Thanksgiving was such a good week for me. I've been on the Thanksgiving track for weeks now, so it was only natural for it to culminate with a big feast and family around. But here are the background emotions to my thankfulness during that week...
We found out we were expecting sometime around the last week of October. This was not necessarily a surprise. We were very excited. Both of us had been hoping for #4 for months now and were excited when our dream became a reality. It was so easy to be thankful!
I took the test before I really had any symptoms, so I just assumed that it was because I had taken the test so early. I figured my due date would be July 8.
But . . . a week after taking the test--I spotted.
I called my doctor who told me that she couldn't give me any assurances, but to just be careful and keep track of my symptoms. It was too early for them to check for a heartbeat. The spotting soon stopped, but I began to notice things like how my cramps were getting more and more intense (even though cramping is normal for me, intense cramps so early on are not). I also began to notice that I was not very morning sick. The last time I had no morning sickness early on, I did indeed miscarry.
With the pregnancy I miscarried I emotionally prepared myself for the inevitable. Somehow I knew right away that the pregnancy would end prematurely. But this pregnancy was different. I had high expectations and when I started showing miscarriage symptoms I just couldn't bring myself to accept it. I prayed fervently. Although I remained anxious, God reminded me to be thankful no matter what would come.
Any moment I did feel morning sick, I praised God. Every moment the cramping subsided, I praised Him. Every day I woke up without spotting, I praised Him. Every day I thanked God that regardless of a miscarriage or not, this baby would be another child of God. I thanked God that I was able to spend an entire weekend in Chicago with my husband while 8 weeks pregnant, almost sick free!
When I thought I was 8 weeks (later we would find out I was 9), Chris and I decided that we no longer needed to keep this little life a secret because we weren't sure it would make it. We needed to tell our children and acknowledge this baby's life, no matter how early it might end. We explained the news and then explained that we had to check with the doctor to make sure the baby was alive. CJ and Cassi were so excited and were sure the baby had to be alive. So again, I had another reason to be thankful. They were not afraid. They were sure the baby would make it! Oh to have faith like a little child!
We slowly began sharing the news with the rest of our family when appropriate opportunities to share arose. Everyone was very supportive and positive. While I tried to stay balanced and focus on the positive, I couldn't help but be anxious. I started experiencing more morning sickness, but also more cramping. My morning sickness was very slight and didn't really show up till the evenings. The lack of intense morning sickness was very disconcerting, but I thanked God for health.
A week after Thanksgiving, the three children and I showed up at my OB appointment, ready for my ultrasound. I explained to the technician with a stiff upper lip that both my children and I were prepared for the possibility of there being no heartbeat. I shared that I had not been very sick, had experienced a lot of cramping (which I continued to experience), and had spotted soon after the positive pregnancy test. Our technician's face fell. She didn't want to be the bearer of bad news.
Right before she laid the doppler on my belly, I also explained that I thought I was earlier in the pregnancy than my cycle would suggest due to my lack of symptoms, and told her to expect the baby to measure small. Then I closed my eyes and thanked God for this life whether dead or alive. Either way...it was a gift. I was ready for the ultrasound.
I thought I would have tears of joy upon hearing my baby's heartbeat, but CJ and Cassi both leapt up screaming their excitement and it was just too happy a moment to let my emotions do anything but echo their squeals of delight!
Our baby not only had a strong heartbeat of 171 (maybe it's a girl?!) but also measured exactly on schedule to my cycle, so that I found out I was a week and one day ahead in the pregnancy than I expected. Now, I don't know about you other ladies who have gone through pregnancy, but a week makes a HUGE difference in those early weeks!
Our Thanksgiving week quickly became a week of gratefulness to a week of gratefulness and outright ecstatic JOY!
Thankfully, I have had more consistent morning sickness. Although it is still not very severe, it is a gentle and beautiful reminder that there is a life growing inside me. A life I do not deserve. Something that happens outside of my control, and something that is nothing short of a miracle in every way.
It should be such a natural and easy thing for me to be grateful. I have so much and always have. So foolish of me to even allow myself to be anxious about the negative things in life. If I had miscarried, or if something happens to this baby during the pregnancy or afterwards, it would be part of God's plan. Who am I to question that? I can just rest peacefully in His plan, focusing on all the positive things in my life and learning to be thankful no matter what comes my way.
My due date is scheduled right around the same week as I'll be studying for finals for my first semester in 3rd year law school. I have some stressful days ahead of me, so I am posting this as a reminder to myself to be thankful, because thankfulness brings so much joy and peace. God is good. All the time. We never have to question His plan.