Sunday, April 01, 2012

Whitley Olivia

Baby White is a....GIRL!!!

Her name is Whitley Olivia, a beautiful name to match the beautiful girl I know she will be both inside and out.  Her due date is August 20th and I just can't wait to meet her!

I have hesitated to give the full details about the miracle of her existence because, quite frankly, it's SO BIG to me, I full overwhelmed at the idea of chronicling it.  But, now that we have a really great picture to put up with the post, I think it's time.

As fitting for the miracle that is this little girl - it all came down on Christmas night.

It had been one of the best Christmas days I had ever had, and literally, just as I was hitting PUBLISH to put the post describing the day up on the blog, Michele got a call on her cell phone from Travis.   We had been communicating throughout the evening as the whole "Schitely" crew were to leave in the morning for a week together in Sunriver.  At the time of this call, it was about 10pm, both guys were sacked out asleep on the couch, the boys, Nati, and Ellie were playing on the PS3, and Mikayla was also asleep.  Having had the BEST Christmas, and looking forward to a week ahead of vacation and R&R, everyone was in great spirits.

So, when Travis cryptically asked over the phone if we had a pregnancy test available, and then followed up with a request to come on over with Steph, Michele and I were thoroughly confused.   We were led to assume the obvious conclusion...but, that just couldn't be!

Here's why.  Travis and Stephanie were never intending to have children.  It was a something Stephanie knew when she entered into a relationship with Travis.  He never wanted kids of his own.  The reasons why are complex (you can ask him if you want to), but NOT at all because he doesn't like kids or desire to be around them.  In fact, that has been an ongoing source of frustration and debate among us all, because we've watched him with our five kids and have again and again seen a "natural born father" in him.  However, it was his heart's conviction, and despite years of Stephanie longing for children of her own (and witnessing that same mothering giftedness in her with our kids), he held firm.  Then, about a year ago, something changed in Stephanie's heart too.  The Holy Spirit had finally given her a peace as well about not having children, taking away that desire and giving her a contentment to match Travis'.  It was something that we as a Bible Study had been praying for, so it was a beautiful thing to see happen in her heart.  (Even though it bummed us out to know that for sure that would mean no kids for the Whites...)   Scientifically speaking, precautions had been in place in terms of oral birth control* for Stephanie for 15 years.   Even if they had desired to get pregnant, with that duration of time on birth control, doctors would have advised them to be off of it for quite some time.  In addition, Stephanie's body over-calcifies - causing constant issues with kidney stones and even calcifying the gland regulating her sleep function.  That, in itself, could have lent itself to not getting pregnant.  Finally, Steph's only sister, Mandy, struggled with infertility for ten years, and dealt with a number of miscarriages.  Statistically speaking, pregnancy should never have happened for the Whites.

But, I'm going to pass on a little secret....GOD IS BIGGER THAN SCIENCE, STATISTICS, AND EVEN SET-IN-STONE DECISIONS!  And, so, because, the Whites do NOT practice abstinence =), God allowed her body to do what it was originally designed to do, and on Christmas day, she started to suspect.  Having used a birth control that eliminated most periods, that wouldn't be the way she'd be clued in.  However, the breast and abdominal tenderness was unusual - not to mention (in hindsight, she determined) being a little over the top emotionally.  So, that morning, she took a test in private.  It was past its expiration date, so when it came up positive, Steph didn't feel like she could trust it was indeed conclusive.  So, later that afternoon, prior to going to celebrate Christmas with her sister, she picked up another test at the store along with other needed things.  Travis and her headed on over to Rick and Mandy's (sis and bro-in-law), all the while, with Travis not having a clue what was going on.  Upon arrival, Steph pulled Mandy into the bathroom and had her verify the results of the un-expired new test.  The lines came up immediately, proving it was positive, despite any attempts by Steph to question otherwise.  According to Travis, Steph was then very "stoic" for the rest of the visit - unusual for her as she's usually very interactive with her three nieces (Mandy and Rick went from infertile to very fertile - having had 3 girls in the last four years....).  It wasn't until the drive home, past 9pm, that Steph decided to spill it to Travis.  It wasn't for fear of his reaction, it was because it was still so hard for Steph to accept.  We are extremely proud of Travis that his first reaction was to lead them in prayer (upon returning home).   Within 20 minutes of joint processing, Stephanie asked Travis to please take her to see "Steph and Chele" - as she needed our support.  So, that catches you up to the point of Travis' phone call.

I don't think I'll ever forget the scene that took place upon their arrival.  We all met them at the door (having woken up John and Michael with our suspicions) and Travis wore an expression of total astonishment while Steph was more in the category of "terrified".  The rest of the night unfolded in a priceless way.  Lots and lots of heartfelt embraces and hugs, a lot of crying (particularly from Steph), with tears in all of our eyes over the miracle that had taken place, and plenty of praying with laughter thrown in.  I think it's fair to say that our three families share a bond that is very unique (hence our own name for ourselves..."Schitelys").  Annually, we go to Sunriver together, and spend any other fun adventures we can together.  However, with the Schillings living in Dallas, the scenario of them being at our house to be able to embrace the Whites along with us was divinely inspired, timing wise.  Not to mention knowing that the next seven days would be spent with just the 11 12 of us =) at Sunriver together.  The Whites whole life had just been sent for the biggest tailspin of their time as a couple, and we would be able to be there for support, prayer, guidance, and, as needed - "therapy" =).

The next morning, prior to the Whites departure for Sunriver, they stopped off at a doctor's office to confirm what we all knew by then to be true, they were indeed pregnant.  Steph's aversion to smells (particularly cooking bacon and the smell of the bowling alley) only confirmed it throughout the week.  (Fortunately, despite that, she didn't really suffer a whole lot of nausea or morning sickness).  It was foremost on all of our minds - and strongly cautioned to the kids, that their baby might not make it given the track record of her sister.  While it was hard to fathom why God would create such an unbelievable miracle and then take it away, our ways are not God's ways, so we tiptoed through the first 12 weeks, hoping with each day there would not be a phone call telling us of tragedy.   The day that I first put the initial ultrasound up on the blog was the day the "rest of the world" was told.  Up until that point, the news was limited to pretty much just family.  I couldn't hold back tears when I got that text with the beautiful ultrasound picture while shopping in Kohls....knowing that was the day I could love this baby with abandon figuring the chances of miscarriage were drastically reduced at that point.

And, for the record, in case you are wondering....that astonishment, shock, terror, and fear that we saw in Travis and Stephanie's eyes on Christmas night has been transformed into nothing but love.  They have fallen hard for this little girl, so much more than the rest of us which is hard to comprehend.  The light in their eyes when they speak of her, the pride, the looks between the two of them, the glow - it's a sight to behold.   Initially, Stephanie struggled with why God would choose to bless them with a child when she'd finally come to a peace about never wanting one.  A wise confidante in her life pointed out how perfectly God had chosen just this time, because it put her and Travis on the same team when it came to this "surprise".  It wasn't a "her wish" against "his", but rather something neither one of them wanted, but God knew they needed.  In light of that, we've witnessed them draw closer to each other, and of course, to Him - knowing that the baby inside of Stephanie's belly is nothing short of a miraculous gift delivered directly from God on Christmas day.

(The following were pictures taken during our post Christmas trip to Sunriver that we couldn't share at the time they were taken.  The first was a baby outfit for next Christmas for the baby that Michele and I picked out before getting to the house....Travis admitted opening and seeing that made things very, very "real" for him.  The second picture was a project Mikayla worked on with John to create a baby blanket from her brand new sewing machine.  She presented it later in the week to them having worked on for the first part of the trip)

* I should point out as a warning that it's speculated that Stephanie got pregnant upon her first month using a generic form of the birth control she'd been using for years....It's not the generic that hit the news months ago - a different one, but just thought you ought to know..... =)


Anonymous said...

Steph- such a sweet blog post, I may be biased:). We've cherished the "Schitely" family so much. And God's plan to bring news of Whitley coming, when everyone was together, couldn't have been more perfect. That's a Christmas evening I'll never forget. We were touched how Nati, Mikayla and Ellie, on their own accord, decided to pray for the White's, not knowing exactly what was happening. I hope we do as great of job with Whitley as you and Chele have done with your daughters.

There is one big piece of this story missing in our minds. Steph and I kept asking the questions, 'what are we going to do?' and 'what are we going to do?' The latter thinking of day to day logistics. All of a sudden the anxiety of having a baby has been compounded, when we realize Bogey isn't going to be a fit daycare option. I don't tend to be much of an "emotional person", but when you turned to us and said, "God has put it on my heart to watch Baby White." I think my eyes got moist.:) So much concern and angst was lifted. I was so humbled that you would be willing to even do that. I wanted to make sure that was a part of the blog story, because it is such a huge part every time I tell the story. I feel that it's a gift we don't deserve and a sacrifice you're making for us. What a perfect example of God's love. We love you and love this relationship our families have had for all of these years. Travis & Steph

StephieAnne said...

Aw shucks...

I opted to save that aspect of the story for another post as I wanted it to be all about you guys and Whitley.

But, case you would misinterpret my omission of this aspect of the story as not being excited about it - let me just put it down for the record that I spend many days shopping and running errands, spying mom's with babies thinking...."I can't wait to do that all over again"

Even while we all stood in entry of our house Christmas night, God placed it on my heart to offer to watch Whitley while you are both at work. It's another one of those "God things" where I just feel like God is saying "For such a time as this" - in that I do uniquely have the time and opportunity to have a baby with me day in and day out at this stage in my life. Given that so very many of the memories of my own children at that age have been marred by intense anxiety and insecurity, to have the opportunity to get a taste of the experience again (MINUS THE BREAST FEEDING AND SLEEP DEPRIVATION!) absolutely thrills me. Baby Whitley is indeed a gift we all count and treasure as our favorite this Christmas! We love the three of you so much!

Ladybug grandma said...

I've known the details of this story since they've happened but reading them brought tears to my eyes. I've known forever what great parents these two will be. I also want to thank you for your sacrifice you are making for our prescious Whitley. I would never have told them "NO" I can't watch her, but with 3 other little ones, I'm afraid she would get lost in the dust. I know you will love her as much as I do. I will be here anytime you need me. Ladybug Grandma (Abby, Hannah, Molly AND Whitley's grandma)

Anonymous said...

I certainly echo Steph's thoughts regarding the miracle of this experience and the joy we all eagerly anticipate in embracing lovely Whitley as part of our big family. :) Well written Steph - and Travis. I guarantee there will be countless days of disappointment that I do not live right around the corner to get my "Whitley-fix" ~ I will just have to cherish the special occasions provided. I am also filled with great confidence that Travis and Steph will be exceptional parents and their sweet daughter will be daily showered with overwhelming love and encouragement. We are so blessed to have had a part in His special plan and can not wait for the next chapter to arrive!

sara said...

oh my word what I have missed!!! I LOVED reading this post. God loves us so much. When we give everything over to Him and trust Him with our future....what blessings come of that!