Sunday, December 23, 2012

It's Okay!

I love lists. Grocery lists, to-do lists, packing lists - I like making them in my head, writing them down, checking them off. Sometimes I even add things to my to-do lists that I know I’m about to finish, just to have the satisfaction of marking through them. There’s just something about visually seeing all you’ve accomplished. I also enjoy other people’s lists. David Letterman’s Top Ten used to be a nightly favorite when I could stay awake that late. ESPN’s Power Rankings are something I look forward to every week during basketball season. Lists provide humor and wisdom in a short, concise format that I appreciate. One of the lists I love the most is the "Hey, it's okay..." list in Glamour magazine. I love thinking, "Someone else does/thinks that? I'm not crazy after all!" Below is my own post-pregnancy list. Enjoy!

HEY, IT'S OKAY...

To spend an entire day of maternity leave in your pajamas. Or five. 

To be secretly disappointed that your stomach didn't return to it's pre-pregnancy state immediately following delivery.

For your Christmas wish list to consist of one word...SLEEP. 

To realize at about 11:00PM that the only thing you've accomplished that day is memorizing your baby's face as you watch her sleep. 

To have not the slightest clue as to what day, week, or even month it is at any given moment. 

To discover that you only need about half of the things you registered for and a lot more of the things you didn't. 

To force a bow on her head any time you leave the house. Who knows where those "Gerber Baby" scouts may be lurking!?

To have an inexplicable, sudden need for an SUV to transport your giant family of 3.

To stare at her adoringly while she's sleeping in her crib, then duck down at the slightest indication that she's waking up.

To dread going back to work more every day, even if you love your job.

For your phone background to change from your puppy to your baby right away. And your screensaver. And your profile picture. And your...

To consider a day that includes showering, fixing your hair, putting on makeup, and wearing actual shoes a success.

To realize that you've found your life's purpose wrapped in God's tiny miracle. And for you to be wrapped around that tiny miracle's finger already. :-)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Baby Story

I can't believe it has been 3 1/2 weeks since I met my precious baby girl. I can't believe that I have failed to blog about this blessed news for 3 1/2 weeks either! One thing I've found out rather quickly: motherhood (or should I say sleep deprivation) makes you lose all sense of time and reason in those first few weeks. Nevertheless, she is HERE. I have had several women that have never had a baby ask me for the REAL story of birth. Not the "Oh, you forget it all the minute you see her," or the "It's not that bad once you get the drugs." I'm going to tell it like it is for those women, the ones that are where I was a few weeks ago...anxious, uncertain, and terrified of the unknown. (If REAL grosses you out, please feel free to stop reading here and just scroll down to her cute picture)! Thankfully, this story has a happy ending...

12:10AM November 19th.
I woke up to go to the bathroom for the millionth time (nothing new there), but this time it was a little different. There was clear liquid running down my leg. I knew immediately that it was time. I calmly woke up Erik and told him that I thought my water had broken, then called my doula (I will write another blog about the doula experience later). I had planned to labor at home for as long as possible, but for some reason as soon as that happened I wanted to go to the hospital. I wanted to know how far along I was after being stuck at a 0 for weeks and weeks. I had this crazy notion that I was going to be at a 5 or 6 when we got there. Little did I know...

1:30AM
 We arrived after packing our bags and taking care of the pooches. They put me into a gown, checked me (I was a fingertip), and I started walking up and down the halls. At this point the contractions were very manageable, probably 5 minutes apart and 30 seconds long. My doula walked with me and we talked, occasionally stopping to breathe through a particularly bad one. After I tired of walking we tried lots of different positions. I even tried to sleep! The worst part was having to be still while they monitored me for 20 minutes every hour when moving around felt so much better. When I figured out how much a warm shower helped, they had to DRAG me out of it to be monitored. I felt very in control of my body and the pain during those long hours. I just knew that at my next check I would be an 8 and ready to have her. I would stun everyone with my practically effortless, in control labor.

8:00AM
Dr. Wonka came in to check me. He delivered the reality check...I was a ONE. A freaking ONE! I immediately started to tear up because I knew that he would make me start pitocin. If you aren't progressing, they make you do this because you have to have your baby within 24 hours of your water breaking. All I had heard was that once you start pitocin, you HAVE to have an epidural due to the pain. Even now I cannot tell you why I was so against having one. I'm not really scared of needles or anything. I guess I had just heard so many horror stories about epidurals gone wrong, and nothing but benefits from NOT having one, that I just didn't want one.

8:30AM
They started the pitocin drip. Once they do that, you have to be monitored at all times which means you can no longer walk around. This made controlling the pain much harder. The contractions immediately got worse. They were more intense and closer together. I started crying and wallowing all over the bed, trying to escape the pain somehow. It's amazing how fast pride leaves you during labor. I had no shame at this point.

11:00AM
By this time I was completely out of my mind. The pain from the ever-increasing pitocin dosage had taken over everything. I was loud and hard to keep still. I'm sure the nurse wanted to request a different patient, preferably one who was sleeping. The contractions were coming so close together that I could NOT get any rest. All I wanted to do was close my eyes for just a few minutes. It was around this time when the nurse informed me that I was a 4-5. I started to really cry then. I had been laboring for almost 12 hours and I was only a 4!!! I was starting to give up. I wanted the drugs. Just as I was praying to God for strength, there was a huge gush. This was my water breaking FOR REAL. Evidently, before it had only been a leak from a small tear in the sac. I immediately started throwing up and the pain started changing to more of an intense pressure. The nurse checked me again and I was a 7. I told her that I felt like pushing. She looked extremely alarmed and told me NOT to push. That at only a 7 I could do some serious damage if I did. I was confused...my body was telling me to push! I concentrated for the next hour or so on NOT pushing.

12:00PM
Finally, I looked at the nurse with crazy, bleary eyes and screamed, "SHE IS COMING!!" I couldn't stop pushing and I knew that the nurse was wrong! She checked me and immediately called Dr. Wonka because I was a 10! I had to again wait to push until he got there. This was one of the hardest parts of the whole labor. It goes against every instinct and it is quite painful to defy nature. When he finally got there, I was ready! I could feel EVERYTHING. I was not numbed, drugged, or deadened in any way. It was the most excruciating, liberating pain I have ever felt. I wanted to meet her! I wanted the pain to stop! Those two thoughts alternated in my head as I pushed. For the next 20 minutes, I was the woman in the movies who you can hear screaming down the hall. The one who makes other moms-to-be cross their legs and will their babies to stay inside...yup. That was me. At 12:38PM our little Addison Claire was born. 

That one sentence ends the story in the happiest way imaginable. She was healthy, weighing 7 pounds and  7 ounces, measuring 22 1/2 inches, and filling her mom's heart. Her arrival did NOT make me forget the pain. I remember every second of it (obviously). But I survived the pain. And to anyone out there wondering if they can labor without pain medicine (especially while on pitocin)...if I can do it, trust me, so can you. Just concentrate on the ending to YOUR story.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

CONFESSIONS OF A FIRST-TIME MOM-TO-BE

I have to admit, being pregnant has not been at all what I expected. I'm going to confess some things in hopes that I can help other first-time moms-to-be not feel so alone in their thoughts, trying very hard not to cross the line into complaining (or at least tempering it with humor). I still remember the sensitivity advice I was handing out not too terribly long ago.



CONFESSION #1: I have had and am still having a really hard time coming to grips with my changing body. I never realized how tied up part of my self-esteem was in being somewhat in shape. Watching my stomach grow each week was something I thought would be so incredible; instead I’ve stopped looking in mirrors, stopped shopping for clothes, stopped feeling attractive altogether. It makes me feel horrible even admitting it. I know I'm not alone in this as I have talked to other women about this very thing, but it's something rarely spoken aloud. I have really had to make a conscious effort to try to embrace the changes, to accept compliments, to accept myself. Who knew that being pregnant would bring about such self-reflection?!

CONFESSION #2: I am beyond scared about going into labor. Not just a tiny bit. We're talking straight terrified. I decided years ago that if/when God allowed me to have a baby, that I would have it naturally. This does not help my fear. I think that for the most part I have a pretty high pain tolerance, but I've seen way too much television to think that it's going to be easy. I have a doula, a birth plan, a competent (if horribly unsympathetic) OB, and a wonderfully supportive husband, but still the anxiety not only lingers but increases daily. Today I found out that as of week 39 nothing has changed - no dilation, no dropping, nothing. The thought of having to be induced and abandon the plans we've made is disheartening and scary. People love to share their horror stories, as well as those of their sister's best friend's cousin's daughter, which does nothing to relieve the apprehension.

CONFESSION #3: I have turned into a symptom googling, webmd-ing obsessor. Every twinge, every pain, every anomaly leads me straight to my laptop in search of validation or at least some explanation which may or may not alleviate my concerns. At least half the time I am forced to then google other symptoms or complications...it's a never-ending circle of searches. In my defense, I have NO idea what labor is going to be like, so every new sensation has me wondering if this is "it", if the time has finally arrived. I wonder if gestational hypochondria is a “thing”?

CONFESSION #4: Carrying a baby is NOT easy (at least not for me). I have seen so many women sail through pregnancy - a glowing, walking billboard to future mothers everywhere: “This is easy. Pregnancy looks beautiful on everyone. I am the happiest I’ve ever been.” I am hereby suing such women for false advertising. ;-) I am not the glowing type (unless I’m sweating from the exertion of walking across the room) and can only claim happiness during every fifth mood swing. And no, I’m not experimenting with new makeup; those are natural black circles under my eyes from trying to sleep with a bowling ball strapped to my belly. Seriously though, it is hard. I am so beyond thankful for this miraculous experience, but I would be remiss in pretending that the years of longing for it have lessened its difficulty.

CONFESSION #5: I cannot even think of a word powerful enough to convey my desire to be the best mom I can be, but lately the thought of failure keeps me up at night. I know I will make mistakes. I know that at some point I will hear someone say, “When I have kids I/they will never…” while looking at me pointedly, judging me as I parent my child. I myself have done that very thing. I know that there will come a time when my precious daughter will declare her hatred for me over some unjust punishment I have decided upon. I don’t consider things like that to be failures. No, the things that make me toss and turn are much more complicated. Parents leave a legacy, whether they want to accept that responsibility or not. I just want to make sure I’m leaving a positive one. I don’t come from an affectionate family; my friends always like to joke about my disdain for being touched. Will she get the love and affection that she needs to feel valued and self-confident, not seeking validation from the things of this world? Education is one of the most important things to me…will she value it, try hard in school, share a love of learning? Or will it be a daily struggle just to do her homework, a fight over something I hold in such esteem? Will I be an example of a Godly woman that she aspires to be like someday? Or will I make so many mistakes that she vows NEVER to be like me instead? I know that these are things unforeseeable, and that all I can do is my best. I know I will be spending a lot of time on my knees during her childhood, praying not just for her, but perhaps more importantly, for the betterment of myself.    

There you have it, just a few confessions from a nervous, excited, anxious, and sometimes irrational mom-to-be. I find it comforting that no matter how outrageous we think our feelings are, there is always someone somewhere experiencing the exact same thing. Hearing my thoughts echoed in the sentiment of another’s words is always comforting to me (and makes me feel a little more sane). Here’s hoping my thoughts will reassure another in the upcoming days.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Time Marches On...

Time. Time is a tricky thing. It is a rare constant, always moving forward at the same rate, and yet at any given moment to any given person, it feels varying, wavering, fluctuating. Never the same and yet always the same. It is unfeeling, without empathy, and impartial. A best friend or a worst enemy, or even both at the same time, a double-edged sword.  

Addison's birth is the most anticipated event of my life. When I think of holding her, seeing her, becoming a mother, time seems to stand still, even move backwards, days dragging into weeks. However, when I think about labor, giving birth, the fear of the unknown, the seconds speed by. I can't even seem to catch my breath. 

I believe our relationship with time is never more complex than when grieving a loss. My grandmother just went to be with the Lord a few hours ago. What my family wouldn't give to rewind time, stop it, selfishly keep her here with us a few more days. But as those closest to her saw her suffering, time was mercilessly slow.

Addison's entrance into this world coinciding with my grandma's departure of it is an example of time's cruelest paradox. My beautiful baby girl will never know her precious great-grandmother and my grandma never got to see me have a child of my own. I can only pray that Addison's addition to our family will be a bit of healing for us all. Even though I have lost someone who played a major role in so many memories, I will be forever thankful that I have them, and know that they will shape many of the new traditions we will make with Addison.

I am the world’s guiltiest when it comes to looking forward to events and wishing away the time in between. In these last few weeks before Addison comes, my grandma’s passing reminds me of how important it is to embrace every moment as it comes. I want to enjoy this time with Erik before our worlds are turned upside down in the best way. Time and life are synonymous. I don’t want to take even a second for granted; those seemingly meaningless, simple moments are when life happens, or passes you by if you’re not paying attention. My grandma is leaving behind such a remarkable legacy and has taught me many valuable lessons; I’m so grateful to be a recipient of this one.    

Friday, July 20, 2012

Undeserving

I spent 3 years avoiding blogs exactly like what this one is becoming. Blogs filled with babies and nurseries and sunshine...ick. That is why I have been hesitant in posting too many pictures of those very things on this blog. I know most people who read it are wanting to keep up with our story and are so excited for us, but I also know that I have been contacted by many who are still going through their struggles with infertility and miscarriage and so I am reluctant to constantly highlight my happiness.

There is a strange, comforting sense of solidarity when you come across someone that has experienced your type of heartache. Losing a baby or babies is not something ANYONE can comprehend unless they have gone through it. The excitement that suddenly turns into soul-crushing news, the daily struggles with faith, the excrutiating self-blame, the fear that it will happen again. It's just impossible to put into words that are sufficient enough. That's why for some, I know that although they are rejoicing with us, there is a sense of something bittersweet. Because even though I have gone through the hard times, my found happiness leaves behind unspoken questions. Questions that I asked myself on many sleepless nights when another struggling friend would start her own healthy pregnancy journey. Questions that sound ridiculous to outsiders, but line the wounded hearts of those in the thick of the pain. Why is this happening to me? When is it my turn? Will my husband still love me if I can't give him children? Maybe if I just do _____ for God? Why doesn't He answer my prayers? Will I EVER hold a baby of my own? Why her and not me? What have I done wrong?

I cannot answer those questions even now. My prayers have been answered, but I don't deserve it anymore than anyone else. I shudder when people say that to me."You and Erik deserve it!" It pierces the very heart of women who are looking for any reason why they are suffering. It seems to imply that the childless somehow don't deserve that blessing or are to blame, and that's just not true. I don't know why God has allowed me to have a healthy pregnancy thus far. I am thankful beyond belief, but I still hurt with those I know mask a pain behind their excitement. I do intend to post some pictures and continue the happy baby blogs, but I have felt compelled to let everyone know that I do it not to be insensitive, but to offer proof that God does indeed answer prayers and work miracles. We are His instruments, created to glorify Him in both our joy and strife. Believe me, not a moment of this complicated and heart-breaking 3 year journey has been wasted or lost on me. I pray daily for those of you still struggling: that you will keep the faith, that God will pour into your hearts while you wait on His timing, and that someday soon He will bless you with your very own little miracle.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Life Lessons According to Zooey

I've caught A LOT of flak for bringing home a new puppy whilst pregnant, I have to admit. Erik did say that he wanted this monster for his birthay, but I'm not entirely sure that he meant it after all. She wakes us up at all hours of the night, wants to nap only after we're wide awake, makes messes, puts everything in her mouth, terrorizes her older "sister", and pretty much just keeps us in a constant state of vigilance...you know, pretty much just like a baby...only with four legs and a fur coat! It was actually a genius move for me to bring her home right now (mental pat on the back) - what better preperation for November?!! We are having a lot of fun with her too of course, and she has also reminded us of some valuable lessons that we tend to forget in the course of our now-more-hectic lives.



Lesson #1: Make sure to always pose and look your best when there's a camera around! You never know who might post your picture!




Lesson #2: A friend by your side makes every moment sweeter.




Lesson #3: A nap in the middle of the day? A necessity in this sweltering Oklahoma heat!




Lesson #4: A walk a day keeps the doctor away. Oh, and looking fashionable while you do it doesn't hurt.




Lesson #5: When you REALLY want something, don't let any obstacle stand in your way, no matter how big it seems. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Gender Reveal

A gender reveal party? Up until a couple of months ago, I had never heard of such of a thing either; something I have in common with most of our invitees and the general public. Our reveal party is not a request for gifts, not a desire for the spotlight, but a celebration. A celebration of this miracle that we have been entrusted with, a tribute to our families that have shed so many tears for us, fervently prayed for us, and rejoiced whole-heartedly in our blessing. I can't think of a better reason in the world to throw a party; the gender suprise is just the icing "in" the cake. Below are some pictures of the party, along with THE REVEAL! More pictures to come...

 Girl...or Boy???
 Votes are boy heavy!
 BABY JEOPARDY...Team Boy vs. Team Girl. Team Boy won!
 IT'S A GIRL!!!!!!!!! ADDISON CLAIRE

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Walking Towards the Light

Week 15. Can you believe it?! It's a beautiful thing to wake up each morning, know that you're pregnant, and go about a normal day without worry or fear. Just a year ago, I'd never have believed it could happen. It's amazing what a difference a few short (long) weeks can make! Now to answer some FAQs:

Q: When is your due date?
A: November 13th

Q: When will you find out if you're having a boy or a girl?
A: Our gender scan is scheduled for June 14th at 1:15pm!

Q: What names do you have picked out?
A: If it's a girl, it will most likely be Addison Claire. If it's a boy, we're still tossing around ideas: Riker (a play on Erik's name and a nod to his love of sci-fi) and Sawyer are the only 2 we've remotely agreed on so far. The middle name for a baby boy will probably be John.

Q: How are you feeling?
A: I still get really nauseated when I go too long without eating, but it's getting better. I haven't gotten to the much-revered 2nd trimester energy boost yet either; here's hoping it visits soon! I'm in that awkward phase where you know you're pregnant but you don't really feel that pregnant anymore. It's kind of a weird limbo. I can't wait until I can feel Baby kick and move to reassure me! I do listen to the fetal monitor almost every night so that has helped me feel a little more connected in the meantime.

Q: How did you like your new Dr.?
A: He is definitely...interesting. He shall henceforth be called Dr. Wonka due to his evident love of jewel-toned velvet chairs and the bright candy-like glass sculptures that adorn his office. Also, he is a little awkward like Willy Wonka and I'm sure their bedside manner would be quite similar if Wonka were to cameo in Grey's Anatomy or Private Practice. Anyhoo, he definitely wasn't as impressive as Dr. IC (as I'm quite certain his main credentials were from the 80s), but I've heard good things so I'm willing to overlook his quirks and flamboyant tastes for now. If he starts suggesting a chocolate river birthing experience, I may have to change my mind. :-)

I want to say a big thank you to everyone that has been praying, and continues to pray for us. This has been such a long, hard road and we are finally basking in that light at the end of the tunnel instead of shielding our eyes (and hearts) from it.

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of light, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning." James 1:17

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My Miracle

Another week, another miracle! Well, since Dr. Yet To Be Named is booked until May 8th, I am continuing to thrive under the care of the illustrious Dr. IC until then. This means (you guessed it!) Baby T got another photo shoot today! I don't know if future baby is going to be a model or a soccer player, but boy was there some posing and moving going on! Baby was sucking its thumb, turning its head from side to side, and kicking its tiny legs. Keep in mind, Baby is only an inch long right now...an INCH! And through technology this little miracle fills up the screen with its already adorable acrobatics.

I could gush all evening about hearing the heartbeat again, seeing Baby's tiny arms waving around, and gazing at its emerging profile. I could try to elaborate on the elation I'm feeling and the pure joy I'm reveling in. But I won't. I know that each week is going to bring about new, beautiful moments that will be more substantial and amazing than the last. I'm afraid if I expound, I will run out of adjectives before I get to week 40...when my miracle ends...and begins.


I have prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of Him. 1 Samuel 1:27

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Planning...

Doctor time again! I have to admit, now that we have moved out of the dreaded 7th week, I look forward to each ultrasound. This baby has had A LOT of photo shoots in its short life! This week I measured 9 weeks, we got to see our baby moving, and the heartbeat was a strong 174 bpm. I could get all corny and say that I have never heard anything more beautiful in my life...and I just did. Now that the fear is subsiding and the excitement is building, I am finally starting to let myself plan a little!

The doctor said today that if you don't have a history of losing a baby after 9 weeks, the chances of it happening now are very low. Dr. IC even decided that I can be released to a regular OBG! I have to admit that I'm a little bummed about losing my weekly baby sightings, but it's unrealistic to think I should have one every 7 days for the next 7 months or so (even if it does help me feel better). With all of the changes going on, I decided that I am leaving the care of Dr. Never Again and all of the bad memories behind. I'm going to use a colleague of Dr. IC's; I can't wait to meet him in person so I can name him. Seriously though, with all of this great news, how can a girl not get a little ahead of herself?!

In my head the nursery is finished: a shabby chic room with antique books and a pretty chandelier for a girl, a room full of police cars and fire trucks for a boy. My extremely talented father has made such amazing things for the other grandkids; I can't wait to add a carousel rocking horse or motorcyle rocker from Poppy to said rooms. I will keep my names a secret for now, mostly because we don't have a clue what it will be if it's a boy. I can't wait to buy yet another pregnancy journal, this time with the confidence that I get to keep it! I can't wait to find out the gender of our baby and am already planning a little reveal party for family and friends. I can't wait to hold this baby in my arms and see with my own eyes a miracle from God. And most of all, I can't wait to just be a mom: the hugs, the kisses, the snuggles, the crying, the screaming, all of it. I'll be ready. You can plan on it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Pregnancy Realization

My how the tables have turned! It seems just a few short months ago that I was complaining about the complainers. You know, the ones lamenting about their stretch marks and morning sickness: nails grating on the chalkboard of my unpregnant belly.

I have gained some sympathy for the women I secretly tried not to envy. You see, pregnant women have a secret. We can be oblivious to all but the growing life inside of us. It is so easy to complain when you feel sick every moment of every day and your piles of laundry mock you from your perch on the couch. The only part of my body that seems to work lately is the finger that presses the buttons on the remote. Any more movement than that and I may have to take a nap. I have even found myself complaining to people that I know are struggling. Hurting from their own fertility issues, marital problems, even previous miscarriages. Who AM I?!

Well, I am human. The farther I get into this pregnancy the more aware I am that I am just like most other moms-to-be. I definitely have a faster stop-talking-alarm than most, but I want it to be even more sensitive. It's been so easy to get lost in the bliss/misery combination that is pregnancy, but I don't want to be callous to those suffering from true anguish. After all, I was there not too long ago. I've prayed that God use my losses for good; listening empathetically while quashing my complaints is just one way I can help make sure of it.

Monday, April 9, 2012

A Hopeful Mother's Prayer

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord this babe I'll keep.
Guide me safely through night's dreams
And wake me with the first sunbeams.

I ask for peace o'er all my fears
I believe that You will dry my tears.
You know my past has been so hard
Renew my strength and heal my scars.

All moms-to-be have the same prayers
Whether with child or waiting for theirs
For health, safety, and happiness yes
But most of all, for them to be blessed.

Prepare my heart to be a great mom
Guide me, lead me, and help keep me calm.
Your ways are higher, this is true
I've nothing but my trust in You.

My heart is held in your strong hands
Its breaking, I pray, is not part of the plan.
I believe in my soul this baby's the one,
We'll praise your name daily, daughter or son.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Uncharted Territory

We are now entering into a new phase of pregnancy: somewhere we've never been before...we are past the dreaded 7th week! I measured 8 weeks today and the baby's heartbeat was 161 (a girl to all of you heart rate theorists). We've never seen a baby get this big or heard a heartbeat this strong.

That brings me to the next new phase of pregnancy...excitement. It's still tempered with caution, but the hopefulness is overtaking everything. Part of me feels like I should try to reign it in, but I don't want to. To think that staying cautious and negative will cushion bad news should it come has not served me well previously. I have still broken down. I have still struggled with whys and resentment. Ultimately, I don't want to miss out on the beauty and excitement of a viable pregnancy because of my past! I feel like it would be unfair to this baby to reflect back and guiltily think about how I didn't write in a pregnancy journal or keep my ultrasound pictures because I refused to let myself go there. He or she deserves a  normal-acting mommy-to-be so they can read about the hopes and dreams I have for them someday; so they can know with all that they are that mommy loved them from Day 1, not Week 40.

I don't know anyone that has this pregnancy journey all figured out. It's a difficult path to navigate even when you've never had a problem pregnancy. For me, sometimes facing the uncharted is better - there are no references to the past, no links to the disappointment. Friends, Welcome to Hopetown!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Glass Isn't Empty!

It is with hopefulness, thankfulness, and excitement that I report that at this moment I am still pregnant! I know that may sound a little strange, but as most of you know, nothing about my journey has been normal. Most women don't see a doctor until at least their 8th week; I've seen mine once (sometimes twice) a week since week 3. I've had a few problems that have given me some scares, but at this time I have seen the baby's heartbeat twice and so far it's measuring a week bigger than my dates say it should. (7 versus 6) Dr. IC said that at this point we should "consider the glass at least 60-70% full." Any fuller and it might tip over and spill right? 70% is full enough for me.

This pregnancy so far just has a whole different feel to it. I am sicker, more exhausted, and more at peace than I have been through past experiences. Some of my friends may question the "at peace" part due to the amount of prayer requests I've been soliciting at every turn, but it's true. At peace for me doesn't mean no anxiety, as I'm not sure that I even know how to live that way. Even when I'm not pregnant I give off a stressed vibe...that's just me. At peace means that I know now more than ever that God is in control and there is NOTHING I can do but pray. Previously that knowledge just left me feeling helpless; this time it's a little empowering. I can't ruin this or change the outcome. God's plan is in motion; my attitude while I live it is just as meaningful a testimony as it will be when I hold a baby in my arms someday. Now THAT, I CAN control.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Puzzle Pieces and Plus Signs

Isaiah 55:9 says, "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." This verse explains so much...while essentially explaining nothing at all.

For the past few years I've been searching. Searching for God's plan, searching for the missing puzzle piece that would complete the picture showing my future, searching for answers. I was trying to humanize God.

I took the miscarriages to mean that maybe we should foster. (Our human minds MUST make immediate sense of tragedy). I decided that our difficult time fostering equaled the need to adopt through DHS. Then when that didn't happen in my timeline I began planning to save for a domestic or even foreign adoption. Common denominator? I, I, I. GOD is in control, not me. I cannot put God in a box. I can't frantically connect the dots and try to make sense of the senseless, not without diminishing the beauty of surrender. If I had all of the pieces to the puzzle, I wouldn't need faith, or even prayer.

I can say this much...God never ceases to amaze and surprise me. This leads me to our BIG NEWS. On the same day that the adoption worker FINALLY called me back, I saw a plus sign (and I don't teach math). It was super faint, but 3...or 6...tests later the virtually invisible lines were growing darker. Yup, I'm pregnant.

I'm only 4 weeks and I found out just before I was 3! I feel super pregnant this time...and I relish every symptom. I have been to the doctor 3 times already. I've had excellent HCG and progesterone levels, and today I saw the gestational sac. It is much too early to see anything else, but Dr. IC was very encouraged that it was in the right place. I have to admit, I was a little disheartened when he asked if it was my first pregnancy. I know he has lots of patients, but c'mon, at least read my chart before you walk in the door. That is such a painful question to answer! Regardless, his impressive credentials (from whence he got his name) gleaming from the wall reflected a confidence that can't be ignored. I'm excited for the coming days, and I'm taking his assurance to heart.

God is in control, and after five heart-breaking miscarriages I am more than happy to relinquish it to Him. You see, His ways are not my ways, and at this moment I have never been more thankful.

Monday, January 30, 2012

New Year's Resolution Solution

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about resolutions. After all, in January the reminders are everywhere you turn...Target ads boasting fitness gear and storage tubs on sale, gyms offering specials to get people in the door, and Weight Watchers ads slipping in between every other commercial. We've been raised to know you're supposed to implement a change on January 1st...and then beat yourself up a month later when you slip, lose all motivation, and feel even worse than before. Frankly, who needs that? The word resolution in itself has a negative connotation. Being resolute in something just does not inspire anything positive...I think old tennis shoes, an 80s style head band, sweat, and a grim, pained face. I'm not sure why, but well, there it is. Needless to say, I want something other than that as my mental picture for the year.

I don't have a resolution...I have an all-encompassing theme!This year, more than any year before it, I will choose to be SATISFIED, in every aspect.

IN MY JOB:
I have amazing coworkers, supportive bosses, and some fun curriculum. That alone is enough for satisfaction at work, no?

IN MY WRITING:
I am a perfectionist who reads, rereads, and pretty much memorizes each blog before I post it. This allows me to rattle the words around in my brain until I'm certain they're exactly what I want to say...this takes up a lot more time than the 20-30 minutes I might spend writing the actual post. Now you know why I haven't blogged in 2 months!! No more, however. I will write what I want to write, when I want to write it, with less regard to how interesting others may find it. I wanted to write no regard, but that's pushing my perfectionism recovery a bit too far.

IN MY MARRIAGE:
I was reading an article the other day about how we tend to nitpick our spouse because we as a culture have bought into the idea that only a person can complete us, and if we had just married that perfect person, our lives would be better (see Hollywood romantic comedies). Honestly, the amount of satisfaction we get from our spouses is primarily up to us, and I believe this whole-heartedly. I just need a little reminder from time to time.

IN MY "BABYLESS" SITUATION
Yes, we remain without child. DHS has had a big hand in that, because they never put us onto their adoption list! For six months we've been patiently and prayerfully waiting...all the while not being advocated for at all! I'm thinking God must have something truly amazing and miraculous in store for us because we've just been through too much. It almost makes me laugh (if only to keep from crying). Everytime another roadblock comes up, I just shake my head and look up...He has a plan. Meanwhile, I have learned to really and truly find satisfaction in my time (and our time) alone. I think I have to be satisfied with the silence before I am blessed with the noise.

IN MY FRIENDSHIPS
I have some wonderful friends. Old friends, close friends, friends that have been there for the highs and lows, friends that have offered encouragement when I felt like maybe happiness just wasn't in my dictionary. This may sound pathetic, but what I've really been longing for as of late is a BEST friend. When I went to college I was working full time, going to school full time, and barely had time to sleep, much less maintain friendships. Then I moved to Boise City with Erik (a whole world away) and lost contact with human civilization. I finally made some lovely friends out there, and then we moved back. It was like starting all over again. It seemed like everyone around me had paired off and had their "go-to-person." Not to mention the fact that I'm not the easiest person to get to know! I have been praying for awhile now that God bring me someone that I can spend time with when my hubby's working late, and who has a lot in common with me. He has brought a couple of amazing, spiritual women into my life and I'm so grateful!

IN HIM
This is my #1 priority. I have joined a women's Bible study called "Breaking Free" by Beth Moore. For me to truly be satisfied in all other areas of my life, I need to first be satisfied in Him. It's not hard. All I have to do is look around. I can see so, so many answered prayers. I was spending so much time dwelling on the ONE prayer that I haven't seen answered yet that it was causing me to be unsatisfied in every facet of life. Can you imagine? You give your child everything they've ever wanted and all they can do is look around at what everyone else has and think their own "stuff" isn't good enough. P* did that a lot and it was very frustrating and honestly like a slap in the face. I believe that's what I've been doing to God. I am blessed beyond measure and I need to act like it. Satisfaction is mine to embrace...I just have to choose to receive it!

*Update on P: He is still getting help, but is ready to be released very soon. We still see him and he still calls, but he has pulled away a little in anticipation of having a new family. We are praying daily that God has the perfect family waiting to embrace him when he's released. He is the bravest 10 year old I've ever known.