Let's start at the beginning. As most of you know, Stanton and I started dating at the ripe old age of 15. We stuck together through different high schools, 10 o' clock curfews, college decisions, college dilemmas, and everything else that two people go through during that stage in life. I was focused on my education and so I set the rule that we would not be getting married until after we graduated. This rule was set up long before we really wanted to talk about marriage, because we both knew we were too young. So, as we went through our Freshman and Sophomore years, we were a happy dating couple. And that was enough for us. And even though we weren't even 20 yet, we had been together for quite a long time and some inquiring minds had the nerve to ask us when we were going to get married. Our response - were not ready for that, we'll see where our paths our leading later. Though we fully intended to get married, it's easiest just to shut the questions down. Why? Because its a slippery slope.
And that my friends is the punch line and reason for this back story. For Stanton and I, big decisions have been on a slippery slope basis. We put things out of mind, out of question, until one day one of us has the nerve to say something like "You know, I was thinking that I would really like to start talking about ______(fill in really important life decision here) and if we are sure that is where we are headed." The other one of us grins and we know we are in for it. It has always been a slippery slope from giving in to bring up a discussion of a big jump in our lives to finding ourselves in the middle of the planning stages and eventually making the leap.
For our marriage, it went something like this-Are we going to get married? Yes, but we were going to finish school, so the summer after we graduated would work. OK then, how long do we want to be engaged? Well, it seems logical that if we've decided that 'we're going to be married, then it makes sense to make a public announcement and if that means a long engagement, then so be it. OK, sounds good. Well get engaged and be married the summer after we graduate. Fast forward a little, so why are we waiting to get married, if we know we are supposed to be together? Principles. Whose principles? That would be my principles. Why is this one of my principles? Because I said so. Why? I dont know, why. Maybe we could get married before we graduate. Mom, Dad we want to get married this summer, between our Junior and Senior years. Done! And that was not a single conversation, but it progressed fairly quickly.
Other decisions made along similar lines - the decision to get a masters degree, the decision to pack up everything and move to Waco to pursue a Ph.D. and a Masters for Stanton, and the point of this blog post, to have a baby.
Now, for the real story. When you get married, you become THE target for the baby question about 2.6 days after you return from your honeymoon. (This previous statement is being generous to some Nosey Nellys who ask the question before you even attempt to walk down the aisle or even worse, assume that since you decided not to have a long engagement it must mean that the baby thing is already underway. But I digress) And as with any inappropriate pry into your personal life, the most effective tactic is aversion. "Were not sure we want kids at all.""Babies? Seriously, you think we want to become responsible adults?" "We really want to establish our careers before we even think of having a baby." (There might be some truth in that last one.) When you get married at the age of 21 to the guy you've been with since you were 15, I think the fans are flamed that much more. At least I hope for the sake of all happily married couples without children it was worse for me. Maybe it is that bad for everyone. My favorite comment regarding the baby topic was my dad's sentiments on my 25th birthday - "You know, when mom was your age she had 2 kids and another on the way." I love it, because my dad was never one to mention the baby thing ever before or ever again. It caught me totally off guard. Later when I told Stanton, he came back with the perfect response "You know I have 2 degrees and another on the way." (Jerk store!) I could have never actually said it, even if I would have thought of it, but it makes me smile to think about my dad saying that every time.
So anyway, Stanton and I were pretty good at the aversion tactics. And after a couple years people got the point that we weren't ready and they started to leave us alone. And we were doing fine and dandy, until I went to Stanton with my sheepish little voice and said I think its time to start thinking about a family. And his goofy little grin came right back and said me too. This happened around Christmas time of 2006. I had just finished my first real semester at Baylor, and had another year and a half of classes to go (i.e. through May of 2008) and then a dissertation to write. And he was in a similar situation in his program. So we thought about it and prayed about it even more and came to the conclusion that we should at least be finished with classes when the baby comes. That meant we shouldn't make any efforts until the end August of 2007.
We were excited about our decision, and it was something that only we knew. We didn't want to open the lid on the baby question. We had set a statute of plausible deniability. We also didn't want people (mainly our parents) to worry if we had problems conceiving or anything like that. If it became an issue, we would of course tell them, but telling people that something may happen in several months just leaves too much time to fret over everything. So, we waited patiently and enjoyed our time together more knowing that it could be our last summer as just a couple.
Then my family started planning a big trip to Disney World for the summer of 2008. The prime baby time. I have wanted to go to Disney a lot. And to get to go with my whole family now that were old enough to actually get along and enjoy spending time together seemed like a dream come true. So, we started rethinking. Maybe I should stay on the pills until late October, that way, I would possibly be very plump walking around Disney, but I would get to go and have a great family vacation. So we decided to switch up our plans to make room for Disney. Yes, I am that crazy. So August 2007 came and I asked one last time, if we were sure this is what we wanted to do. And it was, so I popped the pills like I had so many times before. That month was wretched. Notice how I said "we decided" to push back the plans. I became fully certain that God was really trying to teach me a lesson about following His will, not my plans. I felt horrible that whole month. I had cramps like I had never had. I had this persistent feeling of ickiness like I had done something horribly wrong. But I finished the month on the pills. As it came time to start my September pills, we had a re-evaluation of the situation. We prayed again. And decided that we needed to leave it all in Gods hands. He would provide. And if it was His will, we would lose the nearly $1000 we had spent on reserved plane tickets. And if it was His will, we would miss the Disney trip. And if it was His will, we would have a baby by mid-July. And so, that's when the decision was made, to get off the bc.
We went a couple of months with no results, and then I started filling my brain with ways to put the odds in our favor. And for about 2 months, I drove myself crazy trying to subscribe to all these tips. And then once again, I reminded myself that its all in His timing. Not mine. I deleted all those webpages I had marked. And I just prayed and prayed for a baby, whenever God decided it was time. The next month, things were a little different. I wont go into it all again, but you can read the amazing story of how we found out that we were pregnant here. Truly one of the most touching times in my life. After not being able to get away to go back to AR for Easter, we were making the trip 2 weeks later to let everyone know our exciting news.
Stanton's parents were the first to know. We got them a couple of books of prayers for grandparents. It took a little time to process, but then hugs all around. We told my parents and Rachel using some photos. I found a frame that held 5 wallet size pictures, 3 in the back, with two more sliding ones in front. I put pictures of the other two grandkids, a picture with me and my mom when I was a baby, and put a note in one saying that the space was reserved for Baby Greer coming in November 2008. Again lots of hugs and some tears. I also got my dad a picture of him and me on Mount Magazine taken over spring break, which we didn't know at the time had a hidden person in it. There was the tiniest little baby in my belly. We shared the news with my brothers and good friends at baseball the following day. Matthew's response was "What's his name?" He couldn't understand why HE didn't have a name.
The following months brought lots of excitement, lots of questions, lots of growing pains, and lots of joy. We planned out how to tell everyone in Waco. We told our Life Group just weeks after one of the other couples announced their pregnancy. I was getting ready to tell the department, but they had already gotten word from Stanton's advisor. But it was all great fun. We spent time talking about what we wanted the nursery to look like and finding just the right combination of items. We went to childbirth classes and learned about what we wanted our birth plan to be. We talked about how we would combine our efforts to be the best parental duo. We felt the kicks and rolls of the little one in my belly. We finally broke down and bought an actual couch (with reclining action) after I stopped being able to be comfortable in any way on the futon. We had showers full of wonderful people and gifts. And we prayed incessantly that the child would get the best features from each of us (most importantly, not my cankles, not Stanton's hairline, not Stanton's light sensitivity, not my weird elbows, and for my sake I hoped not Stanton's big head).
I'll have to cover the actual baby part later. I really want to get to the main event. But as I started writing, there was so much I wanted to be included. And this is such a good way for me to record things.
Our Trip to Madison, Wisconsin
2 days ago