I hate keeping secrets. That’s not to say that I’m not good at it- I just don’t like doing it. When I have good news, I like to tell everyone- IMMEDIATELY. When I was accepted to my graduate program of choice, I posted the news on Facebook right away. It was the same deal when I was hired at Mt. Carmel, and again at St. Ignatius. I wanted to tell the world immediately. When Andrew proposed to me last year, I called my family and close friends as quickly as possible, but I was still itching to post it on Facebook and blog about it. I don’t like waiting to share good news. I don’t like keeping secrets.
So now I have a confession to make, a secret to divulge. My husband and I didn’t go on our honeymoon by ourselves. Unbeknownst to us and to the world, we were accompanied by another person. We smuggled them onto a plane-twice. We snuck them onto multiple roller coasters. They were with us when we met Cinderella and Prince Charming at 1900 Park Fare, as we dined in Belle’s Enchanted Castle in Magic Kingdom, when we plunged down the elevator shaft of the Tower of Terror in Hollywood Studios. And yet no one knew. We didn’t even know.
I have a secret that I can finally share with the world. Our honeymoon has become our first Whitmore family vacation. We didn’t go alone. But we didn’t bring friends with us. We met some of our family in Disney, but we only saw them a handful of times. And yet our own flesh and blood still managed to accompany us everywhere. We didn’t know it at the time, but there was a little secret growing inside me. Two weeks after returning home, Andrew and I learned that we had become parents. I was pregnant.
Suddenly, we began to see our honeymoon in an entirely different light. Our baby had been a tiny ball of cells as we boarded our plane to Orlando. He or she was growing quickly as we hopped from amusement park to amusement park in Disney. They were making themselves comfortable in their home for the next ten months as we dined in Belle’s Castle, became acquainted with Cinderella and Prince Charming, and screamed at the top of our lungs as we rocketed towards the ground on the Tower of Terror ride. Fortunately, Baby Whitmore was not negatively affected by those more extreme rides- but we might have created an adrenaline junkie in the process.
In case you were wondering, Andrew and I wanted to get pregnant right away. I had always dreamed of being a young mother. Andrew very much wanted to become a father. We had prayed about it often, and we both knew that our situation was quite conducive to starting a family. Andrew is still in school, but his schedule is pretty flexible. Even better, he is finished with his coursework, and he won’t be teaching any undergrad classes during the spring semester. As for me, I began working full-time at St. Ignatius in July, but I still work from home three out of five days of the week. Though I would increase my work days to three during the school year, we also knew that Andrew would be available on the weekends to take care of the child that we hoped to conceive. We were optimistic about our circumstances, so we chose not to use NFP (Natural Family Planning) as a way to avoid pregnancy,
We also chose not to use NFP to increase our chances of conceiving. Andrew and I mutually decided that we would leave it totally in God’s hands, coming together as husband and wife when we wanted, but not being overly burdened by my biological rhythms. We decided not to chart at the beginning, avoiding the pressure that occasionally comes with the need to become one when you’re both fertile (which is only about three days of the month). We would become one when we wanted to become one, and we would abstain when we wanted to abstain. We both agreed that if we found it difficult to get pregnant, we would begin using NFP to encourage conception.
Obviously, we never reached that point. We did not have long to wait. Two weeks after returning from our honeymoon, I found myself staring at two pink lines on a home pregnancy test, dumb-founded. We had hoped to get pregnant quickly, but we didn’t expect to be successful immediately. And yet, as we watched our baby’s heart beating on the ultrasound screen four weeks later, the doctor confirmed what I had already expected: our little boy or girl had come into existence almost immediately after we were married. Just hours after becoming one at the altar, we had become co-creators with God, giving life to a third.
The fruitfulness of our love for one another, and the fruitfulness of God’s love for us, was immediately clear. The fruit of this love took form within me and has been growing ever since (if you were wondering, he or she is currently the size of a plum). Knowing that this new life was dwelling within me was the most incredible feeling in the world, and it has only become more real as time has gone on. Now, we are approaching the second trimester, and our baby is growing by leaps and bounds. Their heart is beating rapidly- nearly 130 beats per minute. They have tiny fingers and toes that can already clench and unclench. Just last week, we had the privilege of watching our son or daughter waving at us on an ultrasound, and I was amazed as I watched the little form on the screen jump up when I laughed. The knowledge that Andrew and I are parents, that this little form inside me- which has already caused me some pain and nausea, but loads more joy and excitement- is our baby, seems to become more real by the day.
At the beginning, our little baby was our little secret. For a few hours, I was the only person who knew of his or her existence. For days, Andrew and I shared this little secret between just the two of us. Then we began to share it with our parents, followed by our close relatives and our best friends. And yet, on a different level, he or she remained a secret. At first, there was nothing to confirm that I was pregnant besides two pink lines on a tiny screen. Then we had a sonogram print-out to prove our baby’s existence. After a few weeks, I began to experience some faint nausea that was fortunately fairly easy to hide. My word and our strip of sonogram photos were our only proof for a while, but now there is just the slightest bump, a constant reminder to me that our little baby is with me. Now I can finally tell the world our good news, and in just a few weeks, I won’t even have to open my mouth. Our little child will have made himself or herself known to the world. And in just six months or so, we’ll finally be able to meet our son or daughter for the first time. We’ll be able to hold him or her in our arms, and I know it’s going to be the most amazing experience ever. We can’t wait to meet Baby Whitmore.
Mary Help of Christians, pray for us!