I’m not sure a 24 hour period in my life has had as much significance as the last one. Wow. Our son, who was deemed “not compatible with life outside the womb” has lived on his own for a whole day. His breathing has been consistent. His heartbeat strong, like it always has been. He is a peaceful fellow. He has been loved on and greeted by many family members and friends. He has brought much happiness to our hearts. The minutes and hours hold so much significance to us.
Thank you to everyone who has upheld us in prayer. Many prayers have been answered and we stand in awe of a God who has graciously given us more than we asked for and imagined.
Arthur Neale came into the world December 8th at 10:20pm into our arms, alive! We are soaking up the moments with him but wanted to take a quick moment to show him off. We have celebrated every hour so far – going on 9. So thankful for our little fighter ⚓️
Every night I go to bed wondering if the next day will be the one that changes my life forever. We are waiting. It is hard, but it is good. Arthur is still here. Family is around. We are loving our little guy the best way we know how and waiting to see how this story unfolds…
…not my will, but your’s, O Lord
In the meantime, some photos.
Sunday afternoon snuggles with my girl and little guy
We are in the Christmas spirit at our house. Crafting while I wait.
A sweet ornament from my aunt and uncle
Adele getting cozy under the blanket on the couch, just like Mommy and Arthur have been these last few weeks.
Adele has had lots of extended family time the past week. Uncle Mac getting lots of post-nap reading in with his niece.
I discovered a restaurant called Arthur’s in Charlotte, and of course I had to take him there. Left to right: Daddy, DaddyJack, Adele, Grammy, Arthur & me, Aunt Jessica, DaddyBob. Below: MommyK and Uncle Mac.
We had the special: Arthur’s burger
*For those that would understand and like numbers: Arthur is head down, engaged in the pelvis; 4 cm dilated; 80-90% effaced; mucous plug out on Thursday; bag of waters still in tact, but very full – which is a good thing for his head during labor. Labor could come any day and it could be quick. Thank you for praying.
Pregnancy is a season of anticipation. Anticipation of a baby. From the day you see the positive line, you dream and wait to meet the little life inside. You wonder what this child will look like. You might go through your family baby pictures to get an idea. You speculate about the delivery and arrival of this little soul. You hazard a guess as to what their personality will be like. You imagine the potential impact of their life in your own and how they will fit into your family.
In the Christian calendar, Advent is a season of anticipation. Anticipation of a baby. A promised baby. Observing the weeks of Advent is not something we are necessarily commanded in the Bible to do, but rather an optional tradition that many Christians do to prepare for celebrating Christmas Day – the birth of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. The weeks of Advent focus on the coming of this promised Messiah, spoken about all throughout the Bible in the Old Testament. For those who took seriously the promises of God during that time, there was an anticipation of his arrival, one that would bring eternal life. For the Christian, the Christmas season is about preparing your heart to celebrate the best gift of all, Jesus.
Here I sit today, at 39 weeks pregnant and at the beginning of Advent. These days are full of waiting and expectation for me. Any day I could give birth to my son. I have been thinking about getting to see Arthur for months now and I am feeling ready for that day to be here. He is not expected to live very long, if at all after his birth. I have been thinking about the joy of holding, snuggling and seeing him off into the arms of the Father. I have been anticipating the sorrow of saying goodbye to him and the Christmas holiday time that will follow soon after without my newborn baby. But as I spent today thinking about the coming Christ, my heart was once again led from the sadness I feel so often to gratitude. Because of another baby boy entering this world, I am not given over to despair. I have been able to find a great hope for the coming days, regardless of what happens with my baby boy, whether some miraculous healing or the outcome that is expected for his condition.
With the Thanksgiving holiday past us, the Christmas music is on full fledged in our house. While Artie prefers Dustin Kensrue‘s Christmas album, my favorite to stream in the house is Pentatonix, in particular their Christmas hymns.
The lyrics from this song, Mary Did You Know?, mean much to me recently, both for myself as one who believes and for my unborn child, who most likely will not have the ability to see, hear, eat, or think like a healthy baby would. Here’s a portion of it:
Mary, did you know?
The blind will see
The deaf will hear
The dead will live again
The lame will leap
The dumb will speak
The praises of the lamb
Mary, did you know
That your baby boy is lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know
That your baby boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know
That your baby boy is heavens perfect lamb?
This sleeping child you’re holding
Is the great I am
Because Jesus came into the world in human form, starting as a baby, He could sympathize with our weakness and He could justly be our substitute for the just penalty we deserve – death. Because He came and died and was risen, He could defeat death. This Messiah would be the champion over death (see my post on how we chose Arthur’s name). While I am overwhelmed with sorrow at the thought of burying a child of mine, the only reason I can have any joy and hope in this midst of this is because of Christmas, because Jesus came and did what He did. Thank you, Lord, for coming.
“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
If you would like a resource for the Advent season, I highly recommend John Piper’s book, Good News Of Great Joy.
Arthur’s due date is December 6th. At my prenatal check-up, the midwife said it looks like I might go into labor soon, as in the next few days. It’s not something she can predict, but based on her observations, that is her guess. We thank you for praying for us up to this point but would ask you to continue to do so. We are so needy. Pray for peace for our hearts. For a quick delivery – both for Arthur’s sake and mine. For joy on his birthday. For strength to face what is to come.