September 2011, I received some news. Two lines on an early pregnancy test I took at 5 a.m. (That equals PREGNANT, for those wondering.)
We had been trying since April. During that time, I had dreamed of the elaborate, sentimental, meaningful way I might reveal a positive pregnancy to Tanner. Some kind of greeting card to Dad. A father and child figurine or bronze. A fortune inserted in a fortune cookie. An interpretive dance to "The Circle of Life" from the Lion King.
But when those two pink lines materialized, that all went out the window. Boom! Bathroom door flew open. Light flooded our bed and pierced Tanner's previously peacefully slumbering eyeballs.
"Tanner! I'm pregnant."
Not the romantic scene I had envisioned, but, still, memorable. Anyways, a lot has happened since then. I'm 15 wks, or 4 months, pregnant. A lot of the expectations I had for my pregnancy -- just like expectations for life in general and for this blog, for example -- went out the window when an insane work schedule and overwhelming morning sickness simultaneously took over my life. The journaling, pregnancy-book reading, prenatal yoga-ing and all the other plans I had imagined for my ultimate, total, PERFECT (that's reasonable) pregnancy experience sort of melted into a puddle of... well, you can imagine.
Now, things have started to slow down at work, and as I've entered my second trimester (weeks 15-27 or months 4-6), I've found myself with some extra time and energy to do so many of the things I had hoped I would do during my first pregnancy.
Exercise. A four-mile walk seems like the ideal first pregnancy workout after weeks of vomitting and laying immobile on the couch/bed/floor/back of my truck, right? I had a great walk with the dogs, but was amazed at how out of shape I felt! It's amazing that just months earlier I could run three times that distance without stopping! This time, I had to pack a backpack of snacks and water and stop at every since bench on the trail to rest. I felt embarrassingly sore the next day. OK, I'm still sore four days later.
Journal. Over Christmas, my mom brought the baby book and keepsake box she kept during her pregnancy with me. I remember loving to go through these things when I was little – flipping through pages of Mom's belly photos, news paper clippings (Splash was the top movie the day I was born!) and notes and pulling out the envelopes with my first tooth and lock of hair. I still love reading all she wrote in her beautiful cursive handwriting. It reminded me that, not only am I a writer and crave writing about my memories, feelings, thoughts, and experiences, but also what a treasure it will be for our child to someday read these things. I also received a pregnancy journal from out neighbor that helped jump start my own writing. I'm not going to waste any time feeling guilty about all the weeks of writing I missed out on. Instead, it's full steam ahead from here. Bring on the belly photos and documentation of every burp, baby movement and emotional meltdown!
Reading. An extended vacation between Christmas and New Years gave me some treasured time to catch up on my pregnancy-related reading – much if it I did camped out by our neighbor's pond with the dogs exploring nearby. (As the distant, non-stop whine of Tanner's tin cutter lulled the neighborhood into a dream sleep/roaring headache.)
Despite being slow to the trigger on lots of my preggo plans, there was ONE dream I held true to. A few days after I found out I was pregnant, I wrote a letter to Baby Haynes. I happened to write it on here and save it. And this is that letter:
I am so thankful to be writing to you right now. I want to say that I can't believe it. But I do believe. I believe God is greater than I can imagine. I believe He blesses me beyond measure. I believe He never forsakes me. And I believe He heard my prayers, my prayers for you! Baby, I have been praying for you for months. Before you were born, before you were even conceived, I loved you with all my heart. And I can tell you right now, before I've even met you, before you've taken shape, I will love you forever. There is nothing you can do to stop me from loving you.
Right now, you're only the size of a poppy seed. This will be hard to imagine once you are here and in our arms. Even now, as you're just a tiny ball of cells, God has numbered your days. He has a plan and a purpose for you. For that reason, I can carry you and embark on this pregnancy without fear or worry. My God has this all under control. He will work all things to bring glory to Himself and to be for my good, because He loves me. I pray that you will receive Him in all His grace and love, and seek His will for your life. I will always pray this for you.
Your Dad and I have been trying to get pregnant since about April. At that time, God helped us to realize some important truths in a deeper way. First, not one day is promised, and second, while we're here on earth, life is all about relationships, and some of the most treasured are with our family. We realized that we had enjoyed a year and a half of marriage together, a season for ourselves to spend time together loving life as husband and wife, but we were ready to live for more than just ourselves. We were ready and eager to start a family, to experience that blessing and enjoy that one-of-a-kind relationship. We were ready to pour our lives and our love into a child. We had no more fear of, "What will life be like? Can we handle the change? Will we be able to do the things we used to enjoy with a child in tow? Are we ready?" Instead, our hearts and minds changed and we were ready for you! And now you're on your way. I love you so much already.
For several months, we tried to conceive. At first, this was a very enjoyable process, especially for Dad. (Someday you will be old enough to think this is TMI and superly, seriously gross.) Five months passed, and we did not conceive, but people all around me were getting pregnant like rabbits. I started to to feel frustrated. God reached out to me through prayer time on my long runs (I was training for a half-marathon). I realized that God's will was my true desire. Looking at other people and longing to experience what they were experiencing was NOT my calling. That was God's will for their life, not mine. I realized that I craved His plan for my own life. I would never be fulfilled seeking a plan other than God's. Although I still had moments of struggle, He gave me a great peace, a peace like I have never experienced before. And then, after I turned over my plans to Him and trusted Him, He gave me you!
My mom and dad came up to visit last weekend to help us work on the house and to (belatedly) celebrate our 2-year wedding anniversary. I took an early pregnancy test before they got here, and it was negative. We had a great weekend walking the dogs (your "brothers," Happy and Digger), running errands around town, going out to lunch at Yesterday's in Weatherford and dinner at Eddie V's in downtown Fort Worth, going to church and getting supplies and getting started on the wood planks for the ceiling. I talked with Mom about how I was not able to get pregnant yet, and she told me that she and Dianne had been praying for me. Mom and Dad left on Monday morning, and Wednesday morning, on a whim, I took another test. It was positive! I was so used to seeing that one line, that when I saw the second one developing, I started shaking. I burst from the bathroom, throwing an unwelcome beam of light on your Dad's face, and told him, "Tanner, I'm pregnant!" He said simply (and groggily), "Are you really?" And it went from there. All the way on the way to work, I thanked God for you. My prayers were answered.
I told a couple best friends, also mothers, who are already lifting you up and helping me by giving my pregnancy information. I'm not supposed to eat lunch meat?? Weird. Next, we will tell your Grandma and Grandpa Haynes and Sullivan and Mindy and Tye and Kathleen. I know you will be a blessing to our whole family. Your very existence will bring so much joy. Baby, you are already surrounded by such love.
For now, we are going to keep working away on our fixer-upper home. Getting it ready for your arrival in June of next year! We have a lot to do. New floors, new ceiling, new bathroom, kitchen, everything! But the thing that truly makes a house a home is already there -- love. For now, I'm feeling different. I don't know if it's the power of suggestion, or what, but I feel VERY tired. The baby website Jenna told me to check out says you are the size of a poppy seed, well I feel like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz after she ran through the field of poppies. (Kathleen will make sure you know this reference very well).
Just remember, Baby, the depth of love your Dad and I have for you, as strong as it is, it pales in comparison to the love of God. We can love you only because He first loved us. And He loves you, His precious creation, so much!