A look back.

Here’s a look back at my guest post over at Re{de}fining.  Thanks again Jenn for considering all aspects of motherhood!

I’m usually terrible with dates.  I can’t ever remember my best friends’ birthdays.  I actually do well to remember the month.  Thank you Facebook for helping me not look like a jerk.  However, I do remember The Date.  It only took my husband an entire month to convince me we were ready.  Yes, he had to convince me.  May 27, 2007 was our first Anniversary, so do the math: one month of convincing + one last day on the pill and we arrive at June 28th.   We had 13 glorious months of marital bliss before this day.  And then it happened.

(Cue the dramatic music…)

We were ready to start a family.  We were also innocently ignorant to the ways of the world and how things don’t immediately turn out the way that you imagine them in your storybook fairy-tale.  Looking back, I can’t recall encountering anyone in my life who was experiencing infertility.  Even though I’d heard of women who had endured a miscarriage, the dourness of such circumstances didn’t register with me until it was something I had experienced on my own.

After more than a year of shattered dreams, countless doctors visits, and four miserable (& failed) rounds of fertility drugs we felt defeated. We needed a break to physically and emotionally recoup. Surprisingly, a few months later, we were stunned to find out that our time of rest was beneficial.  The day that I found out I was going to be a mother brought a precious joy that very few other events in my life have produced.  Twelve days later that joy turned to gut-wrenching heartache.  The circumstances surrounding our miscarriage are complex.  I actually experienced an ectopic pregnancy, and was miraculously much further along in my pregnancy than I had originally thought.  The following months brought excruciating complications that are sporadically detailed in my first blog, Keeping In Step.

Despite my brief pregnancy, I am a mother; even though my emotions and empty arms would beg to differ on most days.  After my body had healed physically and my emotions had become more stable, my response to well-meaning strangers when they asked if I had any children was usually the same.  “Not yet.”  It was the simple answer, but a response that always brought up raw sentiments.

It’s been three and a half years since we had to say good-bye to our first baby.  There are still so many unanswered questions regarding our infertility issues.  Thankfully, these days I have a new response to those curious inquiries from strangers.  It is still easier not to mention our baby in Heaven during casual conversations, but we will proudly tell anyone who will listen that we are expecting our next baby through adoption.  My journey to motherhood has been a difficult road. Throughout this adventure, I have experienced a variety of emotions and there have been the most difficult of days.  Mostly, I am thankful.  For the privilege of being chosen to be the mother of our precious baby in heaven, and especially for being blessed by the merciful grace of my Saviour.

Right now: My current flow of thoughts.

Right now, there is an 8 week shadow of grunge all over my house.

I haven’t had the strength to clean it.

Right now, if I had the strength, I’d rather go buy clean unmentionables, instead of tackling all the loads of laundry.  But then, I’d probably have to wash those before I could wear them.

Pajama pants are my best friend right now.

There isn’t anything to eat in the fridge, anything fresh enough that wouldn’t make you sick, at least.  I’m kinda craving pizza rolls, but we don’t have any of those either, of course.

Right now my face is swollen and I feel drab & yucky.

It’s because I’ve been sick for almost two months straight.  And crying randomly.  I can’t remember the last time I wore makeup.

Cough drops have been more like candy lately.

Right now there is a sharp pain in my chest.

Mainly from coughing for two weeks. Also, because it hurts when I’m sad and discouraged.

Brad knows exactly how to make me laugh.  Even if he’s picking on me, and I’m feeling like this.  I miss kissing him because I haven’t wanted to share my lovely germs.

Right now it is hard to see past the things that I don’t have instead of being thankful for what I’m blessed with.

I am really thankful that I finally found a pillow that I love.  It only took three years to find it, give or take a month.

What do I want most that I don’t have?  A baby.

My arms long, my nose craves, my lips burn and my heart aches to hold, smell, kiss, and love on a little bitty babe that I can call my own.  Haven’t we waited long enough?

Right now I miss my family.  I’m homesick.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I’ve convinced myself that even thirty minutes towards home would make a huge difference.  Truthfully, that’s a lie.

Home is where your heart is, right?  Brad has my heart, but there are little pieces that will always be back in South Carolina, and wherever those adorable nieces are.

I keep praying for God to take us back home, but those are prayers that I don’t think will be answered the way that I want them to be.  At least not now, anyways.

Maybe I should change the way I’m praying.

Actually, I know I should.  But right now I feel selfish.  I want things my way, and that is reflected in my prayers.

I want a house near our family, with a nursery large enough to have a ottoman for my rocking chair.  A nursery that Brad and & I could both stand in at the same time and watch our baby sleeping.  Our baby, that we don’t have to wait for any longer.  I want a craft room that isn’t a cramped nook in the corner, where I can finally get something accomplished.  A kitchen that has a real big girl pantry, near a screened in porch.  With maybe a puppy…

Right now, I wish I could fake it.

I wish that I didn’t have to experience the ugly side of things.  My defenses are all worn down and I am tired of fighting.  This is part of the story that I don’t want to share.  The part where I’m weak and my faith is running low.

The things that we are facing right now are not necessarily greater than anything anyone else is facing.  But the relativity of our circumstances to our situation seem to be more than I can bear lately.  Basically, I’m tired.

Right now, even through my doubt, my fears, my sadness and pain, my selfish prayers, and my sick coughs and emotional tears.  I know there is Hope.

If God knows my heart as perfectly as I believe he does, then He knows I still believe in Him.  And I believe Him when He said that this life of following Him wouldn’t be easy.

Right now I’m trusting that the Lord has plans for my life, my marriage, our family, our future.  These plans are for my own well being.  He promises He will take care of me, and not abandon me.

His plans are to give me the future that I’ve dared to hope for.

Jeremiah 29:11

The Expiration Date

As I was casually walking down the bread isle at the grocery store this week, I had a phenomenal moment that I hope I never forget.

I usually enjoy shopping for groceries, unless it’s near a holiday or the forecast is threatening a snow-dusting.  I work best with a list and a full tummy, but who doesn’t?  I had neither with me on this trip.  As my mind was racing to try to come up with a few meals on the fly, and the ingredients to make up those said meals, I came to the bread isle.  My thought process was a little choppy.  The Mr. will just have to have some PB&J’s this week for lunch.  What did I have for lunch?  Nothing.  No wonder I’m so hungry.  Oooh, those cookies look glorious.  Speaking of glorious, I need some clothes for family pictures.  We’re going out of town so I don’t need that many groceries.  Groceries?….oh, yeah.  Bread.  

So I grabbed a loaf and checked the expiration date.  January 12th.  I did a double take.  That’s a good date for bread; surely we will have time to finish the entire loaf before it goes bad.  I had to repeat it in my mind a few times.  January 12th.  The 12th?  Oh, the 12th!   And that was what prompted my Moment, and I suddenly wanted to melt into a puddle on the floor.  How can anyone have such a flood of different emotions and then a sudden epiphany in a matter of seconds?  On. the. bread. isle.

I didn’t know whether I wanted to be sad and feel sorry for myself, or rejoice and be proud of how far I had come since that date, only three years earlier.  January 12, 2009.  The day that we said good bye to our sweet baby Brock. My nieces insisted that we call him Broccoli.  If I let myself, I can still close my eyes and imagine everything about that day.  The smells, the sounds, the pain.

In that quick moment of revelation, I chose to rejoice.  The beginning of January has been difficult for the past several years, for obvious reasons, and I am always anticipating the arrival of the anniversaries.  However, I was surprised when this year it didn’t sting as bad.  While I held my loaf of whole wheat bread, and my tummy was rumbling I stopped to praise God.  I was moved to tears, literally, at the thought of how-in His timing-He has truly eased my pain.

I know this doesn’t mean that the pain will ever completely go away, or that I will never have a bad day, but I am a stronger person because of this journey.  My heart still longs for the day that I can hold our baby, but I don’t think about it every minute of everyday now.  I am thankful for what I have learned, how I have grown, and for how far I have come in the last three years.

I chose to rejoice.

{Here are a few of my thoughts about that day from April 2009}