Kiss Your Miracle

motherhood after infertility

Waiting January 28, 2010

Filed under: Motherhood — Linnea @ 7:08 pm

I’ve hit that point in my pregnancy where I make certain people nervous. On Tuesday I had an appointment with the eye doctor, who seemed to be on edge from the minute he saw my belly. He asked about my due date and when I said it was a week away, he responded, “Oh, well, we’ll be sure to have you right on out of here as soon as possible.” I told him I went a week overdue with my first and still had to be induced, but he kept staring at me like my water was about to burst all over his newly carpeted floor. I ended up with my quickest eye exam ever.

More and more people are asking me how I’m doing and I have a simple answer to that question: I’m waiting. Sometimes patiently, like late at night when I crawl into bed exhausted. “I want to have this baby soon, God,” I’ll pray as I close my eyes, “but not tonight. Tonight I just want to sleep.” And sometimes impatiently. Like when I’m driving home after a visit to the midwife, who’s told me once again that everything looks “the same as last week.” I know everyone will want a report and it’s not fun to share that there isn’t one. Sky “helped” me pack my hospital bag two weeks ago, and I can’t even remember what’s in it anymore (don’t worry though – we took her stuffed animals out before we put my things in).

It’s hard to wait, especially these days when inductions and c-sections are so common. I get why people are induced as soon as their doctors are willing – the last few weeks of pregnancy are difficult and I’m sometimes tempted to go that route myself. But I think if I was induced now or even on Tuesday (my estimated due date), I’d be disappointed later, especially if I ended up with a long, slow, medicated birth. I figure my body at least deserves a reasonable chance to go into labor on its own. The thought of still being pregnant ten days from now is not a happy picture in my mind, but I’m trying not to dwell on that too much. I can handle being pregnant right now and that’s all I plan to think about today.


Restraint January 25, 2010

Filed under: Motherhood,Skylar Grace — Linnea @ 7:48 pm

I’ve been a bit emotional lately. I suppose that’s normal when you’re nine months pregnant and spend your days chasing after a high-energy toddler. It might even be healthy considering both my father and one of my best friends recently passed away. But the times when I find my eyes filling with tears usually take me off guard. The other day I started crying because my back hurt – not from the pain itself, but because my dad struggled with intense back pain during the last year of his life and I was suddenly overwhelmed by just how awful that must have been for him.

I’ve been a little stressed too. Birth is unpredictable. You can only plan for it so much, and that’s hard for a person like me who doesn’t really like surprises. There’s also been a lot on the calendar lately, and with just a week till my due date I’m entering that phase where I want to do nothing but sleep until the baby comes. Since that obviously isn’t possible right now, I’d at least like to stay home as much as I can. Even little errands are now a major effort.

So I wasn’t looking forward to my agenda this morning – Sky’s eighteen month check-up with the pediatrician, which included two vaccines and a heel prick. Every time I thought about it yesterday I’d get this twisty, churning sensation in my stomach. With my fragile emotions, I figured I’d end up in tears right along with Sky and I was dreading it.

But I actually didn’t cry at all. The only thing running through my mind as Sky’s screams echoed through the office was this: a quick injection is better than a long, drawn-out case of the mumps. My ability to think logically in that moment shocked me. Overall, it was a rough morning, especially for Sky. She didn’t stop crying until she was asleep in her crib at home. But we accomplished our goal, checked the appointment off the list, and I was able to keep myself from spilling my wild emotions all over the pediatrician. Today, I consider that success.


Patience January 21, 2010

Filed under: Infertility,Motherhood — Linnea @ 1:06 pm

With my due date a week and a half away, it suddenly occurred to me that I won’t be pregnant much longer. It’s a thrilling fact – hopefully within the next few weeks I’ll be holding a healthy baby boy in my arms. I also can’t say I’ll miss the aches and pains of the third trimester, the endless trips to the bathroom, or the way people now stare at my tummy before making eye contact with me.

As each day passes, I’m more ready to have this baby. But I’m also very aware that life, especially unborn life, is fragile. I can’t help but think of two friends of mine dealing with the grief of recent miscarriage, and others who are still waiting for that first positive pregnancy test. I hope Adam and I are blessed with more children in the future, but I don’t assume it will happen, especially not according to a time frame we’ve planned. If God chooses to give us these two kids and no more, then we’ll be grateful and satisfied – it’s really not hard to get there when we thought at one point we might not have children at all. And with that in mind, I can’t help but consider these last days of pregnancy a treasure. Sometimes I think even now the discomfort of pregnancy is starting to fade from my mind, replaced by the overwhelming excitement of welcoming a new life into the world.


Disaster January 18, 2010

Filed under: Faith,Motherhood — Linnea @ 1:01 pm

For the past week my mind’s been on overdrive – first spinning with thoughts of Jill and her family and then with the earthquake in Haiti, on top of my preoccupation with my pregnancy and due date, which is now two weeks away.

The other night we were watching the news coverage in Haiti as a doctor interviewed a young woman sitting outside, holding a three month old. “What are you feeding your baby?” the doctor asked. “Sugar water,” she said flatly. The doctor then turned to the camera and said that a young baby who’s fed nothing but sugar water will eventually die of malnutrition. “But even if I had a can of formula,” the doctor continued, “I couldn’t give it to her because it would start a riot.” That mother isn’t the only one without food for her baby.

Of course, my eyes immediately filled with tears. I feel connected to that mom, who would probably sacrifice anything she had to give her baby what she needs. I’ve also been thinking about all the pregnant women in Haiti right now, some of them with the same due date as mine. What will happen when they go into labor? Will they have access to a midwife and a clean place to give birth? What if there are complications? And how many of these new babies will end up really sick? The questions are endless.

To be completely honest, I’m not sure specifically how to respond to the disaster in Haiti. It’s hard to get beyond the sadness of what’s happened. So today I’m praying for a simple thing: that God will give me the ability to have faith that He can bring good – miracles even – out of horrific circumstances.


Tribute January 14, 2010

Filed under: Faith,Friendship — Linnea @ 9:08 am

On Monday afternoon, my cell phone rang. The caller ID said “Jilly” so I immediately answered it. But it wasn’t Jill. It was her husband James, and I could tell right away from the tone of his voice that he didn’t have good news. A minute later the words “Jill passed away last night” were pressing their way into my brain against my will.

Jill battled cancer for several years and had recently begun hospice care, but that doesn’t make saying goodbye to her any easier. She is leaving behind her husband and toddler son, her parents and sisters and their families, and countless friends. Even though we know the truth – that Jill is with Jesus in heaven, fully healed of her pain – it’s still sad to think we won’t get to make any more memories with her on earth.

All of us who knew Jill would probably agree that there is no one else like her. She loved God in a radical way that drew people to her. I met her in 1999 when I first went out to the Youth With a Mission (YWAM) base in Kona, Hawaii. She was my small group leader. I’d just graduated from a private Christian university and my life at that point was a confused mess of regret. I’d convinced myself during college that most Christians were hypocritical and judgmental, but I also knew that God was real. I hated that I felt so far from Him, but didn’t know how to find my way back. Then I got to know Jill, who loved God without a touch of cynicism. The way she talked about Him shocked me. Her faith was not about doing the right thing. She was motivated by an intimate, genuine love for Jesus, and that translated into a joyful life regardless of her circumstances. She helped me articulate the problems I had with God and work through them. She was in the water with me the day I was baptized in the Pacific Ocean, and I knew at that moment we’d be friends for life.

I know I can speak for many people when I say that our grief right now is overwhelming. At the same time, I don’t want all my attention to be on Jill’s death – not when she lived so fully for God each day. Thinking through my favorite Jill memories has been therapeutic for me this week, and I have to share some of them with you:

~ spilling my guts to her about all the stupid stuff I’d done, and the way she just sat there and listened for the longest time, and then prayed for me.

~ how excited she was for me when I joined the YWAM staff six months later.

~ watching her drive a stick-shift van on the left side of the road during rush hour in Auckland, New Zealand with no stress whatsoever.

~ making pancakes for breakfast on our “illegal” hot plate in Building 4.

~ our staff worship and prayer times together.

~ hanging out at the Kona Denny’s with Jess and Ad, hearing Jill explain that she wanted us to be her Assistant School Leaders (ASLs!) for the school she was about to lead.

~ sitting in a church in Thailand, listening to Jill tell the girls on my outreach team, “It’s good for you to go a long time without washing your hair. The grease is like conditioner.”

~ watching her completely flip out over James when they first got together. When he called to tell her he was coming to visit her in Kona, she actually leaped across the room and head-butted my leg.

~ her entire wedding week – getting to know her family (who treated me like another daughter from the day I met them), running around Missoula, and the way she had the reception set up outside even though the weatherman predicted thunderstorms. “I asked Jesus for clear skies,” she explained, and that’s exactly what she got. We all watched her dance to “butt-rock” that night beneath an orange sunset with the love of her life.

~ all the weekends Adam and I spent hanging out with her and James during our SBS in Montana, how we ate cereal from massive serving bowls, and the way she just smiled when I told her Adam and I would never be more than friends, and then smiled some more a few weeks later when I told her Adam and I were crazy in love with each other.

~ that she made my hair look incredible for my wedding, and liked her bridesmaid’s dress so much she actually wore it again.

~ how she and James couldn’t wait to move to Thailand to be missionaries.

~ walking around Miami with her when she had no hair from chemo, and the way she didn’t wear a wig. “I don’t really care if people stare at me,” she said.

~ the way we had one conversation about the things we didn’t like in the whole “Prayer of Jabez” phenomenon, and afterward sent a “Prayer of Jabez” coin back and forth to each other hidden inside birthday and Christmas gifts for years without ever talking about it.

~ when she and her friend Carla came to Ocala to see me at the end of my first pregnancy. I was overdue and miserable, but she made me laugh anyway, of course. We went out for Thai food and Jill had a full conversation in Thai with our server.

~ talking with her about our miracle babies.

~ sitting on the lawn outside her house this past summer, studying all the flowers in her garden that she was so proud of while William played nearby.

~ how she never waivered in her faith. During one of my last conversations with her, she said she’d never felt more strongly that God loved her.

I cried for a long time after I heard the news on Monday. Later that night after Sky was asleep, I was lying on the bed curled up next to Adam. My mega-sized belly was resting against his side and the baby was in high-energy mode, kicking and twisting and making us both laugh a little through our tears. “I can just picture him in there,” Adam said after a few minutes, “so comfortable all squished up in the dark, thinking he’s really living his life. But pretty soon he’ll be born. And that process will probably feel like death. But then he’ll open his eyes and he’ll know for the first time what it really means to be alive.”

It says in Revelation that when life on earth has ended, believers will be with Jesus in heaven, where there won’t be any pain or sadness or death, and where God will wipe away every tear in our eyes. My brain cannot fathom what that will be like. But I believe in that promise, that heaven is a real place, and that Jill is with her Savior right now. And I don’t think it’s possible to spend too much time dwelling on that fact today.


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