some thoughts on pursuing pregnancy after adopting

It’s funny how certain sights or smells can take you back immediately to another time and place, often the home of a poignant experience.

About a week ago I submitted our 2014 taxes, and being the detail-oriented person that I am, I then plugged our info into the IRS2GO app on my phone so that I could track our refund – and I was immediately taken back to this time last year, when I was tracking our 2013 refund, which we’d use to get our emergency savings account back up to a minimally acceptable level (we’d depleted it in its entirety to pay for the last of our adoption costs). And knowing we’d be back to a more stable place financially, we were talking and praying about potentially trying to get pregnant.

It felt like a strange place to be. After we began pursuing adopting from China, and as we learned more and more about the children around the world waiting for families, I began to think that perhaps we were done having biological children and would adopt all of our children from there on out. It seemed to me, in my black and white manner of viewing the world, that we were going to have a certain capacity, whether it was 4 kids or 5 kids or 6 kids, and any of those spots that we filled with a biological child was a spot that we couldn’t fill by adopting a child who needed a family.

But that perspective began to shift last winter. We knew we wanted to adopt again, but we also knew that we weren’t ready to do so yet. For one thing, we didn’t have the money even to start the process. More importantly, though, we didn’t feel like adding another toddler to our two toddlers at home would be a good dynamic for our family.

We were talking and praying and reading a lot about marriage, though. In that, I think I saw anew the beauty of procreation, of seeking God and of coming together to create new life. And I began to wonder if maybe that was actually what God had for us next.

I realized – for about the millionth time – that God’s ways are not my ways. He doesn’t work like I do, and I don’t always understand what He’s doing. It felt like He was saying, “yes, but not yet,” to adoption but was at the same time drawing us toward the possibility of having another baby biologically.

Honestly, I felt somewhat confused. I wasn’t sure if He really was – or even could be – leading us in that direction, and if He was, why. We talked about the idea of having another baby with some of our friends, and I brought it up with some of the other China adoption moms I’ve grown to know and trust, women who are also passionate about adoption and orphan care. Were we crazy? Should we avoid trying to have another biological baby in case doing so could limit our ability to adopt more children? But instead of a resounding, “yes,” to either of those questions, what we got were reminders that all children are a blessing from God, that all life is from Him, that we have many years in front of us to add children to our family through adoption, and that there is so much we can’t know – that God might intend for this potential child to be a special blessing to his or her siblings or to walk a path to do amazing things in the world.

In short, we were encouraged to go for it if that’s what we were feeling led to do. We did and quickly found ourselves pregnant with Atticus.

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This side of that pregnancy, with our little guy here with us now, I’m still not sure WHY. Why did God lead us in this direction? What does He have for us in parenting Atticus? What is the pathway He has laid out for our small son?

I don’t know. And yet I am thankful. I am so enjoying having little Atticus here – his smiles and coos and little laughs have already added so much joy to our household. And I trust that God is good and that He is at work in our little family.

I came across a poem the other day that begins:

“And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: ‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.’
And he replied:
‘Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.’
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.'”

I’d like to live my life more and more in that manner…placing my hand into the Hand of God and walking forth into whatever may come with full trust in Him.

And I pray that He will continue to work in and through our little family, guiding us as He wills, and bringing us whatever adventures (and whatever children) He may!

Another Baby Update (the last one???)

Today we hit the 36 week mark in this pregnancy for baby Atticus, so we’re really coming up to the end, and I have to say, I’m very much looking forward to it! Really, Matt and I have been attempting some pretty significant projects over the last couple weeks, including stripping wallpaper and painting our dining room, painting our living room, and stocking up on freezer meals, so I wouldn’t mind another couple weeks to get those finished.

However, this pregnancy has been rather more uncomfortable than my last one. With Miranda, other than a strong desire to meet this child of mine, I was quite content to stay pregnant for as long as she wanted (or at least as long as my doctor would let me!). This time around, I’m not having any complications that are likely to have serious medical implications for Atticus or for me, but I think I’m experiencing just about every complication that causes discomfort – nausea, heartburn, back pain, hip and leg pain, trouble sleeping, etc. I’m ready to be done with all of that! I bought some satin sheets last week to enable me to roll over in bed more easily, and that really has helped, but I’m still looking forward to getting a non-pregnant body back 🙂 And of course I am excited to meet our little guy!

And who knows, it may be soon, or it may still be a while! Here I am at just over 33 weeks.

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Around 34 weeks I started having intermittent contractions, which have gotten slightly stronger and more frequent over the last couple weeks but have never developed into a pattern or anything that necessitated a call to my doctor, but at least they’re a reminder that my body knows that labor needs to happen at some point soon!

And here I am Sunday evening at 35 weeks and 5 days – continuing to get bigger and bigger!

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I’ve been reviewing some of my childbirth materials for a refresher on labor and birth. I would like to have a natural (med-free) delivery if at all possible, but honestly, the most striking thing about all the info I’m reviewing is how incredibly overly dramatic it all is. Of our two girls, I delivered one naturally,  breastfed her within the first hour of her life, and have parented her primarily using attachment-parenting-style techniques from day one; and the other I did not even meet until she was over 2 years old. Guess which one often seems to be more securely attached?

I am quite confident that my bond with Atticus is not going to be irrevocably shattered if something unexpected happens and I have to get an epidural or end up needing an emergency c-section with general anesthesia and don’t actually meet him for an entire 4 hours (gasp!) after he’s born. I believe in taking parenting decisions seriously and making the best choices we can for ourselves and our babies. However, this is one moment out of an entire lifetime of parenting moments, and I’m not willing to make it into more than it is. We’re reviewing our childbirth info, but I’m certainly not going to obsess over any of it.

And in the meantime, amidst projects and childbirth prep, I’m trying to enjoy these last days or weeks that I have as a mom of two 🙂