Gwen refused to be in this photo from our trip to NOLA on the way home for Thanksgiving. But THERE’S STILL FIVE PEOPLE IN THE PICTURE. Did you catch that?!
I’m good at keeping secrets about other people. About myself? Not so much. And I’ve been dying to tell you this for the past month!
It is with greatest joy that I announce that we are expecting a new baby next summer! We are absolutely thrilled about this new life and so grateful that God has chosen us to be his/her parents.
With each of my four pregnancies, I have been very much amazed by the mystery of life. I know it’s impossible to deserve such a gift and I can only stand in awe of it.
Do you have questions? I have answers!
When’s the due date?
Harry Potter’s birthday, July 31st. So I think we can expect great things from this little Chosen One…of course the past two babies were more than a week late so….I think we can expect an August babe.
Did you plan this?
Yeah. I mean…I guess. When you don’t contracept, it’s really just as matter of not avoiding certain fertile periods of the month anymore and just seeing what happens. We were very much hoping for a baby and had stopped charting when we got pregnant.
Why’d you wait so long between babies?
I know you are FAR too polite to ask this, but since I find it really helpful to understand how Catholic couples try to discern expanding their families, I thought I’d be really open about this in case it helps someone. Gwen will be FIVE when this new baby is born (what?! How did that happen?!). So yeah, it’s kinda been awhile. The number one reason we’ve spaced out babies so far is how severe my morning sickness (or HG, hyperemesis gravidarum) is. Being so ill while caring for a 3yo and a 10 month old baby when I was pregnant with Gwen was……unbearable. It was really hard and kind of traumatizing for me and for the other kids (since I was basically MIA for a few months and couldn’t bear to even be touched by them). So that was a big piece of needing to wait longer for another pregnancy. Then I also needed a little mental sanity break from pregnancy and newborns–particularly with our move across the country. And then I had a flare up of my autoimmune issues that took time to get under control again. So once that was all sorted out and I had forgotten how awful it feels to have HG, we were ready to try again! And I felt that tugging on my heart whenever I’d see a newborn.
Do you really get THAT sick?
I guess it depends on what you mean. There are certainly women who get HG WAY worse than I do and have to be hospitalized for months of their pregnancy just to stay hydrated. My first two pregnancies I was just nauseous 24/7 for several months with daily vomiting. My third pregnancy I couldn’t even keep down water and was quickly dropping weight and had to take prescription drugs to control it. I had hoped that doing all sorts of preventative things would keep me from being so sick this time, but it’s been playing out just like my 3rd pregnancy. Crippling nausea beginning at the end of the 4th week. Like can’t get out of bed, can’t smell food, can’t shower, can’t drive, can’t sleep kind of nausea. Thank GOODNESS my kids are old enough to be able to feed themselves! By week 6 I was despairing and asked to be put on the same drug I was on when I was pregnant with Gwen. I took my first dose before bed and woke up in the middle of the night just queasy….not overwhelmed by nausea. I cried with relief. The next day I got up out of bed! I took a shower! I made lunch for my kids (ok, it was mac n’ cheese but it was the first time I had been in the kitchen in ages)! So yeah, I get really sick. Way beyond typical morning sickness. But it’s controllable with meds and neither my baby nor I have been in danger due to the HG, so I know I have it better than a lot of people.
Are you gonna find out the gender?
Yes! One of the heartbreaking things about HG is that you feel so wretched that you start to think of your due date as the day you’re freed from the nausea rather than the day you meet your baby. It can honestly be hard to bond with your little one in utero because it’s difficult to think about anything but how sick you are. So finding out the gender helps me remember why I’m putting myself through it all and helps me bond with my baby. It helps to know whether baby is a boy or a girl so I can start calling him/her by name. It just really helps me mentally.
Do you have names picked out?
We do have some frontrunner names for each gender but we’re gonna let them simmer for a little while before we settle on anything.
Are the other kids excited?
Oh. My. Word. They are THRILLED. Benjamin is just dying for a baby brother, so for his sake I hope it’s a boy. And Gwen is telling everyone she sees (like EVERYONE. Like random people in the grocery story everyone) that mommy’s having a baby. We have tried to deter her, but she will. not. be. stopped. They have all really stepped up over the past few weeks to take care of me. Benjamin always makes sure I have a La Croix to sip on and they are doing their absolute best to make everything easy for me while I feel sick.
How do you plan to deliver?
Planning on a fourth midwife-assisted hospital birth.
Have you seen your midwife yet?
Not yet! I’m only about 6.5 weeks along, so I have two more weeks before my first appointment. I would love to have your prayers that baby looks healthy and strong!
So 2018 is shaping up to be a pretty exciting year for the Stewarts. A baby’s birth expected in the summer and a book release in the fall. I feel so grateful….and very queasy, but mostly grateful. While I struggle through the worst weeks of nausea and plough through book edits, things might be pretty quiet around here. I know some of you have been around from the very beginning of the blog and followed our family as we’ve grown. I’m so grateful for each of you. Thanks for everything. Y’all are the absolutely best readers in the universe. There is no doubt in my mind about that.
P.S. Especially considering we’re in the holiday season which is already a difficult time for those grieving a loss or struggling with infertility, I know that even hearing pregnancy news from someone you don’t know in real life can be hard. If you are carrying that pain through this holiday season, please know I’m praying for you, offering up my HG for you, and that you are remembered and loved.