to lie.”
YOU CAN’T LIE. The three words that saved Jude’s life.
In that moment Josh loved me enough to hold me accountable. To chance being offensive. To say something hard to hear. Through love, tough love, he spoke the truth of God right into a desperate situation. He had the clarity I was searching for, and the courage to call me in line. He knew in the future I would regret my decision to abort and stood up to my pride and pleading. He loved me enough to be honest.
He loved me. Just like Christ loves the church. He called me to be a better version of myself. Just as Christ calls us. He challenged me to love our son. Just as Christ challenges us to love one another .
After that day my attitude and life shifted. I stopped carrying out my death plan and started organizing the pieces of my chaotic mind. I embraced the truth that I would be a mother of three. I knew Jude was sick. I knew I had to start fighting for his life.
We named him Jude Abram. Our third baby boy.
Jude’s name means “to give praise or thanks” or “one who is praised.” Quiet contrary to the beginning of his life story. It is, however, profoundly accurate of my affection for him now.
I give praise and thanks for him Every.Single.Day.
We did move back to Iowa after countless conversations and prayers. Jude had a harder run with the anti-body than his big brother Liam. He received a blood transfusion in-utero at 32 weeks and another when he was 6 weeks old. I was induced at 36 weeks and Jude had a month NICU stay with minimal complications. He has been an overachiever from the beginning. I love him so. I also love that I am not ashamed to share my temporary moment of insanity with you because I have asked for forgiveness, and I know God is faithful and has forgiven me- his son settled it for me long ago.
Lastly, my husband would never choose an abortion for his child. He was essentially calling my bluff when he agreed. He knew I wouldn’t own up to the decision. Nice play.
Usually I write about worship music but I wrote this to participate in a series called Love in Motherhood hosted by other momma bloggers. Check out When at Home and read other encouraging stories of love, laughter, heartache and motherhood. Be well.