Do you have a story in your life of God doing something so amazing and meaningful and yes, fun that you can’t help but share it? The story of how my youngest son was born is one of those kinds of stories. With it being Thanksgiving week, and having just celebrated my son’s birthday, I wanted to give you the short(er) story of how our little guy came into our lives. It’s the kind of story only God can write.
In 2008, we had our third daughter and really felt like our family was complete. After praying about it, my husband went to see his doctor. A short time later, we had the lab results to prove it: we were finished having children.
Time passed. It’s 2013. Our girls are ages 5, 8, and 10. Everything is going smoothly. Until, on an anniversary trip to the mountains, I just didn’t feel quite like myself. On a whim, I had my husband pick up a pregnancy test on the way home. But we were mostly unconcerned, to the point where my husband would later say that he forgot that we had even bought one! (To understand this, you need to know that over the years I was guilty of quite a few false alarms…It was a running joke.)
Imagine our complete shock when, after putting the kids to bed, we were standing there staring at a positive pregnancy test. I cried. My husband couldn’t stop laughing. Against all odds, and completely unplanned, baby #4 was on the way.
The next couple of months were spent laughing with friends and family over this development. And then it came time for the ultrasound. We took our three daughters with us so we could celebrate little brother/sister together. The technician performed her procedure, and . . . just as it had said three times before, it was to be a girl, a 4th daughter! We all laughed and cheered. (A family of four girls!) Everyone that is except my middle daughter. She loudly said, “That’s wrong! It’s a boy.” She then burst into tears. We were all shocked and my husband quietly ushered her outside. We chalked it up to her being disappointed that she wasn’t getting the little brother she wanted and moved on. (But she didn’t. Throughout the entire pregnancy, she would refuse to accept that it was a girl. She never wavered.)
We decided to name our little one Camille Mullins Blanks. Our dear friends and family generously and rather humorously hosted a baby shower since we had gotten rid of every last item of baby stuff.
I went into labor on November 16, 2013. Everything was going smoothly until right at the end. Against all odds, little Camille decided to make things interesting. She managed to flip over somehow and labor seemed to grind to a halt. After some time, we were finally able to deliver her, but she was having trouble breathing and needed a little TLC from the nurses. In a rush – the doctor yelling to my husband “Cut the cord dad! Hurry!”–they wrapped a blanket around our silent baby and whisked her across the birthing suite where they could work on her. What seemed like the longest 30 seconds of silence you could ever imagine suddenly broke with the cries of a newborn baby.
The nurses put a pink hat on our baby and wrapped another blanket around her. They laid her on my chest. We spent five minutes or so telling her how beautiful she was and thanking God for this unexpected addition.
The nurse came over and said that they needed to take her for a minute or so to get her weighed and cleaned up. I passed her off as my husband walked around to the other side of the bed. The peace of that moment was interrupted by a scream from the nurse:
In the rush of making sure our little one was OK, no one had bothered to confirm the gender. They had merely wrapped the baby up and began working to get her/him breathing. It wasn’t until they unswaddled our child that we realized our little girl was a little boy.
I will never be able to use words to accurately describe what I felt in that moment. I was in shock. Disbelief. I was staring at my husband and all I could see was him, as if he were at the end of a long tunnel. After all this time and prayers and prep for Camille, it wasn’t Camille after all! The only thing I could think to say was, “What do we name him?” God weaves amazing stories in the lives of His children. Camille was to be our Paul. My husband and I wept and rejoiced in the sweet and tender surprise God had in store for us. You see, Paul was my husband’s little brother who had passed away unexpectedly 8 years earlier. When we had gotten pregnant, we thought for sure this was God’s way of giving us a boy. If it was a boy, would we name him Paul? We decided yes. We would. A fitting honor for a special person. But then the ultrasound said girl, and we happily accepted God’s plan for our family and moved on.
Except, here was a little boy. “Can we name him Paul?” my husband asked. “Of course, of course” I replied through tears. We explained our emotional reaction to the doctor and nurses in the room and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
The waiting room! We suddenly remembered there was lots of family in the waiting room. My husband went to the waiting room, with tears and wonder and said, “It’s a boy! It’s a boy!” Everyone screamed, people were crying and clapping. Everyone except for Abby. Standing there with a smile on her face, she calmly said, “Yes. I knew it.”
Want to know something even more meaningful? Our Paul was born one day after my husband’s brother’s birthday. God indeed works in mysterous ways. Now, every time we celebrate little Paul, it casts a new light on the memory of an uncle he will never know. What a picture of restoration and redemption.
Paul has been a tremendous joy to our family; we thank God for giving us exactly what our family needed in him.
Not only did the Lord surprise us once, but twice.