Saturday, March 03, 2012

New Life Growing Within Me!

This is the actual size of our baby right now!
All glory be to God in the Highest!!

My dear readers, I must share with you one of God’s amazing miracles!

There is new LIFE growing within me! 

Yes, I am with child! 

And our baby is due in early September 2012!  I have just recently begun my second trimester!  Eek! 

Our first son or daughter is on the way!  Can you believe it?!  And this person within me is an ETERNAL being that sprung forth from my love for Michael, his love for me, and God’s love for each of us!  Our love for each other must have overflowed from our bodies and created a new one!  I’m so amazed at God’s creativity and generosity!

Please allow me to relay the beautiful story of how Michael and I found out that we were expecting!

Friday, December 30, 2011 was the feast of the Holy Family.  That night, I could barely sleep, as I wondered constantly if I was pregnant.  Every few minutes, I would wake up, wondering so. 

My period was already a day late on this day, and Saturday would make it two days late.  I was full of nervous anticipation.  But I had no other symptoms.  And my period has certainly been late before.  One time last Spring, it was even 15 days late!

When the sun finally rose, I awoke Michael and explained that I wanted to run to the grocery store and buy a pregnancy test.   The tests are most effective when the urine sample is your first of the day.

He was groggy and wished that I would just be relaxed and not worry so much about things.  But he gave me the go-ahead, and so off I flew to Weis Markets.

When I returned, Michael was in the living room, wide awake, and eager to see me.  To the bathroom I went, and from it I yelled, “I feel like I’m a scientist conducting an experiment in here!”  Michael laughed.  I almost asked him to form a hypothesis, but I didn’t. 

We had three minutes to wait then, and so I joined him on the couch.  We watched the golf channel and kept time with my iPhone’s countdown app.  Meanwhile, daily mass was happening across the street at the church.  So many beautiful things were unfolding all at once! 

When the pleasant alarm sounded on my phone, I eagerly went to the bathroom to collect the results of my experiment.  And I saw this!!

“Oh my gosh!”  I exclaimed.  And these were my exact words that followed:  “This seems to suggest that I might be pregnant!” I said, holding up the wand, with a goofy, happy smile.

Showing him the pregnancy test, I flopped myself on top of him on the couch and began to giggle nonstop.  He began laughing, too!  We were so joyful!  Did this just happen?!

Just to be sure, I took a second pregnancy test.  Same results!  The “pregnant” line that my urine produced was even distinctive than the fainter control line of “not pregnant.”  Indeed, the hormone levels within me were strong!

“See?” Michael kept saying, happily.  And I knew this meant, as he had told me previously, that I should have been more patient and trusting in God’s providence.  I had worried that perhaps my body was too old or too stressed-out from my long days at work to conceive a baby.  Our first three cycles while married had ended disappointingly, and each cycle was an emotional roller coaster for me.  Oh, how quickly I had forgotten that it’s not my will to be done but rather GOD’S!!

It is interesting how things happen when you finally release your grip on them and just surrender yourself to God’s complete will.  Here's how I surrendered:
  • This cycle was the first in which I had given an audible and definitive “YES!” to being a mother, which I spontaneously and joyfully did one moment while in the car alone, driving near the Barnes and Nobel bookstore.  At that moment, the Holy Spirit had helped me to be fully convinced that this world was amazing and worth having a new person experience.  I was also convinced, for that moment, that I could raise a child, despite my inadequacies, only because I had full trust in God’s leadership in my life and the support of my wonderful husband.  With God, all things are possible, and I knew this concretely at that moment.
  • This was the first complete cycle since I offered up my body as a vessel for God’s will.  I did this at the recommendation of my friend Juliana, and I spent a lot of time in the Prayer Room alone with Jesus, doing just that.  I prayed over my body, and asked for healing.  In particular, I gave Him my heart, my mind, and my womb.  I did so by reaching out and symbolically placing those things at the food of His cross.  Then I gave my body permission to manifest God’s holy will, in whatever capacity that might be, whether it meant children for us or no children.  It was so freeing, so peaceful.
  • This was the first cycle in which I had no use of the fertility app I had been using on my iPhone.  I had deleted it from my phone, which relieved me of the record-keeping I had taken upon myself (despite Michael’s encouragement for me to not do such things).  What a peace this brought me!
  • Yes, this was the first complete cycle where I had a true peace about any outcome for our lives, whether it be children or not.  I had cried to Michael when I got my period at the end of November, worried about my inadequacies to co-create a baby and then also to raise it – and Michael had lovingly hugged me and said that he loved me no matter what.  He said that if we never had children, then so be it.  We would be the best aunt and uncle to our nieces instead!  Everything was up to God and not in our control anyhow.  What a good husband he is!  No wonder God paired him with me!  I learn so much from Michael.
This blessed menstrual cycle began on November 30, 2011 which is the feast day of St. Andrew the Apostle who is the patron saint of “those who wish to become mothers.”  Can you believe it?!

And in this blessed cycle, we were graced with so many pro-life feast days.  First among them was the feast of Our Lady’s Immaculate Conception on December 8th.   Second was the feast of Our Pregnant Lady of Guadalupe on December 12.   On December 18th, we celebrated the Feast of the Expectation of Our Lady, a little-known Marian feast which celebrates how she joyfully waited to deliver her Son.  And all this happened during Advent, one of the most beautiful periods of expectation and waiting that the Church has!

On December 25, we celebrated the HUGE feast day of Nativity of Our Lord!  After this, we had the feast of the Holy Innocents, which honors the lives of the children who were killed by Herod when he tried to kill the infant Christ.

And through the duration of this entire blessed menstrual cycle, Michael and I have been praying the long, daily preparation prayers to renew our Consecration to Mary, a la St. Louis DeMonfort.  They take a full 20 minutes to pray, and we say them together every night before bed.

Oh, dear reader, how beautiful it is that we should find out we were pregnant on a day hugged between two special feast days: The Feast of the Holy Family (December 30) and the Feast of Mary, the Mother of God (January 1).  God’s perfect timing is amazing!

“Oh, Michael, this little person is so SMALL right now!”  I said, when I realized the fragility and preciousness of this new life, growing within me.  I knew I would be doing everything in my power to make sure I was healthy to give our baby the very best start at life!

Oh my, what a new year’s eve THIS was!  I had just recently been telling everyone that nothing could beat LAST year’s new year’s eve celebration, where Michael took me up to New York City to see the ball drop.  But indeed, I was wrong!  THIS new year’s eve was even MORE exciting!  We would be ringing in 2012 with the anticipation of our first child!  How funny that my mother’s email to me earlier in the week specifically said, “Wishing you, Michael, and your offspring a wonderful 2012!”  She didn’t even know I was pregnant!  Even I didn’t know I was pregnant!

Here we are on New Year's knowing a special little secret!  :)
Michael requested that we keep the blessed news a secret until things could be confirmed with a blood test from a doctor.  Although he believed I was pregnant, he didn’t want our parents to get excited prematurely.  This would be a heavy cross for me to bear, as I knew we would be seeing my parents the next day, and I was particularly eager to tell them -- for I tell them everything!  But still, I wanted to respect my husband’s sense of caution and his virtue of temperance.  I would need to learn patience!  God, please help me!

I was sure that my mother was probably “on” to us, though.  The day before I had texted her the high numbers for my heart rate (122) and blood pressure (144/86) which I obtained using the little kiosk machine that’s available in my grocery store.  My blood pressure is frequently high (because I have a great aversion to having it taken), but I’ve never before in my life had such a high heart beat.

I was devastated by these results, but Mom said, “This might indicate a body change of some sort.  You sure looked radiant on Christmas Eve.”  I passed it off as just my use of makeup, which I don’t wear often.

But now that I could tell Mom that her suspicions were correct, I would have to wait!  Great patience would be necessary for me to learn.   My gynecologist’s office would be closed on Monday due to the holiday, and even after the blood test results, Michael suggested that we not tell our friends until the 3-month mark.  Oh, patience, how I need you!

The 3-month mark would be March, I calculated.  And then I smiled as I immediately recalled something.  From the beginning of our marriage, I always felt like we’d be announcing my pregnancy in March, the same month that we got engaged (last year).  I never told anyone this, but in my mind, I figured this would mean that I would conceive in February.  And this brought me comfort with each cycle that ended in me having my period.  It wasn’t March yet, I’d remind myself.  There would be nothing to announce until then.  How beautiful that March will be the month of our announcement, just as I had hoped!

Another beautiful thing worth remembering:  This was the first time that I had ever done a pregnancy test WITH Michael, and there was something decidedly special about it.  Prior to this, I had done two tests on my own, intending to hopefully surprise Michael with good news when he got home from work, yet all the while feeling strange and uncomfortable because I was doing something without him and might consequently have knowledge before him.  Praise God that I was able to share this experience with my husband immediately!

Within the first few weeks of pregnancy, my only symptoms of being pregnant were the slight churnings that I felt, which I believed to be my ovaries doing their job at secreting hormones and creating my womb as a comfy place for the baby.  These churnings are quite similar to those which I experience when I ovulate mid-cycle or when it’s about 5 days before my expected period.  The only difference is that I do not feel any sensation of hormone changes in my lower portion, which is usually what I feel 5 days before my expected period.  That feeling never happened this cycle, and I can obviously now understand why!  Tee-hee.

As the weeks passed, I experienced other symptoms of being pregnant.  I could feel my abdomen muscles slowly moving to the sides of my body.  Between weeks 6 and 12, I experienced great exhaustion.  I would take a 2-hour nap after each school day, yet still got in bed for the night at an early 7:30 PM.  I was too tired to make dinner for Michael, so my poor husband was on his own!  All I did was lay on the couch or in bed!  I also gradually learned what it feels like for my body to experience nausea.  The feeling comes on quickly if I do not snack every 1 - 2 hours, and it can also be brought on by too much activity.  At first, I was so scared that my nausea would get worse and that I would be throwing up everywhere.  But, I soon became familiar with my body.  The nausea was a warning sign to slow down and rest, and it could be mitigated by eating and resting.  Praise God.

So please pray with us, dear reader, for the healthy development and safe delivery of our first child.  Please ask God to keep his angels near me, especially the two that follow me most closely, those being my guardian angel and our child’s guardian angel.  Pray with me for the constant gift of humility and dependence on God’s sovereignty.  Please pray for the protection of our marriage and family.  And please pray for Michael and I to grow and form ourselves into the parents that we are called to be.   Thank you, God, for blessing Michael with a father’s heart – and for blessing me with a mother’s! 

Thy holy will be done, Lord.   
Thy holy will be done!