On Monday, June 11, we had our mid-pregnancy ultrasound appointment. As I got up on the examining bed, the ultrasound technician asked us to remind him if we’d already been told the guess of the baby’s gender. We said yes, twice we’ve been told we’re having a third son! He himself had just had a third son only a few weeks prior and acted so sorry for us that we wouldn’t be having a daughter. I was kind of bothered by his reaction because I had genuinely grown quite excited by the idea of three energetic little boys in my life.
He put the wand to my abdomen and almost right away he said, “Hmm, I’m not so sure that’s a boy. Just wait a minute, now.” I gave Pav a quick funny look, and we sat there in awkward silence for a few moments while the doctor first double checked the baby’s heart and blood flow. Everything looked great. After moving his wand around a bit more, he finally uttered, “It’s a girl.”
And quite frankly, I didn’t believe him at first. I had not entered that room with any hopes of the original 80% sure guess changing; nor had I assumed that the doctor potentially hadn’t had a perfectly clear view of things when he re-confirmed the first guess a month later. No, I was genuinely content with our third boy, who we had already agreed on a name for and had quietly built a bond with in my thoughts and prayers for over a month already.
So how did I process this news? There in that examining room, I was oddly hesitant to even look at Pav for his reaction. All I felt welling up within me was… laughter! The feeling never left the whole entire forty-five minute scan, as every few minutes he’d get a “good peek” again and say something along the lines of, “Yes, definitely a girl.”
I spent the rest of the week sharing the news with several close friends and family. As I continued to process and share this story, our story, I could see God’s goodness and wisdom weaved throughout this precious gift of a daughter on her way into our lives.
You see, exactly five years ago on that day, June 11, 2013, we were in my first gynecologist’s office, NOT hearing a heartbeat of our little one. So as these two parts of our stories now intertwine, there are very real feelings of loss mixed in with thanksgiving. While reflecting with Pavlos, we commented how hearing this news of a daughter on the way makes us feel like she’s a whole different child than the one we were beginning to “know” by the name of Eithan. Eithan: strong, firm, long-living, enduring. For about a month already, this was the name, the beginning of an identity, of a third son I had prayed over and dreamed about.
On top of all that, I had begun to quite seriously consider that I might not ever have a daughter. I was not terribly sad about this thought, but there was one particular dream that would be the hardest to let go of. It was the dream of giving our daughter the unique name we had been excited about since the very first months of our marriage.
We had been reading the Bible together in Greek when I was still in the early season of building my vocabulary, when I learned a new word that became extra special to me. Somehow, it became a little special secret between us where we would always glance at one another if we heard it mentioned or sang or read. Since we had lost a child five years before in that same season, I had begun to prayerfully link this beautiful girl’s name and identity to that lost life. And I was content. Thankful. Praising God for the gifts that in His wisdom He’d both given and taken away.
For me, in a very personal way, God has flipped the identities of these two precious little ones in my head. And I will dream of a sweet little Eithan, safe, strong, secure, long-living, and enduring in His Creator’s arms. And we are anticipating holding our sweet daughter very soon, with a name and identity meaningfully inspired by both the laughter that bubbled up within me when we heard of HER, and by Hebrews 4:16 – “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”
While this story played out in mid-June, we were studying the Wisdom literature with our church family. The message of Job particularly stood out to me as I pondered how God governs His Creation. It leads me to worship, trust and obey our Sovereign, almighty God, and not rely on my own human understanding to correctly interpret everything that happens to me or around me in this life. I appreciate these well made summary videos by The Bible Project that give thoughtful insight as we learn to respond to some of our deepest questions about what is “the good life.” In less than ten minutes you can watch this one about Job in particular, or in under twenty, you can watch all three Wisdom Series videos.
I don’t know what you are facing in your life currently. I don’t know how our story might inform yours in this particular season. But I pray that along with us, you can be praising God for His sovereignty in all that He gives and takes away: big things, little things, people, dreams, expectations, hopes. Through it all, He’s pursuing us with his incredible love and grace, whether or not we’re feeling strong enough to recognize it at any given moment. I pray you’ll have the eyes to see and the ears to hear the Truth: that The Way, and True Life are found in the life, death, and resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ.