Faith, Hope, and Love (and Prayer).
(originally posted at Slightly Overcaffeinated)
My "baby" is about to have her second birthday, and I am completely unprepared. Unprepared for the party, unprepared for her to turn two, unprepared for life to go so fast.
I can remember the moment she was born as, well, as much as I can remember anything (because - let's face it - everything in my memory at this point has a fuzzy coating surrounding it). I really can't believe it's been two years since she was born. Not that long ago we didn't even know if our family of three would ever become a family of four... (*Enter Wayne and Garth doing flashback hands and sound effects.*)
My first pregnancy was difficult. Though the outcome was successful, the entire experience made us a little anxious when we talked about the possibility of getting pregnant again. The medical professionals whose opinion we trusted told us that the chances of me having another obstruction while pregnant were slim to none, but there were no guarantees. Because the one during my pregnancy was my third obstruction, I didn't really trust their "statistics"... We decided we were not even going to talk about it until our first child was three. (I'm the one who made up that rule, actually. I like to make up rules for no real reason. It's been a helpful parenting tool, too.)
A few months before our daughter's third birthday, I decided to go to the doctor and see what my hormone situation was. Just in case. It wasn't easy getting pregnant the first time and I wasn't getting any younger. And as it turned out, my hormones were a bit of a mess. My doctor said it was "metabolic syndrome" or "insulin resistance" or "pre diabetes" or "polycystic ovarian syndrome". I consider all of these to be made up diagnoses (and didn't think I really fit the profile for most of them), but I agreed to take Metformin for a month to shut everyone up. It was horrible and made me feel like crap. When that month was over, I informed my doctor I was going to take a different, more natural approach.
Months earlier, I had come across a site called Women to Women. They have quizzes to help you assess your symptoms, then (of course) they have supplements you can purchase to help solve your problems. Their approach made much more sense to me, so I started the program they suggested for me. It included daily vitamins and herbal supplements, but the crux of it was changing the way I was eating. I have followed a mostly vegetarian diet since the late 90s (to varying degrees). I was nearly vegan at one point, but later added fish back to my diet, then eggs and dairy (Veganism is HARD). While preggo with baby #1, I needed barbecue chicken. NEEDED. I kept chicken in my diet after she was born, but was still far from being a total carnivore. Though I made healthful choices for me and my family, I discovered my choices were not at all balanced. I ate waaaaaayyy too many carbs and not enough protein and veggies. And that, my friends, can affect your hormones.
So this issue was really something new and not necessarily related to the "will we or won't we" question. By changing the way I was eating, I noticed I felt A LOT better and I lost a little weight (unintended and unnecessary benefit for me, but still). I planned to go back to get my hormones checked after following the program for a couple months (I did - they were better), and then I'd make an appointment with a surgeon to get his perspective on the scar tissue that may or may not be hanging around in my body. BUT... We still had not decided if we were ready to try pregnancy again.
In May of 2009 our first born turned three. We still had not settled on our family plans - we were leaning towards trying again, but only slightly. If we were to get pregnant again and I had any problems like I had the first time, who would take care of my three year old? I was in no position to be out of commission, even slightly. It felt like a HUGE risk. We talked about it. We prayed about it. And we realized there were no guarantees we could even get pregnant if we decided we wanted to. It was weighing very heavily on us - though we were quite content with our family of three, we loved the idea of giving our sweet girl a sibling.
The "big" third birthday.
A few weeks after that "big" birthday, we attended another third birthday party for a girl in the neighborhood. We didn't know the family that well, but we liked them and our girls had played together a couple of times. The party was kind of taxing because our little one was not a big fan of the bounce house, so it was taking a lot of energy to keep her happy. Also, my husband and I didn't know anyone there but the hosts. We finally ended up sitting down to eat at a random, kid-sized table. Only a mom and her daughter were sitting there, and they welcomed us. We kind of introduced ourselves and started making chit chat and actually really hit it off with this mom. And her daughter had also just turned three, so the girls found each other interesting. We ended up talking to this mom for the rest of the party, and as we left and walked back home, my husband and I came to realize we were absolutely supposed to meet her.
Through the course of our conversations, she shared her own stories of infertility issues, troubled pregnancies, and, sadly, loss. The faithfulness and strength she displayed while sharing her stories were inspiring to say the least. After hearing her story, my husband and I realized we could face whatever challenges another pregnancy - or trying for one - might bring.
Less than two months later, I was pregnant.
Our family of four.
I took the pregnancy test the day of my appointment with the surgeon. Though it didn't really matter what the outcome of the appointment was at that point, I kept it anyway. For reassurance, I guess - not just for me, but also so I would have some type of information to quell the concerns of other people in our lives. Just as others before him had done, he said not to worry about scar tissue, just get to a doctor ASAP if I sensed there was a problem.
There were no problems.
My second pregnancy was remarkably unremarkable - aside from moving halfway across the country during the middle of it. And I must have a comfortable uterus, because she stayed there for nearly 41 weeks. But - true to her personality - when it was time for her to formally enter the world, we barely made it to the hospital on time. And our lives haven't been the same in the two years since. Thank God.
Love brought my husband and I together. Hope helped us get through our first pregnancy. Faith carried us to - and through - the second. But never underestimate the power of prayer. I'm very thankful my husband and I were aware enough to realize we had received the answer to ours.
My sweet toddler monster just the other day.