Friday, December 30, 2011

3 months

It's been quite a while since I posted... with good reason. Life around here is nuts. Ladybug is more wiggly and therefore more likely to bash her head against the keyboard stand while I try to balance her on my lap. And frankly, right now, there are twenty other things I should be doing rather than typing here. But, I'm tired. And it's Friday. So therefore, I type.

We've been through our first sickness, which transitioned into our second sickness, which led to our first round of antibiotics. Poor kid. The cold was pretty miserable, with fever and stuffy nose and much crying. She wasn't even over it when she got a case of the runs... and they're still running. Over ten filthy diapers on Christmas day... from a kid who normally has one a day. Apparently, I stayed remarkably calm when on day three of diarrhea blood appeared in her diaper. We're now on day six, and while I thought she finally seemed to be getting better, they said she was extremely fussy at day care today.

Thanks to the poop that I worked very hard to collect in a specimen cup, we've determined she does not have a parasite. She does, however, have a nasty bacteria; now we wait on the sensitivity to see just how nasty it is. Frankly, I'm simply relieved that something showed up as wrong. With the colon problems that run in my family, I'd much rather have a simple bacteria than our other options.

She's smiling a lot now, and over Christmas began vocalizing. She'll have a full blown conversation with you now, which is pretty fun. I caught her gazing at her hand the day we came home from Christmas, although I've not seen her doing it since. She loves her Whoozit, and while her glowing sea horse doesn't stop the tears at bedtime, she likes it as long as I'm holding her. I've also gotten her to hang onto a stuffed candy cane; maybe our next step can be a rattle. We have a ton of new-to-us books which I'm looking forward to reading to her... if we ever get back to having time between screaming and sleeping. Diarrhea and belly ache really need to go away!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Jonah days

If you've ever read L.M.Montgomery's Anne of Avonlea, you might recall Anne's exclamation that she'd had such a Jonah day. I believe it started with a toothache, which one can't help, and ended with over-reacting to a troublesome student, which one can help. Like Jonah, you take a bad situation that just happened and make it worse with your choices.

I feel I've had quite a few Jonah days recently. One day I had a flat tire before I ever got out of the driveway on the way to work. Another day I was barely on time to work (in my mind, late) because my car doors were completely iced over. I've overdrafted my bank account and am crossing my fingers it doesn't happen again. My house is disaster, I'm losing bills, my child's ears and eyelids are cracking, and I barely see my husband. I check my e-mail and find I've somehow been included in a family email that says someone had surgery today and they think they got it all. Sounds like cancer, and I'm glad I at least landed on one email even if it was accidental. But it makes me question again whether contact will only cause others more hurt.

December's been rough for me for a number of years now, but this one's been easier than any in the last eight years. The little baby in the swing next to me has made a world of difference. She reminds me of the good things in life, of having two people to love and serve. At the Christmas party at work yesterday, I was reminded that I have much to be thankful for. We may not have a lot right now, but we have more than many. We have a roof and our next meal. We have income. We have sound minds and healthy bodies. We have clean clothes, soap, and toothbrushes. You don't have to go to Africa or India to find people who are without these things; they're in your own town.

I told the lady at daycare one morning, it'll get better. But what I need to remind myself more often, is that it is good. Right now. Life is good. There are bad parts, but overall, life is good. There are bright spots to be found, if you're just willing to open your eyes and see them.




Saturday, December 3, 2011

I started back to work last week. My first day the Mechanic was off, so he kept Ladybug at home. That day wasn't too bad; it just took a few patients before I remembered how to use the recently updated computer system. I didn't get upset leaving the house, although I did get a little sad when I called home at lunch and heard Ladybug crying. The Mechanic assured me she was just fussing a little, but it didn't matter to me; her mommy wasn't there to fix whatever it was.

The second day, though, was much worse. It was the first time I'd left her with anyone but family. I thought I'd be able to hold it together. Not so much. It wasn't so bad walking in, or walking out... but driving away was horrible. I could barely see the road and probably should have just pulled into someone's driveway till I could stop the tears. But, if I stopped I was afraid I'd lose the nerve to keep going. It's strange. I knew she was in good hands. I knew she wasn't crying for me. I can't explain why it was so bad to those who don't have kids. I don't know if all moms understand either, for that matter.

Thankfully, it's gotten easier; otherwise I would probably have already quit. Still have no idea how to balance work and home, though. I wasn't good at it before baby; now I'm just lousy. With her sleep schedule I pretty much come home, feed/change/bounce baby, then collapse on the couch with her on my chest and try to doze, and then feed/change/bounce again once the Mechanic gets home from work... and by then it's 1am and I have to get up at 5am to get out of the house on time. I try to keep up with her laundry, but even the dishes are falling behind. I've tried not napping in the evening, but then I end up running on 3-4 hours of sleep... and that's just bad news for all involved. Somehow I'm supposed to cook and clean too? And be a decent wife?

The Mechanic's opinion on how his parents and other working families do it is this: they work the same shift. That way, they can tag team when they get home and more gets done. Maybe. But what we do sure doesn't work, especially when she becomes mobile and the piles of dog hair and junk in the floor become tasty snacks for the exploring Ladybug. So, we're looking at budgets and debt and trying to decide what is best for us. I'm pretty certain, and the Mechanic's 100% certain; I'm just afraid to commit to it. I like money in the bank. I like lots of money in the bank. It's my security blanket.

In other news, Ladybug has developed a beautiful smile. Makes the whole day better when she grins! Can't believe she's over 10 weeks old, and weighs nearly as much! She's growing up way too fast...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving '11

A few thankful thoughts. In no particular order:
  • Healthy, beautiful, baby girl: This time last year I wasn't even imagining I'd be sitting here bouncing Ladybug on my lap; for that matter, I was still on prevent-a-baby meds! My, how life can change in a year!
  • A wonderful husband: He has put up with a lot in the last year. Just read "The Dude's Guide" to get an idea.
  • Awesome in-laws: Everything from loaning cars to helping with barf bags.
  • Two fuzzy tail-wagging critters: They provide laughs and teach patience.
  • A running vehicle: One is better than none.
  • Understanding landlords: I can feel free to beg them not to cash the rent check just yet...
  • Insurance: Babies cost $16,000. That doesn't include what it cost to create the exit and then close it back up!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

*Climbing onto Soapbox*

From Michael Shannon's article on insidenova.com

"For those in two-in­come households who have been wondering what the long-term effects of parking children in daycare would be, the results are in and the news is not good.

Quite a few members of the daycare generation are currently occupying Obam­avilles in New York City, Washington, Oakland and points in between. This is a natural outcome of society's reliance on strangers to raise our kids.

The daycare generation's formative years led them to become accustomed to large, mostly benevolent third-party organizations that dried their tears, filled their tummies and enforced the rules for sharing.

Inside this primary colors utopia the daycare genera­tion finger-painted signs, beat on the furniture, sang songs and it was absolutely free! At snack time Juanita never charged little Belgium or Saskatchewan for the goldfish or juice boxes.

It's only natural, now that the daycare generation no longer depends on Kinder-Care, that they turn to the largest organization of all and ask Uncle Sam to make everything all better."


As a mother who will be placing her child in day care in less than two weeks, I find this offensive for two reasons. One is the assumption that I am relying on strangers to raise my kid. I will be raising my child. I call upon others to assist me. I will be disciplining and training at home, in the car, in the store, and as we walk into day care. I will be receiving reports of my child's behavior, and when my child is old enough to remember what they did wrong they will have repercussions at home. I will be giving suggestions for how to discipline my child. And the people caring for my child will not be strangers after a short period of time, any more than the Sunday School teacher in a large church is a stranger.

Second is the assumption that the Occupy movement is a natural response to day care. No, the Occupy movement is a natural response to the parenting that occurred, or in this case, did not occur. A two year old can be expected to clean up his room whether he's in day care or not. A quality day care will assist in training children to clean up after themselves. Yes, my child will be in daycare 50 hours a week. There are 168 hours in a week. That means I'm with her 2/3rds of the time. That's a majority, if my math skills are still intact. That's when I train my child, and if I can't make an impression on her in that amount of time, 50 more hours probably won't help either.

The other problem with this "natural response" idea is that it assumes the mentality for these kids was set by the time they were five years old. What about the school systems? The kids spent 13 years in school, but I see no criticism of parents handing their kids off to strangers in school. Even if they are placed in day care as infants, they are in the school system three times as long as they are in day care. And let's be honest. For an infant, things are free. I'm going to guess that things remain "free" at least until the kid becomes able to crawl. And even then, they don't "earn" their milk by putting their toys away. What parent (unless they follow the Pearl's system) is going to deprive their young child of food because they didn't put their toys away? You make it a game, so that it's fun to clean up. Especially in the first year, what they learn is that their needs are met. For free. Because someone loves them. I do not believe I am raising a child fit for Occupy camps by picking her up and changing her diaper when she cries. When she's three and I help her clean up when she has an accident, I'm not going to make her do something to pay me for my service. But I will train her to be a productive member of the family. That's what's missing in children these days. It's parents training. I'm a firm believer that those parents who don't parent when their child is in day care, wouldn't parent if their child wasn't in day care, and the result would have been the same if not worse.

I'll get off my soapbox now...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Firsts

Ladybug made her debut in church today. It doesn't seem to have done her any immediate good, since she is continuing her nightly scream-fest in the swing next to me. It did, however, give both myself and the Mechanic a picture of what we have to look forward to in years to come. Of the four families with young children occupying the back several pews, we were the only one that managed to stay put for the entire service. She fell asleep, and I earned $2 since the Mechanic thought sure we'd have to leave the sanctuary at some point. I was at an unfair advantage, though, in that I am more familiar with Ladybug's schedule and communication attempts.

Based on my observations, when your child is ~2-4 years old, the parent goes to church for one reason: to train the child to sit in church. When you get up 5+ times during a service, you can't follow the sermon enough to get anything. When you have to keep one eye open to make sure your child isn't crawling under the pew during prayers, you probably aren't praying much more than "Lord, give me patience." It appears to be more effective for one parent to take sole responsibility of the child and free the other one to actually attempt to pay attention to the service. We'll see how this goes when we get to that point. I'm not looking forward to it... I kind of like the "sleep through the service" stage.

And once again, we were horrible parents and didn't get a picture of our first trip to church... oops. I didn't even dress her up; she got put in a fleece sleeper. Apparently, the child does not own any long sleeved dresses, and doesn't own any newborn size dresses at all. Come to think of it, I did say I was going to be practical in dressing her and would probably have her baptized in a sleeper. Is this horrible?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

On colic, UTI's, and pacifiers

"I'm going to breastfeed my child for 12 months." "My child will not get hooked on pacifiers." "I'm going to use cloth diapers." "My child will not get colic."

I at least had the sense to phrase that last statement "I hope my child doesn't have colic." Other than that, I'm batting 0.25. The only thing that's come true is cloth diapering. Once we grew out of/ran out of the newborn size disposables, we went to BumGenius and love them. Even the Mechanic finds them easy to use.

As for breastfeeding... I made it to six weeks. My new, more experienced opinion is this: don't push it. If it's frustrating you to the point of getting angry with your child because they don't "get it," stop. Try pumping. And if pumping exhausts you and makes you short-tempered, in addition to the guilt because you have to watch your child scream because you can't hold her and pump at the same time, quit. It's not worth it. Better to have patience with your child, to spend time holding her and talking to her and reading and playing with her, than to get frustrated because the breast milk you worked so hard to obtain is running out her mouth and down her neck. So, I'm a bad mommy; I had my child by C-section, put my child in day care, and feed her formula. Bite me.

On pacifiers, okay, so we're not hooked on them. They're hooked on us. I didn't even register for one of those pacifier clip holder doohickeys. They reminded me of some sort of dog leash... in a weird way. But after going through all 4 pacifiers in 30 minutes because she looses latch and they fall into the dog hair covered floor, pacifier holder went on the grocery list right next to bread and milk. I also purchased two more Soothie pacifers, since I can't come up with a way to use the holder with them. Can't wait till she's big enough for a Wubbanub.

And for the colic... holy cow. My ears were ringing last night. I sat her on my knees and told her "you can stop anytime now. This isn't fun anymore." It didn't stop. I have come to grips with the fact she is going to scream, and there might not be anything wrong. So I have my system. I change her diaper, put her in a Swaddle blanket, feed her, and then wrap her arms in another blanket, which I carefully position to hold the pacifier in her mouth. And then we walk, in the rain, in the leaves. When that gets old, we bounce on the exercise ball. We do a bouncy shake your hips dance move. It's too bad we don't have a hall to walk. And when mommy just can't take it anymore, Ladybug lays in her bouncy seat set to vibrate and screams, and mommy plays a couple songs on the keyboard, or eats some yogurt. And then we proceed to walk/bounce/dance again. And when mommy's too tired to move, we lay on the couch with Ladybug on mommy's chest, still screaming. Eventually, she stops. At least we haven't gotten to the point of mommy crying as hard as baby.

And oh yeah, I managed to go 9 months of pregnancy without a single UTI, and six weeks postpartum I get the worst UTI I've ever had. The doctor wearing a short leopard print skirt with hooker boots was a bit shocking, but she was nice enough. Yay for Macrobid.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Forgiveness

I was tempted to skip over the guest sermons on Grace's website. I'm so glad I didn't, because the sermon I heard this morning was a challenge at just the right time.

I've been overwhelmed by family problems; they consume my mind, haunt my dreams, and affect my interactions with everyone. I stay in a continual state of stress, which causes me to be less patient, which is the last thing I need to happen while caring for an infant. I've been doing some soul-searching to try to figure out what I can do. After all, the decision we made was to allow me to heal, and when you're so upset over the length and severity of silence, that's clearly not happening. But not healing isn't an option; I cannot live the rest of my life as I have the last 7+ years and be the wife, mother, and daughter I want to be.

I had decided to allow myself to think about the situation once a day. I haven't succeeded that well, but just trying to limit the amount it comes to mind has helped reduce the nightmares. Instead of just rehashing how things could have been handled or trying to come up with a way of fixing things, I am attempting to pray through the situation. One of the best times I've found to do this is when I'm up with Ladybug at night. Praying helps keep me from getting frustrated with my interrupted sleep, and it gives me somebody to hug while I cry. I've been very blessed in that post-partum depression hasn't been bad thus far; if you are in the situation I'm in and you don't cry, your heart must be made of stone. Ladybug doesn't wake up every night, though, so it takes a little more diligence to find time to pray during the day.

This morning's sermon was by a professor at RTS, and yet it wasn't the intellectual style that often comes from professors. It was based on Colossians 3, with references to the parable of the ungrateful servant and Ephesians 4. He reminded us of the need to forgive others because of how much God has forgiven us. When I type this, it seems simple, obvious, basic. But when I let this message sink into my heart... it makes quite an impact. I am struck by the need for grace. I can't forgive in my own strength. The only way I'll ever be able to move past this situation is by pleading with God for His grace to help me forgive. The verse in Ephesians says let there not be any bitterness, anger, or malice. I need to pray for release from anger, protection from bitterness taking residence in my heart.

This sermon did not reference this verse, but I recall the passage from 1 Corinthians, love keeps no record of wrongs. I am guilty of this, both in my maiden family (is that a proper term? How do you distinguish from your parents/siblings versus your spouse/children?) and in my marriage. It's so easy, as the preacher said, to get upset over the daily things like not taking out the trash. Or in our family, whether or not the dishwater was drained and the washcloth hung up to dry. =) But in the bigger problem, part of the reason I've had such an issue is the accumulation of irritants. In reality, what does that thing back in college have to do with the problem that led to the estrangement? Nothing. Yes, it drove me crazy, and multiple similar situations drove me crazy through the years. But it needs to be thought of separately. And if I separate the "wrongs" or rather, irritants, those small things are much easier to forgive and put behind me.

Here's a picture: A child leaves his toothbrush and toothpaste on the bathroom counter every morning instead of putting them away. The mom finds this irritating, and repeatedly asks the child to put them away. One morning, the child breaks a favorite flowerpot by roughhousing. The mom gets very upset and requires him to pay for the flowerpot, spanks him, and grounds him for a month. When the dad asks why such severe punishment for only one offence, the mom says "it's not just for the flowerpot, it's for all those mornings he hasn't put away his toothbrush." The proper response would be to deal with each offence as it occurs, and then put it behind you. And once you've disciplined for the offence, you don't punish again days or weeks later. That's like being tried twice for the same crime.

I recall a yearly breakdown/fall apart. Things would come flying out of a mouth about irritants that happened months or nearly a year ago. I remember thinking, if it bothered you, why didn't you say something about it? Why do you store it all up and bring it up now? Do the dishes every day and then they won't take you 5 hours to do. Do a load of laundry a day and it won't seem so overwhelming. Consciously forgive or deal with issues daily, and move on. If you don't bring up the problem within a VERY short period of time, don't bring it up at all. "If anyone has anything against... speak now or forever hold your peace." (Granted, we had that left out of our wedding. We weren't taking any chances. =)

Anyway... my Sunday morning thoughts. Off to deal with the daily dirty dishes and laundry. (I know, I'm not exactly following Sabbath rules... I do take it a little easier on Sundays. But the Mechanic (I still prefer the Guardian) needs clean clothes, and Ladybug's gotta have bottles.)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

5 years...




















I couldn't help but reminisce a little while pacing the sidewalk in front of the house. In the rain. Under a red umbrella. With an infant who screamed every time I stopped moving. After all, you can only talk about the gas station lights and the purpose of the post office so long to a one month old. So she got to hear the story of her mommy's first date, exactly five years ago to the hour.

See, we'd originally planned for lunch after church on Sunday. Given our second date, we might have ended up with other people for all I know. Not sure what his plans were. But, my parents informed me they were coming for a visit on Sunday. So, we ended up with a classic Friday night dinner and movie date. We lucked out and saw a really good movie, The Prestige, and had some tasty Chinese. The best part was him asking me for a second date when he dropped me off at my dorm that night. =)

I must admit, I had a hunch I would be marrying him. I did not, however, think about what five years later might hold... Part of what has come about from that first date is currently screaming her head off while being bounced on my knee... which is why this post is getting cut short!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Month 1 Essentials

For now, instead of making a list of what Ladybug can do, which would be rather short, I'm going to make lists of what has been most useful to us in the last month. I think that'll give me a good enough memory of what she was like and be a little different perspective.

Pampers Swaddlers: only a few blowouts

Ameda Purely Yours Breastpump: I hate this thing. I hate it with a passion. But it still makes the list.

Playtex Nursers with Drop-in Liners: Only need eight; they're so easy to clean it's not a chore to wash them every day.

BabyPro Smart Bottle Warmer: This thing is awesome.




Boppy: Great for feeding, relieving tired arms when sleeping on the couch, and for supervised naps!







Snug aBunny Cradle Swing: One of the few places I can put her after she eats. Ours has some strange additions to the mobile but she likes watching their shiny ends.

Medela Nipple shield: Weird, and I hate using it like I hate the pump. But it got me through several days when I was in a huge "hate the pump" rage.

Similac Formula: Got our weight turned around and headed the right way. Thank you free samples!

Burp Cloths: These things are like my mother's dust cloths, eternally disappearing. I've learned to keep them stashed throughout the house, because it is guaranteed: if you don't have one, she WILL spit up

Moby Wrap: Not a daily used item, but very handy for getting some housework done when she insists on being held.









ShrinxHips: These things are awesome! The Mechanic (cause he's not sure about the Guardian name) thinks they've got me smaller than I was to begin with... we'll see when I get my belly flat enough to wear jeans again.

Percocet/Ibuprofen/Simethicone: Only for the first week, though.

Wee Gallery Art Cards: I wasn't going to get flash cards, but these came free in the mail and so I stuck a few next to the changing table at her eye level. She stopped crying and stared at them. Impressive!





Bright Starts Play Mat: Kelly's place to hang out on her tummy while Mommy does dishes!







Fisher Price Bouncy Seat: Vibrating setting is great for when we're fed up with our tummy and Mommy still isn't done with the dishes.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pregnancy Essentials


A list of the "couldn't have lived without" items
  • Pregnancy wedge: Awesome for holding that belly up and the only way I could sleep
  • Palmer's itch spray: Only used it for the last couple of months, but it kept me from clawing
  • Palmer's stretch mark cream: I'm not sure it works, but it feels good to at least try
  • Tums: I kept a bottle on the night stand, one on my desk at work, and another in the car for 7 months. And my baby's got the hair to show for it!
  • Maternity support belt: Instant relief of back pain in the second trimester
  • Pedal Extenders: couldn't have driven past ~6 months without them.
  • Dude's Guide: Gave much more realistic information than What to Expect
  • Kroger Prenatal Vitamins: easy on the stomach, small and coated enough to swallow, and reasonably priced.
  • Senna-S, Colace, and Benefiber: 'nuff said
  • Smoothies: solution to the weight loss from morning sickness
  • Slip-on tennis shoes: The only option for work after my feet started swelling and I couldn't reach my feet to tie laces.
  • Teva sandles: The only option when I couldn't cram my swollen feet into the slip-ons.
  • Humor, patience, and an empty bathroom

Thursday, October 27, 2011

1 Month


My baby girl is one month old. I simply can't believe how time has flown, while it still feels like she's been a part of our lives forever. Motherhood is incredible, and exhausting, and frustrating, and one of the most wonderful things ever.

Being a nurse, it's tempting to go by the milestone charts and worry about what we've not achieved yet. I then console myself by saying she's actually only three weeks past her full gestational age, so she's not supposed to have achieved all that yet. What I need to remember, though, is eventually she'll get it all. She'll track, and recognize our voices, and smile, and roll over, and walk, and learn to read, and get a job... and I'll wish I could have this time back. I'll wish for the day when I felt like all I did for five straight hours was heat bottles and feed. I'll wish I could work on the computer while balancing a sleeping infant on my lap. There's nothing like picking up said screaming infant and the screams instantly stopping.

To come: pregnancy and first four weeks essentials, and a critique of a recent article in Faith for all of Life. (yes, I'm posting my blogging to-do list)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday morning

I grew up in a home where church was mandatory. You had to be really sick to not attend; a cold was usually not justification for staying at home. I attended a college where church was also mandatory, skips were monitored, and missing too many services meant listening to sermons on CD, supervised by your RA.

So for me, missing two months of church is odd. Granted, I did work every other Sunday for over two years, which is partly the reason I'm okay with not attending church for now. The other reason is that it is likely many other families have the "a cold is not justification for missing church" attitude. I figure we'll be sick often enough once we start day care, so why share germs earlier than necessary?

I do know that missing church is not good for me spiritually. I lose focus easily, and a weekly reminder of truth is helpful. Thankfully, the internet gives access to thousands of churches, so Ladybug and I have our own "church time" while the Guardian saves our spot in the pew. I chose to return to one of our favorite churches, Grace Pres in Cookeville. My only wish is that they would put the entire service online; I really miss their singing!

Now for some advantages of online church.
  • You're never late.
  • No one ever sits in your pew, except the dog, who can be pushed out of it.
  • You don't miss any points if you have to use the restroom; that's what pause is for.
  • You can wear your pj's.
  • You can breastfeed or pump without being discreet.
  • Your screaming child disturbs no one. That's what the volume is for.
  • When a poop blowout occurs, you can use the handy pause button again.
  • When your coffee gets cold, yep... love that pause button!
  • When you have a mommy-brain moment and can't for the life of you find Psalms... pause button to the rescue!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Clueless

So here is the latest lesson in parenting I've learned: I don't know what I'm doing. It's not very reassuring to realize this when you have a three week old, it's 3am, and you've still not gone to sleep. I've had a few moments of "when is this child's mom going to come get her and fix everything? Oh yeah... that would be me. Crud."

I've been relatively isolated from the debates regarding child rearing, thankfully. However, I know if I'm not careful I'll get drawn into them. I'm one of those people that likes step by step guides. I like instruction manuals. And this kid didn't come with one. There's no handy little "when I sound/look like this, it means feed/change/burp me." There's no troubleshooting flowchart. There's no "if your model is dysfunctional, call 1-800 for repair or replacement."

I'm all for reading the Bible, but let me tell you, I'd be reading it a lot more right now if it told me how to get my child to go to sleep at 10pm instead of 4am. Or if it told me how to balance pumping with life. Or if it gave me a chart for "this age child should be allowed to scream for this long before rushing to her aid."

There are a ton of parenting books out there, I guess for people like me who want someone else to tell them what to do. But, if parenting is like the rest of life, that doesn't work. Trust me, I'd love for someone else to tell me exactly how to handle many situations in my life. I've tried to get people to do that. I've asked counseling services, trusted adults, church leaders over the years what I'm supposed to do. And no one can tell me exactly how I need to live my life. They can give broad principles, but it's up to me to apply them. The few times I have received specific advice, I've usually regretted taking it.

So I'm going to skim a few books and try out a few methods. But I'm going to try to remember that our family and child is unique and isn't going to adhere to a neat flowchart.

And the law of non-contradiction does not apply to infants.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Thoughts after 19 days


I've been pain med free for over ten days, had a good nap this afternoon, and just returned from a long walk. Therefore, my brain actually feels up to writing something halfway coherent!

I haven't decided how much detail I'll be putting on this blog, nor what my theme will be. For now, the little baby currently asleep in the carrier on my chest will be known as Ladybug, and the other half of the reason she exists will be called the Guardian. The littlest dog will be Defective Dog, and the bigger one will be Tub'oLard.

For today, I think a random list of thoughts/lessons from the last three weeks will suffice.

  • C-sections are awesome. Spinals with additional morphine are even more awesome, and worth the insane itching that follows.
  • Ladybug's first cry was one of the most incredible moments of my life, surpassed possibly only by the Guardian's proposal, and maybe our first kiss and our wedding kiss (two separate kisses)
  • Little girl diaper changes can be about as exciting as boy's; amazing how far poop can be squirted!
  • Showers are wonderful sanity savers.
  • Babies are black holes of time. You blink and it's 2pm, you've not had a shower or eaten breakfast, but you're on your 10th diaper and 4th bottle.
  • Pumping is not as simple as slapping the things on your boobs and turning it on.
  • Despite the recent article dispersed to my church, I firmly believe I love my child just as much as the mother who went through a vaginal birth. I did not need the natural hormonal rush, nor did I need the hormones in the IV, to make me love my child. That article will probably be given its own post later.
  • Some babies like baths. Mine does, and she also likes back rubs and having her hair brushed.
  • My daughter is her daddy's girl. She is a natural evening shifter...
  • The swelling does eventually go away. The tears slow as well. The fat and stretch marks... well... those are sticking around a bit longer.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Still alive and human... I think

There is a distinction I never made before. There is human, and there is mommy. And mommy's do not always feel human. We sometimes feel like some sort of zombie, with strange marks and fat rolls that previously didn't exist, emotions that take roller coaster rides, and brains that simply cannot remember that 2+2=4. My days consist of pump, feed, change. Pump, feed, change. Try to fit some sleep in there somewhere. And then do it all over again.

The lack of eye contact from a newborn only confirms the feeling of non-humanness... it's as if she looks right past me, as if I don't exist, despite her complete dependency on me to feed, change, burp, clothe, and comfort her. I'm told this will get better once she becomes interactive again.

There are moments, though, when you see the good side of being a mommy. The 2am change when I look at the child who just exploded poop into the clean diaper I just put on her, and I'm amazed at how much I love this little poop-making machine. The rare moments in breastfeeding when things are actually working like they're supposed to (with the help of a plastic nipple... now that thing is weird) and she wraps her little hand around my finger.

So I'll plod along; I think survival at this point is a worthy goal.

Monday, September 26, 2011

36 hours

How much can change in 36 hours?

Hopefully, I'll be sitting in a bed getting stuck with needles and answering a bunch of questions for a nurse and anesthesiologist. And then I'll let that anesthesiologist stick a huge needle in my spine. *gulp*

And about 3 hours from then, I'll be holding a brand new, red, screaming baby girl.

And I'm tearing up just thinking about it.

(And thanks to the shuffle on iTunes, I'm thinking "Awake and Alive" would make great entrance music for my baby girl.)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

How do you deal with life? How can you go on when it seems to crumble down around you? What do you do when you are hurt so deeply, and others are hurt so deeply? Is it ever right to lie to make things better? Will things ever get better? Will the wounds ever heal? What kind of world is this baby girl being born into? Will I be able to shield her from hurt? What is this going to do to her?
God, what am I supposed to do with this? I could really use some wisdom and peace and comfort right about now...

Friday, August 12, 2011

It is the eve of my first baby shower for my first child... and one of her grandmothers will not be there.

It is part of adulthood to handle difficult and awkward situations. I fear tomorrow may hold some of those. After all, I made my guest list with my mom especially in mind, in hopes of giving her an enjoyable afternoon with people she's not seen in a while. And I'm sure there will be some raised eyebrows when they realize she's not there.

Some may have already talked to my parents and received their side of a very ugly story. My character may very well be defamed and my name become a black mark in my parents contacts.

I do regret that this happened, especially with this timing. I can't help but wonder, why now? And I have no answer to that. Except that God is in control of all things, all times, all actions. And nothing that occurs happens without him allowing it. And everything will work for the good of those who love God and are called for his purpose.

So I pray His blessings on the little one moving and bumping around inside of me, and beg for His mercy on me, that she and I may never go through such a black time as this.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Obviously by the lack of posts, no bed rest was required. We went back to complication free for several weeks until I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, which turned into probable pre-pregnancy uncontrolled diabetes. So I now follow a strict diet, check my sugar 4 times a day, and have twice weekly ultrasounds. Her birthday has been pushed up a week to late September as they will be either inducing or taking her at 39 weeks. And whether or not I get to even attempt a natural birth will be decided by how large she continues to measure. As of now she's a pound or more bigger than she should be, so we're looking at an 8-9lb baby, too big for me to have naturally. Oh well, as long as she gets here safely.

We've had other issues besides health problems, though. Between the car problems and the family problems, it's about been more than I can take. I keep waking up thinking, it's got to get better. It just has to. And then something else happens, or there's another spin on things that leaves my head reeling asking "where in the world did this come from?"

I was listening to Indelible Grace on the way to church this morning, and I realized what a fitting song we sang at our wedding. "I trace the rainbow through the rain and feel the promise is not vain, that morn shall tearless be." So my prayer for the coming months is that the messed up @#$% that has happened will drive me closer to my Heavenly Father. That I will turn to the love that will not let me go. That I will not close my heart to the joy that seekest me in pain. That I will not focus on what is missing, what is messed up, but focus on the blessings and the pleasures that are granted me.

I look forward to holding my baby girl in my arms, kissing her sweet face, and entreating God that she never have to face the decisions that we have had to face in the last few weeks. I look forward to seeing her daddy hold her and praying that he will be a picture of a Father God to her. I can't wait to hold her tiny hands and pray that he and I will never be a stumbling block to her but stepping stones to help her understand true love that can only come from her heavenly family.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Fourth of July... While most of the area is watching fireworks, I find myself sitting in the house checking the level of edema in my legs and hands for the gazillionth time today. It's just not fun to watch fireworks alone, and I wasn't sure I wanted to try to control both dogs while sitting in the car. Maybe some holiday traditions will start once the baby is born; if not, this poor child will not know about any holiday since we really don't do anything special for most of them.

So the latest in the pregnancy story are possible complications. Up to this point, we've been completely free of those. I've spent the weekend checking my blood pressure, weighing, and seeing how deep I can make dents in my legs. Thankfully, my blood pressure has been good here at home, and the swelling is better today than it's been all weekend. So I'm somewhat hopeful that the doctor will tell me tomorrow that everything's fine and to continue living as normal. But, according to my scale I'm gaining a pound a day, I'm not going to the bathroom nearly as often as I was a couple weeks ago, and we know the lab results are abnormal; just how abnormal I'm not sure. Which makes me worry that things may not be fine and the doctor might have to restrict my activity.

If you've never faced the possibility of bed rest, you might think, oh, hey cool, a chance to read all those books I never have time for! This is true, but... I face the possibility of losing my job. The inability to clean my house, at all. The inability to go grocery shopping. The inability to take the dogs for a walk. The inability to cook. The little things that we do everyday that we take for granted. Plus, when you're pregnant, laying in bed isn't all it's cracked up to be. I can't imagine having to do it for the next three months. Which is exactly how long I have left... three months today.

But, there's not a thing in the world I can do to change what the doctor says tomorrow. She'll look at the lab results, she'll look at the vitals (which will hopefully be better than last visit so I can avoid another trip to the hospital), and she'll look at me. And she'll make the best medical decision she can. And I'd be wise to follow her advice. Once again, like I realized at the beginning of my pregnancy, much of this is out of my hands. Just like I can't keep her perfectly safe, I can't wave a magic wand and make the weight gain and swelling disappear. I can't help that my urine output is not quite what it should be. All I can do is try to stay as calm as possible under the circumstances and deal with whatever is dealt me.

I just looked down at my belly and watched about 5 straight kicks... it's good to know she's happily oblivious to my little worries. That's the good thing about this possible complication; the baby stays just fine, as far as I know, until you get to the point of mom dying. Of course, they try not to get to that point so an early delivery is frequently the solution to this problem.

*shrug* I'll be glad about 12 hours from now when I have an answer. That's what I have the hardest time dealing with, the uncertainty. But I guess that's what life's all about.

Monday, June 27, 2011

I have a new thought for what hell might be like. I don't plan on ever being there, but for the descriptive purposes...
Hell is eternal pregnancy. Always pregnant and never having the baby. (And not the kind of pregnancy that causes those crazy blessed women to say "I love being pregnant!")

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

For some reason I tend to only write on this blog when I don't feel well. I guess it's because when I'm not sick, I feel guilty about sitting in front of the computer when there are so many other things that need to be done.

There's also the prego brain that means I have a hard time holding down a logical conversation, or remembering what I wanted to say for more than a minute at a time.

So for this update, I think I'll not even try to make a point, or be thoughtful or philosophical. I think I'll just write what's going on around here.

Baby Kelly seems to be doing well; she is very active and has already gone after my bladder and ribs with her feet. I feel her bumping around in there multiple times a day, so that provides some extra reassurance that she's fine even when I feel horrible. I feel huge, can't sit still for more than 15 minutes at a time, can't sit with my legs crossed or even together, can't really sit without being somewhat reclined or perched on the edge of a chair. Rolling over and getting up is also getting interesting. My back kills me, my front feels like it's going to explode, and that's without the food poisoning that seems to have set in recently. I find lower 70's hot, so how I'm going to make it through the summer I have no idea.

I'm definitely to the mental state of "holy cow, what have I done" when it comes to having a baby. I used to love seeing little babies... now I see them and get overwhelmed with the thought of "what am I going to do with something that small?" We get to meet our new niece this weekend, so we'll see how I do with a baby up close. Of course, having a major life event puts other things in perspectives, such as the bank account. When we came really close to over-drafting the checking account, I wasn't thrilled about it, but I didn't freak like I used to. If it happened, it happened, and we'd just move on. I am trying to spend less and cut out as much as possible. I keep reminding E that come October, he plans on spending lots of money on applications and we're going to be down to one income.

As for the rest of life... kids and money, what else is there? Oh yeah, I'm married... I think that now I'm making a visible effort to listen, things are much better. So when I have days where I really feel bad and get nothing done, it's not a sore point because I have been trying.

And I'm at my 15 minute sitting limit. =) Welcome to the random world of a pregnant brain.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

"Some people wait a lifetime"

I was sitting in my kitchen, surrounded by an abdominal pile of dirty dishes that I really did not feel like washing. Relatively miserable, with a sore throat, drippy nose, low-grade fever, and crampy belly from constipation... the dehydration as shown by my cracked hands and lips probably was not helping any either. I was pretty much feeling sorry for myself.

Then on the radio, Delilah (E cannot stand her, but I enjoy her show) received a call from a lady who was 11 weeks pregnant and had just seen her baby on ultrasound for the first time. And Delilah played the song "some people wait a lifetime for a moment like this."

As sappy as it is, it reminded me to enjoy the moment. I've had several people tell me to enjoy my pregnancy, that there will be days I'll look back and miss it. And I'm thinking, are you crazy? You must have been the woman who invented the "pregnancy glow" and the "I felt wonderful when I was pregnant" bull$#@! that I've heard and yet to experience. But at least one of those people I know had a difficult, morning-sickness-filled bed-rest-ridden pregnancy.

And it's true, some people do wait a lifetime and never get to experience the heartburn caused by a growing baby. Or the shortness of breath caused by a stretching uterus. Or the constipation caused by the hormones allowing the baby's life to continue. And they'd give anything to be able to have those problems.

So I poured myself another glass of water and forced myself to drink it, decided to give the dishwasher another try, and looked forward to another chance to hear the heartbeat tomorrow. Here's hoping for plenty more reminders to enjoy the moment!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I haven't updated in the last several months because I wasn't going to be able to be completely honest. But now that we've announced, I can finally put some thoughts down here.

Being a mommy is incredible. Seeing that dot for the first time was amazing, but a couple weeks ago when I finally saw my child's shape for the first time, watched him (default until we find out for sure, although "he" is my guess) wiggle his little arms and legs, and had the realization that the wiggling was happening right there, inside me... wow. Hearing the heart beat and letting it finally sink in that that little heart is beating inside of me. Thinking that as I lie in bed at night, the Maker of the entire universe is forming tiny kidneys, liver, brain cells, muscles, bones, teeth, fingernails... while I do nothing but sleep. While I go about my daily tasks of taking blood pressures and making referrals, this little body is growing and moving and forming.

And on one hand this puts the weight of the world on me. How am I going to support this child? Do I have the wisdom and patience to train and discipline? Do I have the energy and joy this child will require? On the other hand, I have never felt more helpless. It is less of a fear at this point, but there is still some concern for miscarriage, which I will probably have until the day I hold my child in my arms. And there is really nothing I can do about it. I can't put my hands around my growing belly and hold my child in place. I can't form his cells and DNA and keep a fatal mistake from happening. I can't form the placenta and position it correctly. I can try to eat the best I can, try to gain the proper weight, try to get adequate rest, but ultimately, the fate of my child is not in my control.

Nor will it ever be. I heard a song by Evanescence, and while I'm sure she was not thinking of a child when she sang it, that's what came to my mind. In conceiving a child, just like when you marry, you give your love to someone. And there's no guarantee it will remain. It could end too soon. It could end in tragedy or anger. You could become estranged and never speak again. You could be hurt deeper than you could ever have imagined. With every new love, a new world of possible hurt opens up. But I think anyone who's been there would say it's worth it.

Having a child also gives an entirely different perspective on healthcare than I could ever have had. Hearing the screams of a teenager in anguish over finding out she's pregnant, and knowing that child doesn't have a hope of being born healthy, if it even has a hope of being born at all since its mother wants to kill it before it even takes its first breath of air. Holding the hands of the child who's in for an evaluation of possible abuse. Carrying a tiny, malnourished child who doesn't have a home to go to that night, nor food to eat, but mom found the money for cigarettes and a six-pack. And then sitting back down at my desk, and looking at the picture of my baby. God forbid anyone ever dream that I would harm my child. Yes, it's somewhat unexpected, and definitely earlier than planned, but this child is loved. This child is wanted. This child will see in me, Lord willing and by His grace, a picture of unconditional love, self-sacrificial, willing to die. May he see in me something that will help him understand the care and love God has for him.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

How do I begin to put down my thoughts during this last month? How do I even begin to explain my thoughts at this moment?

I find myself listening to my self-compiled CD labeled "PHC Encouragement." I created it not long after I left PHC, choosing songs that had touched me somewhere along that roller-coaster ride. I organized it to lift me up, from the songs that would bring me to tears early on to the praise songs at the end.

When I pull out that CD, I can't help but think about what I've come through. And the challenges that then seemed so daunting now seem manageable. Well, some of them do. Some still affect me. Some I fear will affect me till the day I die.

His strength is perfect. But do I lean on that strength, or do I try to handle it on my own? What I see in myself now is someone who will "handle it." Deal with it. Make it work. Tolerate it. Survive. That's my mantra. Survival. But as my hubby pointed out recently, life isn't supposed to be lived as survival. It's supposed to be enjoyed. It's supposed to have happy moments. You're supposed to do better than survive.

Just give me Jesus and I'll be alright. Tears still come to my eyes when that simple song starts. The emotions associated with the first day I heard that song... the first day I truly knew the meaning of heartache. And the simple truth that carried me so many months... I know my tomorrows are safe in His hand...

If I could choose a song to be played at my deathbed, I'd choose this one.

Just give me Jesus, and I'll be alright
With Him I can make it, walking beside
I know my tomorrows are safe in His hands
Just give me Jesus; I know I can stand.

So many distractions seem to cloud my way.
All the cares of life surround me and lead my heart astray.
When I cannot find the answers
I know someone who can,
so in the middle of my questions
I reach for His hand.

So just give me Jesus and I'll be alright.
With Him I can make it, walking beside.
I know my tomorrows are safe in His hand.
Just give me Jesus; I know I can stand

When I take my eyes off Jesus and confusion starts to win,
When my worries overwhelm me and the battle reaches in,
in that moment I remember, I know whose I am,
and when the enemy comes rushing,
I reach for His hand.

So just give me Jesus and I'll be alright.
With Him I can make it, walking beside.
I know my tomorrows are safe in His hand
Just give me Jesus; I know I can stand.

We are servants of the King,
and our future is secure.
A crown of life is waiting for all who will endure.
And when I stand before my Savior
and He reaches out to me,
I'll lay all my crowns before Him
and fall to my knees,
and cry
Just give me Jesus and I'll be alright.
with Him I can make it, walking beside.
I know my tomorrows are safe in His hands.
Just give me Jesus; I know I can stand.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Dear Refuge of My Weary Soul

I recently received a DVD by Indelible Grace, which reminded me how much I loved those songs and how much I miss them. Were I more involved in my current church, I would be loaning this DVD to the pastor and encouraging him to include some of these tunes in our services. I'm hoping to study and ponder these hymns in the coming year. I'm all for reading my Bible, and that's another goal for this year, but since I'm rather withdrawn from Christian fellowship I figured that reading and considering what other Christians through the ages have expressed might be beneficial.

So, I started with the first hymn on Indelible Grace I. I was not familiar with the writer of this hymn (Anne Steele) prior to watching the DVD last night, so I did a little research online today. Her books of poems/hymns are now on my Amazon wish list. Loss of her mother at age 3, severe injury at age 19 which left her debilitated, and death of her fiancé the night before her wedding at age 21 makes her capable to speak on suffering. With that in mind, here are the lyrics to "Dear Refuge of My Weary Soul."

1. Dear refuge of my weary soul,
On Thee, when sorrows rise
On Thee, when waves of trouble roll,
My fainting hope relies
To Thee I tell each rising grief,
For Thou alone canst heal
Thy Word can bring a sweet relief,
For every pain I feel

2. But oh! When gloomy doubts prevail,
I fear to call Thee mine
The springs of comfort seem to fail,
And all my hopes decline
Yet gracious God, where shall I flee?
Thou art my only trust
And still my soul would cleave to Thee
Though prostrate in the dust

3. Hast Thou not bid me seek Thy face,
And shall I seek in vain?
And can the ear of sovereign grace,
Be deaf when I complain?
No still the ear of sovereign grace,
Attends the mourner's prayer
Oh may I ever find access,
To breathe my sorrows there

4. Thy mercy seat is open still,
Here let my soul retreat
With humble hope attend Thy will,
And wait beneath Thy feet,
Thy mercy seat is open still,
Here let my soul retreat
With humble hope attend Thy will,
And wait beneath Thy feet