Five years ago (also on a Friday!), Jared and I tied the ole knot.
Today he is 2000 miles away in Haiti: painting houses, hugging orphans, pouring concrete, and growing in his walk with the Big Guy.
There is literally no where else I’d prefer him to be on our anniversary.
I will spare you a sappy novel about how I love my husband, but I’m reflecting today on the past five years and everything we’ve gone through as partners and it makes me a tad weepy. (I get it. I’m pregnant. And my hubs is in a third-world, cholera-infested country.)
The truth is marriage is a blast at times. And other times it’s a helluvah allotta work. Jared and I are the world’s WORST fighters. He gets stubborn. I get selfish and emotional. Neither of us are wrong (obviously). We tend to have a pattern of going through a four-month stretch of blissful fight-free-marriage, then stumble upon a rough week of knock-down drag-out fights. My point being, it’s not perfect. But there are perfect days. Months even. Days where he makes me laugh so hard, you’d think the literal devil himself was coming out of my mouth. Days where we end up having an elaborate dance party in the kitchen complete with choreography.
Marriage is work. But marriage can be beautiful. One of my favorite books on the subject is called, “Sacred Marriage: What if God created Marriage to Make us Holy More than to Make us Happy?” It totally blew my mind because I think we are conditioned to enter into marriage with the mindset that ‘all of our dreams have come true’ and now we can truly be happy. But what if it’s WAY bigger than that? What if entering into marriage forces us to live in a confined spaces with another adult who has differing opinions, so that we can learn to live beyond ourselves and our selfish desires. So that we can become better communicators, servants, better PEOPLE! I know if I lived alone my whole life, I could do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted to. But with Jared around, life becomes a partnership. It’s not about me anymore. I can grow as a person and the happy times are a BONUS!
Anyway, speaking of happy times. I’ve decided to post two videos we took from our honeymoon FIVE YEARS AGO! We look like babies (if babies had weird haircuts and smoking hot bodies.) Things you need to know about this first one. We accidentally found all of our sibling’s names while on our honeymoon. Jared is not drunk, he really is this hilarious sober. Stay tuned til the very end and you will hear the original song Jared wrote for his sister Logan. “It’s goes Loooo-gan. Loooo-gan. Logan, Master on the High Seas…” (Again, I assure you, he is sober.) In fact, if you get bored, just fast forward to minute 6:30. It’s worth it, I promise.
Bonus footage: Jared gives a tour of our “luxurious” state room on our cruiseship. Once again, I assure you he is completely sober. I have never heard that voice come out him before and doubt I ever will again. My favorite quotes:
“This is a television. You push this button and pictures and sounds come out of it. It’s very entertaining.”
“You swipe it again…and it takes it…like a whore…”
Gasp. I can’t even begin to tell you how I adored this wedding. Here are things that make this wedding photographer swoon. 1. When a couple is like really, REALLY in love. 2. When a couple has a mutual, passionate faith. 3. When the wedding has fun, thoughtful, crafty little details. 4. When a venue has GREAT light. 5. When a reception has a massive dance party (and they don’t mind me joining in.) Keep in mind that any one of those things make me super happy upon arrival, but…wait for it…this wedding had ALL FIVE. I love every. single. thing. about. this. wedding. Enjoy.
(I apologize for the ‘stank face’ I make later on when I’m dancing. You can take the girl outta Raytown, but you can’t take the Raytown outta the girl…)
Let’s take a brief moment and talk about hair. Is this not the coolest wedding hair you’ve ever seen. I stood with my jaw dropped saying “Your hair is a…miracle!!!” Come to find out the miracle is Katie Welch of Love You Bobby Pins. Book her. Nuff said.
Special thanks to Morgan Warner, soulmate and second shooter for this wedding. She did a freaking amazing job. Also thanks to Andrea Larson for teaching me how to body roll. Priceless gift.
(Wait, Katie Day, are you drunk? You only have one kid, what do you mean fourth pregnancy?)
No, reader, I’m not drunk. And that was really rude of you.
So here goes. Here’s the story of our weird, disappointing, joyful, painful, wonderful, confusing, inspiring last couple years.
If you have been around a while you may have read about the miscarriage we had before we got pregnant with Callie. And you may recall that I quite possibly had the worst attitude while going through it. My sister and brother were both having babies at the exact same time and I was bitter, selfish, and had a super ugly heart. I also convinced myself that I would never ever ever ever have kids even though “that’s all I’ve ever wanted.”
I think there were only three tiny months between losing pregnancy #1 and getting pregnant with Callie. In hindsight, a very short amount of time. Giving birth to Callie changed everything. I cannot tell you what being a parent has taught me. I knew instantly after she was born that no one deserves this much joy. Certainly not my own selfish, flawed self. I was instantly convicted that I thought I was entitled to this baby.
The fact is that Callie was a gift. I didn’t earn it by not drinking until I was 21 or by waiting to have sex until I was married. (Things I argued with God after I lost the first one…”But I followed all the rules? Why would you do this??”) No. A gift. Plain and simple. If I never had another baby, she would be more than I ever deserved. I. love. that. child.
Jared and I both eagerly decided to not wait to try for Callie’s sibling. The truth is it actually takes a really long time for us to get pregnant for some reason, so we started trying right when she was only 6 months old. (Also we were trying to avoid a due date during wedding season which is hilarious now to think about because any time I’ve ever tried to force my own convenient timing, God says “Oh you think you’re in control…???)
We found out the day after Callie’s first birthday that we were pregnant! Woohoo! Excitement doesn’t even begin to cover it. Not only would we be having another baby, but I would be having one at the exact same time as my two best friends, Allison and Bre. (Cue creepy foreshadowing music…)
Two weeks later I started bleeding. I called my sister who immediately said,
My thoughts exactly. Doctor put me on a ‘modified bed-rest’ which included, “Now we can’t have you picking up your daughter until you stop bleeding.” My daughter? My daughter who barely knows how to walk? My daughter who I stay home with alone all day long? I can’t pick her up?
Guys, we had a hilarious system. She slept in a pack-n-play which I tipped over in the morning and she rolled out. It would take her about ten minutes to walk the ten feet to our kitchen where we had put a booster seat on the floor and she’d crawl in. All the while screaming “Mama!!! Up??? Up!!!!” and crying. “Sorry dear. Weird, bizarre, doctor’s orders.”
This went on for FOUR WEEKS. A month, ya’ll. A Month of bleeding, ignoring Callie, feeling super sick and anemic and all the while thinking “I just can’t imagine this is going to work out.”
It didn’t work out. On Halloween, we had friends over to watch 1980′s horror movies and I started having contractions. Super intense in my lower back. After everybody went home, I told Jared, “Something’s going on.”
(Warning, it may get a little graphic from here on..so reader beware..)
I ran to the toilet and I will not describe in detail what happened, but it was horrifying. Seriously, scariest, most disturbing Halloween of my life. I had been instructed to call the ER. I called and the nurse said I would need to check the toilet to confirm…and then…BRING IT IN.
I interrupt this story to write an open letter to…science.
Hell no! You cannot ask a human being with a working heart to search through their toilet for their dead baby…and then bring it in??? No! Screw you, Science. There’s only so much a person is capable of.
Sincerely, Katie Day
Jared did it anyway. He couldn’t find anything but massive (baseball-sized) blood clots, so they said for us to rush in because everything was probably still okay. Still okay? There was no doubt in my mind. This was not okay.
I walked into the ER all the while feeling the contents of my uterus trying to come out. It was awful. AWFUL.
Five hours, a few blood tests, and after watching my hospital bed fill up with blood like a freaking crime scene, we had an ultrasound. There on the screen was a baby. Like it actually looked like a baby. Kicking and dancing and swimming around.
Jared and I burst into laughter and tears. “What?” How could it possibly be okay?”
The tech said “You’ve got a fighter on your hands.” We should have been relieved, but I kept thinking, I don’t think you can go through this one night, and then it just is all okay the next. My guard was up and I started pre-mourning.
I woke up in the middle of the night on November 1 with more contractions. More splashing in my toilet, I instinctively flushed it and went back to bed.
The next morning, I told Jared, “I passed more stuff last night, but I didn’t check. I couldn’t…” He asked how I was feeling and I said, “Great. I like feel 100% better. I don’t even feel pregnant anymore.” He thought maybe the worst was over and it would be a healthy pregnancy from here on out. The doctor wanted us to come in around 5 pm. She checked for the heartbeat and couldn’t find it. Then she got called to go deliver a baby.
We sat for an hour and waited for her to come back and I told Jared, “It’s over.”
She finally came back and did an ultrasound, and there on the screen where less than 24 hours ago was a dancing baby…was…nothing. It was blank. Completely empty. Tears streamed down my face, and she said “I’m so sorry. Risk of miscarriage this late is only like 2% and…you were the 2% this time.” She left us with recovering instructions. I dried up quickly and said,
“Jared. We are going to glorify God through this miscarriage.”
He laughed and said, “Okay. How about we glorify God tomorrow? Tonight, I am going to get you the biggest margarita you have ever seen. Like it’s going to look like a cartoon…it’s so big.” (Have I mentioned I love my husband?)
We made the crappy phone calls to our parents and friends and went to Texas Roadhouse. Our waitress was about 8 months pregnant. (Nice touch!)
So, remember how I sucked at handling the first miscarriage? Well, if I erred on the side of selfish the first time, I erred on the side of prideful the second time. I seriously decided I would be the ‘World’s Most Amazing Miscarriage-Haver’. I said, “God, you want my pregnant BFF to have the same due date as me? BOOM! Look at this freaking shower I threw her? You want to make literally ever woman in church pregnant at the same time except for me? (Seriously, I think someone counted and there was like 27 pregnant women all due in Spring) Do it! I will motorboat their baby bumps!!!! You’ve never seen someone as joyful as me!!! I dare you!!! (Remember that time that pride is a sin?…Whoops.)
Of course there was sadness too. It came in phases. I couldn’t even go into our bathroom for months because it felt like a tomb. But I poured myself into projects and hobbies and distractions. Let’s see, in the last nine months, I redecorated my house, lost 15 pounds (yay!), gained 20 pounds (whoops!), and wrote a novel. I’m serious, I wrote a novel, guys. (Anyone know a book-agent because it’s actually pretty funny…at least Allison thinks so and she’s literally the funniest person alive.) I would pray, “God, thank you for this time in my life. It will never be this simple again. I have one kid who I can actually pick up and throw around. I have free time and energy. Look at all of this creative stuff I’m doing. I’m enjoying life. God, thank you!”
One sad day, I was grumpy on my couch watching Good Morning America and Kelly Clarkson was on live performing “Stronger.” I leapt up on my couch and started dancing and belting at the top of my lungs, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!! Stand a little taller!!” Callie got a big kick out of it and when Jared got home that day I said,
“Jared, Jesus spoke to me today through Kelly Clarkson.”
He laughed and said, “…I’m…sure He did.”
I was able to maintain my positive attitude for about 8 and half months of negative pregnancy tests. Then the day before I was supposed to start my period (again), I had a major break-down. I mean…I bawled. Jared was confused. He said, “You don’t even know you won’t be pregnant, yet!” And I said “I just don’t even want to know. I’d rather it be unknown then be negative. AGAIN!” I was exhausted and I was tired of summoning happiness.
My sweet and wise friend Bre (who had a miscarriage right before Lila btw) sent me a text from her Quiet Time that day and it said,
“To find Joy in this day, you must live within its boundaries. I knew what I was doing when I divided time into twenty-four hour segments. I understand human frailty, and know that you can bear the weight of only one day at a time. Do not worry about tomorrow or get stuck in the past. There is abundant life in my presence today.”
I cried some more then prayed, “God, if you understand my frailty then you have to know I’m reaching the end of my rope. You have a lot more faith in me than I do. I don’t know how much longer I can keep this up.”
I got a positive pregnancy test the next day.
So here we are. 12 weeks in. So far so good. I’m taking it way easy. When I feel like a nap, I take one. I may be slightly slow on editing this summer, but I’m getting it done with joy in my heart.
And if you’re looking for me on these hot summer days, you can find me swaying in my hammock while Callie “helps” Daddy garden. I’ll be the one holding my stomach with tears in her eyes singing the refrain from Ingrid Michaelson’s song.
“December Baby….you are mine…”
So what’s the take-away? For me, it’s that trials are rough, but that they are possible to get through and still be joyful. But I learned that it can’t be because I’m trying to rely on my own strength. I have to surrender it over to the Lord every single day. I have to say, “I need you. I can’t do it alone. I give this burden to you so that I don’t have to carry it myself.”
Also, the phrase ‘one day at a time’ is the ultimate advice. The minute you say, “I put my entire happiness in whether or not I am pregnant,” you are going to be depressed. Instead you have to say, “Today I am finding joy in painting this antique highchair turquoise. Thank you, God.” “Today I am finding joy in this sunset. Thank you, God.”
James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Disclaimer: You should know that I am fully aware of how trivial this trial is in the scheme of things. I read blogs about people who have lost their one-year olds, people who have lost their husbands, people who have done fertility treatments for over two years and still aren’t pregnant. I am humbled by what people have gone through and still have positive attitudes. (If you want to be humbled, take a few hours and read the Stroller Coaster. Sam is seriously the most talented person in the entire world and I think I’ve bawled at every single blog post.) Thank you for reading!
Fast forward to minute 5 to hear my favorite part.
Have I mentioned I love it when photographers book me? It’s such an honor! On top of that, Ali and her hubby drove 4 hours from Wichita for this session to celebrate their anniversary! Look how cute they are!