After Heath was born, we were fairly certain four kids was enough. I say fairly certain because we were not ready to make a permanent contraceptive decision, but four kids seemed like enough. We were taking precautions to prevent additional pregnancies, because I mean, really, who even has four kids nowadays? We had (and still have) a very busy life, full of sports, visits with family and friends, and church activities. Any more than four would probably be unreasonable, right? While we knew logically that four kids is a big family, a small part of me was not sure that we were done, so nothing permanent was done. Then one day I felt a calm assurance come over me. Our family was perfect just how it was, four kids was enough, our family was complete.
As I mentioned in a previous post, one of the unexpected joys of Dylan’s accident was his ability to stay home with the kids for the summer. This allowed us to take a week long camping trip with our kids and some extended family members at Fofar campground in the summer of 2015. In the week leading up to us heading out to camp, I came to a surprising realization: I was “late”.
I am not sure if I was already pregnant when I felt our family was perfect with four children, but I think I probably was. Life is pretty funny sometimes. Or at least I think God must get a pretty good chuckle over our thoughts and actions at times! Be warned, a slight bit of personal information is coming your way in the next fe sentences. I am one of those regular type girls who is never late, and I always track my dates so I can mentally prepare myself for the monthly fun. Despite this, it took me three days to realize I was late. With the revelation of my lateness re-counted three times, just to make sure I had not made a mistake. I mean, I am NEVER late…I could not be late. No way. Did I have my LMP date wrong? Thinking back, looking at the calendar, no, that was for sure the date. There was a sinking feeling in my stomach at the implication of what my calendar was telling me.
“What do you mean you’re late, you can’t be?!” Dylan responded in shock, and dare I say indignation, when I shared with him my revelation.
I assured him there was no mistake, I was late. The next day, at four days late, I asked him to pick up a home pregnancy test. When I got home from work that evening I took the test and despite the suboptimal testing time (first morning urine samples are always best), and there was no doubt.
I was pregnant. Put another way; the cautious, laboratory technologist who had planned every previous pregnancy, was carrying an unplanned baby.
Or, should I say a baby not planned by his earthly parents.
So, with pregnancy hormones coursing through my body once again, we packed up for the lake and a week of camping with my nana, Dylan’s parents, and various nieces and nephews. I really wanted to be able to tell my parents and Dylan’s parents at the same time, or as close to the same time as possible. I also did not want to tell my parents over the phone. So, we decided to not tell anyone about our happy surprise. As luck would have it, my pregnancy was so healthy that I was “enjoying” nausea in the morning, along with the emotional ups and downs associated with the changing hormones; while spending time with family and trying to keep quiet about the news. Not to mention I was still having trouble being as excited about the pregnancy as I wanted to be. That we had not been “trying for another,” and already had four children invited a lot of unwanted feelings in me.
What would people think was probably my first and foremost fear. I assumed I would be met with a pile of judgement and condemnation.
An unplanned pregnancy?! Five kids?! What the heck is wrong with you? This is just a small sampling of the thoughts and statements I was sure I would encounter once we broke the news to the world. Surely we would meet opposition. Despite my concerns about what the rest of the world would think, one of the hardest things to deal with was that no matter what everyone else thought, deep down, I was so happy. I knew the potential challenges that were in front of us; pregnancy, labour and delivery, nurturing and providing for another life, the unkind words and opinions we may encounter. So, as is so often true, the largest obstacle was myself. Reconciling my fears and assumptions with my joy would prove to be the biggest challenge I would face in my pregnancy.
When I think of myself in the first week of learning I was pregnant, I picture a caricature of myself with a grey swirl above her head. Too many fearful thoughts and too little peace. With all the heavy assumptions, hormones, and inner conflict I was facing I was probably a joy to camp with!
Well, pregnancy mood or not, fun was being had by some!
Finally, a few days in to our camping trip, after getting frustrated and bursting into tears Dylan asked what was wrong. I shared with him all I was thinking, feeling, and fearing. The burden of keeping the pregnancy a secret was too much, so he said exactly what I needed to hear.
“Phone your mom. She won’t care if you’re telling her on the phone. If not sharing the news is this hard on you, call her.”
A mother’s love is unconditional, and I know my parent’s are very proud of me. However, I was carrying a great big fear that somehow my pregnancy would disappoint them. I had carefully planned so many aspects of my life, and here I was carrying a baby I had not expected, what would they say? I picked up my phone and called my mom with shaky hands. I am sure there was no small talk and practically no lead in, I simply broke the news.
“Oh really?!” Came my mom’s reply, the joy and acceptance evident in her tone. I cannot remember her next words, probably because they do not matter. As soon as she made her first statement, relief flooded through me and my eyes filled with tears of joy. I was happy about this baby, unexpected or not, and so was my mom. Whatever the rest of the world thought, I would have the support of my parents. It does not matter how old we are, the unconditional love and acceptance of our parents is so valuable.
Despite my fears, the rest of the world doled out very little shock, negativity or judgement. There probably was some surprise, and maybe the occasional joke or jab, but I was met with so much love and support that no one but me could hinder my joy. I was pregnant, I was happy about it, but it was a journey to get to a place where I did not feel the need to confide to everyone I knew that my pregnancy was a surprise. It was almost as if I felt the need to justify my large family, even though I was truly happy about it. To try and explain how I felt at that time is difficult, because I still do not entirely understand my feelings from that time!
Is five kids so bad that I owe the world an explanation, or basically an apology, for my family size? Or did I feel some strange guilt for having an unplanned pregnancy? I really still do not have a lot of insight into the “me” from a year and a half ago. I know there was some turmoil associated with the two conflicting facts; that my pregnancy being unplanned and that I happy to have an even larger family. Beyond that I am, surprisingly enough, at a loss for words.
My first round of prenatal bloodwork revealed a little surprise as well. While my LMP suggested I was about 6 weeks along, the blood work suggested that I was more likely around 9 weeks. That, coupled with my increased pregnancy symptoms and the rapid growth of my belly led to my doctor ordering an early ultrasound. He wanted to confirm that my dates were correct and that there was only one baby. Well, I am a very regular laboratory technologist (read: I keep track and know my LMP, every month), so the possibility of twins seemed much greater than an error in dates. I went in for an ultrasound at 9 weeks and learned that baby really was only baby, not babies, and that my dates were bang on. The next day I worked, and my doctor was on call. I walked past him to enter the lab with a quick good morning and he chased after me.
“Kyla! Well?” He inquired from the lab doorway.
I simply shrugged and shook my head. In my mind this indicated there was one baby, not two, present.
“They wouldn’t tell you?!” He exclaimed in shock.
“Oh they told me, I mean there is only one.” I replied.
“Oh!” responded simply, but I thought I detected a note of surprise. Now it was my turn to chase after him!
I went out to the ER and asked him what, if anything, he had thought I was carrying.
“Oh I was SURE it was twins.”
Well, I have to say I am glad I learned his opinion after I learned there was only one baby coming. Dylan and I were trying to mentally prepare ourselves for either instance, but if we knew our doctor thought two were coming, it would have tipped the balance just a little more towards us thinking there was two. Surprisingly, Dylan and I both had the smallest bit of disappointment to learn there was only one. To know my doctor was sure it was twins would have further strengthened our suspicions; and would have made learning it was only one baby a bit more like a loss.
My pregnancy continued along nicely, with not much more than the typical pains and complaints until around 21 weeks gestation. During a routine prenatal visit my blood pressure was elevated, which it had not been in my previous pregnancies. My doctor was not too concerned at first, and just assumed it was an aberrant result. He asked my to stop by and see him in the emergency department the next day just to see if my blood pressure had returned to normal. Well, to both mine and my doctor’s surprise, my blood pressure was still elevated! Although my blood pressure reading never increased to the point of needing medication to control it, I did leave work on short term disability at around 31 weeks pregnant. The break must have been what I needed because although my blood pressure did not return to normal, I did not develop pre-eclampsia. The unusual blood pressure did lead to my cautious physician requesting weekly non-stress tests starting at 35 or 36 weeks, and a few extra laboratory tests for me, just to ensure baby and I stayed healthy.
Although my blood pressure stayed stable, my doctor did not want to take any risks and wanted to look at inducing labour at 38 weeks to prevent pre-eclampsia. He tentatively booked an induction for the Wednesday after I reached 38 weeks, but at my appointment the Friday before, my blood pressure was still stable so he held off. At just over 39 weeks, on March 30, he wanted to do a “sweep” to kickstart labour.
“Well, I am actually due on April 10, and I thought it was neat that I would have an April baby, I know it’s strange, but could we wait at least 2 days?” I asked.
Fortunately my blood pressure was still staying steady so he agreed that two days would not make any difference. The compromise was that I had to come back on Friday, April 1, for the “sweep”. With the appointment booked I headed home.
The next day, Thursday March 31 at about 7pm, my water broke! It looked like I was going to have my April baby after all, with no interventions or assistance! Yet another example of divine timing in my life! The details of labour and delivery really do not matter, but the outcome sure does.
Luke Markus Zane George entered the world at 0326 am, weighing in at 8lbs 11 oz, and 21 inches long. Love at first sight yet again!
First precious memories
Today, we celebrate Luke’s 1st birthday and I thank God for His plan for my life and my family. We were not incomplete before Luke, I would not even say we were incomplete before becoming parents; but our family is more complete, more full, and more wonderful with each additional blessing.
Even on the hard days, when my patience seems too short, when tears are plenty and smiles are few, I would not trade this life for anyone else’s. My life is a rich tapestry of colour, and wonderful, beautiful chaos. While some of the tapestry’s colours may be from stains I would rather not know the origin of, it is a beautiful picture all the same.
God has blessed me mightily and I am so thankful for His love and the love of the people He has placed in my life. Blessings!