Thursday, January 26, 2012

Katie Conquers Texas, Part I





When I served as a missionary in Portland, I had the privilege of meeting some wonderful people, a few of whom made lasting impressions on my life.  One of my favorites is Katie.  We've kept in touch over the years, but hadn't seen each other since my wedding day nearly four years ago.



Katie came and stayed with Jay and I in our one bedroom apartment.  She was a great sport about sleeping on the floor (even though she was a little afraid our bookcases would fall and crush her in her sleep.  Valid fear: we have a lot of books!).  





She arrived Friday and we took her to a Spurs game.  It was our first Spurs game, too; they played the Kings.  To be honest, the only basketball team I dislike more than the Spurs is the Kings (though the Lakers are up there), so I cheered for Jimmer and a little for the Spurs since I have been a San Antonian for four years now and do have a little pride.  (Kings won by two points.  Boo Kings!  Go Jimmer!)



On Saturday, we went out to breakfast at the Magnolia Pancake Haus (which turned out to be more like lunch since that place is so dang popular), and then walked off the decadence at the Alamo and Riverwalk.

                   

Turns out pregnant Lindsay is a wuss, so any time Jay and Katie started going crazy with the cameras (did I mention Katie is a professional photographer?), I found a place to sit down.  I believe I initially sat down in the picture below when Jay was preoccupied with shooting some Koi.   

                   

As we walked up the stairs from the Riverwalk to the Alamo, much to the amusement of our fellow stair-climbers, Katie kept saying, "I'm so excited!  I can feel it's close!  I'm so excited!"


Later that afternoon, we went to Mission San Jose to have a look around and to take some pictures.  I feel blessed to have friends with talents--Katie took some great pictures of me and Jay and our burgeoning baby.



We had so much fun.  Stay tuned for part two of our adventures...


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Positive

When I found out I was pregnant, I looked from the little blue cross on the pregnancy test to the instruction leaflet and back again at least three times.  I don't know how many pregnancy and ovulation tests I've gone through in the past 18 months, but it's been a lot--well over 50.  I started buying them in bulk to keep the cost down.  And until that day, every test had been negative.  

I called Jay into the bathroom and we both looked for a long moment at the blue "positive" sign.  He smiled and held out his arms to me.  We held each other and stood there in silence, both of us still staring numbly at the benign little plastic stick on the counter.  

After the steps we've taken to conceive a baby, you would think that I would have laughed or cried or been overcome by a strong sense of... impending motherhood?  Promised blessings realized?  Gratitude?  --but I didn't feel anything.  

A couple hours later, I took two more pregnancy tests--all different brands--just to be sure.  It didn't seem real.   We lined up the three pregnancy tests--all positive--on the counter and stared at them for a long time.  

I know there are many couples who struggle with infertility for much longer than a year and who have to undergo much more invasive procedures than I did.  I didn't know how many steps up the infertility treatment ladder I would have to climb or how long we would wait or what would finally work.  I do know that once I found out for sure that there was something "wrong" with me, that we wouldn't be able to conceive a baby without help, I felt like my body had failed me, like I wasn't whole.  I cried myself to sleep every night for a week.  

This is supposed to be easy! I told myself.  This is supposed to be the most natural thing in the world!  And as silly as it sounds, I was haunted by this thought: What if I had been born 50 years ago?  100 years ago?  Would I ever have been able to conceive a child?

I would like to think I kept perspective those 15 months of negative tests, of monthly blood draws, of different and increasingly intrusive medications.  I tried to stay practical, to keep faith, to avoid feelings of jealousy or hurt.  Knowing that I was doing everything I could, that there was a plan, helped my analytical mind be at peace.  Most of all, I cherished my time with Jay, those days of having him all to myself, enjoying our family of two.  We do nearly everything together--the grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, errands, outings, even reading. I know it can't always be like this, and I have treasured this time.  

It is difficult to live in The Now, to enjoy what I have even while wishing for something more.  Some days were worse than others.  I have a propensity towards jealousy and spitefulness, and as the months crawled by and my lab results were less and less promising, I worried that I would begin to begrudge others their happiness.  Mercifully, miraculously, I was blessed with the ability to separate my own challenges from the successes of others, to brush off oblivious but jarring insensitivity, to keep jealousy in check.  It was a borrowed gift, but it also saved me from being hurt or offended when I was questioned or teased about our family planning.  "Whenever they come" was my standard response, said with a smile and sometimes a wink.  

I am not generally prone to tears, but one Fast Sunday, I lost it.  There were two baby blessings in church that day, and during testimony meeting, both of the beautiful, radiant mothers stood and shared their thoughts and gratitude.  I completely broke down.  My face crumpled and I shook with almost-quiet sobs.  

I wasn't jealous.  I wasn't angry.  I didn't resent these women or their families.  I was afraid--terribly afraid that I wouldn't get that experience.  That our family would never grow.  That I would continue to wait interminably, indefinitely.

I know that I am lucky.  I know that a year or 18 months is brief.  I know that there are many women who--for whatever reason--will not get to experience childbirth or traditional motherhood.  But I also know how it feels to face uncertainty, to walk a path without knowing when, if ever, the destination will be reached, to work towards a goal that may well be unattainable.  It is scary.  It is lonely.  It is easy to feel judged or misunderstood.  

I share this because, though I don't want to burden anyone with more information about my life than they want or need to know, I think it's important.  I am almost ashamed to tell my story now, when I've already stepped into the warm circle of light at the end of the tunnel--the words feel empty and contrived when viewed through the lens of my gratitude.  But I want others to know they are not alone, to do my small part to break the silence, to belatedly challenge the social taboos of infertility.  

I want to spread hope, to show my gratitude, to share my story.
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I wrote this last June or July when I first found out I was pregnant.  It's been sitting in my draft box ever since.  I don't know what I was waiting for, exactly; I think I was just afraid to over-share.  I stumbled on this quote today (from a blog I've never read) that made me feel like it was time: 

"Sometimes we look out at our lives and it seems the garden is empty – plans dead as withered leaves, dreams laid waste. Could we rejoice in the season of waiting, believing that God who brought Jesus out of the black tomb and brings green shoots out of hard earth will bring new life out of all dark seasons too? Could we know that beauty is in this whole process, the waiting part too, not just the end result?"     - Katie Davis, via here

It resonated with me, and I wanted to share my "waiting part" with you.  God truly does give us beauty for ashes

Thursday, January 12, 2012

13 Minutes

I have 13 minutes left in my lunch break, and I decided that I am going to write a blog post even though I'm OCD and ADHD and perfectionistic and still finishing my lunch of left over pot-stickers.  I have missed writing--it is something I do for me, but I also agonize over it.  You could say writing and I have a love-hate relationship.  


I'm finally coming to realize I'm going to have a baby.  The end of denial is a scary thing.  It's even worse when it happens in a public place: I stood next to Jay in a store to register for "things I want," scanner in hand, looking at rows upon rows of bottles, sippy cups, pacifiers, and bouncers, and my calm, I-can-do-this facade came crashing down.  How on earth could I raise a baby when I have no idea what bottles to buy or how many or what the heck a nursing pad is?  I think I numbly scanned a bunch of plain white onesie packs, a couple of pacifiers, and then stood there staring blankly at pack and plays for at least 10 minutes.  I laughed (but cried a little inside) at the irony of a registry--I decided that anyone kind enough to buy me a gift probably has a much better idea of what I need than I do.  


I have less than two months left, and I'm trying to cram in all the things I should have done months ago that I didn't feel urgency about because of blissful denial.  We're touring the hospital tonight, and I'm resolving to read a couple birth/baby books before the month is over.  One way or another, though, it's going to happen.  I won't be perfect and won't know what's going on (my control freak-iness is really pinging over that one), but it's going to be okay.  


I'm so excited to be a mom.