A few weeks ago I was sitting and thinking about the timing of our (soon to be) three children. Talmage and Charlotte are 22 months apart, with Talmage being a spring baby and Charlotte a winter baby. When new little one comes, he/she will be 33 months apart from Charlotte and will be an autumn baby. Kinda funny how that worked out.
I like having everyone's birthdays spread throughout the year because then we all get our "special month". It keeps me on my toes and makes it a little easier to plan something fun for each birthday without getting too overwhelmed. Not that everyone gets a party...we'll definitely be laying off the parties for a while.
I joked with Jonathan that #4 will end up being a summer baby. I always wanted a summer child but friends who've had kids in the summer have pointed out to me it's most uncomfortable to be 9 months pregnant in the hot months and then they have to wait longer to take baby outside. It's a valid point, though someday I would still like a summer child so we can have summer birthday parties outside :)
Anyway, since people have known we are pregnant, I've gotten quite a few responses that perturb me a bit. It's in their faces- a look that says "Oh? How did that happen? Was this planned?"
They don't have to say it- its plain as day in their expression. There's a silence that follows and I feel obligated to fill it with "Yep. We're so excited!" or "Uh-huh...crazy stuff, I know."
Now this part is quite personal, but I feel okay enough sharing it on my blog that about 5-6 people read. Plus I've always seen this blog as sort of a journal and my experiences-even the dark ones- should be in it. Especially when invaluable lessons are learned :)
Talmage and Charlotte were both "planned babies". We both felt it was the right time and I went off birth control intentionally. I feel very fortunate that it never took too long to conceive- about 2-3 months each time. I say fortunate and not "blessed" because I know quite a few women who don't have the same success with getting pregnant and I don't believe God is withholding blessings from them but instead, timing things in His own way. My heart breaks for these women and I often wonder why things happen the way they do- especially when they seem much more spiritually prepared and emotionally stable than me. I often get the feeling that I'm not at all worthy to be a mom to such perfect little spirits- but this is something that I'm working through.
This pregnancy, however, was not "planned". We'd been doing this natural birth-control method that absolutely works- WHEN you have time to pay attention to the signs. The month of February was a stressful one and I was not paying enough attention to my cycle. I let a few days go on my "fertility calendar" and of course- what we had been trying to put off happened in that short time.
A few weeks later I knew something was up when I purchased a Costco-sized box of orange juice. I hate orange juice, but I couldn't drink enough of that stuff. My boobs started to ache and sting like no one's business and that's when I knew for sure.
At first I had a lot- and I mean a LOT- of anxiety about my positive pregnancy test. I was (and am) still dealing with the grief of my grandmother's passing last October and it didn't seem right to bring another life into the world when I was so consumed in the concept of death. The really bizarre/ironic part of it was that my grandma was born November 10th, and we are due on November 4th. It's likely that I'll go past my due date since I'm not getting induced this time, and very likely that I'll deliver close to her birthday. At first I wept at this realization, but I've started to embrace the coincidence and I believe everything happens for a divine purpose.
For the first many weeks, probably the entire first trimester, I felt not only physically uneasy but emotionally uneasy about being pregnant. I slipped deeper into my depression and shut the world out. No one probably knew what was going on, but it was a very difficult time. I felt guilt for not having that elated, wonderful, and maternal joy that expectant mothers should have. And, let's face it, I was completely overwhelmed to have three young children under one little household roof. Fears and worries consumed my every thought. I expressed my feelings openly to our family doctor and later again to my midwife. Everyone that I confided in encouraged me to seek out counseling and I kept putting it off- not wanting to devote time or money into myself. From the outside, it seems like such a simple solution. But internally it was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do- admit that I needed help.
Another ironic part to this story- I was prescribed some anti-depressants shortly before we found out we were expecting. The very morning I was to start the meds was when I took the pregnancy test. It's considered safe to take anti-depressants while pregnant, with some minimal risk included. But it just didn't feel right to me, and again I believe there was a higher power working in my life that day. Had I gone onto the meds, who knew what would have happened. Things could have gotten better or worse- I'll never know. But what I've learned is that there are alternate ways to deal with my issues that are less invasive to my body and baby. I'm not anti-medication, and someday I might go on them if I feel that's what I need. But for now, I'm coping with problems in other ways and they have lifted up my soul.
I will always remember the day I decided enough was enough and called my insurance company about psychologists. I literally felt that I was going insane...I felt out of control with my emotions and losing my grip on the world. I prayed a lot for the next few days and had the continual impression that seeking therapy was the right solution and would bring me some peace. Now having gone and done it, I realize it's so NOT a big deal. Everyone has stuff going on and we could all benefit from seeing a psychologist- regardless of how big or small we think our problems may be. It turns out that I have way more issues than I even realized...and this whole time I just thought I was crazy!
Aside from seeing a therapist and letting out a lot of dark feelings and thoughts, talking them through, and learning to change my behaviors- something that has helped immensely is maintaining a relationship with my Heavenly Father and Savior. I don't always feel like praying or reading my scriptures, but I force myself to do it anyway and it *always* helps. Going to the temple has helped a lot, too. I've even talked with the Stake President about things weighing me down and though that was hard, it was incredibly freeing. Another big one has been nurturing the relationship I have with Jonathan. With everything that's happened, I knew I loved him and always will but I've had a hard time showing him my love. We've since then started a book together that we read at night, planted a garden together, and done this crazy awesome activity called making Birth Art. It's helped me see him in a different light and appreciate him more. He bought me a new set of scriptures recently and I treasure them immensely- they remind me that he will always be my number 1 advocate in helping me to be happy and discover the joy in living the gospel. I love him with my whole heart and would be lost without his continual support and patience.
Now to get to the point of this really long post...
At 19 weeks, I feel completely turned around in my feelings towards this pregnancy. I am still a little anxious/fearful but I'm sure that's normal. More than anything, I'm truly excited to meet our new little person. I know that the timing is perfect because it is the Lord's timing. For some reason that I may never comprehend, He believes that this is what our family needs right now. All I can do at this point is trust in His plan. We truly love little babies around here, and I know without a doubt that Talmage and Charlotte will fall completely in love with this baby, too. This child of ours will never be an "accident."
We find out in ten days week what we're having- and I finally feel like I'm in a place to be over the moon about the gender :) Boy or girl, I can't wait to know! I always felt a closer bond to the baby growing inside me when I knew the sex. I can't believe how fast these last few months have gone and I know the remaining ones will fly by.