Growing Baby Bear

It's been a while. (Sorry!)

We've been busy over here with our latest excitement: growing baby bear. I'm sure most of your know this already. However, it's been hard to put into words what the last eight months have been like. Hence, the radio silence around here.

After dreaming, praying and hoping for a baby, it’s been more than I ever imagined it could be, and he’s not even born yet!

First, I was sick most of the spring. It wasn’t fun, but I also am grateful it was March and April, when I didn’t miss out on much. Instead I got to cozy up and knit lots of cute baby things between naps.

Once I hit the 2nd trimester, it felt like a switch was flipped. My energy came back and my stomach could handle things again. It felt miraculous. We made use of the summer to its fullest, traveling and generally enjoying being pregnant.

This fall, we’ve nested like crazy and are finally feeling good about where we’re at with everything. We’re as ready as we’re ever going to be for this next step!

I have tried to keep a little video journal of this pregnancy. It will be a good summary of the last 8 months.

The Loneliest Line

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Let me tell you a story about a little girl. When she was one, her mother gave her a homemade doll and she named it Amy. When she was four she had the first dream she could remember and in it she was a mom. When she was five, she claimed the closet under the stairs as a nursery and took care of a dozen dolls in some sort of super octo-mom game. In middle school, she aspired to grow up and have 10 (!) kids. As she got older, this dream obviously tempered and became a bit more realistic, but it remained constant. Someday she would be a mom, of that she was sure.

I'm sure you've figured out that that girl is me.

And this is my story to motherhood. It’s one that has felt isolating, lonely and at times hopeless. I’ve gone back and forth about whether to open up about this, but I know that if someone out there is going through the same thing we have, I would want them to know they aren’t alone. (and if I'm being honest, I wouldn't mind hearing that I'm not alone either)

This story doesn’t start with a sudden surprise or casual romantic "let's have a baby" moment. We've always been open to life, but when two people become one and then consider adding new little person, there is alot to consider. It wasn't until this year, with the business stable enough to support us and having moved closer to our families, that we felt that things were as close to “ready” as they’d ever be. We were a little scared and a little excited to see what might be in store for us. 

What was in store for us? Well, mostly countless negative pregnancy tests, long nights filled with tears and lots of doubt.

The first half of the year was fine, I mean, we were disappointed, but we also comforted ourselves with stats like “only 20% conceive in the first month, 75% in the first 6 months...” etc.

As summer turned to fall, every day someone else announced they were expecting. How lonely it is to watch others seem to effortlessly get what you pray for every night. What sort of despicable person cries in private instead of rejoicing about someone else’s happy news?

I do.

I feel guilty for overreacting when we've only tried for “x” months while other people try for years and have "real diagnosed infertility." After all, it’s not infertility until you’ve been trying for a year. We’re just two people who can’t seem to make a baby. Something that for many people happens accidentally.

As sisters, girlfriends, acquaintances, strangers announce their happy news, I tick off month after month of failure.

Failure. Failure. Failure.

It’s hard to stay hopeful every month as we wait for yet another single pink line.

That lonely line. 

People advise us “enjoy this time,” “ it’ll never be the same,” and "you're still so young." While I understand they want to help and that there really isn’t anything better that they could say, those are only small consolations.

We realize that instead of filling the coming months with a little life, we have unexpected time to plan trips and try really hard not to think about how we’d hoped to spend it instead. So here we are. We look forward to exciting adventures, enjoy our home, and love our life together, and yet still remember that last Christmas we thought we'd be in a different place by now. 

Then again, Mary probably thought she'd be in a different place when she gave birth to her child. Josef most likely didn't expect his family to get started the way it did. We make plans and imagine how things will be, only to learn that's not God's plan. 

God didn't come to fulfill our Pinterest dreams. He came to save our lives. Especially at this time of the year, we remember that. He never said He'd fulfill our expectations. He said He'd save us. And that, friends, He has done. All of my selfishness, failure, ingratitude, impatience, envy, and sin is gone. 

It is finished, done, amen. 

But even after that there is still a deep desire for a family. My heart longs for motherhood and to see Dave become a father. I remind myself that there is nothing wrong with that dream. It is good.

I am sure that God has created me with this dream and He hasn't given me this desire to torment me for He is a good God. I know this has and will teach and help me grow, but there will come a day when we will have children. We've learned that it won't happen the way we expected, but somehow, somewhere this story will contain little Russells and a set of very happy parents. 

And when we finally get to hold that little baby bear that we’ve prayed, hoped and cried for, it will be all the sweeter for the waiting.

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. 
— Romans 5:3-5

p.s. I feel the need to say that I only share my story and pain, and none of this is meant to judge, devalue, or critique anyone else's path or experience. I would be happy to listen to your struggle, preferably over a mug of something hot. We all have hurts, this is mine.

dear future little one

(Disclaimer: I am NOT pregnant. I repeat, NOT PREGNANT.)

Dear future little one,

You’ve been on my mind lately.

Maybe it’s because of your cute cousins or maybe because it seems like so many of our friends are pregnant. Maybe because I’m the age my mother was when she had me. Maybe it’s because your dad and I finally feel like we’re catching our breath after building the business and our new home, and you might be the next step. Whatever the reason, I want you to know I’ve been thinking about you.

In case you ever wonder what your mom and dad were up to before you, these days our favorite thing is to be together (preferably outdoors). We love spending weekends in the woods, on the lake, or traveling to see new things. We savor slow evenings at home with the kitties. I spend lots of time taking pictures, cooking, and trying to make things pretty. Your dad can’t get enough of tinkering on cars, driving his convertible, and eating ice cream in bed. We visit your grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins as often as possible.  Everything isn’t perfect, but life is good. I’m sure someday it’ll even be hard for us to remember what life was like before you. The important thing is that we laugh a lot, enjoy life and love each other very much.

Whenever God decides it’s time for you to join us, we’re going to do our very best and trust grace to cover the rest. We have so many hopes and dreams for you already. Things like hoping you grow up knowing the joy of grass between your little toes. Or that you learn to put people before things. That you’ll find good friends in books as well as in real people. That you stand up for what’s right and defend the weak. But most of all our wish for you is that when you get here, you’ll grow up knowing how loved you are. By us as well as by your heavenly Father. Because in the end, that’s really all that matters.

Until then we’ll be here, loving each other, learning lessons, chasing adventures, and wondering about you.

Already love you,

me

p.s. If I ever seem like super boring ol’ mom, just know there was a time when I almost broke my toe jet-skiing with your Aunt Hannah and Uncle Jamie. Ask your dad about it. Even he was impressed.

 

Gray

I’ve been thinking about for a couple months now, it's not perfectly figured out, but I thought I'd share anyway.

I would never have said it, but looking back I realize when I left college I believed there was a way to achieve perfection, to “arrive,” to “make it” and I was going to do just that. I was on a mission to live my life the “right way.” The change that has occurred in the past three years is essentially: “I found out life was complicated, more grey than black and white” (from Hide Away, Ben Rector). From my limited perspective I can’t make judgement on something as absolute black and white. Especially in the daily messiness that is life, relationships, and communication.

There will never be THE ABSOLUTE EXACT RIGHT WAY TO DO EVERYTHING. And more importantly, even if there were, who am I to think I would be the one to find it?

More and more, I’m realizing that the only way to approach anything is with love. It’s so simple, so cliche and something that everyone must discover for themselves before it clicks. I think it’s starting to click for me.

I hope to increase loving people for who they have been created to be. Too often I see them as competition, enemies, losers, weirdos, or worse voices that should be bolstering my pride. I don’t want to be so concentrated on appearing perfect that I miss opportunities to love people for who they are, to try to understand their story and treat them with compassion instead of pride and self absorption.

Finally

It’s been two weeks now. I’ve struggled to put into words all I’ve thought and felt.

The best way I can think of putting it is we are slipping quite easily into this new life. We’ve had 2 years of yearning and hoping for this and now that we’ve reached it, we can’t help savoring it all. So little is different and yet somehow by putting on a white dress and throwing a party for our friends, everything changed. We can finally be the family we are meant to be. For us the word that we found ourselves saying over and over was “finally!” What joy, peace, and gratitude to finally be this man’s wife.

Photo by Sally O’Donnell Photography (see the rest of our pictures HERE)