You have probably found out through our social media posts that we are indeed pregnant with baby BOY number two! It has taken us longer to announce this special news because I’ve had a hard time articulating the journey that brought us here. I know pregnancy announcements are difficult for a number of people to hear because of difficulty getting pregnant, miscarriage, etc.. I didn’t want our announcement to be without explanation, I wanted to tell our story. God has done such an amazing work in our lives through our journey that I want so badly for Him to get the glory! God has refined us through many trials. He has redeemed our marriage in the depths of many “not yets.” We have come to know God in a closer way than we ever have before.
Parts of this journey are difficult for me to share because it shows how sinful I am. I also rejoice in sharing because our story shows God’s perfect, steadfast love!
“Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”
Psalm 139: 23-24
This verse has walked us through the last year of life. It sits on my windowsill at the kitchen sink. I’ve been ready for another child since Eli turned 18 months! Being the strategic planner I am, I based this “trying to get pregnant” experience off our first pregnancy and tried to plan for an off-season (winter 2018) birth. Off season, for a wedding photographer, is typically January-March when weddings are not as common.
If you have tried to get pregnant then you probably laughed at the phrase “tried to plan.” You know it’s not that simple. We became pregnant with Eli in our third month of attempts so I figured we’d have similar success. With the passing of each month my anxiety grew. I was flirting with missing wedding dates, with missing the busy wedding season, this wasn’t my plan. The pressure grew on our marriage. Jeff and I weren’t in the best place of our marriage when this journey began. The added challenge presented more issues between us. The pressure grew on my business with every inquiry for dates I could be due, for dates I could be on maternity leave. Anxiety.
“Know my anxious thoughts” Psalm 139:23
My planner thoughts, my strategic thoughts, my controlling thoughts. I was losing control. I was anxious because God hadn’t met my timeline for another child. This all sounds super horrible of me, because it is. I have a gut feeling I’m not the only one who has had similar thoughts about their plans. Whether it’s when to find a spouse, a job, or have a baby.
As the months began to pile up, so did all the online research. Why is this taking so long? More anxiety, fear, control. At this point, I realized the stress of running a business and being a full-time mom was weighing on me. I was booked beyond my maximum (which is a blessing we are grateful for). We were so close to paying off school loans! We were achieving! My health was suffering. My body was crumbling under the effects of stress. These symptoms could very well be why we were unable to get pregnant. Praise God, these symptoms woke me up!
The summer of 2017 I started seeking God, not for a baby, but for God himself. I started intentionally having a quiet time. James 4:8 states that if you draw near to Him, He will draw near to you. God’s promises are true!! I sought God and I found God. He started a great work in my heart and mind. Through morning Bible reading and the topics we taught on in Sunday School, God gently broke down the thick, calloused walls in my heart.
In August 2017 I started my health journey, implementing an exercise routine and setting goals. I started eating regular meals and healthier foods. I had to lay off sugar big time. I also had to start getting regular, restoring sleep. Mom and I started waking up before daylight to work out three times a week. The key to keeping up with this was accountability. I wasn’t just failing myself if I didn’t show up, I was failing my workout partner. We’re still going at it today!
In September 2017 we paid off all of our debt! Read our debt free journey. It was a great triumph, but you know what, my schedule was still overflowing. I was beyond burnout in the fall season. My work didn’t suffer, but everything else did.
When you are trying to get pregnant each month is a roller coaster. Some people say it is one of the hardest trials a marriage can go through. There are so many dynamics, the hope, the disappointment. Then you read the pregnancy test and realize the baby you imagined growing inside you was never there. The roller coaster continues. I could name so many people who have tried to get pregnant for years and years longer than I. I know my words don’t even describe an ounce of what they experience. If you are one of those, have mercy on me, maybe these words will help someone else understand.
“Point out anything in me that offends you.” Psalm 139:24
I learned so much already in my intentional time with God. God was able to point out many of my actions that were offending Him. I wanted to be in control of my future. I was living in fear every day. I was not trusting Him with my family or my business. With each month that passed I had to face wedding couples and wedding dates that I may not be able to come through for. One by one, month by month I had to deal with the possibility of losing everything I worked for. This was bondage, but with God working in my heart, this became beautiful. I wasn’t reckless, I was still very careful with my business, but I had to start trusting God. I had to let go of fear. I had to admit that I put my identity in my work and my hope in my achievements.
Did you get that? My identity was in my work. This offends God. As a child of God, my identity should be in Him. Read my post on Busy if you identify with this part of my journey.
“…and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Psalm 139:24
I started being thankful for my trials, for my spiritual growth, for my only child, for my husband. “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thess. 5:18. Our marriage started improving because we started intentionally working on it. Thank you Jesus!!! It became better than ever! We were no longer focused on the problem, but God’s presence!
In business, I faced losing every wedding one month at a time. I decided it was time to face the big fear of rebranding my business. If I lost SEO by changing my name, so be it. If I lost referrals from confusion of what my business is called, so be it. If 10 years of blog posts got lost in migration, so be it. The rebrand process started in December and was finally complete in late February. Read more: Part 1 and Part 2.
After another not yet, we began taking Clomid in the last days of 2017. Even that wasn’t easy! I didn’t know if it was God’s plan for us to start taking it. I didn’t want to rush God if He was still working on us. I was thankful for my trial! I didn’t want Him to think I was overstepping His plan with medicine. I had weddings booked for 8 and 9 months out. After 2 hours locked in my bathroom, I realized my fears and hesitations were over earning God’s approval. Those had to be set aside. God’s love is perfect and unconditional. He was calling me to stop the rat race of thoughts and rest in His peace. We decided to stick to the regimen our doctors set in place.
By the new year Jeff and I were feeling renewed. The change in my heart and mind was evident in my worship. There was no room for the usual criticism or distraction. We were going through the refiners fire (1 Peter 1:6-8) and we were ok with it, willing to learn more, worship, and grow deeper in Christ. We took college students to Passion (a conference for college and young adults) in early January, but every single song and sermon was for this married couple with big life dreams and an empty womb.
Well, guess what happened in January…no baby. Another not yet. It stung right along with the rest of the not yets piling up. I remember reaching 9 months of trying to get pregnant and I finally prayed and told God I was willing to wear the title of infertility, if that’s what the next months held. I decided either way, we would tell our story. God would get the glory for the great things He did in us…baby or no baby. We were in the timeframe that if we had gotten pregnant, according to my master plan, we would be having a baby. I could have had a child by then, BUT through our trials we gained something so much better. We gained a stronger relationship and trust in God.
February came. It was a bit of a blur with my focus on finishing up my business rebrand and Jeff deep into another semester at school. I remember even saying “it’s ok if it doesn’t happen this month, there’s no pressure.”
February 25, 2018 we decided it had been enough days to take a pregnancy test. Within minutes, I stood in disbelief at the two pink lines. After wanting another child for a year and half, after trying for almost a year, after getting NO after NO, we got a YES. God was growing a baby inside me.
I will share more of our journey of actually being pregnant soon, but I want to share some hindsight take aways (yes, even more).
-If we got pregnant in April 2017 like we planned, our marriage couldn’t withstand the great change coming to us.
-If I had not experienced these trials I never would have grown closer to God.
-I never would have learned that I was living in fear or placing my identity in my work. *No worries, clients, I will still do my work with excellence. My work just isn’t a god to me anymore.
-I would not have started exercising or spending routine, intentional time in the word.
Will all these things give you a baby? No.
Do people get pregnant without these things happening? Yes.
“This is my story, this is my song. Praising my savior all the day long.” This is what God set forth for me, to draw me closer to Him.
SO here we are, 19 weeks pregnant with a baby boy! We’re finally able to share with the rest of the world the trials and abundance of the last 14ish months of our lives. We aren’t done growing or learning. God has given us even more opportunity to draw closer to Him in these days of exhaustion, preparation, and regular life. I look forward to sharing our journey as we go through it! God is good all the time. All the time God is good!
“In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me whole heartedly, you will find me.”