Today, Cory and I celebrate our third wedding anniversary. Since we’ve been together for six and a half years, it often feels strange to realize that we’ve only been married for three of those! At the same time, each year we are excited to mark another milestone in our marriage, and remember the ups and downs of the past year together. Most of all, we enjoy looking to the years ahead and dreaming of what great things God has in store for us.
This past year has been a year of excitement, as we prepare to welcome our son Cody into the world. When the year began, though, we were still recovering from the loss of our first baby, Sam. Moving into our third year, we had a lot of big questions for God, and our faith was being tested. He stayed by our side during that tough time, and we came through with stronger faith than before. Even after our hearts were healed, though, we still had a lot of waiting to do.
Our time of waiting between losing Sam and becoming pregnant with Cody was when God was doing a lot of work on us. There were a few big struggles that we were dealing with at that time, which we realized one by one that we needed to give to God. One of the areas of struggle may seem silly, but it truly has been a huge weight on our shoulders—our dogs’ separation anxiety. Our older dog, Marley, has always had issues with anxiety, but in the past couple of years he’s gotten worse. It came to the point where we were unable to leave him alone at home for even the shortest of errands, because he would panic and try to chew his way out of the house to get to us. We tried everything we could think of, from extra training to tranquilizers, and many things in between. One idea we had was to adopt another dog, in the hope that Marley would feel more secure with another member of his “pack” at home with him. We’d been thinking of getting another dog anyway, and then we saw Sky’s picture online and the rest is history! We adopted her and our family grew.
Unfortunately, Sky had a lot of behavioral issues of her own, including separation anxiety (though much, much milder than Marley’s). We already knew that Marley would never be able to be confined to a crate, because of his anxiety and capacity to chew his way out even to the point of injuring himself. But we were disappointed to discover that Sky also was not crate-able, because her anxiety resulted in a very messy “code brown” situation each and every time we tried it. We had to accept the fact that when we left the house, the dogs would be loose—we only hoped that they wouldn’t make too big of a mess in terms of destruction and accidents.
After continued frustration and various attempts to eliminate the separation anxiety issues, we finally came to the end of our rope. There was nothing left for us to do but give it to God—it was simply beyond our ability to fix it. And so, we wrote up a short confession to read to the dogs when we left the house. It goes like this: “Marley/Sky, God has not given you a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind. I command any fear or anxiety to leave Marley’s/Sky’s mind at once and to stay away in Jesus’ name. Jesus is the ruler of this house, and he’s the prince of peace, which means that you have peace.” We say this to them, first to Sky then to Marley, each time before we leave the house. And it really works! I’ve watched in amazement as Marley’s shaking and panting stopped immediately the moment I said Jesus’ name. Since we started to use this confession, our dogs have been calm and relaxed every time we leave the house.
After all of the things we tried to solve this problem on our own, we had to laugh at the fact that God just wanted to take care of it all along. He used this one area of struggle to teach us the same lesson in other areas too. One of those areas was my continual battle with allergies. At that time, I was taking allergy medicine every day and using a humidifier every night in an effort to keep my severe hay fever at bay. Even with those habits in place, I still suffered bouts of allergies that would leave me feeling like I had a bad cold for days or weeks. I was aware that there were risks to taking allergy medicine while pregnant, so I kept hoping and praying that my allergies would go away before we became pregnant again. Eventually, I decided to simply take a leap of faith and stop taking my medicine. Our success with the dogs had given me confidence in God’s ability and willingness to take care of me. And of course, when I chose to trust God and hand my allergies over to him, he took them. I haven’t taken an allergy pill or suffered from hay fever since.
Our biggest struggle of all in the first half of this past year, though, involved concerns about my fertility. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had irregularities in my cycles, but I never thought it was a serious issue until we miscarried our first pregnancy. After that, I started to wonder if I had some kind of hormonal imbalance that was causing my irregularity, and perhaps had even resulted in my miscarriage. I decided that before we tried to have a baby again, I needed to figure out what was wrong in my body. I tried going to doctors for help, but I couldn’t find anybody who understood the problem or knew the right tests to run to help me. I tried making dietary changes, and I looked into natural remedies for hormonal imbalances, but nothing seemed to be the right solution. Eventually, Cory and I decided to just wait for things to work themselves out, and continue to pray about it. But we did not want to try to conceive again until we knew that my body was doing what it needed to do.
After we saw God’s miracles in other areas of our lives, though, I began to realize that in the area of trying to have a baby, I was making choices out of fear. I was trying to prevent another tragedy by relying on my own limited human ability to control our next pregnancy. Yet nothing was changing, and all I was really doing was refusing to trust God. When this realization hit me, I talked to Cory about it and together we decided that we would try again to get pregnant, despite the fact that my cycles were still very irregular. It was a choice to trust God to take care of us. And as it turns out, that was all it took because found out that we were pregnant two weeks later!
By the time our pregnancy with Cody began, our faith was stronger than it had ever been. God used the long months of waiting to develop our trust in him, and that was exactly what we needed for the months ahead. Despite what happened with Sam, Cory and I have never been in fear during this pregnancy. It amazes me to think about it now, really, because I would have thought that experiencing pregnancy loss once would taint all of my future pregnancies. Yet God truly did heal me of that, and my confidence in this baby’s protection hasn’t wavered. I’ve chosen (and I continue to choose) to trust God with this pregnancy, and he has not failed me.
The second half of our third year of marriage has been 7 (going on 8) long months of pregnancy. I know that for some people, pregnancy seems to go by very fast. For me, though, it’s been crawling by. The first trimester was a hard time because of the nausea and fatigue that I experienced. We got through it, though, and then we were surprised to learn that we’re having a boy! We’ve had our baby names picked out for years, so we knew right away that our son would be named Cody Roger.
In our second trimester, we were blessed to be able to go on a cruise for our babymoon. It was a wonderful, relaxing vacation for us and we treasure those memories. During that trip was also the first time we felt Cody kick from the outside! He hasn’t stopped moving much since. Late in our second trimester, we started our childbirth education with Hypnobabies and learned valuable tools for having a calm, comfortable birthing time. We also had to change midwives and that led us to decide to have a home birth, which we are now very much looking forward to.
Our third trimester so far has been mostly comfortable, though I’m starting to feel a bit of discomfort because of my ever-expanding baby belly. Cody still moves a lot and often his movements are quite forceful and/or directed at areas that don’t feel good being kicked. He’s also running out of space while still trying to grow, which I can feel very obviously in my ribs (is he trying to tunnel underneath them?). Basically, I’m getting to the stage where it feels as if he’s going to explode right out of my belly at any moment, because there’s just no other way for him to expand further. The t-shirts that used to stretch over my belly are now officially too small to contain me, and my wardrobe is becoming more and more limited by the day. These next 4-9 weeks are definitely going to be interesting!
Pregnancy truly is an incredible feat of the human body. What an amazing design that God has created! I admit that it’s not always the most comfortable or enjoyable process—though I still believe that it can be, and my goal is to one day have enough faith to experience a completely comfortable pregnancy. But at the same time, even with all of the discomfort, I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. It really is a miracle and a blessing from God to be able to bring life into the world.
Looking back over the past three years of marriage, I am amazed at where we are now. We had no idea that we’d be able to achieve our dream of starting a family so soon, and now here we are, less than two months away from holding our baby. Our lives have been so blessed, and it amazes me to see what God has done. He is so good!
As we look to the year ahead, I know that it’s going to be a big one. When I write about our fourth year of marriage, I’ll be writing as a seasoned mother with so many wonderful new experiences to share. I’ll be writing about our lives not just as a married couple, but as a family of three. Yet perhaps for the first time in my life, I want this next year to go by as slowly as possible. I want to enjoy every moment of this journey. Year three has been a wonderful season, and we have so much to be thankful for in it. But looking to what’s coming next, I know that our best years really are ahead. I can’t wait to see what God’s going to do.
Happy Anniversary, my love! We’ve grown up so much since we met as silly teenagers, but even then we knew that we would always be together, and that hasn’t changed. I would choose you again today, and every day. Thank you for being an amazing husband. I love you beyond words! <3