Monday, September 8, 2014

38 weeks (with a pregnancy that has changed me inside and out)

Tomorrow marks 38 weeks and I have officially made it to term with this pregnancy! It's still considered early term, but the baby is safe to decide whenever she wants to make an appearance. Part of me wants to be done being pregnant, but I also realize this is likely my last pregnancy and so I'm trying to enjoy the short remaining time of baby kicks and the miracle of growing a baby! I'm also so ready to just meet this little lady, but then I have some things on my calendar that I'd actually prefer to not be interrupted. So... we're just hanging out waiting to see what God has planned for her arrival.
God, if you're reading this I'd love to stay pregnant until Sept. 18 and I'd really rather not go past my due date, the 23rd... especially since Derek's army drill weekend got rescheduled for the 27th and I am just not eager to have another baby without him! Also, I'd also like to request that the labor be easy and pain free. Oh, and lastly, if baby girl could be sleeping through the night by the time we come home from the hospital, that'd be great too!

But first things first, the baby can't arrive without the conclusion of the story about the beginning of our expanding family! Back at 32 weeks, I shared about how we didn't think we'd become pregnant again. And then at 34 weeks, I shared about how we decided not to pursue a pregnancy and move forward with foster care!

Today, we're going to venture back to the very beginning of the new year. Derek was between jobs and we enjoyed a relaxing weekend down in Florida. We were filling out paperwork for the foster care system and contemplating how to reveal the news to our families! In my heart, I was at peace with everything we had going on from knowing God would provide the right job for Derek to being completely okay with (and even glad!) to never having to deal with the exhausting newborn stage.

We came back from vacation and I started having really weird and vivid dreams. That lasted about a week and then I recognized a few more symptoms... time for a pregnancy test. Derek wanted to be the revealer-of-news this time. I had already climbed into bed wondering why and how this could possibly happen when Derek came in and sat down beside me. While both smiling and looking completely terrified at the same time, he told me it was positive. I took the news really well-- I'm pretty sure I hit him, buried my head under the covers, and then cried.

Here's the opening from a post dated January 28th of this year:
This year, all 28 days, is happening all upside down and backwards from how I thought it was going to be. Did I mention it's only been 28 days? It's not bad, but just different. 
It wasn't that I didn't want to be pregnant. I was shocked. I was confused. And let's face it-- I was pregnant, so hello hormones! Seriously, I was really confused and just struggling with why God had me go through the pain and acceptance of not having another baby. Why everything was aligning so perfectly, so divinely as we initiated the foster care system. I was relying on Him more than ever and there was such a peace about it all. And then I feel like God kind of stole the rug out from under my feet!

Of course, it wasn't long before the thought of little feet pittering around the house made me smile. Remembering the first smiles, the baby giggles, all the exciting milestones... we were thrilled! And we began to tell our family and close friends the news! I quickly realized, though, that I wasn't ready for all of the congratulations and excitement. While the thought of bringing new life into the world was thrilling, I was also mourning the idea of offering our home and our love to kids that desperately need it*. Along with happy and excited, I was overwhelmed, scared, and confused.

So, we didn't really tell many others for quite some time. It really didn't have to do with people saying or doing the wrong things, it was about me being ready to accept and embrace this new (old) path for expanding our family! When we did share at 14 weeks, though, we were absolutely excited in every way possible!

All along, I thought I was being super faithful to just let go of my desire for a new baby and be super open and excited about foster care! I have always felt as if I am a pretty flexible person in general. I don't operate by a strict schedule and I can adapt to the craziest of things (remember when I was a mother of a two year old, pregnant, in grad school, hosting a foreign exchange student while my husband was on active duty, circa 2010-11!?!) like it's no big thing. I don't take setbacks too personally and I can often find a "new door" to open if once closes.

But as I reflect back, I sense God was really wanting me to just "walk down the hall" with Him. All along it was ME who had shut the door to having another baby. And it was ME who entered the foster care door and pulled it shut behind me.

It was so easy for me to feel as if I was doing everything God wanted me to do, but in reality, I was still doing things my way. My way is having a plan. Even if my plans were well-intentioned and super flexible to doing what I thought God wanted, I was creating a plan. In reality, he was saying "Wait on me. Just wait WITH me."

Time and time again in this pregnancy, this same lesson has presented itself to me. From expecting to find out we were having a boy, to realizing our infant car seat was moldy. Even the idea of letting this baby girl come on her own, instead of scheduling her, has been tough! It's gone beyond just pregnancy related issues into career and licensing issues, and into what-if scenarios that are years down the line. I am SO over this lesson to be patient, to give up my plan-making, to wait on the Lord. But clearly, I haven't grasped it yet.

Here's how that post from January ended:
I'll be blogging more once things get a little more steady.  Or perhaps I just need to be better at accepting not being in control and always planning two or three steps ahead. Or maybe a combination of the two? 
Being in the "hallway" is my Everest. And to be honest, I want to be in the hallway with God more than I want to be heading through a door that's not what He has planned. But it's hard to give up the control that at least I'm doing something to aid the process along. Here it is September 8th and I'm still working on my control and planning issues. What can I say, I'm a work in progress! :)

I feel as if this pregnancy has been a great physical representation for the heart-wrenching, behind-the-scene spiritual transformation that has taken place over the same time period. There's been an abundant amount of growth and there's been more than a fair share of annoyances and inconveniences. But just like knowing that my pregnancy symptoms will come to an end, I do know that for everything else, "This, too, shall pass" and I'll end up with greater-than-great rewards in terms of faith, peace, and relationship with the Lord!

Thanks for hanging in there with me! I didn't expect this to take six weeks to tell the whole story and I'm shocked that these posts have been so popular. I have loved all of the feedback by every email, comment, and facebook message that you've sent letting me know that I have offered encouragement to the many of you who relate to aspects of my own journey. I've prayed for you all-- keep me posted and I'd love to pray for you if you just send me an email!

*Our foster journey isn't completely closed forever. We considered moving forward with the process, but there were honestly just a lot of logistical issues that prevented that from happening at the moment. We take the Biblical mandate to care for the orphans very seriously and are completely open to exploring many of the different avenues to doing our part!


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