Nine years ago I woke up with a headache – which is the norm for me. But I remember thinking – not today. Please not today.
Thankfully my girls distracted me and we started hair and make up and had a relaxing morning. I got ready and dressed at my future in-laws house – with those most dear next to me.
The dress fit perfectly – the day was beautiful – I was ready.
Cus that”s what a wedding is about. A beautiful dress and no pimples to hide! Perfectly manicured hair and nails and a bright shining sun in the sky. Looking your best. With all your friends.
Oh – and then walking down an aisle to say I DO and kiss. Dancing the night away with your friends and family. And gifts.
That’s totally what a wedding was about. That’s totally what a wedding IS about.
And it shouldn’t be. A wedding should be about your marriage. Not the dress – not the weather – not the party. You and this boy pledging your love and commitment to each other for all time. No matter what. In rain or in shine. In craptastic days and fantastic days – or weeks or months or years. In pain and sorrow or in good health and joy. In newlywed bliss or brand new baby tiredness. In every moment that takes your breath away and every moment that you want to scream.
I look back on today – nine years ago – and think. The nerve. The nerve I had to look Jared in the face in front of all the people dearest to us – and God – and tell him that I loved him. Yes. I will be there for you. Yes. I will love you. Yes. I will support you. Yes. Yes. Yes. I had NO idea what I was talking about. I had NO idea what marriage was really about. Sharing your hopes and dreams and life and loves. Putting Jared and his needs before me and mine.
I love him so much more today – than I did nine years ago. And it’s about more than love. Our trust has been tested. Our dreams and desires have been put on hold at times. What I wanted – it isn’t about me anymore. It’s about us. And believe it or not – that’s a hard concept for me. And I’ll bet it is for you too. I love him so much more today – but it’s also a deeper love. I know what it’s like to be scared. To look at my marriage and ask the really hard questions. To listen to – and give – hard answers. To sacrifice.
To think about the vows we promised each other. To trust each other.
I wrote about how I’m a little bit crazy – okay – a GIANT bowl full of crazy. And to think that Jared has lived with me – loved me – supported me – stayed in the same house as me – for nine years. Nine crazy long years. It makes me cry. He is kinder than I am. He is more patient than I am. He is more giving than I am. I’ve always said that I wanted to have a baby with Jared – because he is the best person I know. I know that Fitzy gets his kindness and gentleness from his dad. Thank You Jesus.
While I am still in the midst of crazy Danielle (I’m working on it) and while we’ve been through some really ugly days and weeks and months – when I look at my life. It’s beautiful. It’s blessed.
Your wedding day should be one of the happiest days of your life. I am so thankful that my husband has made every day since then even better. And next year – I will love him even more.
No – seriously. And Jared will agree with me.
I’m usually pretty crazy anyway. But being pregnant – makes it much worse.
I feel horrible. Cranky – moody – irritable (I realize those are all the same thing – but believe me – you can describe me right now with each of them – capitalized if you’d like). I’m not complaining. I’ve been pregnant 5 times and when I feel like this – it’s a good sign that a baby is here to stay. So the worse I feel – the better I feel. If you know what I mean.
BUT – that doesn’t help Jared. And the people around me that are exposed to my craziness. But like almost anything – I try and put on the best face I can for my friends and family. So – Jared ends up getting the WHOLE ball of craziness. Awesome.
We’ve gotten good news about this pregnancy. A baby on a screen. A heartbeat (seen and heard). No signs of tearing or bleeding. But the slight spotting continues. And I think – I was bigger with Fitzy – but I was also 20 pounds heavier in general. And I worry. And I try not to. And I know that it’s in God’s hands. I know that He has given us a word and a promise. I know that. I do. And yet I worry. And I try not to.
So what happens – is I start to control the things that I can control. Mostly things being picked up and neat and orderly and having a place. I have some OCD tendencies – but they’ve been able to be under control – for the most part. But there are certain places in my life where you can see them – very evidently.
My business. I pay my taxes on the first day of the month – not the 20th when they are due. I pay quarterlies a month ahead of time. I have a spreadsheet calculating my taxes and mileage and sessions. When I do a session – the first thing I do when I get home – is open three little spreadsheets and mark down all the info – before I even download any pictures. Because it”s what I’ve always done. Because if I don’t – it’s just not right. Nothing bad will happen – it’s just what needs to be done. Crazy. I know.
My desk. Pens go here. Sticky notes go there. Bills go here. Checkbooks go there. And you don’t move them. Ever. Because that’s where they go. And I get crazy about it.
With my business and my desk – I”m like this all the time. Thankfully – with the rest of the house – I have chilled out – a lot over the years – because I am pretty sure Jared would have left by now. But when I’m where I am right now – it starts to spill over. And shoes NEED to go here. Plates HAVE to go here. Dishes NEED to be done NOW. Toys MUST be organized. EVERY SINGLE THING has a spot and it must be in it. And when I have to ask – oh no – much worse. Because you should already KNOW that all these things MUST be done this way. I mean – we have been married for almost 9 years – haven’t you figured it out yet?
Jared assures me that I’m not THIS bad all the time. Today he told me that I usually keep it at a manageable level – but it’s just out of control right now. In his exact words – you’re just crazy right now. And he tried to think of a better way to say it. I said – just say it. So he did. And I said. I know. We need to talk about it – cus I’m not happy right now. I’m not happy with you – not happy with me – just not happy. And that’s the way it is with OCD and control issues. People think you do it to make yourself happy. But you do it to maintain the crazy that’s spilling out ever so slowly – or in my case – pretty rapidly.
I deal with anxiety – always have. And my anxiety comes out this way. With control issues. Jared knows this. He knew this when we started dating – it was much worse then. And he still chose to stay with me. And while I’m not happy with him right now – and his inability to live up to my crazy standards – we talked. Because mostly – I’ve just been sighing and crying and saying ONCE AGAIN – you didn’t do this – you didn’t do that. And I feel better. Tons.
But – I’m still crazy.
I’ve always known one thing. I want to be a mom.
When Jared and I were dating – a deal breaker came along – I wanted kids – Jared wasn’t so sure.
I would be a mother. I’ve always known it. He decided that he could indeed have babies.
We got married in June of 2004 – I was ready to start right away – but Jared wasn’t – so we waited a little bit. In July of 2005 – Jared lost his job and we moved in with his parents. NOT an ideal time to start trying. He got a job in August and we moved into his grandparents house in the fall. We talked about trying in the spring – and then the pain started. I was convinced I was dying – a brain tumor. I had crazy headaches and pressure. I thought I was having a stroke at times. I asked Jared to cut my face open once – just take the pressure away. They diagnosed me with severe sinus infections – nerve problems – anxiety – the works. In June of 2006 – I was diagnosed with severe TMJ disorder. An answer helped. But there were still unanswered questions. Would the pain ever go away – would I live a normal life again. It took two LONG years to find help. During those years – people asked about our baby status. I couldn’t take care of myself all day let alone even think about a baby. My dream of being a mother had left my head – completely. It wasn’t an option – and I wasn’t sure it would ever be.
In August of 2008 I got my retainer. It improved my quality of life 90%. When I met with Dr. Robinson – he asked me what my goal in getting treatment was. I broke down. I told him that I wanted to be a mother – more than anything – but the constant pain had ripped that want right out of my mind. He was confident that this device would allow my dreams to become reality.
In December we decided to take the plunge and try. Little did we know that it would take no time at all – not even a whole month. We picked up our new puppy and got a positive test all in a matter of weeks. We told everyone – we were so excited. We went to a wedding in Florida. I didn’t FEEL sick – but sometimes pregnancy doesn’t affect people – I must have been a lucky one. I was emotional – but I chalked that up to our new puppy and the thought of quitting my job to become a full time photographer. We were excited and scared.
I made an appointment at the hospital in Sayre – about an hour away – and my MIL took me. Jared decided to forego that first appointment and save his time off for later ones – where we could see our little babe! I didn’t expect an ultrasound at that first appointment – but I got one. The doctor looked and looked – the image displayed on the screen showed nothing. Not a thing. I’d never seen an ultrasound being done – but I knew what the image should look like. I wasn’t seeing it.
The doctor said – well – we should be seeing a small image at 10 weeks – and I see nothing. This happens a lot more often than you would think – especially with first pregnancies. You’ll miscarry within a few weeks and then you’ll get pregnant again and it will be great! I’ll see you again in a few months.
WHAT. WAIT. WHAT. The thought of a miscarriage – NEVER – EVER – entered my mind. I mean NEVER. And here I was – experiencing it. I was shocked. I was hurt – I was sad. I called Jared with the news – and the other loves of my life – my parents and siblings – my BFF.
I was okay – for a bit. I had my new puppy to cuddle and we would get pregnant again. We would use this to grow stronger – to trust God.
We didn’t get pregnant again. Month after month. I got angry. My MIL told me to trust God – I told her I did and look what happened – why would I trust Him? I was really hurt. I felt forgotten and abandoned by God. I was FINALLY better – and we couldn’t get pregnant.
What was wrong with me?
Babies consumed my thoughts – my life – my every energy. My relationships suffered – my sanity suffered.
We tried for a year – and then went to see a specialist. I had a procedure to check my uterus and fallopian tubes – make sure they were clear and okay – they were. Perfect – according to the doctor. More than fertile. Jared on the other hand – was not so fertile. He checked in on the low range. The doctor didn’t think we would get pregnant without some sort of medical intervention. I was crushed. Consumed with grief. I came to terms with the fact that I would never bear a child. Adoption wasn’t an option at first – I wanted a little Jared and Danielle. Why was that SO much to ask?
God slowly softened my heart to adoption and even foster care. We kept my cousin’s baby one night and the next morning I had the overwhelming feeling that maybe it should just be the two of us. Maybe a baby is too much. Maybe I could be happy without one. Maybe I am not ready.
I was at peace – for the first time in 18 months. Really truly at peace. I had given it to God – seriously – at last.
Two days later I took a pregnancy test. It was positive. I didn’t know what to think. A baby would be due at the beginning of May – right at the start of wedding season (I’m a photographer for those who don’t know) – and that would NOT be good for business. Yes – I seriously thought this. And I thought – what if we miscarry again – I don’t think I could deal with another – it would break me.
But this baby was meant for our hearts and our arms. My pregnancy with Fitzgerald was picture perfect. I felt fantastic – other than morning sickness the first half. I was often in disbelief that there was a little baby in there. But he was. He was born on April 28th of 2011. He was beautiful. My heart was healed. I asked God for a baby. He gave me a beautiful little boy. Finally.
We missed little Enoch but LOVED our time with Fitzy! We enjoyed him and spoiled him with love.
In January of 2012 we found out we were expecting again. We were shocked! It took so long to get Fitzy and this was a surprise!
But I was scared. I didn’t feel sick. I didn’t feel pregnant. I didn’t let myself get attached to this baby – I knew it wouldn’t last. I just knew.
In early February I started bleeding and miscarried little Joy shortly after. Experiencing a miscarriage while you have a baby in your arms is much easier than when you don’t – at least in my experience. It hurt but Fitzy’s kisses eased the pain. I cried but his laughs brought me back to life. Our miscarriage brought feelings up in us – crazy and irrational feelings – that took us to a dark place. We fought and cried – I wrote about that time earlier. Losing another baby took us to a place where we almost fell apart. But we didn’t. By the pure grace of God.
Just as our relationship was getting better – getting to a whole new place of trust and love – we found out we were pregnant. Again. This time I knew this baby would be meant for our arms. This bay would be due right when we miscarried our first. It completed the circle. Our family would be complete – and God designed it JUST this way. I just knew.
And I was wrong.
We had an ultrasound and it looked great. Then the doctor called. Our baby didn’t look good. The heartbeat was low and there was a tear near the sac. My doctor said – I know you Danielle – and while I encourage you to not lose hope – I must tell you that I think you’ll start miscarrying soon. I lost it. I cried and cried and cried. How could this be happening AGAIN. And why now. I truly believed that this baby would be in my arms. But again – Fitzy’s love healed my heart quicker than our first loss.
But jealousy and anger crept in. I had (and OFTEN have) a very hard time being happy for friends that are having babies. Unless they too have struggled – then I’m a little better about it – which is SO wrong. I especially struggle with the people that have babies when we would have. I don’t understand why they are holding their little ones in their arms while I hold mine in my heart. It’s a painful reminder of what I don’t have.
Getting caught up with what you don’t have can kill you. Seriously.
So now what?
Now we love. And live. And pray for that bitterness and jealousy to leave – even though it’s so easy to hold onto.
Now we hold each other up during the hard times. I keep going to my MOPS group even though it hurts to see babies the same age as ours would have been (some days are much harder than others) – I hold those babies. Some days I might cry. Some days I just hug them and thank the good Lord that they are here even though mine are not.
Now – I refuse to pretend. It’s something I don’t do well. When there is a problem – I confront it – figure it out – get it taken care of. When the problem is jealousy and bitterness – I can’t just shove it back down to the depths. The more you shove it down – the harder it digs in and the harder it is to get out. So I deal with it. I blog about it – talk to someone about it – pray about it – hold my sweet boy.
Now we pray. Pray that if God holds more children in His plan for us – that we can deal with that answer. I’m scared that this might be our only baby. Thankfully – I went into this journey knowing that Fitzy may very well be our only – so I have no regrets in our experience. I enjoyed my pregnancy – I got pictures taken. I had pictures taken at his birth – newborn pictures. I held him. I breastfed him – for a short time. I kissed him and told him I loved him. I held him while he slept. I asked for help.
Now we pray. Pray that I don’t become obsessed with getting pregnant again. Pray that I enjoy this baby and soak in every second. Pray that I can be happy with or without another child. Pray that the people I continue to meet through this journey will touch my life. Pray that we can touch theirs.
Now. We pray.