My mother always told me, "Your attitude is the only thing you can change." It took me so long to realize that it was true.
If you asked about my pregnancy with Emma now 5 years ago, I probably gave you a horrible sob story. I was completely miserable during the entire pregnancy. I went from having a bad attitude in Africa, getting very sick with Malaria, and then returning home to get pregnant and continue the bad attitude and very sick cycle. I suffered intense bouts of vomiting and 2 stays in the hospital, losing over 20 pounds. I couldn't begin to imagine how a baby could be worth the agony I was going through. The entire 40 weeks + one day were full of my nasty mood, vomiting, and more nasty mood. I wasn't working and still managed to feel sorry for myself as I lounged around in pj's all day waiting for my husband to come home and do laundry and the dishes from my endless Hot Pocket indulgence.
I am so thankful that I immediately felt love the moment I held my baby girl, Emmaleigh. I looked in her eyes and fell in love. It also helped that I did not feel nauseous in the least. I wanted to hold my baby forever and have a milk shake. It was a beautiful time. Even though the love I had for my child encompassed me, I had zero desire for another baby. The thought of being pregnant only reminded me of the nasty vomiting, not the cherished life it produced. Emma was 2 year old before I finally gave in to the idea of having another child, pretty much only for the sake of having a sibling for Emma. God's idea that children are a blessing still eluded me. I got pregnant very easily the second time, yet dreaded the whole idea. Of course the sickness came and so did my bad attitude. I was sick constantly, tired, and now I had a 2 year old running me ragged with her tantrums and bad moods. I put myself in the mind set of just getting through the next 9 months. I often thought, "Why do I have to suffer, God?"
I had moments of excitement, but I looked forward to the end. It was fun telling the grandparents about our new baby on the way. We enjoyed telling friends too and the very first person I told was a longtime friend when she called and told me she was pregnant and due the 2nd week in September. I couldn't keep the news to myself since I was due the same time. I looked forward to telling another good friend when we went to visit her and her husband and son in California. We had a conversation the previous fall that we both hoped to be pregnant with our second babies. I hoped we would have our babies around the same time. How fun! I told my friend and didn't want to hear her response when she said, "I was too." She was due 2 week after me, but miscarried. I couldn't understand why God didn't let her keep her baby and I was so sad for my friend. Later, I also received news from the friend I told first that she thought she was miscarrying when she started bleeding. In the midst of feeling their sorrow, my pregnancy was seeming much more like a blessing than just something I had to endure.
The pregnancy passed relatively quickly and each day I chose to think of the positive, hoping to somehow honor my friend's loss by appreciating my pregnancy. Actually enjoying the experience is far different than just enduring. It is actually much harder, but God was faithful and gave me everything I needed... even a good attitude. The first friend went on to miraculously have her healthy baby on the same day I had Mandy Rose. I was thrilled for her. My other friend has now experienced many miscarriages over the past 2 years in the pursuit of a second child. She still holds on to hope and my heart breaks for her painful journey. "Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another." Romans 12:14-16
Even after Mandy's birth, I didn't know how I would feel about another baby -- the memories of difficult pregnancies do not fade quickly. When I found out I was pregnant this passed May, I went through a range of emotions in about 60 seconds. I was shocked, confused, and then almost immediately excited to have another baby in February of this year. I miscarried for no apparent reason at about 7 weeks. It was a very sad experience for me and a private pain that not even my husband understood. The realization that I carried a life came with an immediate love and longing for a child. That life would never be part of our family and I was devastated. Why do some babies live while others never have a chance? Why are some families so blessed with child after child and other women grieve with empty or malfunctioning wombs?
The lost pregnancy, combined with everything else showed me how deeply I wanted another child. I began to hope and my husband and I began to try again. We miraculously became pregnant in January. I am so happy to announce that I am pregnant! If you made it through this long post, I commend you and thank you. I don't fathom why or how this baby lives inside me, but I know that I am blessed beyond what I deserve. I wish I had the answers and I wish I knew how to properly convey my happiness without hurting those who are not where I am. A poem by R. Kessler says it best as it speaks in the voice of God in this excerpt,
"So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see
That the greatest of gifts is to truly know me.
And though often My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still . . . Wait."
Look forward to more updates like the midwife interviews, our decisions about home birth, and my blessed homeopathic morning sickness remedy. I continue to cling to a good attitude and anticipate meeting the life already growing fast. A healthy baby hoping to arrive in late September, due on my birthday. :) Our God is good and I feel blessed beyond compare.