I don’t usually dress up for Halloween. Is it even a real holiday? I never get time off for it… Typically, October 31st serves as a night in, perhaps handing out some warheads (nothing is worse on teeth) to five and six year olds, then heading off to watch the first NBA games of the season. This year however, there was a pep in my step on Halloween night. I was full of joy, full of excitement, full of hope and full of love. It was one of the best days of the year for Alicia and I. We sat on the front porch and handed out candy to kids with the biggest smiles on our faces. We were still very much in shock… With our hands shaking as we passed out each piece of candy, we awaited moments where we could chat about what we had just found out. Speaking with tones that carried both nervousness and very much excitement we talked about our little Halloween surprise: We were having a baby! “A little one,” as we love to say. Not even the sound of my step-dad’s murder mystery programs could cause us to lose heart on this night!
“I think I just had a God dream.” We were in the wilderness of Tennessee, on Jonny Cash’s old farm no less, when Alicia said the above. This caught my attention because in a year of being married I have never heard her say anything like that. I stopped everything we were doing and had her explain exactly what happened to her in the dream. She did her best to recall the details. “Okay, so I was in a doctor’s office, and my nurse came in with a smile on her face and said, ‘don’t worry love, when it’s God’s timing, you’ll have a baby.’” This type of dream might not mean that much to the average couple, but to us we knew this was actually from God. For some odd reason, we were under the impression that we couldn’t have children naturally. I honestly don’t know how we got to that conclusion, but it developed over the first 11 months of our marriage and it sort of became a core belief. This dream changed everything! We laughed and said “well, that’s incredible! In a couple years we’ll be able to be parents!” Another strange thing happened about a week later. I was browsing the internet and found out that Pat Barrett and Chris Tomlin had written a children’s book called “Good Good Father.” For some odd reason, something inside me said, “get that book and hold onto it for your children.” So we got the book, even though we didn’t have any children in sight. Two seemingly random events and we had no idea that two weeks later, on Halloween night, we would find out that this wasn’t just a dream, this was becoming our reality!
Having both lived & visited overseas, it’s not the food nor the landscape that I’m envious about. It’s the healthcare. With Alicia experiencing health problems in the UK earlier this year, I got to see firsthand how they take care of all of their people, not just the ones who can afford it. I’m in no way taking a political stand but every single person deserves the right to healthcare, despite how much money they do or do not make. With us being young and fresh out of school we don’t have the insurance needed to have a baby. Another problem that arose was Alicia’s status in the USA. Because she didn’t yet have her green card (now has) she didn’t qualify for any medicare or medicaid. We were going to have to pay out of pocket. I’m not going to lie here, but this scared me a bit. This was going to mean everything that we had saved up during the year was going to be gone by next summer. Where would we go? What would we do then? Small jobs don’t pay enough to support a family do they? There were suddenly more questions than there were answers. We struggled with the questions for a week or two until we finally gave it to God. (Sounds so spiritual right?) It honestly worked. We committed all that we were and all that we had to God. After all, this is a huge blessing right? We’re having a baby! Some people spend their entire lives and never get to have a child of their own.
It really sank in when we had our first ultra sound. This was at the eight weeks mark. That was a crazy moment. To see our little one on screen for the first time was a moment I’ll never forget! That’s one of those moments that going into, I knew we only got once, so I savoured every second of it. I wish I could say I had 100% fond memories of that 15 minutes. I don’t however. Our doctor told us that the baby was a bit smaller than she had anticipated and that we needed to come back in two weeks time for another checkup. We left the offices that day both nervous for the size of the baby, but very thankful that there was a baby in the womb. (I know it wasn’t a full grown baby at this point, but you know what I’m saying.) We had close friends and family praying for the baby to continue to grow and be healthy. Shoutout to Jeramey and Jacqui Mason who were amazing supporters during this time! Together Alicia and I chose to believe that our baby would continue to grow and we would have a healthy little one on screen when we returned in two weeks time. Speaking for myself I was extremely confident that everything was going to be okay.
Each time we went into a Target or Hobby Lobby, we fell in love with baby stuff that we saw. We picked out little things one by one and came up with lists of things that we wanted to get over the next 8 months. We even bought a little penguin and named him “Pip.” That was going to be our baby’s first toy. Alicia and I had grown up with special stuffed animals and we turned out pretty good, so we wanted the same for out baby hahaha. From strollers (prams) to carriers we had it all mapped out. Expensive, but mapped out. It was all becoming very real. If I had to be honest, I’d say much more real for Alicia because she was the one carrying the child, but even for me, it was becoming more and more of a reality each day that past. I was going to be a dad! I had friend’s texting me, “you’re going to be a dad!” Some of the greatest texts I’ve ever gotten. Alicia was much more weary in telling her close friends. She didn’t wanna tell anyone until we had cleared the twelve week mark. Just in case. In my mind, there was no just in cases. We were having a baby.
Writer’s block. How can you begin to articulate such a tough couple of weeks? How do you explain your own confusions? I don’t think that’s my job. So I’m not going to try. It turns out that our next ultrasound was about three weeks from the last one. Talk about a mentally tough three weeks. After being told that your baby is a bit small, the last thing that you wanna do it wait three weeks! We did just that. Fortunately for us we had some things take our minds away. My dad came for a visit and we got our green card which was ten months in the making. To be honest that wasn’t very much of a priority in our thinking but nevertheless we’re glad we got it. Our appointment finally came and before we went inside Alicia and I prayed, “no matter what happens in the next 15–20 minutes, God, you’ve got us.” I realised it’s easy to pray that before something happens. It’s what happens on the other side that proves whether you mean it or not. You can guess where this is headed…
This summer, I fell in love with John Eldredge’s books. I have never been a huge reader, but the way he speaks and specifically his story telling abilities had me almost signing up for book clubs by summer’s end. I think between AC and I, we read six of his books in two months. One of his books was actually co-written with his son, Sam. Sam and his brothers run an online magazine called “And Sons Magazine.” I read this site from time to time and am often encouraged by it. One day whilst reading an article, I read the story of how Sam and his wife had a miscarriage and he spoke of the journey that he and his family were currently on. I read and silently prayed for them, thinking to myself “Wow. That must be awful for them. Jesus help them during this great time of pain. Thank you in advance that that won’t be Alicia and I.”
It was. Alicia and I went in to our ultrasound and the atmosphere could have been cut with a knife. There was now no baby on the picture. Just like that, it was over. A month and a half of carrying around this baby and now it’s all over. I didn’t wanna look up. I was afraid of what I would see on Alicia’s face. I didn’t wanna see the pain. I realised in that moment though, that I had to. I had to get up and comfort her. I had to put my arms around her and let the tears land on my shoulders. This too, like the first time in the ultrasound room, became a moment that I’ll never forget. A moment where we had lost most of our hope, but realising that in holding each other we still had reason to hope. One of those paradoxes that can’t really be explained.
The aftermath of this event has brought on even more pain. Both emotionally and physically. Alicia had what is called a ‘missed miscarriage’. This is where they discover that the baby has stopped developing before she naturally disposes of the remains. It was tough to write that sentence I’ll be honest with ya. Because it was so late on, Alicia’s body has had to endure more pain than most. It’s been a tough couple weeks but we have managed, and are starting to do a bit better. Each time I look over at Alicia, I can’t help but smile and think of how proud I am of her. She is my little warrior princess! Certainly wasn’t the way we had drawn up her very first American Christmas…
You know, there isn’t much said out there from pastors or church leaders while they themselves are right in the middle of the storm. (There probably is, I’m speaking from what I’ve heard.) Most books I’ve read or podcasts listened to, the speaker is always ready to tell you about a storm they WENT through four years ago… Or something that happened to them when they were a child that has made them who they are today… You don’t hear much said about someone going through it RIGHT NOW… Speaking from that place… I’m not Christian author or speaker but you’re hearing this as we’re going through it right now. The winds of confusion are still blowing. I can feel the breeze of fear from time to time each day. I’ve seen writing on the wall just this morning saying “God’s not with you like he once was…”
If you ever hear a Christian say the words, “I understand life, the universe, God and Christianity,” run as far away from them as you can. I surely don’t understand very much. Here’s what I do know… I’m on a journey. God’s not. He is in full control and knows my every need. It’s only in my brokenness that I have full access to him. The most significant thing that I’ve read this year in scripture has been in John 4 where the Samaritans URGE Jesus to stay with them… Why? Because they have finally found the one true source of life and realise their need for him. They knew deep within their hearts that Jesus was the messiah. They had a heart understanding that the Jews had no clue about. Did they understand who Jesus was in every facet? No… Could the Samaritan woman beat someone else in a Bible knowledge test? No… But still there was something about them… The Bible says that Jesus DID stay with them for those two days. Imagine them. Can you imagine that? Having Jesus in your village or town for two days? This would have been life changing for so many… Hope given, hope restored and hope received.
In the book of Acts Jesus tells the disciples something like this, “Go tell all the world of me, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, go tell them. Go and tell Judea and Samaria… the whole world.” Notice that? Jesus included Samaria… Go back there. The place where I stayed for two days. Lay hands on them for the receiving of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will STAY with them. Not just for two days or two years or two decades, but for forever. Let them know about the Holy Spirit so they can go on this life journey with God.
I’m on the life journey with God. Alicia and I both are. We haven’t received some massive revelation or answer as to why we lost our baby, but we have had the Holy Spirit’s nearness. When and where we’ve allowed him to be close, he’s been close. My flesh demands an answer from God as to why we have been put through this, but my spirit yearns for closeness with the Holy Spirit, regardless of answers. This is how I know that we’re going to be okay. We’re out here in open water and every word from heaven is absolutely huge.
God’s got us, and he’s undoubtedly got you too. Despite what we’re going through our illogical saviour deserves illogical worship. He’s come through for me so many times. Even if it looks as though he has failed us now, he hasn’t, and what the enemy meant for evil, God will work it for our good, because we are called according to his will and purpose. It hasn’t been easy nor should it be. Alicia is my pain partner. God is my Dad. Jesus is my Friend. Holy Spirit is my Guide. Spending time with them has been the one constant when those winds start to pick up.
We’ve decided to name our little one, Clovelly Hope Corrigan. We were one-two weeks away from knowing the sex of our baby which in some regards has made it a little easier on us. We wanted to name the baby because it’s important in life to give things a name. Eve wasn’t the same woman after she was named in Genesis. The name Clovelly is significant because it’s Alicia and I’s favourite spot on earth! We love Clovelly Beach in Sydney. It’s also significant because Clovelly Beach isn’t a beach that has many waves. Our little one won’t have to experience the waves that this life so often brings. Hope because that’s what we’re standing on. Without hope, we have nothing. At the sight of hope in 1 Samuel 17:52, the Israelite soldiers instantly became the men they were supposed to be all along. We know that we always have hope in the cross. We also believe that we have a living champion who brings hope to us daily.
2017 is going to be an unbelievable year for us! As Alicia would say, “a cheeky bit of prophecy.” Ha, we’re ready for the new year and all that it will bring us. We know it won’t be easy. It won’t be all happy faces and rainbows, but we doing our best to trust that God will be faithful in all areas of life.
Thankful for you all amazing friends and family. Bless you if you made it to the bottom of this essay!