Part 2: The Bonus
In Part 1 you learned the story of how we came to have our lovely twin boys. They were a surprise which came along after quite a long period of heartbreak. Part 2—which you are reading now—is about life while I was pregnant with Silas, who I lovingly refer to as “My Bonus”. I get a lot of triplet comments when we are out in public. People point at my shopping cart full of light-haired children who are roughly the same size and gasp.
When they ask whether they are triplets, I say, “I have twins—and a bonus.” Because he is! He brings something wonderful to our family. He isn’t an extra or an add on, he a prize and a treasure to me. With all this being said, the story of life while Silas was cooking was one of the most difficult times I’ve ever experienced. The truth about three under two isn’t all lovely-family, mommy-melting moments. So read on with that truth in mind, but also the fact that I LOVE what God has given us and how he has put our little family together. And here is more of that story...
When you go through four years of trying to start a family and in that time, have two miscarriages and a molar pregnancy, it changes your mindset about the amount of control you have over the whole ‘conceiving’ thing. Because the truth is you have no control. Once you accept that, the questions become different.
I have always wanted to be the momma of a brood, a gaggle, a bunch. So, after we had the twins, the question wasn’t ‘if’ we wanted more, it was ‘when’. This is where the brokenness of our previous four years answers that question, NOW. We need to start trying right now because it could take another four years. It could take ten. It might not be possible! Why would we wait a few years to get our bearings with the twins when we knew we wanted more and we didn’t know if it was even possible? So that is what we did. We let God do His thing and give us kids when He wanted to. And He decided to not wait as long as before. I got pregnant when the twins were six months old.
We were surprised. We were excited. We were terrified. Twins are a lot to handle, as anyone can imagine, but to add one more so soon was...crazy? We were—as we will always be— apprehensive at the first ultrasound, for two reasons:
1. We wanted there to be a healthy fetus, a heartbeat, actual life instead of a tumor (because one in eight people who have had a molar pregnancy will have another one, yay.)
2. We wanted there to be one baby. We weren’t sure that we could handle ANOTHER set of twins just 15 months after the first set. And let’s be honest, I don’t really know anyone who could handle that on their own. But, praise Jesus, there was ONE baby and everything was a flutter with healthy life.
The pregnancy was uneventful in a physical sense. I grew as the baby grew. It became increasingly more difficult to do things, as is normal when cultivating a fragile watermelon in your middle section. The even crazier thing is that we added a huge transition to our lives smack dab in the middle of the nine months that I am supposed to be glowing and resting before my new baby comes—as if this was even possible with two needy seven-month-olds—we moved from Tennessee to Colorado.
Tom applied for a youth pastor job in Denver in December, just after we found out that we were pregnant—because, why not, right? He went through a series of phone interviews and we made an application video in January. Throughout this whole process, Tom was saying to me, “This isn’t a thing. I’ll let you know if this is actually a possibility. Let’s just see what God does. No reason to think that we will ACTUALLY move there.” I don’t know if he was kidding himself or trying to keep his pregnant, hormonal wife out of God’s way, but when they asked us to fly out for an interview in person, Tom had to start changing his story.
We got home from Denver mid-February and prepared to sell our house. A month later, we put it on the market, sold it in three days, packed everything up, and I moved to my parents house in Arkansas with Reuben and Eli, while Tom finished up his job in Nashville. Once Tom joined me at the folks house, we loaded up the kiddos and all the stuff we needed to survive for a few months without a home and set of on our cross country trek. We drove in tandem, me in our minivan with the twins, and Tom in our other car, through Oklahoma City, Amarillo and up through the most desolate lands of West Texas and Colorado. 16 hours straight in the car to get to Denver. Ugh. Oh and remember, I am 5 months pregnant at this time. Did you forget?
We moved into the basement of some amazingly gracious people from the church. They were OK with a hormonal pregnant lady, a man of the house trying to manage huge transition, and two 11 month old babies invading their space. This family is made up of saints, truly. We lived in their yellow house for a month and a half.
This period of time was short but it felt so very long. I was uncomfortable pregnant. It wasn’t unbearable, but lifting the twins up and down a flight of stairs in their carseats was starting to wear on me. We celebrated the twins' first birthday in the basement with small pieces of cake that we bought at the grocery store. Reuben wouldn't eat it unless we put cheerios on it and Eli just cried. Tom ended his old job—because he was consulting remotely—and started his new one at the church within a few days. We were looking hard for a home because I did not want to bring a new baby to the basement. We looked at 40 houses, went through three realtors, all the while I grew larger with my bonus belly.
The other thing that happened when we moved to Colorado was an onslaught of illness. Tom was sick with allergies or a cold or an alien that attacked his head for weeks after we arrived. Reuben caught norovirus which spread through our whole family within hours (including my sweet sister who came to help us) and I ended up in the hospital due to dehydration and all of the throwing up—it was so. very. bad. Not to mention our skin was drying up and our throats were sore from the lack of moisture. Our bodies were not happy that we left our humid Tennessee home for the arid plains of Colorado. Again, bless the angelic family that took us in with all this going on underneath their feet!
We moved into our home in mid-June and got settled enough to survive. On the Fourth of July, we went to a park for a picnic and when I got out of the car, I fell and tore a ligament in my ankle. So, now we had two 14-month-old boys and pregnant lady about to pop, all of which could not walk. We needed reinforcements. We called my parents and implored them to come and help us through the next few weeks, until I could get back on my feet and until the baby came. And bless them, they did.
Of course I thought we would only need help for a few weeks because I thought—and everyone told me—that the baby was going to come early. I was BIG and he had dropped. I was dilated and ready for labor to start at any moment. Every week at church people were surprised to see me still waddling up with my big ‘ol belly. At 38 weeks, I really thought I was in labor. I had never experienced ‘going into labor’ before because I was induced with the twins and had a lovely epidural that let me sleep through the effects of the pitocin. We called the nurse and described my symptoms and she told us to come to the hospital. They put me through triage and confirmed I was in labor. I got all gowned and hooked up, and the contractions slowed. So then, they sent us home. UGH. There are few things worse than being sent home after you think “This is it! He is coming!”. You leave feeling stupid, angry, and no sense of relief from being the house of a person that you are.
A few days later, at lunchtime, my husband stumbled in the door, bloody and disoriented. Earlier, Tom had decided that since we lived so close to the church he was going to ride his bike to and from work—you know, for all the benefits: fitness, saves money, green—and that day, he crashed. He hit something, flew over the handlebars, broke the bike and was unconscious on the side of the road about a quarter mile from our house. When he came to, he dragged himself and the bike home and came inside. I, who had just been at the hospital days before, drove him to the hospital to make sure he hadn’t broken any bones or done some kind of irreparable damage to his noggin. We came home, sent him to bed with pain killers, and tried to regroup. That night, while I was laying in bed, my contractions started up again.
These were painful, long and close together. Tom was passed out in bed next to me, completely broken. I didn’t want to wake him, so I called the nurse. She said I should probably come in but...I didn’t want to. I couldn’t with Tom in the state he was in—I needed him and he could barely stand up—so I prayed. I cried out to God with the inspiring words of Aragorn's speech in The Lord of the Rings, Return of the King, when he is encouraging the horsemen before they ride into Minas Tireth. I just kept saying, “IT WILL NOT BE THIS DAY! God, I can’t do this without Tom. IT WILL NOT BE THIS DAY! God, please make this stop. IT WILL NOT BE THIS DAY! Stay in there, baby boy a little longer! IT WILL NOT BE THIS DAY!” And the contractions slowed and I fell asleep.
Silas didn’t come until his due date, two weeks later. My bonus, Silas Alban, had waited until the right time to be born. After all that we had been through during his time inside me, he knew the perfect time to come.
It was two years ago TODAY, that we left Nashville on our cross country trek to a new assignment. It is amazing to think what happened in four short months. Our "Bonus" came to us after a lot of not-so-great things, which makes him all the more a prize! God brought us through a crazy time but all of it put us more into line with His plan, which is never a bad thing, just makes it an adventure. I definitely needed to hear the words "Faint Not, Mom!" through it all!
Has God ever called you to do something in the midst of an already crazy scenario? What did you learn? Did you do it? If He called you now, would you go?