Wild Ride

KendraSo I’m thinking that my doctor is the Queen of False Hope. She got me so geared up for an early delivery, and here we sit, three weeks later. Glad I spent so much time worrying about that one, when it turns out, I’m permanently pregnant.

She also told me last Thursday that it would happen in the next 24 hours.

Nope. Oh, well.

Ben keeps saying, “You CAN’T be pregnant forever – this has to end soon!”

What he doesn’t understand is that I actually feel as though I WILL be pregnant forever. I cannot imagine my life any other way at this point!! I cannot imagine that we are on the verge of adding another little person to our family!

I was in Baby’s room last night when Ben came looking for me. I tossed him a pair of impossibly small sleepers, and asked, “Can you actually imagine that there will be a little baby wearing those sleepers soon?”

He proceeded to arrange the sleepers over his shoulder and pat the back of them, which was very sweet, but then he suddenly grabbed the feet, and started whirling and twirling them energetically through the air.

Baby is in for a wild ride…

Choosing What I’m Going to Listen To

Almost every moment of the day, I am quite aware of the fact that I’ve got a passenger on board. I feel the extra pounds I’m carrying around, I can’t fit through small spaces anymore, and those wild kicks inside are a frequent reminder that my body is shared property right now!

Us girlsBut the other morning, I woke up, and just for the first moment or two, I forgot that I’m pregnant. Baby was completely still, and there was nothing to remind me of my big belly. Of course, realization quickly kicked in, but I lay there for a bit, thinking of what it felt like to be “the old me”.

And something amazing came to my mind – once this baby is out, and my body goes back to the usual way of things, I will never, ever be “the old me.”  I have another child, and our family will be forever different.

I will be different. I suddenly realized one of the interesting changes this pregnancy has brought – it has destroyed a label over my life. For years, I was told that I couldn’t have another baby. My body was not strong enough, and I was not healthy enough. There was such an intense longing inside of me for another baby, and I thought I would carry that unfulfilled longing with me for the rest of my life.

That morning, it hit me – the longing is fulfilled, and I am free. My body is strong enough, I am healthy enough. I am not that person anymore, and suddenly, I felt as though I could do anything, be anything – that anything is possible.

God has poured out this blessing on my life, and I have been reminded once again that His words are the only ones that really matter. All those therapists who said this pregnancy wasn’t possible? They don’t get the final say.

I used to take in those words people told me – I let others label my life, and tell me how it would be. But that’s changing.

A few months ago, my dear friend was told her little girl may never walk. She emailed me to ask for prayer, and as I brought the situation to God, I asked Him, “What do you want to say in all of this?”

And the words that came immediately to mind were, “What God has to say about that little girl’s life is far more important than what any doctor has to say.” I saw such a clear picture of God holding that sweet girl in His hands. He had the situation covered.

You know what? Just a short time later, she’s now walking.

I’m not saying we don’t need doctors.

I love doctors. I’m very thankful for them.

What I am saying is that God is still doing the impossible today, and if there are words I’m going to play over and over in my mind, I want them to be His words. I want to hang on to His promises. I want to throw off the old labels, and become the person He made me to be.

What He has to say about me is far more important than anything else that will ever be said.

A Little Pregnancy Update

I was at a wedding a few weeks ago, and needed some help getting connected with my special plate of gluten-free food. An extremely friendly man was sent to talk with me about dietary concerns, and as we were walking to get my food, he asked enthusiastically, “Are you pregnant?!!”

When I said yes, he clapped his hands together, exclaimed “YAY!”, and threw his arms around me.

I had never seen him before, and will probably never see him again, but he was as excited as he would have been if we had been friends for 10 years.

People are awesome. I keep getting the most lovely words of congratulations and encouragement, and everyone is eager to share in our joy and excitement.:)

Recently, I ran into a family friend who had not heard the story of our little miracle baby, and I was able to share with her what God’s been doing for our family. She listened with tears in her eyes, and when I finished, she grabbed me in a huge hug and said, “That’s the BEST story!!”

I am reminded again and again that God doesn’t just bless us – He blesses the people around us when we share about the incredible things He’s done.

6 monthsSince I haven’t shared much about this pregnancy recently, I thought it might be time for a little update. I get asked a lot about how I’m feeling, and how my body is holding up.

I’m feeling good, all things considered. God’s done a lot of amazing things in my body since last December, but I still experience pain and discomfort. As long as I keep up with my stretches and exercises, and visit my therapists regularly, we’re able to keep things moving!

Much to my surprise, I’ve actually been doing a lot better than when I was pregnant with Kaylia. My hips and pelvis went out of place about four months along, and I wasn’t able to walk properly for the rest of that pregnancy. It was very, very painful.

I’m extremely happy to still be getting around relatively easily, and am so thankful for the amazing therapists I’ve been able to get connected with, who are able to help me so much during this pregnancy. I’ve also been told that because I’ve kept up with exercising, I should be able to bounce back fairly quickly once Baby is born, which was excellent news, considering it took five years to recover the last time.

We are all quite excited, and the girls are eagerly anticipating the arrival of their new brother, but at the same time, we have a lot of projects to finish (including a baby room!) and work to do, so we will have enough to keep us busy until Baby decides to make his appearance.

I have been struggling with blogging as regularly, due to lack of energy and creativity at times, and so instead of my usual blogging schedule of Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, things seem to be a bit more sporadic around here. I still hope to stick to my usual schedule as much as possible, just because I enjoy the routine and challenge, but when Baby arrives, who knows what will happen!

So if you want to know when there’s something new to read, or you want to be sure to see the first photos I post of Sweet Baby, you can always “follow” this blog by clicking the button on the right side, which basically adds you to an email list, and you will be sent each blog post as soon as I post it.

Thanks so much for all of your kind words of encouragement and support! I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

Quoting Ben on Answers to Awkward Pregnancy Questions

When we were graduating from college, Ben didn’t really know what he wanted to do next. He dreaded the question, “What will you be doing next year?”

So he decided to make an awkward situation entertaining for himself, by trying to see what outrageous occupations he could come up with in his answers about future plans.

Lately, I’ve been needing his creativity, as people have been finding out about our third miracle baby being on the way. I keep finding myself in need of some good answers for some of the awkward questions and comments I’ve received. Somehow, I stumble through an answer, go home to tell Ben about it, and then enjoy the ideas he comes up with.

Here’s a few of his ideas:

Question: “So, was this a planned pregnancy?”

Ben: “WELL, there was this one night….” (Because he says awkward questions deserve awkward answers….For the real answer, see this post!)

Question: “What do you hope you’ll have?”

Ben: “We’re REALLY hoping for a unicorn!”

Comment: “I would LOVE to see how you would handle having a boy!!”

Ben: “Well, we don’t really know what we’re doing with girls, either, so there shouldn’t be much difference!”

onesie

If you have any awkward questions that need answers to, I’m sure Ben would love to help you out!;)

Four Ways to Fight Fear (Or “How I’m Surviving Pregnancy After Miscarriage”)

I want to write about fighting fear today, but here’s my warning: while I believe that these tools can be used to fight fear across the board, I’m going to be writing about mine in terms of pregnancy and miscarriage, because that’s where my life has been at for the last two months.

It is my hope and prayer that whatever you might be facing in your life, these ideas can be of help and encouragement, even though we don’t all fear the same things….

How I Got into This Mess

When Ben and I talk about my issues with fear, he often expresses how helpless he feels about not being able to make things better for me. He would love to help me, but he just doesn’t understand how I think. He doesn’t get why I worry or feel fear. I’ve had a tendency to pick the worst-case scenario, and then imagine how I would deal with it, thinking this would prepare me for whatever might actually happen.

Over the past few years, I’ve gone to war with that kind of thinking, slowly and painfully trying to change old, bad habits of thought patterns. I’ve been told it works a bit like a beaten path through the forest – our minds follow certain trains of thought, until they become well-worn, and difficult to break away from.

My fears over these last couple of months come from the fact that after Anika was born, we went through two miscarriages, and three and a half years of fertility treatments. During this time, I was very weak physically, mentally, and spiritually. All three tie together so tightly, one tends to bring the rest out of balance. I went to see a counselor during that time, but she focused only on the mental aspect, while I needed balance in the other areas, as well. Things only started improving once I was also seeing a naturopath to heal my physical issues, and found some friends who were able to support and mentor me spiritually. I also read a ton of great books, which is one of my favorite ways to learn and grow.

Before this could happen, however, I become pregnant with Kaylia, and felt so gripped by fear, and experienced such terrible morning sickness, I stayed in bed for hours each day. I could hardly function, those first few months. It’s kind of a blur to me now – I just remember it being a very dark time.

It was hard to recover from it – Kaylia was a few months old before I felt as though I had finally gotten over the fear and trauma of that pregnancy. In the five years since, it’s been amazing to see how God has brought healing, strength, and stability into my life. I’ve learned a lot about choosing my thoughts carefully, and fighting fear. I am not the same person I was back then.

Kendra and Kaylia

However. When I found myself unexpectedly in that dreaded first trimester all over again, I was terrified that I would regress. I did not want to go back to my old way of dealing with things, but it was incredibly hard to be faced with those old fears, and NOT slip back into the well-worn paths in my mind.

I cannot claim to have been completely victorious, but I can say that this time around, things were very different.

Here are the tools I used to fight fear:

1) Hang on to Scripture.

Like your life depends on it. I chose a few verses that directly applied to my situation, and I said those verses over and over and over again. I wrote them out repeatedly. I meditated on them. I prayed them.

When I went for counseling years ago, I was told that the best way to redirect the pathways in the mind is to come up with an alternative thought – something truthful and logical that replaces the fear.

But they were still just words. It worked to a point, but it didn’t have anywhere near the same strength that Scripture has.

For this situation, these are the verses I chose:

“All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:16.

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” Matthew 6:27

I chose these verses because I needed to remember that this baby’s life is in God’s hands. My worrying and fear could not extend that life. God already knew how long this little life would be, and I needed to surrender to His perfect wisdom, knowledge, and plan.

No, it doesn’t guarantee that I’ll get what I want. I wanted this baby to live, with everything in me. I wanted comforting verses that would assure me God would only do what is good and wonderful. But it’s not true. Babies die and bad stuff happens, but if my focus stays on Jesus, suddenly even the worst possibilities fade from my sight, and all I care about in that moment is hanging on to Him. He doesn’t take the bad stuff away – He just captures my focus so I don’t see the fear anymore.

2) Live in the moment.

In these last two months, God did not give me strength to survive losing this baby, because I didn’tlose this baby.

The problem with worrying is that you put yourself outside of this present moment, and Jesus isn’t giving me strength for my imaginary scenarios. He’s here. I firmly believe that He will give me strength to go through whatever life brings my way, but He WON’T give me strength for things life DOESN’T bring my way. I don’t need it! But I do have everything I need, for this present moment.

3) Get prayer support.

Sometimes I feel embarrassed about my issues with fear. I don’t want people to know, because I want to appear strong. I feel foolish about some of the things that worry me. I know better, so I don’t want to admit my struggles with something I know I shouldn’t be struggling with.

But amazing things happen when we open up and share. Our vulnerability often opens doors for others to let down their guard, as well. I’m always amazed by how many other people also struggle with fear. Satan loves to lie to us, and convince us we’re alone, but we’re NOT!!

Opening up to my wonderful friends opened the doors for beautiful times of prayer and being strengthened. On one of my weakest days, a friend gripped my arms, looked me straight in the eyes, and said, “You are not that person anymore. You do not fear. You are strong, and God has not made you a woman of fear.” And then she prayed until all the junk had been cleaned out.

Don’t ever stay alone in your fear. If  you really don’t think you have someone to turn to, then pray like crazy that God will bring someone your way who can pray with you and speak those words of truth into your life.

4) There is no condemnation.

I felt very guilty about my fear sometimes. I didn’t want it, I was ashamed of it, and I felt guilty for allowing it to cloud what should have been a happy time in my life.

When people heard that we were expecting a baby, I was asked many times, “Are you excited???!!” And the answer was “no”. I don’t know if I ever actually said that, but that was the truth. I spent two months protecting my weary heart, and I was petrified to get attached to this baby. I wasn’t excited. I didn’t even want to tell people that we were having a baby, because I was annoyed that they were more excited than I was!!

I fought with everything in me not to lose control and enter a complete state of panic. I fought to keep my eyes of Jesus, and to get through the first trimester without losing faith. There was no room for getting excited.

So I felt guilty. And I worried that I might not get excited, at all!

But I need not have worried. When I heard that heartbeat for the first time at the end of the first trimester, I was set free. I was suddenly overcome with excitement, and I wanted EVERYONE to know!

Ben always says, “It will be what it will be.” And this is completely true with baggage. I am on my way to freedom in Christ, but it’s a journey. He understands that, and He just keeps loving me and waiting for me as I keep learning and working it out. He doesn’t condemn me for what I’m feeling – He just keeps offering peace.

It was my own expectations that brought guilt and condemnation into my situation. One day, I finally sat myself down, and had to say to myself, “I am not excited, but I will be. I can’t change what the past held, and I’m learning to face a lot of old fears. It is what it is. So I will keep giving it to Jesus, and I will not expect myself to feel certain things. I will accept the past, trust Him with the present, and hope for better things in the future.”

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And here we are. I made it through one of my greatest fears. There are many, many other fears that could potentially creep in – there are no guarantees, even after the first trimester is over. But I’ve gotten stronger. I’ve practiced controlling my thoughts, and grown in my ability to trust God, and now we just keep going!

Same tools, different circumstances.

I’d love to hear what tools you use to fight fear in your own life. Share, and bless the rest of us?:)