Monday, July 12, 2010

The River of Life

We're puttering down the river of life. We've mapped out our course. We've got the weather forecast up on the netbook, our toes dipped in the water. (The piranhas aren't biting today.) The sky is blue, the jungle birds are singing, swooping low, trailing colorful tail feathers through the water.

Then a hippo plows into us out of nowhere and dumps our boat upside down.

Whammo! Splash!

Well, maybe it's not always that drastic. But sometimes it is. Sickness can hit us that way. Death. An accident.

An unplanned pregnancy feels that way, too. For some people it dumps them overboard. For others, I guess the hippo just pushes their boat down a section of river they weren't planning to travel.

That's the boat we're in.

The ironic part is that a few months ago I was planning on writing a blog post about how weird it was not to be pregnant. My baby was about 18 months old, which was normally when we'd start thinking about another one. But Sophie was our last. We'd decided that. And I was excited about moving on.

I'd started planning the next stage of my life: getting all my kids out of diapers; having all the kids in school in a few years; having more time to write.

I signed up for the SCBWI LA conference, because my life was stable. It was time for me to start investing more in my dream of being a real, live author.

Then, BAM! Course irreversibly altered. Six months from now -- if everything goes well -- we'll have a screaming, kicking, pooping newborn again (whose head smells like milk).

I'll be honest, I cried at first. Because this was a detour, which probably means I'll have to postpone my dreams a little bit longer. But then I went in for my first ultrasound and, of course, you can't help but be excited when you see that little body wriggling around on the screen and you think -- "That's my baby!"

Of course, we're scared, because five is a big number when it comes to children. Each one of them is an individual responsibility. Do we have the strength to keep pouring into all these little investments?

And I'm exhausted. I've been sick for three months and I'm so ready to be done and feel normal again. Hopefully any day now. Hopefully. Hopefully.

Hopefully one of these days I'll enjoy cooking again. And eating again. Hopefully. Hopefully.

As we meander down this river we weren't planning on traversing, I'm thankful the hippo didn't capsize our boat.

And I'm thankful that this may be the journey we were meant to take all along, even if it wasn't our plan.


  1. Thank you Amy for your perspective on this unexpected turn of events for you and your family. It helps me process my own "hippo slams" we've experienced in regards to pregnancies and babies. We had hoped for 3 or 4 kids (or more if so blessed!) and had no reason to think it would be otherwise.
    After Kristen was born and passed away I felt my boat had been capsized and I was beginning to drown. But amazingly I didn't. Instead, I found a new vessel on a new branch of the river and soon became pregnant with Ashely.
    After Ashley's traumatic and dramatic birth I was told we had to be done. It was the stipulation the surgeon gave me when she said I could keep all my organs if I promised never to use them again! We had hoped (and planned) for a family demographic much different than what we have, similar to you, and find ourselves wondering how to navigate this "new section of the river we weren't planning on traveling."
    I am excited for you and what adventures lie down this new detour. Who knows, this little kiddo may be the source of stores that will be told in your first best-seller!!

  2. OMGoodness! Congratulations!!!!! A baby!!! I'm sure it was a bit overwhelming to discover your plans had been changed. Take care of yourself and enjoy the ride, and the Balcom Family have a new source for your stories. :)

  3. oh, congratulations!

    I certainly understand about detours and delays. Having to navigate a few of those myself. (got an extra paddle?)

  4. Tara, You're absolutely right. This can go both ways, when we feel like we have too much of something or too little. I guess, like most things in life, it's finding contentment that's the important thing. Thanks for your perspective, too. I admire you so much!

    Sharon, Thanks! :)

    Cassandra, I guess I will have to look for an extra paddle. The good thing is, our boat will have plenty of rowers ... if I can get them all to work! LOL! :)


  5. Amy!!! Congrats!!! Aww, and I totally cried when I found I was preggers with Caleb 'cuz he was NOT planned. =( Hope your "morning" sickness goes away soon! I'm still waiting. =P Hugs!!!

  6. Congratulations!! I could have been reading a page out of my own journal LOL!

  7. What is that old Beatles lyric? "Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans"?

    But it's a beautiful life:)

  8. Congratulations! And don't worry, you can handle 5. The difference between 1 kid and 2? HUGE. The difference between 4 and 5 (or, say, 7 and 8)? Big, but not as much. Basically, you've been there.

  9. Congratulations, Mrs. Sonnichsen. Wow, and jia you!

  10. Congrats! to you all! Of all the people I know, you are one of those women meant to be the mother of 5. Your children are blessed, Amy. Purely, blessed. Praying that all is going well health-wise and that cooking will soon be a fun activity for you to do!

  11. How beautiful is this?? Congratulations!

  12. Congratulations Amy!! Wow, definitely a surprise to YOU but no surprise to the one who planned this little baby's life! And, I know how you feel:) SURPRISE!!! But of course this isn't new to you or your family... remember Olivia coming home with you 6 weeks into our time in China and Aaron's big surprise... and all that's followed. You have a beautiful life, and one with inspiration for us all. Keep those entries coming and know we love you-- and look forward to those future books!!!

  13. What wonderful news! I hear you about it not being your plan. I am continually amazed by the way life surprises me. I'll think something is a detour or a setback. And it's actually exactly what I needed! It always turns out beautifully in the end. I am happy for you and this lucky little baby! Blessings to your whole family.


  15. Well said! And congrats! Even if it's not planned, those twists and turns in our life are what make it delicious. I'm grateful for (most) of them in my own.

    Thanks for finding my blog so that I could find yours--it's beautiful! :o)


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