One Word: 2019
Alternately Titled: It's All About Perspective.
For 2019 my One Word was Vitality. When I got the word I questioned it as first (I think I always do), because it wasn't super inspiring, and it also didn't have any connection to a word about going... which is what I was really wanting at the end of 2018; to GO and get back on the field. But alas, Vitality was the word. So I sat down with O, we both created little posters of our words. I put it on the wall in my room as a daily reminder/motivator.
Then I really started taking it to heart. I started working out at the Y, pushing myself harder and harder on the elliptical machine until I was running very hilly 11 minute miles 3-5 times a week, often going 3-7 miles a day. On top of that I was taking strength classes, lifting weights and I even did a month-long trial with Camp Gladiator. I was LIVING my word. It. Felt. So. Good. I was gaining muscle. Losing weight. Feeling strong. Having more energy. Really feeling alive and well and strong and capable! I ended up loving that my word of the year was vitality. Seeing it on my wall every day made me smile because of all that I had accomplished. I loved my gym time. Not only did it feel great to work out, but it really boosted my mental/emotional/spiritual health. I'm tellin' ya, this word, though it seemed dumb to me at first, was changing my life in all the ways. If I couldn't get to the gym during the week as usual, it really bummed me out. I craved that solo time on the elliptical, trying to beat my own records each day.
When we'd go camping, I loved feeling so strong and capable and ready for those long hikes through the mountains. I enjoyed being able to play front-yard soccer longer with O and being able to rearrange the furniture by myself if I wanted!
Then, after a fun-filled summer day enjoying our season passes (best Christmas gift ever!) to the local water park (so. many. stairs. But it was fine because I was strong!), we ventured over to the roller coaster side of the amusement park for some fun as the sun went down. The first coaster we went on was called the Hurler. It's a wooden coaster that goes quite fast, but is very bumpy! After we got off and sat down to plan our next ride, I felt a little funny. The ride shook me around a bit, but I love coasters and it wasn't anything worse than any other ride I'd been on. As I sat there thinking through the reasons I might feel funny - what had I eaten so far, when had I last eaten, how much water had I been drinking - it occurred to me that I hadn't yet had my monthly cycle. I wasn't extremely alarmed, because ever since the surgery for the ectopic pregnancy my cycles hadn't been quite as predictable as before. I opted to stay grounded the rest of the day anyway, mainly because I just felt wonky. The boys had fun on a few more coasters and we called it a day - we were all exhausted!
The next morning, just for kicks, I dug around in the cabinet under the bathroom sink seeing if I had any old pregnancy tests laying around. Bingo. One left. Not expired (though not far from it). I took it, mainly to put my mind at east that I was just a couple days late and that we could plan our next trip to the amusement park for the following weekend. Before I could even get up off the toilet the plus sign showed up. And it's probably a good thing I was still sitting because I definitely felt like soiling myself when I saw it. (just being honest) I let an expletive fly, shook the test like it was an etch-a-sketch to see if it was registering wrong, and stood up and looked at it more closely. Not that I needed to. The plus sign was very evident, dark and could probably be seen from Mars. Okay, maybe that's exaggerating.
When I told my husband his face resembled a shocked cartoon character (my sentiments exactly, babe). This was NOWHERE on our radar. Several months previously we had discussed it, and really felt a peace about not trying to grow our family with anymore biological children. It was too hard on my body, pregnancy didn't seem to agree with me, and with my history, it just didn't seem worth it. We were in a really good place with it all mentally, emotionally and physically. Honestly, I didn't want to be pregnant again. I was feeling so strong and energized, I didn't want to be slowed down! So, being totally honest here (again, because let's keep it real), some of the first few thoughts that passed through my mind (other than that expletive) were: "No more roller coasters. Now I can't go whitewater rafting with O. Can I keep working out? Even if I can, it won't be the same." I'm not trying to sound like a jerk - I know some of you reading this right now may have struggled with infertility, miscarriage, etc. I am one of those women too. We were just ready to move on. I was feeling so good and living a life full of vitality. This wasn't what I wanted. And why would God give me that word in the first place if half way through the year it would cease to be true?
As the pregnancy progressed these feelings didn't go away. I was put on restrictions, just as precaution because of my crazy history. This meant all I could do for exercise was walk. Not that I really wanted to exercise much anyway between the nausea and lethargy I was dealing with. Then, as I got bigger and bigger I became (heck, still become) increasingly frustrated with the utter lack of vitality evident in my life. I kept asking my doctors why this pregnancy was so painful and causing me to be so incapable. Their response was a) my age, b) the number of pregnancies I've had and c) the trauma my body has gone through with said pregnancies. Great. Well, at least it's 'normal' for me to be almost completely incapable of anything. I can't walk around for more than 30 minutes at a time without feeling like my muscles are actually ripping in half. I struggle to put my socks on, shoes must be slip-ons. I couldn't help with decorating for Christmas like I usually do. It takes me twice as long to shower and get ready. Lifting anything more than 10lbs makes my muscles feel like they're just going to rip themselves out of my body and walk away in defeat. Getting in and out of a car takes strategic movements. Rolling over in bed is a full-out gymnastics routine, and it usually only lasts until 1-2am when I give up and move to the recliner for the rest of the night. This. Is. Not. Vitality. Don't laugh, but I actually give that poster on my wall dirty looks sometimes. The other night I casually mentioned to hubby that I was thinking of taking it down, "because I'm basically living a life opposite of vitality right now," I told him. He laughed. I gave him that dirty look and a sarcastic, "Thanks, babe!" He stopped laughing. "What? I thought you were joking!"
"I am absolutely not joking. I can't do hardly anything without either needing help or being in pain!" I retort.
"But you're growing a life inside of you. If that's not vitality, I don't know what is."
There aren't many times hubby has rendered me speechless, but that was one of them.
Turns out, my perspective was just off. In the first half of the year, I was living the literal definition of the word. Working out all the time, getting stronger. And during this second half of the year, while I may feel physically (totally and utterly) defunct, I am growing a life inside of me. And what's more, I've been able to sustain that life longer than the previous 4 pregnancies combined.
Maybe it's because of that first half of the year, and the changes I made to my lifestyle. Though, honestly, I don't think it has anything to do with me. I think it has everything to do with our Always Good Father, who promised his sweet son, Owen, that he would have a sibling someday. It has everything to do with our Always Good Father, who is in the business of redemption, creating beauty and life from ashes. It has everything to do with our Always Good Father, who knew that Vitality would spur me on to become stronger - not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually too. He knew our relationship would grow stronger, my dependence on him would grow stronger, and our boy's faith would grow stronger when he saw the answer to his prayers growing in his mama's belly.