And now the promised guest post by the reader with the good gifts question.  She jokingly came up with the post title, but I thought it was awesome, so it stays.  :-)

Also, to catch yourself up, you may want to read Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Intermission One, Intermission Two, and Part Five before starting this post.

One of the “joys” of womanhood is the various hormones that saturate our brains at times.  I look guiltily at the quotation marks around the word “joy” and internally roll my eyes. Am I supposed to be thankful for PMS too?

Maybe I am, just this once, because the PMS-enhanced anger and fear that filled me last week have helped me to give voice to the pain that I have been living with silently for too long.

One of the first things I wondered after talking to Missy was, “What if the good gift in my loss isn’t for me?”  Haven’t we all heard of people who have been blessed by adoption?   The gift of raising a child is one thing, but perhaps the adopted child would think that the greater gift was getting parents.

So, the first person I thought of was my husband.  Maybe he was getting some kind of gift.  I mentioned to him, as casually as possible, over dinner, that I had been having this discussion, that I was thinking that it may be time for us to give up on the idea of having children.  The look of sorrow and defeat on his face was heartbreaking to me.   We agreed to discuss it a little later, after we'd had time to talk about it, but I knew then what the answer would be.
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He really wants to be a father. He would be a good father. I can doubt my fitness for motherhood, I can candidly admit that sometimes I'm not a good wife, not a good friend, but him... He is just about the "goodest" guy you'll ever meet.   If I give up on having children, I'm failing him.   And then I started to think about what he has experienced through this.

I thought about what it would mean for him if we were to lose a third child.  He would be as heartbroken as I.   He would not have the physical pain, but he would suffer in his tender heart, watching me and being unable to ease my physical or emotional suffering.

If you’ve read Missy’s post, “Our Verdict,” you’ll recognize echoes of my experience in hers.  I went in for two ultrasounds with my second loss.  The first one was the happy one with the heartbeat, but I was still lightly bleeding.   They didn’t know why, and I wasn’t in any pain.   I was told I could go back to work as long as I didn’t do any heavy lifting.  All through that night and the next day, I pleaded with God.   I cried that if I lost this baby, I would not have the strength to try again.  (As though I could guilt God into letting me have what I wanted.)   I have never had a feeling of a prayer falling on deaf ears before that one.  I knew that the ultrasound was hollow comfort, that the life inside me was hanging by a tiny thread.

Then the bleeding and cramping made me certain that my baby was gone.   A second ultrasound confirmed the loss that my heart had been so afraid of.   This one, though, also gave me the news that I had a fibroid.   (And if you haven’t read Missy’s post yet, you might want to click over there to get the technical jargon about fibroids.)   Knowing what was probably causing my miscarriages was a tiny light in all of this, but all it does is give a face to the danger.

Now I know that every time I attempt to conceive, I will have to pray that the baby will find a place to live far enough away from the fibroid that it has a chance to thrive.  And what will I do if God’s answer is another “no”?  How many times will I be willing to try?  Isn't it insanity to try the same thing over and over, expecting a different result?  I guess that's where faith comes in.

The thing is, I don’t know if it is worth it... just for me.   But I’m not the only one to consider here.  The look of absolute sadness on my husband’s face has been haunting me for days.  “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)  I know he would lay down his life for me.  Am I unwilling to go through the potential pain for him?

He has encouraged my creative endeavors whole-heartedly, sacrificed along with me in our one-income home, and almost never expressed frustration with the inability to have the things we used to have.  He did all of this just so he'd be able to spend more time with me.  It’s incredibly humbling.
While I was wrestling with this idea, an email showed up in my inbox:

In the post, Linda Jacobson says, “You are the most influential woman in his world.”   It made me wonder.  Am I the good gift in my husband’s life?  No matter how many times my husband has insisted that I’m worth it all, I’ve never really believed him.  Even more convicting is the thought of how utterly unthankful I have been for the good gift to me of more time with him since I stopped working outside the home.  Then that made me wonder... If I’m overlooking the priceless gift of my wonderful husband, what other gifts may I be ignoring?

Come back tomorrow for Guest Post Two where this reader considers what gifts God may be giving her through this experience.
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