My goal had been simple: run into the store and pick up party supplies for Kai's 3rd birthday party the following day. After nearly two hours of walking back and forth and wondering why I couldn't find this color table cloth or that pattern fabric and why nothing seemed just right and why I didn't really care anymore and why I was so tired, I had the thought,
"I haven't felt this out of it since I was pregnant."
A few minutes later I was checking out with party supplies and a pregnancy test.
I peed on the little stick as soon as I got home. Nothing showed up. "I'm so paranoid," I thought, wondering if Brandon would be annoyed that I wasted money on another pregnancy test (I think I'm pregnant at least once a month). I set it down on the counter and washed my hands while Kai wiggled his fingers underneath the bathroom door and tried to tell me something about his party. As I washed my hands, the little pink line began to appear.
Really!! Did that line really just show up?? I'm pregnant!!! I knew it! I am going to have a baby!!
I knew I couldn't keep it a secret for any amount of time. I rushed out smiling and handed my stunned husband the pregnancy test. He made his Wahhhhhht-I-can't-believe-it-I'm-so-happy face that I adore and that was the beginning of the story of our third child.
We treasured our little secret at Kai's birthday party the next day. We waited a while to tell anyone. Once you're at three kids people start to think you're a little crazy and I just wanted to treasure the news all to myself before hearing anyone say anything.
A week or two after we found out we were pregnant, Kai walked up to me, looked me straight in the face, and asked, "Mommy, do you have a baby in your tummy?" We hadn't said a word to him or anyone else about it. He had never asked that before. I paused--shocked--then answered, "YES!"
We really thought we were having a girl. By that, I don't mean that we were trying for a girl or hoping for a girl. I mean that we thought God told us we were having a girl next. God had told us Kai and Caleb's names before we were even pregnant with them. In the same way, we thought we heard our third was a girl. We didn't know the name this time though. When we were ready to share the joy, we sent this to our families.
Our third child due on 3/13/13. If that isn't lucky, I don't know what is.
Other than the exhaustion, I was feeling really good at the beginning of the pregnancy. I remember craving a whole lot of beef jerky. I ate so much that my friend brought be this as a congratulations gift.
I couldn't believe that weeks were going by and I was not throwing up. I had been so terribly sick through every single month of Kai and Caleb's pregnancies. I thought I had escaped it altogether when, at 12 weeks, the nausea hit me. I started throwing up multiple times a day every single day. Looking back, I'm not really sure how we made it through the next 2 months. Giving the boys breakfast--then running to the bathroom to throw mine up...trying to wash dishes at the end of the night in between throwing up....ugh.
It was extra difficult because Brandon had just started a new job. He loved it and it was eating up all of his attention and it was really hard to have him so distracted and excited when I felt like I was barely surviving. We also did not have insurance coverage as we were waiting on paperwork to switch our coverage from his old employer to the new employer. When we finally had coverage at 20 weeks, we went for our first ultrasound and found ourselves staring at a....
We had no explanation, but we were thrilled. I think maybe God knew I needed to dream of quiet tea parties when I was chasing two little boys around while throwing up every day. I was surprised, but not disappointed. I was going to have another son. Three brothers. How incredibly special.
At the 20 week appointment, I also got a prescription for Zofran, the miracle morning sickness medicine.
Life started to get a little easier. I got that second trimester energy and the Zofran helped get the nausea under control just in time for Halloween and Thanksgiving.
In December, Caleb got a terrible stomach bug while Brandon was out of town. At least--that's what I thought he had. Brandon came home on Saturday and Caleb was still very sick. I ended up taking him to the ER Sunday night because of dehydration. The ER was packed. They gave him zofran as soon as we checked in, but he still threw up multiple times all over himself and me as we waited to be seen. He would pass out from exhaustion, wake up to cry, throw up, and then pass out again. After hours of waiting, we were put in a room for more waiting. They had trouble getting an IV in him. When they finally got one in, we waited a few more hours as he received the fluid, but he didn't seem any better. After one of the most exhausting nights of my life, my doctor broke the news to me in the morning that they thought he had a blocked intestine--a complication from the surgery he had in February earlier that year--and we were going back to Scottish Rite for another surgery. We were transported there in an ambulance for surgery that afternoon. Brandon met me at Scottish Rite and took over while my mom drove me back to her house for a nap. I felt bad napping during his surgery, but I could hardly stand at that point and I knew I would need energy for the recovery.
Long story short, the surgery was successful. We spent 2 weeks at the hospital recovering. God strengthened us. Our family and friends were incredibly supportive. I was so thankful that at least it happened during the second trimester when I had the most energy and wasn't too uncomfortable to hold Caleb or to sleep on a hospital bed for two weeks.
Caleb was home and recovering in time for Christmas.
After Christmas, it was time to start thinking about the baby who would soon be joining our little family.
We still didn't have a name. God had told us what to name Malakai and Caleb. We figured He would tell us about this son too, but we hadn't heard anything yet.
On an impulse, I mentioned to Kai one day, "Hey Kai, if God tells you anything about the baby...like maybe his name...you can tell me what God says." Kai knew I was pregnant before anyone else and God did tell us to name him after a prophet. Right then, Kai closed his eyes and looked up and asked, "God, what is the baby's name?" Without batting an eye, he looked back at me and said, "He said his name is Joseph."
I hadn't really expected an answer. I couldn't think of any reason why Kai would pick the name Joseph. I pulled out my bible and flipped to the story of Joseph in the old testament. I read,
"She named him Joseph, and said, “May the Lord add to me another son.” Gen 30:24
My heart was struck. God had added to me another son--Joseph.
I couldn't wait to meet him.
I had another ultrasound in January because I switched practices so that the midwifery clinic I loved could deliver Joseph. The ultrasound tech kept looking at the same thing over and over again and looked serious. She referred me to an ultrasound specialist "just in case" because some of her measurements were off.
I remember feeling this desperation to just pray and be with God before my first appointment with the ultrasound specialist. He was serious too and kept taking measurements of Joseph's heart. I braced myself as he broke the news that something was wrong. He thought Joseph had something called Ebstein's Anomaly. He would need surgery--maybe as soon as he was born--to correct the problem. Somehow I was calm and even told the doctor, "I already gave this to God and I'm going to let it stay with Him." The fear hit me later. I knew everything was going to be ok in the end, but I was scared of what we would have to go through to get there. Caleb was healed both times, but it was painful and difficult to get to "all better". Brandon was a rock--sure God was going to heal our Joseph. We saw specialists over the next two months and had more ultrasounds. They decided to let me deliver with the midwifery clinic at our local hospital,but there would be a special care team in the room in case Joseph couldn't stabilize on his own at birth.
A week or two before my due date, my parents watched Kai and Caleb while Brandon and I had a night off. We went to a meeting with friends and worship. During worship, I was asking God about Joseph and his heart and He told me, "Don't read Caleb's story into Joseph's. It's different." Before Caleb was born we had words about him being a warrior--and what warrior doesn't get a few battle scars? But Joseph's story would be different. Now I finally had a word from God to stand on. But what was "different"? What would we have to go through this time? Would his heart be healed?