When my daughter was born over 5 years ago, I had all the illusions of a natural, peaceful, zen-filled delivery experience. I was the birth-plan-in-hand mama-to-be and knew exactly how this whole thing was gonna go down. I was obnoxious. Like most things in life, nothing went exactly how I imagined and (what I thought was) my worst nightmare came true…I had to have a c-section. Ack! Oh the horror of it all!! As I’m being rolled to the operating room all I can think is that I won’t get the immediate skin-to-skin contact, which means she won’t want to breastfeed and [que the world ending] she’ll have to take formula!!!!! I hope you can hear my sarcasm from over here, but seriously I did have those thoughts.
I can laugh about it now, but I was freaked out at the time. By some great miracle (again…sarcasm) we all survived and Layla breastfed for over 14 months. By the time my son was born 2 ½ years later, I had tapered my expectations with regards to the birth itself, but not so much about how life would be having two kids. No matter how many people tell you “it’s more than double the work”, you convince yourself that those people are just weak and don’t have the mad mama skills that you do. Don’t worry…I got this.
Enter…”the Danimal”. A funny nickname that fits my son perfectly. Daniel was not quite the good sleeper his sister was and that kid was always hungry. I felt like I spent my entire life tied to him or tied to the pump because even though I had learned a lot with the first kid, I was still stubborn as a mule about breastfeeding. It wasn’t about shaming someone who made a different choice (Lord knows there’s too much of that), but I was shaming myself for being (by my definition) weak. After months and months of struggling I finally conceded the fight and allowed formula to be brought into our house. And you know what?? The world didn’t end and everyone slept better.
Phew, we survived again. So glad that was done and over with, right? Or so we thought. Ladies, let me just tell you that sometimes the 3rd time is the charm. We struggled to get pregnant both times and always needed a little extra push from my fertility specialist. I had that filed away as “Sara can’t get pregnant on her own”. That’s a dangerous place to put things because we got the shock of our lives at the end of July 2017 when I woke up one morning wanting to puke at the thought of coffee. Coffee is my life! Something was seriously wrong with me, I could tell. Sure enough…you. are. pregnant.
Many of you may be familiar with the situation our family was in at that particular time, but I’ll give a brief rundown for the new readers…our 5 year old daughter was fighting a relapse of brain cancer (Medulloblastoma). To see a positive pregnancy test had me like:
Lord, please tell me you are not suggesting I have a baby in the middle of all of this?? That’s exactly what He was suggesting. 3 months later we would lose our sweet Layla-Bug to her cancer. There I was: bereaved, devastated and 6 months pregnant. This time around I have no illusions of delivery and recovery or hard and fast resolutions about breastfeeding. [For the love….if by the 3rd kid you haven’t mellowed out a little, we need to talk.] We’ll take it as it comes. As Hagrid said in Harry Potter “what’s comin’ will come and we’ll meet it when it does.”
Cancer and losing a child didn’t break me, but it taught me a valuable lesson about control and the fact that I have none. No amount of planning or “rules” about how your life should go will carry weight in times of trouble. God is the only absolute there is. When we give up our version of control, we are better able to face trials. “Lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths” Proverbs 3:5-6
Even when the reasoning is beyond our comprehension, we must trust that our God is faithful. I can see the beauty in this unexpected blessing in my belly (and dear Lord, please help her to come soon because 3rd trimester is for the birds when you’re pushing 40!) What once was a moment of panic is now a source of hope for our family.