Six months ago, I learned I was pregnant. In a walking boot and unable to drive due to an achilles tendon rupture, the news took me by surprise, but was also a confirmation of spring dreams and a yet-unearthed desire for #4. Days later, my sweet friend gifted me with a wooden, weathered, burnt-orange 6 that I placed on a top shelf in our living room… It was a promise of what was to come… a full and frantic and fabulous family of 6.


Four months ago, I posted No Heartbeat, a post that within hours had over 6000 views, spoke to many, and served to minister to me in a dark hour in the way that so many rushed into the empty space that an empty womb provoked.

For some reason, the 6 remained. I looked at it often, bittersweetly. It was a reminder of what was, and somehow a promise of what was yet to come. Both Marshall and I had taken long walks, prayed, had the sense that there was still another someone, whether from within or from another’s womb we did not know. Whether now, or years from now if it were a sweet adoption of an infant or maybe a teenager we would take in. But we knew there was some one.

In January, two dear friends, faithful prayer warriors, women accustomed to the still small voice of God, spoke words that I would tuck away in my heart. At a weekend retreat, these two women inquired of my soul; I spoke of the healing that God had been doing, the nearness to Him I was experiencing, the sweetness despite the circumstances having only had a D&C two weeks earlier. They exchanged glances mid-conversation, began smiling, and one asked if she could share what she had just heard from the Lord, the other nodding and saying “I heard it too.” I of course curiously invited her words, and she spoke this: “The joy of the Lord will return, and it will be in the womb.” I immediately responded, skeptically hopeful, “But mine or someone else’s?!”

Would I hope again to risk the same story I had just bled through?

While both nodded, she responded confidently, “Yours…  and it will be a girl.”  WHAT!? Now it felt like she was ad-libbing. And yet I knew her heart, her ear for the Lord. I trusted her. And so I tucked them away, these disruptively hopeful and frightening words.  Scripture says that a “hope deferred makes the heart sick”… it can be painful to hope. I returned to Marshall and quietly shared of the exchange. We prayed that night to just trust God and his timing, hands wide, my body seemingly still broken, but hearts fully alive to whatever might come.

In March, a sweet and wonderful college friend visited town; we had the most delightful lunch together, sharing secrets and hopes and dreams and fears and, oh, how good it is to reconvene with people that knew who you were, and continue to walk with you in who you have become. That night, we both felt sick; she threw up and my stomach knotted. For two weeks I thought I had acquired some crazy food poisoning. Convinced I was housing a tapeworm I decided to call my doctor but first thought it wise to take a pregnancy test “just to confirm” that I was indeed not pregnant, knowing it was inevitable they would ask. I had not had a cycle since the previous September and couldn’t imagine that would be the culprit.

The test was positive.


Marshall started laughing and exclaimed, “WHAT ARE WE DOING!?”  We were shocked and excited and a little scared. I scheduled a viability ultrasound the following week, and held the news close and quiet. Could it be?  All of my other positive pregnancy tests had immediately erupted in thoughts of the baby to come.  Experience stunted my vision and curbed my enthusiasm this time.  I was pregnant. That was all. It did not mean yet that a little person was for sure. I oddly held no fear, but I certainly had my guard up.

The day Marshall and I walked into the imaging room at the hospital, we prayed, held hands, expectant and nervous.

The technician was kind and young and got right to work. After measuring everything possible {at one point she muttered “and the other one…” to which I jumped at, “Wait, what?! There is more than one!?” “No,” she laughed and replied, “I was measuring your ovaries.”}  Ah yes, of course.

And then we heard it.

A heartbeat.

There is no sweeter sound than when at some point you have heard the deafening silence of a heartbeat’s absence.

Heartbeat. Life. Hope. Future. 

We were measuring 8 weeks. Dating back to just 3 days after my two dear friends had whispered that His joy would indeed return…

God’s goodness, his grace, his blessing has not changed. He has always been good. He has always been present. This news makes me no more blessed than when my swollen belly housed no life. His joy returned long before I learned this news of a bourgeoning little life. His joy comes in His presence, regardless of circumstance. I know that full well.

But I will not deny that my joy is multiplied. In so many things in my life where my hope has been and is deferred, in this, it is no longer. I might feel nauseatingly sick, but it is well with my soul.

October we’ll meet our number 4, the 6th in our family. The one whom the Lord sees and knows and told me about long ago.

And while I have always considered myself a boy mama, I wonder if it is a girl…

10 thoughts on “Heartbeat

  1. My heart is so full of joy for you and Marshall after reading this! Praying for health for you and the growing precious baby inside.


  2. Emily this is so awesome!! My heart bubbles with JOY! Congratulations to you and Marshall. I love love love your writings……especially the last paragraphs……He is always good:) again I love the perspective that you are able to share with the world. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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