Monday, January 10, 2011

Letting Go

I’m writing this with a heavy heart.  I’ve been hoping since the last miscarriage that we’d be able to get pregnant again.  My family doesn’t think I should even try.  They all seem to take the ectopic pregnancy and two miscarriages  as a sign I’m not supposed to have anymore kids.  I haven’t wanted to go there in my thinking.  It is hard not to when despite only having one tube, I still managed to get pregnant.

I know that while I’m overweight, there are no major medical problems.  Until I got sick in November, I was exercising 3-5 times a week and I had started to tone up and lose inches around my waist. 

My husband has traveled a lot this last year, and I’ve got some major responsibilities with my calling at church (We are asked or “called” to serve in various capacities in our church.  It’s all volunteer—no pay.)  I’m the head of our women’s group at church aka ward Relief Society president.  I’ve got two counselors (other women) to help me, but there is a lot to do.  It’s a juggling act at times. 

I have been praying for guidance and the answer I got was to be patient.  That was a hard answer to get because I know that with every passing month, my chances at another successful pregnancy become slimmer.  

I’m not always good at being patient, but I’ve done my best.   I’m waiting and trusting in the Lord’s plan for my family.  I’ve watched good friends and my sister get pregnant, and give birth.  Two of those babies were due around the time mine were due.  Recently I learned that five women at church are pregnant.  One of whom is a good friend of mine, is pregnant with her eighth.  I knew she and her husband had been discussing having just one more child, and now they’re on their way.  

On the other hand, I’ve begun to see the light at the end of the tunnel and it’s exciting.  My youngest is almost potty-trained, and next fall he should be in preschool.  I will have a couple of hours in which I can grocery shop or run errands sans kids.  That hasn’t  happened in over a decade.  A year and  a half from now, he will be in kindergarten, and I will have more than a few hours by myself.  I’m starting to look forward to that possibility.  

As each month has passed, I’ve see-sawed back and forth between wanting a new little one, and remembering how much work new babies can be.  I went to a book club group where several ladies were pregnant and of course labor and delivery stories came up.  I remembered how much I hate hospitals after the delivery is over, and how edgy I get when I don’t sleep because of the relentless checking-in that can happen.  

I don’t rest when my babies are in the nursery because after labor I am hyper-alert to certain noises.  Every baby that cries I wake and wonder if it is mine.  I’ve tried sleeping with the babies in the room, but every time one of them makes a noise I wake, sit up and look around to see if the baby is waking up or just making noise.  Finally I learned the last time around (with number five) to keep the baby in the bed with me.  He would make his normal newborn sounds and I would just open my eyes to see if he needed me.  If not I would drift back to my dozing/slumber state.  I was always very cautious (I’ve read and heard too many horror stories to not be), and I am a light sleeper, so I took the necessary precautions to protect both of us, and was able to get some sleep for once.  Still, I didn’t fully rest until I came home from the hospital, and though I’ve talked it through, I still get tense thinking about the post-partum stay because of what happened with my fourth child (a really bad reaction to medications that left me sleepless, hyper and hysterical for three days).  

Then there are the midnight feedings and lack of sleep until the baby is big enough to sleep through the night.  The diaper rashes, thrush, and how much nursing hurts at first until your body is used to letting down your milk.  

Oh, but the sweetness!  Is there anything that smells sweeter than a new baby?  Isn’t rocking one of them to sleep against your shoulder one of the best privileges life has to offer?  And isn’t looking at the miracle in your arms and knowing they are fresh from Heaven one of the most exquisite and humbling experiences you can have?  

I’ve been so torn, but I’m close to 40, and frankly biology is playing a bigger and bigger role in this. 
So I’m letting go.  I'm lettting go of the control.  Frankly, it's not in my hands--it's always been in the Lord's hands.  Sadly I'm also trying to let go of the hope I will get pregnant again.  I’m trying to learn to be content  with the fact I’m not likely to have more children.  I am admitting it is out of my hands.  I can’t quite bring myself to get rid of all the baby clothes just yet, but I’m getting there.  

Today I got rid of the pregnancy tests in the picture.  I’m not sure why I was holding on to them. I guess in some ways they are reminders of the babies I had lost.  In other ways, they are anchors holding me in place—not allowing me to move forward because of their weight.  

So they are gone.  They are in the trashcan at the end of the driveway, and they will be gone for good tomorrow morning.  I plan on selling/donating the car toddler bed that is taking up space in the basement.  The baby clothes I don’t want to hand down will go in their boxes and on racks in the garage and get one step closer to leaving the house.   I can’t quite bring myself to get rid of them, because I don’t know what God has in store for me, but I can put them someplace they don’t take up mental energy. 

I am determined to not take this time with the kids I have for granted.  My oldest still talks to me and likes to do things with me.  The youngest still loves to snuggle.  The rest fall somewhere in-between, and so I’m trying to do more things with my kids. Play more games, read more books, make more crafts together.  They are my gifts from Heaven and they deserve a mom who is fully vested in the present, and not mired in the “I wish” of the past.  

I wish you many moments of joy today.

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