We Thought You’d Be Here By Now

Some things about this pregnancy business haven’t surprised me, like the fact that I have been able to successfully learn to fall asleep on my side. (I figured it would come eventually!)

Some things have surprised me, like the fact that getting dressed requires intentional focus, otherwise there would be serious tipping over.

One thing that has also surprised me is that the pain of the last five years of infertility hasn’t gone away. I had expected it would, having finally attained that which we so desperately sought. But I guess that when you have that many days and nights of pure struggle, it makes enough of an inroad in your heart that won’t disappear just like that. I still get emotional about it at times. Like I did today when I listened to Wes King’s “Thought You’d Be Here” for the first time in a very, very long time.

But if you like dancing
I’ll make it rain rhythm, and rhyme, and melodies, child
And if you like dreaming
Your mother will make your imagination run wild
Somehow, we thought you’d be here by now

We have a room just for you upstairs. It’s right down the hall
So we’ll be close should you ever get scared
We’ll come when you call
It’s a room full of stories
Waiting to be told
Longing to behold

As you can imagine, a song that hit this close to home – especially a couple years ago – was intensely beautiful to experience, but far too painful to make a regular on the playlist. And even today, as I listened to it knowing what we will have in approximately a month and a half, I still cried.

Maybe that’s the point. To lose all emotional memory of this would be nice sometimes, but I don’t think it would do anyone any good. I need it to remember how amazing God is, how much He loves us, and how prayer can do things you can’t even explain. And maybe, when our little girl is older and I tell her about it, it will be one of the stories she can hold onto as a testimony of God’s work in her life before she was even known to us.

And if you like laughing
I’ll paint you a circus of smiles and ferris wheels, dear
And if you like living
Your mother will fly you to worlds both far and near

Categories: Family, God | Leave a comment

Wait. Rest in Me. And have hope.

It’s been over five years since Steve and I decided it was time to start our family. Five long years of doctor’s offices, medications, tests, surgery to remove endometriosis, and waiting. So much waiting. Last year or maybe even the year before, our church spent some time talking about God’s promises. One of the things we could do was write a promise or a word from the Lord that we’d received on a 3×5 card, which were then taped all over the walls of the atrium. The title to this blog post was what I wrote down.

Because over those five long years, that was what both Steve and I heard. Wait, just wait. I love you. 

We struggled. At times, it was hard to believe God really loved us when something we both wanted so badly (and came so easily for most people!) just wasn’t happening. It was hard to believe He really wanted to give us the desire of our hearts. It was hard to believe He even cared. I tried bargaining: “Okay, God, if I get involved in all these ministries and committees, you’ll come through, right?” (Bad idea. Seriously, you can’t bargain with God. You’ll burn yourself out and get really annoyed with Him.) We considered adoption, but we never felt like that was our path. So we kept waiting.

Heck, one of the main reasons I took up running was to give my mind something to focus on, and to relieve the stress of infertility appointments/treatments.

Last summer, we made the decision to pursue in-vitro fertilization in the spring of 2014. We also came to a place of peace, where we told the Lord that if He wanted us to remain childless, we would accept that. I still remember the tears as I voiced that commitment out loud. Even after living with infertility for so long, the pain never abated.

And then.

I was training for a marathon (the ultimate mind-getter-offer). Even though we had decided to do in-vitro in the spring, we were still trying on our own to get pregnant. I had essentially given up hope of that happening, but common sense dictated that we still keep trying. On September 27, I ran an 18-miler from our house in Marion, looped around IWU, on to Taylor in Upland. Like all my long runs, I was bushed afterwards, but this time I frankly felt concerned about tacking on an additional eight miles after just one more month of training. I was tired.

Also, I was five days late in my cycle, so that was messing with my mind. But Steve and I had previously had so many false hopes after being late a day or two here and there that we weren’t going to take pregnancy tests until I was at least a week late. The next day, I went shopping and picked up a couple brands of tests to take the next day, on Sunday. I was putting away groceries, and Steve said, “Why don’t you just go take one now?”

I figured, what the heck, might as well. Then I’ll know that I’m just a little late and can get on with life. Anyone who has tried to get pregnant – not just infertile couples – knows that day-by-day, mentally exhausting anxiety around the time when cycles are supposed to start. I’d taken lots of tests in the past, and never gotten a positive.

HEY, THAT WOULD BE TWO BLUE LINES!

I came out of the bathroom in shock. I think my first words were, “What is this?? What does this mean??”

A second test taken a little while later confirmed it. We were going to have a baby. Steve had never given up hope. 

Wait. Rest in Me. And have hope. 

Not that I felt that God owed us this child, or that I felt like He had to do this for me to trust Him. I just feel an immense sense of love from Him. I don’t know why our wait had to be so long. I don’t know why we got pregnant and other couples we know in our same boat have not. I just know that God IS sovereign. He DOES love us. And He DOES see every tear that falls.

Have hope. 

That was six months ago. Our tiny one is growing. She’s kicking and thrashing around like it’s going out of style. We’re working on getting her room ready. I daydream about who she will become, if she has Steve’s sense of humor, and if she’ll like curry. I worry about sleep deprivation. I read up on how to run with a jogging stroller and a dog at the same time. 

At 4:00 in the morning, when I lie awake with aching joints and a baby who seems intent on flailing about my uterus with glee, I think of those five years of waiting. And I’m grateful for every moment.

Categories: Family, God | 7 Comments

Girls Night Out 5K

A crisp, sunny September day. Over 200 women gathered to go for a 3.1-mile run together. Pink and sparklies fill the crowd. Friends to share the experience with.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Girls Night Out All-Female 5K in downtown Kokomo yesterday. I picked that race for a few reasons:

1. Proximity: It was nice and close to home, just a 30-minute drive.

2. Time: It started at 5:00pm, which meant no rushing around to leave the house at the crack of dawn.

3. Price/Cause: It was pretty inexpensive: $18, and it benefited the local women’s shelter.

4. Buddy: My friend Kassie, who I had run a 5K with in April, decided to run with me.

So, all in all, lots of good reasons! And when Saturday dawned with gorgeous crisp-cool sunny weather, it was just icing on the cake.

Ready to race!

Ready to race!

Pre-Race

I had oatmeal with fruit for breakfast, and a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread (no cheese) and a fried green tomato for lunch. Normally I would avoid fried foods on race day, but um, it sounded good. And it wasn’t like it was deep-fried, more like sauteed. (And darn it all, my garden-fresh tomato days are numbered!) Even though I enjoyed having a nice leisurely morning, these night races are always a little tricky, figuring out what to do during the day. I canned peaches with a friend, but I tried to stay off my feet as much as possible.

We drove to Kokomo with Kassie and Tim and arrived at Grace United Methodist Church at around 4:40, which was where the registration and packet pickup was. The start/finish were right next to the church. It was a great location, very well organized. Churches rock for being involved in community events like this.

We waited in the parking lot with the hubbies and took a few pictures. Then Kassie and I joined the crowd towards the back of the pack. A pastor from the church led us in prayer, and the national anthem singer had everyone sing along. It was really cool to hear voices all around me singing, like a choir. I’m thinking about how I wished I’d taken one more drink out of my water bottle.

Blowing a kiss to the paparazzi, aka, the Hubs

Blowing a kiss to the paparazzi, aka, the Hubs

The Race

Took off a little fast, maybe. We ran south on city streets and then onto a paved Cardinal-Greenway-like trail that led to a park. Kassie and I ran together for the first mile. We passed a lot of people. Then I stopped for water at the aid station and she went on ahead. At the first mile marker, the guy called out: 9:11. I thought, cool, I might be able to make it under 28 minutes, which was my goal.

The course wound through the park, where some kind of country-western music festival was going on. I’m not a fan, but it was nice to have something live to listen to. (I’d chosen to run without headphones.) The trail was really shaded. They had plenty of volunteers directing runners. All dudes, naturally! The police was also blocking traffic on a few streets for us.

At the second mile marker, I heard 18:35. Hmm. I was getting a little tired and my window for making it under 28 was shrinking. Running fast is NOT my strength. I’m more of an ambler. And then there was a fairly steep hill about half a mile to the finish. I just kept thinking that Steve was going to ask, could you have done anything different? Could you have ran harder? So I pushed. At 3 miles, I heard 28:11. Phooey. Ah well, these things happen.

I started to sprint to the finish, to try to get under 29. But there was a lady ahead of me, and the chute was really narrow. I was afraid if I passed her, she might startle and get hurt. Steve was urging me on, and even afterwards, he said there was room to pass her before the chute. Well, these are judgement calls we must make. My phone GPS said the course was actually 3.3 miles, so taking that into consideration, I did about a 9:01 mile pace. Not too shabby for Rachel.

Coming in at 29:08

Coming in at 29:08

Post-Race

It was a pretty low-tech operation and the results were tabulated pretty much by hand. So we waited until the awards ceremony to find out if we placed at all. No such luck this time, but it was fun to watch the rest of the race. Also, no raffle prizes were won, but we were OK with that because it seemed like most of the raffle prizes were tanning bed sessions. Um, no thanks.

Then we drove off to our real reward – dinner at Half Moon Brewery, a recent restaurant discovery that has excellent BBQ and fried pickles. Yum. Headed home to chat some more with Kassie and Tim and play with Lucy. All in all, a great day! I’d definitely do this race again!

 

Categories: Running | Leave a comment

Running free

Yesterday, I did something I never did before. I went for a run with no running app, no GPS, not even checking the clock as I left the car. I literally had no idea how far or how long I was running; I had only the experience of running that route a number of times before. I figured it would roughly take me 30 minutes.

I pulled up at the IWU athletic field, let Lucy out of the car, and just ran. We ran behind the soccer field, through the little grove of trees, around the meadow, and back towards the pond.

I felt free. My puppy bounded through the high grass, as if swimming in some weedy sea. The rain fell softly on the grass. The storm had cut the humidity, and a cool breeze swept by.

I follow a few running blogs, and I’ve heard that it’s good to take a break from the apps and trackers and whatnot, and just go.

So I did. No glances at the phone. I tried not to calculate distance and just went by how I felt. (And how the puppy was doing, too!)

I think I’ll need to make this a regular part of my training. To not feel bound by pace, distance, splits, time…all those things are valuable and necessary. But it’s just nice to get it all go and just enjoy this running thing that I’ve actually come to enjoy. Even love.

 

Categories: Running | Leave a comment

Recent Food Breakthroughs

I’m hungry a LOT. Running 20-25 miles a week, plus cross training, has made me a trifle peckish most of the time. I read that it’s normal for chicks to get hungry when we work out a lot. Apparently nature wants us to be nicely rounded. (Geez, nature, I already have that one covered!) So, my challenge is, when I get hungry, what should I fuel up with?

Breakthrough #1: The Accidental Banana-Cantaloupe Smoothie

I love fruit. I eat a lot of fruit. The other day, I bought a .99 cantaloupe at Aldi. Produce at Aldi usually does me right, but for whatever reason, this particular cantaloupe was bland, bland, bland. Not at all the sweet treat I was looking forward to. So, I tossed it in a blender with some unsweetened almond milk and a little sugar and hoped for the best. Hmmm, not quite the right smoothie texture. Added a frozen banana and BOOM! My new favorite smoothie. I made another one this morning (ate half at breakfast as my fruit for that meal and half for a mid-morning snack) without sugar and it was perfect! At about 130 calories per serving and loaded with potassium, fiber, and vitamins, it’s filling and tasty-licious.

Breakthrough #2: The Healthy Chocolate Fudgsicles

I also really like chocolate. Especially dark chocolate. I’m one of those who likes to have something sweet after every meal. I’ve been a fan of Chocolate Covered Katie’s blog for a long time for her healthy desserty recipes, and she has a few yummy-sounding popsicle recipes. I got a set of eight molds at the Dollar Store on clearance for .60 last week and decided they needed to be broken in. I made CCK’s Creamy Chocolate Fudgsicles and waited impatiently for them to freeze. SO good! It’s amazing that something that just consists of bananas, cocoa, and almond milk can be so good! The texture was a little icy, but that was probably because I used almond milk instead of coconut, as the recipe recommends. But I will most definitely be making them again! Most importantly, they satisfy my chocolate cravings with just about 30 calories a pop. (Uh, I might have eaten three of them yesterday…)

Breakthrough #3: The Two Fabulous Ways to Chickpea

Chickpeas (or garbanzo beans, LOVE that name!) are nothing new to me. For years, I’ve put them on salads and used them in veggie curries. Besides being full of fiber and iron, they’re a great source of protein, which is something I’m not always great at making sure I’m getting enough of. Even runners need protein. And recently, I’ve stumbled on two fabulous uses that have me making sure I always have a can or two in the pantry.

  • Use #1: homemade hummus. Just google a hummus recipe and do it. Homemade, with the sharpness of raw garlic and lemon juice, creaminess of the oil and pureed beans, nutty tahini, and fresh herbs, is miles above store-bought. It’s easier to make than you think – just throw everything in a food processor. Serve with raw veggies, and maybe a corn chip or two because they’re yummy.
  • Use #2: oven-roasted chickpeas. Toss the drained and rinsed beans with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and cayenne (or whatever spices you fancy) and roast for 30 minutes in a 450 oven. Shake around at the 15-minute-mark. I like them best when they’re hot and fresh from the oven. They’re great when you’re craving something salty and crunchy.

So there you go! Healthy food breakthroughs for eating more fruit, chocolate, protein, and veggies. Now about that loaf of iced apple-cinnamon bread from Uncle John’s Cider Mill that’s sitting on my counter…

Categories: Food | Leave a comment