Fear and Strangers

Often, we don’t know we are in a dark cloud until we come out of it and are able to look back.  Fifteen years ago, I was on Accutaine for my cystic acne.  It was the only thing that cleared up my skin at the time, after trying dozens of useless topical creams.  I was told that I may experience symptoms of depression and or fatigue while on the medication.  I didn’t notice any changes in me while I was it, but after I ended the treatment, I couldn’t believe how much energy I had.  I felt like I could have run forever- and I did run my one and only half marathon afterwards.  Clearly, I had been sapped of my energy for those several months, but didn’t realize it until I got my energy back.

Eight months ago, I gave birth to my baby girl.  I KNEW I was in a dark cloud.  The fog of fear rolled in thick like bales of cotton.  It was almost paralyzing.  I didn’t want to leave the house, but we had to get groceries.  If it weren’t for my husband and a dear friend and mother of three, I probably would have become an agoraphobe.  How could I trust my tiny girl in that humongous carseat on I-95 among the crazy impatient Connecticut drivers?  Road trips and excursions longer than two hours meant we’d have to stop somewhere so I could nurse her, and that made me anxious to have to feed her in the car or have to find a somewhat secluded area if we were out and about.  If she napped longer than an hour, I’d sneak upstairs to check to make sure her chest was still rising and falling.  Bath time was not relaxing for me between getting the water temperature perfect, keeping her upright, wrestling her slippery little body out of the tub and into a towel, drying her sufficiently enough so that she didn’t scream from the cold air blast when exiting the bathroom, and ensuring that the post-bath “baby massage” time was something we both could find relaxing.  I constantly worried whether I was nursing her enough or too much, and whether cluster feedings were normal.  If she slept longer than 4 hours at night, I’d wake up in a panic that she was starving and I’d kick myself for not waking up to feed her.

Despite my fears, she has grown over these last eight months.  We’ve become more social.   I’ve been blessed with a few more momma friends.  People that would never have spoken to me before I had her, now stop me just to see this ginger-haired baby with the big blue eyes and long lashes.  Right after Halloween, Noelle and I were at the closest drug store near us, although the check-out line is notoriously long.  We got in line, and Noelle was in her stroller facing me.  There were two people ahead of us, and three ladies behind us.  I felt a presence at my back, and I realized that the lady behind me was leaning in for a closer look at Noelle.  The lady had a stuffed Snoopy wearing a purple witch hat in her hand, and was dancing him around to Noelle’s giggly delight.  Those giggles made her and the other two lades behind her laugh and break the tension of waiting in line.  After I got to the register and was paying for my purchases, the lady who was behind me stopped me before I walked outside.  “Can I give your baby this Snoopy?” she asked with pleading eyes.  “She has just made my day, and I would love to give this to her,” she said now between happy tears.  “Of course, thank you so much,” I replied.  Noelle excitedly snatched the Snoopy from her hands and thanked her with a big toothless grin.  I wanted to hug her, but I was battling a nasty sinus funk.  I wonder what was going on in her life.  Did she have kids and grandchildren who lived far away?  Every time I go back to that store, I hope I see her again.  I’m reminded with every day that passes, Noelle is a gift.  Before we leave the house for a walk or an errand or a swim class, I want to remember to pray and ask that we have the opportunity to meet someone new.  I am so blessed to call Noelle my daughter, and to witness the joy she spreads.  The Lord didn’t give her to us for own enjoyment.  He gave her to us to spread His love and His joy.  We aren’t called to live in fear nor to live apart from others.  Fear can make us hide away and push others out, and that is exactly the antithesis of what the cure is.

Two months ago, my friend who is the mother of three looked at me and told me that I seem better and back to my former state of calm and sense of humor.  The statement took me by surprise.  I guess I didn’t realize how long it took for me to come out of that dark cloud.  And when it starts to roll in again, that’s when I know it’s time for Noelle and I to get outside and go talk to strangers.

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Critical Times

Last month, when I brought my two-month-old baby girl to her doctor’s appointment, I knew she was going to have a few shots to kick-start her immunizations. Thankfully, my sister Erin was in town so she was able to come with me. Mike texted me while he was at work and asked when the appointment was scheduled, and I told him 11am. To my surprise, he walked in while we were still in the waiting room. We met with a pediatrician who reminded us of George McFly from Back to the Future; the George McFly of the past who was insecure and wanted to fold in on himself whenever he was around Biff or Elaine. A slight man, I thought he was going to fall off his stool he was trying so hard to make himself even smaller while he spoke to us. Regardless, Noelle gave him lots of smiles as he listened to her heart and checked her eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. After he left us, a nurse came in with a tray of three needles and one medicine dropper. Mike held Noelle while she willingly lapped up the sweetened liquid vaccine. Then she inhaled and nearly choked, not coughing enough to my satisfaction that it was cleared from her lungs. We then had to lay her down on the exam paper-covered table for the three injections. I’m not sure if the nurse was so slow and talked between each injection because our three sets of eyes made her nervous, but I couldn’t even watch. One needle at a time was stuck into my baby’s chubby thighs while she screamed. I wanted to yank her up off the table, so she (we) wouldn’t have to endure any more. My sister looked at me with a “Hurry up, Lady!” look and finally the nurse dispensed the last needle. I picked up my screaming baby and then lost it. I couldn’t stop crying, even after comforting hugs from both Mike and my sister. It was so traumatic seeing Noelle purposely have pain inflicted on her, even though I absolutely know it was for her benefit. She quieted down almost immediately once I had her in my arms to feed, but I still streamed tears. For the next few days, I was hypersensitive to my wounded little cub. She was more clingy and fussy, and to be honest, so was I.

Now at three months old, Noelle is smiling in response to us, but still doesn’t quite get the novelty of Daddy play. She’ll often cry after soaring over Mike’s head, much to his disappointment she doesn’t yet want to be “Daddy’s hat,” or “Superbaby.” When she is too broken for him to console, he hands her over “to see Momma,” and passes her off to me.  Almost immediately, she stops crying. I know it hurts his feelings, but I’m maybe just a little bit pleased, and then immediately chide myself. She needs her daddy just as much as she needs her momma. Even though she may not realize it yet, she is so lucky to have Mike as her daddy. It’s so easy to critique rather than encourage. Why do I need to check after he changes her, to make sure the diaper’s ruffles are out? Why must I hover while he gives her a bath, and cringe when he dumps water over her head? She is perfectly content. Why do I have to stick my wrist in the water he has prepared for her bath to check the temperature? Why do I need to argue about which is the best method of determining whether she has a fever? The biggest reason is probably because I’m hypercritical of myself. I prepared for motherhood with all of the What to Expect books, Baby Wise, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, and several books on what is going on with baby each week. A few books contradict each other, which makes me sit in frustration wondering how and when and IF I should put my baby on a feed-wake-sleep schedule or simply feed at will. If she sleeps through the night, should I worry she isn’t napping enough during the day? Bumpers inside the crib are a suffocation hazard, but isn’t it also hazardous for her to knock her head on one of the poles or get a limb stuck? Do I put her in a sleep sack for nap time? How many baths a week should she have? Are massages really helpful, even though they don’t seem to calm her down? If she needs a “bedtime routine,” is putting on her jammies enough? Am I inhibiting her bone growth by only giving her the Vitamin D drops when I remember, which may only be two or three times a week?

It’s so easy to fall into the trap in thinking I’m failing her as a mother. Some days if she cries more than smiles, I feel utterly defeated. She’s growing, learning, eating, and sleeping (at least at night) all really well, so I guess I’m not failing. I just wish I could hear from her that we are both doing okay. She can’t talk yet to tell me, so I’ll settle for those belly giggles as she falls asleep on her way to Neverland.

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A few weeks ago, I walked down to the beach at the end of our neighborhood with my baby girl strapped to me in the baby carrier.  As I crossed the road near the pool, an elderly lady with a cane was walking in my direction.  After I said hello, she asked if I was carrying a baby.  I confirmed I was carrying my baby girl, and the lady eagerly asked if she could see.  I unsnapped the shade from over her Noelle’s head to reveal her angelic sleeping face.  The lady inhaled sharply with adoration and touched her hand to mine.  “What a miracle,” she exclaimed, and then asked how old. She was five weeks to the day.  I barely could believe that much time had already passed when the words escaped my lips.  Still holding on to my hand, she said, “Enjoy every minute.  They grow up so fast.”  She told me that her children were all grown.  She and her husband moved into this neighborhood 25 years ago after their kids left home.  Her husband is 93 years old and still lives with her in their beachfront condo.  Home hospice comes every day to turn him in bed.  Her liquid blue eyes glistened as she said she wouldn’t have him anywhere else but home.  “Time is something else,” she said as we parted ways.

Nearly seven weeks have passed since I picked up my mom from the airport while I was still timing my contractions.  They were five to six minutes apart and lasting about a minute each, but I could still talk through them when I drove to pick her up.  Fortunately, the airport was just 15 minutes away.  We walked to the same beach at the end of my neighborhood.  It was a gorgeous sunny day, and a bunch of teenagers had taken over the beach, so Mom and I walked over to the rocks and admired the passing boats and family of geese.  The proud parents had ten fuzzy goslings in tow. By the time we got back home, I could no longer speak through my contractions. My baby was on her way. We called Mike and told him we were heading to the hospital.

Mike met us at the entrance with a big grin on his face. A nervous valet brought me a wheelchair when I gingerly exited the car with my swollen belly and pain-cringed face. I was admitted to the hospital at 5:30pm.  Before I was wheeled upstairs into the labor room, I experienced a kicker of a contraction in the lobby, so I stood with my eyes closed in order to breathe through it.  Once that round of pain ceased, I opened my eyes to reveal a circle of people around me.  Mike and my mom were behind me, and a group of about five or six strangers including a Catholic priest waiting to check in watched the whole event.  As I settled into my wheelchair to get taken upstairs, the priest said wide-eyed, “God bless you,” as I passed him.  I thanked him and exclaimed that I didn’t know I had an audience!

A few hours of labor passed while I used laughing gas to handle the pain.  The mask had to be held by me alone, and I had to exhale into the mask as well, which allowed me to count through each inhalation and exhalation.  However, around 11pm, the contractions got so intense and after being checked two different times stuck at 6cm, I got discouraged.  Seeing my face fall, my OB said he thought the laughing gas had run its course.  “If you want an epidural, the time is now,” he advised.  By then, the ripples of pain were searing through me and were almost more than I could bear.  Despite me being adamantly opposed to having an epidural throughout my entire pregnancy, I consented.  I was so desperate for the pain to stop. As soon as I said yes to the epidural, my laughing gas was wheeled away.  I started to panic and lost my breathing rhythm.  The anesthesiology resident had to go through the list of risks before they could begin the process of inserting the epidural. “I understand. Just do it and make the pain stop!” I impatiently told her. My amazing nurse held my shoulders and put her forehead against mine as the needle was inserted. I had to remain still even while waves of pain ripped through me. Finally the epidural was placed and everyone in the room watched me, waiting for me to finally be calm as the next round of contractions loomed. No relief came. The epidural didn’t work. “What? Why didn’t the list of risks include that the stupid thing may not work?” I angrily thought as I gripped Mike’s hands. He reminded me to breathe and told me I was squeezing his hands too aggressively, so I gripped the bed rails instead. Shortly afterwards, the pain moved from my lower abdomen to my hamstrings and my glutes. I was ready to push and it was midnight. No wonder the epidural didn’t work. Baby Girl was coming too quickly for it to take effect. My mom and Mike were on my left side, my nurse and the med student were on my left, and the OB was in front of me. Once I knew a contraction was starting, everyone took their places, pulling my knees and feet towards me. The med student counted to ten while I held my breath and pushed each time. It was an incredible team. At 12:43am on June 2, my baby arrived on her due date, calmly holding the umbilical cord by her face that had loosely wrapped around her neck. Her tiny clammy body was placed on my bare chest and she nuzzled my neck with her dark blue eyes wide open. I couldn’t believe she had a head full of hair and that it was the color of a shiny new penny. “She’s so beautiful,” I said in awe through tears. I didn’t even feel the OB doc sewing me back together. Perhaps the epidural wasn’t completely useless.

Since that night, my body has slowly been putting itself back together. For the first week, I had night sweats. I couldn’t figure out why I’d wake up in the middle of the night totally soaked! For several weeks, I thought I’d torn something in my hip. I could barely put any weight on my left leg to walk, and even had MRIs to check. I limped and walked like I was a hundred years old. My sit bones were bruised and unless I sat in the recliner, it hurt to be seated. At night, breastfeeding in bed was so painful because I had to sit up. Coughing and sneezing were out of the question. Instead of feeling like I had to pass wind, I felt like I had to pass a brick. Why didn’t anyone tell me that the pain doesn’t end at delivery? I now realize it’s because not everyone experiences these fun perks. Pain and the sequillae of childbirth are absolutely unique to each woman. Now that I’m nearly seven weeks out, I’m almost feeling normal again. At times during these past several weeks, I didn’t think I’d ever walk or sit again without pain.

All along, time keeps going. As much as we want it to slow down sometimes or speed up, it is constant. The memory of how my baby came into this world will always remain, although each and every detail will become cloudy. I know the memory of the pain I felt will altogether disappear. Why else would people have more than one child? Every morning I get so excited to look at my baby girl and see that she’s somehow changed. She’s getting bigger, her legs and cheeks are getting chubbier, she really sees me, and purposely smiles at me. Such are the rewards of time and even pain.

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A Momma’s Heart

I’ve been spontaneously breaking out into tears since bringing our precious baby girl home from the hospital.  When I see our perfect, beautiful baby, I am overcome by love.  So much so, that my heart aches.  My body wretches as it did in labor, manifesting in the form of sobs.  I am not sad that I’m no longer pregnant, I lament that she isn’t going to stay so tiny, and that we won’t always be there to protect her. As soon as she took her first breath, she started becoming oxidized by this earth’s air. She’s no longer safely tucked away inside me. A physical piece of my heart became incarnate, exposed to all the world.

I always want to remember her frog belly, the peach fuzz around the edges of her perfect little ears, and how she sleeps with both hands nestled by her face.  Each of her fingers is only the size of a tip of my own, her tiny toes curl around my thumb, and her big toes the size of garden peas. I love watching her sleep, often being rewarded with a shaky side smile, or even better, a real giggle as angels whisper stories in her ears.  As she dozes off between swallows, I stroke her pillow soft cheek to urge her to keep eating. Holding her in my arms, I rub her velvet hair beneath my palm.  The back of her perfectly round head wrinkles under my fingers, which transports me back to the night I bore her.  My OB doc, in order to encourage me to keep pushing, had me reach down to feel her head crowning.  I couldn’t believe that squishy softness I felt was my baby peeking out.

To you, my dear Baby Girl, please know that Daddy and I are learning how to be parents at the same time you’re learning about this world.  We are certainly not perfect.  We will make lots of mistakes and fail you more than my heart can bear, but know that we love you with our whole being.  We won’t always be there when you’re hurt or scared or lonely.  I want to hold on to you and never let you go.  I want to keep you sheltered under my wings, but I know I have to let you fly and test out your own wings.  You are such a gift to us and I know you’ll be a light to everyone you meet.  I’d be acting out of fear and selfishness not to share you.  So as long as I can, I’m going to hold you, feed you, and rock you to sleep.  You will always be my baby girl, no matter how old you get.  Whether you get married and have babies of your own, I’ll always be your momma.  So please forgive me in advance for my tears when I have to send you to school, when I see you walk across the stage in a cap and gown, and when you decide to move away from home.  Oh, how we all carelessly torture our mothers by our asserted independence!  To my own momma, please forgive me.  I never knew how you felt about me until I became a mother.

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Marriage and Declarations of Independence

Just over two years ago, I said “Yes” to my husband Mike as he was down on one knee at the Red Rocks amphitheater in Golden, Colorado.   At that time, Mike was finishing his fourth year fellowship in Minneapolis, I lived just outside Denver in my own condo, and worked as a research coordinator at Children’s Hospital.  Here we are now living near New Haven, Connecticut, Mike is done with all of his medical training, and is a “real doctor.”  I’m no longer working, and am about to become a mother any day now. Although my circumstances have changed drastically, my mindset has been a bit slower to accommodate.  The hardest thing for me since I said, “Yes,” has been relinquishing my unrestricted and undisputed independence.

From the time we combined our belongings into a tiny two-bedroom apartment, it was apparent that there were two very stubborn individuals entering this marriage.  I thought his Lazy Boy chair was gross and he thought my couch was uncomfortable.  My taste in decor was too modern for him and his was too conventional/boyish dorm for me.  He had way too many coffee mugs than any one person would ever need in a lifetime and he couldn’t believe I still had an entire box of CDs.   We each had a full set of kitchen pots and pans, and of course I thought we should get rid of his set since I’m the resident chef.   It was surprising how passionate we both were about not getting rid of our own stuff and how sensitive we were about it.  It felt like a personal attack if a negative comment was made about a painting or utensil or coffee table we ourselves owned.  I was honestly taken aback, and then annoyed that he wanted a say in how our new place was going to be furnished and decorated.   That was the first test of “two becoming one” in our marriage. There have been many more since, but we’ve learned to deal with each test with humor, respect, and love. The longer we are married, the familiarity between us grows and we now don’t take things quite as personally.

I think the transition for him going from single bachelor to husband and soon-to-be father has, at least outwardly, been easier for him than the transition has been for me. This fiercely independent streak in me has been difficult to tame. I have slowly realized though, that what I want isn’t always best for both of us. It is a pride-swallowing endeavor and some days I feel like a total jerk. Mike seems inherently able to make decisions that benefit us both, even though it may take hindsight for me to admit. It seems that marriage doesn’t work when we each fend for ourselves.

Back in February, Mike and I went to Hawaii. One day, we took a snorkeling tour and the boat took us to two different snorkeling spots. It was beautiful to see colorful fish and coral reefs, however, the water in mid-February wasn’t all that warm. By the time I got back on the boat and wrapped the towel around me, I couldn’t stop shaking, even after eating lunch. When we got to the second snorkeling spot, I was hesitant about getting back in. Ultimately, I decided to jump in since how often does one get the chance to snorkel in Hawaii? Mike offered me the pool noodle, to which I scoffed. I don’t need a kiddie toy to float! I can swim just fine, thank you! The plan was for me to get in the water first, wait for him to get in, and explore the reef together. However, when I got back in, the water struck me as so cold that I took off like a cannon into the water with my flippers. Unfortunately, at five months pregnant, I was carrying the baby up fairly high and she was taking up precious lung capacity. I fully realized this fact after swimming at full speed directly away from the boat. I abruptly stopped and looked behind me scanning frantically over the water for Mike as I gasped for air, utterly exhausted. He was halfway between the boat and me. I panicked that I was not able to catch my breath. It was too far to make it back to the boat, and the shore was so rocky and too full of coral. I was helpless, only able to very slowly kick my legs to stay afloat. He popped up out of the water and asked if I was okay. “I should have taken the noodle,” I gasped. Sensing my panic, he was torn between going back to the boat to grab that stupid noodle, and continuing to me. He blessedly swam over to me, propped me up by my butt with one hand, and treaded water for what seemed like forever while he calmed me down and my breathing returned to normal. He quite literally saved my life. Once we were back on the boat, he softly chuckled with his bear arms wrapped around me, “Oh, my independent Meekah.”

Each step and phase of our lives prepares us for what is next. We are stretched, sanded down, humbled, encouraged, and strengthened by both circumstances and by the people we invite into our lives. I’m so thankful to be married to this man. He is so patient with and protective of me, I know he will be an incredible father. Because of him, I’m learning to think outside myself and think what is best for our little family. I can, without fear, trust him to take care of us because we’ve both entrusted God with our lives. The two of us are celebrating our birthdays this weekend, and our baby girl may even decide to join the festivities as well.  As selfish as this is to admit, I’m a little sad that the time I have him all to myself is coming to an end.  I have no doubt that soon I will learn the truth for myself that love does not divide when shared, it only multiplies.  We will be learning how to be parents together and I wouldn’t want to be partnered in this life with anyone else.



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Tweener Phase

Patience is a fruit that is still very green on my branches.  I’m in what I call a “tweener phase,” since any instance of tweens is awkward.  As a middle-school aged tween, I was completely awkward with braces, sported a short hair cut I had no idea how to style and early 1990’s cringeworthy fashion that accentuated my utter lack of curves, and was totally uncomfortable in my own skin.  A tweener ball in volleyball is when the ball is coming at you and it’s too high to bump, but too low to set it, so it ends up smacking you on the chest or shoulder (or is this just me?)  So, I equate “tweener” with uncomfortable and awkward.  That’s exactly the place I’m in now.  For 35 years of my life (okay, well since I moved out the summer of my sophomore year of college), I’ve had to work and support myself in order to have a place to live, food to eat, and a car to drive.  Here I am now at 37, married, am about to have a baby girl in less than eight weeks, and am no longer employed.  I’m not interacting with people every day anymore.  I don’t sit with patients and families of patients who are going through chemo in order to try to halt the growth of a brain tumor, or discuss with a doctor why this newest clinical trial drug may be the next big cancer breakthrough, or really even feel like what I’m currently doing matters.  I’m at home sewing crafty things like pillowcase dresses and portable diaper changing pads, and occasionally baking, although not having coworkers to bake for makes me feel a little guilty about having dozens of cookies or cupcakes around the house for just the two of us.

At nearly 33 weeks along, I realize that I will become a momma in a matter of weeks.  However, this tweener phase waiting for Baby Girl to make her appearance has started to wear on me while I feel less than useful, and admittedly, a bit lonely.  My poor husband comes home from a long day working at the hospital and I have to refrain from bombarding him with words like a chihuahua because I haven’t spoken to anyone else all day.   The people I used to talk to and see every day are still working every day.  Their schedules are just as chaotic as mine used to be.

I’m realizing that my purpose in life isn’t wrapped up in my career.  It can’t be or I’m going to  feel under-utilized during this tweener period and throughout the precious period of time I get to be a stay-at-home momma.  I know that we are most content when we are utilizing the gifts God gave us and His light and love shine through us.  Hospitality is a gift I love to use, and I am so excited to welcome our baby into this world and make her feel at home.


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Tiny worries

On Tuesday, October 6, 2015, life as I knew it changed.  The night before, I had woken up in the middle of the night so nauseous that I had to throw up even though I didn’t feel remotely sick.  Mike, my husband, had just left for Texas for a work conference on Monday, and wouldn’t be back until Thursday- also the day my sister, my two nieces, and my sister’s boyfriend were to arrive from North Carolina.  Since I didn’t know why else I would have been sick, I went to the closest drugstore down the street and got a two-pack home pregnancy test as soon as I woke up.  I read the instructions at least twice, tore open one of the test kits, and peed as directed.  I put the cap on and set the test on the rim of the bathtub and waited with my heart beating in my throat.   I stared at the test and watched in disbelief as two pink lines slowly formed across the screen.   Again, I checked the instructions to confirm that two pink lines meant PREGNANT!   I took a picture, and sent it to Mike, who was still asleep since he was in Central time.   No message, just the picture.  Thirty seconds later, Mike called.  “We made a baby?” he asked shocked and excited and terrified all at once.  After I confirmed and we laughed, he then asked, “You couldn’t have waited until I came back home to do this?”

My sister arrived with her brood, but given how fresh the news was as well as my age, Mike and I agreed not to share the baby news with family until I was at least 12 weeks along.  We all had a wonderful weekend picking apples at Bishop’s Orchards, touring the Pez Factory, exploring the beach in our neighborhood and climbing on the rocks, playing Bocce ball, and scheduling these activities around big meals.  Sadly, they had to leave on Sunday morning, and the house was once again quiet.  Mike and I sat on the couch to watch football, when I just couldn’t get comfortable.  My lower abdomen started cramping, sometimes bad enough I had to double over.   Initially, I thought it could be constipation or even that a cyst had burst, which I’d experienced before.  But now there was blood, a lot of blood.  Panicked, we called the on-call OB and she told us to go to the emergency room.  There was a line of people waiting to check-in with their various ailments, and it hurt to stand.  The line moved.  Mike made eye contact with one of the translators he’d just worked with the week before, and the translator waved.  It looked like he wanted to come talk to us, but then realized that we were coming in as a patient, not as a physician.  The translator whispered something to the front desk person.  By the time we checked in, we barely waited to be called back.

After getting blood drawn, an ultrasound, and an improvised pelvic exam (my butt had to be propped up on an overturned pink vomit receptacle with a blanket for padding), we were told that my body was physically rejecting the pregnancy.  That I should expect more blood and in the next few days, “until the fetus is flushed out.”  I cried and Mike held me while I already was lamenting our baby and kicking myself for being too competitive at Bocce ball.  We left in tears, and I felt that I had already failed as a mother.  As we laid in bed exhausted, we prayed together.  We prayed that if the Lord was going to take this baby, would He please take this baby now rather than later, so that out heartbreak wouldn’t be dragged out.  We both woke up ragged the next morning, and I had been scheduled for a follow up OB appointment later that morning.  There had been no more bleeding overnight and the pain was gone, but I still felt like my soul had been sucked out.  How in the course of 5 days could we have gone on such an emotional roller coaster?

My thoughts were interrupted by the OB knocking and coming into my exam room.  “How are you feeling today?” she asked.  Besides being told I was no longer going to be a mother, I felt physically fine.  “No bleeding and no more pain,” I answered.  She pulled out the ultrasound machine.  “Bleeding during the early part of pregnancy happens fairly often,” she said as she put gel on the instruments, “but it doesn’t mean the pregnancy is threatened.”  I was confused.  Wait, I’m not going to lose this baby?   She continued talking as she moved the probe around while looking at the ultrasound screen. “You will need to stop any high impact activity, but the fetus is still attached.  Since you’ve stopped bleeding, there’s a good chance you’ll carry it full term.”  She printed out a few pictures from the ultrasound and handed them to me.  I couldn’t even tell what I was looking at, but she gave me proof that my baby was still viable, and hope that it was going to continue to grow inside me.   It took Mike a few weeks to look at them.   He was protecting himself by not getting attached until he had confirmation that this baby was here to stay.  I understood, and yet those few weeks were emotionally exhausting.  We both worked all day and had to act like nothing had changed.  All the while, I was just waiting to experience more cramps or bleeding. Blessedly, neither came.

We now have a little more than two months before we meet our baby girl.  I think back to the first day I found out I was pregnant and what I prayed that day by myself.  I told God that if he chose to bless us with a child, that we would acknowledge that this baby would be a gift from him.  That we would be stewards of this new life no matter for how long or short we get to share with him or her.   Not to say that I’m not that mom who started worrying about her baby the day she found out she’s pregnant and will continue to worry all the way until her “baby” is old and gray. However, I am comforted to know it’s out of my hands.  I literally have done nothing different except maybe eat more and work out less strenuously while I’m carrying this baby, and yet she is growing.  She’s already more than three pounds and is in the 84th percentile for growth.  There are days she is squirming and kicking around so much that my hands jump off my belly if she catches them just right. There are also days in between I barely feel anything from her.  I can only guess those are her growing days and that’s exhausting for her.  Same for her momma.




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