Wednesday, May 05, 2010

regardless of what happens

There has been a lot of turmoil in our home the past few days.

Do we go? Do we stay?

What exactly are we supposed to do?

And then, yesterday morning, I had an epiphany.

All along, I've maintained that all I've ever wanted is to be home with our children. For the past few years, I've been working, simply as a means to support our family - not as a means to be away from them. Charlie and I have consciously made a number of sacrifices over the years, reducing our schedules to part time, reducing our income significantly, and then reducing it even more so, when Charlie put his career on an indefinite sabbatical, so that one of us could be home, full time, with the children.

In so far as parenting goes, we never have planned anything. We've entirely made it up along the way. Figuring out, as we go, what feels right and what doesn't and then, adjusting the course, accordingly. All along, we have prided ourselves on our ability to raise four children, without any outside help. Because we were more than willing to make the sacrifices that would allow us to be home with our babies.

In the case of this job transfer, I truly felt like we had no other good options. I felt like if I didn't take this job, another job wouldn't come up and mine would soon be gone. And while I was tickled at the thought of being closer to my family, the thought of being in an office all day has never sat very well with me. It is so easy, though, to get caught up in a career. It's so easy to be blinded by the money and the benefits and all things nice. But that's not all there is to life and so often, I think that people get caught chasing security for "tomorrow" that they totally miss out on living for "today."

I was getting caught up in that.

And then, I found out I was expecting a baby. And as I stood in that hotel bathroom on the night of my 39th birthday - staring at a little pregnancy stick - and waiting for the digital read out to appear, I had an overwhelming feeling that the results of this "test" would significantly change my life. Not just in the way of, "Oh, there's another baby on the way!" but "Oh, the entire fate of your family and geographic location and life hinge on these results."

And then it appeared.


There was silent excitement, disbelief, and that overwhelming feeling like I have been blessed beyond measure. There was also a tingly feeling that I had been saved from something but at the time, I didn't know exactly what. When I showed the test to Charlie, he didn't believe me. He thought that perhaps I had forged the results. As if it was possible I had a cup of urine laden with HCG in the bathroom with me.

The next few days were a blur. Is it real? Is it possible? FIVE children?

Now what do we do?

Moving closer to family would be nice. A bigger house, change of seasons, new environment and career security would be nice, too. But working in an office all day while my pregnancy progresses - and then, leaving a tiny newborn at home for 8+ hours a day is not so nice.

Not so nice at all.

As in, horrible, crappy, what the hell have I done?

Management said that despite my current situation, I was still expected to be in Virginia in July. And no, I would not be granted flexibility in work hours or location. Hearing that, I did what any irrational pregnant woman would do. I lugged out a HUGE career shot gun and I aimed it squarely at my foot and without much hesitation, I pulled the trigger.

Early yesterday morning, I sent a message to my manager that read, "Due to my current situation, I think that the scenario that provides the least physical, emotional and financial stress for me (and my family) is to remain in San Diego. I fully understand that if I retract my decision to accept this transfer, it may be a career limiting move for me. And while I fully recognize that my family issues are not [my company's] concern - they are mine."

Once I sent that e-mail, I felt incredibly relieved. Like I had finally made a decision and it was a good one because there is absolutely no going wrong when you put your family first. Had it not been for this pregnancy, I might not have sat back and really evaluated what kind of impact this transfer would have on the family structure and balance that Charlie and I have worked so hard to achieve. Moreover, this pregnancy made me realize that nothing in life is 100% predictable.

Long term, I do not know what the future holds.

But then again, none of us do.

Yesterday, I met with one of my consultants and sometime around mid afternoon, I started to feel badly. Very badly. I promptly went home and began to experience a variety of symptoms that elevated my concern from moderate to slightly alarmed.

Late in to last night, I was fretting and sweating while searching Google, WikiAnswers and a host of other websites that did not a single thing to alleviate my worries and instead, made me feel weepy and frustrated and completely vulnerable and sad.

All day today, I was on the couch - a self imposed bed rest of sorts. Dreaming the best, and yet fearing the worst, while loving on my children like I've never loved on them before. As of tonight, my mind is still swirling with what might be going on inside my body with our tiny eight week old baby. Since I've had relatively simple pregnancies in the past (at least during the first trimester), I'm at a loss. This could be perfectly normal, or maybe not?

I'm almost afraid to move until I know for sure.

Although I've called my OB (and plan to call again tomorrow morning), my first ultrasound isn't until next week, but based on my calculations, this baby - God Willing - is due to arrive on Christmas Day. I believe that is incredibly fitting.

Right now, through my tears of worry, I'm trying desperately to convince myself that regardless of what happens, this pregnancy is genuinely a gift from heaven.

The very best gift at the absolute very best time.


  1. Michelle S in Texas5/5/10, 12:47 AM

    Good for you Jen! I admire you so much for everything you do.

  2. Oh! woo hoooo gee...I so did'nt see that one comming!!!
    Congrats and all the best,I truly hope what you are experiencing is just a Healthy Bub settling in for the long haul and you feel happy and confident soon.
    Your decision has been made and it is with Celebration you move onto lifes next unknown phase...
    Love and prayers your way

  3. Scares early in a pregnancy are not uncommon. I had one and look at my three beautiful boys. Just keep on top of it as you're doing. You've just de-stressed big time; don't trade one stress for another. When things seem out of control, control the one thing that you CAN control: Your attitude.

    Chin up and think calm & positive even as you are proactive about every possibility.

    Hugs, J. BIG hugs.

  4. ((((Jen)))) I'll keep you in my prayers.

  5. Praying...

  6. The first trimester is such a worrying time. Sending many postive thoughts and prayers for things to go well.


  7. Oh how scary!!

    Now, I've never been pregnant personally but know many people who have been & something I commonly hear is that every one of their pregnancies has been different from their others. My sister in particular was violently ill on a daily basis for her entire first trimester. She's now in her 3rd & doing wonderful so I hope maybe that offers at least a little bit of hope.

    I'm also sure all this stress you've been going through trying to make a decision hasn't helped matters so taking it easy now is probably for the very best.

    You're in my thoughts & prayers!

  8. ((((Jen))))
    Take it easy and I'll be saying prayers that all is well. Will your Dr let you test your hormone levels? I'm hoping that maybe all you need is a little extra progesterone this time around. Hang in there!

  9. I will be praying for you, Jen.

  10. My thoughts and prayers are with you!

  11. big hugs to you.
    i hope everything is well. waiting for a positive update.

  12. Morning Jen, I hope this day finds you feeling much better. Thinking of you and all the family.

  13. It IS the very best gift. Babies always are. And I'm so impressed with you standing up for your family like that with your email. Keeping you and yours in my thoughts and prayers and hoping that everything goes well with your ultrasound!

  14. Oh, Jen. I am praying for you and your little bean. I hope everything is okay.

  15. Crossing fingers, toes, eyes, anything that can cross that it's all just job-stress related which should now miraculously disappear since you've made your decision and told the company...
    SO happy to hear about the new baby... I was born on Dec. 18th - it's a GREAT time of year to have a birthday!!

  16. I think you made the right decisions whether you are pregnant or not. We have children and I think they should be our priority and one parent should be at home, you guys have done an awesome job at puttin gyour kids first. About being scared about the pregnancy I have nothing to offer but hope, after 5 IVF attempts getting pregnant on the 4th and losing the baby, we now have a 3 year old thru a very long adoption and are hoping to adopt again, as much as I long and want to be pregnant I would be terrified the whole time.

  17. You wrote previously that you were waiting for the skywriter. All I could think was "what clearer sign could you possibly need than a positive pregnancy test?!".

    Congratulations on your pregnancy and your choice. You all will be just fine. And happy. ;-)

  18. without a doubt! sending lots of positive energy your way from Texas.

  19. I'm so sorry you're having complications. And Dr. Google isn't always right, and is often not reassuring. I had two very uncomplicated pregnancies, and my third baby was surrounded by complications. 12 weeks of bed rest, beginning at 7 weeks. Two SCHs and less than 50% chance of her hanging with us. She's now two and perfectly healthy.

    God's got this one, no matter what happens. My mantra is the over-used "You only live once." Simple, but this is the only 2010 you get. The only year the trips will be 5 and the only year Henry will be 3. We don't get do-overs, so do what will make you all the happiest, and never apologize for it!

  20. Congratulations on making your decision! I will keep you and your little blessing in my thoughts. Take care!

  21. Jen, I know you have made the right decision. So far in Charlie and your life your gut feeling has been the way to go, it is the right thing, your family is so important to you. Any one who knows you knows that you are all about your family. Your education and work ethics of the both of you will get you through. Tomorrow will come, and I for one know it will be a pleasent day.

  22. I'm sending you happy, joyous, healthy thoughts from Texas.

    I don't know what else to say.

  23. Praying and hoping for the best for you! Hang in there!

  24. My first daughter was born on 12/25/02. In a blizzard. I found winter to be a very nice time of year to be very very pregnant.
    My heartfelt congratulations!!

  25. My mom was violently ill for a good 5 months when she pregnant with my youngest brother at the age of 40. She couldn't keep anything down - had to go to the hospital to get IV's on a regular basis. For all of us who she was pregnant with in her 20's - we were easy pregnancies.
    Everything is going to be okay!

  26. (((Jen)))) I don't entirely understand what you mean when you mention you are "experiencing" symptoms, but I'm fearing the worst. I've been "there" multiple times before my kiddos. And I just read the other post confirming my earlier suspicions. I know it's only a sliver of the rollercoaster you're experiencing.

    I just said a prayer for your safety and for the baby's. God bless you...

  27. Good call! The idea of leaving a newborn to head into a new job that requires 40 hrs + per week and commute time, sounds heartbreaking. I work 30 hrs a week and knew my job (thankfully not much outside office requirements and pretty low stress) but I was still heartbroken returning to work after both kids... it gets easier and I love our babysitter, but its not ideal and I am happy you're staying in a situation you're comfortable.

    I'm so excited to see you progress through this year!

  28. OMG! I hope everything is okay. REST REST REST! You need to protec that little as best you can in the first trimester! I am keeping my fingers crossed for you!

    Good decision on the job and staying in San Diego. This was God's way of telling you what to do about your dilemna. =)

  29. Hi,
    Just wanted to wish you well. My 1st trimester with my twins was horrible (and the 2nd and the 3rd) - bleeding, spotting, cramping etc (you name it). And yet everything came out fine. My 1st trimester with my surprise was fine (I didn't even know I was pg until 10wks, thank goodness - I couldn't take the stress again). I'm just into the 2nd trimester now, so can't say about the rest, but it has been fine so far. So, I know you know this, but just to give you extra encouragement - it all can be perfectly normal (or maybe not normal, but common), and hopefully they will get you in for an ultrasound ASAP so you can know what is going on.

    And whatever the end is, you stay or you go, congrats and lots of luck! I wish you all the best, and really enjoy reading your blog.

  30. Well, congratulations on so many levels! :) BTW, I have a few people praying for you up here in the frozen north. Yay.

    P.S. Maija Jesus sounds like a perfect name. (My-uh Hay-seuss)

  31. I'm glad you are finally feeling settled about your career decision. For whatever it's worth (which isn't much!) I think you made the right decision. "...there is absolutely no going wrong when you put your family first." You are right on!

    I'm praying for you and your baby.


  32. For your eyes only. At eight weeks I bled (alot) and it turned out to be a subdermal hematomia (blood clot where the baby attached). I have to take it easy for 4 weeks so the baby grew larger than the clot. I had her last Feb. but I did bleed throughout the pregnancy until 20 weeks.

    Who knew such a thing existed? Take care of yourself.

  33. Oh Jen you are a woman to be admired. You love your family and your children dearly. We clearly all see that. I cannot even begin to imagine the worry and concern over this decision. But know that you and Charlie have made the best decisions for your family. Your children are blessed to have you for a Mom who would do anything for her children. All of my Love as you find your new path.

  34. IT IS, everything will be fine and you made the right choice. As the old saying goes "on their deathbed no one ever said I wish I'd spent more time at my job"

  35. I'm sending my best thoughts your way that everything is going well with your growing little one. Early pregnancy can be so scary and so tenuous and so worry-filled-- I can't imagine doing it all while trying to negotiate such major life decisions. You are incredibly brave to face all these challenges with such a clearness of purpose: Family first, and always.

  36. Oh honey, I'll be hoping for the best for you.

    Two things I know for certain: One, no matter how many times you've been pregnant or how many kids, each one can be different. With my son (3rd kid, 4th pregnancy) I was sick from day one. Had never had that before. So, that means nothing really, but it's one thing I know. :)

    Two: Nothing is certain in life. Nothing. I've never been made more clear of that then in the last 6 months of my life. (And yet again in the past week.) Planning for the future is great, but only if you remember to live in the now.

    Working in an office and leaving 5 kids at home, just doesn't seem like something you want to do. So that's, the now that you do know. I'd go with that.

    ps. Again, congrats. I am thrilled for you. Truly.

    /end long novel in your comments section.

  37. Prayers for you Jen, just lots of prayers.


  38. Call me when you get some time.

  39. Wow. CONGRATULATIONS. You were looking for a sign. I would say that god could not be any more blatant then this blessing! Wow.

  40. Oh, Jen! Please tell us how everything is going. I went through this too and it is so hard! I hope you have a different result!

    I've been thinking about you a lot today and praying that everything is ok!


  41. I think you have done the right thing - considering the new pregnancy you have to factor in - hope all is okay.


  42. I am praying that everything turns out okay!

  43. Oh Jen. I'm praying. Love, Marg.

  44. Congratulations - again - on the pregnancy! I hope all is well. I have heard many many mothers say that one pregnancy and the next can be very very different, so hopefully just because this one is starting out a little more stormy when your last ones were easy doesn't mean anything. [You don't specify what the problems was (and of course that's fine) -- I'm hoping just some extra nausea or something?] My fingers are crossed for you!

  45. First off, I wish you a HUGE congratulations on your pregnancy! How wonderful! I follow your blog religiously and am very happy for your family!

    Secondly, you don't have to publish this comment, but I wanted to encourage you to look into job opportunities at Accenture, LLP (consulting, outsourcing, etc). While I am not sure what field you work in, you never know, Accenture might have something for you. Accenture has a fabulous respect for the working mother and encourages a flexible work schedule to accomodate a healthy work/life balance. (I didn't meant for that to sound like a commercial :) ) It is a great place to work and there are locations all over the US and world.

    Well, I wanted to pass that along to you and I wish you all the best!

  46. Congrats on your pregnancy! How exciting. I pray that your baby sticks and you have a healthy and happy 9 months.

  47. I keep looking to see if you've updated. I am thinking of you and praying that all is well, sending you as many positive vibes as I can muster to send from Jakarta to you.
    Kathryn x

  48. Thinking of you and sending positive thoughts.

  49. Hi Jen,

    My eyes are welling up just thinking about you. I definately held my son a lot tighter after reading your post. Thank you for reminding us all how precious our children are. I wish that reminder did not come at your expense in your very scary situation. My thoughts and hopes are with you.


  50. Hope it all works out - it's probably a stress thing.

    My first baby was born on Christmas Eve - the best present I could ever have hoped for....although she is not as impressed as I am with it.

    Good luck

  51. Bless your heart. Thinking and praying for you.

  52. I think I may have commented on previous post, but I've been following your blog for a while and am really interested in your perspective on being a working mother! For my women's studies project in college I have been keeping a blog to record the theoretical ideas of working women but also to connect with the experiences of actual working mother. I would really appreciate any comments you have about what I'm writing if you have time, thanks :)