I guess this post is a little pre-mature as I am still growing this child and we are not sure what life will look like with baby #3 in the picture. But I do feel like the Lord has been teaching me a lot during this pregnancy and with this baby. If you have not read parts 1 and 2 of this series please go back and do so so you are caught up!
To go back a little, we were not sure that we even wanted 3 kids. At least, we were not sure since baby 2 came on board. My postpartum depression really rocked us, and Hallie (baby 2) still to this day does not sleep through the night regularly (she’s almost 4). We had always said we wanted 3 children but after 2 I had a major question mark in my mind and Matt was almost completely against it. We (I) would bring up the conversation all the time but each time Matt was about 80% sure we were done and I was more around 50%. I never felt peace about it, yet I just couldn’t fathom another baby at the same time.
After Hallie turned 3 we went out to dinner for Matt’s birthday. I once again brought up the conversation and fully expected Matt to give a complete “no” to a third child. But much to my surprise, he told me “Yes, I know we are supposed to have another.” I wish I had a picture of my face after this because I’m pretty sure my jaw was on the floor. Matt had no idea, but I had been praying for some time that if God wanted us to have another child that Matt would be the one to decide. I knew I would never get past that 50/50 point and I also knew it would be a miracle for Matt to go from being almost completely against it to wanting another. It had to be from the Lord if Matt made the choice and low and behold, the Lord changed his heart. We decided to wait for a little while longer and were able to focus a lot of attention on our marriage and on our family. We made time for date nights, served together in our pre-marital ministry at church, and were able to save for a special Disney World vacation for us and the kids. Something we knew wouldn’t happen for years once baby 3 came along. We were able to focus on growing in our parenting and I have seen us come a long way in our patience and intentionality over the past year. It’s as though this 3rd child made things better for us all even before he was conceived.
In the past year we have also seen immense growth in our children and ourselves individually. The kids are both so much more independent than they once were. They get themselves dressed, can feed themselves breakfast and fully work the television (these 2 things are amazing for some nice mom and dad Saturday sleep-ins). They can also get themselves what they need from the kitchen and much more. It’s a totally different season of parenting then it was when Hallie was born and Isaac was only 2 years old. While we know having 3 and being outnumbered will come with it’s challenges, we hope it will really help for our first two kiddos to be so much more independent.
It took us a few months to get pregnant this time, which was hard for me. It brought back a lot of memories of loss and waiting. Such a short amount of time compared to so many, but I did find myself crying to the Lord once again for His provision. I knew this is what He wanted for us as He made it very clear, but trusting Him was hard. At a time when I least expected it, He showed up. I once again found myself shocked and staring at a positive pregnancy test, but feeling so overwhelmed with gratefulness.
It hasn’t been an easy pregnancy. In fact, it’s definitely been the hardest of the 4. I was more sick more than I had ever been in the first trimester and I also have been the most tired throughout. In the first few weeks I could hardly function from the fatigue and here at the end I find myself not only tired, but in constant pain and discomfort. We know that this is our last child (unless the Lord surprises us….Please Lord, no…please…) and I really wanted to fully enjoy this pregnancy to the fullest, but I will admit that it has been hard to do. I have tried to focus on connecting with my baby as that is something I have struggled with in the past, and I believe I have better than before. But I do look forward to my body feeling normal again.
Despite the difficult pregnancy, I do find myself in an intense state of gratefulness. Truly more grateful than I have ever been before. At the beginning of the year the Lord told me that my word for the year would be “ENJOY”. And while I was somewhat confused in that for awhile as I wasn’t enjoying my pregnancy like I wanted to, I have lately found myself so very thankful as I look back on this season of having children. I recently saw this quote and it so beautifully describes what I’m feeling:
I remember being diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome at the age of 16 and praying that God would still give me children.
I remember wanting a baby for the first time, praying for him, and then losing him soon after I knew he existed.
I remember praying/begging the Lord to heal my heart with another child. I soon realized that another child would never completely heal that pain, but yet God still gave me my Isaac who brought so much joy to my heart.
I remember praying for God’s timing with our next baby, thinking we might need to wait, yet conceiving on the first try.
I remember wondering if we were even meant to have a 3rd, and God not only showing us that we were, but then having him answer my prayers with this little one growing inside of me.
16 years of prayers for my children. Even before I knew them. And here I am with almost three today to hold in my arms. It has been a journey, but I will never forget those prayers and how they were answered. I will never forget God’s goodness when I look at the face of a child that was birthed from me. Jesus has been so good and I feel completely unworthy of these most precious of gifts.
A few weeks ago I heard this song for the first time at our church and it took all that I had not to completely weep. Since then, every time I hear it I cry. It so perfectly sums up what I’m feeling right now in the final days/weeks of my final pregnancy. Our childbearing season is coming to an end and I am honestly very happy about that, but I will continually rejoice in both the challenges and provisions that the Lord brought during this time. Our children are gifts and I don’t know if I would have fully understood that had we not gone through both the ups and the downs.
As we enter the newborn stage once again I so covet your prayers for our family. For a safe, calm, and peaceful labor and delivery and for our transition to becoming a family of 5 and all that that entails. You can pray for our marriage that it will continue to grow during this next season and that we will walk hand in hand rather than stepping apart from one another. Thank you for reading and caring about our growing family and for the incredible support over the last 7 years. It means more than you will ever know!
UPDATE (Written 4/19/19):
The above post was written a few weeks before the newest member of our family made his arrival. But as of April 7th, we are now a family of 5! Cade made his debut at 8:48 a.m. weighing 7 lbs 9 oz. It was the safe and peaceful birth I had prayed for and he is the sweetest and happiest baby. We are so enjoying our new life with him.
The Lord has been so good to give me such joy in this season. While I’m crazy tired and still struggling a bit physically with my recovery, I have been very stable emotionally and have a true happiness and connection with this child that I couldn’t quite experience the first two times. I was of course overjoyed by all of my children, but if you go back and read the part 1 and part 2 posts, you will see that a traumatic birth and postpartum depression really kept me from experiencing the true happiness that a child can bring. I prayed hard for that happiness this time around and while we are only just shy of 2 weeks, I have seen God’s favor and experienced His goodness in His kind answer to my requests. I truly am thankful and am not taking a second for granted. I’ve really been able to rest (mostly thanks to my amazing husband who has served me and our family so well) and soak in this very fleeting newborn season and that has been an amazing gift.
Thank you for your prayers and love during this time! We are so grateful for all of those that have reached out, brought us meals, sent cards, gave gifts, watched our kids, and just been there for us as a source of support and encouragement. Here’s a few pictures to show what life has looked like over the past 12 days.