Saturday, August 4, 2012

All I've Known is Holland

On July 2, 2012 I stood in our bathroom at 5:00 a.m. with heart pounding as I waited for the results to read on the pregnancy test strip. My heart nearly pounded out of my chest a moment later when the positive sign was revealed! In a state of shock I went and woke up Shawn, who was too groggy at first for the information to register. When he was able to take in what I was saying, he too was shocked and thrilled. After a year and a half of waiting, it felt surreal. We really are going to have another baby!

After rejoicing with me, Shawn drifted back to sleep, but I knew I would not be able to. Instead I went out to the living room to worship, pray, and reflect on this sudden change in our lives. I had known disappointment after disappointment while trying to conceive a second child. The desire had become so intense, it was beginning to consume me. In May the Lord gently put His finger in that very vulnerable place and asked me to lay my desire on the altar. The desire to have children is a good thing in and of itself, but I was so focused on my longing that it was distracting me from my walk with God. He desires that there be no other loves before Him because He created us for relationship with Himself, and He knows that no other love can fully satisfy our hearts. So, in His love He asked me to surrender my desire for a baby to Him, stop trying to make something happen, and just focus on knowing Him more. With a trembling heart I said “yes,” not knowing what all my yes would require but knowing that I want to live my life in the center of His will. The “yes” had to be reaffirmed every time the longing arose and sought to overtake my emotions, often multiple times a day. It was both a painful and liberating process, but in the midst of the uncertainty and tears of surrender, a new peace descended on my heart. My prayer of “Lord, open my womb,” had become “Lord, may Your will be done.”

Considering this recent journey He had taken me on, it was not on my screen that I would be getting pregnant any time soon. So when my period was late in coming and I was noticing some other unusual symptoms, I tried to not get my hopes up that this was a sign of pregnancy and took the test to more just rule out the possibility. I was shocked that so soon after I surrendered the desires of my heart to Jesus, He granted me those very desires. I feel like I am living in Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart,” (NKJV).   

As I write this I am entering the 10th week of my pregnancy, and already this one feels different. I am more tired this time, which stands to reason as I did not have a small child to care for this first time around. The queasiness in 24/7 instead of off and on. My “baby bump” is emerging much more rapidly this time, and I’ve only gained a pound so far! There isn’t the clear sense of whether or not we’re having a boy or a girl like we had with Benjamin. Also this one just feels different; I don’t have language to describe how or why. The reality that I may finally be taking a trip to “Italy” is growing inside me more and more. Yet all I’ve known is “Holland.”

In some ways I feel like I will have to learn to be a parent all over again. The slower pace of Holland is what I’m familiar with. Every stage of Benjamin’s development has been so extended, and every new milestone has required so much work. Currently, he is 3 years and 2 months old and is still operating developmentally like a 10-12 month old. Picturing the much faster pace of Italy is both thrilling and a bit intimidating. I can only imagine Shawn’s and my wonder as our next baby seemingly effortlessly reaches milestones in his or her first year that Benjamin did not reach until his second or third year after months and months of intervention. I can picture joy in watching our next child’s development speed by as well as grief as we remember just how hard Benjamin had to work for the same things.

Though I will be required to have another c-section, my heart is thrilled at the prospect of being able to see my baby right after delivery and being able to hold and nurse my child within a few hours. I am in awe of the thought of being able to bring a healthy baby home at the time of my release from the hospital. I know that this experience is the norm, but for so long it has felt like a distant dream! I also realize that I don’t have a clear idea of what the first few months with a new born are really like. Benjamin was so weak from the holes in his heart that he slept away the majority of his first two months, one of those months being in the NICU. During his first month home he rarely woke me up to feed him; I had to wake him up to eat! While I know that every child is different and brings their own unique experience, I have a feeling that the differences for us will be even more keenly felt.

The arrival of our next child will definitely be a new adventure and one that I welcome whole-heartedly, with all the ups and downs that may accompany the journey! I am so happy to have another child to love, and I am so excited that Benjamin will have a sibling to grow up with. I look forward to watching their relationship unfold. I am eagerly anticipating Italy, and I will continue to cherish Holland!

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