I had always wanted to be a mom. However, I didn’t know how hard, heartbreaking or rewarding the journey of becoming a mom would be.
My husband, Casey, and I decided to start trying for our first child about two years into our marriage. Unfortunately, we struggled with infertility, and it took us three years to finally become pregnant.
words + photographs DR. AMBER ENNIS
In 2014, we were overjoyed – and a little nervous – to begin the journey of parenthood.
The pregnancy went well, without complications, and we couldn’t wait to meet our daughter Lilly. I saw my OB-GYN on a Friday and scheduled an induction on the following Sunday. Baby Lilly was at 41 weeks.
When we arrived at the hospital for the induction, my doctor wasn’t there yet. He would meet us later since inductions take a long time. But as we prepared for the birth, we learned the baby’s umbilical cord somehow had become twisted, and we found out Lilly’s heart had stopped sometime earlier that day.
Even still, we had to go through the induction. My doctor showed up for us in the middle of the night and delivered a beautiful, full term, stillborn baby. Sunday was the worst day of my life. We came home without a baby and to an expectant nursery^, fully setup and waiting for her.
I could not see how God could use the death of a baby for His glory.
We were blessed with an amazing church, small group, family and friends who grieved with us, lifted us up in prayer, and reminded us of God’s goodness even during the painful times. Going to church following the loss of our baby girl was hard. I cried every Sunday during worship for many weeks. I would pour my heart out to God. I could not see how God could use the death of a baby for His glory. I was told growing up, “God would never give you more than you can bear.” People also said this to me after losing Lilly. I came to realize this statement simply isn’t true, nor is it biblical. We often go through more than we can handle. It is at these times we lean on God to help us bear it. Slowly, but surely, God started to heal my heart. He showed me how He knows what it is like to lose a child: He sent His son, Jesus, to die for me (John 3:16).
After the loss of Lilly, it took Casey and me awhile to decide to try for another baby.
My husband and I knew God had called us to be parents, but we were unsure on what His plans were to make that happen. We decided to fast and pray for a week about what God would have us do about having children. We decided to try one more month. If we did not become pregnant, we would look at other avenues.
Wouldn’t you know, I got pregnant that month.
I had very careful monitoring throughout the pregnancy just to make sure we would not have any other complications. At 31 weeks, I began to bleed and had to have an emergency Cesarean section. Our son, Everett, was 3.5 pounds and had quite a rough start. He had to be intubated, had multiple IVs, PICC line, chest tube, feeding tube, oxygen and so many wires. He spent 49 days in the NICU and was on oxygen until he was eight months old. Despite all he had gone through, Everett was the happiest, sweetest little baby ever.
We still felt God was telling us to have another child, despite the fear of loss and the fear of another emergency C-section. We assumed it would take us several years to become pregnant again since it had taken us seven years to have Everett.
But wouldn’t you know, we found out I was expecting again when Everett was seven months old. We were shocked to say the least. Our daughter Emilia was born as healthy as she could be at 39 weeks.
Lilly would have been eight years old this year. Looking back, I can see how God used this time in my life to draw me closer to Him. I could not have walked this difficult path without God. He has helped me find peace in the midst of pain. He has brought many people into my life struggling with similar loss who I have been able to grieve with, guide and pray over. I have truly learned God can use anything for His glory if we let Him. Our journey to parenthood has definitely been a bumpy one, but it has also been the most rewarding aspect of my life. Our children are a constant reminder of God’s love and faithfulness. AE
^ The nursery was the hardest thing to look at. Honestly, I shut the door and didn’t open it for probably a year. I just couldn’t deal with everything being there. After that time, I slowly packed things away with the hope someday we would use it. I thought I would be sad if our next baby wasn’t a girl because we had all of Lilly’s things, but it was honestly a little freeing when we found out Everett was a boy. He definitely helped to heal our hearts. Then we found out Emilia was a girl, and it was nice to be able to use Lilly’s things, even though it was still sad.
Dr. Amber Ennis is a follower of Christ, wife to Casey, mother to a daughter and to a son who has special needs. She is also a family nurse practitioner who teaches online at Herzing University. Amber and her family live in Nixa, Missouri.
COVER Baby Lilly’s sonogram.
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