For all of her life, Tricia has been praying a very specific prayer, that God would use her life with CF to do something amazing and extraordinary. And, for the past few years, she has added a second specific prayer. Until recently, this second prayer was a secret from all but a few people...it was even a secret from me.
But, first, let me give you a little background about us.
Tricia and I met about 7 1/2 years ago one Sunday morning at our church (I promise I'll give you the whole story another time, 'cause it's good). It was love at first site for me, and we began dating almost a year later. I was (and still am) Tricia's first and only boyfriend.
I knew that this was the girl for me, and very early on in our relationship I explained to Tricia and her parents that I fully (or at least as fully as I could at that point) understood Tricia's disease and what that might mean for my future. While we wouldn't be married for another three years, I told them all that I was committing, then and there to becoming the caretaker that Tricia would need. I promised that I was looking to marry Tricia, and that if I had any doubts up to that point, I would have already bailed because I knew Tricia didn't need the stress of a hurtful relationship on top of the hardships of her disease.
I was 20 and Tricia was 19.
Tricia was in good health while we were dating, with just a very slow descent. Even when we married, you would never have known she had a killer disease. But, we knew that there were no guarantees, and that even a simple cold could literally become deadly for her in the matter of a few days. Talk of marriage came early, and we soon decided that we wanted to take advantage of every minute of our lives together. On August 24, 2003, we became engaged. We were married less than a year later on June 27, 2004.
The day after our honeymoon ended, I began my first full-time job (as worship leader at Westwood Hill Baptist Church) in VA Beach. Neither of us had finished college at that point, because, again, we wanted to make the most of the time we had. Some people thought we were foolish, and it wasn't an easy decision, but looking back, we know it was exactly what God wanted for us.
We knew we wanted to start a family, but we also wanted to have at least a little time all to ourselves, so, we gave ourselves about a year to just enjoy being two. That first year of marriage was full of fun and excitingly new things for us.
God did not make a woman more perfectly fit to be a mother than Tricia, and, although being a father scared me (and still does), I've always known that it was what I wanted as well. For nearly two years, we tried to get pregnant.
I know that this is not a long time compared to many stories I've heard, but, because of Tricia's declining health during that time, we new our window of opportunity was not very large. And, because of Tricia's CF, as well as some other issues, we knew that conception was a small chance and pregnancy a huge risk for the two of us.
All during that time, while Tricia's CF doctors informed us of the risks, they were also very supportive of our decisions. In the spring of this past year, however, they finally told us that a pregnancy would be more risk than we were willing to take. So, although it was very difficult, especially for Tricia, we halted our pregnancy plans.
At that same time, Tricia's docs also advised us to consider being evaluated for the double lung transplant that could save Tricia's life. The 5-day evaluation process took place at the end of June with good results (meaning Tricia was a candidate), and we began making our plans to transition to living part-time (and later full-time) in Durham.
All this time...all the while that we'd been married, Tricia had been praying that secret prayer. She knew, that what she was praying for would take something that beat the odds, that defied science and that could only be explained by God.