The first three months were crazy. The Crohn's scare, the massive migraines, the vomiting, the dehydration. the unspeakably painful hospitalization and subsequent slow recovery, the residual headaches and blurry vision, the exhaustion and emptiness and zero energy & health to devote to our home and, honestly, to our marriage.
As a backdrop to this story, we moved into our new home a mere two weeks before we found out Little Monster was on the way and I was immediately incapacitated with morning (all day) sickness at 5 weeks, the night after that + sign appeared on that pregnancy test.
This new home needed a boatload of work, still reeked of cat urine (amidst our weeks of tireless work and ripping things out and odor sealing), there were boxes everywhere, no order to the chaos, and we had absolutely zero daily or weekly routine or normal. (Additionally, Justin was traveling a ton for work.)
If you know me at all, you know that those facts alone would have me stressed and struggling.
Add in the nausea and exhaustion and hormones and inability to do anything about the mess & smell, and you can only imagine the disaster that I had become.
I hated our new home.
I mean for real. Hated it. Wished we had never bought it. Dreaded walking in the door after an exhausting day of merely surviving the work day.
(In my defense, the house absolutely reeked and I had my smell sensitivity heightened times a thousand and was nauseous 24/7.)
I have digressed a bit but there is a point to this rabbit trail.
The state of our home affects our marriage, especially when one of the partners (me) is hugely affected by our daily surroundings.
Chaotic, smelly house.
Unending morning sickness.
Extreme pain & suffering from pregnancy "side effects".
Sounds like a recipe for a thriving marriage, right?
But friends, it's been beautiful. Ridiculously challenging and filled with ugly moments, but beautiful.
I have experienced deeper love and sacrifice from my husband than I ever have before (which is saying something).
We have grown together, through the helpless and hopeless days.
We have held hands more tightly than ever, as we face fears and challenges much greater than us.
We have shared Psalms and sobbing at 2:00am.
Justin has held me tight through more anxiety the past couple months than ever before.
Because, while we may be over halfway through the second trimester, the challenges are far from gone. They have changed and evolved but are there every moment of every day. (See this post.)
In each and every day of marriage, we have choices. Opportunities to grow together or to grow apart.
Those choices become even bigger and harder (and more important) when going through an extra stressful season.
We're either for each other as a team or we're struggling separately and at odds against one another.
I battle this the most. My knee-jerk reaction when at my weakest and weariest, is to withdraw. To tell myself he won't understand. To be convinced in my own head that he won't want to hear about the same battle, the same pain, the same fear, for the tenth time.
I lay there in bed next to him, shaking, but finding it nearly impossible to choke out the words, while he patiently waits.
Because while I may find words difficult, I have no difficulty exposing what I'm feeling. It is literally impossible for me to hide from him the fact that I am not okay.
Thus, you can imagine the frustration & conflict it can cause when I close him out, making him feel like he has done something wrong and is the source of silence.
Day by day, we work through this and I pray and I fall forward as I learn the art of communication.
Open healthy communication is the furthest thing from natural for me. It is something I have acknowledged and accepted but will never give up on.
So. Here we are. Our individual imperfections and shortcomings, pregnancy hormones, my ever changing and expanding body, huge decisions to be made, tighter finances than ever before, sleep deprived, trying to prepare for the arrival of our first daughter.
And I've never loved him more.
This is a huge testimony to the goodness and faithfulness of our God.
This is a reflection of the amazing man I married.
This is the result of endless hard work, tearful conflict turned into tearful repentance, and forgiving one another over and over and over.
This is the reward for faithfully praying together every night, even when we don't feel like it.
This is prayer answered, as those close to us uphold us in prayer, encourage us, and challenge us.
This is the richness and kindness and undeserved mercy of our Heavenly Father and my heart could explode with gratitude.
It is not easy. It is not nearly always pretty. It is seriously imperfect.
But it's the best thing I've ever ever done.
And while I know our whole world and marriage are about to be turned upside down yet again in a few months, I am more excited than ever.
Happy Monday, loves.