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Many bloggers like to do a “Year in Review” style post around the beginning of the year. I know it is now March, but bear with me a moment. Unfortunately, our 2018 was a year of extremes filled with ecstatic highs and devastating lows:
- Our second son, Pickle, was born in February.
- My mom was officially diagnosed with breast cancer in April.
- She passed away in September.
- We found out we were expecting a third — and completely surprise — baby in October.
- We moved our little family of four in with my dad in November.
So many dramatic life changes! So many conflicting emotions! And all over such a short span of time. It can be hard to process everything and still function in the day-to-day routines that have to get done.
After Pickle was born, my husband and I both agreed that we were most likely done having children. We were very happy with our two adorable boys, but we did agree to re-visit this decision in two or three years.
You see, while Pickle’s labor and delivery went smoothly, afterward I had some unexpected bleeding and was whisked away into emergency surgery to make sure everything was ok. Praise the Lord, I was actually fine, but it was the most terrifying experience of my life. For a brief but intense period of time, the possibility of a serious complication (possibly even dying) was very real.
Afterward, while I was on maternity leave recovering, I experienced postpartum depression caused in part by a severe lack of sleep. Pickle was a very fussy newborn and would not sleep for the first six weeks. When he did finally sleep, his older brother Peanut would wake up teething! Add to that an enormous amount of outside stress caused by breastfeeding challenges (again), my job, and then the news of my mom’s cancer diagnosis.
On the inside, I was an emotional wreck, but I had to outwardly keep it all together for my family’s sake. I would never have gotten through without the amazing support and patience of my husband. Those couple of months were very rough on all of us and he heroically kept our little family from falling apart.
Towards the end of the summer when my mom was in the hospital for a perforated bowel and then in home hospice, I spent as much time with her as I possibly could. I worked remotely from my parents’ house whenever possible and even took quite a bit of unpaid leave. (I had used all of my paid and family medical leave after Pickle was born.) This did put a strain on our finances, but it was completely worth it. I did not want to miss a single moment with my mom.
During her last two weeks with us, Mom was completely convinced that I was pregnant again. I kept denying it. The challenges of breastfeeding and all of the stress had meant that this time around, the weight was not coming off, but I knew I wasn’t pregnant again. Her persistence, though, made even me doubt. I kept taking pregnancy tests just to be sure.
When Mom passed away, she was still convinced. Two days before her memorial service, I had a positive test. I was in shock. My husband was in shock when I broke the news to him over lunch. Because our family was grieving the loss of my mom, we decided not to tell anyone until Thanksgiving. We felt that our family members needed time and space to grieve before hearing the news.
This also gave us more time to process the surprise, and I needed time because I was confused and in some ways numb. I was also a tiny bit afraid that I might have another complication during or after labor/delivery like last time or go through postpartum depression again.
Yet, I kept seeing Mom’s happy smile in my mind’s eye, and Jeremiah 29:11 would play over in my head: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
I still have no idea why, immediately after losing Mom, the Lord chose to bless us with a surprise baby but I trust that He has a plan. This little one — a third boy — may have been an unexpected surprise, but I know in my heart that he is a blessing, a precious gift.
Jeremiah 1:5 is often used as decor in a baby’s nursery, but for me, it has become a permanent fixture in my heart. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
I do not know what the future holds, but I trust the Lord.
Our surprise blessing will be arriving mid-to-late June 2019. As of the publishing of this post, we are about 25-and-a-half weeks along. It took some careful consideration, but we found what we feel is the perfect name for him.
Keeping with the theme of using pseudonyms on the blog for his big brothers (Peanut and Pickle), what nickname would you suggest for this little one? I eagerly look forward to your suggestion in the comments!