Saturday, July 16, 2011

Birthdays and Birth Control

Today is the best day of the year.  I gave birth to both our girls on this day, 3 years ago, and 1 year ago.
One area we didn't need to change in order to fully embrace this all-natural lifestyle was in the area of family planning.  From the day we were married, the Jarhead and I wanted children and hoped they would come right away.  After several negative tests and disappointments, over a year and a half later I found out on my birthday that we were expecting our firstborn.  Blue swirled through our heads as we were positive we were having a boy.  When the ultrasound tech said "it's a girl" we were sure she was wrong, and the Jarhead held out hope all through the pushing stage that miraculously, the baby would be a strapping lad he could teach all about cars.  A well-meaning nurse had told him about a patient who had a boy after 3 ultrasound techs had declared he was a girl; it was just the encouragement he needed, and so he hoped...

She was a girl.  And we wouldn't trade her for 100 boys.  And the Jarhead is teaching her all about cars. 
 I used to piously proclaim that I wasn't on birth control because I was trusting God to give us children in His time.  That meant I wanted children right then, in my time.  I went through alot of anger towards God in those 19 months for not giving me children, and fear that we wouldn't be able to have children of our own.  When I finally let it go and sought forgiveness for that anger, we conceived. 
During the ultrasound where we found out we were having a girl, the tech seemed very quiet to me, and it seemed to take a long time, as she took multiple pictures of our baby's head.  A few days later, while we were vacationing with our family my OB called.  The ultrasound revealed cysts on my daughter's brain.  I felt like the wind was knocked out of me.  My wonderful OB gave me the medical terminology for the cysts, so I could look it up and see what they could indicate.  The more I studied, the more I wept.  The cysts were possible signs of a genetic disorder called Trisomy 18.  Down syndrome is Trisomy 21, but unlike down syndrome, babies with Trisomy 18 are severely retarded and less than 10% of babies live past their first birthday.  The thought of losing our precious child was agonizing.  But then an incredible peace came over me after alot of prayer, and I knew that everything would be alright; even if our daughter did have this awful disorder.  After an extensive 3D ultrasound, the Dr. gave us a 1 in 500 chance of her having Trisomy 18. 
She was born perfectly healthy and beautiful.  After she was born, the Jarhead and I decided once again that we were going to trust God to give us children, in His time, but this time in earnest.  "Natural family planning" did not generally please the Dr's that were very curious about our birth control strategy, but that's okay.  We have always wanted a big family.  We thought 5 or 6 kids would be the perfect number, and that two years apart was the perfect gap, and that would be it for us.  Then we started thinking; was it hypocritical to say we would trust God for when to give us children, but we wouldn't trust Him for how many He wanted to bless us with?  That was a scary thought.  I mean, we really, really don't want to be outdoing the Duggars here!  We were up in the air.  Then I found out I was pregnant again, and due on July 10th, the day our oldest was due.  I was sure this baby was going to come early though, since I started having contractions very early on.  Then, just like her sister, she ended up having to be induced at a week overdue.  Two years...and two hours apart; our perfect gap.  It was as if a sign from God saying "trust Me."
So we are.  Trusting God for His timing of when He wants us to have children.  Trusting Him for how many children He wants us to have.  That is our family planning strategy.  

Please believe, I am far from presuming to tell you what your family should do.  This is just the conclusion the Jarhead and I came to after much prayerful consideration.

Now if I find out on my birthday again that I'm pregnant, and the baby is due on July 10th....God's got an incredible sense of humor.  And I'm already putting in a special request for a boy.


  1. I admire how brave you are to write about things you believe in. :) God bless your precious family! We miss you!

  2. Oh and Happy Birthday again to your girlies!!

  3. I loved this. Thanks for sharing! =) Happy birthday again to your little sweethearts!