Last week, we had our anatomy scan for the baby and found out that baby DeVries is a healthy baby boy! Nicholas is an older brother and I have an older brother, so it seems fitting that we would have a little boy as our first. My mom texted me and said something to the effect of it's a family tradition! And though of course we would've been thrilled either way, Nicholas is over-the-moon excited to have a little buddy. Baby boy was also measuring a bit big, as we suspected may be the case from the beginning, so my doctor bumped up my due date by five days to June nineteenth, putting me at twenty-two weeks tomorrow. As if this pregnancy didn't already seem to be flying by, there went a full week that didn't really happen.
In between trying to put together a registry or two, taking prenatal vitamins, dealing with some occasional nausea, napping, and trying to get some walks in, especially on sunny days—I'm trying to actually process this pregnancy too.
I'm a big feeler, by nature. My childhood/lifelong friend, Clara, always joked that I never began sentences with the usual I think that, but instead used a more emotion-focused I feel like. When I first found out I was pregnant, there was some disbelief, and then some fear about this new really tiny life. With a positive pregnancy test, that little life is the size of a poppyseed, which is incredible to me. I share a lot about my life, but this little life was a secret, something just between me and Nicholas and God. It felt sacred and scary and wonderful, especially in a season of advent. And then when the nausea and fatigue set in, it was a more real-feeling secret that made me feel like doing exactly nothing, feeling much too tired and too crummy to process anything.
This quietness in my heart surprised me. After all, I lived so long in a period of waiting, praying for this baby, that when it happened, I expected to feel everything with fireworks.
But after awhile, that very long season of waiting itself (which is continuing for us in some ways, but not others) became my comfort. I dreamt of future seasons with A, B, and C, (one of those being a baby) for so long that my comfort was in that label, that I was officially a waiter, an endurer. When one of the big things I hoped and prayed for actually happened, I realized that yes, there is joy there, but even a new little life can't fulfill my heart's every yearning. So when the waiting season partially ended, I couldn't take comfort from the label of endurer and instead had to turn to Jesus for comfort, the one I should have been turning to all along. Turning back to the One who calls me by my name and calls me His child.
I've been praying for God to move in my heart, to stir something up, in the last several weeks. I expected to feel so much joy and energy and so many good emotions about being pregnant. And to be honest, I am feeling those things. But I also can't expect that the long-awaited answer to prayer (this little baby) to be the source of what moves me. The Holy Spirit does the moving, not external circumstances in our lives. And no matter how wonderful those blessings in our lives are, they do not move us the way Jesus does, nor were they ever intended to.
In church on Sunday, we sang In the Hands of Christ My King, and my heart felt more moved and alive than it has in some time as we sang these words:
Come Holy Spirit
Move in power
Ignite my heart with your holy fire
Show me the Father
Show me the Son
Revive my soul again
O Spirit come
All my hope is found in hands of Christ my King
May my life be found in the hands of Christ my King
If You're not here, I don't wanna be
I won't be moved unless You move [...]
In the months of trying, leading up to discovering that I was pregnant, there was some big heart growth that had to happen. I finally came to a place where I could see that motherhood had become an idol for me. It is a good thing (of course!!) but I had to finally come to the point where I said, Even if motherhood doesn't happen for me in the way we're hoping for, Jesus is still better.
And so when I got pregnant, I assumed I had, you know, dealt with that idol. But there were still lies I was believing about a baby giving me ultimate joy, etc. And when I got pregnant and didn't feel those things, I felt a little listless. As I'm carrying this new life, I want to proceed with the truth that this baby is a joy, but being a mother won't fulfill me like Jesus does. And as I type that, I feel an enormous amount of freedom! Freedom to pursue motherhood and my King with joy. Seeing motherhood as a blessed role, but not my primary identity gives me more freedom in walk in grace and joy as we get closer to meeting this new life.
I realize this probably isn't your typical pregnancy blog post, but I already feel a loosening in my soul for having acknowledged some things here. And I feel more freedom to allow the Holy Spirit to be the one who moves me, not expecting my external circumstances to do so.
In light of all of this, here is what life looks like at twenty-two weeks (tomorrow!). Despite all that hefty heart work detailed above, I've officially hit the fun stage of pregnancy, I think. This is the time when women earnestly say, I loved being pregnant:
- Visits from my sweet friend, Lauren, who is also expecting a baby! She and her husband, Josh, came to visit us for a day in Austin. We had coffee and tacos, and then all four of us went for a walk in the fresh air and went out for neopolitan pizza. It was so fun and encouraging to talk about pregnancy and motherhood together with someone I spent my entire childhood with.
- Nicholas felt the baby kick at 19 weeks (or 20 weeks, adjusted) and he's been kicking up a storm. It still takes me breath away, a bit. In the ever-diminishing moments when I forget I'm pregnant, he inevitably kicks me and gives me a good reminder that he's there (he's kicking hard right now as I type this). And I think he had hiccups the other day!
- Going to our 20-week anatomy scan to find out baby is a boy, but also to see the miracle of 4 heart ventricles and tiny fingers and toes, and in general, a healthy baby. My OB guessed that it was a boy at our last appointment and it turns out he was right!
- Knitting on socks in the waiting room
- A new shawl cast on and a new book to read (thanks, Mom!)
- Finishing up the current book in the Mitford series I was reading
- Nicholas kissing my belly and saying good morning, baby and goodnight, baby every day. He is going to be such a good dad, I can't wait to see.
- Helping out with a baby sprinkle for my friend Jessica and her little baby boy #2! We had a lovely time celebrating both of them.
- Coffee dates and bump pictures with Nicholas (wearing a finished knitted hat that I'll share soon!)
- Finding that fewer and fewer regular clothes fit over the bump (or, they technically fit, but aren't flattering ;)
- Having strangers mention the baby now. It's fun to actually look pregnant. And at church on Sunday, one of the greeters said, "Welcome to all three of you!" It's sweet.
- Applying belly balm or coconut oil
- Sitting on the porch as much as possible
- Having really dry facial skin, applying coconut oil to my face, too
- Babysitting our little buddy, Sawyer, and watching him try on Nicholas' shoes
- Rainy days and feeling ready for the sun to come back (as it did today!)
- Admiring the tiny baby clothes we have, trying to imagine a baby small enough to wear them
- Tuesdays with Nicholas, with breakfast tacos and an iced latte for me while he's in meetings
- Baking a carrot cake for Nicholas and I as an early Valentine's Day treat. I used this recipe and it turned out great! I did find that the cakes were finished baking 5 minutes early, so I'm glad I checked.
- Walks with Nicholas, on a sunshine-y afternoon
- Finding refreshment in this verse:
Those who go through the desolate valley will find in it a place of springs, for the early rains have covered it with pools of water. Psalm 84:6
And finally, I'll leave you with this excerpt from my journal from a few weeks ago, when I was beginning to realize this big heart lesson for right now:
You will be secure, because there is hope, you will look about you and take your rest in safety. Job 11:18
Hope in Christ ----> Security, authentic rest, safety
Lord, help me adopt this kind of hope, not just in longed-for circumstances, but this kind of hope in You.