So this is one of those stories about the Lord’s love for efficiency in my life, He wastes no day.
In May, after being away from the husband for two long weeks in Asia to wrap up my film of two long years, I returned home to the US feeling all kinds of victorious.
The next day?
It was supposed to just be “reunion sex”… but they do tend to be super hot, just sayin’! And after wrapping a big feature film, I could do with recovery or just breathing time. But the Lord does not think so.
I can never plan a life with such impeccable efficiency. But God. The day after I got back to the US from Asia, also known as the conception day now, it was 2 weeks past my supposed ovulation days that month.
Science will call it the “1% chance days” of getting pregnant (a la also natural contraception). But to me conception has always been a sacred process, regardless of science. Whether you conceive “naturally” or via IVF, they are to me equally sacred, and equally, His.
Even so, we are neither the “trying couple” nor the “preventing couple”, we just live our marriage life with a laser focus of being on mission, fully embracing the rhythms of our appointed seasons child-free or not.
In fact, one night recently I sobbed to sleep thinking about how it’ll no longer just be “us“. It doesn’t mean I don’t love my child, it just means the husband and I have such a profound intimate bond that a part of me sees my child as “The Intruder” (ha!) than a fruit of our union so to speak — and not in a bad way essentially — but the same way I still grief over my glorious single season even with our lovely marriage today.
So I was often unfazed when asked about “baby plans”. But since you asked… we are super passionate about having a great sex life and super thankful that we do :). Frankly with the crazy lifestyle He had us in our marriage, to be super intentional about “baby planning” was just never high on the agenda. More importantly, I just was never convicted of that. It doesn’t mean we don’t want kids either, I just didn’t have it in me to hustle for it because of societal expectations or biological clocks.
In our season living in Colorado, where most women my age were 2, 3, 4, 5 kids (!) in and stay-at-home-moms, while no one was really judging my child-free working wife status, but it wasn’t also exactly the most empowering either to not be falling in line with ‘the norm’ so to speak.
So out of curiosity, I tried to “try” for 3 months last year just to say I did “try”. (Just like when well-meaning folks who keep setting you up on blind dates even as you are very contented being single!) Thankfully, by His good good Grace, it failed even before we could start “trying”.
Early last year, I purchased an ovulation kit (since my periods are not “on time” given all my travels). The sticks worked great, so I tried the “timing it out” thing. But for that three months, the husband had an intense season of film shoots for the ministry he was working at. On my ovulation days those months, without fail, were the days he filmed or worked late into the nights, I hardly got to see him at all! The poor guy would otherwise be catching up on his sleep. After three months, I still just simply did not have the conviction to attempt to “try”, and I heard the Lord said in a still calm voice: “What are you doing?“
I’ve never heard anyone shared it in this way, so I thought I will in this space, but I was promptly convicted by the spirit of a “closed womb for this season” — and I could just “Rest in this”. Knowing your seasons is so assuring, and it became our model answer whenever folks asked about “baby plans”. I encourage everyone to get their Word from Him directly too, whatever life stage you are in, and then just stay the path, His path.
So immediately, I bade goodbye to the ovulation kit (and never had one again). I went ahead to book a big trip to Israel, then Cuba, Japan, Fiji, etc, etc. Rather than taking in all the advice of planning our entire lives around “the baby plans” because of biological clocks or what not. This is no different from my views on marriage that I wrote in an earlier post – whose time are we running on? I proceeded to take up Year Two of producing my feature film, which meant even more travel for me.
It may appear like we pushed it, but why live outside of your appointed season? Well, exactly one year later, as my feature film wrapped, and a month after moving from Colorado to Washington DC that marked the start of this brand new season — you got it, the womb was opened and ready for business, much to our oblivion still.
My first trimester was mostly spent in shock until I rested on His word of a Sabbatical season. I had just completed my feature film contract, in other words, I was freshly unemployed. “Pregnant and Unemployed” was just never part of my psyche or to start job hunting on. Whatever your views on maternity leave or postpartum are, I find the lack of a paid maternity leave law in the US troubling. In the US, this has led to widespread unpaid maternity leave, or huge pay reduction for women during postpartum, and often maternity benefits (if any) only kick in if a woman has been in the job for more than a year. It’s another post for another day to unpack it all, though I’ve also written about navigating this season of unemployment and sabbatical in an earlier post, too.
So it took over 3 weeks of missing my period before I peed on a stick in June as I had just brushed it off as “another late period” since I was on the road for work for most of May. After a golf and wine session with the husband, he convinced me to test it the next day. So when it showed two lines… I was actually calm but got quite terrified of how to inform the husband (it’s quite funny on hindsight) as he had barely started a new job in DC in April. We shared in our SLOG weeks ago, being new to the city, I know nobody. We were living out of boxes in a short-term one bedroom apartment before we hunt for a longer lease apartment six months later.
The pattern of this is so uncanny that we knew it was as “bad timing” as it was also perfectly right by Him. It is fully consistent with the story of our marriage. (In a nutshell: I had met Edward one month into my arrival in LA, and nine months later, we were engaged.) To add to the seeming untimeliness, the positive pee sticks took place a week before our big summer trip to Egypt, Greece and Italy for 2.5 weeks in July. I did a sonogram the day before the trip as it may well be ectopic or be without a heartbeat.
It was all good.
We still went on the trip anyway. I supposed I want to stay vigilant as to how this new motherhood status was not going to change how I know God had always intended for me and us to do life. (I mean, Serena Williams won Australian Open in her first trimester. What’s my excuse… I’m just only traveling.) I discovered it’s just a matter of trust — if I can’t trust Him that this is His child, I can’t trust Him for anything stewarding His child.
Week 7 the baby conquered the Egyptian pyramids.
Week 8 the baby conquered the Greek islands.
Week 9 the baby conquered the Italian coasts.
Even at 34-years-old, my pregnancy symptoms are so mild and non-remarkable the only noticeable signs in my first trimester were an unusual fatigue of needing 8-9 hours of sleep each day vs. my usual 5-6 hours, and, a big drop in my voracious appetite. I don’t know how else to think of this but just a sense of a divine peace and simply Graced for a time as this. Although sadly, I did missed out on my usual indulgence in all the great European cheese + wine! I just watched the husband ate in sheer envy.
Week 10 was chilled recovering from jetlag.
Week 11 all was back to normal then came…
The random massive bleed out that had my doctor sent us to the ER.
We were convinced it was a miscarriage.
// the four-part pregnancy diaries //
Part II: When the baby survived a miscarriage
Part III: The “abnormal” baby and the Knitter