naming caleb jordan.

With great joy, Kevin and I named our daughters Lydia Evelyn and Eliza Rose within hours after finding out their genders around 20 weeks pregnant. Our last pregnancy, we had decided on “Micah” boy or girl and had been referring to Micah by name within a few days after we found out we were pregnant.

Through our first two pregnancies with Lydia and Eliza, Micah had been our top boy’s name. We’d hardly even considered other boy names because we were so sure of it. So, after losing Micah to miscarriage, and nearing halfway on our rainbow-baby pregnancy, brainstorming boy names were a total blank slate. 

As we awaited the gender, “Baby J” had been this baby’s nickname from early on, mostly due to the Jayhawk mascot and being a KU family! Along the way, we also wondered if this kid would have a J name and the nickname “J” would stick for the rest of their life. When it came down to the week of our gender reveal, we had our top three girl names and top three boy names, and all of them started with the letter “J” except one late addition: Caleb.

Caleb means faithful, whole-hearted devotion, brave, and courageous. It was the meaning behind this name that drew us in most, as I’ll get into more later. As the days before our gender reveal grew closer, we landed on our top girl’s name, but our boy’s name remained unclear. Every time we casually discussed boy names, ultimately, we couldn’t even fathom having a boy! The very thought that blue balloons could come out of that box felt so surreal to me that naming a son was even less comprehendible. So, Kevin and I stacked hands on our girl’s name and when it came to our boy’s name we agreed: let’s cross that bridge when we get there.

T H E . R E V E A L .

On the Sunday before our 20-week appointment and gender reveal, I was sitting in church, and our pastor closed his sermon by inviting us to intentionally avoid distractions and listen to the voice of God. I had been preoccupied all sermon-long recounting regrets from the day and overanalyzing what others thought of me, constantly replaying situations in my head. As I paused to ask God what He had to say and put away the tormenting distractions in my mind, the Holy Spirit brought this Scripture to mind:

“If we are faithless, He remains faithful” (2 Timothy 2:13).

God, I feel so faithless, and so full of doubt… 
I AM FAITHFUL.”
This year, this season, it’s been so hard… 
I AM FAITHFUL.”
But God, what if…?
I AM FAITHFUL.”

My thoughts had been interrupted, and I could not get His words “I am faithful” out of my head. It was as if the very voice of God had been written on my heart. I could no longer think of my faithless regrets, only of the Grace that comes through Christ alone. Praise God, even in our doubts and disbeliefs, even when we lack faith, HE IS FAITHFUL

As we were driving away after church, I shared this moment with Kevin. I knew that God wanted to draw my attention away from my faithlessness in that moment and focus my attention on His faithfulness – and to give my God the worship and glory He deserves. To rest in His grace. I also told Kevin, with open hands: “If we are having a boy, did God just give me his name? Will our son’s name forever remind me that God is faithful?”

I pondered these things in my heart, but Wednesday’s reveal still needed to come. 

O U R . B O Y .

Even though I had said that out loud to Kevin days before, that Lydia had insisted all pregnancy that Baby J was a boy, and I’d had a dream about being pregnant with a boy two weeks before our positive test… still I doubted and convinced myself that we were having a third girl. We had an all-girl family, and surely that’s how it would always be…

We had decided to save the special moment of finding out the gender of Baby J until we could have the moment with our daughters Lydia and Eliza at our sides. After a healthy 20-week appointment and the gender sealed in an envelope, we gave the sealed envelope to a dear friend who put together a box filled with balloons and streamers for the reveal. We invited a few close friends and family to join in the celebration. This same friend caught on video our reaction: shock, surprise, excitement, and literal jumping for joy when blue balloons and streamers indeed poured over our heads! 

It’s a boy! He’s a boy! We are having a son!

While we processed all the emotions – the excitement, the fear, the joy – it was within the full week after this reveal that God confirmed our son’s name, Caleb Jordan. His nickname around the house has slowly changed from Baby J to Baby CJ

C A L E B . J O R D A N . 

Most of 2020 through the start of 2021 was a difficult season for our family, even before our miscarriage in January. Heading into the year, the Lord gave Kevin the word “courage.” His constant prayer: Lord, give me more courage. Kevin’s conviction was that it’s not about getting things right or having the right answers, but simply having more courage. For me, I felt that I was constantly being reminded into the new year to “embrace my humanness.” My conviction was that it’s not about my ability to be faithful on my own, but that God alone is faithful, and He created me—human—to depend on Him, and that dependence is not weakness; that dependance is beautiful.

As I mentioned earlier, Caleb means “faithful, whole-hearted devotion, brave, and courageous.” It truly was the meaning of his name that we couldn’t get past because of how it fit with the exact words and prayers we’d been praying for in this season of our life. It encompassed both the word COURAGE and FAITHFUL. We needed courage to rise redeemed out of a season of darkness and to re-enter hope and intimate relationships. We needed our faith to be dependent on God and not on ourselves in the depths of our grief.

As we look back on this entire season, it was more than just that moment sitting in church and hearing God draw my attention to His faithfulness, but GOD has made His faithfulness known throughout our entire pregnancy with Caleb Jordan, from the unplanned timing of conception to the joy of discovering we will raise a son! 

For his middle name, Jordan means “to flow down.” The Jordan River has very significant symbolism in the Bible and has provided several meanings for us. Water is a representation of new life. Just as Caleb Jordan is the sign of new life after loss, so water represents new life in Christ through baptism.

Secondly, the Jordan River is another symbol and reminder of God’s faithfulness to His people. After wondering 40 years in the desert, after decades of unfaithfulness and turning away from the Lord, God carries the Hebrew people through the Jordan River and into the Promised Land. The Israelites were faithless, but God remained faithful. And then, centuries later, God chooses to send His son Jesus into the world – the ultimate symbol of His faithfulness to a faithless human race. God had spoken of Jesus’ coming through the kings and prophets, and again He was faithful to carry out His promise. And where does Jesus’ ministry begin? Jesus’ ministry begins with His baptism in the Jordan River.

The Jordan River is where Jesus was baptized and truly began His ministry on earth after 30 years of waiting (Mark 1:9-11).

Together, Caleb Jordan means “faithfulness and courage flow down.” And wow, has God’s faithfulness and courage flowed down from heaven to us through this precious life!

T H E . N A M I N G .

After a weekend trip away, about a week after the reveal, I was sitting down during Lydia and Eliza’s nap time and praying that God would confirm our son’s name to me. I was drawn to study the Scriptures and the life of Caleb, a courageous and faithful warrior. I found the account in Numbers 13-14 of Caleb, who enters to story as one who took part in Israel’s great exodus from Egypt, through the parting of the Red Sea, a rising leader among the tribe of Judah. As I read that story, I saw Caleb’s faithfulness and whole-hearted devotion to God in the face of disapproval and even death. I saw Caleb’s courage to speak out against all of Israel to trust in God’s faithfulness. I read about the way that God honored Caleb’s whole-hearted devotion and courage by allowing him to be one among only two from his generation that would see Israel indeed experience and receive the Promised Land.  

As I read Numbers 13:30, the words nearly leapt off the page: “Then Caleb quieted the people in the presence of Moses and said, ‘Let’s go up now and take possession of the land because we can certainly conquer it!’”

Again, in Numbers 14:8-9, Caleb along with Joshua persist against Israel’s betrayal and faithlessness, saying: “Don’t rebel against the Lord and don’t be afraid of the people of the land… the Lord is with us. Don’t be afraid of them!

And yet, Israel chooses to deny God, and as God’s just wrath comes, God spares Caleb and acknowledges his faithfulness: “But since my servant Caleb has a different spirit and has remained loyal to me, I will bring him into the land where he has gone, and his descendants will inherit it” Numbers 14:24.

This kind of courage, this kind of faithfulness, that is our prayer for our Caleb Jordan. That he would live a life of courage and whole-hearted devotion to his God and King. In this moment that I was praying for our son, Kevin spontaneously walked in the door, and we studied the Scriptures together. Tears filled our eyes and we prayed. God had just revealed Caleb Jordan’s name to us. 

1 0 . W E E K S . L A T E R .

The past 10 weeks have been a blur since that day, and as I write this, I am nearly 32 weeks pregnant. CJ is moving all the time, day and night, whether I’m laying down, sitting, or walking. We just finished a very busy few months of work and life and I should be spending more time on the couch. Lydia and Eliza love watching CJ grow and give him hugs and kisses and talk with him every single day. Lydia is constantly asking questions about his arrival and always follows up on how his doctor’s appointments go. Lydia and Eliza have both made a habit of praying for baby CJ at night to grow healthy and strong. Our whole family is counting down the weeks until his arrival! 

With only 8 weeks to go, I’m trying to start a small baby registry and think about boy nursery items but the little boy clothes and decor all still feel very foreign to me. As we transition Eliza to her sister’s room and start getting CJ’s room ready in a few weeks, I wonder if adding a third, a son, to our family will start to feel more real. Chasing two toddlers with physical pain and fatigue from pregnancy don’t allow much time for planning and dreaming for the future, but it also makes the moments that I stop to pray or dream that much sweeter.

Lord, thank you for this little life. Thank you for Caleb Jordan. Thank you for our son. May he continuously remind us of Your faithfulness flowing down to us and to have courage no matter what season we are in. We can’t wait to meet you, CJ.

rainbow baby.

Spring was a season of grieving and healing. As March approached, we crossed the two-month mark of our miscarriage. My doctor told us to wait two months to start trying again for another pregnancy to ensure my body had fully healed. While still processing our loss of baby Micah, I began to place hope in a new pregnancy – a new life, predestined by the sovereignty of God, that could redeem and give understanding to our loss. Lord willing, there is another child we were meant to hold and raise on this earth.

I convinced Kevin that we should wait one more month to try again for one reason alone: Let’s avoid a December baby. With Eliza’s birthday on the 10th and mine on the 19th, plus Christmas, plus other immediate family, I feared that not being excited about a December-due-date baby would trigger more sadness of our August-due-date loss. 

So, we protected and prevented for about two weeks around the window of my expected ovulation. 

Our God had different things in store. 

Around that time, I got my first dose of the COVID vaccine, and I remember marking on the sheet “Not pregnant/no chance of being pregnant.” I hesitated before I marked the box and thought to myself, there’s no way. The same week, I had a dream that I was pregnant and remember laughing about it to my friends after church. To them I reiterated, there’s no way it’s true.

In mid-April, a few days before our cross-country spring family vacation, I woke up one morning feeling off. I thought to myself: Surely, it’s because my period is coming soon. When is my period coming? I grabbed my phone and opened up my fertility tracking app, which read:

6 days late.

My first thought was surprise. Clearly it had not been on my radar at all. My period must be coming today, I thought to myself. As the day came and went, reality started to set in, and I experienced a lot of emotions: denial, anger, confusion, anxiousness, fear.

But as the sun set and the next morning came, a new day, the Lord gave me peace even in the unknown. I needed to take a pregnancy test. 

I picked up a box of pregnancy tests at the store and waited for a moment to take one with Kevin. Waiting for a 4th positive test is an experience I wasn’t sure I’d ever have. When we saw the double line, indicating positive, the Lord gifted us in that moment with joy. All we could do was smile and laugh.

Our new journey had begun.
Our rainbow baby.
Our surprise.

OK God, we get it. YOU are in control. Even when we try, we can’t control the way that you create life, in your timing. We trust you with this child, that his or her days are numbered—just as we’ve trusted you with our first three: Lydia, Eliza, and Micah. 

FIRST APPOINTMENT.

Perhaps it was the distraction of vacation or the shock and joy of our pregnancy, but the fear and anxiety of pregnancy after loss didn’t set in until Kevin and I were laying in bed together the night before our first appointment. I broke down in tears. 

Our appointment. Our appointment was where we found out that Micah’s heart had stopped beating. Everything was fine before our appointment.

Kevin and I prayed together and once again had to relinquish control and trust God. We just needed to get to the other side of our appointment. 

It all felt so familiar – except for one major difference. Thank God, Kevin was at the appointment with me. (He was not able to come to our sonogram with Micah due to COVID.) We held hands as the sonogram started.

“This baby is measuring much smaller than your projected due date,” the sonogram tech said immediately. 

After a deep breath, I let my sonogram tech know our story. I let her know that there was absolutely zero chance that this baby was conceived between the window of 7-9 weeks ago. With that, she assured me that she was no longer worried about baby’s size. Our baby had a healthy heartbeat and healthy size for a 6-week pregnancy. They moved my due date back about two weeks.

Turns out, I had ovulated 12 days late.
Our due date?
December 17.
Right in between mine and Eliza’s birthdays.
The exact week we wanted to avoid.

But at that point, I could care less about the shared birthday week.
The only thing that mattered: our baby was healthy.

While we celebrated, we also kept up our hearts guarded. Micah’s heartbeat didn’t stop until 10 weeks. We still had a long way to go.

SECOND APPOINTMENT.

Our second appointment was set for 10.5 weeks pregnant and the day before we left for our Young Life summer assignment. This timing almost mirrored the same appointment we found out about our last loss. As first trimester nausea began to cease and a few trips provided much-needed distractions, anxiety came in again as Kevin and I left for our second appointment. 

There was nothing I could do to control any of the circumstances. We just needed to get to the other side of our appointment. 

The plan was to detect baby’s heartbeat on the Doppler with our nurse practitioner. When she came in the room, she assured me that I was on the early side so if they didn’t catch a heartbeat, not to be immediately worried.

Within 15 seconds of doing the Doppler and no heartbeat detected, she stopped suddenly and said, “We’re doing a sonogram.”

Kevin and I just waited anxiously behind a closed door for our sonogram.
More waiting.

When the sonogram tech got us and led us to the room for our sonogram, Kevin held my hand tight again. I took a deep breath, in this all-too-familiar space, staring at the screen in front of me.

Within two seconds of our baby being on the screen, the sonogram tech knew what I needed to hear, “Your baby is a great size and a healthy heartbeat.”

I wept.
Instantly.
I cried so hard that she had to stop the sonogram.
I couldn’t stop crying.
–tears of absolute relief and gratitude.

When I finally could regain control of my breathing and slow down my tears, we started the sonogram again. Our tech explained that my placenta was anterior which is why they couldn’t pick up baby’s heartbeat on the Doppler. She assured me that was normal, and we even got to see our baby wave and kick!

Finally, we could take a deep breath. We allowed ourselves to fully celebrate this little life.

THE END TO THE FIRST TRIMESTER.

To be honest, it feels like I’ve waiting 6 months to be out of my first trimester. And I’ve never been happier to see my baby bump grow than I have these last few weeks! At almost 15 weeks, Lydia and Eliza have taken notice of “Baby J” growing. Lydia has started praying for Baby J at night and praising God for his life. (She’s convinced he’s a boy…we will see at 20 weeks!) Lydia even taught Eliza how to “kiss” Baby J on my belly and at night they take turns kissing my belly. This new daily routine is the sweetest gift. 

There have been so many mixed emotions this pregnancy.
I have cried as many tears for Micah in this pregnancy as I did before. I still miss Micah.
Yet I also rejoice in this new life.
Sitting in the tension of both of those emotions—joy and grief—in a way I never have quite before.
To rejoice is to also grieve, and to grieve is to also rejoice.

Yet I need to feel and experience each emotion separately.
I need to remind myself that grieving Micah doesn’t mean loving “Baby J” any less.
Celebrating Baby J doesn’t mean missing Micah any less.
To be honest, I’m still sitting in this tension.

There are days when I have peace, but still moments when I break down and cry as the heartbreak of losing a child and the tension between the two emotions overwhelm me. 

ALL I KNOW.

If there is anything that this fourth pregnancy has shown me, it’s that I literally can’t take control, even when I try! The fact that our pregnancy was an unplanned surprise has somehow given me more peace to let go and let God be God.

Early in pregnancy I came across this Bible verse: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

God’s ways are not my ways, His thoughts are not my thoughts. His ways are higher, higher than I can comprehend. All I know is I need Him. I run to the Father and I fall into His grace… again, and again, and again.

So here we go. December, you don’t scare me anymore.

We are ready for you baby number 4, our rainbow baby.
We are ready to name you, find out your gender, and prepare our home for you.
We are ready to meet you, hold you, and raise you. 
You are the one we’ve been waiting for.

God chose you, and we choose you too. 
We are yours, and you are mine.