Friday, March 22, 2013

Our Journey to grow our family

Almost four years ago Chris and I were visiting the Melbourne Temple when Chris dropped a bombshell on me. He said, "I think we're meant to have more kids." I was shocked as Rohan, our youngest, was 8 and I had never considered having any more. I thought and prayed about it for the next hour and gradually I started to feel excited to have another child- or two, and initially I was caught up in the romantic idea of having a little bundle of joy to hold and love. Pretty soon though I started to have questions about how the reality of all this would affect our family. Could we afford for me to not go to work? How would Rohan feel about not being the baby after all these years? Was I too old - I was 38? I decided that I could either have fear or faith that if this was meant to be, and I was feeling pretty confident that it was, then everything would work out. I believe in God and he's always been there for me before so why would I doubt him now.

When we got home I went off my contraception and looked forward to an exciting journey. We started to feel really nervous about our financial situation and we knew that we needed to do something but not sure what. We had bought our five acre property and built our dream home over the previous four years and we certainly didn't want to give it up, especially as Chris had spent three years building the whole thing with his own hands. Within a couple of weeks of coming home Chris had a dream that we subdivided the property and sold off enough blocks to cover our mortgage. I was really excited when he told me this and jumped straight into finding out more. We contacted a property developer that we knew and he drew up plans with our property having eighteen blocks, our house on number eighteen. Within a couple of months we had it into council and was starting to feel excited and positive. I hadn't got pregnant yet but I wasn't too worried as I could see that it was important that the timing was right for me to be able to be a stay at home mum. I worked as a school teacher three days a week and I never considered that I would be a working mum; if I had little children I would rather be home with them.

We decided that we wanted to tell our children, they knew something was going on and I felt it was important to involve them in our journey. I wasn't sure how they would react but I was pleasantly surprised they were all very excited. Rohan in particular was looking forward to being a big brother. Emily was eleven and Jayme fourteen years old, I knew they would all be a great help, in built babysitters!

Eight months after we made the decision we became pregnant, we were all very excited. It was finally time. I had never had a miscarriage with the other three pregnancies and never considered that I would. I told the children and my friends and family and prayed and hoped that someone would buy our subdivision. We received information from the council that due to the easement running through our property that before anything else could happen, it needed to be piped. We didn't want to go into more debt, so we decided the only option was to sell the subdivision outright. This seemed to be a good plan until just before council signed it off they realised that the State Government own the main road we live on and we needed their permission. So we had to wait while council negotiated with them. We were devastated when they came back with the answer that we would have to build a round-a-bout, which would cost about $700,000 and we knew that no-one would buy our subdivision with that cost on top of it all. We tried to fight it by organising a traffic report but every little step was costing us so much money that we felt we needed to be saving for the future not spending.

I was feeling sick all day, I don't know why its called morning sickness, mine was all day sickness! I was finding it difficult to go to work but Chris helped by cooking the meals and the kids helped out around the house. My morning sickness was always over by twelve weeks in the past and so we knew it was just a short term difficulty.

When I got to ten weeks pregnancy I started spotting. I went and had a scan and found that whatever had been there had dissolved, there was nothing in my uterus. I was so upset, how could there be nothing. I had two months of morning sickness for nothing! I was booked in for a local anaesthetic and a D&C. I had never been put to sleep before and I was scared. I tried to be brave and tell myself it wasn't the right time and we would try again but when I got to the nurses telling me what would happen, it all felt so final and I burst into tears as I grieved for the pregnancy that never was. The poor nurses were so good trying to support and comfort me. When I was waking in up in the recovery room the nurse was comforting me and wiping a tissue on my face, I thought this was odd until I realised I had began crying before I woke up and I was actually sobbing. I didn't want Chris to know I was upset about it all, he was starting to have second thoughts about the whole thing and so I tried to keep it to myself. I really wanted a baby by now and I kept telling him, it will work out, don't worry, it just has to be the right time.

Shortly after all this the Council contacted us and suggested we we try an alternative entrance. Our property is land locked and so the only alternative is the houses round the property. It just so happened at that time there was one house leading onto our property that was for sale. It also had an extra little title to the side of it with a huge shed. It seemed perfect. We just needed to knock down the shed and build the road into our subdivision. Our property developer got straight onto drawing up new plans and we went to speak to our financial advisor. Our financial advisor suggested we sell the whole thing, our house the lot and let someone else go into debt to buy the house and begin the subdivision. He said that we could buy the house but the financial stress might not be worth it, he had seen many marriages crumble under such stress.

Chris didn't want to sell our home and we made the decision that we didn't want to go into more debt. We decided to speak to the owner of the house and tell him our situation. Fortunately it turned out that he was the father of a real estate agent. He got his son to put his feelers out and they brought around a number of investors to have a look at our subdivision. As it turned out we had recently experienced the global financial downturn and people were talking about a depression, therefore all the investors said that when land becomes worth a bit more they would be interested. We were gutted and thought that was the end and just when we thought this roller coaster ride couldn't continue I fell pregnant again.

Once again we tried to be positive and have hope that something will happen, Chris was finding it increasingingly difficult but I was determined to stay on course. I battled on with my morning sickness trying to stay positive and support him. I don't know how I managed that period but I did feel that I was receiving divine help and strength. Shortly after this another investor was really interested. She spoke about a contract so I went to a solicitor and began the process. Within a couple of weeks of all this she also got cold feet and pulled out. Now we had another debt of $1500 to pay with nothing to show. We went to our property developer and thanked him for all his help, we had exhausted every avenue, and there was nowhere to go with it any longer. He was a lovely man and only charged us a portion of what he should have, now we had accrued debts of $5,400 and absolutely nothing to show for it, so much for trying to improve our situation!

Once again I got to ten weeks gestation and started spotting. I had a scan and this time the embryo had stopped growing at six weeks. I didn't want another local anaethetic and they told me about some medication you can take that brings on the miscarriage and you can do it at home. I decided to do that. I went home and bought myself a treat (the biggest chocolate bar I could find) and pain relief and by the time everyone got home from school it was over. I felt sad initially but with everything that was going on I also felt peace that it still wasn't the right time. I wasn't deterred from my goal and I determined to keep trying.
My sister had her little baby Flynn at this time and as I went to hold him after he was born I felt so emotional but felt also such peace. I was a bit envious but mostly I just wanted to stay there and hold him and never let him go. He was just so beautiful and perfect.

Chris finally said to me that he didn't want to keep trying and for the next four months we tried to forget about it and move on with life. I say I tried but I kept having this  feeling that it wasn't over, that I was meant to keep trying. I felt restless and despondent and eventually I told Chris how I felt. I didn't have any answers for our dilemma. So we just kept going he trying to forget about it and me secretly checking each month, wondering if it had happened. It would have been easy to give up at this stage but something inside of me wouldn't; I had felt good about it and felt it was the right thing to do, I had to stay true to the course, when it was the right time, it would happen.

Eight months later I found I was pregnant again, Chris was really worried now but I stood firmly and declared don't worry just have faith, if its meant to be everything will work out. By the time I got to ten weeks and started spotting again, I knew the drill and thought perhaps it was for the best, no tears at all this time; just all the discomfort for nothing. I had days of feeling despondent but my friends and family helped and strengthened me.

Life continued with its ups and downs and Chris admitted that he still did want to have more children but now it had been three years since we began this journey and I was 41. The reason the nurses had given me that my pregnancies were failing was because of my age, and I was getting older, how much longer could I do this for?
 I could see some good results coming from this whole ordeal to do with our family and personal growth within each of us. This challenge had really asked us to dig deep and search ourselves. We were forced to ask ourselves questions such as: were we happy with our current situations and if not what could we do to change it? We had implemented changes and were happy with those outcomes, even though this was a difficult time the positives outweighed the negatives and I could see that it was good. We just kept going as we were.

At the beginning of this year I was pregnant again, now the fourth time! The morning sickness was particularly bad and I started to feel like maybe this time it was the real deal. Chris was more positive and this time he prayed and pondered and was really trying to think what we should do. Up until now he had said he would never sell the house and downsize, but now he was looking on the internet at affordable housing. He came to me all excited that he had found the perfect solution. I was ten weeks when we went to look at the house, the very next day I knew I had lost this pregnancy as well.

I felt strangely relieved and I began to have feelings that I could not do this any more, that I didn't want to do this any more. That whatever all the reasons were for this journey it was complete and over. I prayed about it and I felt peace and happiness. I felt that I had done the best that I could do and God was pleased with my efforts. I can see the good things that have come of it; my relationship with my husband is stronger and more loving and my children have become closer as we travelled this journey together. As a family we have been unified as we shared the ups and downs together and that has been wonderful. I feel that I have learnt to be more resilient as I tried to bounce back from all the drawbacks and continue to look forwards always in hope that things really will work out in the end. I also feel that I learnt to be persistent, why on earth I didn't give up in that first year, I'll never know, but I'm so glad I didn't and as a result I experienced the life lessons that I did. The example of this to my children, I'm convinced, will be important one day as they have their difficult journeys.

I don't feel that I understand everything that my journey was meant to be about but I do feel strongly that I was meant to have it. I currently feel so elated that we have come to the end, its a good feeling. We didn't achieve our goal of having more children but I have a very strong feeling that we were never meant to. This whole exercise was about the journey not about the destination.


Bebb said...

Oh Lisa. I didn't know you had suffered another loss at the start of the year. I miss our chats- if you ever need to talk you know where I am. xxx

Jess [Bradbury] Wheeler said...

Wow. What a roller coaster of emotions!
I'm totally in awe of your positivity and strength!

Jackie Lockhart said...

So proud of you all, you followed the Lord on this journey in faith and I can see that He has blessed you.

leetai said...

Thanks for being a wonderful example Lisa. I love how your testimony shines through your words. You know, there are other ways you could welcome another child into your family :) You are a great mum. Thanks for sharing your experience with us xx

melandpeter said...

I am only just catching up with blog reading and was so sad to hear about the all the trauma you guys have been though. You are one strong lady and I admire your faith and determination. It's especially inspiring that you have seen all the of the trials as opportunity for growth both personally and for your family. xx