joy – noun
: a feeling of great happiness
: a source or cause of great happiness : something or someone that gives joy to someone
: success in doing, finding, or getting something
It has been said, the happiest people aren’t those who have the best of everything but rather those who make the best of everything they have. I believe this is true, and I think it is the very perspective that envelops the wisdom that the journey isn’t to find joy, but rather joy is found in the journey itself.
Today I embark on a new journey.
While the actual journey is a continuation of my life and experiences, today’s embarkment marks a first. When I began this blog many years ago, I recorded my thoughts, feelings and experiences with the focused purpose of making my own life a masterpiece. Today, I find my life literally entwined with that of another.
November 5, 2013, 2:16 pm: the first time in my entire life a pregnancy test has shown a positive result.
Processing . . . yes, I am still processing that piece of information.
I turn 42 years old next month. The age my own mother was when she became a grandmother for the first time and the age my mother in law was when I was married. I had only recently convinced myself that my life was headed comfortably to a new season; I knew our move home was the first of many missions and it has been an amazing experience to be here helping my parents in their health adversities. I know my father is nearing the end of his mortal journey, and have found great comfort in my ability to be here to help the way I have. My daughter will graduate from high school within a few years, my son approaching his own levels of personal freedoms as he’ll be learning to drive about that same time. Every day we’ve been moving closer to a time of change and preparation when circumstances will provide more freedom and ability for my husband and myself to fulfill our shared desire of serving missions abroad. I was living comfortably in this happy expectation, recent conference addresses and changes within missionary work in the church even confirmed these aspirations as I knew we’d be taking an active part in the hastening of this great work.
I was reluctant to do the math. I knew I was late, and I also know I’m never late. But I wasn’t sure exactly how late. I just knew it was only a matter of time, it’s always only been a matter of time. I’ve only ever been a week late a handful of times and I’ve never made it two weeks. I finally, broke down and told Blake last week that something could be going on. He wasn’t blindsided by the news, after 21 years he knows my regularity as well as I know it myself, but we were both scared to even talk about the possibilities. We skirted the issue for a few days, and then finally spoke out loud with each other about the possibility of becoming parents again Sunday evening. I remember asking him what he thought a waiting little spirit would say to us and he said, “I think they’d say thank you. Thank you for being willing to do this.” It was a perfect response. That night, I prayed that as I don’t know what to pray for I simply promise my life and whatever happens to the Lord and His will. I even found myself saying the words of Mary in Luke 1:38: ” “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me…” A great calm swept over me and I slept.
It has only been four days since this conversation, but it feels like four months of events have unfolded already. Here’s a short recap:
Monday – Family Home Evening takes an interesting turn in conversation. It began innocently enough as we were discussing our expectations for Christmas this year. In an effort to help my children understand why I want it to be special and how insignificant getting gifts should be, I brought up the birth of our Savior. The mention of baby sent my kids off on an unexpected frenzy. Taylor started talking about how awesome it would be to have a baby in the house and Cidnie followed suit by sharing that she wants a baby in the house so bad she’s been praying secretly for the past 6 months for a baby brother or sister. Taylor responds with “Well, you prayed me here so maybe you could do it again.” Cidnie begs us to please at least pray about it and we agree.
Meanwhile I’m looking at Blake with a look of “Can you believe this?”
Tuesday – While getting ready for the day, Blake and I move beyond my reluctance to do the math. We determine that I’m not just a week or so, but rather just over two weeks. This brings new clarity to our situation and Blake says, “We both know you’re pregnant so let’s go get the test today so you can start.” I told him it was the first day in two weeks I’d started to feel a little more like myself so I fully expected to start that day. We shared that although it probably wouldn’t last beyond the day that we’d already been changed by the very possibility. Ironically, just before we left for lunch Blake’s mom called just to ‘check in’. I heard her ask about me and my health specifically, several times.
We go to lunch, laughing about the irony of it all. My silly joking about the Lord’s sense of humor and how on my 42 year old check up I’d find out things started working and I’m pregnant. I can’t believe I was ever stupid enough to say those words out loud, let alone many times!!! Where in the world did I even pull that number from?! After lunch we muster the courage to go buy a pregnancy test. This must have been a sight to see, the two of us in our 40s standing in the family planning isle trying to figure out what the difference is in the boxes and which one to buy! As we drive home I can’t believe we actually bought a test, now I know I’ll start within moments and not even need it. Imagine my surprise when a couple hours later the positive line symbol shows up in the window. I call a doctor and set up an appointment for the next day.
Blake is on work conference calls from the time I took the test until the kids get home from school at 4 pm. We’ve had just a few minutes to discuss whether or not we should say anything yet, and have decided it is more important to involve them from the start as it will take the faith and prayers of all of us to make it through this. Taylor has piano lessons in 25 minutes so time is short, maybe that’s a blessing – I tell the kids we have something we want to tell them and Cid asks, “Does this have anything to do with the baby and praying?” Imagine her shock when I tell her yes! She immediately asks if it’s good news and I tell them a pregnancy test says I’m pregnant and I have doctor visit tomorrow. The next moments are etched on my heart. Cidnie’s excitement is overwhelming and she has a million questions but her first comment is “Wow! That was fast!”, Taylor gets misty eyed and says how awesome it is. I love his tenderness and when Cidnie points out he’s on the verge of tears I assure him that was my reaction too! In true Cidnie fashion, she brings back the lighter side with sudden recognition that to be pregnant mom and dad must have…EEEEEWWWW! Gross!! (We are still laughing over this.) We decide, as a family, the next steps; the news needs to stay private until at least after the doctor’s appointment and maybe even until the first ultra sound can be done on the 15th, only 9 days away. After piano and dinner we decide we should share what we know with my mom and dad as the next day after the appointment we’ll probably go to Blake’s parents. Besides, we can’t imagine a worse scenario than my mom hearing this news from anyone but us and definitely not after anyone else. She and dad are as shocked as we are. We move through the evening’s events of scouts and activities, but I feel like a drone having an out of body experience as I’m there but my mind is so not there.
Wednesday – Cidnie’s first question to me this morning at 6:30 was “Are you still pregnant?” When she gets the sound, “yes” she moves along happily in her morning routine of getting ready. I’m doing pretty well, although one simple cough brought me so near vomiting I had to really concentrate, breathe and swallow hard to prevent the motion already begun. I nearly lost but am proud to say I won! I dearly hate and dread throwing up, so this is no small thing for me. I’m grateful that so far even though I feel ‘off’ I’m not living next to a toilet or having my life totally disrupted for illness. I pray I can continue with no vomiting – the only thing I hate worse is needles. The kids get off to school and I spend the next hour tucked safely in Blake’s arms as we watch the snow fall and contemplate how different today is than we thought it would be yesterday. He reassures me that everything is going to be okay and we can do this. I know he’s right. It’s hard to get any of it off my mind for any period of time. I distract myself the rest of the morning starting this blog post, which is funny because the distraction is a review of the very things that I’m distracted by! I know I won’t publish it right now, but I have to get this down – out, whatever. And if I don’t record the details now I know I won’t remember them later and folks, this is epic – I don’t want to miss a moment of it.
We take a quick lunch break and I share some of the thoughts I’ve been writing this morning with Blake. Then it’s back home to finish this, help get dad back into the house and settled after dialysis and now I watch the clock as the moments draw closer to the doctor’s appointment.
Tender mercies – There are some things that feel almost too personal and sacred to share, yet they beg to be written, and somewhere deep down I know I must record them. My life has been filled with tender mercies from the Lord, those private and personal messages that confirm to me my Father in Heaven knows who I am and what I need, exactly when I need it most. One such a time happened yesterday just moments after taking the pregnancy test. I picked up this month’s Ensign. The cover speaks to my inner most heart, especially in light of conversations Blake and I have had about being willing to go wherever the Lord calls. It is a photograph of a mother holding her baby’s hand, both smiling joyfully.
This tender mercy continued as I reviewed the article from Elder Dube, “Look Ahead and Believe“. So many words were just what I needed to hear, especially those that “…it is not so much what we have done or where we have been, but where we are willing to go.” I reflected on the image of the mother and child on the front and these words echoed in my head, finding their way into my heart. I also needed to read again the counsel shared that the past it to be learned from but not lived in, most importantly that we were to glean embers of knowledge from the past not the ashes. It is beyond impossible to explain how hard it is for me not to let my past experiences with failed pregnancy overshadow everything. These words and counsel were solace to my fears and concerns. I knew the Lord was reaching out to me to enfold me in His love and reassure me that all is well.
A Mother’s Heart
There are thoughts a mother’s heart cradles oh so gently. Such thoughts include the impressions of things already known, those things that you just know without even realizing you knew it. Like the way I told Blake Sunday night that if indeed I were pregnant and there is a spirit waiting, the spirit waiting had a powerful work to do here. That the timing was part of that work, not just that we would be the parents we needed to be having spent the last decade developing personal disciplines, experience and testimony to provide that child the necessary environment to succeed in their life’s mission, but also that the child would be in exactly the right place at the right time to perform their work. I don’t know what the future holds. I don’t know if this pregnancy will result in a successful delivery of a healthy child. But I do know the Lord knows what He is doing and why, and I have complete trust and faith in Him. Truly, it is not so much about what I have done already or where I have been in my life, but so much more about where I am willing to go. If my next mission is to create a body for a special spirit waiting, to raise that sweet child with all the love, care and direction I am capable of, to prepare another missionary to go into the field before I myself go, then that is just as important to hastening the work as my previous ideas and expectations.
To my unborn child, I wish to tell you how amazing this experience is already. It is so different from anything I’ve experienced before, I can’t explain the feelings within my body and heart but they are real. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are a valiant spirit, that you have been held for this specific time in my life and in your own. I want you to know that you are loved already, adored and wanted more than words can say and by more than just me. You are a miracle already. You have changed lives and hearts already. You will be showered with more love, protection and affection than seems possible by everyone who knows you. You will do amazing things and fulfill all that you have been held in reserve to do. I truly hope to meet you.
So Little One, wonder what tomorrow will bring?