Many of you who are regular readers and who follow me on social media have already caught the news. Yes, we are expecting Baby #5 this fall. I still struggle to say those words because it is unbelievable, but here we are and we are anxiously waiting to meet this little one. And I can say that in all honesty now, however, this little one was an absolute surprise and left us in a bit of shock for the first several weeks. But let me back up the story to the beginning and share it with you. After all, I did promise to do so.
Our road to having children and growing our family has been one of tender moments and sweet surprises. Due to a scary and unexpected health situation with blood clots my junior year of high school, I was told that being on birth control was probably something I wanted to stay away from due to side effects and possible complications I could experience. So when my sweetheart and I married in 2004 we knew that we would take whatever precautions we could, but that we would be starting our family based more on God’s timing. A year and a half later we welcomed our first in 2006. And then our Miss Blake in 2008. And then came Owen in 2011. And then Blair in 2013.
We found ourselves with four kids under the age of eight and felt like we could call our child bearing years over. While I have said that I would love to have a dozen more babies, pregnancy and I are not fond of each other. I had a really rough one with our Miss Blair. I was sick the entire 9 months and the only weight I gained I walked out of the hospital with in a baby carrier. Yes, a measly 7 pounds.
There we were, a family of six. A nice even number. And I have always been constantly on my knees thanking Him for the good health we have experienced with each of our babes. Part of me was scared to even attempt for more. It felt a bit like gambling after all of our luck when we have known so many families and loved ones who have gone through or are currently dealing with trials and hard times when it comes to their little ones. And despite feeling that way, something deep down inside of me kept us from making the situation more permanent despite the fact that when my sweetheart even looks at me I find myself suddenly with child. So I claimed I was done. And was fairly vocal about it over the past several years when asked (Foot in mouth, Kara). Every time we called for a family meeting or told the kids we had a surprise for them, their first question was if we were having a baby. My oldest wrote one thing down on his Christmas list for the last two years and that was “a baby” (he was also the same child who told me I was pregnant back in 2011 before I even knew it).
So there we were this past January. I wasn’t even to a point where you could say I was late and I knew something was off. I fretted about it and even prayed that there was just no way. We weren’t ready for number five and I wasn’t sure if I ever would be. I mean, five kids?! I stressed and figured that was the reason I could be late. More like hoped. I waited a few more days, but I just knew. I woke up early the next morning and pulled the box from the bathroom cabinet. One pregnancy test left. Go figure. I paced the bathroom for what seemed like forever. Every woman knows that those three minutes feel like a lifetime no matter what you hope the outcome is. I grabbed the test, closed my eyes as I sat on the edge of the bathtub, held the test up in front of my face and then slowly opened my eyes. Pregnant.
I placed my hand over my mouth and stared at it for what seemed like another lifetime. I leaned forward and dropped my head into my hands as I let out a sigh. Gathering myself up, I walked into the bedroom and laid down next to my husband who was still asleep. And then it just hit me. The overwhelm, the fear, the shock. I covered my face with my hands and just cried. I felt him place his hand on my arm as he asked me what was wrong. “We’re pregnant” I responded in-between tearful gasps. So romantic, right?
He pulled himself closer and kept his hand on my arm as he waited for me to calm down and catch my breath. We laid side by side, hand in hand for the longest time just staring at the ceiling contemplating all the ways life would change. We had just recently started experiencing a new freedom of no diapers, sippy cups, bottles to make on-the-go, burp rags and no middle-of-the-night feedings. And all of a sudden we were back at the starting line. I cried for a little longer while Jarett did his best to comfort me and tell me that everything would be OK.
We heard bedroom doors start to open so I quickly wiped my face and did my best to act like I wasn’t just crying. We went on like nothing was different, got everyone ready for school and sent them on their way. I think I spent the rest of the day in bed going through financial numbers in my head, thinking about juggling five kids while I still felt like one myself and if we would be able to manage it all. I think somewhere in-between realizing I was going to have to drive a mini van and that my body was not in the shape I would have liked it to be for a pregnancy, I remembered the bigger picture. How lucky I am to have the four kids I do. How full our home is with laughter and love and everything in-between. How much motherhood has stretched me to my absolute limits in the most beautiful and selfless way possible. And how much I found myself in motherhood. And while the thought of another mouth to feed and keep safe was overwhelming at the moment, I knew that this was meant to be and part of our story. And what a sweet one it has been so far.
A few days later we called a family meeting and as the kids ran down from upstairs and from the playroom, they yelled “Mom’s pregnant!”… and then proceeded with giggles knowing how many times before they have said that and it hadn’t been true. Dad and I sat there, looked at each other as smiles slowly crept across our faces. As it registered with our oldest kids, their eyes lit up as they filled the younger two in on what was happening. There was jumping and screaming and hugging between all of them. And then there was a few, “You’re not joking, right?”. After a few minutes of family talk I got up to get a glass of water in the kitchen. I stood there staring into the scene in the family room – my youngest sat on her dad’s knee asking where the baby was and how it would come out of mom’s tummy. Tanner and Blake were discussing baby names with their little brother and who would get to hold the baby first when it comes home from the hospital. And there I was, suddenly overcome with the strongest sense of gratitude for this life we have built. It’s not perfect or luxurious. It’s rather quite simple and humble, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. And to know that there is another piece to this grand and beautiful story on his or her way gave me the sweetest sense of peace and comfort. To know that He has sent another little one to join our family is the greatest gift I have ever and will ever experience. Growing by another and waiting anxiously for October…