A Loooong Winter...

On Wednesday, I finally gave in.

Out shopping for my husbandís birthday (11/16), I could no longer deny the necessary, the inevitable and the true.

I needed new clothes.

The old ones just werenít doing the trick anymore, not because Iíd lived in Florida for twelve years before moving to Indiana with only a few items of winter clothing to my name.

No, the problem was fit and comfort and not just because my exercise routine, so finely tuned in Lakeland (a four mile walk/run around Lake Hollingsworth a little after noon almost every day) has simply been disrupted beyond belief.

So I forced my naturally abstemious self to give in and just shell out some bucks.

In the maternity section.

Yup. Forty and pregnant, thatís me.

He or she is due to arrive in the open air in late March or early April.

Sadly, and strangely, too, I might add, there seems to be not one single nurse-midwife in practice in Fort Wayne, Indiana (I had Katie with midwives, and I do believe itís the best way to birth), so Iím forced, once again, into a doctorís office.

My doctor seems fine, though Ė I mean, what can you expect when you pick a name out of the phone book Ė although I cannot, for the life of me, figure out her ethnicity, which has me curious just because it's so mysterious, and I have, like the elephant's child, that " 'satiable curiousity." Itís sort of like that Seinfeld episode in which Elaine is puzzled by the very same question regarding the guy sheís dating. She drops all kinds of hints, asks all kinds of leading question, but cannot determine whether the guy is of Caucasian, African-American, Hispanic or some sort of mixed ethnicity. Itís very funny, and every time I go to the doctorís I find myself re-enacting that episode Ė trying to place my doctor's accent - she has diplomas from an Irish university on her wall, but her tones are certainly not a brogue. I just canít place it, so Iíve finally decided she must be Creole or from somewhere in the French Caribbean. She has a French first name, at least.

Anyway. The gender of the baby is even more mysterious, and Iíve every intention of keeping it that way. Everything seems fine Ė my blood pressure is slightly elevated, which is unusual for me Ė even during pregnancy, I share my motherís rock-bottom blood pressure that leads doctors and nurses to double check our breathing once they see the numbers.

I was horribly sick during the first trimester, as I usually am. Itís a pretty miserable way to spend the first few months of married life, I tell you. Things got better, though, about two months into it, when my doctor prescribed this miracle vitamin that included a time-released B-complex component. It worked wonders, and I highly recommend it!

So, there you go. Iíll be very busy over the months of this very long winter, trying to get the next two Prove It books and the sidebars for another project done before the baby gets here so I can have a couple of weeks off, at least before the next writing project calls.

No, I never thought Iíd be pregnant when I was forty, but I never thought any of the other things that have happened to me be a part of my life, either, and thatís okay. For the fact is, as much as Iíve enjoyed all (okay, most) of my jobs and as much as I appreciate what Iím able to do through my writing, none of it means a thing when put up against the children Iíve helped bring into and up in the world. Hereís part of my November 19 OSV column, if you want to understand why:

It is breathtaking, when you think about it Ė the baby we hold in our arms has a lifetime before her, unimaginable gifts to share with the world and her own pack of descendents who will scatter through the world, having their own unforeseen influence, their own joys and tragedies that lie beyond our ken, beyond our power, beyond our sight.

This miracle, this most mysterious of Godís ways lies, of course, at the root of the Churchís teaching on artificial contraception. For when you consider, honestly, rather than selfishly, the most lasting fruit of sex, it is almost too much to grasp. What right do we have to say no in such a definitive way to bringing another soul into the world? What right do we have to stand in the way of the creation of another creature, one capable of bringing goodness into the lives of others and experiencing the joy of Godís love not only in this life, but eternity as well?

The answer Ė we donít.

As my childrenís horizons expand, as they shape their own lives to do good in this world in their own unique ways, in ways that I couldnít imagine for myself, and donít even see at close range anymore, I answer the question again for myself Ė I donít have that right.

God be praised - I donít.

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