Planning for the Unplanned
Written by: Trish Moser
My first pregnancy was well planned. We waited a certain amount of time after we got married before we got pregnant, we timed it out with my schooling, and we had everything in our house in order. We were ready to be parents!
What we didn’t plan for was the pregnancy itself. We had no idea I would be so sick. We had no way of knowing that I would spend the next 6 months throwing up into whatever bin was closest all day long. We didn’t realize that I would be sleeping in a recliner so that when I woke up already vomiting, I could make it into the bucket I slept with for just that purpose. No one told us that I would lose 25 pounds in the first three months, and I would have to desperately try to keep literally anything down so my baby could get some nourishment. But then again, no one could have guessed it would go that way.
Luckily, I was interning at The Hope Clinic during that time, and it was like having 4 moms take care of me every day. They bought my Gatorade, let me fall asleep in the breakroom, and brought me snacks. Those ladies are seriously the best!
And then it was time to have our baby. But of course, he was stubborn like his mama. He didn’t want to come the natural way, so in for a C-Section we went! I was nervous, but my doctor was basically my best friend at this point since I was seeing him weekly for all the sickness, so I was confident. The C-Section went exactly as planned, but my recovery did not. My body went into an odd state of shock, and the hospital staff had a lot of trouble getting me stabilized and keeping me breathing for the next several hours.
I spent a long time in and out of consciousness, and because of that I don’t remember holding my baby or seeing him at all until the next day. When I finally held him I felt nothing, but I wasn’t going to admit that to anyone! He didn’t want to nurse from me, and I didn’t want to touch him.
I had prepped my husband to look for signs of postpartum depression, which is surprisingly common in new moms, but we both totally missed the signs. It took me several weeks of being at home to bond with my precious babe and to snap out of it, but we did it. My little guy and I fell in love with each other.
But we didn’t plan for him to be such a hard baby. He screamed and puked, and puked and screamed. He didn’t nap unless I was holding him, and even then it was for only 20 minutes at a time. He smiled, but never laughed. He ate, but he wouldn’t nurse. He had pink eye off and one for the first several months, and RSV at 3 months. He was constantly constipated. One morning I woke up to him choking on his own vomit, and had to perform the baby Heimlich procedure on him. It was not my finest season. I was a mess.
There was so much we didn’t plan for in this pregnancy, and we thought we needed to rethink growing our family. We quickly decided to wait a LONG time until we had our next one. We realized that there are a lot of things that we couldn’t plan for. A lot of things that even an intentional pregnancy could surprise us with.
Our little man was 5 months old, had just popped through his first tooth, and was trying to crawl when the unplanned happened to us again.
I was volunteering at The Hope Clinic, and I was late. My friends at The Hope Clinic encouraged me to do a pregnancy test just so I could stop worrying about it. I don’t think anyone really thought I would actually be pregnant again so soon.
I will never forget watching that test process and the nurse, my friend, quietly saying to me, “I’m seeing a faint positive.” I leaned back against the wall and silent tears began to run down my face.
How could I do this again?! Why was this happening?! All the pain, the sickness, the surgery recovery, and the sleepless nights worrying that my baby was going to choke and die were too clear in my mind. I was scared I wouldn’t love this baby. I didn’t know how I would take care of my baby at home when I was sick with the one growing inside me. I was 100% panicking.
I hurried back out to the other volunteers and tried to act like nothing was wrong, but my dear friend was the director of The Hope Clinic at the time, and she knew me too well. She simply came out of her office and said to me, “Pregnant?” That’s all it took for the dam to break. I was ugly crying. Another friend came out from behind her desk at the front window to hug me, and the volunteers gathered around me. There was so much love!
They all began to encourage me and empower me that I could do this again. The thought of not carrying through with the pregnancy never occurred to me, but I knew that my anxiety and opinion of this pregnancy was not going to be popular.
Later that night I cried when I told my husband, he began to laugh. He saw the absurdity and the joy of this new unplanned turn in our lives. My mom was ecstatic, and she told me she would help, which was an understatement! I was crying, but not from joy.
My sickness started two weeks later, and my mom would come hold my son while I was sick many times each day. She would brown hamburger for our supper, because the smell of it had me heaving over the sink. She would give our little man his baths because I couldn’t bend over the bathtub without my body reflexively thinking I needed to be sick. She saved me in that season.
People didn’t understand my lack of joy. I knew I would receive criticism if I told people I didn’t want to be pregnant, so I would lie and say that I wasn’t pregnant. It was an obvious lie, as I was so sick that I lost 20 pounds in the next 8 weeks. I just wasn’t ready for the criticism. As time passed, I began to get excited to welcome another one into our family. We had so much love to give, and I was ready. However, I was still nervous and scared about what would happened when this baby came.
There was so much unplanned in that year and a half. But then, one more unplanned moment happened.
I went in for my C-Section, and stayed conscious. I went to recovery afterwards, and I breathed on my own and was even joking around with the nurses. I went back to my room to feed my baby, and she latched right on and began to nurse. For the first time in my life, I knew what love at first sight was.
I didn’t plan for this. I didn’t plan for this part to be so wonderful. I didn’t plan for the joy and the instinctively protective mama bear to come out. I didn’t know that I could have a baby and not be depressed. This was unplanned, and it was wonderful.
Our little guy was 14 months old when his first sister came, and he was a champ. He had to figure it out young that independence was going to get him through life, and he is still our independent thinker.
Those unplanned moments made me feel like I was turning into a crazy person. Thanks to my amazing family and my friends at The Hope Clinic, I made it through. It still amazes me how God takes the unplanned things in our life and weaves them into His plan, and His plan is the only one I worry about anymore.
These days, I purposely live my life unplanned.