When I was in fourth grade, we lived in a house that had a little creek that ran behind it. My parents knew it was in a flood plain, but we were just renting and I guess they decided it was worth the gamble. After a long day of relentless rain, that creek started to rise and rise.
I remember praying that day, praying that it would flood.
And flood it did. We had to move all of our water-logged belongings into a much smaller, cramped rent house, and as you can imagine, there were months of headaches and stress in dealing with insurance and losses.
I don't know why I prayed that it would flood. Maybe so we would be out of school for a few days? Because it sounded romantic and exciting? Because I was a little kid and I just had no idea?
Years later, I sheepishly told my parents that I knew the reason we went through that flood; confessed to them that it was all my fault. My parents were incredulous that for years, I had carried the guilt of believing that my child-like faith and prayer had caused an entire neighborhood to flood. It was a strangely formative moment in my spiritual history though. Of course, as an adult I view the whole scenario differently, but even still, there is this tiny voice within that whispers, "be careful what you pray for - it just might come true."
It is from this frame of reference that I find myself most days this close to whispering "God, please let me be put on bedrest."
Which is the craziest thing, I know. And I know that those of you who have actually been on serious bedrest would like to smack me right in the face for that. I know that bedrest is no joke - that it disrupts family life and marriage and community and that it's frustrating and boring and no fun. I know it would be no stretch for you to see me as an impulsive child who has no idea what she is praying for. I know, I know, I know.
Every week, I feel the physical toll more and more. Though I wake up in the morning feeling fantastic and ready to take on the world, by the end of the day, I am completely toast. Achy joints and searing back pain have me reduced to shuffling around the house, and then I crawl into bed where I cannot get comfortable for the life of me and it takes monumental effort just to roll from one side to the other.
And so, yes. Part of me wants a doctor to get firm with me and say, "You really should be in bed most of the time, you know." Because without a firm order to do so, I just cannot do it. I feel like if I can still walk the girls to and from school, I should. If I can still do basic housekeeping, I should. If I can still haul laundry up and down the stairs, I should. Because surely if I shouldn't be doing those things, it would be my body and not a doctor that would tell me. Right?
I hear about and read about other women who have gone right on with life while growing twins, who worked full-time right up until 36 weeks of even 40 weeks (!) and kept up with exercise routines and didn't let the double gestating slow them down a bit. And I just can't help but to wish that I were made of stronger stuff.
And so I think about a flooded house and a child's remorse over prayers that hit their target, and I think about how very, very much is still to be done before our boys are born, and even though I know it's completely and utterly unsound theological thinking, I still stop just short of wishing and hoping and dreaming and praying for bedrest and just try do the best I can to be wise as I navigate each day.
* * * * *
I do feel like I turned one little corner this week, a flipping of a mental switch that is much needed.
One day last week, I had to hit three stores to gather some pre-Thanksgiving things, and at each store, I found myself asked by clerks and other customers alike "how much longer? Any day now, right?"
As I was driving home, I decided I am going to choose to assign positive intent to these questions. I happen to live in one of the friendliest states in this country. We chit-chat with strangers as a matter of habit, a directive of culture. In all honesty, for most Oklahomans, to encounter a pregnant lady and not question her on the little life growing within her would be considered rude.
And so I can assign positive intent to these questions because of the peace that it brings to me. I can smile and say, "Not quite yet! I'm due in February with twins!" and I can say that a dozen times a day and I can embrace it as part of the experience of life in the heartland.
And sometimes, I'll be surprised by the response. Like last night when I had to run to Braum's to pick up a few groceries and the clerk asked when I was due. And I said, "February! Twins!" and she and the other clerk gasped and went on about how SMALL I was for carrying twins! And one of them assured me that she looked like I do when she was six months with her single baby. And I can just indulge in that moment with a happy heart. Because let's all admit it. It's a stretch to see this:
As always, thanks for letting me share my heart here as I record for myself this incredible, amazing, surreal, and wonderful journey.