The Well Magazine Winter 2012 - Page 11

am breathing again. I never knew how precious my breath was until life knocked it out of me. Twice. I take each inhale and exhale now as a gift, a sign inviting me to believe, yes, Erica, you’re slowly healing, moving to the other side of a horror no one should have to endure. In March, just four months before I was due to meet him, my baby boy, Christian Alexander Murray, died inside me. Death wasn’t done. It came again just 15 days before my birthday and only weeks before what doctors believed would be Christian’s arrival day. Death came this time for my father, the first man I ever loved and the man who first showed me what it means to be loved. The loss of Daddy was like a silent explosion, so sudden and too shocking to be real. That night, the Fourth of July, all I could feel or hear was BAM. I I had no voice for the grief or the anger ricocheting within, shredding what remained of a heart already broken: “No, not Daddy too. The God I love, he wouldn’t do that. He loves me too much.” But indeed, my Daddy and my baby, the grandson, he’d always hoped for, were both gone, taken it seemed, as one. Doctors have elaborate medical explanations for what happened to Christian. They say a fibroid ruptured and caused my placenta to burst. With our lifeline severed, doctors said little Christian had no choice but to enter the world stillborn. I never gave much thought to the word stillborn or to the chance that it might happen to me. By conceiving Christian I thought my silent prayers had been answered, double. For 10 years, I battled fibroids and they seemed to be the one winning. I listened to doctor after doctor outline the slim chances of my womb ever being free of the cluster-like tumors or able to carry a child. Even when they had no good news, my husband Spence and I both kept the faith that if we put our hearts into conceiving God would do the rest. In the spring of 2011, my husband, Spence, and I found a doctor who saw a chance for healing too. That summer, I had my second surgery, this time more hopeful than ever. Soon after the surgery, we made another big move. We sold our home in Detroit and headed for Atlanta. Years of travelling as an IT consultant had given me a chance to see cities across the country and around the world and to fantasize about one day settling down in the same city beside my parents. I figured, when God was ready that would happen too. I let years go by. I refused to rush. After all, I had all the time in the world. 11 We’re Home We had our new life in Atlanta all figured out, spend a few months with mom and dad, then find ourselves a cozy three bedroom to call our own. But just days before Thanksgiving, and less than two months after we’d relocated, we got news that nearly stopped our hearts. We were on vacation visiting family in Phoenix. It took three store bought pregnancy tests and a test at a local clinic for my husband and I to believe. A miracle, with our names on it, was on the way. We’d barely begun to “try.’’ It was overwhelming, realizing that we did it. We created life and at least for a little while I experienced what it feels like to live an answered prayer. For months, I wrapped myself in the joy. I watched it overflow and bounce back and forth between my husband and my parents. Their baby girl, and only child, was about to become a mother. And when word arrived that our baby would be a boy, I watched my daddy and my husband swap the kind o f joy that only men can understand. Daddy, a retired construction worker, had been preparing for this moment for years. As the months of my pregnancy rolled by, he tinkered on his 1981 red Corvette, that he told everyone he was saving as a gift for the grandson he just knew he’d have one day. The countdown to Christian’s arrival was truly going to be Christmas in July. We were floating on heaven sent happiness, laughing it seemed more than even breathing. We each had visions of the ways this little boy would change our lives, the lessons he would teach each of us and the new joys he’d bring to the house. Winter 2012 / The Well Magazine