Pain to JoyThe Holidays of 1997 were wrought with grief on many levels. As my family tried to put together a Christmas season full of prayer and joy and tradition we found inspiration in Mary Beth. She helped us all to find meaning in the season.Healing after loss goes on much longer than the time needed to celebrate the holidays though.So it was with real joy and need that we celebrated a positive pregnancy test late in January of 1998. From the start it was a different experience. I was sick from 5p.m.- 12a.m. every day for weeks. #2 seemed to know that I needed to work. Mary Beth was at daycare now as Mom needed to work in order to stay on the farm. Everything old was new again as we learned the new normal.That summer was spent planning and preparing for our second child. I felt good and was truly excited about the coming of this second miracle. By the fall and the start of school I had been to the hospital in false labor 2 times. Had my step father been alive I am sure I would not have gone in; he would have known. Alas, I was on my own and made the trip.When real labor arrived it was very early morning and still 3 weeks too soon. But we loaded up and headed in anyway. I labored without making much progress most of the morning. Around noon the nurse and a resident came to tell me they were going to lunch and I was stable. They would see me in a bit.Yep, 15 minutes later I was ready to go. There was no time to do all the usual prep of the room or bed or even ready a nursery bed. #2 came hard and fast and it was really scary. So much chaos.Even now I remember the fear and mayhem I felt . It was all fine in the end, but so unsettling when it happened. And then, there she was, Anna Marie. I think from the very beginning I knew Anna would be my last biological child. There was a bond there with a different intensity. Through the coming years I would hold on tighter and become more emotional with every first and last she went through.I was right of course, she was my last ‘stomach child.’ Yes, that is the phrase we use in our family. No, I didn’t come up with it.Within two years I had a total hysterectomy and began hormone replacement therapy. It felt a lot like the lupron days, but the pain was gone. Our family of 4 moved forward and grew and loved. Waiting for me to be ready for the next phase of family building.