While the Christmas shopping, and shipping, season is upon us, our family is excited to be expecting a different kind of package, not so much from UPS, but rather a new little Wachter.
But here's the thing. I used to think it was so exciting to share this news with those we know and love and even those we don't know. But now I dread it like the plague. Because people always say the dumbest things. And it just crushes my joy.
After two surgeries, lots of painful treatments, a heartbreaking experience with a foster child and years of prayer to overcome endometriosis, we were literally beside ourselves with joy to share news of our pregnancy with Emma Rose. We were amazed at how the Lord had worked in what three doctors called an impossible situation and wanted to share our miracle with everyone. A lady actually told me I shouldn't appear so happy because it might upset two other ladies we knew who were struggling with infertility.
Then there was the time when Nathaniel was six months old and we announced Aedan was on the way. We'd already had a round of nastiness from our family and could really use some positive feedback. I ran to the ladies room in tears when a friend of ours actually said, to my face, that I was like a regular baby factory.
There was the time when I was expecting Samuel and another homeschooling mom told me there was no way I would be able to manage teaching the children with six kids. Gee, thanks for the encouragement.
Oh and let's not forget all the times people go on about how the youngest child will be so jealous and feel displaced. Which by the way has NEVER been the case.
Or all the well meaning people who go on about how we can't fit another child in our little house or afford to support 4, 5, 6... kids etc. Never mind that with rare exception we have never even taken so much as free babysitting and our children are all well fed and well dressed.
All the sweetness is not confined to friends, family and church members, though. Even strangers get in on the deal. In addition to the stares and comments about how we should "get a hobby" or cable and after 8 kids "don't we know what causes it yet", there are the women who tell me I'm crazy. Yes, perfect strangers have said that to my face. One stranger sticks out in my mind above all, though. After seeing me with 6 children and pregnant again she stopped me and asked all the usual rude questions. How many were step children? How many times was I married? And on and on. I answered her inquiries as pleasantly as could be. And then, as I put my item in the buggy and grabbed a toddler's hand to move on, she said, "You must have easy pregnancies to do that so much." Ha! I didn't correct her. I just wished her a good day and went on with my shopping.
But I have thought about this woman's comment many times through my last three pregnancies and almost daily these last four months. Because easy and pregnancy couldn't be any farther from an accurate description of how things go for me.
I spent two pregnancies on total bed rest with regular stays in the hospital with chronic poly-nephritis. And then there are the blinding migraine headaches that came with several pregnancies. The four or five months of severe sickness with most of our children. And then there is diabetes. As a diabetic, pregnancy means intensive insulin therapy and lots of testing to make sure my blood sugar levels always stay in a safe range for both baby and me. Some days that means 17 needles. And you know what that's the easy part.
There's the hypoglycemia which comes with insulin treatment. That means in an effort to keep glucose low enough for baby I also have to deal with it dipping into dangerously low ranges for me several times a day. For those who don't know what diabetic hypoglycemia is about it means my mind stops working properly and I am unable to make even simple decisions like what to eat to bring my glucose back up. It also comes with an array of other less than pleasant physical symptoms. Everything stops while I tend to the situation. After this interruption into a visit with a friend, or teaching a lesson to one of the children, FBI class, a church service or a doctor appointment, I am completely physically drained as if I just had a run a few miles on a 90 degree day. On a good day that only happens a few times. The nights are the worst, though. After bringing my sugar up and showering and changing the linens (hypoglycemia causes you to sweat beyond anything you can imagine) I usually get severe chills. I then toss and turn for a few hours and doze off just in time to do it all again.
Pregnancy is anything but easy for me. It is a difficult and much prayed about nine months. Right now, life is anything but easy. In fact, it is down right hard. I count it a good night if I can sleep even a few hours uninterrupted. It's a good morning if I can get through our school lessons without two crashes. Both are rare occurrences since insulin needs change every five days during pregnancy and it takes about three days to get adjustments regulated. So I am completely physically drained. On a good day I have about two hours where I feel well. My family does great despite me, but I feel like I am failing in everything that is important to me. I am afraid to drive because I fear hurting someone. In fact I hate going out in public because I never know when I will crash and as unpleasant as it is at home its even more miserable in the presence of others. I tried to take the kids shopping for Kaitlin's birthday a few weeks ago. I ended up sitting in a corner of Target for 20 minutes eating a bag of Reeses Peanut Butter cups we picked up in the candy aisle. (Did you know they come in dark chocolate?)
And the fact of the matter is, unless you have been there, it is difficult or impossible to understand the true inability to do what I usually do... at church, in the community or even at home. So people aren't exactly understanding when you say no or don't show up for every event. We simply aren't able to help as we usually do. Even unexpected guests, which we typically welcome are very much a drain at this time. A few weeks ago I literally could not get the energy to type a text message reply and on three nights in one week we had friends drop by unexpected.
So why am I here? I believe everything worth anything in life has a price. Some are higher or harder than others. This I believe is worth it. Indeed, I can't think of anything more worth the trial than being part of God's plan to give life to another human being.
I believe every life is created by God. I believe every child is a blessing. Despite all the difficulties, I love being pregnant because I believe what God said in His word that every person is made in His image.
And I believe the God who creates life has the power to see us through any trial He allows to come into our life. He's seen me through more than I can count in more miraculous ways than I can begin to tell here.
I believe the God of Heaven has the power to provide for our every need. As we have followed Him by faith and He has expanded our family, God has always provided for our every need. In fact, I stand in awe each day when I see the ways He has blessed us with the desires of our heart and the ways He gives us opportunities to minister to others.
So, I invite you to join us as we celebrate a new life and praise the God who has given and will sustain it. We look forward to seeing, not just how God will work in the next six months, but what He will do with this little life as he will rise up to serve the Lord. I can not even begin to imagine what great works our little one will be used for. But I sure am looking forward to watching the story unfold. And I am grateful for the gift to be part of it.
For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Psalm 139:13-16