Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Stranger Who Changed My Life

Today is last day ever that I won't be a mom. Tomorrow I will meet my little boy.

My Pregnant Timeline

I spent the first couple of months after I found out I was pregnant in shock. I felt that this was the right time but I had no idea how things were going to work out for us. I was working my tail off in NYC, I had very little support and I was depressed. I literally felt like an alien had invaded my body - a feeling that took me completely off guard and I never thought would be associated with my own pregnancy. I just didn't know how in the world I was going to care for this little person in our situation.

I was so frustrated with my own lack of faith! Why couldn't I be like Mary? She simply said "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word" and then went on to sing a song of joy and rejoicing. She did this with no idea what would happen to her at that point and she could have been killed when her family and Joseph found out. I knew this was right, but I could not summon a Mary-like faith. This little life inside of me was fathered by the man I loved most in the entire world in a secure loving marriage, yet it hit like a bucket of ice that mothers can feel great fear and a disconnect from their own children, especially when they are out of sight. Some enough to extinguish that life inside of them.

Even as I grappled with my feelings of depression and frustration, I had a much deeper and more powerful drive that I had never felt before. Even though it was the greatest cause of my anxiety, I would do anything to protect this life. I took vitamins, ate healthy and checked a chart I found that tracked the chances of miscarriage obsessively. I had a momstinct.

One night at around 4:00 am I was hysterically crying (again) and Fayoz decided it was time to tell my mom. He dialed her number and she picked up in a panic.

"Kylie?! What's wrong? Is everything okay??"

**hysterical crying** "No.. I'm, I'm, I'm pregnant!"

There was a sigh of relief. "It's okay, Kylie. It's all going to be fine"

I started bawling about how I was young and poor and I didn't know how I was going to do this. My mom reminded me of my much younger grandmother and ancestors and comforted with her motherly wisdom. She said "If I have to get up and change this baby's diaper every night so you can work and support the family, I will do it. Believe me. It's all going to be okay."

I started to believe.

Over the months the momstinct started taking over all our decision making. I could not handle a baby in NYC so we decided we would have to move. Fayoz's job wasn't going to be able to support us financially, so he would have to pursue a different route. All because of this little stranger, both of us left our jobs and our apartment to move in with my parents in Washington state. We were amazed at how well everything fell into place. Fayoz found a training program pursuing his passion in aerospace and got funded almost right away. I kept my NY clients and gained even more. I was actually earning more working from home than in NYC and no longer paying income tax. To our surprise, the sacrifices we made for our little man hadn't been a loss at all. We had gained much more than we lost and were much happier.

About week 38, I found out my baby was feet first. I didn't know how rare and dangerous that was at this stage. My doctor informed me if the baby wouldn't turn, I would have to get a C-section.

I tried everything to get our little man to turn. I played music and flashed lights at my pelvis in hopes it would attract him, I sat upside down, and I underwent a painful chiropractic technique used to widen my pelvis in hopes it would be more comfortable for him there. When he hadn't turned the next week, I was given a choice: a c section or an External Cephalic Version (ECV) - a painful procedure the doctor can do to try to turn the baby externally. My doctor greatly discouraged me from doing the ECV and said most women go straight the the C-section to avoid the pain.

We only had a few hours to make the decision, so we researched quickly. I balanced the risks and benefits. After much prayer we decided to go through with the ECV. I was scared and my friends and family joined me in a fast before the procedure.

As my mom drove me to the hospital I said "Mom, I realized that when I was making the decision about whether to have an ECV or not, I didn't even factor in the pain it might cause me. I don't even know this little guy, but I care so much about his wellbeing, I feel as if I would sacrifice anything if it had some benefit to him."

During the procedure, I squeezed my mom's hand as my doctor dug into my stomach to try to lift my stubborn little baby from out of his favorite seat in my pelvis and go head down. It was the most pain I had voluntarily caused myself. After two brutal attempts, the doctor said the baby simply would not budge. I would be having a C-section in just a few days.

Although I was disappointed, I really felt like I had done everything I could do to keep my child as healthy as possible. I felt good about the C-section, knowing it now that it really would be the best option for us.

After we left the hospital, my mom took me out to breakfast. She said: "You know what you said in the car about how you would do anything to spare your child pain?" Her eyes started to brim with tears, "I feel the same way about you. I wish I could have the ECV for you, I wish I could be the one having this C-section for you. What you are feeling is how I feel about each one of my children."

I may know very little about my little man, but I do know he is God's precious child. We do things that make God grieve, but His whole purpose is still to bring us back to Him. Becoming a parent means starting to understand in some small way how God sees us. As a mother, through my heartbreak, anxiety and pain, I have a purpose far more important than anything I can accomplish myself. That purpose is bringing this precious little stranger back into God's arms. And there isn't anything I wouldn't do to accomplish that.

Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for.

...You represent laying down your life for another—and laying down your life for another represents the gospel.

Our culture is simply afraid of death. Laying down your own life, in any way, is terrifying. Strangely, it is that fear that drives the abortion industry: fear that your dreams will die, that your future will die, that your freedom will die—and trying to escape that death by running into the arms of death.

But a Christian should have a different paradigm. We should run to to the cross. To death. So lay down your hopes. Lay down your future...Lay down the imaginary life you could have had by yourself. Let it go.

Death to yourself is not the end of the story. We, of all people, ought to know what follows death. The Christian life is resurrection life, life that cannot be contained by death, the kind of life that is only possible when you have been to the cross and back. 

-Rachel Jankovich 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Introducing: The Signing Baby

Humongous life changes around the bend for our family.

We are pleased to introduce The Little Mister, making his debut in February.

I know this is something you learn when you are two, but I am just in AWE that there is a human being inside of me, and this human will be a mix of me and my husband. It's just crazy! This baby my body is making (incredible!) will have characteristics of me and the man I love so much. I thought marriage was pretty amazing before, but now it's at least ten times as amazing. It's like we have superpowers.

I feel like Edward Bloom on "Big Fish" when he learns one thing about his future wife every month as his payment for working at a circus. Every detail I learn about the Little Mister I moon over for weeks.

He's a boy.

He's super healthy.

He's tall.

He loves to move a lot (to the dismay of every ultrasound technician I've had).

But best of all, he can sign!

My ultrasound tech was like "What is that he's doing with his hand? I've never seen a baby do that before!"

Yup. He's saying "I love you" in sign language. Or basically "Hey mom, stop worrying if I'm going to take to sign language so I can talk to daddy. I'm saying my first word before I'm even BORN!"

This is definitely our son.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Embarassing Moment Part II: Our Second Chance!

So remember that one time we asked if someone was a man or woman on the bus and they started signing to us? I sincerely thought neither of us would ever see that person again. I was wrong.

Fayoz was taking the bus to work the other day and looked up to see a familiar face on the other side of the bus. With a start he realized this was the same person we had insulted about a year ago. His intimidating features were somewhat softened by his reading glasses as he was reading the morning news. When I saw him, I think I would have had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, but Fayoz is more brave than me. His only thought was that he must take this opportunity to apologize for last year's incident.

He walked over, grabbed a seat in front of the person and boldly said:

"Hello! I want to say I am really sorry."

Looking at Fayoz with a growing recognition the person said "Ah, I remember you. You sat across from me on the bus."

Fayoz said, "Yes, that's right, and I'm so sorry."

The smile on his face told Fayoz that this man knew exactly what he was talking about. With a warmth I would not have never anticipated at our first meeting, he said, "Really, it's fine, don't worry about it! What's your name?"

From the ensuing conversation Fayoz learned that he was indeed a man (I was so stunned at our meeting last year I didn't fully catch what he had said, but I thought he had said that he was a woman). He identified as being gay from a young age and had lived in Brooklyn his whole life. He told Fayoz about his brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews.

It was a short conversation since Fayoz soon after reached his stop, but I am so thankful that God allowed it!

Looking back on my life I have realized that the people I know I have wronged have entered my life again at some point and I was able to make peace with them. The incident with this man bothered me so much because in this huge city I didn't see how it was going to be possible for me to do that. When Fayoz relayed this story, I felt such relief and joy that this man had forgiven us and harbored no hard feelings, I nearly cried.

We are so blessed.

Friday, July 11, 2014

This Just Happened During My Morning Commute

I was just on the F train for my normal commute to work. It was rush hour and the train was overcrowded as usual. I was stuck in the middle and I needed to grab a pole, but there was a girl hunched over the pole nearest to me so there wasn't room for me to grab it.

As the train started to go, I heard a huge smack. The hunched-over girl had fainted! She was on the ground, looking very strange with her neck bent and and head up against the side of a seat. There wasn't enough room where she had fallen to accommodate her body and she had smacked her head on the way down.

"Is there an emergency button anyone can push?!" I yelled into the crowd.

A woman yelled, "Is a there a doctor or medical professional on board?"

People just kind of looked at each other. I wondered how I could help this girl breathe better or if I should even touch her. It appeared no medical professional was on board, so this might be some improv. I seriously hoped no CPR was required. Just as I had these thoughts, the girl opened her eyes, got up as if in a hazy dream and said, "Can I sit down?"

The man nearest her quickly got up and she sat bent over looking very unwell. The woman who had yelled for a doctor pushed her way over to the girl as the train hit my stop.

No one seemed to be doing anything so I sprinted to the front of the train and pounded on the dispatcher's window.

He opened the window and I said "Hey, we just had a passenger faint! She got up but she needs help. What do I do??"

He looked at me apathetically and said "Uh, talk to those guys in vests over there."
Reducing 10,000 delays a year.

I looked around. The construction workers? There were two construction workers looking clueless.

"Those guys?" I asked, confused, pointing to the construction workers.

"Yeah," he said and he shut the window on me.

Just as I turned to talk to them, I heard a roar behind. I turned to see the train speed off with the girl inside, not to be late for anyone's rush hour commute.