A beautiful surprise (guest post)
Dawn’s note: I asked my friend, Blythe*, to write a guest post for me to describe some of the surprising things of her current pregnancy. I think you will be delighted to read of the beautiful, surprising gift she received in the midst of being wretchedly sick during much of her pregnancy. Blythe, thanks so much for sharing with us!
I love surprises. LOVE them. Unlike some of my girlfriends who prefer to know what’s going on, I love the mystery and shock and feelings of astonishment that come with being surprised. That said, I’m not easily surprised, much to my husband’s dismay—he hates watching mystery movies with me because I always figure them out early on. I can never find a good mystery book to read that will keep my attention. And I’m wound too tightly not to investigate a possible clue if I find something out of the ordinary, thus jeopardizing potential surprises he may be planning. But I have to give him credit—he is the one person who has been able to consistently surprise me. In the middle of our wedding, he walked away from me, sat down in a chair set up with a microphone, picked up his guitar that appeared from thin air, and sang me a song he had written just for the occasion. And in the years of our marriage, he’s shocked me numerous times—with a surprise performance of “Wild Thing,” romantic dinners, and B&B getaways. But none of that compares with how he surprised me during my pregnancy.
With 15 nieces and nephews, 4 siblings, and past employment as a nanny, I thought I was well prepared for pregnancy. I knew to expect the constant peeing, the exhaustion, the wild comments from strangers, the absentmindedness, the heartburn, the emotional roller coasters. But while I expected some nausea, I have to admit I was surprised by my second trimester morning sickness—bed-ridden for almost two months, I was throwing up so violently and so frequently that I was bursting blood vessels in my eyes and often looked like I had been hit in the face. I was so sick I couldn’t read a simple book and spent my days watching movies sideways on my laptop in bed in between the vomiting. I started choosing foods based solely on how they would come back up after experiencing the [not-so-surprisingly] disgusting feeling of regurgitated green beans stuck in my throat. I was lucky to shower once a week because the heat from the water had me running to the toilet every time. I cancelled tons of hangout times with friends, unable to get dressed, much less venture away from the safety of my bathroom. I went from a mostly organic diet to a diet of instant oatmeal and ramen noodles.
I remember lying in bed wishing I could concentrate long enough without throwing up and my head pounding to make the most of my situation—praying and meditating on Scripture, enjoying Jesus’ comfort. My next surprise—one of comfort from the Lord—came not in the form of spiritual connection with Him, but in my favorite gift from Him—my husband!
If you knew my husband before we were married, you could have easily described him as a Mr. Darcy type—unconcerned with others’ opinions of him, rather oblivious to what was going on around him socially, and completely uninterested in the eligible women surrounding him. While he is definitely a romantic, he is also very down to earth, slightly aloof and removed, not sentimental, and not nurturing. As I type these words, I laugh that this is how I am describing the love of my life, and yet, he is perfect for me—I love the outrageous and creative ways he romances me, but I am not the kind of woman who wants to be doted on or who needs a lot of sympathy and attention from her husband. However, as the reality set in of how my morning sickness was going to play out, I started to realize that I couldn’t get through it alone.
And this is where God, through my husband, stepped in and totally surprised me. Out of the seeming blue, my husband became a compassionate, nurturing nurse—he did all the things a good husband would do, like check in on me several times and day and bring me ginger ale and crackers. He knocked on the door when I was throwing up to make sure I was okay and would often bring me compresses and ice packs for my throbbing face. What a guy, right? Well, it didn’t end there. He prayed over me and made numerous and constant trips to the drug store for me. He called our midwife for help and did my gross, throw-uppy laundry. He changed the sheets and vacuumed the floor and cooked our meals (cooked, not microwaved). He helped me out of bed when he got home from work and brought me into the living room for a change of scenery. He did the grocery shopping (which he hates!) and tried feeding me different foods, hoping to find something that appealed to me. He kissed me and held me and literally dried thousands of tears off my face. He whispered comforting words in my ears and rocked me while I leaned against him, too weak to hold myself up. He told me I was beautiful and the most wonderful wife in the world, even when I hadn’t showered in days. I have said a hundred times that the sickness I experienced was worth it a million times over just to experience this love and tenderness from my husband.
What does this mean to me? It means that my husband once again proved his unconditional love for me. It means that because of the illness, I was able to experience a depth of love from him I wouldn’t have otherwise, and I was able to see a side of my husband that was new to me even after years of being his wife, lover, and best friend. It means that he loved me like Christ loves the Church—with great self-sacrifice, undying love, submission, and deep tenderness. Why does this surprise me? I guess because even after years of knowing Christ’s love and my husband’s love, deep down I know I don’t deserve any of it; so how could I—in the midst of the most unlovable time in my life—not be surprised by this unmerited blessing and delightful gift?!
*Blythe Hunt is an avid lover of blogging, poetry, and throwing parties. She and her surprising husband are expecting their first baby on March 15, 2012.