God's Bigger, Much Better Plan

Sitting on the closed toilet lid, I held my head in my hands and started quietly sobbing. Obviously, I knew how it had happened, but I was devastated.

Right away, two bright pink stripes had shown down the center of the test.

I was pregnant.

Again.

I had just put my 1-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son down for their naps when I decided that this was as perfect a time as any to take a pregnancy test. I knew that I was a few days late and that being pregnant was a possibility. 

I remember that when the results screamed + at me I panicked a little. I wasn't sure what to do. It wasn't one of those happy moments where I would immediately grab my phone and call everyone that I knew to share with them the good news.

I didn't even call my husband. 

I sat there and stared straight ahead. My eyes blurred, my heart beat raced, and my tears fell heavily. I'm not sure how long I sat in the bathroom in that state, but it wasn't until I heard a child waking that my pity was interrupted.

All I could think about was the tiny townhouse that we lived in, how we could barely afford the over a grand each month we were already paying for two babies in childcare, and how our crappy health insurance had cost us about $7000 out of pocket PER child (in fact we were still paying off baby number two at that point). And to make things even worse, I was still only technically a part-time instructor; I was working part-time at three colleges trying to make a "full-time" gig of it, but it didn't provide the job security or benefits that a true full-time job would have afforded.

I remember the exact moment when my husband came home from work later that day. The babies were playing on the living room floor in front of me and I was sitting on the bottom step of the stair case. I had been holding it together pretty good in front the little ones so far, but when my husband walked through the front door, I lost it. 

Completely lost it.

He ran to me, dropped his work bag, and begged for me to tell him what had happened. Red-eyed, I looked up at him between sobs and reluctantly told him that I was pregnant again. He hugged me, smiled and said it was okay, obviously masking very well the rush of similar practical thoughts that I am sure were immediately clouding his mind too.

It was completely selfish of me to react this way, I knew that. Some of my friends had been unable to get pregnant or carry babies to term, and they would have given their own lives to receive the news that I had just received. But at that point in my life, this news was really difficult to hear.

Every person's story is very real, and can hurt a lot, and for me, both of these facts were true.

As it usually does, time passing eased the panic some and gave us time to prepare for our third child. We had always wanted three children, but we had definitely not planned to have three kids in less than four years. Fortunately it takes a near 10 months to grow a baby, so we did have time to plan.

We decided to sell our house and rent a smaller one instead so that we could save some money to pay off the cost of having another baby. Luckily it sold right away, preventing more worry that I am not sure I could have handled at that point. We were able to find a small, quaint house to rent for a year that would cut our monthly payments down significantly.

Once the baby was due, I had planned to cut back to teaching just three classes versus my normal 7-9 classes per semester, making sure all sections were at night or online so that I could stay home with our children during the day. Although reducing my income, this would eliminate childcare expenses. This decision was going to be challenging because I was due a few weeks into a new semester and I had no maternity leave, but we'd figure it out. I had gone back to teaching just a week or two after delivering my other two children, so I could do it again.

Mentally I had a really hard time accepting my situation. I didn't post the news on Facebook as early as I had with the other kids, and eventually only did because people had started finding out through the grapevine (and I also looked about 6 months pregnant just a few months in, so the proof of pregnancy was in every picture I posted). I didn't tell many people at work until they became brave enough to ask why my belling was swelling. Again. 

And I hated shopping. Not only did my back ache, my feet hurt, and my patience run thin dragging around my two other babies, but the bigger I got, the more people commented. Oh my, your third, so close together... Are you excited? or if I was alone, Is this your first? I remember not knowing how to respond. It's like if someone causally asks you, How are you? and you want to say that you are feeling awful, hating the world, tired and fed up with life right now, but you politely say, I'm fine. 

At that point I wasn't ready to tell these strangers, who were just trying to be kind, the truth. And it probably wouldn't have been appropriate either. Usually I would just try to smile and shrug, and say something generic in response. But inside I was worried and felt very sad.

Feeling sad was actually pretty normal for me then. Looking back, my doctor had to have been really concerned. I literally cried at every single appointment until I hit about 32 weeks pregnant. I was in some kind of denial of reality. I knew the baby was happening, we were drastically adjusting our lives in preparation for that, but it was like my mind just couldn't comprehend how I was supposed to get through this.

Then something wonderful happened.

My baby boy was born.

The moment, and I mean the moment, I laid my eyes on him, everything changed. Obviously God had a bigger, much better, plan for my life than I had. My worries did not disappear, but I remember feeling this overwhelming emotion of calmness as I looked into his brown (finally a kid with brown!) eyes.

My amazing, wonderful, beautiful baby boy was the miracle I needed to understand just how much love I have in my heart for all my children, and my husband. He was what I needed to realize that life is out of my control and that no matter how stressful it may seem, God provides us only with what he knows we can handle.

Although gifted to me at a time I would have not chosen for myself, my youngest son has been an absolute joy to raise. I cannot imagine my life without him now. He is the silliest, most caring, happiest little boy I've ever seen. He truly was our blessing in disguise, my blessing that turned three years old this week.

And you know what? My life has come together just fine these last three years. I have my children, now a 3-year-old son, a 4-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old son. My husband and I both have different, better jobs that we enjoy, we own a nice home, and we are figuring out our lives together as a young family.

We have struggles, like all people trying to make it through life, and it isn't easy. Our children aren't perfect. We argue sometimes. Raising a family is expensive. Work gets busy. Balancing our five lives together is a difficult struggle some days.

But there is something that I find immense comfort and hope in. I've learned that God has a bigger, much better, plan for my life. And if my baby boy isn't the biggest testament to that, I am not sure what it is.

My surprise gift from God, 
who turned three years old this week.


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