Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Learning to Trust

So I checked my bank account for the 15th time today.  Since 2.  Why?  Well, the rent was due, so I had mailed the check... and I was trusting that my refunds from my flexible spending account would arrive in my bank account before the cashed check did.  I have been living with less than $20 in my primary bank account for over a week now.  I had almost been ready to breathe a sigh of relief when my flex account said I'd been paid; that money today, payday Friday, we'd be just fine!  

And yet, as of right now, that money seems to be in no man's land.  It's out of one account, but it's not in the other.  Unfortunately, the rent check is at my bank.  I don't fully understand how bounced checks work, but from the couple of experiences I've had, if that money doesn't appear in my account early tomorrow that check's going to become a rubber ball.  It may still become a rubber ball even if that money does show up since it wasn't there today.  I don't understand why not.  I mean, everything electronic and supposedly instantaneous, so how the money can be absolutely nowhere I don't understand. 

This is on top of finding out yesterday that we're out nearly $500 thanks to IRS regulations that we were not aware of which mean we pretty much spent double on day care for the month of January.  No wonder we're broke; the government is allowing companies to steal from us, legally. 

But I've finally thought, why am I checking my account so often?  Why am I so worried?  Can I do anything to make the money appear faster?  Nope.  Can I keep that check from bouncing?  At this point, no.  It's totally out of my hands and in the hands of ... well... some computer processor somewhere I guess.

In the meantime, my child is currently sleeping on her stomach on the couch.  She's had a rough afternoon, getting woken up from her nap by a dog I'm currently furious with for waking her up.  She would not go back to sleep, but was completely exhausted, so I finally got her to sleep on my chest.  After a few hours I just couldn't lay there anymore so I wiggled out from under her.  Now, I know they say "back to sleep."  But sometimes you do what you have to to keep the baby asleep.  They also say not to let them sleep on the couch.  And not to let them sleep with a blanket.  I'm breaking all the rules today.  But I keep going over and scooting her away from the back of the couch that she loves to smoosh her face in.  And I keep removing the blanket from her face, because she keeps covering it up. 

And I realized trust is a factor in both situations.  I'm paranoid of SIDS.  Ladybug is still at high risk because she can't roll over, and she has also proven herself her mother's child by panicking when something covers her face rather than just removing it.  One of the goals I set with the TEIS is airway protection, that she would learn to remove a blanket or toy from her face instead of panicking.  

Back to the trust.  I can remove dangerous objects from her. I can position her with a clear airway.  But I can't make her keep breathing.  I can balance my checkbook and plan ahead, but sometimes things are going to happen.  Too many expenses in one pay period and we're in a hole.  And another case: my unborn daughter.  I can do everything in my power to keep her healthy, but I have very little control over what happens in my body.  At any moment her heart could stop for unknown reasons, and no one besides me would have ever felt her existence.  So I just have to trust.  That God will keep my one daughter breathing.  That a few bounced checks isn't the end of the world.  And that He will keep my other daughter's heart beating.  

And while I stress about the bank account, in reality, when I look at the baby girl now wiggling in my arms, trying to reach the keyboard, when I feel a tiny kick from inside, I realize that a negative balance really isn't that important, especially since I know it won't last more that a day. 

Monday, April 23, 2012


“Home is the true wife’s kingdom. There, first of all places, she must be strong and beautiful. She may touch life outside in many ways, if she can do it without slighting the duties that are hers within her own doors. But if any calls for her service must be declined, they should not be the duties of her home. These are hers, and no other one’s. Very largely does the wife hold in her hands, as a sacred trust, the happiness and the highest good of the hearts that nestle there. The best husband—the truest, the noblest, the gentlest, the richest-hearted—cannot make his home happy if his wife be not, in every reasonable sense, a helpmate to him.
In the last analysis, home happiness depends on the wife. Her spirit gives the home its atmosphere. Her hands fashion its beauty. Her heart makes its love. And the end is so worthy, so noble, so divine, that no woman who has been called to be a wife, and has listened to the call, should consider any price too great to pay, to be the light, the joy, the blessing, the inspiration of a home.
Men with fine gifts think it worth while to live to paint a few great pictures which shall be looked at and admired for generations; or to write a few songs which shall sing themselves into the ears and hearts of men. But the woman who makes a sweet, beautiful home, filling it with love and prayer and purity, is doing something better than anything else her hands could find to do beneath the skies.”
― J.R. Miller

I found this quote on another blog recommended by my sister-in-law, Encouraging Beautiful Motherhood.  Recently I've been convicted that I complain far too much.  Here I am, living the life I always dreamed of, staying at home with a dog on my heels and a baby on my hip, and I complain about it.  I don't complain about being a mother; I confirmed with the Mechanic that in general, I act like I enjoy motherhood.  But, I don't act like I enjoy "housewifehood."  I don't like cleaning, I don't like cooking, and therefore I tend to not do either.  And I complain about what little I actually do.  
As an incentive, I posted pictures of how horrible my house currently is on Facebook.  I figure if I put it up there for all to see just how messy, cluttered, and unorganized my life is, I'd have a bit more motivation to fix things.  My hope is eventually to post pictures of a clean, organized home.  I don't want perfection; I'm fine with a stray sippy cup or toy, or some dust bunnies in the corner.  But this "hope the house doesn't catch on fire because we'll never make it out alive" living has got to stop.  
So today, I cleaned my kitchen counters.  Big whoop you say.  Um, yeah... those poor counters hadn't been cleaned in who knows how long.  It's a good thing I cleaned when I did because another month or so and I wouldn't have been able to reach that one corner because of a belly!  It looks so much better in there!  And I feel better... I feel like something got accomplished, and I even have dinner ready for the Mechanic whenever he makes it home.  So there's a few dirty dishes next to the sink again... but overall, it's clean, so I'm okay with that.  They'll get done tomorrow morning. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Ladybug's CT

I made it... 450+ miles alone, with a 6 month old and unborn baby. The trip went as well as it possibly could have; no traffic problems, no car problems, excellent weather. Definitely answers to prayers! Even Ladybug did awesome; she never cried in the car, and only whined a little bit the last 5 minutes both directions. We were able to have a nice stop to visit both directions, with my college friend on the way down and my mother-in-law on the way back.

We stayed at the Ronald McDonald house; I was very grateful for being able to stay there and will encourage everyone to donate to them. Ladybug didn't sleep the greatest since she was in a strange place, but thankfully she didn't cry too much so our poor neighbors were able to sleep. 0430 she was wide awake... 0500 I gave up and just got up. We walked to the McD's next door for some breakfast and coffee, then started the cold uphill trek to the hospital. Just what I wanted to be doing... wandering downtown Chattanooga, in the dark, alone with a baby and no gun. Took awhile but I finally found the ER entrance and actually got to our appointment on time. Ladybug had it easy; she took a nap in the stroller!

I was very pleased with the staff at TC Thompson Children's Hospital. They were courteous, professional, and organized. I felt very comfortable with them caring for my child. The hospital itself was clean and beautifully decorated. I guess it's a children's hospital thing, but I loved the murals on the walls! We were in a jungle in one hallway, and her CT felt like it was in a stable! Would have been awesome if she'd been old enough to enjoy it... but I enjoyed it for her!

There was a team of three from anesthesia, in addition to the radiology staff, and the MD was very involved which was reassuring. They allowed me to go back with her all the way to the room next to the CT machine; I wasn't with her while they put her to sleep but I was next door and could hear her. I about cried when she started screaming about the mask, but I knew she'd be screaming just as hard even if I was holding her so I held myself together. It didn't take 15 minutes to do the CT, and then they let me in the room while they took the anesthesia mask off her and transferred her to the stretcher. That was the second time I about cried... she was so limp and unresponsive. But, it was good to see how many monitors they had her on and how careful they were.

She was asleep for what seemed like ages in the recovery room, but the nurse said she preferred to not try to wake them up because they tended to wake up a little happier. She assured me that when she woke up most of her unhappiness would be because she hadn't eaten in well over 12 hours. As soon as she stirred she pulled the artificial airway out and let me pick her up. Sure enough, once she realized that weird nipple I stuck in her mouth was Pedialyte she gobbled it down. Then they let me feed her the normal formula and after she held down 8oz of that we were free to go.

We found our way back to the McD house, this time taking a much shorter route after asking for directions! Ladybug was still sleepy so she and I took a nap before checking out of our room and heading back to the hospital for our visit with the surgeon. He had looked at the CT and said all her sutures were wide open; there was no indication at all of closure, not even any fibers. I presume fibers precede closing. So, that means no need for surgery at this point.

I'm comfortable in going with his opinion on this since it sounds like the CT was pretty conclusive. I don't quite understand how the genetic test correlates with everything; I'm probably going to be going to a local med school library to do some research on this condition. From what I understand, she has the gene mutation, and therefore has a 50/50 chance of passing it on each time she has a child. I also know some family members have shown no symptoms until 4 years of age, so we'll keep an eye on her. But, I wonder if it's possible to have the mutation and just have minor effects, like tiny ear canals. I also wonder if some people have the gene and the effects are so minor that they don't even realize they have them.

The biggest thing that worries me is that even the specialists don't understand the genetic part of this. I don't know if it's simply that no one has done research on the genetic forms of this condition, or if it's that most cases are spontaneous and don't get passed on. I also wonder if those with spontaneous mutations choose not to have children for fear of passing it on. Our family baffles doctors; we've had specialists say that this condition has to manifest itself by one year, but obviously that's not the case in our family. I feel like as a mother with some medical training, I need to learn everything there is to know about this condition, since it can affect both my children and my grandchildren. I also think it's important to learn what I can since it seems like very few medical personal know much about this condition. I've had to educate several people involved in Ladybug's care already.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Our church has been looking for a new pastor as our current pastor is retiring. The pastoral search committee has chosen a pastor with 7 children who is big into discipling families. Now, I have my own opinions on only being presented with one choice. But, that aside, I'm still looking very critically at this person, as he may be a big influence on my children. Perhaps I'm being too critical... I'm sort of nitpicking at his answers and statements.

But, one good thing about this is that it's causing me to think about what I consider important, especially in regards to my children. Some of it may be a matter of semantics, but I think the way we word things often shows the underlying thought behind the statement. For example, the statement: Our children need to understand theology and the Reformed faith as soon as possible. Okay. Sort of. Personally, I have a problem with that statement. I would rather say something along the lines of "Our children need to understand the gospel as soon as possible."

See, Presbyterians tend to be very theology-centered. And that's good, to a point. It's good to know why you believe what you believe, and digging deep is appropriate at times. However, sometimes we focus so much on the -ology that we forget about the simplicity of our faith. We forget that it's all about "Jesus loves me; this I know, for the Bible tells me so." However, this particular person seems to also have balanced his theology with some actions, which I can respect.

Another thing that has been brought up in reading through the information we've been given about this person is what we want our children to learn. Now, this particular person brags (and that's not a bad thing) that 30 kids from his church stand up in front of the church and recite 25 catechism questions and answers. Awesome. Good for them. Again, sort of. Me, well... I would MUCH rather my child stand up and recite 25 Bible verses. The catechism was written by men. It is fallible. It is not ordained. And I do not base my life on what men have written. However, the Bible, now that's different. It's infallible. It's ordained by God. It is worthy of basing my life on it.

I'm not just criticizing this particular pastor. I'm criticizing Presbyterians in general for our fixation on the words of men. Calvin was a great guy. So was Luther. But they were just men!!! I know several people who don't want to raise their children in a PCA church because they want their kids to learn Bible stories, not just the catechism. And I'm beginning to agree with them.

There's got to be a middle ground. A balance between teaching theology and the pure gospel. Unfortunately the person I know who best did that let his family fall apart. There's got to be a church that teaches the catechism as a help to understanding the Bible, but concentrates more on the Bible itself, especially for kids.

As it is, I feel sort of lost. I don't want to be solely responsible for my child's spiritual education. But I don't really trust anyone else's way of doing it either. (Yes, I have help from the Mechanic. But he would agree we would like the help of a church... and haven't really found one that we think will really help us like we want.)

Ah... parenting. So confusing. =)