CHOOSING TO BE VULNERABLE

WARNING:  There is a graphic picture in the middle of this blog post. Some might find it disturbing….you have been warned!!!!  It is a picture of a pregnancy lost at 10 weeks – baby at 8 weeks gestation.  :WARNING

I have seen a lot of people who, when they get pregnant, choose to wait until after the first trimester to tell anybody that they are pregnant. When they are asked why, a common response is, “Because what if something happens and we lose the baby/pregnancy?”

The working theory for them is that if nobody knows that they are pregnant, then if they lose the baby they don’t have to tell people, deal with the sympathy and such. I guess that makes sense…but let me tell you MY philosophy – and why I feel the way I do.

I made phone calls from the bathroom with the pregnancy stick still in my hand. I had only wiped and pulled my pants up because there is a 3-5 minute wait between the time you pee on it until you see if there are one or two lines…which gave me time to pull up my pants and flush and wash my hands. As soon as I saw that second line, however, I was on the phone!!

To me, pregnancy is a joy…a celebration! I literally enjoy each and every MOMENT of my pregnancy – from finding out I’m pregnant, to sharing the news, to feeling my belly swell, to baby kicks and squirms, to Braxton-hicks contractions that would make me giggle out loud with glee as I got near term, to the first signs that today would be the baby’s birthday, to gathering my team of friends and family as I birth that baby (and my joy with my children continues to grow…heck, I still adore my 15 year old! Go figure!) Yes, when I was in labor with my 5th and final child and found out that I was 9cm dilated and getting ready to birth, I gave a pouty face and said, “Awww…I’m not going to be pregnant anymore!” Yes…I love being pregnant!!

I can hear the murmurs from the back of the room…you who have chosen to wait to tell people until the end of the first trimester enjoy being pregnant, too! You don’t wait because you aren’t happy yet – you wait because there’s a chance you could miscarry.

I have had 3 miscarriages.

Yes…I have had 3 miscarriages, and I still tell immediately. And yes, that means that my friends and family know that I have lost 3 babies. Why did I still share the pregnancy news immediately? Here’s the way I look at it…nothing in life is a guarantee except where you are RIGHT NOW. You never know what the future is going to hold. Yes, it’s true you could miscarry – but the risk of bad things happening don’t end at 12 weeks. You could lose a baby at 20 weeks….34 weeks…at 6 weeks old due to SIDS, 2 years old due to a car accident, 5 years old due to an undiagnosed disease…..CRAP CAN HAPPEN! At every turn of life, crap can happen!

But right now….right here and right now…we have a choice.

When I see two lines I know that right then I have a choice – I can spend the entire pregnancy (or even the first 12 weeks) worried about something bad happening, biting my nails….only to have those bad things NOT happen and know that I wasted a beautiful time in my life being worried for no reason. I can look back and wonder why I wasted my energy like that since worrying didn’t change anything, didn’t protect my baby from harm, didn’t make a difference in the outcome…except to me. I ruined what could have been a celebratory time by worrying about things that didn’t happen.

OR…I could accept that while the future is unpredictable, RIGHT HERE AND RIGHT NOW I am pregnant. Right here and right now my baby is healthy and growing in my womb. If a bad thing happens, I have the rest of my life to deal with that bad thing….but even then, I had X number of weeks of joy that this baby gave me and I thank them for that.

MY BABY: born at 10 weeks gestation, but stopped growing at 8 weeks. This is the amniotic sac, if you look really closely inside you can see the baby floating. The red behind the tiny baby and against my hand is the placenta.

So I chose to accept the gift of TODAY that God and this baby gave to me when the test gets two lines on it. I lost a baby at 10 weeks of pregnancy…I held that baby in my hand and I cried as I saw it floating in the amniotic sac before placing it in the wooden box and burying it. As we buried the baby, even in the sorrow that I felt then, I was thinking, “Thank you, Baby….thank you for giving me 10 weeks of blissful joy. Thank you.”

When the next test turned positive, I made the phone calls immediately. I CHOOSE to accept the joy of today BECAUSE I’m aware that tomorrow is uncertain. I have experienced loss – my best friend, a friend’s 5 year old son dying just two weeks after finding out that his cold was actually undiagnosed primary pulmonary hypertension, getting the call that one of the babies that I had helped come into this world 2 years prior was found hanging from the blinds cords in her bedroom, a 23 week gestation baby born too soon, a 32 week baby girl born still from unknown causes, a full term baby boy born still from unknown causes, a curly haired baby girl born at home before we learned that she had Trisomy 13 and lived for only 6 weeks….

All of these losses have touched my heart and made my heart feel like it might burst open into my chest. But all of these losses have taught me another lesson….enjoy today because you don’t know what tomorrow will bring. If you are given a gift, you can second guess the motivation behind the gift….or you can just enjoy it to the fullest extend possible. I believe that opening your heart like a child’s and making yourself vulnerable is the only way you can truly experience the depth of happiness these gifts can offer you! Why do children experience such unabashed bliss? Because there is not skepticism…no questioning of what might happen tomorrow. They simply know TODAY and enjoy this wonderful moment….and we as adults often watch them and envy their ability to do so.

For me…it was a choice…and one I’m glad that I made the choice that I did. Are there nagging thoughts? Always…but I just respond by telling those thoughts, “I will deal with you if I need to, but right now I’m busy enjoying this moment…” I have never regretted telling people early – in fact, was grateful for the outpouring of support when I’ve experienced my losses.

It’s hard to allow yourself to remain vulnerable by keeping your heart available like that – but it’s the only way you can be open to all the good that life has to offer as well. Protecting yourself puts up a barrier that dulls everything, including good things, in order to dull the bad if it happens. I’d rather deal with bad things as they come….and get the full unfiltered good filling in my heart for as long as possible.

I am done with pregnancy tests, my family is complete….but I do pray that when my children get their positive pregnancy tests that I get a phone call from a bathroom.

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