Good Friday and Easter Sunday are perhaps the most significant days of the church calendar, and yet, in a real sense, we live our lives on Saturday, the day in between. Philip Yancey

Friday, March 30, 2012

Baby Bump and Telling the Kids

Being quiet the past 8 weeks wasn't due to lack of ups and downs to write about but more the energy and coherency to convey them. I finally completed a catch-up entry, five pages long, single spaced, before pics. Don't worry, I'll break it up into several posts to make it easier on your senses. No build up to a grand reveal this time, just recording our living.

The baby bump has already grown big and clumsy but I felt more like myself yesterday than I have in months. The two belly shots so far have been taken by iPad and Amelia, neither capturing my head or chins.

10 weeks:

17 weeks:

Is this refreshment a nonspecific grace, Jason's spring break (allowing me to sleep in), no extra emotional strains for a good week or so, getting to 17-1/2 weeks in this pregnancy? Whatever, I'll take it. I am physically feeling better. That means I had energy enough to make it to bedtime without a nap or crash. I can finally smell or think about something foul without immediate gagging. I also have had the motivation to cook. This is huge, a passion I've dearly missed.

Doctors only prescribe some treatment options to "highly motivated patients/families". I first heard the criteria when discussing the meticulous keto diet for Lydia's seizures. Indeed at the time I was a walking computer devoted almost solely to her care, complete with line graphs and charts in hand and milligrams per milliliter of every dose of medication in memory. From student, to wife, to employee, to home maker, to mother, whatever my role, I had a history of being all in. Highly motivated was an understatement.

I had to become multi-focused with the additional kids, dividing the motivation but not decreasing. Then boom! Grief buried, stripped, disabled that part of me. It was like morphing from someone who loved their job to one who returns day by day out of sheer obligation and lack of other options. I hesitate to officially adopt the label of depression after reading this article but the concept fits. I heard the passing comment on a crime show that depression is one of the few things that can override a mother's nurturing instinct. Amen. Cooking is one evidence of my style of nurturing resurfacing.

I've come across a scarce few mothers online and in person who can personally address the challenge of parenting many young kids while acutely grieving. One shared that when she left her son's body at the hospital, she headed home with great resolve to pour everything she had into her remaining brood. She was then shocked to realize she had nothing available to give them. It's heartbreaking, disappointing, daunting, despairing, and guilt-producing. That's where I remained when we learned about this baby, preventing pregnancy having been one of the few things we'd been diligent about in our state of apathy.

The house remodel and beach vacation were first big sweet tastes of renewal of my ability to care, feel something other than pain, deeply enjoy again. Those bursts didn't carry over to make my 8 wk appointment any easier. One of my dear special needs/bereaved mom friends had a second trimester stillbirth days before. And the 18 months between Lydia's last hours and this ultrasound melted into nothing. It felt like I was immediately switching from looking for signs of death to looking for signs of life. Would there be a heartbeat?

I had just read this poignant article describing grief as a grand piano which plops into center stage of you life's play. You have to learn to carry on around it's disrupting and awkward presence...eventually working it off to side stage for most scenes. It was as if joy was auditioning for the returning lead role and grief was insanely jealous. They were determined to battle it out within me. I was so full it was hard to function. My midwife shares a building with Lydia's longest running pediatrician. The parking deck mocked me. I wept in the van, then soldiered in for a neutral appointment where I ignored both joy and grief in order to maintain composure. That visit and the two since have been fine, not giddy like a first-time-mom but truly fine.

The real highlight was then telling the kids. I had grand plans of a scavenger hunt with clues leading to the big news. We did pull it off, with shorter kids crying over taller kids barreling past them and such. I didn't get a pic of all the clues but here are a few:

(The videos don't show up on my iPad but they are there on the desktop. This first video is the reading of the first clue.)

Feel free to wager a guess at who just got in trouble for shoving her way to the next card.

We staggered the clues inside and outside to make the kids run around a bit.

I was still proud of our monumental effort to be fun. Their excitement through the whole thing was infectious. They didn't understand what "Josiah's going to be a big brother" meant.

If you are able to see the video, even Amelia is expressing general euphoria. She has no "clue".

When we broke down and said "We're.Having.A.Baby. It's.In.Mama's.Tummy." Sophie did her own weeping, out of pure joy.

She hasn't stopped loving on my belly since.

Acknowledging Sophie's pain and loss over her birth family has provided an avenue for our bonding, that and her ever thrill-factor and infatuation with my state! Sophie's proceeded to write her first letter to her birthmom. One of the things she shared is that she loves loves loves little kids and babies.

Next installment coming soon!


  1. As usual, Allison, so well written and so engaging. Melted my heart. Loved the pictures too. I wanted to reach through the computer to give Sophie, Amelia and Caleb a big hug. One day I'll meet Josiah and will give him a hug too! Actually, one day I'll meet you and Jason with hugs for you also. What a wonderful day that will be.


    Carolyn Clarke

    1. Amelia talked to Savannah tonight! Yes, it will be great to finally meet. Thanks for the encouragement in the meantime!

  2. Oh Allison,
    You look beautiful. I am so excited for you all. Keep me posted on your progress. If you need me I am here. Just a phone call away.
    Love you,

  3. Thanks for sharing this, A,
    I also loved the pics.
    It took planning and time to put together and document the memory you made with the crew as you shared the news.
    Thanks for sharing this!
    Thanks also for the wonderful link on the side "Jesus wants you to waste your life!" Really good stuff!
    Use all your skill to put me together; I wait to see your finished product. Ps 25:21, Msg
    Love you,

  4. I just want to reach out and hug you... so excited for the new update and wow, I still cant get over how big the kids are!!! love you!

    1. I got both of your comments (even though the other one vanished). Thank you for your faithful encouragement and love Addie! Back at you my friend.

  5. Hi Allison,
    Thanks for your transparency and your heart. With our son Mathew, we have so much to be thankful for and we are usually joyful, but the challenges rear their ugly head to trounce on that from time to time. Just this morning was a controversial debate on him wearing his braces (SMO's) or not. I'm the man-child who prefers the freedom of no braces, Paula, my wife was on the warpath to have them back on. Joy killer!
    I can't imagine the challenges you face. As a family, especially Matt and I, we pray for you and your family most nights, for the health of the baby in you, your marriage, your job as a mom and all that goes with being a homemaker, but mostly we'll pray for joy. The scavenger hunt, sleeping in once in a while, a beach vacation; let them all serve as a way to let the light of joy shine.

    1. I can oh so imagine the SMO debate. There-in lies the beauty of balance in a two-parent home, which so many special needs children don't have. Your prayers are precious to me and spot on. Thank you for sharing them as well, what an encouragement!