When I found out I was pregnant with my third baby, I was on my way to a meeting for my Arbonne business and I was in a car full of people- two were strangers. It had occurred to me earlier that day, as I was packing half a box of tampons into a box for our move, that I couldn’t remember when I had used them last. I didn’t think much of it at that very moment, but I made a mental note to check my calendar (app- who uses a real calendar to track periods?) when I was near my phone.
About an hour later, while I was preparing to leave for my meeting, I remembered to check my phone. Four days late. I’m not a four days late kind of girl. This was surprising, but I can’t say it was a confirmation of anything.
“I’m not pregnant,” I thought to myself. I checked my app again just to see when the potential conception date might have been (because we all keep track of that too when we’re trying to- or trying not to- have a baby!) and there wasn’t a match. No close call. No possible contamination. I was good. Definitely not pregnant.
But I did ask my friend who was picking me up if she had a pregnancy test… just in case. She did not. Great. Then I’m definitely NOT pregnant.
When I got in the car with her (and the two strangers) about 30 minutes later, I realized that I most certainly was probably pregnant.
It had taken me exactly one try to conceive my first and second babies. They were very much planned. And from that, I knew, conceiving was not going to be something we struggled with- Praise the Lord. So when we ‘talked about’ trying for a third baby, I should have guessed that the conversation alone would have likely resulted in a pregnancy. And it would seem that was the case.
Yep, definitely probably pregnant.
Although I was pretty dang convinced by the time we arrived at our meeting, I did insist that we stop at the nearest grocery store so that I could pick up a test just for fun. Just to show me I was either totally pregnant, or totally crazy. The store we stopped at was Whole Foods. Healthy people, apparently, don’t take pregnancy tests because they don’t carry them. AWESOME!
After the meeting- whatever the heck they talked about, I can’t say- I was absolutely obsessed with the idea that I was pregnant. There was now no doubt in my mind, despite the fact that there wasn’t a reasonable conception date, that I was obsessing for two. When I finally got back home, 197847 hours later, I dug through at least six taped and packed up moving boxes before I found my pregnancy tests. They were expired. By two years…
With two sleeping kids and a husband at work, this was my only shot at an answer for the evening. I immediately tore it open, used it, and set it on the bathroom counter as I got undressed to get in the shower. After about a minute, I picked it up.
Interesting. As much as I didn’t think I was exactly ‘ready’ for a third baby, I was disappointed. Surely we would try in a few months, but because I had become so convinced that I was pregnant, it had started to feel real. I love being pregnant. I think it’s the most magical thing ever (not without it’s downsides, don’t get me wrong) and I was surprised at how sad I felt at the one liner.
So I got in the shower and talked to God a touch and told him that I was excited and ready to have a third baby. This experience made me realize that it’s time. My oldest was 3 and when she was one, we tried for her brother and got him. And now my baby was one… it was time again. And now I knew I was ready.
How funny that Whole Foods doesn’t sell pregnancy tests! I find that so strange! Good thing I had the tests at home, otherwise I’d be a mess all night long wondering if I was or wasn’t. My goodness. Too bad they’re expired. I guess I should throw them out. What happens when they’re expired? Do they not work? Oh my God… maybe this one didn’t work? Maybe I AM pregnant?
I immediately got out of the shower to look at the test again…
Expired just means delayed. I was pregnant.
I smiled. Then I laughed out loud holding the test. Then I got back in the shower. Touchè God. Good one! But I was grateful to know that I was ready. It had to be just that way.
When my daughter woke up in the morning, I told her that I had another baby in my tummy.
“Is it a girl baby?” she asked. I told her I didn’t know- although I already thought it was. I had always known I would have two girls and a boy. I had one of each. So this one was surely a girl. But I didn’t confirm it. She told her daddy when he got home later that morning. It was real. We we’re becoming a party of five.
Nine months later, I was at the end of another magical pregnancy. I knew it was my last. My body, although it would seem it was built for making babies, was actually not standing up to the challenge. I had a complicated medical history that made natural delivery impossible for me. I had always suspected that would be the case after a surgery in my early 20’s, but when I found myself pregnant for the first time, I saw midwives and planned a water birth in a birthing center even still. Just in case I could. Just in case they let me try. But at 31 weeks, we decided- the first, second and third opinion and Thomas and I- that it wasn’t worth the risk. I was going to be a C-section mom.
Here’s the deal: the first thing I felt was disappointment. I wasn’t going to get to be the ‘real mom’ that I wanted to be. I wasn’t going to have the experience I wanted to have, the one I felt I was due. And then I realized that those thoughts and feelings were stupid. Warranted? Yes. Fair? Perhaps. But worth the time? No! How blessed am I that I can conceive a baby at the drop of a hat, when so many struggle? How wonderful that although a surgeon told me once that scar tissue might make it hard to conceive, that wasn’t the case for me? How magical was it, that I got to make the choice, before I was in the midst of a complicated and risky delivery, to have this baby a different way? A perfectly safe way. I’m lucky. I’m blessed. And I’m still just as much a mom.
So after two C-sections, I knew my third would be no different. That’s how this baby was going to come into the world. No doubt about it. But I have to be honest, as I knew this was my last pregnancy, I was a little bit devastated all over again to be missing out- once and for all- on the experience of labor and delivery.
If I can take a little tangent here for a minute- and I can- I have to say that having a C-section is not all bad! Yes, I don’t get to experience labor and pushing the baby out. But hey, I don’t have to experience labor and pushing the baby out! AND, I get to pick the birthday. My daughter was 10-4 (as in ’10-4, Roger that’) and my son was 9-9 (as in easy to remember). So that’s not a bad thing. AND, I get to plan ahead and have whoever the heck I want to be there, there. Everyone was in town and ready to meet the new baby for one and two. And yes, the recovery of a C-secion is not wonderful, but recovering from having something that was once on the inside and is now on the outside isn’t easy no matter how it happens.
So anyway, I digress. Just trying to help us all gain some perspective here because that’s literally what it’s all about.
My due date for baby three was sometime in the beginning of December. I remember thinking, “well that’s perfect! We won’t have to miss any trips.” We travel a lot and I do try to plan my pregnancies around my trips. So this was a happy surprise that our unplanned baby wasn’t going to interrupt anything major! But the weird thing was that a due date in December made even LESS sense to me than my unclear conception date. By the time I had my first Doctor’s appointment I had figured out that my due date was likely mid to late December based on my last period and the ONLY even kind of close conception date I could find. It made NO sense at all when my doctor told me I was more pregnant than I thought I was, but only by about 10 days… so I was only kind of off, but definitely now completely thrown off.
Oh well! Whatever! I didn’t think much of it, until I was about 36 and a half weeks pregnant and my baby, who had been measuring big the whole pregnancy, was now measuring full term. A month early, and this baby was full term and I hadn’t gained as much weight as was normal for me. What?
So I was talking to my friend Sarah about how weird it all was and how I was already having contractions and it just didn’t make any sense to me. And she suggested I go back to my calendar and try to make sense of it.
Well, there’s a thought!
And so I did. And wouldn’t you know it, with about three minutes of closer examination, I discovered that there was a period, and a conception date that made PERFECT sense. And that period that I THOUGHT was my last period, was probably just implantation bleeding (I had never had that before so didn’t even think about looking at anything else as a potential last period). With all this information, I now could see that the most reasonable explanation was that my due date was really… tomorrow. If I was right…
It was this discovery, added to the fact that this was my last baby, that made my number one, constant prayer:
“Please let this baby pick it’s own birthday.”
I had picked the other two… I had never had a real contraction… I had never known that feeling of ‘it’s time’… And I wanted those things. I wanted them so very much. I wanted labor to start on it’s own… just this once.
I knew it would end in a C-section, I wasn’t trying to get too crazy, but I just wanted to know what it felt like… just for a minute… to be the mom who got to go that road. I knew I was still just as much a mom, but I longed for the full experience.
As a matter of fact, I’m not sure anyone has ever prayed for pain as much, or as constantly as I did in those last days. That might sound strange but I was having contractions… they even would become really regular and rhythmic, but they weren’t getting painful. So I would pray for pain. I wanted it to be real labor. I wanted to ‘know’. I wanted it to be ‘time to go.’ Oh man, did I want that. I prayed constantly.
My dear friend told me the week of Thanksgiving that I had become too obsessed with the end of this pregnancy and how it was going to go, that I had robbed myself of the joy of it. Man, that struck me. Talk about perspective. I had gotten so caught up in how the labor was going to start- if at all- that I had lost sight of the fact that these were my last days, maybe hours, as a pregnant mommy. The last kicks, the last sleepless nights (or at least of this variety) and the last moments of being one with my babe, were here… and I was missing them.
So that day, thanks to that conversation, I chose to gain perspective and let go and let GOD. I chose to enjoy the journey. I chose to give up control because in this, I had none. It wasn’t up to me how or when this baby came out. It didn’t matter how many trips around the block I walked, or how much spicy food I ate. This baby could very well stay put until the scheduled surgery date, without so much as a twinge of pain. It could go that way. And I didn’t want to feel disappointed on my baby’s birthday. So I let it go.
I told God that I was giving it up to Him. He knew my heart and my desire, but he also knew what was best and He had this. And that’s where I left it.
Well, I did say “If you do decide to give me the labor that I’m hoping for, please make it obvious.”
You see, I had ended up in the hospital with both of my other kiddos prematurely. Contractions get close together, but they never get painful and so I’d end up in the ER just to get a look at things and it was never time. So I was sure to ask for it to be obvious if the time came. But then I let it go. For reals.
I stopped asking for the beginning of labor and I just started enjoying the end of pregnancy. And I’m so glad I was able to gain that perspective in the nick of time. The night after Thanksgiving, a year ago today, I was laying in bed wondering if the contractions I had been having over the last few hours were the ‘real thing’ or not, and I felt a strong, swift kick behind my belly button. I swear I could even hear the pop. I yelped a little and said ‘owe’ under my breath with a little bit of a laugh. I felt a surge of excitement and fear.
Did my water just break?
I waited… no rush of water. Hmm. Wasn’t there supposed to be water with water breaking? Maybe I should go pee?
So I sat up in bed, and threw my feet out from underneath the covers and started to pee my pants. Oh wait. No. I can’t stop it. It’s water! My water is broken! Oh my… WOW… my water is BROKEN.
I ran. I tried to out run the flood. I laughed and yelled, “I think my water broke,” as I bee-lined for the toilet. Thomas sat up in bed as if he wasn’t just fast asleep and said, “Are you kidding?”
I sat on the toilet, smiling, as a super strong contraction ran through me. HECK YES! That HURT!
I got in the shower, as my husband looked for his socks in a panic. I wanted to stall for just a few minutes. I wanted to enjoy this. I also wanted to cry for a minute in the shower. I was so, so grateful. God is so, so good.
I was experiencing labor. It was obvious. The baby had chosen their own birthday. AND, my family was all here, in my house, for Thanksgiving. Perfect. Better than I could have designed it myself. Isn’t that always the way? Thank you, Jesus.
Three hours later, I was absolutely SO grateful that I knew exactly when (and that it was SOON) that labor would come to an end. Another reminder that C-sections are not all that bad, moms! I was very grateful that I didn’t have to labor indefinitely! And I was VERY grateful that I got to see just a glimpse of what it would have been like to go the other way.
Three hours after my water had broken, just when I thought I was about to meet my second daughter and the completion of my vision for my family, God handed me a beautiful and amazing baby boy. He proved again in that moment that He knows better than I do what I need. This baby is so joyful. This baby is the little girls calm demeanor I was hoping for, with the little boys sense of play and adventure. I adore him. And he is my sweet baby- the exact right baby for me and our family.
And he came to us in the most amazingly, perfect way; Through our faithful and loving Father.
I am grateful. I have gained, and continue to remind myself to gain perspective in this and in ALL things. Happiest of birthdays my sweet babe. Thank you for making me just as much a mom as anyone else.