Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Baby I Was Too Afraid To Ask For


People kept asking us if and when we would have more children.  We had said for so long that we were going to probably have 4; my husband hoping for an accidental 5th child to teach me a lesson!  But we only have 2, and the younger one was turning two - the age Emersyn was when we had Keegan, so it was natural that the question would come up.  And we hadn't changed our minds on having more, we just couldn't agree on if we wanted to have any more biologically or begin the adoption process that we had always planned on going through.  We both still want to adopt.  We still want more kids.  But we each had a different idea of how to go about it.  So we kept telling people, "We'll just have 2 until we agree on how the next ones are coming to us."

After 6 months of saying that, and seeing how much my husband really didn't think we were done having children biologically.  At some point, I realized that I just trust him, and I decided that sometimes giving the other person what they want also gives you what you want.  I want my husband to be happy.  I know he is wise.  And I want more kids.  "So, let's have a baby!", I said...

So we got pregnant for the 3rd time.  Easily.  Just like the first two times.  I have been blessed to not have to go through the struggle of infertility.  All 3 times I wanted to get pregnant, I got pregnant the first month we tried!

But, as many of you know, I didn't stay pregnant very long.  I miscarried around 6 weeks in mid-October, and that was a struggle all of its own, for sure.  I have written about that, and I found it helpful to write through the sadness and disappointment.  I will say that it was much easier writing about it than talking about it in person.  The first several times I spoke of it out loud, my voice would waver and I would get teary-eyed.  I have learned that talking about it out loud is much more brave than writing about it on a screen, even knowing that over 1,500 people read what I wrote.

But I couldn't help but go into "fix it/figure it out" mode... Was it because I was older?  Was I too old?  I haven't been watching my weight or health, did that cause it?  Did I drink too much caffeine?  Would this happen again if we tried again?  Or was this just a one-time thing that God had us walk through?


See, I did what many people do, and it is wrong.  I tried to figure out why, instead of really going through the struggle of it and really learning more about God and myself.  I would have moments where I cried, prayed, etc... but I mainly just tried to figure out "why did this happen?"  Were we not supposed to have another baby biologically?  Maybe this happened because we are supposed to only adopt from now on.  Maybe this, maybe that... like this was a sign that we had taken a wrong turn somewhere and needed to get back on the "right track".

Then one night I thought I finally knew the real reason why we had lost our baby... perhaps it was to open our minds and hearts to new possibilities we had not considered before.  See, before Kyle always thought of adoption for us as adoption of a newborn only as an alternative to abortion for someone else, and we both loved the idea of open adoption.  We had been reading up on it, and we had decided which agency we liked best.  But we had recently learned that the agency wasn't accepting any adoptive parents at this time, due to their waiting list being full... and then out of no where while on a date, Kyle said that he had really been thinking about adoption through foster care.  I was surprised, and I thought "perhaps this is what it was all for - so that we would open ourselves up to this new avenue of possibility!"  So being the planner I am, I immediately starting reading all over the place about the process.

So at our prayer group's next meeting in January, I was sharing all of this.  In my head, I had been thinking of this whole story like a puzzle that finally had its last missing piece, and now everything was going to be okay.  I like change.  I like newness.  And sometimes it is easier to get excited about something new rather than to truly heal through something else.  But as I shared, I got emotional, and how I had rehearsed my story in my head is not how it came out.  As I spoke, I opened up about how I was really afraid to get pregnant again, because I was afraid to miscarry again.  To break my husband's heart again.  To open myself again and get attached to another person I could lose - and there was nothing I could change about it.  I have no control over it.  And then I started to explain that perhaps my fear and our loss had led us to this mutual awakening to what else could be...  and they heard the truth I had shared.  One of them blessed me with a gentle correction about how we should not make decisions based on fear, and that we should trust God, truly trust Him and wait on Him to guide us.

I was operating completely out of my own fears, strength, and wisdom.  The truth is, only God knows why I miscarried.  Just because everything happens to serve a greater purpose, doesn't mean that each of us get an explanation and a pretty wrapped-in-a-bow ending to our stories.  The truth is I may never know why God had me walk through that heartache.  That doesn't mean He is any less good or not in control.  It means I am learning just how deep my self-sufficiency runs, and that it is interfering with my intimacy with the Lord... how can I be close to Him when I won't trust Him?!

So here we were at a crossroads of decision-making - I really didn't want to stay home full-time if there wasn't a new baby.  But should I go back to work full-time?  Do we start preparing for a home visit to start the adoption through foster care process?  But all of that could take forever, or it might take no time at all... what to do?  Do we not do anything and just wait for God to clear the pain and confusion?

And I started freaking out when February came, because if I was going back to work full-time, I needed to start networking... decisions, decisions...


I was stressed, I wasn't feeling well.  I wasn't resting.  And one day it dawned on me... 'I don't know when my last cycle was'... so I bought a cheapo pregnancy test at the Dollar Store that evening while I was picking up a few other things.

Now, how this all happened really cracks me up, but maybe only because I was there.  Perhaps anyone who has a few kids and has been with your spouse enough years, you will enjoy the real-life scenario too.  I mean, a life-changing event , was happening, but it was also just another day to get the kids to school on time...

So that next morning, was Wednesday - the busiest day of the week.  I decided to go ahead and cram our already-busy morning with the 3 more minutes it takes to pee on the test and set a timer.  While the timer was going, I was fixing my daughter's hair for school.  The timer dinged, I walked over to the windowsill, saw the positive result, and walked back over to my daughter to finish her hair.  I didn't say anything.  I don't think my face even changed.  So Kyle almost fell over when he walked into the bathroom and saw the test in the window while I carried on as if nothing had happened...

"Is this what I think it is?" he asked me while holding the test.

"Yes." I don't think I even looked up.

"Is this from this morning?!"


So with a surprised smile and then a nod, he said, "Well, okay! You alright?"

"I don't know.  I am not even sure how accurate these cheap brands are.  I'll get the right kind later tonight."

Which was silly; we both knew that it doesn't matter if you spend $1 or $10, a positive is a positive is a positive.

And we kissed.  And we congratulated each other.  And then we didn't tell a soul for weeks.  We didn't really talk much about it, except doctor's appointments and "ya feeling okay this morning?" kinds of things.

We were scared to be excited.  Or at least I was.  I think he was just being careful with my feelings and just reacting to my behavior.

When we went to the ultrasound, which seemed like a year later, I wanted to take our daughter with us.  Kyle didn't feel great about the idea in case we got bad news, but he said she could go when I explained that I really wanted her to.  So I just told Emersyn, "We are going to the hospital to see if there is a baby in Mama's tummy."  That way if something bad happened, she wouldn't have her hopes up, and I would have a motivation to keep my emotions in-check.

But there it was - the flutter.  And I surprised myself with how much I cried.  I didn't realize I had been holding my metaphorical breath for about 3 weeks.  When the tech told me I could empty my bladder, I went into the bathroom and sobbed.  I was carrying a baby!  A living baby!  I knew it all along, but I wouldn't allow myself to enjoy it, to really consider it.

So right then we gave ourselves permission to celebrate, no matter how long the celebration lasts.  I realized that I had developed this really twisted way of thinking out of self-preservation.  I had to remind myself out loud that day "When you are pregnant, it means you are going to have a baby; it doesn't mean you might have a baby.  Whether the baby lives a few weeks in utero or until the age of 93... Being pregnant means you have a baby, not that you might if everything goes well have a baby."  It was almost like I had adopted this "I'll believe it when I hold it" mentality.
Big Sister has been taking votes on if the baby is a boy or a girl... but basically you have to vote for your own gender... our friend Shawna voted for a boy, but Emersyn said, "Um, I'm writing you down for Girl!"  Ha!👍👎

So when we got home, Kyle told some close friends and family.  Then he posted a cute picture of our daughter holding the ultrasound photos.  We had found out we were pregnant the first time with her on March 14th, and here 5 years later we had pictures of this fourth baby taken on March 14th!

I am still getting used to the idea.  I still thank God each time I go to use the restroom and I don't have bleeding.  I still smile weakly every time I throw up, because that means someone is still with me right there in the bathroom, growing, completely unaware that his or her mom still worries they won't be here tomorrow.  But I also have incredible hope.  And my hope is growing too.  And I will preach to myself every day to keep putting my hope in the only One worthy.  I know that He is the author of life, the giver and taker... that we are all made in His image.  And that He cares for us all, always.

And I am allowing myself to make plans.  I know I am only 8 1/2 weeks.  Perhaps we should have waited to tell this time.  But we felt that was just perpetuating the fear I had been living in for months.  We have names picked out.  We are planning to build bunk beds this summer for the older kids to share a room.  When Kyle cleaned out the garage last week, he went ahead and got the baby bathtub and Bumbo out.
Big Brother insists on "sleeping" in the baby bathtub and tell us all that he also has a baby in his tummy... it is a boy that he wants to name Connor 😄😄😄

Why not?!  I am carrying a baby.  And whether I hold this baby in my arms, or someday hold another in my arms that someone else gives life to... or if I eventually get to do both... I know it is okay to get excited about people, no matter how little they are or how long they are with us.  As a friend just sent me in a text, "Congratulations on the promise of new life"... and the way she phrased it is what I am clinging to... I am thankful and hopeful for this promise of new life; the life I was too afraid to ask for... and the good God who has blessed us with life anyway.