"...Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience."
Romans 8:24b-25

05 September 2011

Waiting For the Other Shoe to Drop

If you follow me on Twitter, then you may be aware of how anxious I have been the past several days.

It all started when I woke up ravenously hungry, without that constant knot in my stomach keeping me from wanting to eat.  I thought it was strange, but fully expected the knot and the nausea to return sometime that day.  It didn't.

The next morning, after having stayed up well past midnight, I awoke bright and early to find that I was far from feeling exhausted (as I had felt every morning and all of every day for the past three weeks), instead, I felt refreshed and alert.  Not only that, but the morning sickness was still missing.

I began to panic a little, but when I took a spontaneous nap later that day, I felt a little reassured.  However, I still did not feel anywhere near as tired as I'd been feeling.

Everyone tried to find words of comfort to reassure me, and I learned from many people that apparently it's "normal" to not feel sick and tired all the time in the first trimester.  That was news to me, because all I'd ever heard about were those miraculous pregnancies where there was never nausea or exhaustion, or about how exhausting and sick-feeling the first four months of pregnancy are.  Never had I heard of this "vanishing at 8 weeks" mystery I was experiencing.

Needless to say, I wasn't so sure my symptoms were "normal."  Especially in light of all the recent tragedy I had watched so many of my friends go through.

By the time Sunday rolled around with still no nausea and no exhaustion, I was convinced the baby was no longer living.  After all, I had gone the entire morning, past noon, without eating anything other than a communion wafer and sip of grape-juice without feeling anything other than hunger pangs.  AND (when I finally did eat) I was able to cook without the smell making me want to hurl.

Never in my life have I longed so much to feel the waves of nausea and be overtaken by exhaustion!  I spent the majority of Sunday afternoon in tears, listening to a comforting song over and over on my iPhone.

This morning, I called the clinic to tell them of my lack of symptoms.  I asked if it was normal or if I needed to schedule my upcoming sonogram for earlier in the week.  Because it's Labor Day, they had a skeleton crew, so the lady put me on hold for a while and then came back on the line and suggested I go in today.  She said they could see me at 1:00.  She mentioned something about the possibility that it could be normal, but that I should come in anyway just to be sure.

I was relieved that I would be able to know one way or the other today, but I was a little nervous that there was enough concern on their part to show me that I wasn't overreacting.

I called my in-laws to ask them to go with me because I knew there was no way I could make the trip back from Austin alone safely if the news wasn't good.  I sent DH a text message to let him know what was up, and headed to Austin.

DH's internet had been down the day before, but was thankfully working today.  He chatted with me via Yahoo! chat the whole way to Austin and helped me stay calm.  Then I was able to have him on my computer via Skype during the sonogram.  I'm very thankful that even though he's not able to physically be in the room with me that he makes every effort to be with me every step of the way, especially when I need him the most.

When the doctor (who is amazing) came in, I expressed how deeply concerned I was.  Rather than belittling my concerns, he somehow managed to validate my concerns without making me feel more anxious.  Like I said, amazing.  

I cannot put into words how incredibly relieved I was to see the baby and it's heart beat, and then to get to hear it again!  (And the baby decided to show off and do a little dance for us, as if to say, "See, Mom!  I'm FINE!  Stop worrying!  It's cramping my style!")

I shared with my in-laws (who are also amazing) on the way home that it must seem to people that I'm overreacting and how thankful I am to have a doctor who understands my concerns.  I told them that it takes a special breed to be able to work with infertile couples because emotions are so much higher and shakier and what seems normal to most people seems so incredibly BIG and daunting to couples dealing with infertility.

My father-in-law made the comment then that it only makes sense with all that infertile couples go through that they are waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I told him that that was it exactly!  It's been nearly impossible these last few weeks for me to nestle in and enjoy this pregnancy, and I've been chastised reminded by people who have watched me walk this journey to relax and enjoy every minute of the pregnancy.  They are people who love me, who have rooted for me and cheered me along each step of the way, and they want to see me enjoy what's been given to me.  But all I could think was, "Yes, but how much has been given to me?  How far will I get to carry this baby?  God didn't promise us this child.  What if His plan is for us to go through more heartache as a result of this pregnancy?"

Now, don't get me wrong.  I don't see God as a merciless being sitting and watching, rubbing his hands together eagerly waiting for an opportunity to wreak havoc in someone's life.  I don't see him that way at all!  In contrast, I view Him as loving and merciful, hearing and responding to His children and bringing good things out of every difficult thing they face in life.  He has proven that to be true in my life (and I hope I've conveyed that clearly through this blog).

But I do know that amazing people that love the Lord with all their heart have been brought through facing the loss of a child.  I also know that God saw fit to bring us through years of longing for a child.  Never once in all of these treatments did God promise that this pregnancy was going to be completely fulfilled.  And I know better than to assume that I know His plan for me.

So, I did what any veteran Infertile would do, I braced for impact of the potential "other shoe." 

In the midst of all my "Chicken Little" antics over the last week, it occurred to me that I had begun to view this baby as mine, and I had begun to see God as a potential threat to the life of this child.  When I realized that, I came before the Lord and told him that I had begun to view this pregnancy that way and I told him I was scared he was going to take the baby from me.

But, from the VERY BEGINNING of trying to have a baby, my husband and I had acknowledged that any child we were blessed with truly belonged to God and we viewed ourselves as being privileged to be trusted to raise that child before Him.  (That's our belief.)  So, when I realized how I had begun to view things, I took a step back.  No wonder I was so worried!  I can't control God.  I can't control life.  And trying to do either generally doesn't work out very well, in my experience.

So, in my conversation with God, I gave the baby back to him.  I told him that it was his from the beginning and asked that if it was his plan to take the baby from us that he would prepare our hearts and help us through the grief.

I needed the reminder that all I have has been given to me by God.  I needed the reminder to enjoy this pregnancy.  I needed the reassurance that all was well with this baby.  And I needed the affirmation from my father-in-law that it makes sense that I would be waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Knowing that that's what I've been doing, will make it easier to recognize and let go of that mentality.

Thank you to all who encouraged me through my "Chicken Little" moments.  Thank you for not berating me, but for being there for me when I needed you.  May we all find a day when we no longer feel the need to brace for impact from the proverbial "other shoe."