This post has been in the works for a long time. A long, long time. Like, more than a year. So the other day when I saw Katie post on the Poop Whisperer about how she and her husband came to know they were ‘ready’ to become parents, I decided I needed to sit down and write about this. This may be one of the most meaningful posts I’ve ever written.
If you don’t already know, Evalyn was a surprise baby. Not a mistake. Not an oops. She was a surprise. The biggest and most exciting surprise we could have ever asked for.
Despite the fact that she was a surprise, the story of the timing of her arrival is a good one. It has God written all over it. Retrospectively, I now realize that Evalyn’s conception and birth has taught me more about God than any other experience in my life – how to trust Him amidst the unknown, the beauty of creation, and the perfection of His timing.
Evan and I got married when we were young. Really young. I was 19. He was 20. We knew we wanted to have a family together. That is what drew us to each other. I was in the middle of my undergrad degree when we got married. At the time, we assumed I would finish as quickly as possible, get a job, and then try to get pregnant as soon as I could qualify for maternity leave.
Over the next two years, things changed. I fell in love with learning. I was coming close to the end of my undergrad program and I knew I wasn’t ready to be done. I did something I never thought I would do. I applied to grad school. I was accepted and committed to spending the next two years completing my MA.
All through my years as a student, we talked a lot about having babies. We talked about when we’d have them. What we’d name them. How we’d raise them. And at different times, one of us or the other would think that despite where we were in life, we wanted a baby. Now. Somehow, the other person was always on the opposite side. When I wanted a baby, he didn’t. When he wanted a baby, I didn’t. So because of that, we never took the plunge towards starting a family. We knew it would be the best, the most logical, the smartest decision to wait until I had completed my degrees, started a career, and we had bought a house.
There were a few times when I was a little suspicious and convinced myself to pee on a stick. Of course, each of those times, I was 98% certain that I was not, in fact, pregnant. And although I was nervous to the point of shaking each time I POAS and read the results, like Katie wrote in her post, when I saw the “negative”, there were always tears. Tears that stung me with a sense of disappointment and loss. Even though we didn’t “want” a baby, weren’t trying for a baby, there was always that feeling that maybe, just maybe, if I was pregnant, it wouldn’t be so bad.
The summer between my first and second year of grad school (the summer of 2009), I started to get baby fever like whoa. It was different than any of the times in the past when either of us had the itch. I started to feel like something was really missing. Like I really really wanted – no, needed – to be a mother. And I needed it now. We were celebrating our fourth wedding anniversary and honestly? If you had asked me when we got married, I would have said that we would have kids by then, for sure. Life was taking much longer than expected to "start”.
Evan and I talked here and there about the possibility. But, I still had a year left to complete my degree. We thought that maybe, just maybe, we could try to get pregnant between November 2009 and January 2010. If it happened, then we would know that it was the right choice. And if it didn’t, we would move on. We knew that if I got pregnant in that window, it would give me plenty of time to complete my degree, with enough time to spare to prepare for a baby but not so much time that I would get bored, since we knew there wouldn’t be time to start a career in the meantime. If I was going to take the plunge, I didn’t want to end up with too much time in between school and baby. It was the closest we had ever come to being serious about trying for a baby.
But then other thoughts flooded our minds. We needed to buy a house. I needed to start a career. I needed to ensure that I would qualify for maternity benefits.
Having a baby just wasn’t logical.
So we decided against it. We would wait.
Maybe in a few years it would be time.
Logic won out.
Our baby discussions stopped. It just wasn’t our time. I moved on. But of course, still felt the itch every time I cuddled a new baby. And every time I found out another friend or relative was expecting. The itch came back. But I brushed it aside. It just wasn’t time.
January 10th, 2010, I peed on a stick once more, expecting the same results as the times before. Secretly hoping it would be positive, but assuming that I would feel those same mixed emotions, and tears of disappointment when I saw the negative.
But I didn’t. I saw a positive. I was pregnant.
I got pregnant, unexpectedly, in December of 2009. Right in the middle of the “window” we had originally discussed as being the only possible time we could try to conceive, if we were going to. This meant that we would have a baby in September 2010. Enough time for me to finish school and have a break but not enough time to feel like I should have started a career. Just like we had discussed.
I am positive that in the midst of our decision making, God was laughing at us. Knowing that regardless of what choice we made, however logical it may have been, that we were in for the greatest surprise of our lives.
The greatest surprise that came at just the right time.