Monday, March 23, 2009

I am pregnant

I know this isn’t really news to any of you, but I feel like it is news to me on a daily basis.  Every time I pass a mirror and see my now huge belly, or sit down on the couch and suddenly my belly seems to leap forth and give my laptop a jolt, I think, “Wow, I am really pregnant. Me. ME! I have been given the gift of a precious tiny life in my womb. How did this happen to me?”  

I didn’t feel quite this way when I first learned I was pregnant.  I didn’t talk about my feelings and the last thing I felt like doing was posting them on a blog for the world to see.  The very few people whom I attempted to share my feelings with, didn’t really get it, and how could I expect them to? None of the had been a barren woman for 9 years of marriage.  None of them had walked my path of pain and of healing.  From anyone else’s perspective, there was nothing to feel but joy.  And I felt joy, but I felt quite a few other emotions that did not go over quite as well.  

If you have followed my blog, you know that over a year ago, Tim and I believed God directed us not to pursue any fertility treatment. We were tested at that time and told that both of us had fertility problems.  The tests confirmed that my problems were not cured by the weight loss, as we had hoped, and considering both of our issues, the doctor’s felt fertility treatment was our only hope.  Even then, because we were limited by convictions as to what we would consider in the realm of fertility treatment, the odds were very much against us.  With fertility treatment, we still had less than an 11% chance of conceiving. 

As I walked out of the clinic that day and the Lord confirmed that we should not choose this path, I felt such relief. I knew if it ever happened for us, it would be a miracle, straight from the hand of the Almighty.  Though I know He was capable of this, I did not believe this was the path He had chosen for us. I finally had peace. No fertility treatment. No more striving. No more rollercoaster. I was getting off and I felt free.  I am passionate about adoption and thought that with so many children out there to love, this was our calling, His plan.  I was healed of all the pain, I couldn’t tell you how I knew it, but I knew God had healed my heart. The sense of healing was not something I could conjure up, or determine by my will. It wasn’t some forced state of denial; I was aware that I was missing out on some things and I knew why so many others would not want to walk this path. But more than anything I knew that God’s plan was the best plan for my life, and if that did not include conceiving children, I was ready to not just accept it, but to embrace it.  

I was so excited to move forward.  I wanted to educate those around me about adoption. I wanted everyone to know that adoption was not a second choice, but a high calling. I was overwhelmed by a sense of gratefulness to God for my infertility, because I believed that it was the instrument He has used to bring about a beautiful calling in our lives. A calling to build our family the way He built His, through adoption.

But our second adoption wasn’t going so smoothly. No adoption agency seemed to be the right fit. No homestudy agency was on the same page as us. Still we pushed forward until the end of September, when our paperwork was finally complete and ready to send to Ethiopia. Something still felt wrong, just off. I remember lying in bed and nervously, telling Tim I didn’t feel like we should send our paperwork to Ethiopia and I did not know why. He felt the same way and we were both quite frustrated. Desperately wanting more children, but never wanting to run ahead of God, we waited, but we had no idea what we were waiting for.  One night a few weeks later, laying in that same darkness, I said to Tim, “the only way any of this makes sense, is if I end up pregnant.” He said nothing. 

And then I was pregnant. Really pregnant!

But I still wanted to adopt from Ethiopia. My heart for that country, my heart for adoption had not gone away with a pregnancy test. I looked at my son and there were so many questions in my heart. The plan was to have a house filled with adopted children.  What if we are completely healed and can have many more children? What if he is the only child we are able to adopt? Would he be my only child of another race in an all white family?  No, we the parents were supposed to be the odd men out, not my precious little boy. 

I had grieved the loss of not having biological children.  It had been my dream for many years, but then that dream died and a new dream was born.  Everyone kept saying that my dream had finally come true, and I knew they would never understand that it just wasn’t my dream anymore. I knew how ungrateful I seemed. Was I?  I wasn’t sure. I thanked God repeatedly for the child in my womb, because I knew with all certainty that His plans are the best, but really, I did not understand. 

Over time, God did the miraculous work that He does best.  He took a dead thing and made it alive again.  My dream of a biological child has been resurrected. The excitement and anticipation has grown through the weeks and there is a new joy in my heart. I am in awe of the work of God in our lives. I can’t say that I now totally understand, but I have stopped trying.  It is not required of me to understand. That is the greatest lesson I have learned in all of this: I do not need to figure it all out.  I need to follow and obey and allow the amazing plans He has unfold before me.  Will we adopt again? I hope so.  Will we have more biological children? I hope so. But I do not know, only He does and I know His plans are the best. 

And I am pregnant.  Really, really pregnant! 

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I've been...

I haven't had much time to write over the past week or so, but in a effort to be a better blogger, I thought I'd keep y'all caught up on my life.

So I've been...

reading: Romans

listening to: Chris Rice, Peace Like A River: The Hymns Project

watching: Madagascar, Harry thinks he is Alex the Lion

enjoying: constant baby motion, she is so active

feeling: better, definitely more good days than bad

craving: hot dogs with French's yellow mustard, in normal life I consume neither of those things

fretting about: my son's behavior

learning: great child training principles, the Ted Tripp series at Resurgence is AMAZING!

debating: girl names, why can't we just find one we both love? Here's the current list: Claudia, Naomi, Genevieve, Juliette. Recently booted: Elisabeth, Violet and sadly, Lola.

keeping busy with: nesting big time... thrown out tons of junk, painted lots of walls and made my honey move lots of furniture

encouraged by: God's work in our church. The leadership group has been meeting regularly to go over a fantastic series called "From Embers to a Flame" and there is such an expectancy among us.

praying for: Abby, a sweet little girl adopted from the same orphanage as Harrison, who is fighting for her life in a battle with Leukemia.

overwhelmed by: the sheer volume of work Tim and I need to do before this baby comes! We need at least 12 good weekends where we are free to work, we have have about 4. I have NO IDEA how we will get it all done and keep up with all our commitments.

leaving for: Florida on Wednesday! I am taking Harrison to see his grandparents for a week. Tim will fly in for the weekend. (Pray I can enjoy the break and not spend the whole time fretting about what we are not getting done at home.)

I could expound on so many of these topics, but for now this post will have to do. Hopefully, there will be plenty of free time for posting by the pool (complete with virgin dacquiri) in just a few days! :) A girl can dream, right?

Thursday, March 05, 2009

The first time ever I saw...

We had a big scare with our baby about a month ago.  We had a detailed sonogram and found out she had an echogenic bowel.  This basically means the babies intestines were glowing on the screen and this is considered a marker for Down's Syndrome and Cystic Fibrosis.  I initially broke down sobbing to one of my dearest friends, but after 20 minutes of that, my dear husband came home and brought me back to reality.  God has never let us down before, and He will equip us for whatever He calls us to.  As we talked, I realized that this baby is our miracle; medically she should not exist, but here she is.  And so when God gives you a miracle, it is not for you to question the details.  She is our miracle baby and we will take her however He has sent her to us. Gratefully! 

I saw a specialist a few days later, who confirmed the echogenic bowel and ran a lot of blood work.  We did not want an amniocentesis, due to the risk if miscarriage, so we were hoping the blood tests would give us the clues we needed.  The good news was the specialist could finally get a look at her girly bits and confirm the babies sex for us.  (She had been shyer in all previous sonos.)  

It would take 2 weeks to get all the blood work back, but in the end, they showed that her chances of having either Down's or CF were very, very low.  

Tuesday I went for a follow up with the specialist.  He told me the brightness had faded and given that fact, plus the test results, I should just put the matter out of my head.  And since I was there with goop all over my belly, he was nice enough to switch over to 4D and let me take a look at my beautiful little girl. To see her face, her movements, I can't even describe how amazing it was.  

She would only give us profile pics, but I thought I'd share a couple...  

Monday, March 02, 2009

Snow day!

Harry finally had a chance today to play in the snow.  There really has been no good snow in Maryland since he has been home.  We got a few inches at the end of January, but we were in Florida and missed it completely. 
His grandparents gave him his very own snow-shovel for Christmas
this year, and he so loves the opportunity to be Daddy's helper. He has shoveled paths all over our yard.  It is so cute and how determined he is. In most places, the snow comes up to the middle of his little thighs and still he tromps through shoveling his paths "for Daddy!"  Here he is in the path he cleared up to his play house.

Having a little taste...

And protesting the suggestion of lunch...

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Some Thoughts on Lent

“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me."
John 17:20 -23
The Lenten season began this week. Lent is a precious time in the church calendar, a time of repentance, prayer and fasting before the Lord. For many years, I did not understand Lent and the season passed unnoticed by me. I felt that in each believer's life there were seasons when God drew us to repentance, prayer and fasting. Why should the calendar tell us when to do this? For me, the answer to this question, is the very reason now I so appreciate the season. Lent is both a corporate and personal time. When an individual member of the body of Christ lays aside earthly pleasures to seek the Lord, it is a precious thing. But when the Body of Christ moves in unison toward a common purpose, we are accomplishing the will of God, unity. And when the common purpose under which we unify is repentance, our God is sure to respond.

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14

I see so many areas where repentance is needful and I am desperate to see His healing from sin manifest in my own life, in my family, in my local church and in the Body of Christ as a whole. I am so grateful that healing and forgiveness have been assured through Christ and I eagerly wait to see the Lord move in the coming weeks.