Second Trimester and More Things I Never Thought I’d Get to Say…

We are now well into the second trimester, and each report from the doctor is great!  I know I’ve been strangely quiet on the blog about the pregnancy, but I’ve been weirdly protective of everything related to this baby.  (Okay, maybe not so weird given our history…)  I’ve yet to post ultrasound pictures anywhere, and I’m stingy about who I share them with.  I’ll post pictures at some point soon because I just know everyone wants to see our little alien. 🙂  She does look pretty human now, though, so we’ve outgrown the early stages of “What is that thing?” and “I’m just going to take your word for it…” on the ultrasound pictures.

Yes, that was SHE, in case you haven’t seen it on FB.  We’ll have a little girl joining us at the end of January.  And, no, we haven’t picked out a name yet.  We’re still perusing the name book and waiting to see what fits.  It’s tempting to choose a name that reflects the magnitude of what this little one means to us, but that’s a lot of pressure to saddle a kid with.  “You have to be brilliant and special because we’ve lost so much to get to this point.”  If that won’t create a host of neurotic breakdowns, I don’t know what will.

So while this child is more than we could have hoped for already, I think it’s best for her to be just a normal kid with goofy parents who are sure to embarrass her at every turn.  We’re already set to be the old farts in home room; when our little girl turns sixteen, we’ll be fifty.  That’s a little daunting.  But it’s also a tremendous asset.  I hate that we won’t be young parents, but we don’t have any crazy expectations that parenthood is some sort of magical domestic bliss.  We’re well aware that it is hard work, and we’ve both reached a point in our lives where we choose our battles carefully.  We’ve had to let go of so much already that rolling with the punches is just what you do.

I really want to see “The Odd Life of Timothy Green.”  I won’t watch it for another year or so because I can’t watch the trailer without crying.  They show part of a scene where the parents who have tried desperately to have a child on their own give up.  They write down all of the things that their child would be – funny, smart, kind – and bury it in a box in their garden.  Maybe the rest of the movie is horrible, but that scene is such a great snapshot of what our last five years have been like.  For a week or two at a time, we could dream about what our kid would be like before we had to bury the dream again.  That’s another reason I’ve been oddly quiet: for so long, loss has been our story that it’s hard to write about this amazing gift without feeling like I’m losing sight of where we came from.  I honestly hate that I am one of those stories being bandied about to other women who are struggling with infertility or losses of their own.  “If you just hold on and keep trying, things will work out for you just like they have for my friend…”  There is a time for hope, and there is a time for grief, and I hope that if you feel tempted to use me as an example for a struggling friend that you pause and consider what your friend needs most.  Usually, it’s not the miracle story.

I am under no illusions that this is nothing short of a miracle; we still have no medical explanation for our miscarriages, and there is no reason that this pregnancy has continued where every other one failed except that this is God’s plan.  I still don’t understand it, and I still don’t like most of it, and it certainly wasn’t MY plan.  But this baby is coming at this time in our lives for some reason that only God knows and we will likely never discover on this side of the veil.  If you really must share my story with someone struggling through their own infertility/pregnancy loss hell, I hope that this is what you share: we won’t always understand God’s plan, and we don’t have to understand it or even like it.  We do have to submit our plans and dreams to him and trust him to work out the details in a way that will honor him.  You may not get what you want, but you will always get what you need.  It will never be easy to lay down your own dreams and wait for God to give you new ones, but it’s worth the work and the pain.  I can honestly say that we would have been happy even if God hadn’t blessed us with this pregnancy because we learned to be content and useful where we were no matter what.  I really never thought I would be registering for baby clothes and strollers and toys after IVF didn’t work.  I never imagined that I would ever hear a heartbeat that isn’t my own coming from somewhere inside my belly.  I never thought I’d get to count down the weeks and measure my belly by the things I can no longer see when I look down.  I still have a hard time believing that we are actually telling people, “It’s a girl!”  And she is a miracle; she is a gift that I didn’t expect, but her impending arrival isn’t the greatest gift that this journey has given me – the knowledge that I really can and do trust God no matter what is greater still.

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