Another hard part with this trimester is how visibility pregnant I am. Complete strangers everywhere we go want to talk about my pregnancy. That has the potential to bring up a lot and it takes a lot out of me to be invested in each conversation. I'm just not a normal pregnant person so it feels hard and awkward to be asked normal questions that I can't answer.
So with all of these things swirling around we've really started pulling back from all unnecessary things. We decided not to go to Nate's work Christmas party. Any social functions for myself will most likely be put off until after baby. We're just trying to store up what little energy we have in order to make it through the next few weeks. It's defiantly a season of "no" which makes me sad because there are so many fun things this time of year, but I know its for the best. My anxiety go up, up and up when I'm in crowds and can't feel the baby moving. Its best to just stay home and rest up!
I'm also trying to surround myself with a good support network of fellow bereaved moms. They seem to understand how hard right now is without me having to explain. I'm also back to seeing my counselor once every two weeks. It will probably be once a week toward the end. And last but not least I'm forcing myself to buy one item of comfort food each week at the grocery store. I did feel guilty about that for a while but like my counselor explained " you can either lean on food for this short period of time and use it to calm you and comfort you or you could have more anxiety and need to take medication." So comfort food is working right now and we'll stick with it.
The beautiful thing about this pregnancy, just so you don't think its all doom and gloom, has been God's healing throughout it. This past weekend a friend asked me if Abigail's pregnancy had been healing. I responded without having to think- "no!" Holding a live baby in my arms was so healing, but her actually pregnancy was way worse than Caleb's. So much worry, stress, and emotions. This pregnancy has in many ways begun to heal me from the trauma of Abigail's pregnancy, if that makes any sense.
Carrying another boy has brought with it an array of emotions that I have had to work through. At first I resented that but once I leaned into it I saw how God wanted to use it to heal my heart even more. I still don't have words to explain it but I do know I'm in awe of how God can keep His promises. There were so many times that I begged for healing after Caleb died and it never came. But now, 3, almost 4 years later, its coming. Certain things that I had forgotten about God is bringing to the surface and redeeming them. It gives me more zeal to help couples continue to be open to life after loss. I meet so many people who, because of loss, decide to sterilize themselves or their partners out of fear of another loss. I think constantly about the conscious choice we made to try to get pregnant this time. If we had remained in fear and just stayed comfortable with our one live kid, we would have missed out on so much the Lord wanted to do.
One last thing that has been overwhelming as a sign of God's faithfulness and love has been the name of this baby. We have chosen to name him Judah Thomas. In the old testament this is the verse that describes what the name Judah means:
"And once again she conceived and bore a son. "This time," she said, "I will give grateful praise to the Lord", and therefore she named him Judah."
The name Judah literally means praise and thanksgiving. I heard a sermon once on "how to get through hard times." In it the speaker mentioned that in ancient Israel whenever the twelve tribes would go up to fight a battle they would send the tribe of Judah first. He said they did this because of the meaning behind Judah's name-praise and thanksgiving-and that through praise and thanksgiving of God was the only way to overcome hard times. I remember thinking if we ever have another boy I want to name him Judah.
His name of praise and thanksgiving has been my anchor this pregnancy. Whenever the fears, doubts, and struggles come I just keep thinking "praise and thanksgiving." As we get to know this baby more God continues to reveal more about this him. Another thing is that in the old testament Judah was the 4th son and should not have gotten the birthright. But things happened and long story short-he did receive the birthright and eventually Christ came through his line. Our Judah should not receive the benefits of a first born son, but he will. Caleb should be passing on the family name but it will be Judah who passes it on. Its amazing to see a name be chosen and then God continue to affirm that name. We went with Thomas because of doubting Thomas the apostle and my love for him. You can read about that more here. My hope and prayer for Judah Thomas is that his doubts will always lead him to encounter the Risen Christ, just like St. Thomas.
So while this third trimester is trying, its not without grace. Please pray with us and for us as we wait out these final 9 weeks until his delivery. St. Jude and St. Thomas-pray for us!