Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Week 21: A Companion to Journey With

They say crisis and tragedy can draw people together and create strong bonds. No one would debate that as true--and I really wouldn't disagree with or "poo-poo" it now.

I was going to write a book. Maybe I still will, but for now, it's kind of on hold. My friend and I were going to do it together, on infertility, but then, what do you know--we both got pregnant! I want to share this first chapter with you to help explain this friendship I have been blessed with.

I’m used to getting what I want, when I want it. Usually. So it wasn’t too much of a surprise when on December 16th, 2006 I took a pregnancy test and found it to be positive.

The moment, all alone in the bathroom, early in the morning, was one of the happiest moments of my life. Except for the alarming thought that crossed my mind as I read the positive pregnancy test. “Don’t get excited; you’re going to miscarry.” Clear as a bell, as if the voice of God had spoken. What? Who thinks such a thing when in the midst of discovering such exciting news? I chose not to dwell on the fleeting thought and instead pounced on my sleeping husband and delivered the sooner-than-expected news. I’d gone off the pill only 5 weeks earlier. Apparently, this whole child-bearing business was going to be a breeze for us.

Except, it wasn’t. It hasn’t been. It isn’t, and it won’t be.

My alarming thought turned out to be true. January 22nd, 2007 I began to spot. On January 24th, two days before my birthday, I had a D and C to remove my baby, which had never fully attached and had died before it even had a heartbeat. In that moment, I realized that the alarming thought I’d had a little over a month before had been a warning. Should I have heeded it more? Should I not have allowed myself to get excited? To bond? Who knows. I’ll never know the “right” answer. All I know is I am a mother, but I have no baby.

The doctor who performed my D and C noted that perhaps he felt something malformed in my uterus. We did an MRI in March, but, since he decided to go on vacation and never call me back, I never sat down with him to find out the results. By phone, a nurse told me “Everything looks great—go get pregnant!” So for many months, operating on false information, we continued to try. My husband and I went on to conceive again in September of 2007, but lost the pregnancy at only three weeks. I still was in no mood to trust a doctor again, so we just continued trying. Finally, in February 2008, I found a reproductive specialist. She instantly viewed the MRI films and diagnosed me with a septate uterus, and declared I would definitely need surgery. The surgery was done in May 2008. Since then, we’ve done rounds of Clomid, HCG shots, insemination, and acupuncture. Quite obviously, I am still not pregnant. Needless to say, I can now consider myself somewhat of an expert on infertility—the hurts, the struggles, the pains. I’ve been a mother twice, and lost both. I’ve waited month after month, and still nothing. I know this journey. I feel this journey.

So, when I heard from my friend Terri that she was off the pill, but struggling to figure out her cycle, I felt sick. And excited. Excited? What? Yeah—and guilty for feeling excited. And conflicted.

Suddenly, my friend Terri, who had walked with me on my journey so far, was telling me that she was joining me on the path.

I remember praying, “God, use me.” And to be completely honest, it felt so good to know that although this experience sucks, God was still choosing to use me while in the midst of my pain. He wasn’t going to wait 10 years and then allow me to mentor someone. No, He was going to bless me with a friend to walk with on this path. I am still conflicted when I feel gratitude that Terri has struggled with infertility as well. It still baffles me that two best friends would share such a similar story. But what a blessing it has been. Two friends, who, for whatever reason, bonded sophomore year of college while waiting in line at the polls on election day. If our mutual friend hadn’t decided the line was too long and left, I don’t think Terri and I’d be the friends we are today. If we hadn’t stood for hours in that line and gotten to know each other, and then gone running at the gym afterwards and sparked this lifelong friendship, I honestly don’t know how I’d get through this infertility struggle. December 9th, 2006, unbeknownst to me, I was pregnant, while dancing the night away at my friend Terri’s wedding. Now, years later, here we are. Walking this journey together, and sharing it with you. I hope we can help.

Terri came to a shower that my sister threw for me on Monday night, the last day of my 21st week. She is in her 29th week. We are both carrying babies; tears still come to my eyes and I still shake my head at God's goodness. All those frustrated emails, all those tears of pain, all those deep wounds and resentment ... and God knew He'd given us each other, not only for the journey of infertility, but for the journey of pregnancy, motherhood and beyond. Friendship is a wonderful thing, and I'm so grateful for Terri!

And of course, I'm already praying that my son will marry her daughter. :)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Week 20: I'm Here Dad!

So on the very last day of my 17th week, I felt little Bubba move for the very first time.

On the very last day of my 20th week, Erik finally felt Bubba kick! We were chilling on the basement couch, pretty normal for a late evening at the Lindeens, and as usual I had my hands on my belly, hoping for a hello from my son.

I'd just about given up and gone to bed when I sensed a little movement. And then out of no where, a huge KICK! So I grabbed Erik's hand, told him to concentrate this time, and we waited. And then, a kick! and another and another and another! All in the same spot! Finally, Erik was able to experience the amazing moment of actually feeling his son and his new found strength. With his hand still on my belly--on his son--he typed with his other hand on facebook "I just felt my son kick for the first time!"

I'm so excited that this moment has come! I know it makes it more real for Erik, and I love being able to share this with him. Bubba is definitely getting strong--I feel him very often now! Even my sister Molly was able to catch one of his kicks (or head butts) last night. She was super excited!

Pregnancy is so amazing ... for all of my whining about how my clothes don't fit and I can't eat because my stomach is squished ... this is the most amazing experience ever and I LOVE being pregnant!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

He's the Man

So, I have this husband. Can I please tell you about him?

I love my husband so much, it hurts. I think of him and I get that full feeling in my rib cage (does the heart actually swell with emotion?), I involuntarily smile, my eyes get all teary and I suddenly need to breath deeply just so I don't cry.

Oh man, I just realized I'm going to cry while writing this blog. Figures--I'm pregnant! And I'm me! :)

My husband Erik is truly an incredible man. I absolutely am amazed at what God is able to accomplish through him. The work he does at our church, the vision he casts in all areas of life, the progress he has made with a bunch of crazy high school students astounds me all the time.

If you don't know him, or haven't had a chance to get to know him more than as "the guy who leads worship at my church" or "the guy who provides an insane place for my teen on Wednesdays", you won't know much of this. So let me share!

  • My husband does the cat box every other day without complaining. Oh how I love him!
  • My husband will do pretty much anything for me at anytime. (That's why I throw a small hissy fit when he actually says "no" to something--I'm just not used to it!)
  • My husband takes the utmost care in planning for and executing a Sunday morning worship service. The amount of thought that goes into what songs and why and in what order and with what video .... it makes my head spin.
  • My husband will clean the bathroom if I put out a desperate plea for help. (I've learned it's still just better to do it myself, but it's so nice that he offers!)
  • My husband rarely cries--but this fall I got to watch him shed tears of joy over three great teen guys who came to know the Lord. If you want a glimpse into Erik Lindeen's heart, ask him about these guys!
  • My husband is so excited to be a father--and I can't wait to see him experience it!
  • My husband is so good at letting me vent/freak/shriek and sob about life--and he is so good about steering me toward the right "next steps". If there are no "next steps" and I just need to vent/freak/shriek and sob, he lets me do so, gives me a hug, and takes me to get Applebees boneless wings.
  • My husband writes incredible songs. I won't know what's going on inside of him for months and then suddenly he'll produce this incredible song that outlines exactly what emotions have been rolling around inside his heart. I wait patiently for these moments where I get to glimpse so much deeper than normal into his soul.
  • My husband, believe it or not, is quite funny. Sometimes I forget this because he can be so serious when talking about church, but when he decides to get silly, I LOVE IT! My favorite is when he randomly grabs me in the kitchen and pretends to dance. He's so not a dancer!
  • My husband always wants to try new things--I love this about him.
  • My husband has such a gift for reaching out to people and connecting them in the right places. You may not always know it's him doing it, but he's often pulling the strings and making sure a person feels connected.
  • My husband really is a softie--beneath his sometimes loud opinions and fast-paced "Get it done" work style, he really really does care. I promise!
  • My husband is my favorite. End of story.
I could go on and on and on, but I won't. Pretty much because my husband's son is kicking my bladder and I have to make a restroom stop. :)

Thank you for reading my tribute to my husband Erik. I love him so much and am so immensely blessed that God have given him to me for however long I may have him; I intend to live it up. Thank you Jesus for blessing me with such a wonderful man to love and do life with!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Week 19: What the ... ?!

Something happened this week that I didn't expect, never saw coming and threw me for a loop:

I grieved having a girl.

What the ... ?!

We all know I wanted a boy. I was quite sure a son was what I was supposed to have. Most agreed with me, some hoped for pink instead of blue, but everyone was aware that I was betting on a little Bubba boy.

When the ultrasound technician said, "Boy", I felt first relief, then incredible shock, then more relief, then unsurpassed joy! It was so much fun to look over at Erik through the tears in my eyes and see the proud swelling of his chest as he took in the news. What a wonderful moment!

But then, throughout the rest of the day and a couple days to follow, it started to register. I'd see pink and think, "No, can't buy that." or I'd hold my friend's precious girl and wonder, "Are baby boys this soft too?" I saw my Kirsten doll and her accessories in the nursery and realized, "Wow, ok, I have to put those somewhere else" ...

And then I started to think, uh oh--girl stuff I can deal with. Girl "crap" I know--snobby attitude, body image, mean girls, equally mean boys, bras and lack of bras, fights with friends and uncomfortable stockings. But boys? I can't do boys! I don't know boys! I've never understood boys and can't seem to crack the code!

I shed tears over this!

What if my boy gets in fights? What if my boy is "wimpy" and gets picked on? What if my boy starts the fights? What if my son is a bully? What if my son is tempted with porn? What if my boy gets rejected by a girl? What if my son struggles with homosexuality? (for some reason, this is more of a worry for me with a son than a daughter. Haven't figured that one out yet...) What if my son goes to war? I don't know how to do any of this!

I shed more tears over this, and shared with Erik. He is such a good husband. He just tried not to laugh at my hysteria, took me in his arms and said, "Babe, that's why I'm the Daddy. That's why there are two of us. That's why Bubba has a Mom and a Dad."

Oh yeah ... I knew that!

So, week 19--we found out Bubba's a boy, I freaked just a little, I realized I really do still want a girl, but I also realized, just like I thought, I'm super pumped to have a little boy. I can't wait to have a little guy running all over, getting into everything and making my life crazy! (Cora, you are still allowed to quote me in three years when I'm in hysterics over the state of my house!) Week 19, I feel Bubba kick constantly, he has even evoked little yelps of surprise from me, I'm popping out enough for people to comment that I "finally look pregnant!" and my Mom got to feel Bubba move too! Phew! What a week!

I am having a son. I am going to be, and already am, "Joshua's Mom"--I can't wait to see how this changes my life!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Week 18: Just not getting there

So, I'm just not getting to my Week 18 update, so i'm skipping it and instead telling you:

BUBBA IS A BOY!!!!! Yay!!! We are so excited! My maternal instincts were correct! yay!!!!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Week 17: Really in there!

So, there's something in my belly! It's finally becoming more clear! I tried sucking in my stomach the other day, and Erik just started laughing because I had to try so hard, and was breathless when I was done--there's actually someone in there!

How cool is it that my child is in my body?!

You know, God could have gone with the whole stork idea--less messy. But instead He chose this marvelous design; I'm so glad He did.

What a privilege to carry my child, to have heartburn because of it, to be up in the night peeing because of it, to have to set aside myself and my desires (though I'm not super good at avoiding my favorite drinks--coffee and an occasional Coke....) for the benefit of my child. What amazing training for parenthood!

Pretty sure I felt Bubba move--freak out really--when I flipped over onto my stomach the other night. Wowsa!! Lots of movement in there!

I'm noticing I'm more likely to find other reasons for "flutterings" because I want to be I've had lots of "muscle twitches" and "gas bubbles"--baby? maybe? maybe not? Time will tell as Bubba gets stronger. I really should just be like some of my friends, and assume everything is Baby moving. It'd be more fun than all this digestive stuff!!

Yay for 17 weeks!