This week, the baby's heart started beating and by the end of the week, the baby had completed a period of growth that involves the greatest size and physical changes of its lifetime! He or she has grown 10,000 times in size from where they started, even though the baby is only the size of a grain of rice now.
Physical symptoms-wise, this week has been pretty uneventful for me. Some of the same old early symptoms are still staying around to reassure me, but overall it's easy to forget that something is going on in there. (Then when I slow down from whatever I'm doing and remember our secret again, it makes my day 1,000 times better!) Here's a nice perk I'm already noticing, though: my nails are growing like crazy! When I went gluten-free, I noticed a huge improvement in my nails. They were no longer brittle and peeling. However, this week they've been above and beyond anything I've ever seen. I'm not used to having to trim my nails so often!
Monday and Tuesday, I noticed myself wanting to brush my teeth after eating anything because I didn't like the taste in my mouth afterwards. Tuesday night I went to bed nauseated and woke up nauseated Wednesday morning. More carsick than I'm-going-to-throw-up-right-now, though. The rest of the week I noticed it creeping up when my stomach was to empty or too full.
I also had my first overly emotional outbreak. Granted, I cry easier now than I used to in years past, but this was a bit irrational: the pizza Ross brought home one night... the pizza I'd been looking forward to all day at work... was the wrong pizza from the wrong restaurant AND it was a gooey, gummy, underbaked, gluten-free mess. So I cried.
Thankfully, my trusty pregnancy handbook assures me that between 5 and 6 weeks, "you may have noticed that you're experiencing moodiness, irritability, and tearfulness. While some of these feelings may have a psychological basis, most of the time they are just natural reactions to your body's changing levels of hormones and can be amplified by your immediate experience." Thank goodness!
((But if you want to bring me a gluten-free pizza from Minsky's with vegan Follow Your Heart mozzarella at some point? I would be okay with that.))
Really this week I'm mostly still been grappling with some of the early emotional/spiritual aspects of pregnancy, since the physical stuff isn't taking precedence at the moment. As the days march on, it continues to sink in that this is really happening. (It seems to have clicked for Ross this week, too, and he's ecstatic! It's cute). Surprisingly, there's some guilt in all that. I feel like I've been through the ringer in the last few years, and a healthy pregnancy seems so undeserved. Something going right (according to plan, dare I say) feels so foreign. But the very nature of pregnancy reminds me that it's really not in my hands, which is an interesting dichotomy, and good.
I also feel guilty that I'm happy because life is good! I'm in a much healthier job situation, our marriage is a complete 180 from what it was those first few years, and jeez it seems like by the time you add a healthy bun in the oven, we're living the dream! And it does feel like we're living in a dream.
I know as Christians we're taught to find joy in all circumstances. I REALLY struggled with that this past winter, in particular. And I feel guilty that yeah, I'm joyful NOW because things are GOOD! So I'm still working through what all of those thoughts and feelings mean. Honestly, the last few months have just been a breath of fresh air and this news is the icing on the cake to a great summer!
This week started with a great sermon about God's love that I recommend listening to. It was a sweet bookend to the summer for me. Back in June, I went to a conference about God's love and now this sermon in October? Things are so different inside and out. It's easy to feel like God loves me right now. It's much harder for me, in my limited, self-centered imagination, to see how God loves me when things are falling apart. Regardless, I'm unendingly thankful for this respite, no matter how long it lasts. It's allowed me to catch my breath and digest and recover from the last 2 years of chaos and hurt.
I hesitate to use the word "blessings" to describe any point of this journey, but I thought I'd address my feelings on it now and get that out of the way. It's not because I don't think this baby is a blessing. It is! It's life! It's huge! We are grateful for every single day we have with this little one.
However, the word "blessing" was painful to me last year, and I'm still sorting through that. In a time when I felt like I was seeking God's will, I was being obedient, and NOTHING WAS GOING WELL, I felt outside of his love. Like there were no blessings stored away for me. Like my life was going to be all trials and no triumphs. It would take many more words than I care to share in this already over-long post to really address where my heart was so messed up in that thinking, but it's how I felt. I felt like blessings were for other people and not for me.
So now I sit here with knowledge of a huge blessing, wanting to be careful about using that word around others. I don't want to sling more arrows at other aching hearts. I read something in Spurgeon's Morning and Evening devotional (can't recommend it enough) the other day, and it breathed some life and clarity into this are for me, and really changed my perspective on the past year:
Child of God, do you hesitate to appropriate this title? Has your unbelief made you forget you are also greatly loved [like Daniel 10:11]? Surely you must have been greatly loved, to have been bought with the precious blood of Christ...? When God crushed his only son for you, what was this but being greatly loved? You lived in sin and rioted in it; surely you were greatly loved for God to have been so patient with you. You were called by grace and led to a savior and made a child of God and an heir of heaven. Doesn't all this prove a very great and superabounding love? Since that time, whether your path has been rough with troubles or smooth with mercies, it has been full of proofs that you are greatly loved. If the Lord has chastened you, it was not in anger; if he has made you poor, still in grace you have been rich. The more unworthy you feel yourself to be, the more evidence you have that nothing but unspeakable love could have led the Lord Jesus to save a soul like yours. The more disapproval you feel, the clearer is the display of God's abounding love in choosing you and calling you and making you an heir of heaven... Come boldly, believer, for despite the whispers of Satan and the doubts of your own heart, you are greatly loved.I just can't add to that. My heart needed those words this week.
Just to make this post super-long, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day was this week, too. Without elaborating and making everyone (including myself) uncomfortable, now is as good a time as any to say that I'm G2P0, so this journey is bittersweet. I'm currently more pregnant than I've ever been, but that doesn't mean I think of that first one any less. I'm grateful that he or she is in God's arms and by the grace of a redeeming God, someday we'll get to meet that precious soul!
And to my 'now' baby who is just starting to look like a baby and not a blob of cells? You're already greatly loved not just by your parents, but by your Ultimate Creator who already has great plans for you! We can't wait to meet you.