A little story
This space has been notoriously quiet. And there’s a very good reason for that.
You see, I’ve been baking a little bun in the oven which has pretty much consumed my thoughts and heart, day in and day out. We shared this with most everyone we know on Easter Sunday but in case you missed the boat, here it is:
Let me tell you a little story. Andrew and I have been married for oh, eleven years. Every single year of our marriage someone has asked us,”When are you going to have kids?” And we always shrugged our shoulders and answered ‘after grad school.’
Well, after grad school, we lived in North Carolina and knew we weren’t truly settled. Our hearts longed for a child more than anything but we knew it would have been the worst timing to bring a baby into a very temporary and uncertain living situation. During that period, every time someone asked us when we would have a baby, my heart hurt.
We landed in Oregon and knew now was the time – time to bring a baby into this world! Naively, we thought I’d get pregnant immediately.
Spoiler: I didn’t. A year went by. A year filled with negative pregnancy tests and many tears. A year filled with a deep sense of failure – my body, designed to carry a child, was failing me. As we settled into our new town, meeting new people inevitably led to the question, “Do you have kids?”
No, I wanted to scream, for some reason drug addicts, criminals and the mentally questionable can have babies but I can’t. I’m broken.
The medical field tells you to try for a full year before looking into any fertility problems. After a year went by, I spoke with my doctor and got a referral for several months down the road. In the meantime, still more negative pregnancy tests. Oh, there were a few times that I got my hopes up – times that it seemed, surely this is it! And then bam, reality rushed in with a vengeance, practically yelling ‘no baby for you!’
I knew plenty of women had battled infertility for years. They had suffered the crushing disappointment of negative tests for longer than I cared to think about. I feared that I would be one of them – that this could not have an easy answer.
Finally, in January, I met with a specialist. I was so nervous walking into that appointment. What if the result was finding out I could never have children?
She could find nothing wrong with me. So, she checked out Andrew – nothing wrong with him, either.
I was a case of ‘unexplained infertility,’ something that is surprisingly common but which I never thought would describe me.
She was very optimistic about our chances of pregnancy and prescribed a treatment that might help. I cautiously shared her optimism and followed the treatment plan she set.
In early February, I got a call one morning. My grandmother had passed away. I flew home to my parents and then to Alabama to be with the rest of my family for the funeral. That span of days was so incredibly draining, emotionally and physically. And yet, strangely restoring. Family is magical like that.
I returned home late Saturday night.
The next morning was Valentine’s Day. I knew I shouldn’t – it was too early – but I couldn’t help myself. I took a pregnancy test. I ended up tossing it in the trash before the time was up, chastising myself for wasting a test and proceeded to get ready for church.
Again, I couldn’t help myself and I walked over to the trash can and looked down at the test. My heart froze.
I picked it up and stared at the two incredibly faint little pink lines. Could this be real? Was this somehow false because it had been in the trash can?
“Andrew!?” I called out in alarm. “Can you come here?”
“What’s wrong?” he asked, hurrying to me.
I showed him the test.
“What do you see? Do you see two lines or am I imagining that?”
He stared at it for a long time.
“I’m not sure – it looks like two lines but it’s really hard to tell.”
We both stared down at this thin little piece of paper that held the truth of whether our future was about to change for good. The lines were just so faint!
In the movies, the woman gets a nice vivid result, carefully plans some clever way to tell her husband and they celebrate over some ridiculously fancy meal.
They do not stand in the bathroom, trying to determine if they are in fact seeing two lines or simply imagining what they want to see.
It was time for church so we went, the whole time wondering and cautiously – ever so cautiously- rejoicing that there could be a little human beginning inside of me.
After church, we stopped at the store to get the most sensitive tests we could find.
I stepped into the bathroom and prayed – oh I prayed so hard – that those lines weren’t imaginary.
And guess what? They were very much real. The next gazillion tests that I took that day and every day after that for a week, showed us the amazing news that we were finally going to have a baby.
(*this was from a week later, when I realized okay – this is not my imagination)
We called our parents and shared the news, cautioning them that it was incredibly early but that there was no way we could keep this to ourselves.
To be honest, I was terrified. I was so incredibly scared that this joy would be short-lived, that this baby was only mine for a short time. The threat of miscarriage loomed large in my mind. And so I didn’t really accept that I was pregnant. That week and the next week and even the week after that, I lived with a constant fear that I would lose this precious gift.
Every new, uncomfortable symptom ironically brought me comfort because it affirmed that I was pregnant.
And then the nausea set in. Strangely enough, when that nausea came, so did a peace that this baby is real and it’s okay to fall in love. And so I did.
The weeks up until my first OB appointment were a blur of constant nausea and exhaustion. Some ladies are lucky and never have morning sickness. Not me! I’m an overachiever – I had all-day sickness!
The morning of the appointment arrived and as Andrew and I sat in the waiting room, I was a bundle or nerves. What if there was no baby? What if I had somehow miscarried? Women have missed miscarriages all the time. I prayed that I would not be one of them.
We were ushered into a room, and after asking many questions (and answering quite a few), it was time for the ultrasound. I stared at the screen, not seeing anything at first. And then, there it was. A little peanut. Our little peanut. Andrew and I looked at each other, tears rimming our eyes.
And then my whole world expanded as we heard the heartbeat. So fast, so strong. Our baby’s heart. Our baby.
It was over all too quickly. I could have listened to that sound all day.
We left that day with an abundant joy and the deepest sense of gratitude. I felt I could finally embrace that we had been entrusted with a priceless gift, a gift that was growing and progressing right on schedule for an October due date.
Everything changed that day. That day I let go of the fear. There was no more room for it. My heart was too full with love and thanksgiving.
Of course the nausea was still there 🙂 Good old nausea.
We relayed our good news to other family members and decided to tell the rest of the world on Easter. I would be close to ten weeks along … and really I knew there was just no way I could last until the end of the first trimester without shouting it from the rooftops.
So, you see, this has been the number one story in my life for oh… the past seven weeks. And now, finally, you know!
And what a relief!
I think it’s become rather clear by now that I choose to share the not-so-easy things in my life with you for a reason.
That reason is God. Jesus. We have been in conversation with God for a long time about this child. When I thought His answer was ‘no’ – it was actually ‘just wait.’
His timing is always perfect. His love is always unconditional.
And His creation is a miracle.