This is part one of the story of Brendan’s surprising arrival into our lives. This is not an amazing story because everything went as planned and was exactly how we hoped for it to be. In fact, this is an amazing story because everything was out of the ordinary, out of my comfort zone, and out of my control. It is a story of God’s timely and caring provision even when I underestimated his power.
This story begins on a nice almost-spring day in 2011 when I had about had enough of feeling sick. Every time I moved I felt extreme nausea. I was having a rough day after a week of being sick and decided to meet my mom for coffee at Starbucks with little six month old Taylor. She asked if I was feeling better and I said “no,” how long does the stomach bug last?! My mom’s response gave me a little shock and a lot of anxiety. She told me that after telling my little brother that I still felt nasty, he said that I must be pregnant because it sounds just like I felt when I was pregnant with Miss Tay. Oh. My. Goodness. It couldn’t be true! Could it? Four pregnancy tests later, I finally believed that it was. (Four is better than the seven tests I took with Taylor!) The moment that plus sign appeared I popped out my first tear. The math was not hard to do. Nine months from then was the middle of Wes’s scheduled deployment. We had it all planned out. If I got pregnant right before he left then he would be home in time. If I didn’t, we could wait until he returned. The other kicker? I was right in the middle of my internships and classes for graduate school. Morning sickness and random sprints to the bathroom really weren’t conducive to successful therapy or the passing of classes. If this pregnancy was going to be anything like Taylor’s, I knew it was going to beat me up. I was not excited and that was so hard to admit.
Fast forward to May and June of 2011. I graduated grad school, finished my internships, and gave all my presentations. It wasn’t easy; the morning-noon-and-night sickness didn’t let up, but God showed me that his strength far outweighed my physical weaknesses. He did provide. It came in the shape of a tiny little pill called Zofran that tasted fruity and kept some nutrients in my body for who we then knew to be a little boy. Triumph #1: I actually made it to the end in one piece.
I finished my last night of school on the final day of June, packed Wes up and sent him overseas a few days later.
Already I could tell that this deployment was going to be different than the first. We had many different circumstances – baby Taylor, new house (hopefully meaning no break-ins like during the first deployment), staying at home… The big difference, though, was an attitude. The first deployment was rough. I didn’t know how to be a military wife and support my husband while holding down the fort. Actually, I didn’t know how to hold down the fort in the first place! I learned all about how to handle insurance, deductibles, tax time, car problems, etc on my own. What a primer that was for the second deployment! I learned how to support Wes by using my community at home to encourage him that I was okay, that we were okay. Sometimes we even thrived! I could not believe that God was making would could have been such a low time into prosperous time for me. Behind the scenes, it took a lot of work and a lot of patience with myself. The morning sickness rolled out at five months, a whole month earlier than it left with Taylor. No more Zofran! if I remember right, I still took the Zofran because I was so afraid that I would still be sick if it wore off. I assumed that the time without Wes would take years off my life, but I was wrong. Surprise #2: deployments don’t have to be 100% horrible.
In the back (but mostly the front) of my mind, I still knew that Wes would miss Brendan’s birth and the first bit of his life. That meant that I would be a single mother to a newborn and a 14 month old on my own. Slowly God showed me that at least I wouldn’t be alone. I had my family, my Berry family and my Lewis family, my faithful friends who would watch Taylor for me during appointments and listen to my birth plans, and my church community to keep me ever busy. I felt connected to Wes through phone calls, skype and e-mails. Taylor and I sent a picture a day of life in the States. It turned into multiple pictures per day pretty quick, which means that Taylor and my Brendan belly were well photographed. I took pictures of our landscaping because Wes missed gardening. I snapped some of our basement that he had mostly finished with the furniture he hadn’t gotten to enjoy. I even got pictures of my belly during a massive contraction that made my stomach look like a watermelon. He had to somehow experience the never ending contractions too, right? True to character, Wes accepted all my silly attempts to still experience life together. Every time our call was up, I would come back to the reality that soon this baby boy would be on my lap instead of on my bladder and that Wes would miss that. Miss the first month that Brendan would sleep through. Miss his first smile and newborn smell. Miss Taylor’s reaction to having a little sibling. The “miss” list I had was long. I struggled to trust God and believe that he knew what he was doing. My plan would have covered all these potential problems, after all, my plan was well thought out. Ha. Now I see how awful it would have been to have the whole deployment be full of morning sickness without Wes’s help and hugs. The truth is, my plan didn’t cover all the bases and I wasn’t done figuring that out.
Tune in for the second half soon!