Sometimes words need to be written. Thoughts need to be shared. Love needs to grow.
That’s what you get today.
Time is ticking by and before I know it, I’ll be 39 weeks. These words have been percolating in my brain for months and before I go into full-on labor, I’m sharing them with you.
Photo courtesy of Sugarbee Photography (yes, that’s my belly!)
Dear Baby Whitaker,
After your brother, Luke, was born people often asked us (and by often, I mean like at least once a week) if we were having any more children. I’ve always found that question to be 1) intensely personal and 2) incredibly difficult to answer. You see, I’m not sure I will ever feel “done” by society’s standards. I suppose my best answer to that question has always been, “You’re asking the wrong person.” God has always been in control, but relinquishing it has sometimes been hard.
With you, for example.
Your brother and his prematurity journey was tough. Good and awesome and hope-filled, but also third-ring-of-hellish. It took a long time for my heart to heal after all of that. It took an even longer time to be at peace with adding more children to our family. The world kept saying ‘no, don’t do it.’ Friends and family couldn’t understand why we would take the gamble again. Comments on social media reminded me that large families are viewed as antiquated, things to avoid and something only weird religious freaks did. But, after a nine-day novena and some serious knee time, the pregnancy test came back positive.
I cried my eyes out, not in fear, but out of love. This entire nine months has quite possibly been the happiest nine months of my life. Okay, there were a few days in there when I went into nesting crazy, a few moments of not being able to breathe that were slightly uncomfortable and the heartburn. Oh, the heartburn. But amidst the tile grout cleaning, the not-so-deep breaths and four bottles of Tums (true story), I have felt God’s presence at every turn. Every doctor visit. Every baby kick. Every quick glance in the mirror at my growing belly. The peace that has transcended this pregnancy is something I’ve never experienced before.
Isn’t that crazy?
The even crazier part is my brain still has not officially computed that we are having a baby. Each time I catch a profile of myself in the mirror and see that belly, I smile and want to break out in dance. Which, of course, at this point would be hugely embarrassing for all of mankind. But, it is just so freaking awesome that God looked at our family and said, “Yes, let’s give them another baby.” I mean, seriously. Give the other girls diamonds and trips to Paris and McMansions. Me? I’m perfectly at peace with another life to love.
I’ve spent the better part of 4.5 years being pregnant and another 5 years nursing. Almost a decade has been spent growing and physically nurturing life. Some people shake their head in disbelief at those numbers, I just smile.
You see, we prayed for you for such a long time. SUCH a long time. We asked St. Therese of Lisieux for her intercession, I asked Mary for strength and I relied on God for my peace and state of mind. There was the amniotic fluid scare at 36 weeks and I felt myself going back to the dark place, but it was momentary.
And now, as I sit at my computer screen having on and off contractions I wonder what life will be like with you. I wonder if you’ll be sporting pink or blue, if you’ll keep me up at all hours of the night for months and if you’ll be an easy delivery. But, mostly I am in awe that in a few days we will look back on this life we are living and wonder how we ever lived it without you.
Baby Whitaker, thank you for being such an incredible blessing to our family. Someday I’ll tell you about how excited your brothers and sisters have been about your arrival. Luke wants to know how many more minutes until he gets to kiss you, Clare wants to know how you come out (um, we’ll chat about that later), Anna-Laura is curious about your name (she has the perfect one picked out), John Paul keeps asking what a contraction is and Will? He just wants to know if you’ll be taking over his room or not.
You see. You’ll fit right into the crazy. We’re praying for you and can’t wait to smother you with kisses. And lots of ’em. So buckle up, buttercup. You’re about to make us the great eight!