The dark and silent night sweet rainbow baby Pia Larin was born and then in the sunshine and light was so eagerly welcomed by her family.

But You, O LORD, are a shield about me,         My glory, and the One who lifts my head.  I was crying to the LORD with my voice,          And He answered me from His holy mountain. Psalm 3.

I climbed under my bed's covers just about eleven. And got her text just minutes later. Brewed my coffee and drove empty streets to arrive in the dark and silence of night. It's such a strange feeling, this sort of anticipation when no one else is even awake. Knowing that in these hours while the world sleeps unaware, a new soul, a new heart, already fashioned, already purposed, is about to join the earth. I couldn't be more humbled to witness these miracles. But these particular photographs weren't made with only joy. Because although our paths have been paved with different steps over the decade and a half we've known each other, they've intersected closely in the last couple years, and even more so in the last one. And I know deeply how rawly it's been a long one, one made full with the salt of broken-heart tears. Not long after her heart found hope for healing again with this daughter, Jamie shared these words on her blog:

One time we had pregnancy announcement photos taken and later had to email the photographer, telling her that we no longer needed them. 

A few months later, when the nurse called us 5 minutes before we left for our movie date night, and told us to "Google it" when I asked one too many questions about our diagnosis of hydrosalpinx, and I cried through Deadpool, that sucked.

When the sonogram technician told us that she thought it was a mistake that we were on her list that day, that it probably wasn't a baby, that it would probably miscarry, that sucked too. 

We were finding ourselves in the gray of infertility. 

I still don't understand the weeks that followed.  We had just been told that I wasn't pregnant and that it couldn't happen.  We had one more pregnancy test left and I wanted to waste it so that I wouldn't have any left. 

But here we are.

We aren't the Pinterest of pregnancy announcements. We prayed prayers of anger and frustration. We weren't hopeful all the time. One Sunday, every pregnant woman ever in Johnson County sat in our row at church and I totally ugly-jealous-cried. The blessing given to us (clearly) isn't because we were great Christ followers who deserved it. Absolutely not. But I believe that God delights in us. I know that to be true. 

And so, it's my belief with all the prayer and hope and delight these photographs hold that not only will they each all five look back and see tangible the fulfillment of mercy and healing, but this beautiful baby, this beautiful child, this beautiful life knit together in her mother's womb will always know how wanted, how cherished she is, she was. From the very, very beginning.

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