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In January, I celebrated the milestone of losing 50 pounds, celebrating year #36, and making a public commitment to losing another 50 pounds by the end of 2015. I felt better than I had in several years, I was fit and enthusiastic about the year. We had so many things planned, so many new ideas and goals. It was a beautiful month.

A mild and dry winter followed. We enjoyed a family vacation to Florida, and settled into our routine on the ranch of feeding calves and preparing for the upcoming calving season. The days were busy and passed quickly as they do, and towards the end of February, I found myself not feeling well.

I got my thyroid checked. I quit working out so hard. I started struggling with insomnia. I quit eating so healthy. The thyroid came back normal, and I prayed with my husband about getting things checked out to see if all the years of infertility treatments had spun me toward early menopause. I was scared.

On a blustery morning in early March, I headed to the grocery store after taking my daughter to school. I needed to hurry, because there were a lot of chores to complete and cattle buyers were coming. I buzzed up and down the aisles of my favorite local store, and as I careened down the last aisle, I brought the cart to a skidded stop and looked to my left while a crazy thought entered my mind. Nah, it couldn’t be possible. Could it?

The following hours became a blur. Many a farmer and rancher can tell you of tears being wept from the seat of their favorite tractor. Celebrations of the completion of planting and harvest, the sorrow of using a tractor to remove the lifeless body of an animal, the sheer frustration and exhaustion that can come behind the wheel as a producer tarries through this crazy life. But, on that morning the tears wept from the tractor seat were those of a husband and a wife who wept over a positive pregnancy test.

Panic, sheer terror, joy, excitement, fear, and disbelief raced through my mind over and over and over again. I sat on the news for two days, afraid to whisper it out loud, as if it were a beautiful dream that would become a nightmare upon speaking about it as truth. The only thing we could do was pray, and lean on one another, and put on a brave face. So, we did. And, the days turned into weeks of appointments, followed by more enthusiasm, more fear, and nausea and sickness that as awful as it has been, is a beautiful reminder of this new reality.

My heart has been shattered, and healed so very many times over the past ten years in our pursuit to have a family. After so many losses, I have had people say “Wouldn’t it just be easier never to tell anyone you are pregnant, until you deliver?” Sometimes, I think so. But, when I watch a beautiful heartbeat flicker on the screen, I see a life that is no accident, a miraculous testament to how God works in mysterious ways.

I cannot tell you how this story will end. I pray for a healthy and perfect outcome. I pray that my daughter will have a sibling that she can love here on earth. I pray that I do not have to say goodbye again. I pray that my husband won’t be hurt again over a loss he cannot stop. More than anything, I pray that God can continue to use me to encourage those who need assurance of the value of each human life,that He will allow me to use my experiences to support those who face loss, and that this miraculous turn of events will be for His glory. God moved my finish line. In this humorous way, it’s another living example of how things are on His terms anyway. 2015 won’t be about what I lose, it will be about what I gain. If you feel inclined to pray for me and my pregnancy, I would be so very grateful. We will welcome our miracle somewhere near November 1.

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So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

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Leah Peterson

Leah Peterson is a native Nebraskan, living on the ranch her ancestors homesteaded in 1878. She and her husband Matt, met at the University of Nebraska Lincoln, and returned to the ranch in 2012 after working and living in Central Nebraska the past 12 years. They are parents to two daughters, Maggie and Lucy. Leah has an undergrad degree from UNL in Communication Studies, and a MA in Leadership from Bellevue University. Aside from her work at the ranch and opportunity to be a stay at home mom, she enjoys writing, photography, community involvement, spending time with friends and family and trying new recipes in her kitchen. Leah published her first children's book in 2011 titled "An Apple for Dapple" and enjoys traveling throughout the state to share her book with children and raise awareness about the importance Agriculture in Nebraska.

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