Monday, February 28, 2011

Change of Heart

I never wanted kids. An extreme statement, I know. For 5 ½ years I always answered the infamous and somehow automatic day-after-you-get-married question of “So, when are you having kids?” with a bright, fake smile and one word. “Never.” When that same nosy person would knowingly smile back and say, “I’m sure that one day you’ll change your mind,” I would respond with an irritated, “We’ll see.” It’s impressive how much annoyance I could convey through those small words. The aggravation did not stem from their intrusion into my private life; it came from the way they would call into question my life plans as silly and unlikely with a simple sentence. Finally, because I grew tired of bristling at everyone in my life, and since no one is exempt from the mandatory asking, I simply changed my answer. I would instead say, “I don’t know.” This was an effective reply to spring on the invasive questioner because the unsaid raised so many questions that their brain would go into overdrive. While they were thinking of which epiphany-inspiring inquiry to pose next, I was steering them to a new, less tricky subject.

I had a whole list of reasons why I didn’t want kids; I would frequently recite it to those closest to me. Pregnancy equaled getting fat, finding stretch marks, suffering from morning sickness, not to mention the pain of labor. Babies were noisy, stole your sleep, and created multiple dirty diapers a day. Toddlers threw fits, teenagers mouthed off, young adults left you broken hearted to start their own lives. This was the future I envisioned with kids.

All through the few short weeks of my first pregnancy I was angry and bitter. I didn’t want to be pregnant to begin with, especially not considering the state of our marriage. I felt as though it were a cruel joke for me to get pregnant during such a tumultuous time in our relationship. The joke was on me.

It is amazing how your whole outlook can change in an instant. The day that we found out we had lost Baby #1 was that day for me. So many times in life you don’t realize what you have until it’s gone, and then it’s the only thing you can think about. The day we lost the baby was the same day I knew that I just had to be a mom. Due to our situation, people don’t really ask me when we plan to have kids anymore. If they did though, I would have a new answer: “As soon as we’re blessed with them!” I am confident that that life-changing day is coming soon (October 31st to be exact)!!   

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Friday was one of the biggest days in our still young lives. We bought our dream house – the house we hope to raise a family in, grow older in, maybe even retire in! The day was exciting, but looonnnggg. We started out the morning closing on both houses, a surprisingly painless process (as long as you don’t think about the money you’re spending). I spent the entire afternoon loading and unloading boxes while my muscles screamed in agony. I felt muscles that I didn’t even know existed rebelling after a few hours. Now, during all of the frenetic activity that defines moving, there was a little thought nagging my brain. The more I tried to disregard it, the more it pushed other thoughts aside and yelled my name. I couldn’t help but think about the vivid dreams I’d been having all week, the all-too-familiar cravings I’d been indulging, and the extreme exhaustion I’d been succumbing to. After a week of denial, my subconscious would be ignored no longer. I finally took a test. Yes, that’s right, THE TEST. And as “luck” would have it, the test read pregnant, a word that when seen means something totally different to me than most. I won’t lie, my first thought was not a word I feel comfortable typing. It was quickly followed in rapid succession by disbelief, resignation, guilt over lifting boxes all day whilst ignoring my instincts, and a teensy bit of excitement. I can’t go to the doctor until March 1st due to some recent insurance changes - that’s right, we switched insurances in February…we’re rebels like that - so until then I have nothing else of note to report. As of now, my pregnancy plan is as follows…just keep living my life and pretend I’m not pregnant for awhile. Constant worrying, watching everything I eat and drink, injecting hormones into my body - none of that has worked. Maybe my new breezy outlook is the key? Maybe not. All I do know is that I’m pregnant once again, and I’m not in control. With that being said, please send some prayers up for me to the One who is! :-)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Moving On

In just a few short days, we will be the proud owners of a new home. As we get ready to put our stamp on the vacant residence, I can’t help looking back at the one we are leaving behind. It is amazing the nostalgia that a house can trigger. It’s a HOUSE. But these walls and rooms have seen so much joy, laughter, and even pain. It is the first big purchase we made together. We’ve had Thanksgivings here, Christmas Eve celebrations, and birthday parties. I’ve gone from giving my niece bottles at our kitchen table to watching her run around my living room. We’ve imagined nurseries that might have been in our guest room, cried tears of sorrow as we hung on to each other for dear life in our bedroom. I’ve said many prayers sitting out on our porch, watching the sunset and praising God for the beauty of His creation. I’ve read amazing books while relaxing in our bathtub, and filled our closet to capacity with my shopping addiction. We’ve enjoyed talking with the casual acquaintances that we have made on this street; they have been so warm and welcoming. This house was always going to be a stepping stone – we knew that. We know that God is leading us on to bigger and better things. But we are also thankful for the blessings we are parting with, all the while keeping those irreplaceable memories packed away in our hearts.

Now, I have had a few people point out that I have yet to post my promised pictures of the new home on here. I haven’t because I figured that most people had seen them on Facebook. So sorry for the assumptions! Without further ado…

Monday, February 7, 2011

Test Anxiety

I’ve always been a good test-taker. Not necessarily because I knew the material, but because test-taking is more about understanding the different strategies, ruling out answers, going with your gut…it’s almost an art form. Much to the chagrin of my parents, I relied heavily on this art form to get me through college. A few tests here and there versus attending class every day? No contest. (Kids, do NOT try this at home)! Anyway, although I can’t remember many tests in which I didn’t have a few butterflies beforehand, there is one test that still holds me captive in fear above all others. A test that most of the time I have failed rather than passed. The pregnancy test.

For someone who suffers from recurrent miscarriage, a plus sign on a stick does not inspire dancing in your underwear and calling every person you know to share the glorious news. Instead, a positive test encompasses hundreds of emotions at once: fear, trepidation, apprehension, nervous excitement, doubt, resignation…and all their cousins, uncles, and aunts. Once the emotional fog clears, it’s time to face your first pregnancy dilemma…to tell or not to tell? Option #1 gives you a community of support and prayer through good and bad. Sharing also allows you to experience morning sickness without people thinking you are spreading the plague to your coworkers. Option #2 is without a doubt, the easier route. When you don’t tell, you don’t have to deal with seeing people count mentally in their heads, “Now how many is this?” before they utter their bright-smiled “Congratulations!”  You don’t have to feel the disparity between now and the first time you told people, because even though you still don’t have a baby, others find it impossible to capture that “first time” excitement. And best of all, you don’t have to answer questions about how you’re feeling when it’s over, because no one knew to begin with.

Now I know I have a few more of these tests coming in my future, maybe even the near future. And because keeping that particular secret is painful for me, I’m sure you’ll be hearing all about the next plus sign. Just try not to judge too harshly for my written reactions, because I’m sure they will be anything but stereotypical. In the meantime, pray that whenever this next test comes that not only will I pass, but that one good test will be enough to pass the whole “class” with flying colors. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Writer's Block

I have to confess…writing is not always easy for me. Now that my “grief bubble” is gone, and the “baby stuff” is on hold, I have really been struggling with what to say in these posts, hence the decline in frequency. It is so easy when you FEEL the words, when they flow through you effortlessly, a conversation through the keyboard. It is not as easy when you have to force the words out just so the blank screen can no longer mock you. In high school, my aspiration was to one day be a novelist, but as someone who cannot always produce even a couple of paragraphs a day, I simply cannot imagine what that would take. Where do great authors get their ideas? How do they handle the stress of simply not being able to find the right words to convey what is in their very souls? And how do they stay true to themselves, ensuring that the words that they do write are what they wanted all along, not sacrificing quality for a quick buck?

I’m convinced that a great author doesn’t write a book – it’s so much more than that. That sentence actually makes me laugh on the inside. “I’m writing a book.” Anyone can write a book. In fact, I’ve read books that I’m pretty sure could have been written by anyone in any high school English class in America. No, I have to believe that a great author cares about their legacy; the New York Times Best Seller List is just a perk. They value their work so much that the validation of others is last on their list of reasons for writing. I started this blog for myself, and as I struggle to write lately, that has come back to me. I may never be a novelist, but I don’t need some masterpiece to be a good author. I only need to write something I’m proud of…and the rest will speak for itself.  

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow Day Sparkle

I have to admit that I’ve been feeling a little nostalgic lately. I think the days off from school have gotten to me. I can remember mornings of bouncing into my Mom & Dad’s bedroom with crazy morning hair and pajamas still on, waiting hopefully to see if school had been cancelled. Memories of playing in the snow, drinking hot chocolate, building forts with friends, and making snow ice cream to share with my neighborhood buddies have resurfaced, causing some wistfulness. I spent some time yesterday going through my old photo albums, scanning the long-forgotten faces of my youth, the sights I have been so blessed to see, and the expressions of my teenage face. When I was done, my only thought was, “Man, things were so uncomplicated back then.” In every picture my face reveals EXACTLY what I was thinking in that moment. Sometimes annoyance, but mostly sheer, unadulterated joy. Joy for being alive, for having amazing friends, for everything! In every picture there is a sparkle in my eyes that unfortunately has waned over the passing years.

How often do we look at ourselves in recent pictures and think, “Wow, I look so happy. Not smiling for the camera happy, but I just won the lottery happy.” Shots are usually staged and smiles are often terse. I think a lot of the joy in those days gone by was simply excitement for the future. Everything was such a mystery, waiting to be revealed in each new day. That mystery, for the most part, has been unraveled, and its solving has taken its toll. Along the way we discovered our share of loss, pain, responsibility, and tedious routine. Now pictures that capture a moment of that elusive twinkle are worth a thousand posed shots. I long for more of those moments, seeing the world through a child’s marveling eyes. As I looked out last night over the perfect blanket of snow, still fresh and pure, I felt a sense of peace and a bit of wonderment, a little youthful perspective. Seeing as I’m trapped inside again today, it just might be the perfect day to find a little sparkle. Hot chocolate with extra marshmallows anyone?