Luke 1:36

Nov. 5 - St. Elizabe_353719

I have looked at moms who had children spaced out in age and wondered what it was that made them want to do it again. What was it that made that momma have a baby when she had a seventh grader and third grader already? Now, I fit the bill.  I have a Kindergartener and want a baby. That is an entire six year difference! That means that if I were to conceive today, in six years, I would have a sixth grader and a Kindergartener! Who does that?

Luke 1:36 says this

36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren.

This verse comes after the angel Gabriel spoke to Mary to tell her she would conceive and give birth to Jesus. Our Pastor preached from this verse today. He said, God assured Mary that the impossible was possible for her from what He had already did for her cousin Elizabeth. Elizabeth was already sixth months pregnant when Gabriel appeared to Mary.

That stopped me cold. I have heard and seen the testimony of other mothers who conceived after being told they never would.  Who had children, lost several to miscarriages, then gave birth to twins.  Who after being told she would never conceive, adopted and then conceived twins. Who after being diagnosed with PCOS had four children. Who after trying for years to conceive again after her first child without success, had a baby boy 10 years later.

God has already assured me that the impossible is possible for me from what He has done for others around me. I have no choice but to believe God.

(Originally penned 2013) 

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My Reproductive Life

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ASL sign for “more”

NOTHING, and I mean Nothing, has gone according to my reproductive plan.

Ever since I was old enough to understand pregnancy, I have wanted to become a mother. I had a goal of having six children; three girls and three boys. I wanted to start having children not long after being married; maybe waiting a year before conceiving.  I’d pop children out from the time I started, which according to my timeline would have been in my early to mid-twenties, and be finished by the time I was 35.

My real life was drastically different.

I ended up deciding that I did not want to have children about a year before my husband and I married. After he told me that Anthony was in the womb of another woman, I was so very hurt.  I turned my strongest desire for my life into a dagger to hurt my him. It didn’t work and it wasn’t until now that I realize what I was doing all those years ago. I dressed up my real reason for no longer wanting children by saying my husband already had two children (a boy and a girl) so there was nothing left for me to give him. The real reason was, I was hurt.  I was hurt because I wanted to be the one to give him his first boy. That was taken from me. Because of that, I closed myself off to reproducing (stupid).  I was on either the pill or the Nuva ring for some time. After our first three years of marriage, my hearts desire became to come through the parts I’d hardened and I started to strongly desire children again.

We were in financial hardships by then and having a child was not something I thought we could plan. We were living with his mom and I thought that purposefully conceiving was irresponsible. After our fifth year of marriage, Jazmine was born. A complete, but totally welcomed, surprise.

I so desired more children and desperately wanted to conceive soon after delivery but finances were what they were and I thought it best not to try. On the IUD I went. For our tenth anniversary, my husband and I decided to have another baby.  It never occurred to me that I would have to “try to” conceive but that is what happened. After six months, I was pregnant. A few weeks later, I was no longer pregnant.  Two years later, we were expecting Baby Grace. What a long-awaited answer to prayer!

So here I am, eight months postpartum, hoping to conceive again. I thought it would be quick since, technically speaking, my womb is open. But alas, no baby yet.

I look at large families with a longing heart, yearning for all the love, craziness, chaos, and warmth their families possess. I wish my womb was as open as theirs to conceive and carry. I wish right now, that I was growing a new life inside of me. Envy and jealousy are sins. Unfortunately, right now, they are the sins that I face whenever I come into contact with a large family. Since we are a homeschooling family, most of my mom peers have large families which makes this a daily struggle.

I am grateful for the two blessings I have. None of this post takes away from my thankfulness for having them. This post is an expression of longing for more while cherishing what you have. If this post resonates with you, know you are not alone.

She’s Here!

On Friday, February 22,2016, our long awaited prayer baby made her way into the world! Weighing in at 8lbs 1.1 oz and 21.5 inches long, Ms. Baby Grace met her parents for the first time at 8:53PM.  Here is a picture of her precious (long) feet!

I thought I would be living in a dream state after she was born.  I thought I would be reminiscent of the entire journey.  Turns out, I am reminiscent of all the struggles God has brought us through during this pregnancy. I’ve told a few people that the happiest part of the pregnancy was seeing the positive sign on the pregnancy test.  That was a Sunday and from that Sunday to the following Wednesday, it was lovely. I was so excited to be pregnant and I couldn’t wait to get further along in the pregnancy. Then week 6 happened and it was all an uphill journey from there.

The last two weeks of this pregnancy was totally unexpected.

I would go in for a routine exam only to learn that my blood pressure was sky high and I had protein in my urine.  The doctor sent me directly to Labor and Delivery to be monitored.  This happened at least 4 times in the two weeks leading up to her birth and each and every time, I was sent back home having been cleared from having preeclampsia (which was a blessing).  In that same time span, it was suggested that I take another (my third) glucose screening test. This time, it was positive and they told me (a person deathly afraid of needles) to prick my finger four times a day to check my blood sugar. Add to that, I was scheduled to have a biophysical profile (BPP) each week leading to delivery.  I was excited about that because I didn’t have a recent pictures of what my baby girl looked like in utero. During the first BPP, it was discovered that I had an elevated level of amniotic fluid.  I had never heard of such a thing!  I had always heard of low fluid but not high fluid.

With all that was being discovered with each and every doctor’s visit, my midwife wasn’t comfortable allowing me to be pregnant for too much longer. Not having a VBAC as I planned was a bummer but I was truly tired of being pregnant and gladly went along with the midwife when she said that I would be delivering later that evening.

The delivery was horrendous! I am not exaggerating either but those details are for another post.

I was allowed to leave the hospital a day before I thought I was going to be able to. But wouldn’t you know it? It snowed! I had a vow to keep. I told the Lord that I would go to the alter with Baby Grace to thank Him for her.  I made that vow before I even conceived. I needed to go to complete the circle.  I went to the alter three times begging God for a baby. I went to the alter thanking God for the baby once I took the pregnancy test.  I was going back to the alter to thank God for the birth of our baby…but it snowed!  I couldn’t get to the alter! I felt terrible but my husband reminded me that the Lord wouldn’t be angry with me for not getting there when I wanted to. I did get there. I was delayed a few days for different reasons, but I did get there. I thanked God for bringing Baby Grace to pass and asked for his help to raise her according to His Word.

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Made it to the alter

I stand in awe of what God has brought to pass! Hallelujah!

Just A Little Encouragement Is All That I Ask

I wish someone would tell me.

I wish someone would tell me that it’s all going to be ok.

I wish someone would tell me that my daughter won’t be scared from watching her mother during this pregnancy.

I wish someone would tell me.

I wish someone would tell me that they can see that my pregnancy is a rough one.

I wish someone would tell me that the mom guilt I have been struggling with is normal and not condemn me for it.

I wish someone would tell me that my bad days don’t accurately reflect my life as a whole.

I need someone would tell me that one moment in a day or several moments in one day won’t ruin my daughter for life.

I need someone to tell me that it’s okay to feel completely void of anything left to give day three back from school after winter break.

I know all of this has to do with being pregnant.  Hard homeschool days come. When they’ve come before, we either break for the day or go back to it after having some serious recreational time. We would go to the mall, visit a friend, get some ice cream, watch a movie, anything but our normal school routine. This time around, I have been stripped of anything and everything that used to make me feel like me.

I need someone to tell me that I can make it for the next 7 weeks.

I need someone to tell me that it’s okay if I don’t make it and request to have this baby early.

Outside of my husband (primarily) and my mother, I have not reached out to people.  My hormones, pain, and discomfort have me going up and down so much, I don’t trust myself with being with other people for long. I don’t want to ruin any relationship I currently have because I am having a hard time.

I need someone to tell me that sending my daughter with her grandmothers isn’t pushing her away even though I need a break from the guilt of not being as hands on of a Mommy as I and she are accustomed too.

I need someone to tell me that God will provide other homeschool groups that we can be apart of and join once I heal from delivery.

We’ve had to put so much down regarding activities because I can’t keep up.

Just tell me it will get better!

Just tell me that the Xara part of me will come back to me after the baby is born.

Encourage me in a believable way and not with cliche phrases.

Until someone tells me, I will try to keep telling myself but rest assured. When this season is over, and I have a grand testimony of how God brought me over, I will tell everyone so that if you or someone you know goes through something similar, they have a living witness that trouble don’t last always!

Prophecy

Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) is studying Revelation this year. Their approach to it is very systematic. So far, we’ve learned what Biblical prophecy is and what it is not.  One of the points that was made has resonated in my mind since rehearing it.

Jeremiah 28:9 says As for the prophet who prophesies of peace, when the word of the prophet comes to pass, the prophet will be known as one whom the Lord has truly sent.

The Bible says that you can tell if a prophet is true by whether or not the words the prophet speaks comes to pass.  I can tell if what I believe God has said to me is true by whether or not that word comes to pass.

(I thought I wrote about this next part but I can’t seem to find the post). I attended a Women of Faith Conference maybe three years ago.  While there, I remember asking God what He wanted me to do in life.  Should I go back to work? Was I to have more children? Those were the major questions.  I wanted to continue to stay home with Jazmine and be home for my husband.  I wanted twin boys. As I asked in earnest and placed my desires before God for Him to wipe away or change, He confirmed that I was to stay home and then He surprised me by saying that I would have twin boys.  I was so excited!

Immediately, I started looking for by twin boys.  If you’ve followed this blog long enough, you know how the journey has been.

Back to the present.

Today was our gender reveal. It was much better than I had ever expected it to be.  My husband’s cousin did a FANTASTIC job making this day super special. (If you’d like to know exactly what happened and how, let me know). We found out that we are having a girl.

Now, I have been calling this baby a ‘he’ since day one.  I knew my husband wanted a boy and had been threatening that this would be our last child. That did not jive with what God told me. Let me back track a bit.

Last December, some very dear friends of ours were awaiting the birth of their second child and first son. Their daughter’s name has syllables. The wanted their son to have a syllable name as well.  I began to help by reading off names from a site I found.  I froze when I came across a name that I had reserved for one of my twin boys.  I was so afraid they would use my name.  The name I picked for my son would be perfect for them. I tried to be a big girl and let the name go, but I couldn’t.  I took my concern and anxiety to the Lord.  I said, “Lord, if this” meaning having twin boys, “is really for me, please don’t let them use this name.”  Their son was born and his name is not the name I have in reserve.

That was a huge hurdle for me.  It could only have gone one of two ways. Either God’s word was confirmed or it wasn’t God’s word at all.  I’m sure you’re saying, how can you say that? How can you base all of that on a name?  Well, I will tell you.  I have had at least one name in reserve ever since God said I would have the twins.  Their names have been set from the beginning.  The names and God’s answer to me happened in the same space of time. For me, they are synonymous.

Back to today. My first sonogram back in June showed one baby.  My second sonogram in July showed one baby.  I was hoping for a hidden twin but yesterday’s sonogram showed one baby.  In my mind, again, it could only go one of two ways.  Either God’s word was confirmed (I was having a girl), or it wasn’t God’s word at all (I was having one boy).

God confirmed His word once more to me.  My heart is so full. I look forward to seeing my baby girl’s face! I look forward to conceiving again and having my boys too but today, I am basking in the pink glow!

 

The View From This Side

I missed a post Monday. I am sorry about that. I thought I had one all ready to go but that seems to be the way of things lately. I told Jazmine that the baby took all of my get-up-and-go and in its place is if-I-have-to-I-will. 

There is a tremendous amount of guilt that comes with that realization. I have seen so many amazing women who have multiple children handle a new pregnancy so much better than me. I don’t know how they do. That’s just not my story. 

People keep asking me how I feel and my standard response is ‘I feel like crap”. Most people take offense to that and like to remind me that I prayed and asked for another baby. I had to explain to one person recently that how I feel has nothing to do with how I feel. Meaning, my physical discomfort has absolutely NOTHING to do with my joy over carrying a new life. I wish people understood that. 

If I can equate it to something more understandable; think of a person having elective surgery to remove a mole from their face or something that isn’t technically medically necessary but would do wonders for that persons quality of life. Their recovery is not enjoyable but the end result is well worth it to them. It’s the same with me except my mole is a baby. 

Just because I feel like crap doesn’t mean I’d rather not be pregnant. 

I’m Pregnant….

No, I am not milking the announcement. In fact, this is not an additional announcement.  It is a statement of fact that I am digesting.

I have had a hard time allowing myself to be pregnant.  I get tired much more quickly. Food is still not always pleasant.  I am uncomfortable.  I don’t remember having all of this the first time around.  Tiredness, yes.  I had food aversions but not in the second trimester. I didn’t start to feel uncomfortable until my third trimester with Jazmine.  This time around, everything is all amuck!

I look forward to this baby’s arrival but I wish I could fast forward to February now. After having days like today, I don’t think I will make it.

I understand that each pregnancy is different but knowing it and experiencing it is something else!  I am on the receiving end of my own advice and it isn’t doing me any good!

The baby has already punked me.  How so you ask? I’ll tell you.

I have been uncomfortable (holding my belly and just feeling miserable) since week 6. I’ve been taking it easy and being ginger when I can. I know I gained weight but didn’t think it would be so bad at this point. It couldn’t have been from eating because I do far less of that these days. Boy was I wrong!  My midwife said I gained 19 pounds already!  That is the total amount I am to gain for the entire pregnancy! I couldn’t tolerate my daily green smoothies so I had to quit those.  They would leave me curled up in the fetal position for an hour or so. After my appointment and hearing that news, I decided to push through and get back to being active.  I started to log my food again and purposefully tried to up my protein intake. My midwife mentioned gestational diabetes…I hate needles…it can’t happen captain!

All my recent efforts have allowed me to lose a pound.  I am STILL tired, uncomfortable, and have a love hate relationship with food. I didn’t think I was far enough along to allow myself to be pregnant.  I thought once I was showing I could “act” pregnant.

BUMP THAT!

I’m pregnant and I can’t help but act pregnant because there is a baby growing inside of me. I will remain active, and wear my maternity band because my clothes don’t fit (whether from fat or from baby who cares!), and attempt to pick the “right” foods but choose to eat what won’t make me nauseous at the thought or have not ended well thus far.

That is all.

!!!!!PREGNANT!!!!!

This has been such a long time coming that I had a hard time believing it myself. It is truly a gift from God to be pregnant especially after trying for so long. “So long” is a relative term but having been, now, on both sides, “so long” is any length of time you desperately want something to happen and it hasn’t.  Your longing for your desire to come to pass makes waiting seem interminable.

I found out we were expecting Father’s Day. I keep looking back at the stick because I was totally shocked.  My PMS symptoms were the same as before and I could have sworn I was pregnant each and every time then as well. I made an appointment as soon as possible to make sure the baby was in my uterus. He is and our due date is somewhere between February 25-March 10.

I thought I would be more expressive in my excitement; more giddy.  I’m not. I was the day we found out.  I couldn’t wait to tell Jazmine but my husband wanted to keep it quiet until I was a bit further along.  After he found out the baby was in the right place, all bets were off 🙂

Honestly, I feel humbled, grateful, and in awe of God. I told Him since I publicly asked Him to open my womb, I would also publicly thank Him as soon as I conceived.  I did that today.  I was in tears at the altar. Just in awe at God.

I don’t think I am handling the first trimester well. Week 6/7 was not at all fun. I have not vomited but I have a pretty constant feeling of a sour stomach and when I have temporary relief from that, I feel like I am not pregnant and begin to worry about my baby.  My breasts are huge and I mean vastly swollen. My husband said they are as large as Rasputia from Norbit.  I wasn’t a small cup size to begin with so now, they are quite pornographic. They are so sore (especially the nipple) that any contact with them (shirts included) is painful.

I am nine weeks along.

And Sometimes It Knocks The Wind Out Of Your Sails

I was in a good place.

I deleted the menstrual cycle apps from my iPod. I stopped mentally logging the first date of my last period. I began day dreaming of the future with no other child but Jazmine in my minds eye.
I was in a good place!

I had accepted things such as they are.

Only to prove people wrong did I keep a pillow under my hips to try to improve my chances of conception, so people wouldn’t ask me if I had tried it. Only in obedience to God did I walk up in church for prayer, yet again, to ask God for a child because believe you me, I was done requesting. I had already accepted things as they are, but In the last few days I found myself trying to remember the first day of my last period. I started to believe that this month might be the month. I started to run through how and when we would tell everyone we were finally going to have a baby and how God did it in His time. Every PMS symptom was looked at with a critical eye. Every food craving was understood. Every bit of fatigue was a gentle reminder that this might be it…
….until today.

Just left the bathroom.

The presence of Flow removes all hope.

I had a list of things to do today. I was actually on my way out the door. I ate a little something and went to the bathroom.  Disappointment meant me in the bathroom. Disappointment I had not planned on nor did I think it would matter this month. Remember? I was in a good place.

The wind has been knocked from my sails. My get up and go left. I am on the couch eating cheese crackers and drinking water, about to watch a movie, grateful that my mother-in-law took Jazmine out for a while and my husband is on a call because I need a little time to digest it all…again.

When You Are Trying To Conceive

When you are trying to conceive, people around you get pregnant every month.

When you are trying to conceive, other folks around you are trying their best not to.

When you are trying to conceive, you can spot a baby bump from yards away no matter how faint it is.

When you are trying to conceive, ALL baby items go on sale.

When you are trying to conceive, when your period comes on, again, you secretly peek at your husband to see if he is disappointed as well or if he has started to blame you.

When you are trying to conceive, you are genuinely happy for all those you know who are expecting while you wait.

When you are trying to conceive, you explore ALL options of how to get to your goal faster because, in your opinion, you have waited long enough.

When you are trying to conceive, you become an expert in the reproductive system.

When you are trying to conceive, you try not to take someone else’s baby blessing as a strike against you.

When you are trying to conceive, your first sign of Aunt Flow is very depressing.

When you are trying to conceive, the ‘what’s wrong with me’ thought is never far from your mind.

When you are trying to conceive, it is hard to think of anything else; it is a daily itch in the back of your mind.

This is not an exhaustive list and I am sure that by the time this post is published, I will have added even more to the 12 here, but it is enough of a list to help in two ways.  One, for those who are trying to conceive (TTC), you are not alone in your emotions.  Second, for those that know of someone who is TTC, to know what is really going on in their mind so you can empathize with them.

I know a woman whose son died suddenly.  I was not close to her but I wanted to comfort her somehow and I had no idea how to approach her.  She posted a blog someone else had written about how to interact with a grieving parent and it helped me to know what she was thinking and feeling, what was safe to say and not safe to say. This post is not a how-to on what to say to someone TTC but it may help with that brief look/shadow that comes across their face when anything baby is mentioned.