Josh was 45 hours away from a 3-1/2 day business trip halfway across the country when I went in for my 39-week appointment to check on baby girl’s status. It turned out that my belly was measuring the same as (if not slightly smaller than) the previous week’s, and they sent me in for a same-day ultrasound.
“It could be that she just dropped below my pelvic bone,” I texted Josh while he was at work, “or it could mean that my amniotic fluid is low. My ultrasound is at 3:25, and if she measures below a certain percentage (or the fluid level is below a certain number), they will want to induce.”
I sat in the waiting room, surprised to see Josh walk in after leaving a case at work to make the appointment with me. And together, we watched while the ultrasound tech measured and checked and took pictures and made notes. It ended up that her numbers weren’t critically low, but they were still in that ambiguous, grey area. And while the doctor said he would nudge us toward inducing anyway, it was up to us. So we went across the street to our favorite restaurant, ordered some dinner, and discussed our options.
By the end of the meal, Josh had canceled his flight, and we were put on the induction schedule at the hospital. The next day, Jonathan fought his morning nap. I had a show on for Jordan downstairs so I could sneak a shower in, and heard him crying from his crib when I got out. So I wrapped a towel around me, scooped him up, and brought him into our bed where he quickly fell asleep on me – something he hadn’t done since he was four or five months old. It was such a gift, to have his sleeping weight on my chest, his flushed-cheeks facing mine, on the last day of him as my baby. We laid there like that for about 10 minutes before something smelled funny. I took a couple of sniffs, and it was unmistakable – something was burning.
I laid Jonathan down and ran downstairs to find Jordan had pulled a chair from the kitchen table over to the counter, climbed up, got out the bread and peanut butter, put the bread in the toaster, and was “doing the dishes” with a burned piece of toast that kept getting re-toasted every time it popped up.
“I made toast!” he declared proudly. And I suddenly knew: this last newborn babe would have a vastly different experience than her older brothers. The chaos of three babes in three years was about to get real!
The next morning, we ate some breakfast, packed our bags, and kissed the boys, pulling out of the driveway and waving at them through the kitchen window. It was time to meet our baby girl.
* * *
A week after finding out our tiny babe was a girl, I was thinking about her name. I had so much more peace in the naming process than I did with the boys, and was ready to make a controversial decision: it was time to drop the “J” theme. The overwhelming reaction? “But she’ll feel left out!” With parents named Josh and Jane, and Jordan and Jonathan for brothers, I could see where that thought could come in. But I just kept wondering: But what if she doesn’t?
I don’t love trends, I wrote in my prayer journal, wrestling with the decision, and I’m not saying she will be exactly like me, but when people say that I “have to” do something one way, I usually like to do the opposite. God, what if you are instilling in her a similar craving for uniqueness? I feel like a “J” name would be forced. And I always want her to trust her Spirit-gut. To do what may not be the popular thing, but to act on what she undeniably feels You prompting her to do. God, I pray that she hears You. That she recognizes the unique way that Your Spirit speaks to her. And I pray that it is just as loud and unique and specific as the way that You speak to me.
Two weeks later, on an October morning, I was quiet-time-studying and writing a free study on harvest based in Psalm 126. It’s no secret that the psalm has been my mantra for the last 14 months since we moved home. It’s the perfect illustration of our journey, set against the backdrop of Israel’s coming-home-from-bondage redemption story. When He first answered their prayer, “it was like a dream,” verse one reads. And it gave voice to how my heart felt when I find out I was finally pregnant with Jordan. The people left their homes sorrowfully, much like we did when we moved to Maui in 2014 to heal my grieving heart (18 months after losing Shawna, and eight years into our family-wait). And they returned home with their arms full of sheaves, that verse giving voice to moving back to Oregon and bringing Jonathan home to the house I had left empty and sorrowful.
And then came Psalm 126:5:
those who sow in tears shall reap in joy
As I looked up the Hebrew words for the study, I came to that joy-word. And as soon as I saw it, I knew: that’s her name. Because the Hebrew word that’s used there for joy? It’s rinnah.
I didn’t cry with either of the boys’ name selections. But Josh did. It’s how I knew that they were right. But this time? When I told Josh that I think I found her name, I hardly got past the words “I was studying in Psalm 126” before the tears started flowing. And every time I shared the story with a friend, I got full-body chills. And that was it. I didn’t entertain any other name.
Our little lady is finally here, arriving five days before her due date and weighing in at 6lbs, 4oz. Her eight-hour labor was seamless, her delivery a quick 13 minutes. And she’s been tucked up there in the crook of my neck pretty much since she came out.
So we’re now in the middle of a two-week honeymoon bubble, with Josh home as we all transition together to being a family of five. She has been the snuggliest of all my babes so far, not wanting to be far from me and not sleeping in her bassinet at night until I pick her up and put her right there in that coveted neck-crook position, her skin on mine. Right where she belongs.
Oh, sweet Rinnah, you are the one who completes our Psalm-126-story, taking us from armloads of blessing to harvest overflowing (as it is so beautifully worded in The Passion Translation). Welcome to the world, baby girl.
I have been following your story for quite some time and these sweet miracles never fail to make me cry! So happy for your family and precious Rinnah!
Oh my goodness that is SO BEAUTIFUL! Rinnah is a delightful name! (How I wish I was as eloquent as you) tears are flowing here after reading that!
God bless you Jane and your arms full of sheaves!
Amazing story and so joyful for you! Live Paula from Texas
Ok, now I’M crying!!! …tears of JOY, that is!!! Perfect name for a perfect storybook completion/beginning. Love you, beautiful Johnson Party of 5!
I love this so much!
Tears of joy for all of you. Welcome to our world, sweet precious Rinnah Jane! Please share with her the story of how a stranger knew she would one day be in your lives because He sent the vision in a dream(even if I had the name wrong somehow).
Thank you for sharing your miracles. I too experienced a long wait for my miracles. I am grateful that you’ve shared your journey, for it can be a lonely one for many.
So beautiful, all of it! Enjoy this precious time❤️
Welcome, sweet Riannah. You are a blessing to all!
Awwwww so precious and such a beautiful name. I remember searching for my baby girl’s name and decided on Anaya meaning God Answers. She is truly an answered prayer and true definition of the most steadfast faith I have ever had in my life. Blessings in abundance Rinnah Jane and more joy to you and your family of 5 (ps mine is also a family of 5 – 3 dudes and 2 gals )
My heart is so full as tears flow from my eyes for you!!! What a beautiful blessing!!! Welcome to the world precious Rinnah Jane!!
awww what a beautiful story, name, and baby! congratulations y’all!