Warning: Sentimental sap and pregnancy ravings post
I'll never forget the day we sat in the doctor's office many years ago and learned that a raging infection--caused by urine reflux--had permanently damaged my sweet hubby's reproductive system. We wanted a third child so badly, but it could not happen again without major medical interventions. Very costly interventions. Interventions that were not guaranteed to work. Because we already had two beautiful, healthy children, we decided to not pursue fertility treatments. It wasn't worth it to us. Still, I prayed and prayed and asked God for a miracle. For four years I ached to have another baby. It didn't consume or embitter me, but I did cry every month when I started my period. And there were probably a half-dozen times when my period was late. And later. And later. My hopes would begin to rise, and after 10 days of late, I would take a pregnancy test. Inevitably, the test would be negative, and I would start my period within the next day. After four years, I stopped hoping and accepted that the doctors were right.
My prayers changed at that point. I acknowledged that nothing--not even infertility--can stop God from accomplishing His will. If He wanted me to have another baby, He would bring it to pass. I asked Him to make me content with whatever He had in store for me. I asked Him to change my heart, to take away my desire for another baby. I asked Him to replace my desires with His desires for me.
Psalm 37:4 became my prayer: "Take delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart."
I think so many people read this verse wrong. They read it as, if you love God, He will give you what you want. I don't think that is the case at all! To delight in the Lord is to get to know Him. To know Him is to love Him. To love Him is to desire to serve Him, to want to be close to Him, and to crave His plan for you. When you truly delight in the Lord, He will put His desires in your heart. This is what I asked Him for. Lord! Make Your desires for me, my desires for me. Your best, not mine. You can see the big picture and I can not. Align me with your direction. And people, HE IS GOOD. He tenderly removed my desire to have a baby. Removed it. Completely. I can remember holding my friend Tracie's baby Isaac and realizing that the pang of desire was gone from my heart. The peace that followed was such a relief! I understood the meaning of resting in the Lord.
It was not too long after that when God put a new desire in my heart. It was the desire to adopt not one child, but a sibling group. Not babies...older kids. Kids who were waiting and waiting for someone to love them. Imagine my surprise when Matt approached me one day, telling me that he had an overwhelming desire to adopt a sibling group of elementary school aged children. I scraped my jaw off the floor and told him that my heart had been leaning the same way. That was the beginning of the end. Less than a year later, we picked up three little girls and brought them home to become part of our family. The key phrase here is less than a year later. Our state has one of the more rigorous training requirements for foster/adoptive families. It takes several months to complete the training, paperwork, and licensing. Then it can take as long as a year or two to match a family with a child. Then there's typically a transition process for the kids. Throw in interstate adoption and it can drag out several months more. We were told it would be a minimum of 18 months before we had kids in our home, if we adopted in-state. From day one of our training to the day we brought our girls home, it was just under 10 months. God flung open door after door and overcame many hurdles. Our family was complete, and it came about in a miraculous way.
Fast forward 13 months. I woke up one August morning feeling exceptionally tired. My night had been riddled with nightmares...particularly horrific nightmares. As I walked out of my room, I could smell bacon cooking in the kitchen. My stomach turned over and I did a quick about face back into my room. I felt odd. Just odd. I pulled out my calendar and took a look. I was shocked to discover that I was 2 weeks overdue to start my period. In the craziness of coming home from a road trip and getting the kids ready to start school, I had lost track of time. I sent Matt to the store to get a pregnancy test, "to make me start my period." I was fully expecting it to be negative, as it had been so many other times in the past. When that puppy turned positive right away, I could not believe it. I didn't know how to respond.
Really, God? After all these years, now I'm pregnant? I didn't even want to have another baby! I'm enjoying having all my kids in school! No diaper bags. No bottles. No naps. No rigid schedule. What in the world? OH MY WORD, I'M PREGNANT! I'M GOING TO HAVE A BABY! It didn't take long for excitement and euphoria to wash over me. I quickly told Matt, who about swept me off my feet. He could scarcely contain his excitement.
Now I have entered into the third trimester. My body has blossomed, and I feel so beautiful. I'm carrying this baby differently than I did the other two. I have had no desire to eat, and what I do want has been pretty healthy. So my weight gain has been minimal. I'm fairly slender (at least for me), and the belly is proportionately round and centered. Snapper spread out my sides, giving me the Michelin Tire Man look. Pepper went out front and made my belly pointy like the end of a football. This time I look like a Motherhood Maternity model and I love it. My hair is thick. My skin is clear. Everywhere I go people comment on how lovely I look. I don't sleep great, but that's okay. I'm getting prepared for midnight feedings. My pelvic bones hurt like crazy, but I can deal with that. Mostly, I'm trying to enjoy the last 12 weeks. And this little baby girl makes it easy.
I treasure the evenings. After the four younger kids are tucked in, Snapper creeps into my room and climbs into bed with me. Little Sweetie is most active in the evening, and Snapper just loves to feel Sweetie's movements. She spends the last hour of her day with me, hands on my belly, and we talk. Sweetie seems to respond to her biggest sissy's voice. After Snapper goes to bed, Matt joins me. There's no question that Sweetie is affected by her daddy's voice and the feel of his hands. She runs a nightly marathon for him to feel. He'll put his face down on my belly so he can talk to her. I sit there, wishing I could just bottle the moment to pull out and relive later. My heart swells at this miracle. Another little blessing. An unexpected gift. A piece of Matt and me, a visible expression of the love we've shared for 13 years. It's just overwhelming.
Right now I'm sitting in my big chair, taking a break from doing schoolwork with Bubbles. I'm watching my belly ripple, bounce, and contort. I know Sweetie has gotten so much bigger in the last couple of weeks because I can feel kicks close to my sternum at the same time as I am feeling movement way down low. The best word to describe my emotions right now is wonder. I'm overwhelmed by wonder at what God has done. And I can hardly wait to meet this little girl!
P.S. I have a houseful of blondie kids. I'm hoping this one has my dark hair.