Friday, January 28, 2011

Pregnancy Update

I'm almost halfway there and finally starting to feel human again. I know Brad is happy to see me without a plastic "just in case" garbage can next to the bed at night.

Thanks so much for your prayers and support. Our biggest struggle with this pregnancy hasn't been the physical aspect but the emotional one. I simply didn't realize how hard it would be to go down the same path that has many times ended with such pain. I guess I thought all wounds had healed once Brady was born, but I'm seeing now that there's still much healing to do.

I'm ashamed to admit that I've been guarded in my excitement with this new life. Fear of what might happen is stealing from the joy of what is. But at my 12-week appointment, I realized exactly how attached I had grown to this little person.

They tried to pick up the heartbeat on their doppler thing and couldn't find it. I remained emotionless on the outside, but inside I was worried and praying that everything was okay. After several minutes of not being able to find it, they took me to the ultrasound room. Soon we were relieved to see a beating heart and a baby doing water ballet, but those moments in between made me realize that no matter how much I thought I was guarding my heart, I had already fully given it to this little life.

We recently had another ultrasound and little peanut is still growing right on target and already looks precious. Nothing else proves that there is an Almighty Creator more beautifully than watching Him knit new life in the womb.

My bloggy friend Lisa asked if we were going to find out the gender of the baby. The answer is yes. At my last appointment we had the sonographer write it down and seal it in an envelope. We are going to open it on Valentine's Day and I'll let you all know if it's a boy or a girl then.

We did this with all of our children. We opened Olivia's envelope on Christmas Eve, Ava's on Thanksgiving Day, Luke's (the son we lost near the end of our pregnancy) we opened on my dad's birthday.

We never opened Brady's envelope. Because we had lost Luke just months prior, I was concerned that if we found out it was a girl, others might feel sad for us that we didn't have another boy. While we certainly hoped that God would some day grant us another son, we knew that if we delivered a healthy baby it simply wouldn't matter if she was in pink instead of blue. I think by keeping it a surprise we felt surrendered to whatever God's plan was for our family and our baby. But Brady would not be short-changed of his holiday announcement because he was born on New Year's Day.

When we told the kids that we were waiting till Valentine's Day to find out the gender, I reminded them of all our holiday announcements. As I spoke, I looked at my sensitive Daniel and knew the thoughts playing behind his big brown eyes. "I didn't have an ultrasound photo, or a special envelope, or squeals of delight announcing that I was a boy."

But I looked over at him and asked, "Daniel, do you know what day we found out about you?" He shook his head no. "It was Daddy's 40th birthday. That was the first time we saw your photo, the day we knew that God was blessing us with another son, and the day we announced that you were ours."

His smile reached from one ear to the other.

The other day I overheard him explaining to someone why we were waiting to find out on Valentine's Day. He proudly shared the part about his special day being Daddy's birthday. (I've also shared the story of Daniel's "ultrasound" photo in this post. At the time I wrote this he was still living in Guatemala and was known as Danilo.)

We had no idea then how important this would be to him now. God is so good to provide the perfect timing with every detail.

Much Love,

Thursday, January 13, 2011

In With the New

Thanks for your patience with me as a bloggy friend and for your words of encouragement over the past few weeks. I'm now 17 weeks pregnant and reading "What to Expect When You Never Dreamed You'd Be Expecting Again" (40 year old edition).

I'm definitely starting to show a bit more than just a "muffin top" out of control and finally surrendered to wearing maternity pants. I NEVER again thought I'd be in the market for pants with an elastic front panel and was doubled over laughing in the dressing room trying them on. But with each day, I'm more and more grateful for this surprise blessing.

I've missed sharing about so much because I've been so sick, but over the past few weeks we celebrated Daniel's 1st Gotcha Day, celebrated the birth of our Savior, celebrated our sweet Brady's 6th birthday, traveled to Orlando and spent a few days at Disney World, and now we are home enjoying some days off from school due to a rare snow and ice storm in Georgia.

When we left for our trip to Florida it was still December--Christmas tunes were on our local radio stations, decorations and lights were still adorning homes and businesses. When we returned, it was after the new year. As we drove through our familiar streets, the kids in the backseat observed with sadness that all evidence of Christmas was gone. The radio was playing the regular old songs, the lights no longer glowing, the decorations had disappeared.

It's funny how God wires all of us differently. Some people are ready to yank down and pack up every bit of Christmas the minute the last gift is opened. They are ready to usher in whatever comes next and can't wait to get moving. Then there are the folks who hang on to the remnants of the holiday season for dear life. They keep their decorations up as long as possible trying to somehow justify them as Valentine's decorations. Some of us fall somewhere between the two extremes.

My husband and Olivia seem fine to move on soon after Dec. 25. I'm a bit more sentimental and leave everything up till New Year's Day. But my three youngest kiddos are still trying to find a way to make the Christmas season last till the 4th of July.

I was pondering this the other day--the whole "out with the old, in with the new" struggle within some of us. And I realized that it's the "out with the old" part that is so difficult for me. I don't really mind the new. Bring on the new year, new season, new resolutions, new plans for the future.

But I like the old. It's comfortable like well-worn blue jeans. It's safe and predictable and familiar. And so in my effort to treasure what is old, I am sometimes resistant to what is new.

I'll never forget how Daniel was when he first came home. He wanted to eat the same meal over and over, wear the same clothes each day, and never wanted to leave the house. I made him a daily schedule and tried to stick with it as closely as possible, because I could see it brought such security in knowing what was coming next.

We spent one day at the Magic Kingdom a year ago because the girls' cheer competition had us in Orlando soon after Daniel arrived home. We were concerned it would be too overwhelming for him so we planned on going to the park just one day and kept our expectations realistic. He actually loved it but the way he approached everything was interesting.

His first ride was the Buzz Lightyear ride. It took all the courage he had to get on. When we exited, he announced that was the ONLY ride he wanted to do--"to infinity and beyond." He didn't want to do anything else. Nothing could possibly top it. We tried to convince him that there were other rides he would certainly enjoy. He wasn't buying it.

So we took him over to the race cars for him to watch for a bit. He finally got on and, of course, thought it was the coolest ride ever. He then announced that he would only go on Buzz and the race cars. This exhausting routine went on all day, but he did try just about everything.

When we were driving down to Orlando this year, I reminded him of how particular he was about the rides. He laughed at how he had acted. I rejoiced in how far he had come. (There was no hesitation this year.)

In my "lesson from mommy" voice, I talked with my kiddos about how sometimes we miss out on some great things God has planned for us because we're scared to try something new. Afraid of the unknown. Paralyzed by our limited view of what's ahead.

And then, as usual, my words came back and hit me between the eyes like a boomerang in a cartoon. I realized that I've been bargaining with God on what I'm capable of doing. Trying to convince Him that it's best for me to just stay on the nice, safe ride that I'm already on. And then I feel conviction that I'm not trusting the One whose plan is so much better. I feel regret knowing I'm missing out on the great things God has planned because of my fear.

These past several weeks we have been diligently praying for direction in many areas. Our practical thinking is battling our emotional leading. Discerning God's will has never been so difficult and accepting His answer is proving even harder.

And so my prayer has become, "Dear Heavenly Father, help me to surrender the old--the safe and secure--and help me to be faithfully obedient to the new--the unknown and uncertain." I have a feeling this will be my prayer for 2011.

Much Love from Muffin-Top Mommy,