Friday, May 10, 2013

My journey through Motherhood

It all began when I was a little girl.  I loved being in the nursery with the babies and children.  I had many dolls who were named and treated like they were real.  I was always babysitting as I got older or working with children.  I often helped out in my mother's Wednesday night kids class.

Though if you asked me as I was growing up it changed from mommy to EMT, Nurse, Oceanographer, Musician, Singer, or something in IT.  But I was lying to myself.  Deep down, all I wanted was to be a mommy. 

Well, I wasn't quite sure when all that would happen.  I was 17 when I met Darren online in a chat room.  We finally met in person when he took the bus from Pittsburgh, PA to Knoxville, TN.  This was the beginning of our long distance relationship.  He would travel down several more times and proposed on my 19th birthday.  We got married just over a year later.

So 2 months after our June wedding, I had this feeling that something was off.  I was tired and just didn't feel right.  I was also "late".  So I took a pregnancy test and it came back positive. 

I was scared, happy, nervous, joyful all at the same time.  We were planning on having kids a little bit later, but I guess that God had other plans.  On September 4th, 2001 we confirmed our pregnancy and shared the news with our families.  It was a joyous time!

Then September 11th happened and my perspective on the world and motherhood with it changed.  I was uncertain of how to raise a child in a future where their safety couldn't be guaranteed.  That uncertainty however didn't change the fact that my dream of becoming a mother was coming true.  It just meant that I needed to put my focus on God and His plans.  The Bible says this in Jeremiah 29:11,
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

I put my hope and faith where it belonged.  In God!

The pregnancy was fairly uneventful.  I craved Taco Bell and Long John Silvers and the 42lbs of weight I gained were no shock.  Jonathan's April 17th due date was approaching and my stress level apparently shot through the roof.  My BP went up and there were other signs that I might be headed toward Pre-eclampsia.  So my wonderful OB told me to start my leave ASAP!  She didn't like the numbers she was seeing and my weight gain of 20lbs in 1 month plus swelling really caused here to want to be careful with me.  So, I put in my notice (as I was a contractor and not a regular employee) and went home and stayed in bed for 2 weeks. 

Then came April 14th.  We went to church and I got MAJORLY uncomfortable.  My back was killing me.  I just figured that was part of the end days of pregnancy.  We went to Chili's and Ross Park Mall to walk around.  That was about all I could do.  It was a SLOW walk.  We came home and watched the Godfather Part 1 and I was still very uncomfortable. 

After the Godfather, we went to bed and I got some sleep.  I knew Jonathan was coming.  I just wasn't sure when. 

At 6:25 Darren's alarm went off for him to get ready for work.  About 5 minutes later, I had my first contraction.  HOLY CRAP!!  What the heck was that?  I don't care how many pre-natal appointments or birth classes you attend.  NOTHING prepares you for that first contraction and subsequent ones.

We called the doctors office as soon as a pattern of contractions about 8 minutes apart was established.  They said to go ahead and come in and they would check me but to be prepared not to stay.  Ok...not what the mom in labor wants to hear. 

Driving down the highway to the hospital was fun.  Think rush hour traffic in a major city.  We got to the hospital shortly after 8am and my contractions were 4-5 minutes apart.  Then they had the triage nurse check to see how dilated I was and viola I was at 4cm!  I got to stay!  Whew!  That was a relief.

My OB arrived around 8:45 and I labored for the next hour and then started to push.  I pushed for over an hour.  That was probably the hardest thing I had done in my life at the time.  At 11:17am Jonathan Michael Gabriel was born.  He was perfect.

Years flew by and we wanted another child.  We started trying about the time that Jonathan was just over 2 years old.  A 3 year gap seemed good to us.  Well, much to our surprise nothing happened.  No pregnancy for an entire 2 years.  I wondered why it was so easy to get pregnant the first time and not the second.  It made no sense to me.  My doctor said that if things didn't happen in about 6 more months that she would want Darren and I to go through some testing to see what was going on.  Jonathan was now just over 4.

I decided I was no longer going to worry about getting pregnant and just let it go.  I also started going to the chiropractor due to some major back pain I was having.  About 2 months later I got pregnant with Jordan.  Now that could be coincidence, but who knows.  Only God.  :)  That pregnancy went really well and he was born about 4 days before his due date in May of 2007.

With our 3rd child I had no clue I was pregnant till I was about 3 months along.  I figured stress and other things were causing my cycle to be irregular.  When it didn't come back after 3 months I took a test.  Surprise!  Pregnant again!  Josef was born in January of 2010.

Fast forward another year and a half to August 2011.  The whole tired, exhausted mama thing started happening again.  I just figured it was because Josef was very mobile and I was keeping up with 3 boys, homeschooling and keeping up with a household. 

Well, I had this feeling I was pregnant.  But I didn't tell anyone.  I took the pregnancy test and it came back positive.  I cried.  It was a toss up between happy, sad, and everything in between.  Hormones were a raging for sure.  This was also the earliest (a week before my missed cycle) that I had ever tested positive.  I was like 3 weeks pregnant!  OH MY GOODNESS!  With the boys they didn't show up till about 6-8 weeks on the pregnancy tests! 

I had this thought, if this pregnancy showed up this early, would I be getting the little girl I had waited for fairly patiently?  I had also changed doctors since my OB had retired and my experience with the new doctor left me feeling a like I didn't want to go back there.  So the midwife center it was for me!  The pregnancy with Cordelia (who didn't have a name till about 2 weeks before her arrival) went smoothly.  With Josef I had Gestational Diabetes and I worked hard to make sure that I didn't have that complication this time around.

Cordelia was born the day after her father and brother in May 2012.  (yes those Darren and Jordan share a birthday)  It was a an awesome experience (that I will be sharing on my blog).

Our days are filled with lots of craziness.  Between homeschooling, keeping kids occupied and active (not that they have a problem with the active part) I definitely have my hands full.  We have our good days and our not so good days, but there are definitely more good days.  Hugs, reading together, baking, school, mommy kissing boo boo's, cuddles on the couch, I wouldn't trade them for ANY job in the world.  My kids are my life.  And while some days may be WAY more frustrating than others, I love them all.  They have blessed me in so many ways.  I can only hope to be the kind of mother they need.  May God give me the patience, knowledge, kindness, grace and mercy I need to demonstrate to my children.  It's definitely not easy being a mom.  But it's the best job in the world.

My Blessings in 2012

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