Thursday, November 13, 2008

Fall 2004

This time of year, with the cold and the falling leaves, always reminds me of the fall of 2004. That fall was hard for me and then suddenly became filled with one of the biggest blessings in my life.

In March of 2004, I found out, rather unexpectedly, that I was pregnant. At this time, Landon and Olivia were only 18 months old and the prospect of having three children so close together was kind of daunting. But, after the initial shock wore off, I was happy. At the same time; however, I had a good friend trying to get pregnant. Sharing the news of my pregnancy with her wasn't easy. She was very gracious about it and was happy for me, but at the same time, I knew it was probably hard for her.

A couple weeks after finding out I was pregnant, I felt something was wrong. I didn't "feel pregnant". After going to the doctor for some blood work, then an ultrasound, we found out that there was no baby. The sac was completely intact, but the baby just wasn't there. I was angry. I felt like my body was defective since this same thing had happened to me before I had Jonah. It just didn't seem fair. I ended up having an D & C during spring break. It was good that I had the entire break to recover since I was teaching junior high at the time.

During all of this mess with me, my friend, Tracy, the one trying to get pregnant, found out that she was pregnant. It was a very hard time for her, I'm sure, me recovering from a miscarriage while she was trying to spread the good news of her own. The fact that we taught together at the same school made everyone feel awkward. More than once I walked into the office to have people congratulating her and then turning to me to say, "Sorry".

What amazed me about this time is that first of all, I genuinely was happy for Tracy and her husband. I wanted them to have a baby and I was glad she was pregnant. What I was angry about was the careless words people said to me during this time. On more than one occasion I got the following:

"After all you went through to have the twins. You really wanted to do that to yourself again?"

"You have your hands full enough right now. This is a blessing in disguise."

"What if you have another baby with a cleft? Do you really want that?"

My answers to these questions were always:

"Yes, I think babies are worth every bit of trouble."

"A miscarriage is never a blessing. It's an emotion upheaval and to suggest that God made this happen is sick."

"No, I would never wish a birth defect on a child, but I would love them all the same--cleft or no cleft."

Finally, I broke down one day at school, and a mom of one of my students said, "Heather, these people are nuts. If you made a cake mix and put it in the oven expecting a cake, only to realize that something was wrong and it didn't bake correctly, would it make that cake any less of a cake? Of course it wouldn't. A baby is still a baby and whatever the circumstances, when it doesn't come out of the 'oven' like it should, it's devastating."

At that point, instead of crying about the baby that was gone, I started praying for another one. I asked God to take the desire for a baby away if I wasn't going to have any more kids because at that point, the desire was very strong.

Meanwhile, I decided to stay home with Landon and Olivia, so I quit teaching during the day, but that fall I started teaching English classes for a community college about 45 minutes away. Two of my closest friends were now pregnant. My friend, Tracy, and my friend Laura. I was happy for them, but handled it o.k. The closer we got to November 15th, which was to be my due date, the more sad I became.

Then one evening, Laura called to tell me that she'd been talking to Tracy on the phone when Tracy's water broke. She was about 3 weeks early and was quickly going to the hospital. Parker was born not very long after she arrived at the hospital. He was in perfect health despite being a little early. The next day, I went to visit her in the hospital. I got to hold the tiny bundle and touch Parker's sweet litte hands and then all of the sudden it hit me. I was sitting in a hospital room ON NOVEMBER 15th (what should've been my due date), at the very hospital I was supposed to deliver my baby, and I was holding a baby that wasn't mine. This wasn't how it was supposed to be. I couldn't believe that Tracy had Parker the day before my due date. What were the odds?

I thought about the irony of the situation all day long. I cried a few tears that night on the way to teach my class. While I was teaching that night, I realized I didn't feel so great. Thinking it was due to the stress of the day, I put it from my mind. Then I started thinking about the fact that my period was late. I figured it was too big a coincidence, but went to Wal-Mart after class and bought a pregnancy test. Since I had a 45 minute drive home, the suspense was killing me, so I pulled into a Casey's, went to the restroom and took a deep breath.

What were the odds of finding out I was pregnant on the very day I was supposed to have had a baby? Fulling expecting to see the NEGATIVE sign on the stick, I nearly passed out when it said POSITIVE. I looked into the mirror and started laughing like a maniac. How could this be happening?

At that point, I slipped into zombie mode. I could not believe this was happening. I got back into my car, turned on the radio and Lionel Richie was singing "Ballerina Girl". Was it a sign, I wondered? Was I having another girl? Something told me I was.

Mike was just as shocked at the news. We had not been trying for another baby and now, faced with the reality of the situation, we were a little scared. What if I had another miscarriage? What if I had a difficult pregnancy like with the twins? What if the baby had a cleft?

We got through all those what if's and really enjoyed the pregnancy. I felt pretty good considering I was pregnant and chasing after 2 two-year-olds and a 2nd grader. Our attitude when people asked us how we were going to do it was always the same: after handling premature twins, one baby was a walk in the park.

And you know what? It was. Other than using the umbilical cord as a jump rope and wrapping it around her neck 3 times while she was inside me, all things with Kate were pretty uneventful. Easy pregnancy. Easy delivery. Easy recovery from the c-section and an easy-going baby in the end.

I never take any of my children for granted, but when I look at Kate, I'm constantly reminded of the amazingness of how God works things out. She was a wonderful little present given to me on what could've been one a very sad and depressing day.

Even though our house is loud and crazy sometimes and the laundry is never ending, I feel blessed beyond belief to have four children and I'm so thankful that God felt I could handle the craziness.

1 comment:

MonkeyJoel said...

Wow, I am completely in tears reading this, I have never experienced a miscarriage, but my husband I did go through failed attempts at a 2nd child for 5 plus years and then suprise when we least expected it here came Joel when our oldest son was starting jr. high. I do look at him the same way that you look at Kate, a complete and udder unexpected, but never taken for granted miracle. God Bless you and all your beautiful kids...God is so Good!