Making Bargains With God.

First, let me apologize to anyone that is offended by me mentioning God.

Feel free to substitute “The Great Beyond,” “She Who Has No Name,” “The Almighty,”  “The Limitless Universe” or whatever more closely fits with your vision of the divine.  Look, maybe you throw clams at the sun on your spiritual retreats, I just think we all hold out hope for something greater than ourselves.

My beloved girlie Charlaine from Dallas said it best: “Girl, I have never known such fear as until I had children!”  I always knew The Todd and I could overcome any challenge, face anything together.

Until my body reneged on the deal.

Twins run in my family…multiple cousins have them.  My dear mom lost twin boys at 5 months.  It was right at 5 months when I was pregnant when I started making deals with God.

“I promise I will never take Your Name in vain again if the boys are healthy.”

“I will donate 20% of my salary to the homeless if the boys come out okay.”

“I will stop cutting in front of slower drivers and gesticulating angrily if it’s all good with the twins.”

And later on when I gained 100 pounds of fluid (Editor’s note: I am not joking here, you could have put strings on me and floated me down Madison Avenue with the rest of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.)  “Lord, I know my body is totally jacked up, and I’m okay with that as long as it’s not affecting the boys.”

I would just like to say that our planned C-section was NOTHING like the “Baby Story” on TLC.  Talk about a birthing plan shot to hell.  The crash cart, 2 cardiologists, trauma team and that totally sucky tube that ran from my neck through all four chambers of my heart made it fairly clear that this was NOT what we had planned.  And I was still okay with it.  I figured God and I had a deal.  Screw with me, fine.  But leave the twins alone.



They had names by then.  Zachie was on the bottom and HATED ultrasounds.  He would flounce over crossly and refuse to let us see his little face.  MacLean was on top, by my heart.  They would always have their foreheads pressed together in my womb, like they were telling secrets.

I tried to negotiate with the cardiologists.  “I can take a lot of pain, PLEASE let me stay awake to see them!”  No dice.  I told my mom and sister Jenne, “don’t you DARE let them be alone!  If they separate them, you go with them!  They can’t be alone!”  I knew The Todd would want to stay with me…even though I threatened divorce if the twins were left alone in some warming bed.

I woke up four days later with a tube down my throat and my hands taped to the bed rail.  Dang that Todd, he knew I would try to rip out the tubes.  I was perfectly fine with the mess left of my chest and the network of scars.  God and I had a deal.  The boys were okay.

It’s been 12 years since then.  My boys have challenges.  Big ones.  I have learned that God doesn’t make bargains.  This completely ticks me off, by the way.

I visited the pediatric cardiology unit at our local children’s hospital the other day.  There are three month olds with scars bigger than mine.  I compared “zippers” with a couple of the older kids.  We are cool.  We have our badges.  And I looked at those parents who hovered as I lifted my shirt to compare those puckered track marks on our abdomens and chests.  I dispensed stuffed animals and dvd’s and cupcakes.  Every one of those mothers and fathers would have given anything to take their child’s scar for themselves.

I ached to tell them that God doesn’t cut deals with any of us.  I don’t care how many charities you give to.  I don’t care how many good deeds you do.  Your kids will still face challenges that will make you burn in every part of your body to swap places.  But, you will hold their hands and tell them “hang in there.  I get it.  It totally sucks.  But you WILL get through this.  I did.”

And you will forgive God for “breaking the deal.”

At least, I’m working on it.

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4 responses to “Making Bargains With God.”

  1. Amy says:

    Oh Erin, I remember when you HAD the babies and you were off the radio for a while. I had NOO idea it was such a rough delivery. I’m sure there is nothing I could say that you haven’t already heard. But trust me, the day WILL come when that burden you carry, the anger, frustration and just pure resentment will just be too much to carry around any more. You will see the greater plan and know that you and Todd DID get through it as well as the boys and realize that “Hey, we did it, and God knew we could.” That’s when you just turn everything over to him and if you’re not sure how to let it go because you’ve held on so long, just tell him and ask him to take it for you! He loves you that much that he will! (Did I just get too preachy for you? Sorry if I did, but from my OWN experience, I know how hard it can be! LOVE YOU ERIN!!)

  2. Mary Dailey says:

    The best thing you can do is what you have already done and that was going by the pediatric cardiology unit. You can be a huge help to those other parents that are asking why did this happen. It will also help you to see, that although things have been and will be tough for you and the boys, there is always someone worse off. Christians are taught that we are not to question God, but when we’re talking about our babies or even grandbabies, it’s hard not to ask why. Just pray that your sons will overcome their limitations the best that they can and that they will lead full, productive lives. I know a young woman who is paralyzed from the neck down from a car wreck when she was a senior in high school. Most of us would have given up, but not her! She lays flat of her back and when she does sit up, she has a brace to hold her head up. The only thing she can move is her eyes and her mouth, but she went on to college, got her degree, and yes, she is teaching a class at our college. No one gave up on her and she never gave up on herself. God bless your family.

  3. lisa says:

    I loved what u wrote. Not every pregnancy is rainbows and unicorns.I asked mark how many kids he wanted. He said 2. I wanted 6 . We agreed on 4 and had 8. We brought 5 home. 3 were born and went to their Heavenly Father. Truly sucked at the time. We went thru ivf( had the twins) and donated our remaining 4embryos to a couple who had our genetic son. 🙂 life throws us curve balls. Sometimes it feels like Dodge ball. 🙂

  4. Malia says:

    Erin, I’ve listened to you on the radio wince I was a little girl, literally. I have loved, loved, loved every word that’s come out of your mouth…and this post is no different. You are incredible. I just hope you know how many lives you bless…including those two special boys.

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