Welp! It’s that time of year again…the most wonderful time of the year where I get pregnant! Hold up, #Don’tJudgeMeYet! I have actually gone about 20 plus months without getting pregnant! (waits for standing ovation) This is the longest I have ever gone and the longest any of my babies have ever gone without a buddy or a new sibling! Go Philip! Go me!
It is not like I have to explain myself but I will because I know a lot of people will think I, we, are crazy. Well, they thought that before so…no biggie! Let me start by saying that both my husband and my children have been asking me for a baby since our youngest, Philip, was about six months old. With that said I think I held off for a long time, no? But recently, right before Christmas my husband had this idea that, “We should really give God something very big for Christmas this year.” In his mind he was thinking something monetary but me, I was not thinking that at all. I thought about it for a day or so and it just came to me, clear as day, in my mind and heart. That is when I waited for him to come home and we sat down to chat alone and I told him of my idea, “What bigger gift could we give Him than that of a baby? Than that of being completely open to life again?” If an image is worth a thousand words you would have loved to have seen his face! Why? Because I have always been the one to say, “I’m done. I was retired at #4. I am good. I do not need more children.” Yes I have said it but alas we have always had more and I will tell you why and how: because that is what God wanted for us. God has put it in our hearts perpetually over 13 years.
Peter, our first was planned. After Peter children number 2 through 8 were not planned by any means. During this time, especially after number 4, we tried to doing Natural Family Planning and eventually Creighton. It did not work for me initially. I think I was overthinking it. Children 2 through 7 were surprises and number 8 I call him my Melatonin baby because I was taking it at the time to help me sleep and I did not realize until I was pregnant that it can mess with your cycles. Now, for number 9, it was not that he was planned because between 8 and 9 we finally “mastered” The Creighton Method but we knew that there was a very VERY SMALL chance we could get pregnant and we both agreed to take that chance. Sure enough, we then got pregnant. As they say, it only takes one time (sometimes!)! (Sidebar: how apropos it is that our wedding song is: It Only Takes A Moment! Lol) So with all of that said, God wanted us to have the amount of children we did. He is always the one in control. Even though the last post-partum period was the very worse for me I look at #9, Philip, and I am in awe of him. He has changed our lives so much and so much for the better and I, we, could not imagine life without him!
So after my husband Nick got over the initial shock of my gift offering I told him to think about, pray about it and let me know. It didn’t take long and he agreed it was the best thing to do, the best gift to give Jesus for His Birthday. For me personally this was a HUGE step. I had only felt “normal” (from my PPD/PPA) since August so this was not going to be easy. I had just found the lifestyle change (fasting) that I believe could help me finally lose all the baby weight once and for all. From a human standpoint it was a scary concept in that at the time we did not have a renter for our unit and I was losing my job. BUT, as I told Nick, what better gift to give Him than that of TOTAL TRUST. After all, “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not more valuable.” For both of us and for our family it was also taking on a lot of stress: me being pregnant at an older age with 9 children, Nick having to do more, the kids having to do more, and then the added stress once baby comes home with or without my post-partum issues. So, this was no easy peasy decision.
I do understand that given all I have said that people will still think I am crazy or even crazier and that is ok. I don’t call myself a rebel for nutin! Thank God I do not mind about what people think! That is a grace from God. What is most important to me and to my family is that we do the will of God. I care what God thinks. I care what God wants. What I have always said and I will always say is that God cannot be outdone in generosity. He can’t! If you give, He gives more. He always will. But we only have one life to give, one life to live. “What we do here and now echoes in eternity.” Maximus said it perfectly! God does not care about money; God does not need money. God wants our will united to His. And when we do that, openly and freely, He gives us the graces we need to get through it for, “God will not give us more than we can handle”, right? Right.
People have this big misconception that children cost a lot of money. They actually don’t if you do it the right way (as in a cost effective way) and if you are not extremely selfish. In our house do you want to know what costs the most amount of money? Dunkin donuts. Date nights. Sushi. Facials. Massages. That’s the truth! If you breastfeed you save money. If you can’t or don’t breastfeed Sam’s club/Costco sells formula at a fraction of the cost of brand name formula and yet they have the same exact ingredients. Diapers? Go to Sam’s club and get 220 diapers for $35. If you can’t afford it go to your local pregnancy center and they will help you out. Clothing? Shoes? There are two glorious things for this: hand-me-downs and thrift shops/consignment sales. Food? Go to Sam’s club and buy in bulk. Eat foods that can go a long way like rice and beans and etc. When they get older HAVE YOUR CHILDREN GET A JOB to help out with their needs or the family’s needs. Have THEM save for a car. Have THEM pay their insurance. College? No problem! There is a glorious thing called student loans or your children can just pay collage as they go. Marriage? No problem nowadays many groom’s families chip in on the bill. So, you see where I am going with this? Children do not cost a lot of money; WE DO. We as humans are or tend to be selfish. We want what we want when we want it. We don’t want to sacrifice. So we don’t have kids. We don’t have more kids. I get it (thus our 20 month break). Now, obviously there are people who cannot have children or cannot have more children and that is completely different. Even though we shouldn’t judge people – people do judge me because I am too open to life but maybe I also unfortunately judge people for NOT being open to life? So let’s just not judge each other! I can only speak for myself and I, we, are on a journey and our journey is eternity. I have to get my family to heaven and so I-in union with my husband-am doing what I firmly believe will get us there.
As many people know I have been blessed to have had pretty much perfect pregnancies, labors and deliveries. For those of you who do not know or recall I did have post-partum depression/anxiety (PPD/PPA) after the birth of our fourth child. However, I did not have it with children numbers 5-8. And now that I am more informed after my last bout of it I know how to try to prevent it and if I can’t then I know how to tackle it immediately following the birth of the baby. I am not the type of person to let something define me. PPD/PPA will not define me and it will not prevent me from having more children. The only thing that will prevent me from having more children is God. So God-willing this child will be born and will be an amazing Saint for God one day. That is my hope; that is my prayer. And maybe in the process this child will help me get a little closer to becoming a Saint.
While I may not let something like an illness define me I am always up for a challenge and my Uncle Tino did kinda challenge me. In his annual Christmas letter he did make mention of me being a slacker for not being pregnant yet! I chuckled to myself when I read it but then thought maybe that is a nudge from God for me? I already had nudges from my husband and children but maybe this was another one. Guess what the ironic part is? When I was diagnosed with post-partum depression and anxiety I got a test done to see if I was fertile or not. Up until that point I had never had one because clearly I was very fertile. However the test revealed that I was very infertile. This was so very sad for me. I know people may not understand it but it really was. I knew or thought in my heart it was a side effect of my PPD/PPA. I tested it a year later when I felt better and though the numbers went up I was still considered infertile. My Doctor told me very nicely, “I know what it is says on paper but look at history too JoAnne.” So when we went to try conceive Diaz #10 we really did not know if it would happen. I had no symptoms whatsoever and I was shocked when I found out I was pregnant. But, if you ask me, the bottom line is if God wants you to get pregnant, you will get pregnant! I tell my friends who cannot achieve pregnancy that it is for a reason and should it happen it will happen in God’s timing. The words are not easy but they are true and just because I chose to be open to life does not make my being pregnant any easier. It is still a major sacrifice but it is one that I chose to offer up.
I am so thankful for those people in our lives that support us, that love us even if they may not agree with us. I may not always agree with people but I still love them and out of charity I try to help them in any way that I can. We are all very excited about this pregnancy. I feel very very blessed and very truly humbled.
So there you have it; the “skinny” on the conception of Diaz #10! We found out right away but I wanted to keep it a secret (for the first time ever!) since I am older now and wanted to wait until my first Doctor’s appointment which was today. Thank God the baby is on target for weight/measurements, the heartbeat is nice and strong and everything with me is fine. I very am proud to say that our children actually kept this a secret for almost a month!
As I said in the beginning, I did not have to explain this but I wanted to. And trust me, I am okay with you thinking I am crazy. And I thank you in advance for loving us and supporting us in this, the next Chapter in our love story with God.
JoAnne & Co.
P.S. For those of you who may have been watching me on Facebook I have been using the hastag #GoBigOrGoHome since Christmas Eve. So that is this pregnancy’s hashtag! You may have also noticed that I have not posted any wine pics or etc. Did you know?