Isn’t that what they say happens when a person make’s plans for their life…God laughs? Apparently, God had a sense of humor this past spring!
I’ve struggled with my weight since my teenage years and this past April, I finally decided to take it seriously and I hired a personal trainer to help whip me into shape. In the past, I’ve tried Weight Watchers, The South Beach Diet and many others. I tried working out at Curves, the YMCA, various gyms and even at home with P90X and other home workout programs. My problem was always consistency. I could do just about anything for a month, but when you measure success in pounds lost, a month isn’t long enough to judge whether something is working. Unfortunately, I didn’t really understand this, and I always gave up after a month.
Not this time however, I was DETERMINED to get this weight off but more than that, my attitude changed. This time I was going to measure success in the number of good habits I created, the way clothing looked on me and how I felt over time. For the first time in my life, I REFUSED to get on the scale until I’d been working with my trainer for six weeks.
The results were amazing! Even though I had no idea if I was losing weight or not, I could see my body toning up. I knew I was making good food choices and I was exercising at home too. I was determined to meet my goal by the end of 2012.
One afternoon after supper, I decided to go for a walk to get my cardio in, and to clear my head after a stressful day with the kids. I walked three miles around my “neighborhood” (I live in the country, so it’s not really a neighborhood, more like country roads with some cows and horses to greet me along the way). Somewhere around the second mile, I realized that I had absolutely no idea where I was in my menstrual cycle. This is important to me for several reasons, but the most important is because I don’t use hormonal birth control. In the past, getting pregnant has been a struggle. It took nearly a year and a half of active trying to conceive our daughter. In my mind, if we weren’t trying, I was safe. I didn’t think there was any way that I could get pregnant if we weren’t trying, since in the past we didn’t get pregnant when we really WERE trying. Even so, I didn’t know where I was in my cycle and it bothered me.
I slowed the pace of my walk, pulled out my trusty Smartphone and calculated my cycle on the calendar. Surprise hit me when I realized that I was in the middle of my “peak fertility” and let’s just say that my husband and I had not exercised caution the night before. When I got home I opened the door and the first thing I said to my husband was, “I could be pregnant.”
I know he didn’t take me seriously because we both knew it never happened like that for us in the past. We laughed it off and went on with our evening. Two weeks later, I spotted very briefly, and we thought that for sure my period was on the way. Four days later I realized that the spotting had lasted all of 10 minutes, and there was no further sign of a period. I was cramping though so it seemed likely that my period would start that day. It did not.
At 11pm on May 9, I realized that my period still hadn’t arrived. I chalked it up to stress postponing ovulation, but still vowed that I would test the next morning if my period hadn’t arrived. My husband was taking me on a Mother’s Day getaway that weekend to the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC. We were leaving at 6am the following morning. I set my alarm for 4am to shower and get the kids ready, and I went to sleep wondering if my period would start that night.
The following morning, way too early for me to even think of being awake, I crawled out of bed, exhausted but excited for my spa day. I considered not testing, thinking I would for sure be wasting the only test I had in the house, an expensive EPT digital test. My curiosity got the best of me though and after ripping open the wrapper, I peed on the stick and laid it on the counter while I turned on the shower. An EPT pregnancy test blinks a little hourglass while it processes the test. I watched it blink and then before I knew what was going on, the word PREGNANT displayed on the screen.
I blinked my eyes, tempted to rub them to make sure there wasn’t any dust or anything in my eyes to obscure the word “NOT” that was I was so sure should be in front of the word pregnant. I looked again. PREGNANT. Nope, the test hadn’t changed its mind!
In one moment, I experienced such conflicting emotions that I didn’t know what to do with myself. Happiness, excitement and disappointment that I now had to shift my goals and temporarily abandon my weight loss efforts. I felt guilty for being so selfish and anxiety that I was now pregnant with my third child, not even sure that I was doing a good job raising my first two. The scales tipped just slightly and I found myself more happy than anything else, but still cautious because I couldn’t explain the spotting I’d experienced several days before.
I took the pregnancy test, walked into the bedroom and flipped on the light, disturbing my sleeping husband. I didn’t want to startle him, but I did want him to wake up, so I gently shook him and said, “Honey, I need you to wake up, everything is ok, but I need you to wake up.” He thought I just wanted him to help me pack and get the kids ready. He stirred, but didn’t really get up, so I continued by saying something like, “No, you have to turn over here and look at this.” When he did, I held the pregnancy test in front of him.
I saw excitement rush over his face before he suppressed it, asking how I felt about it. Later he admitted to putting a lid on his emotions until he found out if I was happy or not. He knew that I wanted to get myself into shape before we had another baby and he knew that I was doing really well with my goal. I told him I was ok with it, that I would continue to eat well and exercise as much as I could during the pregnancy, and then I would start back with the trainer after the baby was born.
The next few days were weird. I still couldn’t believe it was real. We had never been surprised before, we’d always tried so hard to get pregnant and this time it was just given to us. I began to understand more than ever that this pregnancy was a gift from God and it took me very little time to bond with the life growing inside of me. We prayed that very first day for the health of the baby, the pregnancy in general and me. In just one moment, all the plans I had made for myself changed and I was now in charge of growing a tiny human life that would bless our family the same way our other two children have. I was walking down one path and suddenly the road forked and I was forced into a completely different, but totally magnificent direction.
So far, this pregnancy has had its challenges. Morning sickness reared its ugly head from around 7 to 12 weeks. I never throw up during pregnancy, but the nausea is present almost 24 hours a day during the first trimester. Hormonal headaches were a problem too, but thankfully they are subsiding now that I’m out of the first trimester. In less than one week, we’ll find out the gender of this precious little baby and we’re all very excited for that appointment. (We kind of all think it’s a boy…so we shall see!)
So…lesson learned. Don’t make plans that aren’t flexible without consulting God, and don’t take life too seriously. You never know what God has planned for you!
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