Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Thoughts on babies, pregnancy, and the State of the Ute.

This day marks one year since we lost our December 2013 baby. It is so strange to be holding a baby in my arms this month. It certainly lessens the heartache of what this day meant one year ago.

After May 6, 2013, it took a few weeks to stop crying every night. It took a short time to get pregnant again. It took several months to stop feeling like the February baby pregnancy had betrayed the December baby pregnancy. I cried once in December, on the day the baby would've been due. It took a while to process some irrational thoughts and fears about what had happened to my December baby. I cried once more, a couple months ago, when we finally planted a tree and buried beneath it what I had wrapped up from that May 6th night. That last time, though, was a different cry. It was a cry of gratitude and hope and of finally, FINALLY placing into the arms of God something I had held onto for almost a year.

I hope it doesn't sound selfish to say that I grieved for December even after February was a reality. I hope it just reflects on how much I love these gifts that God has given me.

And there are some things I've realized. One is that God loved that baby enough to create it. The moment it was conceived, it was a soul fit for eternity. And when it passed from this life into the next, without experiencing any pain or suffering in this world, it began spending eternity with God. He loved it enough to create it solely for Himself. And the second thing I've realized - that I HAVE to believe - is that my baby is not a nameless face in Heaven. Somehow, in some way, it is being loved and held and cherished there. And that as its mother, I will be able to spend eternity with a child I never knew on this earth. That will be a wonderful gift.

So a tiny flowering almond tree is planted in my front yard. We received it as a bare-root plant from a mail-order catalog. It's a mere stick right now, not any taller than Barrett. It's a reminder of how fragile and lovely it is to have a child.

Which brings me to my thoughts on pregnancy, babies, and the State of my Uterus.

The end of my pregnancy with Barrett - the last two or three months of it, really - was hard. I was exhausted. I ate too much food and exercised too little throughout my pregnancy and I wound up gaining more weight and putting more pressure on my body than I had with Will. With Will, I'd walked everyday. I'd eaten healthier meals. These things were hard to sustain with Barrett, since I really had no place to walk (iced-over driveway and roads and record-low temperatures) and I had much less time to spend cooking for myself. That's not an excuse, of course, to swing to the other side of the spectrum and eat very poorly - but that's what I did and I sank myself into a cycle of fatigue, fueled briefly by more food, which of course only led to more fatigue. I thought to myself - with Will, I worked a desk job and sat all day. I'm constantly on my feet now. So I kind of believed I was being active, when I wasn't really. 

Next time around - if God blesses us again - things will be different. I have seen now the difference between a pregnancy where I walked every day, and a pregnancy where the only walking I did was up and down stairs with a toddler on my hip. Two months postpartum with Will, I was in all my old clothes. Almost three months postpartum with Barrett, I have fifteen pounds to go before I hit that same place. Next time, I will somehow make twenty minutes of time each day to be active.

Next time. Oh, next time. Heavily pregnant with Barrett, I swore up and down that I would NOT get pregnant again until May or June of 2015. By golly, I was going to have fifteen months to NOT be pregnant and I certainly was going to enjoy the heck out of it. When I asked Brian for his input, he shrugged and said, "Babe, I don't care. Whenever you want to have another baby, I'm up for it."

Well, I thought. I don't want to have a "hunting season" baby. And I don't really want to be big and  pregnant in the summer. Having Barrett and Will in late winter/spring seems to have worked out.

So it was "decided." I would get pregnant again in May or June of 2015. I even said this to people.

I went in to the midwife's office to get prepared for some semi-permanent birth control.

How haughty. How presumptuous and arrogant. How foolish

Here I am on May 6, pondering my little December baby again. I remember the horror of that night... I'm afraid horror is just the best way to describe it. I had no control. I wanted that baby so badly, but it was not mine to keep. WHO gives life and takes it? Not me. WHO "decides" when to have a baby? Not me.

For a month of my life, I thought I was going to  have two babies, nineteen months apart. When that second baby was lost to us, suddenly I had to wonder if I would ever have another child.

Why did God bless us again so soon, with Barrett? I don't know. But I am thankful, OH so thankful. And the presumption of telling God that I will "decide" when I have "the next one" is a stark reminder that I am in constant need of a readjusted perspective. I am sorry, Lord.

What God has laid on my heart is that this is the time in my life when I am having children. I am not guaranteed another baby, but should the Lord bless me again, I will not throw that in His face by making demands and having expectations about the timing. I have to stress that this is strictly what God has put on my heart. It does not mean I think every family should feel this way. I promise.

I don't know how many children I want. I do hope for a big family, full of love and laughter. I'm sure at some point, Brian and I will agree that "we're all here". But until then, I hope to remember that "not my will, but Thine be done," that life is precious and fragile and uncontrollable. 

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