I can vividly remember talking to Ben and agreeing on a 10-year plan to have kids. We started dating as fresh and free 18-year-olds and married at the ripe age of 22. We thought it would take at least half that time to get ourselves out of
our my debt and buy a home. I’ve always loved children and worked with kids, whether that was nannying and babysitting, volunteering at VBS, interning with the children’s ministry at SMCC, or finally full time planning and teaching kindergarteners up to 5th graders. They didn’t scare me, but I kind of enjoyed handing them back to their rightful owners. So for us, kids were not on the anytime-soon to-do list. We were very happy with the cats I kept bringing home and adopting Ben’s family dog, Barkley, for the time being.
After only 2 years, Ben and I found ourselves signing the dotted line for our first home. We were fortunate enough to be building it from the ground up and we were so excited about customizing it to our liking. It was equipped with a gorgeous kitchen with double ovens, a finished basement, and two extra rooms. Whatever would we do with those two extra rooms?
I can remember the day I looked over at Ben and said, “You know. Having a baby wouldn’t totally ruin our lives.” To which he responded with a, “No.” and the baby fever was officially present and a secret baby pinterest board was born.
Around Thanksgiving 2013, Ben and I decided that I would get off birth control to help in balancing and ridding my body of anything foreign or unnatural because I was dealing with a very stubborn case of psoriasis. My baby fever went from a mild cough to the swine flu by Christmas and Ben had seemed to have a very effective “baby vaccine” regardless of my attempts of seemingly contagious proposals on starting a family. Although I was ready to expand our family, the last thing I wanted was a baby if Ben wasn’t ready. We finally had a real conversation and decided to create a pre-baby bucket list to complete in 2014 and by December 31st, we could officially start “trying” to get pregnant. My focus now turned to this amazing bucket list we created! We had a fun, full year ahead of us including a trip to Portland with friends, a Cruise to the Bahamas, a half marathon, and a short term mission trip to India.
India was wild! I’ve never left the country and then I found myself traveling literally to the other side of the world. We were able to spend some time in London and several states in India. We met people and pastors that we’ll forever remember and stay in touch with, one of them being Pastor Jebaraj Fenn, who when Ben got sick in India, practically nursed him back to health. He used to be a doctor and now is a full time pastor who sold his wedding ring to repair a wall at his church that rebels blew up. He left a wonderful mark on our lives and his commitment to spreading the Gospel. Ben and I assumed we would not be getting our own rooms during our trip and we’d most likely be rooming with the same sexes. To our surprise, we were able to have our own, private, rooms during our whole stay in India and London. Did I mention we were in India over Valentines Day? I hate that holiday. But it sure is fun to celebrate it as a married person. After checking my ovulation app and getting the go-ahead, we proceeded to … celebrate.
Something I thoroughly enjoyed was the time we had with the Prayer Warriors while we were in India. The Prayer Warriors are women who have some of the most heart-wrenching stories of abandonment and abuse who have now dedicated their lives to prayer ministry. They pray sunup to sundown. I will never use the term “Prayer Warrior” lightly again. These women pray to God like their life depended on it. I walked away from that experience asking God to give me the same perspective and desire to plead to and trust in Him the way these Prayer Warriors did. I wanted a prayer life like theirs. During our stay in India, many times we were asked why we didn’t have any children yet, to which I secretly loved being asked and being able to look at Ben and say, “Yeah, why don’t we have any children yet?” and smirk. It was culturally odd to be married for almost 3 years and not have any children yet. On our last day, we were walking out with our friend, Sharon, who was the communications director and our host at Rhema Revival Gardens, and one of the Prayer Warriors when Sharon told us that she had put in a request to the Warriors that we would get pregnant. Ben and I laughed it off and they gave us a hard time as we boarded the bus to start our trek back to the US.
Coming back to the US was both difficult and relieving at the same time. I had some jet lag, but it wasn’t horrible. When I got home, I was really sick for about a week, vomiting and groggy and I just wanted to sleep. I chalked it up to the jet lag and being trapped in a plane with the same people for too many hours. A few weeks later we had planned a Mexican fiesta dinner party to watch the Oscars at our friends Emily and Kolby with Evan and Lauren. It was a Sunday and like every other Sunday, I was pretty tired from the morning services at church. This Sunday, I came straight home, put my sweats back on, let the girls free and climbed back in bed. Around 4pm as I was watching the pre-show of the Oscars and thought to myself, “Man, I have been so tired. I wonder when my period is coming.” I pulled up that super reliable ovulation app on my phone to which I was surprised to see that I was suppose to start my period 6 days earlier. I wasn’t too concerned, just surprised because I didn’t have a single symptom that it was coming, besides feeling tired, and that was not normal. Where were the cramps? The chin acne? The bloating? Had I screamed at Ben recently for no apparent reason? No. From the previous months paranoid-week-late-period pregnancy test store run, I still had an extra test in the closet, so I thought, what the heck! I had to pee, and I thought I’d just relieve my mind from the thought. As I sat there and pee’d on this stick, alone I might add – Ben was at Evan and Lauren’s house – I thought, “how stupid. I feel so stupid. I’m totally not pregnant. I don’t even have a single symptom. I’m such a weirdo.” I finished up, slapped the cap on and sat it down on the window sill and went back to my warm, comfortable bed to the pre-show.
About 15 minutes later, I remembered I had that stick waiting with a big NOT PREGNANT waiting for me in the bathroom. I reluctantly got out of my bed and picked up the stick. Two lines. See, not pregnant. Wait. Two lines. Two lines means … I’m … not … I … am … pregnant. Que the double take. Que the can’t catch my breath. Que the hypervenalating. Que the cuss words. My next thought was, “Ben is going to be so mad.” Que call Ben.
“Hello?” “Ben?! [panicked, breathless]” “Babe?” “Where are you?” “Evan’s. What’s … wrong?” “I need you to come home. [breathing heavy]” “Right now?” “Yes. Right now. [cracking voice]” “Are you okay? What’s wrong?” “Just come home. Please.” “Okay.” “Okay. Bye.”
I’m sitting on the staircase holding the test in my hand, wondering how I should tell Ben. Ben walks in the door, cautiously, as if he’s half expecting to be entering a crime scene or someone who might attack him upon entering. I looked up and just held out the pregnancy test. His sweet, loving, helpful response? “You tricked me.”
After talking about how that wasn’t the best response to the situation, we decided we better get another test, incase this one malfunctioned. It probably malfunctioned. We ran to Walgreens, grabbed another test, and Ben thought it’d be best if I drank about a gallon of water and wait until I had to pee again. We didn’t want to be late to our Oscar party and I had wasted all my pee on the first test, so we decided to take the test with us and take it at Emily and Kolby’s when the urge came again. We picked up Evan and Lauren, who were obviously wondering why I called Ben home in a panic. I looked at Ben, looked back at Lauren and Evan and said, “Well. I think I’m pregnant.” To which Lauren responded with an uncontrollable laugh and Evan screamed, “I’m going to be an Uncle!”
When we got to Emily and Kolby’s, I tried holding off on telling her, but since I needed to take a second test, I decided she and Lauren needed to be there with me to do it. I pee’d on the second test, and clear as day and in about 2 seconds, there it was. PREGNANT. An hour or so after freaking out, I settled into the excitement of the news and that we got to share the moment with such close friends and family. Ben drank a margarita for me, and to my relief, was excited about the news before the night was over. We were pregnant. We were going to have a baby. What!
The moral of the story, folks?
You don’t mess with the Prayer Warriors.