October is a big month for our family. On October 6, 2011, we arrived in Germany as a family of three with one on the way. Weeks later, expectation turned to disappointment and grief when life ended in miscarriage. That first month presented us with the challenges of living in a new place, with little knowledge of the language or customs, as well as the greatest loss of our lives.
The next few months involved finding and moving into our Germany home, waiting for our household goods, waiting for our vehicle (which was initially sent to the wrong post, then when it arrived at the right post they had lost the key – fortunately we had the other one – which they found about a week later). We celebrated the holidays along, but together, trying to figure out what our new traditions would be (this is still undecided. Making traditions is difficult when married to the military. Most often the tradition is that Daddy is missing). We took our first trip to Trier for my birthday in February. A couple of weeks later, I discovered I was pregnant again. I scheduled my appointment and waited in agonizing anticipation for several weeks. On April 2, I saw and heard my baby’s heartbeat. All mommies know this is the most beautiful sound in the world. However, the beauty is overwhelming when you’ve experienced an absence of that sound during a sonogram. From that point, I began to relax and feel joy about this addition to our family, rather than being terrified every minute of the day that something would go wrong.
For the next several months, Peter was deployed. I faced the following without him here in person, communicating mostly through email: On Dietrich’s birthday, we learned our baby was a girl. The joy exponentially increased. A few weeks later, the doctor zapped that again saying there were markers that indicated our baby may have problems. An additional sonogram revealed that those markers had been corrected. Though in the back of my mind I still prepared for the challenges of raising a special needs child, I prayed continuously for her growth and development. Others joined in these prayers. While that time was difficult, God placed some amazing prayer warriors in our path when we moved across the ocean.
October 22, 2012, Madilynn arrived in the world, whole and perfect. My parents and Peter (and Dietrich) were present to welcome her. She is an amazing blessing. Through her life, I learned to more fully appreciate the gift of children – being able to carry them, deliver them, and raise them. It’s a treasure not all women have, and that I took for granted when I had Dietrich. The grief is less painful today than it was two years ago, but in my heart, I am a mother of three, one of those precious souls is already waiting in Heaven. My joy grows each day, watching my living children learn and grow.