As everyone knows, everything in life ties together. Although we may try to compartmentalize our lives in some respects; such as keeping work issues at work and home issues at home, we know we’re not able to do that completely. A bad day at work will affect your home life even if it’s just feeling a little “down” when you get there. In the same way, there are so many things that overlap in my life and one thing affects another that, to some extent, I feel I must mention the “bunny trails” in life too even though the focus of this blog is why we’re Catholic. One of those side trips I’m going to make is the starting of our family.
When Nolan and I were engaged we talked of how many kids we wanted. He wanted two, I said, “No way–too boring!” He asked how many I wanted and I said more than two and no odd numbers. You see, by then I had enough woman’s intuition to know that sometimes you just don’t say what you’re really thinking and just let time develop the situation. So, for those of you who didn’t know it was possible, I DIDN’T SAY ANYTHING!! (I want to be sure to get credit where credit is due–besides, I got my way in the end anyway! 😉 )
My real dream was six kids. Mom came from a family of six and so did Pop. Then I met this incredible guy who was the fifth of six kids too (as were Mom and Pop, btw). I mean, c’mon, it was meant to be. Just because he didn’t see that yet didn’t mean I couldn’t have it figured out already. So, after a year or so of marriage, we decided to give it a try. And, voila!, we got pregnant! Baby Peanut was due March 1994.
The first couple of months were great. I wasn’t nauseated and lived on Cloud Nine. My dream of being a wife and mother had come true and we were headed into the grand adventure of life. It was almost like the end of a movie where they ride off into the sunset to live their happily-ever-after that you know is going to be incredible. Except, in our case, incredible didn’t happen. Miscarriage did.
In the third month the doctor told us he should have been able to hear the heart tones by then and sent us for an ultrasound. The scan showed a nice, developed placenta, but no baby. The doctor said to give it a week to see if my body would handle it on its own. A few days later, on my 25th birthday, I started cramping. As it turned out, my body didn’t handle it and I had to have a D & C procedure. From what the doctor could tell the umbilical cord didn’t develop properly, so the baby hadn’t grown much.
As anyone who has suffered a miscarriage will attest to, it is very, very painful. It isn’t just the loss of the baby, but also the loss of dreams and hopes. There also settles in a fear, “What if it happens again? What if I can’t get pregnant again?” You’re a mom, but no one will ever see your baby. Empty arms are painful. So are the questions to God. “Why? You could’ve fixed the cord, why didn’t You?” I would say my attitude at the time toward God was one of demanding from Him an explanation; almost an attitude of, “How dare You!” As you can see, I had a lot of growing-up to do.
The doctor recommended we wait a couple of months before trying again. The following January, once again, that nifty little test showed pink and one fear was set to rest: We were able to get pregnant again! Due date for Spud was September 1, 1994. This time things were a lot different.
Nausea and exhaustion characterized the first three months. I couldn’t walk through the canned food section of the grocery store without getting queasy! Ugh! In addition, I lost five pounds (without ever throwing up). “Great!” I thought, “Finally lose weight when I’m not supposed to!” However, Spud had a great heartbeat and there never was a more beautiful sound than that little heart going woosh-woosh! By the time I was halfway through the fourth month I felt great and being pregnant entered the enjoyable stage. In the eighth month things got uncomfortable as Spud decided he needed more exercise and started tap-dancing on my bladder while doing The Bump with my stomach. He seemed to think my ribs were a little confining as well, so he’d try to move those over too.
By the time I was nearing the end of month nine, it looked like I’d be having this baby on time. But, Spud was in no hurry to leave his custom-made gymnasium. September first came and went. No baby. And I was good size. They’d already determined early in the pregnancy that it wasn’t twins, but simply larger-than-usual measurements. But by the time due date came and went, the doctor decided I’d better have another ultrasound to be sure baby was headed in the right direction.
Now, at that size, babies are pretty hard to see in an ultrasound. You can see parts, but not the whole baby and the machines can’t tell give you any weight guesses either. However, it did give us the information we wanted and that was that the head was, indeed, down. After looking at the picture of the baby’s head I told Nolan, “It’s a boy.” “You can’t tell that by looking at the head!” “Honey, the baby has your head and if that’s a girl, she’s going to be one ugly child!” (I know, that sounds mean, but what girl wants the head of a football player?!?)
Well, finally the doctor said we’d waited long enough and he was concerned the baby was going to get too big. I would have to be induced. So, on a lovely Sunday morning we got to the hospital and they started all those marvelous works of modern medicine to convince a baby to be born. And, at 11:56 PM on September 11, 1994, Daniel Arthur Spenst came into this world with a yell!
However, the super-slo-mo went something like this: Baby has emerged, doctor says, “It’s a little boy! No, it’s not!” I’m thinking, “C’mon, boy or girl, you only have two choices!” while doctor continues, “It’s a BIG boy!” They just about broke out into a round of applause for me right then and there! The final tally? TEN POUNDS, ONE OUNCE AND TWENTY-TWO INCHES LONG!!!!! (Did I mention his head was 14 3/4″?)
My dream had come true! I was a mom with a baby to show for it! And now, since Daniel was now born, Nolan and I could prepare to move to Rudyard, Montana, where Nolan had accepted the position of pastor of the Calvary Evangelical Church. My dream had come true and Nolan’s was about to–it just doesn’t get any better than that!