Pin It

how are you doing… really?

25 Comments

A personal update for a very personal topic.

With only three weeks left until my due date, many friends are beginning to ask the question “How are you doing?” No doubt they are asking about my physical health, knowing that those last few weeks of pregnancy can get really uncomfortable, but they are also asking me how I’m doing on a mental, emotional, and spiritual level.

This pregnancy has certainly been different than my first in more ways than one. At a glance there have been a lot of similarities: yes, the baby was planned; no, I didn’t get morning sickness; yes, I’ve gained a similar amount of weight, I’m “carrying” the same, and I look nearly identical to when I had Levi; yes, I’ve had just as much of that annoying restless leg syndrome and trips to the bathroom and sleepless nights; and yes, we’re more than excited about having another boy.

Despite all of the similarities, it’s also been very different: I never had my “golden second trimester” this time around – the middle was by far the hardest part of the pregnancy for me (on every level) and I have never been so utterly exhausted in my life; I’ve had lots and lots of (often painful) Braxton Hicks since 19 weeks along every single night; I struggled with PGP so badly from 20 weeks until 33 weeks that I was actually having nightmares about doing my grocery shopping in an electric wheelchair as I approached full term; and… the absolute best difference – I’m at full-term in the late winter/early spring rather than the height of summer (here in tropical Australia), meaning I’ve avoided the elephant feet and ankles I had last time around!

But the truth is, all of that pales in comparison to the emotional and spiritual journey of this pregnancy.

There are so many unknowns with any pregnancy, birth, and baby… but this time around some of those unknowns have been given a name. When you’re carrying a child and terms are thrown around such as “chromosomal anomoly” and “Down Syndrome” and “high risk” and “specialist” every time you visit the obstetrician, then you can’t help but have a different outlook on things. (I like to call it half-full and hopeful.)

There have been many more appointments, many more ultrasounds, many more “serious talks”, many more tears, and many more prayers.

I’ve had to think long and hard and pray earnestly and often about how to digest the possibility that our child may be born with special needs. I’ve had to think about the big questions in life on a very personal level: Why do these things happen? What does it mean for me personally? Will God heal my child? When? And what does that look like this side of heaven? How should I even pray? What is “perfect health” anyway? Will I be able to cope, no matter what the outcome? How will others around us respond?

It’s also shown me important things about friends as we’ve shared our journey openly – those that came swooping in to offer support and prayer and encouragement without delay… those that kept a distance, not knowing how to respond… those that brought us cookies or sent a card just to make sure we knew we were loved and supported… those that I’ve never even met who have gone out of their way to provide friendship in ways that have meant the world to me… those that have shared their own journeys of heartache and confusion and ultimately victory in embracing life “as is”.

I’ve been incredibly grateful for this season of my deepest fears and my greatest hopes being exposed. As difficult as it’s been, I wouldn’t trade it in for anything. I’ve been rocked to the core and encouraged to see that underneath all of my vulnerabilites is a heart that is more confident and steady than I thought… one that’s filled with belief for life that’s bigger than myself. I’ve been comforted by the fact that I’ve seen my faith actually is strong enough to withstand the storm… and there’s not a doubt in my mind that the reason for that is the unrelenting grace of God, and the fact that it’s often demonstrated through the kindness and generosity of spirit of those placed in my life.

{37 weeks: ready to either burst or tip over}

So yes, as baby’s due date is now less than three weeks away, I can honestly say that I’m at perfect peace. I have no fear (at least that I’m aware of), and I have full confidence that life is good and all will be well.

My mother’s intuition tells me that when that little boy is placed on my chest I’ll know if he has Down Syndrome or not. Yes, there will be pediatric specialists waiting in the wings to examine him and give us the official “yes” or “no”… but I’m in no rush for their word. It simply can’t change the fact that he is ours and as much as he is meant for uswe are meant for him.

It’s impossible for me to imagine a little diagnosis (as life-altering as it would be, no doubt) changing how much I love this child. There’s nothing on earth or in heaven that could make me love him any more… or any less.

So how am I doing?

I am doing well.

I am enjoying these last few weeks of pregnancy – having my precious son all to myself before I have to share him with the entire world. I’m at peace with the unknown, and I’m full of expectancy in my heart for a rich and wonderful celebration of his homecoming into our arms.

Thanks for asking.

Dear friends, I so appreciate your care and concern and friendship. I’ve felt incredibly supported by the online community – it’s truly blown me away and has been a very real and tangible source of encouragement. When I started blogging last year I had no idea what a deep source of blessing it would become. My heartfelt thanks to you.

with gratitude,

 

P.S. We had yet another ultrasound the week before last, which showed an additional red flag (related to baby’s bladder/kidneys) that may indicate a problem. That problem, we’re told, could potentially also point to Down Syndrome… or it could be completely unrelated. It could also turn out to be nothing and just the result of random “coincidence” and timing of the scan. We will have a follow-up ultrasound this week to find out more, and if there is a problem confirmed it will be addressed after birth as there’s nothing they can do (ie: surgery) until baby is out anyway. Please pray with us as we continue to walk this faith journey into the unknown.

 

25 Comments

  • Reply Barb 18 September 2011 at 12:02 pm

    I can really feel through your words that you are at peace. You sound like an awazing woman and I always enjoy reading your blog. I have friends who have had serious life changing conditions with 2 of their 3 children. You sound like them. They have always believed that they were given to their babies just as musch as the babies were given to them. They are strong, wonderful parents and it sounds like you are and will continue to be that as well. best of luck during your delivery!

  • Reply Micheline 18 September 2011 at 2:49 pm

    First off, I truly believe that no matter the health of your baby boy, you will approach the journey with incredible grace. I also believe that we’re given no more than what we can handle. Your boys are so lucky to have you.

    Second, you look absolutely incredible! Stunning with a perfect baby bump.

    Lots of love to you in these last weeks of pregnancy and I’m sending my heartfelt prayers to you and your family.

    • Reply Adriel @ The Mommyhood Memos 18 September 2011 at 11:04 pm

      Thanks sweet Micheline! I wholeheartedly agree – we aren’t given more than we can handle. Of course life can sometimes feel that way, but that truth is always evident in hindsight (if not in the moment).

      And thank you. My “perfect” baby bump is perfect because it’s containing my child. Other than that… it feels pretty dang enormous to me. No doubt I look ready to tip over! LOL. But I accept your compliment – too kind. 🙂

  • Reply mandi 19 September 2011 at 12:18 am

    Thank you Adriel. After reading this, I think I am more grateful that if it is born with some special needs, it will be with parents who will wholeheartedly love them without condition. After teaching special education for a couple years, I have seen some truly dedicated parents to meet the emotional, spiritual and academic needs of the child. Sadly I have watched others raise their child in anger, while focusing on their child or children without special needs because that’s all they can hold onto. We were both chosen to be stewards of God’s children which in itself is an overwhelming task, but how blessed are we!! I have always loved your strength you have and vulnerability to God. I believe whatever the outcome Adriel, your children were destined by God to be something truly wonderful! Who knows the lives your children are going to touch through God. I am excited for you and your family as you welcome this new child. THANK you for your perspective and faith…and truly God has used you through this experience before this child is even born! love you Adriel. -Mandi

    • Reply Adriel @ The Mommyhood Memos 20 September 2011 at 3:55 pm

      Thanks Mandi! And God has truly used this experience to help shape me before this baby is even born. Now… we just can’t wait to meet him!! 🙂

  • Reply Bill Hutchison 19 September 2011 at 1:19 am

    Thank you for what you’ve shared here Adriel. You, Ryan, Levi and you new little man continue to be in our prayers.

  • Reply Nicole {at} Modern Style Mama 19 September 2011 at 9:31 am

    I always love stopping by your blog. Not just because we have things in common…Your words are so real, so encouraging. Your outlook on life and strength is amazing. Im still getting to know you but you seem like such a wonderful person. I would be honored to have a friend like you in my life. You make people look at life differently.

    I am so glad you are at peace with whatever comes your way. You baby boy will be beautiful and precious no matter what. Even though it doesnt seem fair and sometimes you question life’s intent I do believe Micheline is right. You aren’t given more than you can handle.
    I havent remotely endured anything like you have but if I can relate even a smidgen little tiny bit. All 4 our my boys have had very bad reflux their first year of life. The tests, the procedures, the many sleepless nights not being able to help them when they are in pain. It can be exhausting, frustrating, and difficult. Its crazy that all of them had/have it. Its a rollercoaster ride but so far we have made it through.

    You will be okay no matter what. And im sure your family along with your online support with be there for you.

    xoxo

    • Reply Adriel @ The Mommyhood Memos 20 September 2011 at 3:57 pm

      Thanks Nicole. 🙂 Every family has their own trials – and no doubt going through that with four children year after year would have been incredibly exhausting and trying emotionally. Glad you’ve made it out the other side!!

  • Reply Nicole {at} Modern Style Mama 19 September 2011 at 9:42 am

    BTW you do look FABULOUS for only having a few weeks left. Enjoy your last few weeks with your little one in utero and you little man being the only one at home! I cant wait to hear the wonderful news of his birth.

  • Reply Jen 19 September 2011 at 11:36 am

    Good luck!!!

  • Reply Yolanda @ One Family Table 19 September 2011 at 12:10 pm

    I struggle through those same questions as I see special needs children in my clinic. But it is completely different when it’s your child and your own life. Thank you for sharing your these real struggles and triumphs of faith. Praying for you and your baby and your family as you all cling to God’s promises that He’s more than enough. Praying that He will keep astounding you (and the rest of us too) by the powerful ways He will work in the midst of all the this. Hugs!

  • Reply Yolanda @ One Family Table 19 September 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Oh, and also… you look FABULOUS. 🙂

  • Reply rachel 19 September 2011 at 2:28 pm

    You look stunning. I am wishing you a fantastic delivery, and look forward to hearing about the arrival of your new son.

    Good luck with everything!

  • Reply Kim 19 September 2011 at 2:37 pm

    “he is ours and as much as he is meant for us… we are meant for him”

    This post truly touched my heart deeply, and when I read this line it brought tears to my eyes for the way being a mother changes us for the better in our lives. I feel everything, see everything and understand everything more deeply and openly now. Your son is so fortunate to be entering a world full of grace and love from his family.

    Thank you Adriel for sharing with us your spiritual journey during this pregnancy. Perhaps it is part of the reason why humans are pregnant for nine months and not longer or shorter. Our bodies aren’t the only things that go through changes and growth, but so do our hearts and minds.

    I hope these last few weeks are as comfortable as possible for you; you look fantastic! We’ll be thinking of you as your new little bundle of joy enters the world and joins his family 🙂

    • Reply Adriel @ The Mommyhood Memos 20 September 2011 at 3:59 pm

      Thank you Kim. You are so encouraging… and also so wise. Love this: “Perhaps it is part of the reason why humans are pregnant for nine months and not longer or shorter. Our bodies aren’t the only things that go through changes and growth, but so do our hearts and minds.” I wholeheartedly agree and couldn’t have said it better myself!! x

  • Reply Laura 20 September 2011 at 2:37 am

    I just wanted to thank you for having the type of blog that is really real, honest and open. It’s refreshing to read and I appreciate your outlook on life. I’m continuing to pray for you and your growing family; that whatever God brings you also brings peace and happiness.

  • Reply stephanie 20 September 2011 at 8:41 am

    I love that your blog is so honest. I feel like I know you and I want to give you a great big hug and make all the unknowns disappear. I am 21 weeks pregnant and anxiously awaiting my ultrasound. I will be praying for you in the coming weeks.

  • Reply Queenie 20 September 2011 at 9:03 am

    love you, and praying for you. And standing on the promise that God knows, and that’s more than enough.

  • Reply Jessica 20 September 2011 at 12:35 pm

    I’m praying for the best for your family. Down syndrome or not, I’m sure that you’ll get through it. I’m glad to hear that you are doing well. I was thinking about you the other day and how our due dates are so close together. You look great, and I look forward to learning from this motherhood journey right along with you for the second time.

    • Reply Adriel @ The Mommyhood Memos 20 September 2011 at 4:01 pm

      Hey mate. Just as this comment came in I was reading your post in my reader… great timing. 🙂 Thanks for your prayers and encouragement. Fun to have other moms to do this with together. Not long now… the race is on! 😉

  • Reply Nicole {at} Modern Style Mama 21 September 2011 at 10:19 am

    Adriel I just read the update portion on the bottom of the post. You and your little one will be in my thoughts and prayers. And again thank you for sharing yourself with us.

  • Reply Rachel 21 September 2011 at 8:17 pm

    I wonder if a baby has ever been as much prayed for, prepared for, anticipated and wanted as much as this little fellow? “He is meant for us…we are meant for him.” That is so beautiful and so true! Baby Booker — the world awaits your arrival and impact for the greater good!

  • Reply melissa 26 September 2011 at 12:03 am

    Hi – I stumbled upon this post through Twiter just now… my daughter, abby, has down syndrome and she has been the most amazing force in my life for the past 15 months! This may sound a little bit weird but I hope your little one does have Down syndrome so that you can truly experience the amazing world we live in, surrounded by so much love and encouragement. I wouldn’t trade it for anything!!! Enjoy the end of your pregnancy and I can’t wait to see pictures of your new little one on your blog here! 🙂
    xoxo
    Melissa

  • Leave a Reply