In my last post, I wrote that this season of pregnancy has been challenging and full, but also so very sweet. I am approaching the 31st week of pregnancy and I would have to say this season continues to be incredibly good and incredibly hard. 

I also need to be honest that I have struggled with how honest to be during this season. When I struggled with getting pregnant or surviving our two losses, I really had a difficult time with the honesty of others who were pregnant. I often thought to myself when/if I'm pregnant, "I'll never do that." I'll never complain of morning sickness, I'll never complain of discomfort in my body, I'll never complain that my body is changing. I think that Social Media heightened this sense of "I'll never" because pregnancy complaints are so easily thrown around. What I have realized during this season is that pregnancy is hard, and I don't want to complain, but I also want to be honest. And maybe, just maybe, others were not complaining during their pregnancies - they were just being honest too. And maybe, just maybe, I spent too much time judging that honesty.

And if I keep being truthful, it is important for me to share that getting pregnant has been my "one thing". That one thing that would make my life better. That one thing that would bring me closer to God. That one thing that would bring me closer to my husband. That one thing that would bring me joy and take away the sadness. And even though I knew logically that there is no "one thing" that can make you life be better, and that I was idolizing pregnancy, my heart believed and my heart wanted it more than my logical brain. It is amusing to reflect on how this pregnancy has not magically made my life better or easier, and while I pray more I do not feel closer to God. And while Paul and I grow closer we have really been challenged and distant during times. And while I feel joy, I feel sadness as well.

So, I thought I would share more about this season, the challenges and the sweet things.

Fear. Fear has dominated this pregnancy. It still does, but it has transformed. As soon as I knew I was pregnant I feared the worst. Every single day (for the first 28ish weeks) my mind has gone to the worst case scenario. Today could be the day I lose this pregnancy. I kept thinking as I hit milestones that fear would finally go away. When we had our 14 week ultrasound, I continued to fear, even though I knew that the rate of miscarriage drops significantly. When we had our 20 week ultrasound I continued to fear a loss. The fear has transformed in the past few weeks. I still have fleeting thoughts of "what if" regarding losing this pregnancy, but now I fear and worry about the actual impact once this baby is here. Being able to meet needs, surviving off of little to no sleep, the change in my relationship with Paul, being a good mom. It is a lot to think about. And while I pray more, because I fear more. I can't say that I feel closer to God right now. My fears have revealed to me where I lack trust in God. My faith is like Swiss cheese, I believe - but I have so many holes and gaps. I am not consistent. In the back of my mind lurks the thought of "maybe God isn't a good God" so shouldn't I be on my best behavior so I can meet this baby? I recognize this and yet I do not know how to "fix" it. 

Sickness. What can I say? That first trimester was difficult. I felt sick every day. However, if I didn't have Paul here to remind me that every day he came home from work and I was just laying on the couch miserable, I am not sure I would believe it. Time has been forgiving.

Conflict. Paul and I had a period of time (roughly weeks 15-19) were we could not connect. We argued every single day. It got to the point that both of us separately had decided that maybe we should not even talk to the other person in order to avoid an argument. I know I felt at a loss. I thought I was communicating clearly what the problem was from my perspective. But every day we went round and round and made no progress. Our resolution came about in a funny way. Paul was at a work training on coaching employees. In a small group they were asked to share a scenario where coaching was not working. It could be personal or professional. Paul shared about coaching me with a recent diagnosis of gestational diabetes. One of Paul's colleagues gave a piece of feedback that changed everything. They said something along the lines of "It sounds like your wife doesn't feel like you trust her". Paul came home and shared that and it was like a light bulb went off in my head.  Trust. I hadn't even realized that was my issue. I knew that I was feeling micromanaged during pregnancy and that was driving me nuts. Yet when the word trust was thrown out there, I realized that in the deepest part of my heart, I believed that I had done something to cause my miscarriages. It is not a thought that I verbalized, or one that I even fully admitted to myself, but it lingered. Without realizing it, whenever Paul would ask me questions about pregnancy or why I was doing something I automatically jumped to the defense because maybe he believed I caused our losses and that was what was driving his line of questioning. From Paul's perspective, he had been such a big part of our journey with getting pregnant, in fact, I could not have done it without him ;). However now that I was pregnant, he was feeling left out and would ask questions to feel involved, to understand what was going on, to participate. Finally being able to put words to what we were feeling made all the difference. The tension lifted immediately and we have both been able to show each other more grace. Not to say other conflict has not reared its ugly head, but we have been able to take those on as they arise.

Life. The best part of pregnancy for me has been feeling Baby O moving around. It has been amazing to feel kicks, pushes, stretches, and hiccups. I marvel at what is happening inside of me. I think this is what I will miss the most. I have an everyday reminder that this baby is alive, growing, and thriving. I cannot wait to meet Baby O and yet I am thankful for this safe space for Baby O to grow and to know that I'm providing everything he or she needs.

Control. I have written before that I struggle with wanting to control my life, feeling like I have the ability to do so, and then my amazement when that carpet is pulled out from underneath me. Well, pregnancy has been one long season of giving up control. I could not control how I felt during my first trimester. Then at week 15 my midwife had me tested early for Gestational Diabetes (GD) because of my PCOS. Within two weeks I had the official diagnosis that I did have GD. For the next 10 weeks I was able to manage my GD with diet and exercise. I had control. And then as I approached week 27 of pregnancy everything changed. I had been warned by my midwife and the specialists that around week 26 or 27 the insulin requirements sky rocket in pregnancy and that my body may not be able to keep up. Like clockwork, suddenly I could not control my fasting blood sugar numbers. This has changed everything in my pregnancy, forced me to give up control and work on my flexibility. I had to start insulin 3 weeks ago. The cascading effect is that I had to give up my midwife that I have worked with through all three pregnancies as many hospitals have policies around a midwife delivering a high risk pregnancy. I have also had a vision for how birthing Baby O would go. I've had to come to accept that I may have to be induced during this pregnancy, which I know does not negate my vision, but it will make it a lot harder. It has been hard and frustrating to deal with these cascading effects. At my core though, I realize, these decisions are not about me any more, but about what is best for this precious life.

Big Feelings. I love this term. I think it describes me well with or without being pregnant. I feel things deeply and on a big scale. I am sometimes overwhelmed by emotions. Both the good and the bad. My emotions have bounced all over the place during this pregnancy. I cried a lot during the end of my first trimester and into my second, and then it magically went away. Only to rear its head during the third trimester. In the past few weeks I have cried at Red Robin, Mod Pizza, in the car, on the phone, and just in general at home. I cry when I feel dismissed, I cry when I get hungry. I just cry. I feel sad more than I'd like to admit and yet I can't explain to you why I feel sad. I struggle to verbalize these intense feelings. I will feel sad one day, and then elated the next day. I take things extra personal right now. If I thought I was sensitive before pregnancy, now I just feel like I have a raw nerve on display. I can only imagine what Paul thinks when the tears start forming. And if he is annoyed he does not let on. He has been patient with me and helps talk me off of my cliff. So add my emotions to the list of things I cannot control ;)

Pain. Physical pain has been interesting during this season. Of course I started out with sickness, but that didn't last that long. Then came the chronic headaches. I wanted to gouge my eyes out. But at around week 21 those just disappeared. Then there was mild back pain/discomfort, usually when I did long walks. At week 26 we flew to the Midwest to celebrate Thanksgiving with my sister. I could not believe how sitting for a few hours across a couple flights each way caused such incredible pain in my body. Every time I would stand up, I felt pain everywhere, including places I didn't think you could feel pain. That faded away after being home a couple weeks, thankfully. I have also had hand numbness that started sometime after week 20. At first it was no big deal, annoying, but not that bad. Then the numbness turned into pain when trying to do certain things like chop an onion, or even typing this blog post is causing pain in my wrist. Apparently this is all part of carpal tunnel which can come on during pregnancy.

Longing. I long to know the other two babies that I will not meet this side of heaven. Pregnancy feels bittersweet in this way. So sweet because of the life we will meet soon. Sad because I don't know my other babies.

Joy. I marvel everyday now that Paul and I will soon be parents. I mean, it scares the heck out of me, but that is because I don't know what to expect. I feel joyful at holding our child, smelling that sweet baby smell, being in awe as Baby O takes on and learns about their environment and their world. I cannot wait to see Paul be a daddy. I look forward to seeing how parenthood helps me to know and understand God the Father better. I wonder who Baby O will look like. Will they have my hazel eyes? Paul's dark hair? Will we see each other in Baby O? I hope Baby O loves to read as much as we do and I can't help but want to buy every book I come across. Will Baby O be a feeler like me? Or more logical like Paul? Or as I like to hope - a good balance of the both of us. What can I teach Baby O about life? About Faith? About suffering and about joy? How do we teach Baby O to persevere? How do I instill that my love is unconditional? There are so many things that I wonder, but it is a joyful wondering. 

You'll never believe this, but I am crying right now ;) So there you have it, a brief snapshot of this season that I have been in. Sweet and Challenging.