writing

Never Say Never

Never. Again.

I swore up and down that I would never get married again. I had fallen for the “happily ever after” trap once and was not going to make that mistake again. As a very young and naive barely twenty year old, I met a boy that I thought was my white knight. He came riding in on his high horse to rescue me from the chaos and instability of my life in that moment. In my desperation to feel loved and accepted, I lost myself. It wasn’t all at once, but piece by piece I willingly sacrificed nearly everything that made me who I am to gain that love and acceptance I so desired. When my marriage ended I vowed never to give away those sacred parts of myself again… I would never ever get married again.

Spoiler alert: I got married again.

It turns out that it wasn’t marriage itself that suffocated my sense of self, it was THAT marriage. A dangerously toxic combination of insecurity, pride, and wounds of the past created the perfect storm that led to my demise. It took years of healing, countless tears, a few more heartbreaks, and some type of divine intervention from the universe to find the one who would change my mind about marriage.

What I didn’t expect was to find a partner who was capable of changing my mind about having more children. I wasn’t against having more kids because I didn’t want more kids, but because the most traumatic part of my divorce was (and continues to be) navigating custody, co-parenting, and knowing that while the divorce was the best thing for me… My daughter has had to pay a price for that.

You would think I would learn to never say never, but apparently I haven’t. As we worked together to intentionally build a foundation of trust, respect, and love it was overflowing. It was out of that overflow that we chose to expand our family. It wasn’t some socially expected “next step” or some need to have a child to “fix” our relationship, it was because our home and hearts were so full of love that it just made sense to expand that. My, what a different experience this was for me.

It was October of 2020 and we were preparing for a beautiful cottage getaway in Maine with our besties who live in NYC. As we drove from NYC to Maine, I casually asked if we could stop for a pregnancy test. I was only a date late starting my period, but I was curious. We couldn’t find anywhere until the next day. It was the middle of the afternoon in that tiny adorable cottage that we found out we were expecting. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to find out about this gift of life than being surrounded by those who have seen me crumble, fall, and work like hell to find peace. ((Sidebar to say: Find your people, your tribe… and hold tight to them even if it means cross country flights, video calls, and countless texts day after day))

10.10.2020

It didn’t seem real. We were too excited to hold it in and video called both of our families from the beautiful backyard in that little cottage.

We were wrapped in so much love before deciding to expand our family and infinitely more love after sharing that we were expecting that it just felt so right.

This baby was going to be one of my favorite life lessons (that I still haven’t learned)…

Never Say Never.

((This post is about when we found out we were pregnant in October of 2020 with our precious Hazel Jean, who is now nearing 9 months old! I wanted to go back and document these moments as I ease back into writing as a creative outlet… We are not expecting another one… not just yet *wink*))

parenting

The Birth Story.

Wow, as I sit here and write this I can hardly believe how much has changed in the last week. Last Sunday was my official due date… The day I had counted down for. It seemed so far away for so long! My parents, Chris and I actually went out sledding on my due date (I just took pictures, no sledding for me). Chris and I also decided to paint the wall in our bedroom that we had been putting off painting. I had been having contractions off and on for awhile. Last Saturday I was actually on the verge of going to the hospital because I thought it was time. I would have several intense contractions, and just when they got “regular” they would space out. Monday morning came and I had a doctors appointment, I was dilated to 3cm and about 80% effaced. Typically they would wait until 41 weeks to induce, but my parents were only in town until the end of the week so the doctor said I could go in after Midnight that night. After all this wondering and waiting it was really going to happen, she was going to be here!! I tried to rest as much as I could throughout the day, but my mind was racing… wondering how it would happen, what she would look like, what it would feel like. Around 9:30pm that night I laid down to try to get some rest… next thing I know I wake up and its 11:45pm and we were supposed to be at the hospital at 12… and it was snowing… good thing we were already packed! We got to the hospital, got checked in and set, and around 1:15am they started the Pitocin. They start it off at 2mg and say they can go up to 30mg. The contractions started coming pretty soon after they got the Pitocin going, they started off pretty mild. I thought this isn’t too bad…. haha, I had no idea! They only got the Pitocin up to 6mg before turning off the drip because my body took over on its own. Suddenly around 3:30-4am they took a turn from tolerable to intense. The nurse checked and I had made enough progress for them to give me the epidural. Oh, what a miracle that was. I was a little nervous about the actual process of getting the epidural but it wasn’t painful at all. I was able to get some rest after getting the epidural. The nurse came in again to check me around 6:15am and right as she was getting ready to check if I had dilated more my water broke on its own. That was a crazy feeling…. a loud pop and gush. After the water broke they were having a hard time finding Paytons heartbeat so they gave me internal monitors. My doctor came in around 8:30am and said I was 8-9cm and I would probably have a baby before lunch time. The doctor and nurses all left the room and just a little after 9am I had to call the nurse back in because I was feeling pressure and the urge to push. She checked and I was fully dilated and ready to go. I started pushing but it was so painful they had to come and readjust the epidural. After they fixed that I was good to go. I pushed for a little more than an hour, they kept telling me her head was right there and I just needed to push a little harder. I didn’t believe them. I just got into the zone and kept going. There was a good 15 minutes I wasn’t sure she was going to come out. I had my eyes closed and just kept pushing until my mom told me to open my eyes cause she was coming out. The flood of emotions was outrageous. They had to take her away right away because she swallowed some meconium, even just looking at her from across the room I was already so enamored with her. She was absolutely perfect. 7 pounds even, 20 1/4 inches long born at 10:48am. She came out with precious pink skin and to my surprise some peach fuzz! I thought for sure she would have dark hair. I’m sure it will get darker, mine did. When they finally brought her to me it was just unbelievable that this precious little girl lived inside me and was now here with us. It is just so miraculous the way God designed our bodies to be able to do this. Recovery has been a lot easier than I expected. I was up and around within just hours after giving birth. I know this is just the beginning of a lifetime of memorable moments with our little one.

parenting

insomnia.

Once again I find myself unable to sleep. I tossed and turned in bed for about an hour, then for the sake of my soundly sleeping husband decided to come downstairs so he could continue to rest. I looked out the window to find the ground covered in a thick blanket of white. Something about that seems so magical… at least it does from the inside looking out. I’d change my mind rather quickly if I had to go out in it I’m sure.

Fast Forward a few hours….

Its now almost 9am. I drifted off to sleep for a short 30 minutes and then woke up to make sure chris woke up for work. I was really looking forward to today seeing as it was our weekly doctors appointment…. I was hoping to see some progress and possibly schedule an induction to give me some sort of date to look forward to rather than having this uncertainty… Then my phone rings and its the doctors office… turns out my doctor has the flu so she won’t be in today… my appointment got rescheduled for thursday. I’m hoping that maybe I’ll go into labor before than, but at this point I don’t know if that will ever happen. So, now here I am all ready to go… and no place to go! And of course it snowed all night so the roads are bad… so I can’t go anywhere. Guess thats ok though, I can take a nap to catch up on the sleep i’ve missed the last few nights….

parenting

the waiting game.

so here I am sitting downstairs in a dark quiet house at 6:30 in the morning because I just can’t seem to get back to sleep. I wish I could say it was horrible contraction pains that woke me up, but it wasn’t. I have been having some mild contractions off and on, but nothing to warrant a trip to the hospital. I was so sure that I would have this baby already… but apparently she has other plans. I know, I know… first time moms usually go “late”… but I was sure I was different. So, I find myself home on maternity leave and running out of things to clean and organize!! I will say, however, it has been nice to relax and really start to wrap my mind around the idea that i’m about to become a mom. I think throughout the entire pregnancy i’ve been keeping myself so busy its just in these last few weeks its becoming “real”. As I sit on the couch watching TV and look over at the swing and bouncer in the next room I try to imagine what life will look like with a little one. I wonder what she’ll look like and what kind of a personality she’ll have. The magnitude of this life change is starting to hit home… for the last 2 1/2 years its been just me and Chris. For the rest of our lives it will be our “family”. In some ways I don’t feel nearly old enough to be having a child of my own, but I know that Chris and I are going to be great parents and the timing is perfect.

The “nervousness” of labor and delivery has quickly faded into anxiousness of when will this baby be here? I’m not really scared at all. I’m more excited than anything. I’m ready to get this show on the road! The thing is I have no control over when she decides to come. Maybe thats the hardest part… just not knowing. She’s already calling the shots and she’s not even here yet!!

So here I am playing the waiting game… trying my best to be patient…. But anxiously looking forward to having a precious little one to share life with.

parenting

exhausted!

its barely after 10pm and i’m completely exhausted. i feel like i’m in a constant state of exhaustion at this point. we are nearing week 36 of pregnancy and i’m honestly struggling. everything takes extra effort at this point. the reality that she is almost here sinks in more and more every day. last tuesday i went to the doctor and found out she has dropped and is in the right position and i’m 1cm dilated.  i am so excited, but have such a hard time envisioning what life will be like once shes here. i’m just trying to stay rested at this point, but thats hard to do.

chris started his new job today. i’m so thankful for answered prayers. its a perfect fit for him. hes doing the web/marketing work he loves to do and best of all he is back on salary. its just another way that God has taken care of us.

i was planning on writing a lot more, but my eyes are getting heavy… i think i’m going to turn in for the night…

parenting

reflections.

my thoughts these days seem so random and jumbled. usually i can process several things at once without feeling overwhelmed, but these days that is not the case. it seems like all of my thoughts got thrown into a blender on high speed. i’m blaming it on the pregnancy hormones. we are heading into week 35. usually the new year brings deep reflections of the previous year and goals and excitement for the year to come. this year that isn’t the case. sad to say it seems to just be merging into last year…. i guess usually i anticipate the holidays so much and new years is the pinnacle of it all… not so much this year. the one date set in my head is February 14th. I’m counting down the days and weeks until my baby girl gets here. I honestly don’t feel overwhelmed about it at all, i’m just excited for her to actually be here. I’m also looking forward to relief from pregnancy. I’m just tired at this point…. I’m running out of clothes that fit and I’m missing being able to breathe and sleep on my tummy (or sleep at all around this point). Up until this point I really did enjoy the process of pregnancy, feeling her little kicks and punches… the reality that life was growing inside of me… now her kicks and punches are not so “little” but more vicious. Its so crazy all that goes into creating life. What a journey it has has been. As long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to be a mom. From carrying around my cabbage patch dolls when I was little to carrying around little brothers and sisters, cousins and friends… I always had the desire to nurture and care for one of my own. I was more excited than I could say when I married my best friend. I knew he would not only be an amazing husband but an amazing father as well. We knew that we wanted kids, but we didn’t want them right away. We said we would wait two years before we would have them…  well, life happens. After lots of prayer and intense discussion and evaluation in our life we decided to stop “preventing”. That was in November of 2008.  We talked as though it would happen right away, like we would come home with a baby tomorrow. Month one went by with no results. It was hard to take at first, I wanted immediate results. I thought I had it all figured out. Friends all around me started having babies and getting pregnant. I went through month after month of anxiety of “not knowing” and then facing the disappointment that I wasn’t pregnant time and time again. I finally surrendered to God. I realized He is the giver of life… He has ordained the perfect time for our little one to make their grand entrance into our lives. I still had the anxiety of wondering if this could be “the month”. I went through countless tests, each one showing up with the dreaded “not pregnant.” Add to the raging PMS hormones the disappointment and I was an emotional mess. The problem was it was more than one week of the month I was like that. I have always had problems trying to lose weight as well. I had been tested for thyroid issues before, but only for Hypothyroidism. After going on month 6 of trying to get pregnant I decided to go to the doctor and have them run several different tests regarding hormone imbalances and thyroid problems. It turns out I did have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (an autoimmune disease in which the thyroid gland is gradually destroyed by a variety of cell and antibody mediated immune processes). They put me on some synthetic thyroid hormones and literally less than 3 weeks later I got pregnant. I didn’t find out for another few weeks that I was actually pregnant. It was so surreal. This whole process has been crazy. For so long I imagined what life would be like when I was pregnant… now my day dreams are filled with what life will be like with a little one. 5 weeks to go…. I can’t wait.

Now that i’ve experienced pregnancy in the natural i can so easily relate it to the pregnancy analogy used so often in the spiritual. I really feel like Chris and I have been not only preparing for the birth of Payton… but also preparing for the birth of a new season in our lives. 2009 was a crazy year. We learned so much about ourselves as individuals and as a couple. It was a year of growth. In March we started the process of building our first home. It was exciting at first, but turned into such a tiring process. We gained a lot of wisdom and had some huge perspective shifts. I don’t regret it at all, because in the end we have a beautiful home… but if we could go back we would have done a lot of things differently. We have learned invaluable lessons about relationships. Its funny how the people that you see as your closest friends can shift so easily. I have learned that the most valuable relationships are the ones that are the most balanced… those who not only take what you have to offer, but also give back. Balanced relationships like that are so hard to find these days. Its easy to get caught up in relationships where you are always giving and just as easy to get caught up in relationships where you are always taking. I am really learning to be a good steward of the time that I have been given here by learning how to invest that time in the realm of relationships. The law of sowing and reaping is just as true in relationships as it is anywhere else.  This past year has also been a roller coaster as far as jobs and finances go. For a young married couple chris and i both were making very good money. We were trying to be smart with it, but at 22 with little life experience in regards to having money I could only be so smart. We did pay off a considerable amount of credit card debt and made some big purchases with cash rather than using credit but our saving skills were seriously lacking. I thought I was doing good putting $50 in savings every paycheck… oh if i had only known! As we were saving for the down payment on our house, nearly half our check was going right into savings. We learned how to live on a tight budget and I am thankful for that. The day that we closed on our house (which was in October… 7 months after the process began… and 2 months after the house was officially completed) Chris’ salary position was eliminated. We were thankful that he still had the option to stay with the company, but that meant going back to commission sales. Now, I had been on commission sales all year and hadn’t been doing as well as I did when I first started. With both of us being on full commission and sales being slow for the whole company we knew we had to make a move. So at the beginning of December I decided to move to an hourly position at the same company. Chris decided to do the same. Although it was going to be over 50% less than what we had been making just a few months earlier it would be consistent and especially with me nearing the end of my pregnancy it would be less stressful. Literally one week after we made the move to hourly our company shut down its entire sales department and let several hundreds of people go. We both would have lost our jobs if we hadn’t made the move we did. God is faithful. Over the last 3 months there were times I would stress out about money only to be reminded of God’s faithfulness in the little things. We have ALWAYS been provided for. God didn’t bring us to where we are now to abandon us. Of course I still have my moments when I wonder how things are going to work out, but God always reminds me He is in control. Such a blessed assurance we have in our Savior and Provider.

He is the same yesterday, today and forevermore.

Selah.