An Elephant in the Back Yard?


Today is the anniversary of the day we found out that I was pregnant with Kristen.  The weeks that led up to October 10, 2008 found me generally not feeling well and having hot flashes ("personal summers" as a good friend of mine calls them).  I won't go into all the reasons why, but I truly believed that I was experiencing early menopause.  That's what led me to make an appointment with my OB/GYN.  Imagine my surprise to find that I was not going through any kind of menopause, but was pregnant!

Will had called me at lunch that day, knowing that my appointment had been that morning.  I didn't want to tell him this unexpected news over the phone and tried very hard to put him off until he got home that evening.  I could sense the worry growing in his voice, however, so I said, "I didn't want to tell you like this, but I'm pregnant."  (There was a long pause on the other end of the phone...)

At this point we already had two daughters who were well past the stage of relying on us for everything.  They could do most things by themselves, and we had all grown very accustomed to that level of independence.  The girls helped with chores around the house and were capable of conversations beyond their years (my dear sister-in-law has said many times that her talks with Emily, even when Emily was only 6 years old, were far more intellectual than many conversations with her friends!).  The thought of starting all over with a little one was a 180 degrees from where either of us thought we were headed.  We were perfectly content with our family of four.

After the initial shock wore off, we shared the news with the girls over supper.  I'm not even sure exactly what day it was, but I do remember going through our traditional goofy question ritual.  I'll explain.  Most evenings when Will arrived home from work, the girls would meet him at the door with hugs and squeals of delight at seeing their daddy.  Grace often continued the welcome with, "Guess what, Daddy!"  It became a game of Daddy coming up with silly guesses and generally concluded with a comment of "There's an elephant in the back yard!"  (By this time, Grace had often forgotten what she wanted to tell him in the first place.)  That night, over our chicken and noodles (with mashed potatoes, of course), we told the girls that we had some news to share with them.  The guesses began!  Grace thought we were moving, and was relieved to find out that we weren't.  Amid laughter after hearing the obligatory "There's an elephant in the back yard," Emily shouted, "Mom's going to have a baby!"

Will and I exchanged surprised looks across the table and then told them, that yes, we were going to have a baby.  That was such a special time, one that we have a hard time remembering together, even now.  The joy that was shared around the dinner table that night seems to be overshadowed by the great sadness that has taken up residence here.  I pray that there will come a day when we can share in that memory as a family and smile, even laugh...perhaps over chicken and noodles with mashed potatoes.


Linda Seibert said...

Thanks for sharing. Your family has gone through so much, and yet you have the strength and ability to share feelings. God bless you and your family. Linda

Lori said...

I'm always so grateful for such precious memories...even though they are bittersweet and they hurt...I'm so grateful that I was able to experience them.

Lots of love!!!

Jennifer said...

I had "personal summers" when I was pregnant with Eli also. He is the only one I experienced that with. What a wonderful memory you have of sharing such wonderful news with your family. Memories are something that can never be taken from you. Thank you for sharing this sweet moment with us! xoxo

Kara said...

I pray that you will come to that place Kim - where the memories can be sweet and not so painful. Such a lovely story! =) Brought tears to my eyes and made me want to give you a real hug - as I felt tonight during bible study.

Amber said...

Another Peace of your Heart has lodged in mine and brought me to Kristen's photos to gaze into her eyes.

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