Monday, March 7, 2016

Baby #4 [18 Weeks Pregnant]

I'm sitting here, starting this blog post and feeling a sweet little kick at the bottom of my stomach as I type. In many ways, this pregnancy has felt very surreal, but the reality of it hits more and more as my belly grows and the kicks become stronger. I'm so thankful for this baby, and I feel so much of God's goodness wrapped up in this pregnancy.

We planned to be done having babies after Lyla. I had always wanted four kids, and Ben had always wanted three, and since we planned to go overseas at that point, we had agreed that three would be best in a third world environment. Once our plans changed and we knew God was keeping us here in the states for now, I knew the possibility of adding another to our family was there, but I felt fairly certain it wouldn't be by giving birth to another. A little over a year ago, I had started looking into adoption, even though I knew it wasn't something we would do right away. I was especially drawn toward international adoption, and particularly the country of India. I cried over stories of orphans finding a home, and I love the analogy it has to our heavenly Father rescuing us as orphans. I looked into the process of international adoption, the cost, the requirements, the time. And my heart longed to bring an orphan into our family, but I knew God wasn't opening those doors at the time.

We didn't choose to do any permanent birth control, but instead I got an IUD after having Lyla. My body never reacted correctly to the IUD, and my bleeding was irregular and... often. After months of giving my body time to respond to it right and trying a few things to help my bleeding (that didn't help), I finally decided that my body simply was not going to respond correctly to the IUD and that it wasn't best for me to keep it. But then, obviously, that brings up conversations about what type of birth control to use once it was out. We tentatively planned to use short-term birth control until Ben had time off of work and could get a vasectomy. And I had peace about it. I was done having babies. I started selling and giving away baby clothes and baby toys. And then two days before I went to my appointment, Ben told me he had been praying and thinking about it, and he thought that we should forego birth control and just see what happened. 

I honestly didn't know how to respond. I had come to terms with no more babies. I began seeking the Lord a lot, and I felt the Lord telling me to go with my husband and trust that the Lord was truly the one in control of the situation. I know that God is the one who closes and opens wombs. I know that simply because I have never had fertility issues in the past, it didn't mean I would easily get pregnant now. So, I prayed that the Lord would lead and open or close my womb as He saw best. I prayed fervently, and I trusted the Lord. And I truly thought I wouldn't get pregnant. I thought that's what God would want. I didn't buy any pregnancy tests, as I knew my body would tell me. On the second cycle, I got what I thought was my period. The bleeding lasted a day, and then stopped. I was in denial that I would get pregnant and told myself for four days that my body was just still adjusting to being regular again. And finally I realized I needed to stop being in denial and buy a test. And it showed up positive immediately.

This pregnancy has felt very surreal as a result. I don't know exactly what the Lord has planned for our lives. I know that being pregnant doesn't close the door on adoption, but it does close the door on India adoption as they don't allow adoptive families to have more than three kids. I don't often understand God's purposes in opening our hearts to things that he then closes the door on, but I do know that he always has a purpose and that it is always good. I trust that with all my heart.

Positive Pregnancy Test: December 5, 2015
Due Date: August 5, 2016
Guess for Actual Birth Date: July 23, 2016. I've gone earlier with each baby, and Lyla was two weeks early. Our family birthdays are June 21, January 25, March 27 (Ben and I share a birthday), and March 29... so we need a baby on the 23 :) 
Sickness: First trimester, from about weeks 5-12. I was pleasantly surprised when it left at 12 weeks as I expected it to hang on until around 14 weeks. I only threw up a few times but just felt yucky every day. I also had a ton of food aversions. I have had some heartburn since then, but nothing consistent yet.
Movement: I have been feeling movement since around 15 weeks. I love the little kicks. It's such a beautiful thing to know that there is a little life growing inside of you. 
Weight Gain: Somewhere around 10 pounds. I'm still in my regular clothes. 
Big Sisters' Thoughts: Sophie (almost 5) and Brielle (3) are very excited and talk about the baby often. They love looking at the app on my phone that shows the size and look of the baby each week and gives information about what is developing. Lyla (1) is oblivious :) 
Gender: We find out next week! I'm very excited to find out :) I thought Sophie was a girl, but mostly because I kept having dreams of having a girl baby. I had no intuition with Brielle and Lyla, although I did hope for a girl with both. I feel very strongly that this one is a boy. I have prayed a lot about this baby, including the gender, asking the Lord to give us what is very best for our family and for his purposes and just laying it at his feet. In the beginning, I hoped for another girl. I know girls, I have girl stuff... it just felt easier. Ben, for the first time, told me he would like a boy this time. When we told Sophie we were pregnant, she also said she hoped for a boy (she actually started talking about wanting a little brother a week before I told her I was pregnant... which was weird. And fun.). I continued to pray about it, and I feel like the Lord has just changed my heart and put a deep desire in my heart for a boy, and that is the main reason that I really feel like this baby is a boy. But, at our first appointment at 13 weeks, the heartbeat was also super low. It was 120, which is the lowest a heartbeat is in the "normal" range. My girls all started very high, between 170 and 180, so this is definitely different for me! At my last appointment, at 18 weeks, the heartbeat was 130, so still very low. We will definitely be happy either way and look forward to knowing.

(10 Weeks)

(14 Weeks)

(18 Weeks)

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