Kiss Your Miracle

motherhood after infertility

Regret July 28, 2009

Filed under: Faith,Infertility,Motherhood — Linnea @ 12:02 pm

We had Sky’s first birthday party last Saturday and it was a blast. She was a little overwhelmed at first by the crowd of people, and when we put a small cake on her high chair tray, she seemed more confused than excited about the blue frosting covering her hands. But by the time she’d opened her presents, she was racing around with her new car push-toy as if to say, “See mom? I’m not tired at all. I can stay up later now, right?” All in all the evening was perfect.

Except for one thing. After cake and ice cream, some of us were sitting around the table when the topic of holiday plans came up. Because my family lives up north and Adam’s is all down here in Florida, we usually alternate where we go – we’ll do Thanksgiving with his family, Christmas with mine, and then reverse that the next year. 2009 should be our year to have Christmas in Michigan with my family, but if things go smoothly with this pregnancy I’ll be in the middle of my last trimester, and it’ll probably be too late for us to travel. So for now the plan is to stay here in Florida for Christmas. And as we were discussing this, I told Adam’s aunt how disappointed I was at the thought of not being up north this year, especially since my brother Hans and his wife Katy, who live in England, will be there with Sky’s cousin Nicholas. He’s seven months old now and we haven’t even met him yet. “It’s almost like we’re being cheated out of the Christmas we planned,” I said.

The conversation rolled forward around me, but I suddenly stopped, hearing only myself in my mind. Had those words really just come of out my mouth? Did I actually say I’d been “cheated”? Because I’m pregnant? I quickly backtracked, saying something to the table about how much we want this baby and that it’s really no big deal to stay home this year, especially because some of my family might come down to Florida. But that’s the thing about careless words – you can explain yourself or even apologize, but what you said can’t really be taken back. It’s still there for anyone to remember.

As everyone at the party chatted and laughed, I sat at the table feeling sick. I don’t think it’s wrong to feel disappointed about not heading north for Christmas. But during our infertility I told myself that if God ever gave me a baby, I’d do everything I could to keep perspective. And I definitely wouldn’t complain about insignificant things. In fact, I really resented the friends I had who seemed to focus only on the drawbacks and sacrifices of their pregnancies instead of the miracle they were blessed to experience. But now I’d done just that. I felt like a total hypocrite.

Long after everyone left, I was still thinking about it. I love Skylar and I’m beyond happy about the pregnancy. I even wrote a post a couple weeks ago about my goal to be grateful, nausea and all. So what’s my problem? Why had it been so easy to see the baby’s birthday as inconvenient, something that might get in the way of our plans? And then I remembered something Beth Moore says: “It takes no effort on my part to wake up and be selfish.” It occurred to me that the root of my comment is that very thing: selfishness. It’s not that I don’t love this new baby. It’s that I am constantly fighting the tendency to love myself more, above everyone else.

To be honest, I can’t think of anything to say right now that would nicely and neatly wrap up my thoughts and make myself feel better. It’s humbling to admit that even after dealing with infertility, I’m very capable of complaining about pregnancy and motherhood, even though I’ve firmly decided that I won’t. I don’t understand it. But what I do know is that our God is a God of forgiveness and grace. And that truth inspires me to ask him for help and to keep trying.


Joy July 26, 2009

Filed under: Faith,Family — Linnea @ 3:34 pm

sky in rain (1 of 1)sky in rain (1 of 2)sky in rain (2 of 2)

“…have faith in God, who is rich and blesses us with everything we need to enjoy life.” – I Timothy 6:17b


Surprise July 22, 2009

Filed under: Infertility,Motherhood,Skylar Grace — Linnea @ 10:38 am

A year ago today I became a mother. Well, technically it first happened about nine months before then, but on July 22nd of last year, I held my baby girl in my arms for the first time. And I know this will sound terrible, but I’m going to admit it anyway – I don’t actually remember that moment. The beginning of my life as a mom was surprising in many ways, starting with labor. We went to the hospital on a Monday night for an induction, geared up for a long, slow, medicated birth. Even when my doctor checked me at the hospital, I wasn’t dilated at all. The plan was for him to prep my cervix that night and start Pitocin the next morning to induce contractions. But forty minutes after he’d gone home for the night, my water broke and contractions began on their own.

Labor was a whirlwind. I couldn’t catch my breath or open my eyes. I dilated so quickly I didn’t even have time for an epidural – a good thing, since I’d originally wanted to do it without one – but in the moment, I definitely would have had one if it’d been possible. It probably sounds stupid, but I wasn’t prepared for just how much labor would hurt or how out of control things would feel. Sky’s position was posterior, so she came down the birth canal face up and got stuck. She also had the cord around her neck twice, so with each contraction her heart rate dipped, and she’d had her meconium stool before the birth as well. Thankfully, I have a wonderful, experienced doctor, who was able to turn her and get her out safely. It took a couple long minutes for her to cry, but once she did her color quickly went from gray to pink. A nurse handed her to Adam and I remember him bringing her over to me, but I told him I felt too shaky to hold her or nurse her at that point. Adam later informed me that I did hold her then, but I have no memory of it.

The intensity of my labor and delivery matched the intensity of my first few weeks as a mother. When Sky was a newborn she fussed or cried almost every waking moment, and I spent most of those early days feeling totally overwhelmed. I quickly realized that being a mom was much harder than I’d envisioned during our years of infertility.

But now, a year after Sky’s birth, I can also say that motherhood is much better than I’d anticipated. My daughter amazes me. I watch her walk around, talking her own little language, and I can’t help but think how perfectly God made her. Even though she doesn’t say words yet, she communicates all the time. I love reading the expression in her big, blue eyes – seeing her curiosity, her joy, her intelligence. I make a complete idiot out of myself for as long as she keeps laughing – it just makes me so happy to see her enjoying herself. There are still days when I’m frustrated to tears, when I feel overwhelmed with the responsibility of being someone’s mother. I had no idea just how much work it would be to raise a child twenty-four hours a day. But if that part was unexpected, so was the reward. I am so blessed to know this tiny person, this compact bundle of energy and personality. The knowledge that she is only one year old today is exciting to me. Lord willing, I’ll get to love her through many more years of life. I know that parts of it will be tiring and stressful – the draining part of motherhood can’t be separated from the rest of it. But I’m thankful for the entire experience. Whatever I’ve given of myself to my baby, she has given back to me many times over.

Skylar Grace, I’m a mother living my dream because you are here. Happy Birthday, little girl. I love you.


Learning July 19, 2009

Filed under: Faith,Motherhood — Linnea @ 5:23 pm

sky at the beach

This is my favorite picture from our trip to Michigan – Sky relaxing in a beach chair. She looks so calm. In reality she probably sat there all of five seconds before hopping down to run around some more. Sky is an active little girl, and even though she hasn’t turned one yet, she’s been walking on her own for a couple months. When we first put her down in the sand though, she fell with each step she took. The sand there is soft and fine and very uneven. Each time she tried to move forward, the sand would give way a bit and she’d collapse into a heap again. She didn’t seem to mind though. She didn’t get discouraged or give up. She didn’t label herself a failure and stick to crawling because it was familiar and less risky. She’d just pick herself up and try again. She wanted to walk on the sand, so she kept working at it, and after a week’s time she’d figured it out, only falling occasionally. Adam and I sat in our beach chairs that last day, smiling as we watched her. It’s pretty cool when God uses your baby to teach you a lesson in perseverance.


Nausea July 17, 2009

Filed under: Infertility,Motherhood — Linnea @ 1:25 pm

Earlier this week I was getting ready for church and realized that the scent of my perfume is suddenly nauseating to me. I also feel sick whenever I ride in a car without driving it, when I change Sky’s diapers (okay, that’s always been disgusting), when I’m really hungry, when I’m too full, when I smell cleaning products, and when I brush my teeth. Adam and I were watching the Cubs game the other night and when I noticed all the Cardinals have mustaches (some kind of strange male bonding thing probably), that made me nauseas too. I haven’t actually thrown up lately, but I’m pretty sure that if I went into the bathroom while feeling sick and looked at the toilet, I would.

But here’s the thing: I’m thankful for it. Whenever I’m tempted to complain I remember a couple years back, when I would have given anything to feel sick if it meant I’d be pregnant. I think about the friends I know who are currently doing fertility treatments, which can be painful and nauseating in and of themselves, for just the chance to have a baby, and my mouth isn’t able to verbalize the whining in my head. Pregnancy is not easy. But it’s a blessing that not every woman gets to experience. And for their sake – the couples who are waiting, longing for parenthood and everything that goes with it – I hope I can stay grateful regardless of how I feel.


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