“There’s just no accounting for happiness,
or the way it turns up like a prodigal
who comes back to the dust at your feet
having squandered a fortune far away.
And how can you not forgive?
You make a feast in honor of what
was lost, and take from its place the finest
garment, which you saved for an occasion
you could not imagine, and you weep night and day
to know that you were not abandoned,
that happiness saved its most extreme form
for you alone.”
Sometimes, I find myself in a position or place where words seem insufficient. Not capable of fully explaining or enlightening the listener. Not even adequate enough for my own thoughts to wrap around. In so many ways, this is where I’ve found myself- today, last week, for the last 3 months.
So to say that this is happiness, feels almost too hollow as a description. To see a beating heart, to watch kicking feet, to hear a heartrate that emanates from the deepest part of my being yet isn’t my own… It’s like coming up for a breath of air after being under the water for too long, like falling into a peaceful sleep after nights of restless insomnia.
I feel like I almost need to write this backwards-- from now back to August when we first learned that we were with life again. I wanted to write in previous weeks, needed to really; but I just couldn’t. In some ways, the last three months have passed with incredible speed, but in other ways they’ve dragged on, turning hours into days. There have been days of deepest peace and rejoicing and there have been days where the fear of this precious life silently slipping away is so intense it is almost palpable. God has been faithful to grow me, to rescue me from myself and my own thoughts in these waiting days, to speak love over me when I have felt most alone. And I will write about it. I have a lot to remember. Things I need to remember….but not today. Today I will write the easy things and the happy things only.
Really when I wrote this post the other week I should’ve said what I’ve really been doing is pouring all of my energy into growing this baby. In all three of my pregnancies, it’s like I can feel my body working overtime to provide life. This pregnancy has been so much like Abi Kate’s that if she weren’t standing in front of me day after day, I’d be certain I was carrying her…
Back in August, I woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and while walking from the bed to the bathroom, I realized I was very nauseated. My first thought was, “No! I don’t want to be sick!” (Seriously I HATE being stomach sick. I always feel like my life is ending with a stomach virus.) I went back to bed and forgot about it until the next night, when I woke up to go to the bathroom (am I the only person that has to pee in the middle of the night always?!) and I was nauseated again. Tommy swears I got in bed that night and woke him up and told him to pray over me because I was getting sick. I have zero recollection of this event. However, considering my typical dramatic response to stomach viruses, this sounds pretty legit. ;) When this happened the third night in a row, coupled with several of the other signs I have prior to a positive pregnancy test, I had a pretty strong feeling that we were pregnant. Much like before, we weren’t trying to get pregnant nor were we preventing pregnancy. But sure enough a day later…..
Happy tears and excitement and disbelief accompanied this little test. Funny how a 15 dollar piece of plastic can have that effect on you :)
I’ve never been sick that early in pregnancy, definitely not before I’m even 4 weeks. However, I started off sick in this pregnancy, and it has been a comforting friend for me. At 6 weeks, it really kicked into high gear. I’ve stayed nauseated or vomiting for essentially the entire day, every day until the last few days. I didn’t think I could be more sick than I was with Abi Kate. I stand corrected. ;) It has, however, been good for me and helped me keep my thoughts in a good place, so I’ve been deeply thankful. The first two or three weeks were not as difficult and because I have a VERY busy toddler, I couldn’t think about it too much. However, once I became plastered to the couch (seriously, I think there’s an indention), being a stay-at-home mom become much more difficult. Thankfully, we’ve had family and friends nearby who have taken her to help me. At week 6, Abi Kate started saying, “It’s ok, Momma” every time I’d run to the bathroom. Around week 8, that changed to, “She fine.” Like, she didn’t even need to check on me or comfort me at this point. And at week 13, she walked into the bathroom (while I sat on the side of the tub to recouperate) and she leaned her head over the toilet, bobbing it up and down, acting like she was throwing up… lovely. I’ve encouraged bulimia!
I’ve had to change some things to accommodate my needs… I’ve missed church and small group several times, haven’t done much “fun stuff” with Abi Kate during the week… A lot of times, I can hold myself together while we’re in public, mind over matter, though I typically pay dearly for that once I’m home (or in the car)… So, we’ve stuck to the bare minimum of outings each week. She’s watched more TV in the last few weeks than she’s watched in her entire life combined. I took a month off of cloth-diapering and she’s been in disposables almost full-time, and not even the “whole wheat” kind, just plain old Pampers. Most of her meals have taken place on a towel on the floor of the living room instead of in the kitchen, because I can’t be around food and stand that long without being sick…I’ve felt like a turd about most of this, but it’s what life has demanded, and it is just for a season (one that I’m so thankful for). If this continues like Abi Kate’s pregnancy, the sickness will never completely leave, but it will get much better in a few more weeks.Because the sickness has helped me feel like things are progressing, I haven’t let myself try the few natural alternatives I’d planned on. Now, that we’re in the second trimester, I might change my mind on that…maybe ;)
So much of these past few weeks ties into a future post about this journey, but a few of these things are contributors to happiness. Before each appointment, my heart has been so fearful, fearful of what we wouldn’t find or wouldn’t see. So minutes before each appointment, Tommy has held my hand and prayed. Each appointment has felt like this huge climax, the determining factor of my future. At 8 weeks, when I saw the little heart flickering on the ultrasound machine, tears spilled over. But I also no longer rest in the results of an ultrasound being a predictor of a healthy future, so there was relief only in that moment, gratefulness that I had seen this baby wiggle and live inside of me. At 11 weeks, thirty minutes before our midwife arrived, I felt that same familiar fear. So, we prayed. She held the Doppler against me and searched for a heartbeat, and while she could heart placental sounds and cord sounds that indicated a heartrate that differed from my own, she couldn’t find heartvalve sounds. I could never adequately describe how I felt in those moments…. All I could think was “11 weeks and it’s happening again.” Praise God for her sensitivity. She offered to listen again but then said, “I can just go grab my ultrasound machine out of my car?” And as she plugged it in and connected cords I will never forget what she said, “We are going to find a healthy baby in Jesus’ name.” It took everything in me not to sob on my couch over her expression of faith for our baby. The screen was tiny and it was an older machine, so we just had to wait to see if baby moved…. And sure enough, I saw our baby hop and then begin kicking its little legs all over and deepest relief washed over me. (As with Abi Kate, my placenta is anterior, making it much more difficult to hear fetal heart tones in early pregnancy.) A few days later, I felt our baby move inside me for the first time. And finally at 14 weeks I again felt deep fear, certain that all the soft kicks and movements I’ve felt were created in my mind. So again, Tommy prayed for peace and for life. And we heard the sound I’d been praying for, hundreds of times a day, a constant whisper from my heart to the Throne room. And our midwife held my hand and said, “Katie, that’s your baby.” All of the fear and excitement and thankfulness poured out, and she kept the Doppler over that spot, letting us listen to that sweet sound while I laid there and cried. We’ve met with two midwives throughout this process, both women of deep faith in Christ and in the birthing process, and they have reconfirmed in my heart why I love the midwifery model of care so much and why it has been so important to me to have faith-driven care providers in pregnancy. Both rejoiced with us and reminded us they’d be praying for our baby’s health whenever we contacted them about the pregnancy, both have understood my deep need for the confirmation of life in this pregnancy, and both have celebrated with us, thanking the God that we serve for His faithfulness.
I would love to say that the fears have left, but that’s just not the truth. It still crosses my mind multiple times a day, and I believe it probably will for awhile. But I am also thankful to celebrate this life out loud, thankful for every day that I hang out near a toilet, thankful to grab my maternity jeans, thankful for soft movements that assure me, thankful to God for knitting this baby together within, and thankful for feeling deep happiness inside of pregnancy again.
And because you should be left with a little happy yourself-- remember the terrible, horrible,no good very bad thing? That happened while I was pregnant. Nauseated. Capable of smelling things 8 miles away. (And that story just got 10 times worse….)