Recently, someone pointedly asked me if we’d “planned” to have Missy. Want to know what that question seemed to insinuate?
“Was she wanted?”
I gave a gracious reply, but have replayed that moment in my head many times since. Did we “plan” to conceive? (Never mind that it’s truly no one else’s business!!!) Yes, we both wanted to have another child. Yes, we were happy when we learned we were expecting. But if Missy had been a surprise, would it really matter? My father’s conception was a surprise to his parents who had assumed they were stopping with two children, but no one would look back and regret his birth. Least of all me, as I wouldn’t even exist if God hadn’t created him! I know many “surprise” children, and every mother is thankful for them. So why is it still considered polite to ask if someone’s baby was planned? I realize it’s a normal question these days, but it just hits me really wrong.
For the record: I’m not talking about birth control or family planning. That’s not even close to what I’m trying to say here. I’m talking about each life being significant, because God made them.
Was Missy wanted? Yes. Has she added to our lives? Yes, oh, yes! She has given us so many new experiences as parents, things we never had with Kaitlyn.
Kaitlyn arrived five weeks early, surprising everyone, and changing everything. Trying to work through what was happening in our lives created tension at home. Hospital bills took everything we had, as we tried to survive on our small savings. Jesse’s job was given away as a “favor” for a friend of the boss, and we didn’t know if we’d have any income in the near future.
Though Kaitlyn did great and got out of NICU after only two and half weeks, she still had some challenges for a while. She was on oxygen: if you’ve ever carried a newborn and diaper bag into a crowded restaurant, try adding an oxygen tank to that mix. I remember standing in a tiny two-stall bathroom with no changing table, trying to change Kaitlyn’s diaper while keeping her gear out of the way so other women could crowd into the room… and no one was kind. People loudly whispered about my lack of competence as a young mother. 😦
Kaitlyn struggled for weeks to learn how to breast-feed, so I was pumping every two hours. If you’ve ever done that faithfully, you know that doesn’t mean you get two hours of rest before starting over. Assemble the breast-pump and bottles, pump for however long it takes, then put milk in storage and steralize everything. Oh, and don’t forget about actually feeding the baby! I was getting about fifteen minutes between pumping to make food, do laundry, etc… and turning into a zombie. One night, I thought I was holding Kaitlyn and panicked because she didn’t have her oxygen on. Hubby woke up and asked why I was holding my stuffed rabbit.
Kaitlyn had reflux and was colicky for months, screaming through the evenings and nights. I walked with her, drove her around town, did some crying myself, and tried to keep from going crazy. Hubby and I were on edge most of the time… the crying was almost more than we could endure. .
Now, you need to know I am forever grateful for the gift of Kaitlyn. She has thrived, despite her premature birth, and continues to bring us incredible joy! 🙂 But our memories of the infant stage are mixed with some difficult times.
This time, God has given us a special gift: being able to enjoy the first few months in a new way. We didn’t have to bounce back and forth between home and NICU. Finances were tight as always, but Jesse still had a job with steady income! We got to come home the very next day and didn’t have to bring oxygen with us. We didn’t have to do overnight tests to monitor her oxygen levels. I didn’t have to use the breast-pump unless I wanted to! Instead of being stressed out because of a baby, we found ourselves relaxing and enjoying her more, sharing amazement at how different a full-term baby is.
God knew we needed Missy in our lives. And how anyone can pointedly stare at her and ask me if she was “planned” is beyond my comprehension. Children are miracles.
So if you ask me if she was a “planned” baby, I’m going to smile and say, “Yes, God planned her as a special blessing in our lives.”