Dawna Austin
For times like this, God knew I needed my best birthday present ever. Let me explain.

I was nearing my 40th birthday. Things were great. I had my oldest son who had just turned 14, and two other little boys aged 2 and 4. Life was joyous and full of adventure (and perfect health, I must add). We had some friends from out of town come to stay with us for the weekend, with their two teen boys. I love being with friends and even more so for an entire weekend, especially my birthday weekend! It was an amazing weekend of laughter and filling up of my "friendship" tank! The best part of the weekend, however, was waking up on my 40th birthday, and noting a pink + on the pregnancy test. My birthday present was another little blessing! Little did I know it was a girl. I often tell Julianna the story of waking up that morning, taking the pregnancy test and realizing that my best birthday present EVER was her.. my little girl whom I will love and cherish forever. Jesus gave me the best birthday present that day. Often when I put Julianna to bed and pray with her, I will tell her "I love you, you're my ..." and I wait for her to finish my sentence with her cute little voice, saying "best boifday pwesent eh-voe".

Sometimes I can make it to church on Sunday mornings, other times, it's just too hard, either physically or emotionally. Today, despite my pain I decided to make an effort and go with the family. Worship was wonderful on this Easter Sunday, a time of celebration. However, something that happened last night made things a bit more difficult than I had anticipated.

With taking LDN (low dose naltrexone) for the past 3 nights, it can make your dream world a bit more vivid. I don't normally remember my dreams, but in the past three nights, I have remembered them all. Last night's dream was definitely a bittersweet one. I was talking with a friend about carseats and when it would be appropriate to change from a rear-facing seat to a front-facing carseat. It was at that point that the visual focus of this dream 'movie' panned over to the carseat beside us and I said "I won't be changing her carseat until another six months from now". Right there before my eyes was my sweet little baby girl, six months old. I promptly woke up. My heart was aching. Why would I dream of the baby I had lost last year? I thought it was odd that my dreams had gone from just sadness of loss to my baby having been born. I then calculated how old the baby would have been right now, and it is now exactly six months since my due date. Wow, exactly six months! How odd was that?!

I have been praying so hard, asking the Lord to heal this hurt, to fill the hole that was created upon this loss. Today feels as fresh and painful as the day I found out the baby had died. I ask God often WHY .. how long until you take this pain away. I have so much to be thankful for, why does this one loss have such long-lasting power over my heart?

I chose to get up and move on. It was only a dream. I would count my blessings and go to church with my family. Sitting just in front of us was a little baby, and Kirk knew I would find this difficult. Some of the songs we were singing were about God taking our pain, healing our hurts. I sang those songs in faith. I don't feel it, but I will sing it in faith. Tears brewed in my eyes, the dream really messing up my resolve to continue with life.

What really blessed me was during the coffee break some people came to pray for me as I sat in my chair, unable to move. I felt totally messed up. Both with physical pain and the emotional chains that had held me once again. Their prayers were encouraging and so supportive. I could at least say that I did not feel like I fight my MS battle alone. It was exactly what I needed at that moment. So thank you! (you know who you are).

After the service we engaged in worship once again, only this time, some people were rhythmically dancing to the music (in worship) but one lady in particular, came over to our side of the room, right in front of us and danced with a little baby in her arms. Kirk leaned over and said to me "wow, you're really getting your buttons pushed today, aren't you?" Big time. I just want this pain to go away. I know the rest of the world will continue to have children. I know there are those who don't have any and wonder why I'm having such an issue when I already have four. I really don't know the answer to that. I just know there is a huge hold in my heart, and it doesn't seem to heal, despite my best efforts (and prayers).

Just when I thought the floodgates would open once again, my eldest son, Jordan, brought Julianna out from Sunday School. Worship was still going on, and Julianna saw me and ran over to me. I scooped her up and she hugged me like she hadn't seen me for month. She kissed my cheek over and over and said "I love you mommy". It's amazing how my little girl's hugs can heal so much pain. In that moment, I felt loved and comforted. God knew I need my "best birthday present ever".