Welcome back! Say hello to chapter six in the long and ever-winding story of our unexpected pregnancy. If you absolutely can’t wait to get the latest details as they go live, follow the adventure on my Instagram page. I’m capturing it as time permits and then cataloging it here. If you’re just joining us now, you may enjoy starting at the beginning. Otherwise, onwards and upwards.
It was excruciating to keep these stories under wraps for as long as we did. I’m so glad we can all laugh together now. Enjoy chapter six.
Published on March 1, 2017
Steve flew home from New York less than 24 hours after I discovered the precious life growing inside me. He was due to arrive shortly after the kids’ bedtime.
Instead of enforcing the routine, I decided to let Isaac and Lucy stay up and welcome him with wild fanfare. When Steve finally stepped through the door, their squealing chorus flooded the foyer with happy hallelujahs.
Steve put down his suitcase and kissed each of the children. Then he stood tall, looked me square in the face, and pulled me close. I melted into a predictable puddle of tears. He held me silently for what felt like hours but realistically was probably about twenty seconds, give or take. The kids interrupted our embrace, begging to behold the souvenirs Daddy promised from New York. We relented and hustled the dynamic duo up the stairs to their room.
Once the kids were tucked in bed, Steve and I retreated to our hideout. I think we stared at each other in disbelief for a while. There was a lot of “Can you believe this?!” and “What are we going to do?!” and “HOLY SHIT! I’M REALLY PREGNANT!?” Then Steve shared something he never dared to before.
For a long while, Steve was convinced that Isaac and Lucy weren’t supposed to be the last branches on our family tree. He knew my strong opinion on the matter so he quietly held his tongue and never asked me to reconsider having more kids. But upon hearing my desperate news via text at 3am in New York, he felt a sense of things being as they ought to be, rolled over, and peacefully returned to sleep.
And then he told me something else.
The First Silver Lining
Published on March 1, 2017
We stretched out on the bed, wide-eyed as we processed the narrative that was unfolding without our permission. “Hey, at least the Canadian government shifted things to help pay off student debt for families with three or more children,” Steve said casually with a chuckle.
When the words fell from his lips, I bolted up in bed, my eyes locked on his. He shrugged and nodded like it was no big deal.
“Hold on – WHAT?! Are you kidding?!” He wasn’t. I laughed in disbelief.
Paying off student loans has weighed on me since before the first tuition payment set sail from our humble bank account. We’ve seen God do remarkable loaves-and-fishes miracles before. Was this His plan to provide?
My restless heart, the one that was busy carrying debt anxiety and fretting over the cost of living in NYC, skipped a beat when it heard the good news. Maybe this pregnancy would floor me physically and emotionally. It was already challenging me to grow spiritually—something painful yet precious. Perhaps it would literally pay off too.
I hadn’t warmed up to the idea yet—far from it—but in that moment, our ridiculous scenario seemed a little less haphazard and perhaps a bit more orchestrated. My spirit began to whisper, “Really, Lord? Okay. Maybe.” This was the first of several happy silver linings.
Easy as 1, 2, 3
Published on March 3, 2017
The first glorious epiphany after discovering our unexpected pregnancy was the student loan subsidy.
The second was less of a “Hey, here’s some free money from the government!” victory and more of a gentle reminder from on high, a call to remember earlier life lessons. The second epiphany came as my engagement ring stared back at me on a crisp and sunny afternoon in November.
There is a story behind this special piece of jewelry. I’ve loved it from the day it landed on my finger but it took some warming up to before Steve’s memorable proposal at Spanish Banks on April 22, 2006.
This ring is not what I had in mind as a starry-eyed twenty-something caught under the spell of some ritzy marketing campaign. I was too busy equating sparkles with undying love and other nonsense. What wasted energy.
There’s a long story here that will have to wait for another time but for tonight’s purposes, all you need to know is that I didn’t get my way in the end. No, the majestic oval solitaire was not to be; instead, I ended up with something far more precious.
This ring, handcrafted by a kind soul from our church in Vancouver, embodies the redemption and sacrifice required to make a marriage work, even before we said our vows. It symbolizes a tiny death to my wishes in the name of something bigger than myself. It represents the beauty of getting not that which I wanted (or at least what every damn magazine publication tried to convince me that I wanted) but that which was God’s intended best for me all along.
Instead of a solitaire, I got three stones.
Past, present, future
Steve, Elissa, Christ
Father, Son, Holy Spirit
Gin, tonic, garnish
So shortly after Steve returned from New York, the unusually vibrant November sunshine ricocheted off this trio of diamonds as if to say this.
“Hey! Elissa! Remember how you thought you knew best?
And you were wrong?
And it was better that way?
Don’t you see a pattern, ‘Liss?
Have you learned to trust yet?
Oh, and by the way, because you obeyed back then, now you have one diamond for each kid. You’re welcome.”
Divinely appointed pregnancy – 2
Elissa – 0
The Best Name
Published on March 5, 2017
God didn’t waste time revealing He was undeniably behind our mysterious and highly unexpected third pregnancy. His fingerprints were all over this peculiar narrative from the start.
The third a-ha caught us off guard one afternoon in late November. Lucy surprised us with what I now jokingly refer to as her little Duplo prophecy.
I was tied up with work at my desk. Steve hustled next door, holding down Watts HQ with Isaac and Lucy.
A familiar sound beckoned me from the office. It was a text from my man. I reached for my phone.
When the message sunk in, my eyes exploded in disbelief and my jaw hit the floor. I turned back to the computer and googled the name’s meaning.
Ben means ‘son of my right hand’ or ‘son of the south’—no big deal except that the kids were completely oblivious to the pregnancy and we’d already booked our flights to Knoxville at that stage, still a little uncertain as to why all the doors had opened for us to go to Tennessee in the first place. Apparently our little wildflower decided to construct our family out of brightly coloured plastic bricks and she didn’t stop at two kids.