As many of you know, a third sweet little one is growing inside of me. I’ve been meaning to write something about this third baby pretty much since I found out I was pregnant…but somehow the words haven’t come. With 28 weeks rapidly approaching on Monday, I thought that now was as good of a time as any to finally write about her. But to do that, I have to go back to the beginning…before this baby was even a possibility in our minds.
Both my husband and I felt really complete with our two kids. Really, we felt done even before the second baby was born. I’m sure it didn’t help that my second pregnancy was a rough one. High amniotic fluid, a preterm labor scare, bedrest, lots and lots of pain, and finally an induction brought us a, thankfully, healthy 8 lb baby girl. A few months later, my struggle with Post Partum Depression solidified our decision. As much as I loved my babies, I was also ready to move out of the baby stage. And so, most definitely, was my husband.
Looking back, though, I realize the idea of a third baby was always there in the back of my heart. I felt it every time I gave away baby stuff. I felt it in the little ache that came with nursing Nora for the very last time. It was never baby fever…just this quiet little tapping at my heart. But I stifled it down. Each day as my two littles got bigger, and life got easier, I sunk more firmly into the idea that “going back” to the baby stage was not for me.
But still the tapping persisted…and it only got louder. Over and over and over again a speaker or a Bible study would randomly speak of that last unplanned baby and my heart would be moved to tears. Reading my Bible, a verse would leap out of the page at me, speaking to the same thing. Twice on one Sunday two separate and completely different people asked us when we were going to have a third baby, BOTH quoting the verse about children being like arrows.
And then my husband started making comments that seemed out of the blue and out of character. Multiple times I heard him ask one or both of the children if they’d like a baby brother or sister. Once when I mentioned I was giving away a certain baby item, he seemed hesitant to actually give it away. I wondered, by pushed it all aside, waiting for him to bring it up. But he never did.
Finally one night as we drove to a movie, I confronted him about it.: “I need you to be honest with me…you keep making these comments that are confusing to me. Do you feel like we’re supposed to have another baby?”
It all spilled out that night. The tapping wasn’t only in my heart…it was in his too. Honestly, we wanted to be done having babies. In our own plans, it made sense…and we had lots of reasons why it did. Yet, it became very clear that night that God had very different plans from our own. We both felt very strongly that there was a third little person with a very special calling on his or her life that God was asking us to raise up. Furthermore, this child wasn’t going to come through adoption (something we’ve both felt called to in the past), but through birth.
The revelation was freeing but also terrifying. Part of me wanted God to just work a miracle and give us a surprise baby. That would have been so easy, wouldn’t it have? But there would be no stepping out in faith and trust on our part. He wasn’t just wanting us to have another child, He was calling us to obedience and surrender. And so, we took the big leap.
I want to say that I don’t know what I was expecting, but really I did. I was expecting that, after all the rigamarole of getting us to have a third baby, I would get pregnant pretty much immediately. But I didn’t.
Some time past (not a lot…but definitely not my timetable), and I found myself facing a hernia repair surgery that needed to be done immediately. I knew there was a chance I could be pregnant, but it hadn’t happened up until this point, so I wasn’t too concerned. Although, once again, I was confused about what God’s plan in all this was. We had felt His calling so clearly, but nothing was panning out like I thought it would. There was still no baby, and now they were going to be putting a mesh inside me that would dissolve after about a year, so waiting at least that long to get pregnant would be ideal. Maybe God just wanted us to obey Him, like calling Abraham to sacrifice his beloved son? Maybe we were just supposed to wait a year and then try for that 3rd baby? I honestly didn’t have a clue.
I pushed for a blood pregnancy test before the surgery, just to be safe. I prayed that, if I was pregnant and wasn’t supposed to have the surgery, that the test would come back positive. The morning of the surgery came, and I was informed that the test was negative. So in I went.
A few days later, despite the doctor’s assurance that I wasn’t pregnant, I still had a nagging feeling. I was late for my cycle, which could just be the stress of the surgery, but I wasn’t sure. I tried to ignore the nagging, but finally I couldn’t any longer. I pulled a cheap test out of the back of the cabinet and took it, just for peace of mind. I’ll never forget watching those two strong lines appear almost instantly.
It wasn’t an elated feeling I felt. Excuse my French, but I’m pretty sure the words that came out of my mouth were, “Oh crap.” And then I marched downstairs and informed my husband that, “We have a problem…I’m pregnant.” As shocked as I was, he was about ten times more so. He couldn’t even really talk about it for a few days, and meanwhile I was reeling from a huge mix of emotions. Fear, guilt, regret, sadness, hope, happiness, and everything else you could think of swirled within me. A few days later, my husband finally responded with the sweetest of letters. He was hopeful and excited…everything that I wanted to be but wasn’t.
I knew that one of the biggest concerns with having surgery in the first trimester was an increased risk of miscarriage. Every single day, multiple times, I checked for spotting, or any other signs of miscarriage. I struggled with telling anyone, because I feared what was coming. I wanted to be excited and hopeful, but I just couldn’t be. Even when I saw that sweet baby on the ultrasound at 9 weeks, heart strongly beating and arms moving, I feared. This sounds terrible, but I as much as I dreaded a miscarriage, I almost preferred it to the thought of what else could be…would there be birth defects? Complications? And if so, I knew it would be my fault.
As the weeks passed though, something happened. Slowly and miraculously, that sweet little one inside of me found a place in my heart. Each week that passed brought a little more hope and and a little more joy.
At 20 weeks we went in for a Level 2 ultrasound, just for some more assurance that everything was, in fact, okay. We watched with baited breathe as the ultrasound tech measured and checked every single detail and part of our little baby. Meanwhile, that sweet baby, which we learned was another girl, moved and flipped and kicked and showed us without a doubt the life that was coursing through her veins. And everything was completely strong and healthy.
In those weeks since, she hasn’t stopped moving. She moves ALL THE TIME…much more than my others ever did. I don’t know what plans God has for this little one, but I do know that she is a mover and a shaker. She is a fighter. She is strong.
And I know something else too. I went into this pregnancy with a lot of fear and anxiety, complications from surgery aside. My second pregnancy wasn’t a cakewalk. I was having contractions before I was 20 weeks and was in pain a lot. I wondered how I’d be able to be a mom to the two I already had if that happened again. But you want to know something? Aside from heavier morning sickness in the first trimester and also baby girl apparently not tolerating ANY caffeine, this has quite honestly been my easiest pregnancy, even easier than my first baby…which was pretty much a cakewalk. I have had zero contractions, no back pain, my iron has been normal at every check (it was low with both of my other two), and my fatigue has been much more minimal. Don’t get me wrong…I still sleep long hours at night, have to pee all the stinking time, and can’t do a lot of things I normally do (giving myself grace has been a huge thing with this pregnancy…but that’s another story for another day). But I want you to know…God blesses us for our obedience…especially when we obey despite being afraid.
I still have worries. I had my first baby naturally and without an epidural, but somehow I still worry about labor and delivery. I’ve realized that the the induction, epidural that didn’t take, and incredibly fast arrival of my second baby left me feeling less than empowered and definitely afraid. I worry about how I’ll handle taking care of her and everything else in life if she’s colicky. I worry about struggling with PPD again.
But I also know in my heart that she’s going to bring such beautiful joy and completeness to our family. I can see it in my son’s eyes every time he kisses my belly and softly talks to his “baby sister”. I see it in my daughter’s adamancy that everything we get for this baby be pink, even the bottles…and how she now sets aside anything she’s grown out of to give to her sister. I see it in my husband as he so sweetly loves and cherishes our daughter, knowing that he’ll soon have two little girls to be a daddy to. I see it in myself, with how much love now fills up my heart for this baby girl, in this space I never knew existed. It will be a challenge, and every reason we had for why we didn’t want a third baby will probably prove true. But I also know this: she is the gift we never knew we needed.