Kiss Your Miracle

motherhood after infertility

Comfort November 30, 2009

Filed under: Faith,Friendship — Linnea @ 8:54 pm

It could have been worse. A lot worse. Just thinking about driving 1200 miles in a little car with a very active sixteen month old is enough to make anyone anxious. But overall our trip home went well. It was a holiday weekend, but somehow we didn’t run into any traffic the entire way. Let me also say that whoever first thought to attach a playland to a fast food restaurant is a genius. Giving Sky a half hour to run out her energy every now and then made a big difference. Before we left my mom promised Sky would settle into “travel mode” and do better than we’d expected, and she did. She only had two full-on meltdowns and one of them was at the end of the drive when we were only an hour and half from home. (Nothing seems that bad when you’re that close.)

But the best part of the whole journey happened about fifteen minutes after we got home. My friend Amy from MOPS showed up with a carful of groceries for us. She’d called earlier to ask what kind of milk we like and said she was bringing over “a few things.” Then she showed up with enough food to stock our entire empty refrigerator. She’d collected money from our MOPS table to buy the groceries and she also coordinated meals for us for the next few weeks. After she’d gone I noticed there were flowers on the counter too, and a card from all the MOPS moms.

frig food

I stood in my kitchen and let myself cry for a few minutes. Though I’d really, REALLY been looking forward to the end of our road trip with Sky, I’d been dreading the moment when we’d arrive home in Florida, far away from my family in Michigan. Coming home means that life is moving forward even though my dad is not here anymore, and that just seems strange. It feels wrong. I don’t want to move forward into life without my dad, this life where my mom is a widow. Yesterday, November 29th, would have been my parents’ fortieth wedding anniversary and I couldn’t think of anything else all day. In Michigan we talked about my dad a lot. His clothes still hang in the closet and his change and pens and index cards still sit on his dresser. But here in Florida, just a handful of people have even met my dad. How could I expect anyone to understand how different my life suddenly feels?

But Saturday night when we got home I realized that someone does understand – Amy. She lost her father just seven months ago herself, and because of the way she’s reached out to me, I don’t feel the loneliness I’d been expecting. Whenever I open the fridge, I’m reminded of Amy’s kindness and the sweetness of everyone else at MOPS, and somehow this dark, draining time is suddenly a little less difficult. Please God, help me be that kind of person too, the kind who goes out of my way to comfort my hurting friends.

“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”

~ 2 Corinthians 1:3-4


Nightmare? November 25, 2009

Filed under: Family,Motherhood — Linnea @ 8:54 pm

When Thanksgiving is over and everyone is shopping their hearts out on Black Friday, Adam and I will be rolling down the highway as fast as we can. We’ll have Sky with us in the car, and the trip from my mom’s house in Michigan down to our house in Florida takes eighteen hours of driving time, not including stops or traffic or any other major problems. We have no idea when we’ll actually get back to Ocala; we just know that we’re leaving Friday sleeping

The past two months surrounding my dad’s cancer and death have been a chaotic blend of traveling and living away from home. Skylar and I have basically been in Michigan since the beginning of October except for a five day stretch a month ago when we flew back to Florida to take care of a few things. Adam has gone back and forth a few times, both flying and driving, and because our car is here, we need to drive to get home this time.

But that doesn’t mean we’re happy about it. Sky is not what anyone would call an easy traveler, and she hates her car seat. She usually does okay for the first fifteen minutes, but that’s about her limit. Every now and then when she’s completely exhausted, she’ll fall asleep in her car seat. (The last time it happened I had to take a photo to remind myself that it is possible to ride peacefully in the car with Skylar.) Unfortunately, her car seat naps are almost always thirty minutes long. Then she’s up and fussing again.

And that leads us to this question: are we insane? I think the answer is yes. But if that’s true, at least we’re in good company. Plenty of new parents will be traveling at the same time we are, packing ridiculous amounts of baby equipment, suitcases, and snacks, and enduring a long, loud journey with little kids. So as we’re (hopefully!) flying along the road on Friday, I’ll be reminding myself that many people are doing the same thing we are – singing crazy songs while wearing ear plugs and feeding ice cream or chocolate or whatever else to our kids to keep them quiet for a few minutes and pass a bit of time. It’ll probably be agony to drive so many miles with Sky, but at least it’s for a worthwhile cause. I wouldn’t trade a single memory of these past two months with my family.


Women November 23, 2009

Filed under: Family,Motherhood — Linnea @ 9:48 pm

Last night I was down on the beach with Adam, Rock Hunt @ SunsetSky, my mom, Aunt Mary, and the two dogs. Everything was muted; the sunset was pale, the water was calm, and the air was still. Lately the emphasis in my family has been on my dad, remembering who he was and all of his funny and best attributes. But last night as I watched my mom and aunt walking along the water’s edge with Sky, I couldn’t help but think about the quality women in my family.

Mary and my mom love the beach and they love to pick up smooth, pretty stones along the shoreline. But because Sky was with them yesterday, they moved slowly down the edge of the water, helping her put rocks of her own into a plastic bag. Later she wanted to throw half of them into the water, and they cheered for her as she tossed them all of three inches ahead of her little tennis shoes. “When you have a toddler,” my mom told me the other day, “the best thing you can do is slow down and go at their pace.” Watching her interact with Sky is a constant reminder to me that finishing my to-do list shouldn’t always be my top priority.

My mom and Mary both have seven kids, and the older I get the more amazing that fact becomes. My first pregnancy was a breeze. I walked several miles every day, right up until I gave birth a week overdue. This time around things are still fairly easy, but I feel more tired. It’s awkward trying to hold my sixteen month old with my belly so big and round. I have varicose veins and my back is sore a lot. I don’t mean to complain – I’m honestly thrilled to be pregnant. I just want to emphasize the fact that this is my second baby and most of the time I feel worn out. My mom and my aunt did this seven times. And not just the pregnancy part, but the sleepless-nights-newborn stage and the temper-tantrum-two-year-old stage and even the rebellious teenager stage. Seven times. And what I remember most about them from my childhood was all the laughing they did, and the way they had coffee breaks just about every afternoon while all of us kids ran wild.

Lately I can’t seem to get over how much I’ve been given when it comes to family. Now that I’m a mother myself, I’m starting to realize how much I have to live up to. I can only hope that God will give me the ability to follow the pattern set before me as I raise my children.

“From everyone who has been given much, much will be required.” – from Luke 12: 48

Sunset (2 of 2)


Family November 19, 2009

Filed under: Family,Motherhood — Linnea @ 2:33 pm

Since the beginning of October, life has been a bit chaotic, especially since we’ve been away from home. Space is limited at my Mom’s house here in Michigan, so Adam, Skylar, and I have been sharing one room. At this point we’re fairly used to having Sky sleep near us at night, but at 1am the other morning, something woke her up. And instead of going back to sleep as usual, she jumped to her feet and pitifully reached her arms out to us. We were lying in bed just a few feet away from her, and once she realized we were right there she refused to stop crying. After a while we broke down and took her in the bed with us, but that only excited her; instead of sleeping she started crawling all over us. Back to her bed she went, but now she was more awake than ever.

By 4am we were all exhausted, but morning was still hours away. We were tempted to leave her in her bed to cry it out, but it seemed unfair with my brothers and sisters sleeping in the bedrooms all around us. “Let’s go on the other side of the bed on the floor,” Adam finally said. “She won’t be able to see us there and she’ll probably go back to sleep.” As soon as we crawled onto the floor, Sky got quiet. We lay there completely still for a few minutes, afraid to breathe. We didn’t dare climb back in the bed, but slowly and carefully, we reached up to grab a couple pillows. The comforter though, was a bigger problem. It’s made of down and it’s crinkly, and pulling it off the bed would have made a lot of noise. There was a small blanket in the corner of the room, but it wasn’t big enough for both Adam and me. “You take it,” he said quickly. “Okay… but what are you going to use?” Hanging on the closet door was a damp bath towel. “Really?” I said as Adam pulled it over himself. “You’re going to sleep under a wet towel?” That’s just what he did. We huddled together in a tiny space on the floor next to a beautiful, vacant, king-sized bed.

The next morning when dawn came and Sky was up and ready to start the day, I looked down at my round belly and thought, “Well, I guess Sky is doing her part to get us ready to have a newborn again.” And then I thought about how quickly my life’s theme switched from the emptiness of infertility to the exhaustion of new motherhood. Sometimes being a parent is hard. But when I look at my mom and brothers and sisters, and the way everyone has pulled so tightly together through the difficulty of my dad’s cancer and death, I’m amazed by the simple fact that I get to be part of a family – the family of my childhood, but not just that family. The one I married into as well. And the church family where I belong. And now, the family I have with Adam and Skylar and a new baby on the way.

Families can be messy and irritating and flawed in many ways, but when I stop and try to imagine my life without them, I can’t see them as anything but a blessing. In my experience, raising a family is much more difficult that growing up in one. I get grumpy when I’m tired and feel completely overwhelmed at least once a day. But when I get beyond those temporary things, I remember that God has given me what I always wanted. My life is all about family. Every day I get the opportunity to take some of the blessings passed on to me from my parents and hand them down to my own children. It’s a wonderful way to spend a life, no matter how tiring it gets.

ad linni sky


Sunset November 13, 2009

Filed under: Faith,Family,Infertility — Linnea @ 8:58 pm

If I had to summarize the last month beach fireof my life with one word, it’d probably be the title of my last post – grief. But today, God broke into the middle of our sadness again and gave us a beautiful night. After a day of working around the house we went down to the beach for the sunset. My brother Hans and his wife Katy picked up McDonald’s for everyone, and Nelson and Adam built a fire. My mom and Aunt Mary brought the dogs, who always entertain the babies, and Sky ate her very first Happy Meal. A true American, she loved it. A little later she had her first toasted marshmallow, which she also loved, until she realized her fingers were completely stuck together and there was nothing she could do about it. Before Sky’s meltdown though, I did manage to stop and take a breath and acknowledge how nice it was to be down on the beach in the still, fall air, having a sunset picnic with my family.

My family is changing. My dad isn’t with us anymore, and soon Adam and I will have a son. The thing about infertility that many people don’t know is that it affects every other area of your life. If we were still dealing with it, the pain of my dad’s death would be magnified. That sense of change – of saying goodbye and of welcoming too – would only be a sense of loss. The time we’ve spent remembering my dad would be shaded by the fear that my husband might never get to experience fatherhood himself. For me, infertility quietly emphasized every other pain I faced.

Recently I’ve had friends express their sympathy to me that my dad died during this pregnancy. And it is tragic to think about how my father will never get to meet his next grandchild. But at the same time, nothing in my life so far has shown me God’s extravagance the way being pregnant has. I’ve never prayed for anything more than I prayed to become a mother, and God chose to answer those prayers with miracle babies. No matter how sad I am to have lost my dad, I can’t ignore God’s sweetness in my life. I still have my mom, and my brothers and sisters. I have my Adam and my Skylar. And even as I write this, I feel my baby boy – another miraculous answer to prayer – kicking and stretching, each day growing a bit closer to entering the world, my family, my arms.

Lake Michigan Sunset (1 of 1)


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