I’ve never been one to have mystical experiences. My prayer life usually consists of me reading a spiritual text, meditating on it, and then saying some prayers. I don’t hear anything from God. I don’t experience any visions. However, one time I do believe God spoke to me in a clear way.
First, some back story. In my first 8 years of marriage, my wife and I were blessed with four children, each born about two years apart. My wife and I had wanted a big family, and these children were a source of great joy for us. About two years after our fourth child, my wife became pregnant again…right on schedule. However, after about 17 weeks, she miscarried. It was a tragic loss for us. Our doctor explained that this can just happen sometimes and doesn’t mean we will have future miscarriages. About a year later, my wife became pregnant again. Again, she miscarried in the 2nd trimester. We were heartbroken, and we began to look into potential medical reasons for the multiple miscarriages. Our doctor could find nothing. Another year passed, and my wife again became pregnant. We were nervous, but our doctor did not believe we were at a higher risk for miscarriage. About 15 weeks into the pregnancy, my wife miscarried for the third time.
After three miscarriages we feared that we would never be able to have any more children. We were very blessed with four children already, and we knew couples that were unable to conceive, so we tried to be content with what God had richly given us. But we were still young and had assumed that God would give us even more children to care for. But at this point we began to reconcile ourselves to that fact that we would not have any more kids.
4th of July Vision
About a year after the third miscarriage my family was going into downtown DC to watch the 4th of July fireworks. We arrived early to find a good place to sit, and brought with us a picnic dinner and some games. Unfortunately, Mother Nature didn’t cooperate, and it began to rain. Heavily. We got under some umbrellas and a plastic tarp we brought with us, and decided to wait out the rain. As I sat there daydreaming, I had a “vision.” Not a vision that I saw with my eyes, and in fact it wasn’t much different than a daydream. But it was very specific, and unlike my usually mental wanderings. I saw myself holding a newborn infant, and I knew – similar to how you “know” things in your dreams that aren’t explicit – that it was my child and that it was the 4th of July the following year. It was clear to me that I would be holding a new baby – my new baby – one year from that date.
Because of our heartache and the fact that doctors could not tell us why my wife had three consecutive 2nd trimester miscarriages, I didn’t want to tell my wife about my vision. It seemed to me to be cruel to get her hopes up over what might just be a fanciful daydream. So I kept the vision to myself, even though inside I was confident that it was from God.
Hope in God
A few months later, we decided to go to another doctor who had been recommended to us by a friend. His name was Dr. Bruchalski, and he was a well-known faithful Catholic doctor who specialized in difficult pregnancies. At the beginning of our first meeting, he prayed with us. Very quickly he believed he knew what was wrong (so quickly, in fact, that I was skeptical – how could he determine the cause within a few minutes after other doctors didn’t know for years?). But we decided to follow his advice, and a few months later my wife became pregnant. To say we were nervous would be a great understatement. We didn’t know if we could handle yet another miscarriage. Early in the pregnancy, my wife was scheduled for a sonogram. The technician had troubles finding the baby’s heartbeat, and the tech told us that the baby had probably died. Even with this statement, I was confident the baby was alive. Sure enough, a few days later we had another sonogram and all was well.
As we got closer to the time in the pregnancy when my wife had thrice miscarried, we prayed and trusted in God’s providence. Every week without miscarrying felt like a victory. But Dr. Bruchalski made it clear that the child would be at risk all the way up to the day of birth. So we never could completely relax. My wife was scheduled for induction. We prayed and prayed, and our hopes kept rising that we would be blessed with another child in our lives. After a long day of labor, my wife gave birth to a beautiful healthy girl. All our hopes had been realized, and so we named this precious gift, “Hope.”
The date was June 29th, less than a week before July 4th. On that national holiday, one year after my vision, I was holding my newborn daughter, just as God had shown me I would be.