Soapboxing, on pregnancy after infertility

I don’t want a creative title here. This is exactly what I want to write about this morning. Baby boy is kicking me quite a bit after our half cup of coffee and we’re both feeling a little ramped up I suppose (you’re drinking coffee?! bring it, judgement train, bring. it.). With a lighter schedule this Thursday morning, thanks to the nasty flu outbreak for my home visits, I have a little stretch of time and have had some things settling on my brain for a wee bit.

So, let’s plow on, shall we?

I have heard your complaints, your asides, your sighs these last 8 years. Yes, motherhood is hard. I have heard you.

I recently met with a friend of mine who is in her early thirties, dating, no kids yet, all that stuff. We were talking about a mutual friend/acquaintance and my friend (the non-mom) said “but I’m sure I don’t get it, I know…I know…I’m not a mom.” I said “yeah, I know you’re not, but you’re not stupid and could empathize your way into understanding why…” the details here are rather insignificant. I recount this conversation to say (and defend) the same stuff I’ve been irritated by for a number of years.

Just because God has not given me (or my friend) a biological child doesn’t make me less of a woman who is unable to “get” or understand other women.

Now…do I know what it’s like to wake up hourly to check on a newborn, or try to soothe said newborn back to sleep for a number of nights in a row? nope! I sure don’t. Will I learn what it is like in a matter of a few short months from now?

Gracious me, I hope so.

I suppose this is where the breakdown starts to occur for me. I have wanted those midnight feedings, fevers, tears, tired days, dirty diapers, diaper rashes, sore female areas, random leaking, did I mention lack of sleep? for far longer than I’ve been concerned about the toll that it will inevitably take on my body.

How are you feeling? has been asked of me numerous times over these last 6 1/2 months. It’s a beautiful question that I (mostly) always answer with “fine!”

Have I felt great every day of my pregnancy? No, not even a little bit. It’s still pretty hard to go to work most days, my back pain is ridiculous, the shortness of breath makes me feel far older than I would like, heartburn stinks…

but do I care? No, not even a little bit.

Then the labor stories come out. I just saw a work friend yesterday that just had her baby and she just gave me the “I’m not even going to tell you how awful it was because I don’t want to scare you talk…” I’ve heard this one a lot.

But the thing is…I’m not scared. Not for my sake at least. I do fear things for my tiny passenger, for sure. Is labor going to be hard and awful? Yeah, sure.

But you guys? I’m going to get to have a baby!!! so whatever else comes with it or what it means for me or any of that stuff is completely fine and all part of the deal, right?

Here are the things that I still struggle with in this pregnancy…

  • that I’ll wake up one morning and this all won’t be real anymore

After you’ve had annual “I’m pregnant” dreams that seem far more real than real life, you know how it feels to realize that you’re still not.

After you’ve had to check on that later-than-expected monthly visitor over 10 or so times to just find out you’re a little “off” that month.

After you’ve sat through many a women’s conference, conversation, etc extolling the role of a mother without mentioning the infertile or the single ladies (who are fabulous) for the 17th time.

After you’ve talked with your “mom friends” who say careless things like “you wouldn’t get it”

After you’ve seen how your infertility affects everyone around you although they will never talk about that pain because they’re not as selfish as you are about it…husbands, friends, parents, siblings.

After you’ve heard “no” from the Lord when pleading for this for month after month. (and that “no” has given you a strength you never knew you had…)

After you’ve said good-bye to your first-born who you only ever saw on a screen…

The only thing I fear is that he won’t be here. I know the Lord would sustain us even through that, but I promise you…

the sleep training, the breast or bottle debate, the co-sleeping, the midwife vs. dr., the hospital vs. homebirth

I could absolutely care less.

I’m pregnant, in real life, for real.

How am I feeling?

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My niece’s depiction of herself, me, and the baby.

Just fine, thanks.

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Not the photographer (Snowmageddon 2014)

I will be home quite a bit more after these next 8 weeks play out and there are going to be numerous moments to commemorate. (If this little boy goes a day in his life without his picture being taken, I’ll be shocked). So, with #Chiberia nearing the end of its descent, our home in decent order (thanks #Chiberia!), and only one home visit to tackle this afternoon…practicing with the camera has been in order.

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Some evidence of our snow (on my herb pots).

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These are taken through our screen door because it’s super cold out, people. Kristine, this one’s for you!

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This is sunshine bear. He was a gift from Jon on a scary day with Bean.

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A gift from a cutie in Maryland.

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I really like texture. And aprons.

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Only a piece of a quilt my Mother in law made me for my graduation last year. It’s stunning.

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We’re watching through all of Wes Anderson’s movies right now before Bean comes. This is a pretty cool book I got for Jon for Christmas.

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Princess Maeby

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I can still see my feet…SUZY!

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This one was taken at 5:50 this morning. Our morning routine involves smoothies and a carefully timed travel mug full of coffee for Jon.

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Bean and his cousins. I couldn’t resist. But seriously, isn’t our family beautiful?

Stay warm, everyone in the US! (except Florida).

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We didn’t send out Christmas cards

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photo credit to the lovely https://plus.google.com/+JonBeall/posts

**pregnancy mentioned and picture within the post**

2013 has brought a great many changes and surprises to our lives around here.

For many years, I felt as though I was in a bit of a draught, waiting for the next steps to come. The last few years have not exclusively felt that way as God has worked on my attitude and helped me to see the His grace in my life. My return to graduate school was a passion project, but also something substantial I could look at as the time passed. While it has not been the ultimate fulfillment of my life, I am grateful for its presence.

I passed my OT boards back in February, and started working in March. My job has had its ups and downs, but it’s a job…it does that.

I’ve made some fabulous new friends this year, Jon and I have continued to aspire to be more social and been pretty successful at that.

We still have three cats. We still unabashedly like them. They’re still super crazy and cute.

Jon quit his job in the city to be home more, took a job at a coffee shop, started writing more, took a much-needed break from his pressures. I’m thankful he had that time. (He has since returned to this job again. We refer to it as his sabbatical now.)

Our extended family has experienced a great deal of change as well. My newest nephew entered our lives on my brother’s birthday back in January. Our families on both of the coasts are frequently missed, but we are thankful for video-chatting options and text messaging as a means of keeping up with their busy and beautiful families. Two of my nieces are well into college now and that makes me feel super-old.

The middle of November held a large change for my hometown of Washington, IL as many dear friends and acquaintances lost their possessions to high impact tornadoes. I’ve driven through my hometown twice now and the damage is sobering. Please continue to pray for those rebuilding their lives at this time.

Our church is nearing the end of its construction of a building that has taken place over a great many years. God has been good to us and we are so thankful for a new space to worship.

We made great progress in our foster care application and were all ready to start our classes at the end of July. All of our paperwork was (finally!) completed. This part of our journey ended up being placed on hold for now, but I do not see it as the end of that chapter in our lives on a long-term basis.

And of course, since this is/was largely my blog chronicling our journey to expanding our family, our greatest change has been that of our (as my Dr. calls it) spontaneous pregnancy. June 12, 2014 will be our 10 year anniversary and we started to desire to have children only a few months into our marriage. The Lord has been gracious to us in so many ways that I can’t even describe. This child that is with me is an absolute gift, and we can do seldom more than just pray “thank you” all the time. He is an undeserved blessing that we are (mostly) just speechless about.

The third trimester is upon me and I suppose I feel more free to let it be real now. We both do. Our “ifs” are turning to “whens” and while I still think these 8-9 years are keeping my guard up to some extent, there are some cracks developing in the armour.

2014 is sure to turn out some more changes and surprises too.

Thanks for trucking along with us, friends and family. We are grateful for all of your continued love and support.

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Me and our son at 25 weeks gestation, as taken by his Dad.

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On these decisions

First off, I know that I’m going to post this on Facebook and probably just illustrate the exact point that I’m trying not to make, but bear with me. This blog post is a means of an explanation to the growing number of comments I’m getting lately.

This is going out to all of my friend list, so initially, I will pull off this bandaid and say…

After 8 1/2 years of desiring to have children, the Lord has granted us a most unexpected pregnancy. We are at 16 weeks now and all is progressing well. We are thankful. Jon stated the other day what he has stated for the last 12 weeks “it is hard to do anything but pray ‘thank you’.”

But we are not openly talking about it on Facebook in open statuses and the like that we initiate. There are a couple of reasons that we share, and a couple of reasons that we each feel individually passionate about with why we are not talking about it (even though I know that this post will be on Facebook because it’s the best way to reach the masses as it were). I don’t think that this list is all that interesting to you all, so I’m not giving it. If you would like it, feel free to ask for it.

This does not mean:

1. That our friends and family can not interact with us about the baby on Facebook. You are more than welcome to do that. We are just not initiating any post (aside from this one). It’s ok to talk about on Facebook. Go wild. This is your pass to do so. It’s fine.

2.  That we are not amazingly joyful. We are.

3. That there are not times where I want to blast it out to any and everyone I’ve ever known.

I suppose that’s how this blog post is serving.

So, sorry. No ultrasound pics, no belly specific pics (but if a picture of me is taken, it’s FINE with me to put it up). You, reader, do not have restrictions. We are just choosing some for ourselves.

For a bit more of this story, just head back one post to the discussion of the day we found out about little Bean.

Hope this helps clarify some.

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