The Story of You: Announcing Baby Walker

Every time I sit down to write this post, I start crying and end up having to stop. It's happened more times than I'd like to admit, because it's still just so surreal to me that I'm going to be a mom. But, it's one of those stories that I can't help but write, to get out there, to share our story, because it's such a beautiful, blessed season in our life. It's one of those stories that I don't know where to start, because it's been a part of me for so long. 

I'll be 19 weeks on Thursday, which is prime time to start blogging about the journey, right? Better late than never, I say! 2015 was a bittersweet year for us as a couple--we spent the end of 2014 and the first few months of 2015 hopeful and excited that the Lord was leading us to starting our family. Andrew and I have always known that we were born to be parents; it was one of the first things that attracted me to him. I could tell he would be an incredible father, and he said the same thing about me becoming a mother. It was never an "if" we have kids for us, it was always just a "when." We started praying early on that the Lord would bless us with children--whether they be biological or adopted, we didn't care. We just knew we wanted kids and as many as the Lord would bless us with.

A few months into the "trying" part of starting a family, we realized that it wasn't going to be as easy as we thought it would be. Naive, maybe, but I never expected to struggle with getting pregnant. My medical mind continuously reminded my heart that this was normal and that it often takes a while to conceive, but my heart wasn't accepting that. We continued to try and pray and beg the Lord for His will to be done for us, but month after month, the answer was still no. And my heart hurt. I wanted to badly to still praise His name in the waiting, but I really struggled with it. I spent the summer wrestling with why this was happening and trying to continue to seek Him in that time, even when I was bitter and heartbroken that I still wasn't pregnant. 

I had friends in that time who spoke more love and truth into my heart than I could've ever imagined, and looking back, I know that was just God providing and preparing me for what was to come. That was one of His many provisions over me during those days. I am so thankful for those women, some in the same season as me, some with kids of their own, and some in the process of adopting. It was a beautiful, glorious picture of God's grace to see all of our stories woven together. I wouldn't change that for anything. 

The end of summer came with yet another negative pregnancy test, and after talking with a couple of my OBs at work, Andrew and I decided it was time to seek out a doctor's help. Infertility isn't diagnosed until after a year of actively trying to conceive, so at month 10 of our process, we weren't quite in that category yet, but in my heart, I knew something wasn't right. I had ultrasounds done and blood work drawn, and everything checked out fine. Which was reassuring, of course, but at the end of the day, we still weren't pregnant. Another round of blood work later, it was determined that some of my hormones during ovulation were low, so finally, there was a possible reason for no baby. A couple of months passed, and with the help of medication, my levels were normal again and my OB said he felt hopeful for that month to be the month of baby. It felt so great to hear those words, but of course, I was still doubtful. That doubt crept into my heart and really plagued those days.

I so vividly remember a night at work when we had no mamas and babies. I was sitting in the breakroom eating my lunch and reading "Every Bitter Thing is Sweet" by Sara Hagerty. There's a part of the book that I knew was written just for me to read. Sara is questioning God, "What if I pray, seek, and ask and you don't heal me?" She then says, "He answered with a dream for me that is far beyond what I'd whittled down for myself." God spoke so clearly to me in that time; He said, "Rachel, what if I don't give you a baby? Am I enough? Is having ME and only Me enough for you?" I can't say it's the first time I've cried at work, but it's definitely the hardest I've cried. I knew in my heart then that the Lord had me in the palm of His hand and I needed to stop worrying over every detail. My whole perspective shifted and my focus was on Him and glorifying Him through my trials instead of dwelling on my trials themselves. It didn't fix everything but joy was my song from then on. 

About a week later, it was supposed to be that time of the month, and of course, it was in the back of my mind every second of that day. I had no pregnancy symptoms, but knew there was a pregnancy test in the bottom drawer of my bathroom. I decided to bite the bullet and take one before work one night. Clearly expecting a negative, I went ahead and got in the shower after taking it and left it sitting there for a while. I came back to it and saw a big, clear PREGNANT. I stood there in shock for no telling how long. I always planned to tell Andrew in a cute way, but in that moment, all I could do was grab the test and run to him, with tears in my eyes. 

It was absolutely surreal, the best moment of my life so far! We turned on "Good, Good Father" and danced in the kitchen and I'm fairly certain I cried some more. I don't think we stopped smiling for at least a week. That joy was written all over our faces! I spent a small fortune on pregnancy tests and took probably 8 more before we went for our first OB appointment--I just needed to keep seeing that positive test! That sweet, sweet positive. 

How did you announce? I immediately FaceTimed my sister (who burst into tears, by the way!) and then called my best friend. I couldn't hold it in for another second--I had to at least tell the two of them. We told our families after our first doctor's appointment and shared with our close friends a few weeks later. The more people praying, the better, in my opinion! I was too thrilled not to share with those people who had been praying for baby Walker since the beginning. We bought our two nieces "big cousin" shirts to tell our families. My niece wore hers over to my parent's house for dinner one night and surprised everyone! Andrew's sister opened their onesie for our niece born in December in front of that side of the family. It was so fun to see people's reactions. My best friends all got watercolor cards that said "Only the best friends get promoted to aunt! We're having a baby!" It was perfect and simple and what I always imagined. Everyone was so surprised and so excited and it just thrilled my heart to have the people we love the most as joyful about this new little life as we were. I wish I had taken more photos of us telling our people, but I was way too in the moment to care! 

When is Baby Walker's due date? So, we're due June 16, 2016. Yep, 6/16/16. What a fun due date, right? I'm 18 weeks and 4 days today, so almost halfway! I can't wait to feel this little one moving inside of me!

How have I been feeling? Honestly, I've had the easiest pregnancy so far. There are days when I forget I'm pregnant and realize it all over again, it's been so easy. I know, I'm lucky. I had a few moments of nausea in the first trimester but never got sick a single time. The only symptom I've really had is just fatigue, but I don't think me working the night shift helps that at all. I have random aches and pains after working 12 hours on my feet, but I think that's to be expected, too! I am so thankful for how easy it's been and pray that the second half is just as great!

Do you know the sex? We aren't finding out if it's a boy or girl until delivery! Yes, I know we're crazy--we get that reaction from every.single.person who asks us. Andrew and I decided early on in dating that when we had kids, we would wait to find out the sex. And now, after having been a L&D nurse for this long, they're my favorite deliveries. There's just something thrilling about the parents not's the only time in our lives that we'll truly be surprised. Plus, we're just thankful there's a baby growing in me! Boy or girl, we'll be just as thrilled.

Any gender guesses? Andrew thinks boy and I have no idea. I thought boy at first, but now I'm super undecided. I've had all kinds of friends tell me it's a girl. So who knows! Just praying for a healthy little baby!

Will I keep working? Definitely for as long as I can through the pregnancy. Planning on working up until this baby arrives! I know night shift + 12 hour shifts won't be easy, but I also know it's possible! I'm praying that the Lord will provide a way for me to go back part-time after baby comes, because I do love my job so much. 

Sleep? Maternity clothes? Cravings? I'm still sleeping pretty well. Just waking up for a bathroom break every few hours! My sister let me borrow her Snoodle and it's the best thing ever. I've made the big switch over to maternity jeans because my normal ones were just a little too snug. I'm telling you, those and maternity leggings are sent from heaven. Cravings? All things salty. I've rarely wanted anything sweet! Salty, savory, and sour are my go-to foods! 

What I'm looking forward to Feeling little baby move, for sure! I've had a couple of flutters but am not sure if it's the baby or me just imagining it. We had our anatomy scan last week and saw him/her moving around like crazy! I love, love, love hearing that heartbeat. Best sound in the world! Oh, and my sweet sister has started planning my baby shower and I'm so looking forward to that, too! I've dreamed of that day for so long, almost more than my own wedding. I can't wait to have the women I love in one room, celebrating this sweet, precious life! Makes me tear up just thinking about it. 

I can't guarantee I'll be posting weekly bumpdates, but I'll definitely be writing and posting from time to time, just to keep all these sweet memories written down to remember in the days to come! 

Baby Walker, you are so loved and have already been prayed for more than you'll ever imagine. We can't wait to be your parents!

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