Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Snips & Snails & Puppy Dog Tails

We found out what we're having, despite many people who I am sure were well-intentioned telling us not to. I wanted to know. There was part of me that needed to know. And I think Curtis is the same way. We want to be able to prepare for our child. I realize that practically speaking you can prepare without knowing--a crib is a crib, a changing table is a changing table, diapers are diapers. But we want to do more than that.

So yesterday at my 20 week ultrasound we found out that we're having a boy. A son. I've written before about the song 'All of Me' by Matt Hammitt. The ultrasound technician always plays K-LOVE, which I find comforting. There were many times during the infertility when I'd be so nervous to look at the screen and see only tiny eggs, ones that would never release, and the comforting words of God would be surrounding me in music. Yesterday when I laid back on the table and she started the ultrasound 'All of Me' came on. It was playing as she told us we are right--we were in fact having a boy. And the profundity of the moment was so over-whelming. A boy, this long hoped for child is a son to carry on my husband's name and his legacy. And it was the perfect song to be playing as the soundtrack for this moment. This child does have all of me, I promised him that months ago. I promised him that I wouldn't hold back my heart, even in moments of fear when I am tempted to. And this little boy, still growing and getting strong, already has me in his grips. His daddy, too. He's such a miracle.

Our doctor's office has the 4D technology which gave us a real life view of what he's up to in there. With the new imagery we could see our son not only in flat black & white but in 3D moving around and waving his arms. He already has his father's nose and as he stubbornly refused to turn his head for a profile shot we know he has the Berry stubborness (his father's words, not mine, I promise you...although Halseys have been known to be stubborn, too.).  He has sturdy limbs and big feet, again like his daddy. His heartbeats perfectly. It's too early to tell if he will have HCM like his dad, but right now his heart is brand new and perfect. And if it turns out he does have HCM, I think that stubborness will become tenacity to deal with it like his dad. I don't know yet what he has from me...maybe my eyes. Curtis wants our children to have green eyes like me and not brown like him. I hope that he will love music and books like me.

But more than anything, I want him to be himself. I know we'll be able to pick out the bits and pieces from each of us. But a child isn't just a composite of his parents. A child is his own being, created by God to be his own self. I pray I give him the space to find out who that is, even with all the dreams I have for him already forming in my heart. I hope that we teach him to be kind, honorable, and generous. I hope that we teach him to be ambitious and competitive, but in healthy measures. A boy will be a boy, and I hope I'm prepared to deal with that. I know what to do with sugar and spice and everything nice but snips and snails and puppy dog tails are a mystery to me. I want to help instruct my little boy in becoming a man of God--a man the way God designed him to be, not a man the way the world wants him to be.

But for now he's still growing inside of me, getting bigger and stronger and ready for life outside. I think he's amazing. He takes my breath away before he's had his first breath. How can people see such miracles and not believe in a divine creator? I don't understand. All I can see when I look at my son, when I feel my belly expanding to give him room to grow, is God's fingerprints all over us. All over me, all over Curtis, and all over this son we share. He's a miracle and I love him so much already.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Because Of The Baby

I haven't written in ages. Sometimes I lose my voice and it doesn't always mean that I can't talk. Sometimes I just can't write. I have nothing to say, or what I do have to say comes out all garbled. I promised myself I wouldn't clutter up this blog with meaningless chatter (do you really care what I had for breakfast this morning? Wildberry poptarts, if you do...and they're making me nauseous).

That being said, something profound should follow...right? Well, I got nothin'. But I have that urge in my heart to write again. To express, to communicate, to emote, to be heard, or at least put something out there in the world. Silence is golden sometimes, this is a hard lesson for a chatterbox like me. But there are times for sharing, too. Even if I'm not sure yet what it is I'll share.

Christmas is fast approaching. There's far too much on my to-do list. I don't see how it will possibly all get done. But it will. Presents will be wrapped, the tree will be decorated, I might even manage to make a few sweet treats. This is one of the miracles of Christmas--it somehow comes together with too little time. At least this year I'm determined to stay joyful. Mostly I meltdown around the holidays. But the baby has me focused this year on what matters. The baby has helped a lot in this area.

Truth be told, a lot of people in my life are angry about other people and other things that they can't control. I listen, I sympathize, sometimes I agree, sometimes I try to gently suggest something else. I used to get all whipped up into a frenzy, sometimes I still do, but I realized last week: I don't have the extra energy to spend on anger. It's a natural emotion, a reaction, and at times I find it downright biblical. But I can't stay in anger, it takes up far more energy than I have to spare. This is a huge lesson to learn for a girl who has wrestled with anger issues and bitterness. Frankly, it takes a lot less energy to just cry it out and move on...and even less energy to let it go. But it is draining to dwell in anger. The baby has brought this lesson to the forefront. I think I learned it a long time ago, but being pregnant has taught me to spend my energy wisely. This is how I realized that spending it on anger is a bad investment.

The same is true for worry. Yes, I get nervous every time I go to the doctor and they listen for that heartbeat. And when I sneeze and my entire abdomen seizes with violent pain, I get a little nervous. But I don't have the extra energy to spin my wheels in worry. This was a monumental lesson for a compulsive worrier. The baby has taught me so much and hasn't even take his or her first breath.

No wonder they say parenthood changes everything...

The real reason I started writing today is because my heart is feeling a little more heavy and a little less merry. My grandparents' health is failing, first one, then the other, then the other one again. It's hard on them, it's hard on we who love them. And sometimes I catch myself just whispering over and over again, hold on until Spring.

I never thought that they would live long enough to see me get married, let alone have a child. Especially when we discovered our infertility issues. As the baby seemed farther and farther away, it seemed more and more certain that I'd never even have one photo, one memory, of my beloved grandparents with my much longed-for child. But I worship the God of Impossibilities, and He made a miracle inside me. I have to trust His timing and His goodness. But it just seems like this winter is going to be so hard on these dear souls...Winter is always hard for old folks.

This is where all those lessons I've been learning, or realizing, because of the baby help me. I can't be angry with the diagnoses or changes. It won't change anything. I can't spin my wheels in worry. It won't help anything. There's nothing I can say now that I haven't said in the last five years (woulda, coulda, shoulda, what ifs and maybes). All I can do is trust in God, love them as hard as I can, and take care of this little budding life inside me.

Christmas celebrates the birth of a baby. Not just any baby, but a real miracle baby. The miracle baby that trumps all other miracle babies. God wrapped in flesh, God among us, God born in a barn (what were you born in a barn? well, it was good enough for our Lord and Savior). Christmas is a time of great celebration and joy because Christmas was Heaven reaching out to us. Four-hundred years of silence shattered with two babies--a prophet to prepare the way and the Messiah who would save us all. This is not a time for anger, for worry, or for senseless chatter. This is a time for gratitude and celebration. Exuberance.

This is the time to consider what a baby has taught us. Not just me and my baby. But the Baby. The Baby who would grow into the man who would change the world with His words and return us to God with His sacrifice. So many lessons can be taken from the manger, if we're only quiet and listen.

Humility. Gentleness. Simplicity.

And the angel said unto them, 
"Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger."
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
Luke 2:10-14 
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