i used to be a runner. not just a jogger, mind you, but a runner. it was something i took pride in (can you tell?), having raced locally and in school events literally all my life. it paid my way through grad school. it was my stress relief. it was my main source of exercise and kept me fit. i even ran a marathon right before i became pregnant with kate. yes, i am one of those people who actually enjoy running for fun.
however, i am not a naturally thin person. i don't even look like a runner. i struggled with my weight most of the time i was in school and only really became at peace with my body after the college years. the benefit of running i most enjoyed was that it helped me maintain a healthy and lean figure. i think most women can relate to the struggle of feeling good about how they look and being fit.
so now, after confessing how important it is to me to maintain my "figure", i want to show you how much the Lord has been working on me with this.
we are celebrating 32 weeks with jonathan this week. i am 32 weeks pregnant with a baby not expected to survive. jonathan's condition is not obvious from the outside. in fact, my body is going through all the normal changes because it just knows what to do when pregnant. my belly is large. my bones ache from my body preparing to give birth. i am getting quite uncomfortable now. for so many other moms out there, this is just part of it. it all becomes worth it in the end when you are holding that precious bundle of joy. for me, i don't know if there is that same "reward" at the end of this. and if i told you i didn't think about this when we were diagnosed at 17 weeks, i would be lying.
at 32 weeks, i am doing OK...still no swelling and i haven't experienced any more problems with my blood pressure lately. however, i am gradually experiencing more and more pain when jonathan moves. i have a feeling it is due to the lack of amniotic fluid. there is just not much to cushion the rest of my insides from his little kicks and stretches. i am having a harder time being on my feet since the pressure of him being pulled down by gravity sometimes takes my breath away. there is also a nerve that runs down my inner right leg that is getting crushed occasionally, sending shockwaves through my body.
on top of that, my belly is extremely tight and hard as a rock most of the time. it is very obvious where jonathan's head is at all times (still just below my ribs) and if i even slightly touch my belly there, it feels like a deep bruise.
but i don't tell you all this to make you feel sorry for me. yes, i'm uncomfortable, but i'm still thankful for it all. for when jonathan moves, it brings pain and reassurance all at the same time.
tomorrow we have our final specialist's appointment in pensacola. i remember at our last visit in september, after finding out all that not-so-great-news, that when the receptionist was making our appointment for october 7th, i honestly did not think we would make it that far. and here we are!
so tonight i was thinking about our visit tomorrow and suddenly i was reminded of a feeling i got a couple of months ago when i was wondering about how long i would get to keep jonathan with me for.
i was only 22 weeks at the time and i remember learning about a young girl going into labor with her trisomy 13 baby at only 23 weeks. it caused me great concern, because although i knew that it was just normal with these pregnancies, i was not prepared to lose jonathan that early. and while i was in the bathroom getting ready one morning (the only place i can be alone!) i remember this feeling, like God Himself was telling me, that i would go the entire way in my pregnancy.
i couldn't figure out why i felt this way, because i wasn't even sure that was what i wanted back then. at times during this journey, i have felt that perhaps it would be "easier" on me, emotionally and physically, if i didn't go all the way to full term.
but at that moment, in the quietness of my bathroom, i felt like reaching full term with jonathan was what God was requiring of me. my body was "not my own anymore." for me, even giving up my own body for God's purposes was necessary.
it was a moment in which i realized that this cup would not pass from me too easily. it was a moment in which God was requiring me to let go of something i placed too much importance on, in order that He could accomplish something much greater with it. i must die to myself. Lord, i do this for you.even when my belly feels heavy and uncomfortable. for you, Lord.
even when my back aches and my feet hurt. for you, Lord.
even when i knew there was the possibility of my skin scarring from stretching too much. for you, Lord.
even when i knew i would face complete exhaustion. for you, Lord.
even when i gain weight that will eventually have to be dieted off. for you, Lord.
even when i know i will experience pain during labor and birth. for you, Lord.
even when i know my milk will come in and i won't get to nurse my own baby. for you, Lord.
even when i know i will not be back to exercising for several more months. for you, Lord.
and especially when it means that there may be no baby to bring home in the end, after all of this.
for you, Lord.
so here i am, with another month to go. it will probably only get more uncomfortable from here on out. but i know i will enjoy every moment i have with jonathan.
and if i had to, i would do it all over again. the life of my son and the lessons i've learned from this journey are worth it.