Flegal baby # 4 is due May 25!
* This is a great place to stop reading if my personality ever
makes you want to vomit.
I hesitate to broadcast the happy emotions attached to our announcement as we are keenly aware that this news is (and has been) hard for some of our dear friends and family to receive. Andrew and I know of couples who, at this moment, are longing, aching and praying for their families to grow. In no way am I saying that anyone wishes misfortune upon us; but rather that their pleas to heaven were being met in a more timely manner or with a greater level of ease. Perhaps I have no business to be blogging about something so personal and so difficult when I myself haven't tasted of that particular heartache. For those who've shared their struggles and frustrations, I literally cry with you. When I look at the divine qualities these women, some of whom are Mothers already, possess, I have to ask why on earth these blessings are delayed. It feels unbelievably unfair.
It's possible that I have followed the bloggers code to closely as I have a tendency to portray a life of perfected bliss via this blog. The truth is, we have our challenges. With time, I expect that we will face, "assorted soul-stretching challenges and adversities." I don't say this because I'm a pessimist, but because there aren't exemptions from trial and difficulty.
This past weekend we had a close call on the freeway. After Andrew slammed on the breaks, Lottie instantly began to bawl. Assuming she'd been startled, I look back to console her. To my horror I see that her car seat is tilted forward, resting on the back of the driver's seat.
We'd been to a movie with family that afternoon. Having the room to fit all the adults in our van, we carpooled the group while Lottie and the other kids stayed at Bubba's house to play. Her car seat, which had been removed to accommodate the group, was eventually put back in the car, but not buckled back in.
Jumping back to be with her, I quickly fastened her seat in properly. A mixture of relief, intense gratitude and a terrible sickness for what could have happened fell over Andrew and me. The kids, with the exception of Eliza who was worried out of her mind that a police man would see me out of my seat belt and arrest me on the spot, settled quickly while Andrew and I were left reeling. It was an ugly reminder that in a matter of seconds, what you hold and value as more precious than anything (as trite as that sounds) can be taken away from you.
With all that being said, Heavenly Father didn't intend us to live life in a state of fear or depression. Peace and hope, I believe, can be found in the ugliest of circumstances. I can't give overwhelming testimony of this with an earth shattering example from my own life, but I've seen it in other people's lives and on a smaller and more simple scale in my own. Quoting from the same LDS conference talk that I shared from earlier, Sister Linda Burton said,
"All that is unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ." I have faith that if we follow Christ's teachings and make him both our sail and anchor, we'll be able to progress safely through life and have a secure foundation for when life's storms come. The Atonement, we're taught, isn't there to only cleanse the sinner, but to also lift and repair the brokenhearted. There's a lovely little quote floating around Pinterest that struck a chord with me. It says:
"Peace is not the absence of trouble, but the presence of Christ."
I apologize for letting my feelings (which have been unintentionally designed to look like a sermon) have exploded in such a manner. I just hope that I can share the upcoming months of preparation and excitement in a sensitive way.
And finally, a note to our precious fourth,
Your story has begun! The fourth spot in our family is special, you should know. Both your Daddy and I hold that same place in the families we grew up in so without question you'll be favored at all times! ;) With it comes the blessing of older siblings who clapped and shouted for joy when we shared with them the news. On a lazy Sunday morning, your sisters and brother decided to climb into bed with us. It was a most welcomed invasion. Singing the family favorite, "Here we are together," I added the lines:
"...And another new baby growing in Mommy's tummy." Eliza's mouth dropped open, Henry beamed a happy smile, Lottie demanded the attention be returned to her (just kidding)... Then we celebrated.
Those same siblings, who remain pure, innocent (well that's debatable... hee hee hee) and full of faith, pray each day for your safety and health. To be fair, it remains to be seen how the sister that is about to be dethroned from the prime spot of 'family baby' will react; but with time I have every confidence in the world that she'll promote you to the coveted spot of 'personal favorite.'
Another benefit of being the fourth is that much of the concern we have regarding the exhausting exercises that accompany having a newborn have been diminished as we see how incredibly fast those months pass. Those early, heaven filled, new baby phases are gone in a blink. And with each exciting new development, the exhaustion softens and a new normal is discovered.
The morning I found out you were coming, your Daddy was away on business. I did not have the patience to wait for him to return as I believed that a positive result could be possible that day. The thrill of seeing those two pink lines felt as new as it did the first time. The shock was significantly less compared to when I found out about Eliza, but time and experience demanded a higher level of gratitude as I made my way onto my knees to thank our Father in Heaven.
That same day, I found myself at the Brigham City Temple open house with Eliza, Henry and Lottie. As we walked through the celestial room, I was reminded how close heaven and earth can be. I am thankful that this experience, God willing, can bring me to that sacred moment in time, when Mother and child meet once more.
Daddy came home to a "Welcome Home" sign that Eliza had lovingly decorated. Moments before his late night return home, I added the 'exclamation point' to the sign; which in fact, was one of my positive pregnancy tests (by that point, I had a fair few).
"Did you notice Eliza's sign?" I questioned as I sat sleepily on the couch. The sign that was displayed on the mantel was quite prominent.
"Yes." His voice was nonchalant. Assuming he was saving his 'reaction' for the child who had colored it so well, I continued.
"Look at it closely." Heeding my instruction, his solid, consistently stable demeanor momentarily faltered. A certain smile (that I love, love, love) reserved for occasions such as this broke through.
"Really?!" And then his confidence returned. He smugly added, "I already knew it!" And then we made out. Say what, Mama?!? (I'm just checking to see if Andrew is still paying attention.)
You are loved and wanted more than you know. We pray for you daily and your Mom thinks about you around the clock.
All my love,
That folks, is more muffin top than baby. But still, there's a baby. After Thanksgiving, I'll look 35 + weeks pregnant... can't wait! ;)