What a fun week, getting showered with congratulations and prayers on Facebook, Instagram, and here on the blog! Every baby is such a blessing, and I'm truly grateful that others can share this joy with us. I know some large families don't always get a positive response when they share about a new pregnancy, but in our case I don't think I've heard one negative comment. That is a gift to us and to this baby who is already loved so very much.
This pregnancy started much different than the others. In fact, it took me awhile to believe that I was actually pregnant and not miscarrying. I told some close friends that I'd miscarried because I thought that's what had happened. We told the children we weren't sure if the baby would make it, and they helped us to be hopeful and trust in God's goodness.
Each new week I'm amazed to have made it this far. I'm now 14 weeks and the internet tells me that the baby is about 3 1/2 inches, the size of a lemon! He or she can make faces and suck a thumb (which baby was trying to do on the ultrasound). My doctor appointments have spaced out after the initial visits and scans which were happening weekly. My energy has not returned, and I'm afraid the scorching Texas heat is only going to make me feel worse as the summer months pass by! I started our neighborhood water aerobics class this week, and we've been spending a lot of time at the pool, both for swim team practice and for cooling off with an evening dip in the water! In most cases, I tend to get on an exercise and health kick a few months before getting pregnant, but this time I'm afraid I never got to that point, thinking we'd be unlikely to conceive so soon. Oh well, I'll definitely have my work cut out for me in 2017!
We've mostly recovered from the trip to Florida and the activities of the past weeks (baseball tournaments, swim meets, and dance recitals!). We don't have a lot scheduled for the summer, so that feels good. Before I start loading the photos from the past few weeks, I wanted to share a reflection I wrote when I was newly pregnant and took the girls and two friends on an overnight trip to Corpus Christi. We've had several friends going through difficult losses the past year, which has made it an emotional time. May God continue to grant healing and peace to those who are grieving, and may He give hope to us all as we face each new day....
April 23, 2016...Tonight I lie in a dark hotel room, surrounded by five sleeping girls, three of them mine and the others friends. Two of them are actually young ladies now, and two are on the cusp of leaving girlhood behind. The last lies next to me, and newly weaned, no longer needs my body to nourish and support her through the day and night. She will soon be a little girl, leaving babyhood behind.
One of the girls here just lost a sibling. At halfway along in her pregnancy, her mother had to say goodbye to a much-wanted little boy. These children will not play with that new baby this fall; this mother will not have her own baby to hold. One of the girls lost her mother. Two photos haunt me from the nightstand beside me: one of a joyful mother with her toddler and one with her little girl on her birthday. No longer can this mother take her daughter on a girls' weekend or to the ballet. She can't plan her birthday party or kiss her goodnight. I still cannot wrap my mind around the fact that someone so full of life could now be gone.
And here am I, with new life inside me. A little heart that just started beating. Tomorrow I will find out for certain. But God knows we need beauty from these ashes. Here visiting this town where I spent a difficult three years, waiting on the Lord to bring us back home and to grant our family the stability we so desired. Tonight I watched the ballet company where my girls found joy and friendship. Tomorrow we will visit the church home that sustained us during our stay here. We will see faces of joy, new little smiling baby faces, and faces of others who are in the midst of turmoil. We will give a proper goodbye to a place where we left without knowing for sure we weren't coming back.
Our first stop here in Corpus Christi was the cemetery next to the home where we first moved. The girls visited the grave of a friend's little boy gone too soon in a tragic accident. My heart hurts and my tears burn for these suffering families. I never knew loss like I've known it since being a mother and watching others face tragedy like this.
But God is the author of life. He continually provides what we need and covers us in His grace through whatever trials we face. He will sustain us. He will make sure that these families have all that they need to find peace and perseverance during these great trials. He will help us find beauty and joy as the fruits of pain and suffering. He will make up for all that is lacking in our prayer, our faith, our works.
And how fitting that this is tomorrow's second reading at mass (Rev 21:1-5a). It gives me peace and hope during this emotional time...
Then I, John, saw a new heaven and a new earth.The former heaven and the former earth had passed away,and the sea was no more.I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem,coming down out of heaven from God,prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,“Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race.He will dwell with them and they will be his peopleand God himself will always be with them as their God.He will wipe every tear from their eyes,and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain,for the old order has passed away.”The One who sat on the throne said,“Behold, I make all things new.”