Take a look at this picture. I promise it isn’t just a random blurry set of pixels taking up space.
This is me, Amanda, in early November of 2015. Looking closer, ever so closer, you can see the start of something so precious, so beautiful. You see, right in the middle of this seemingly pointless ultrasound picture is the very beginning of our beautiful son, Callen. This picture was taken at a clinic when I was (according to OUR dates) approximately 6 1/2 weeks pregnant. Where’s the baby? That’s all I could think. He or she should be there. We should at least be able to see him. There was no visible baby. The ultrasound technician uttered the words I still get nauseous about writing… “I’m so sorry…” .
No, not again. Please, God. Please no. PLEASE let this baby be there. PLEASE let him or her grow. We desperately want this baby.
That was the most desperate prayer and the most vulnerable I’ve felt in prayer in a very long time. My husband and I were blessed with two amazing children at this point, Keelyn and Kavan. We wanted this baby SO badly though. We additionally have three babies who are in heaven. We’ve unfortunately had three very early losses, but no matter how early or how late… they were our babies too.
At this point in this pregnancy, I had an OB appointment set up already. I’m pretty sure I called the day after I confirmed the at home pregnancy test (for literally the 10+ time) and told my husband. Excited was an understatement.
Then this ultrasound…
I saw the words written on the sheet at discharge from the clinic I attended for the above ultrasound: No proof of intrauterine pregnancy.
Oh Amanda, hold onto faith…
I knew it wasn’t over. It just had to NOT be done.
I told VERY few about the pregnancy. In fact, I think it was just a friend or two from church, my husband (obviously!), my former guardians back home, and a couple co-workers. I sent them the ultrasound image below with the sweet circle highlighted and asked everyone to pray that it grows.
Waiting the 2 1/2 weeks until my ultrasound appointment with my OB felt like something I can’t even describe using polite words. It was HARD. I was so anxious, but at the same time so hopeful. I probably wasn’t the happiest or most joyous person to be around.
Anyway, the time came….
Heart pounding and breathing rapidly, I was prepared for the procedure that would let me know if prayer had done its thing. Is there a baby there? I had a sinking feeling. My husband did a WONDERFUL job at reassuring me, but I’d always have that thought… Yeah God, but how can he be so sure? He doesn’t REALLY know.
Okay, here we go…
Ultrasound machine was turned on and it was go time. She poked and prodded and moved my organs around (it sure felt that way!) before she FINALLY spoke. Okay, here’s the gestational sac. No baby yet. PLEASE let that baby be there. Okay, here’s the yolk sac. WHERE’S THE BABY? Oh please, God. Please. I know we’re not in the best of financial situations and I know I’ve made mistakes, but PLEASE. Before I could finish my prayer and as my heart was about to beat out of my chest… And here’s your baby.
Look! There’s the start of Callen right there. I’ve never thought the word “BABY” looked so beautiful, seeing her type it on the ultrasound screen and seeing it on the photo in my hands. Even now, I feel that way. Thank you, God! YOU ARE FAITHFUL! You heard my cries and my prayers and you actually did it!
I was in disbelief, but man was I thankful. We weren’t able to hear the baby’s heart at this appointment, but we could SEE it start beating. Gosh, what a beautiful, amazing sight.
After the appointment, I sent a group text to the same group of people I’d asked to be praying to let them know that the baby grew and grew and GREW. What a change for just 2 1/2 weeks!
The pregnancy progressed and with the exception of (jokingly) disagreeing with my AMAZING doctor about my dates – everything was fine. I’ve had 3 losses, but the pregnancies we’ve been able to maintain have been wonderful. O’Reilly 3.0 as we called this baby grew and actually caught up to the dates we had originally thought, rather than that of the ultrasounds shown above. We tracked dates near religiously. Due to our losses, we knew.
Keelyn came at 39 weeks induced. My husband was military and this worked for us. He was able to be here and she was happy, healthy, and PERFECT! She weighed 8 lbs 7 oz. Kavan came at 38 weeks and 2 days on his own. He was literally the most pink, beautiful baby! He weighed 8 lbs 3 oz. So, by that logic, Callen should have arrived mid-late June. But… we had to go by the OB’s dates, which was fine. I trust him FULLY and would recommend him to anyone. So, Callen’s labor inducement began July 5. Now, by my dates… I’m almost a week overdue. I’d never been THIS pregnant.
I arrived at the hospital just after midnight and got all hooked up, medications administered. When it was GO time, I pushed our beautiful boy into the world in 7 minutes.
Meet Callen Adriel O’Reilly! He arrived at 12:09 pm on July 5, weighing 10.3 lbs and 22.75 inches long! Isn’t he perfect? His name was picked because of its meaning. Callen means “rock” or “firm”. Adriel means “follower of God”. We pray this is truth for our sweet boy.
Such JOY has Callen brought to our family and all who know him! He’s such a happy baby and is “easy”. He loves eating, smiling, talking, playing with his older brother and sister, and loving on his pets. His smile? Y’all, he has dimples for DAYS. His smile makes all the junk and mess and muck of the day just melt away. His snuggles are off the charts amazing!
Here’s the thing… Our God knew him. He KNEW my baby. He knew him before he was even formed! When we saw nothing more than a blur of white, gray, and black on the ultrasound screen… he knew Callen and knew what he would grow to be.
When it was hard to hold onto faith, God was still working. He was still intricately piecing together our baby and using this situation to move me closer to Him. His timing, y’all. It’s everything.
Little did I know at the time that we would be leaving (and later returning to) our church, which was such a huge, scary, big ordeal. It was rough. But I felt peace through Him. It was HARD at times. One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to deal with. I suppose I had just enough faith to get through. Praise God for that.
Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart. Jeremiah 1:5.
I reread the chapter in which this popular verse is contained. I find that it’s important to do so, so as to not take the verse out of context. In Jeremiah 1, we see the call of Jeremiah. God is telling Jeremiah that he is called to be a prophet. We can read scripture to know that this is true. He wrote Jeremiah and Lamentations. In fact, Jeremiah served as a prophet during the reigns of kings Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin and Zedekiah. Jeremiah was scared, y’all. He told God he was “too young” in verse 6. God was there. He reassured him. Right then and there, God “put words into” Jeremiah’s mouth (verse 9) and asked Jeremiah to report his vision. Whoa.
Friends, I know there are so many situations we encounter that truly test the very fibers of our faith, our connection with Him. It gets REALLY difficult at times. We may want to give up. Sometimes, you know what… we DO give up. Guess what? That’s where God really can move and do His thing! He wants us to rely on Him. He wants us to know that HE’S GOT THIS! It’s a vulnerable feeling, but also beautiful in that we can rest assured that He is there and always will be. He’ll be there and He’ll move the mountains again and again and again if we need.