Thursday, November 1, 2012

I held Turkey a little longer tonight while she slept, and spent more time memorizing her features instead of watching Netflix.  And I allowed myself to be in awe that I have been so richly blessed, to have not just one beautiful baby girl, but two.  I had impressed upon me that I am not worthy of my children.  Not that I'm holding them up as perfect; after the breakfast Ladybug and I had, complete with a side of the rod of correction, it is obvious they are not perfect.  But they are blessings, troublesome though they may be, and I am not worthy of even troublesome blessings.

Friends of mine were blessed with a beautiful baby girl yesterday.  A baby that has been prayed and longed for.  And today, that blessing was taken away.  They are left with empty arms.  Yet again.  I don't know which was harder, the loss of a baby growing inside or the loss of a baby that had never been inside you but that you'd held in your arms.  I can't imagine either one.  And for one family to have to experience both... 

I look around at my situation and ask, why?  We never had trouble with infertility; we joke about having the opposite problem!  We never even took a pregnancy test hoping for a (+) only to get a (-).  Financially, we're not well off.  Relationally, we weren't in the greatest of shape before we conceived Ladybug.  We don't even really have room for two babies; they'll eventually share a room but for now Turkey sleeps in the living room!  So why do we have two beautiful baby girls, and they have an empty nursery that is better than mine has ever been?  

I could never imagine giving up a child for adoption.  Carrying a child for months, feeling her move inside me, and then handing her over to someone else to raise?  I couldn't do it.  I don't understand how people do it.  But... I also question the wisdom of allowing a birth mother to change her mind for up to two weeks after the birth of her child.  I just had a child.  I just went through that roller coaster of hormones.  There is no way I'd make a life altering decision during the two weeks after giving birth.  It's all I could do to decide whether to lay Turkey down and let her scream or just give it up and let her sleep on my chest.  It's very probable that many birth mothers want to keep their children after giving birth.  It's hormones that kick in and make you want that baby more than anything.  But over the next few weeks and months, that's when you make the conscious decision to love that child.  It's when you get up for the fifth time of the night, or when you're exhausted and the baby just won't go to sleep, or when she's screamed for 3 hours straight, or when you just want to eat a meal without smelling farts.  

I don't know what the answer is to any of this.  Why I have my two girls, why they don't, whether or not a birth parent should be able to take a child they've already said they were going to give away...  But since my child is refusing to stay asleep in her cradle, I'll satisfy myself that I don't have to know all the answers.  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I'm bouncing Turkey on my legs while she lays on her stomach; she's limp as can be, with her long legs and arms hanging down, but every time I try to lay her on her back in the cradle she cries.  Cry-it-out doesn't seem to work as well for her as it did with Ladybug; she only escalates.

Since I can't sew one-handed, which means I still can't mend the Mechanic's pants, I figured I'd take the chance to get some thoughts out, albeit one-handed.  

It's been a difficult 36 hours.  I gave Ladybug her first peanut butter sandwich yesterday. She liked it, but it didn't go over well with her immune system.  Thank you IgE.  Hives, swelling, itching... she was a miserable kid.  I feel like I handled things about as well as I could have.  Okay, so I called the wrong doctor's office and then wondered why everyone at our doctor's office seemed clueless as to why we were there.  Oops.  But hey, if that's the worst thing I did I think I did pretty good!  We'll see if I got tagged by any of the speed or red light cameras.  I'm thankful for my nursing experience in times like that; it takes over and keeps me from panicking and freezing up.  Yes, I was frightened, but I kept my emotions in check and put the fright to use in speed for getting everyone buckled up and bringing pacifiers.  I did forgot the diaper bag... Thankfully no one pooped.  I'd have even managed without waking the Mechanic up if Turkey hadn't been screaming for food right as Ladybug had her second reaction. 

It was after Ladybug went to bed last night and I had a chance to sit down that things started to sink in.  My mind started whirling... no ChickfilA, no fish fries or deep fried turkeys at the Mechanic's parents', no Reese's cups... (I've since found out ChickfilA and the deep fried stuff will probably be okay) I started reading the labels of things I had lying around and realized the animal crackers "might contain peanuts."  Church dinners... nursery... babysitters... school... All that thinking sent me into a migraine today.  Only the second migraine I've ever had.  Not fun trying to care for two children, both with very high pitched screams, running on 4 hours sleep with a migraine. 

I feel I've been promoted to being a "real mom."  I'm not saying that moms whose kids don't have food allergies aren't real moms.  But having a child with health problems of any sort takes motherhood to another level.  It's another thing to worry about.  It's something to research and educate others about.  It brings out another level of protectiveness, and yet also makes you realize how much of a blessing your child's life is.  Because, you can't protect them enough.  

When Ladybug was diagnosed with craniostenosis, I cried.  But then we picked up and moved on.  We went to the doctors, got the scans, and made follow-up appointments.  And life went on.  Cranio doesn't affect me on a daily basis now.  I think about it when I give Ladybug a bath and see the huge dip she's developed in her skull.  I keep thinking late at night that I need to make her eye doctor appointment.  But, in general, it's not a worry that is in the front of my mind every day.  This peanut allergy is.  Every meal I'm thinking about it, checking labels, wondering if there might still be peanut butter on the high chair straps that she'll react to.  In between meals I keep thinking of foods she won't be able to eat, places that might cause exposure, wondering how long it would take us to get to the hospital from the Mechanic's parents' house.  I'm searching for ways of reminding other caretakers of the allergy, and worried that a simple "no peanut" bracelet or shirt might not prevent them from giving her a cookie or something else that you don't immediately think "this could have peanuts."  I'm wondering how long I should wait before seeing if she reacts to an open jar of peanut butter on the table while she eats.  I worry about what the next reaction is going to be like.  I wonder if there are other things she's allergic to, other nuts.  What if she crawls over and tries to eat a pistachio shell that's dropped from her Grandpa's chair?  What if she plays with a child who had a peanut butter cracker before coming to the park and they touch her or hold her hand, which she then puts in her mouth?  

You get my gist.  I'm in overdrive. See why I had a migraine today?  

I hope that this will be like the cranio, but I know it really can't be.  It's not like you have to change the way you function daily just because your child has cranio.  I guess I can just hope that this becomes routine, our normal... packing her own snacks and meals, reading labels, asking restaurants about cross-contamination... And I can hope and pray she never has a stronger reaction than hives and swollen ears. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Once a month seems to have become routine on this blog... wish I could say I'll write more often but given current circumstances I know better.

I'm currently typing one-handed while cradling the newest addition to our family.  Her name henceforth will be Turkey.  I've been calling her that since day 2; the name just seems to fit.  Eventually she'll fatten up but for now she's definitely a little bird.  Whereas Ladybug came out pudgy and round, Turkey came out skinny and long.  She's cute in her own way, and she shows a sweet side occasionally, but so far she seems to be a more serious child than Ladybug.  She frequently wrinkles her brow and furrows her eyebrows, and I can't help but wonder if she's regretting her decision to arrive early.  I'll write her birth story eventually; hers is a bit more exciting than Ladybug's!

A few thoughts on life as it stands right now.  I was asked by the ladies in the county clerk's office how I did it; my reply was "I don't know, all we do is eat and change diapers, and Mom doesn't sleep much.  I hope to figure it out soon!"  If I get one sink full of dishes done or one load of laundry put away, it's a big deal.  It's rough.  We've reached the point of monotony, where every day blends into the next, with moments of pure chaos helping me stay awake.  Don't get me wrong; I love both my girls dearly and wouldn't trade either of them for anything, but being the mom of two under one who aren't twins is dadgum hard!  I know my hormones have played a part in my reactions, but it has been very hard to not get snippy with those who have said "just be glad it's not..."  Twins would have their easier side; at least I wouldn't have one trying to dive off the couch or eat paper while I try to nurse the other.  Three age three and under is possible, if not likely, for us.  If I had one walking at least it'd be easier to get to the car and store & I wouldn't be carrying both of them.  Every situation has its difficulties; playing the "it could be worse" card really doesn't help.

On a positive note, Be Still and Know just played on Pandora, and one verse really stood out.  Turkey won't sleep at night unless I'm holding her.  Even the swing doesn't work.  But I pick her up and lay her on my chest, and her world is suddenly made right.  Really gives a meaningful picture to the following verse.
Be still and know that He is God.
Be still and know He is our Father.
Come rest your head upon His breast
Listen to the rhythm of His unfailing heart of love
Beating for His little ones
Calling each of us to come be still. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

One month from today I'll be welcoming my second baby girl into the bright world.  For now, though, she's content to hiccup inside of me.  This also means in a month and a half my first baby girl will be turning one.  Wow.  It's hard for me to believe... seems like just yesterday she was a newborn bundled up in blankets, blinking while I tried my best to get her to look at me.  Now I walk in her room and she stands up and beams at me.

Anyway, enough teary-eyed mother talk, and on to the subject I've been wanting to write about.  Humility.  It's come up several times recently, in the sermon Sunday as well as in C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity which I recently read for the first time.  What worries me is that Lewis pointed out that the more prideful we are, the more it bothers us in others.  So the fact that this particular problem rubs me the wrong way makes me think that there's probably something that I'm being too prideful about.  Maybe I'm prideful that I've rejected the "homeschooling is the greatest" idea.

And I just leaked it: homeschooling and pride is my subject of the day.  I've noticed it repeatedly, especially since Ladybug was born.    People that I have thought of as good Christians, as people that were worthy of being admired, have this huge "we're better than others" sign plastered on their heads concerning their choice of schooling.  They seem to think that home schooled people are better than anyone else.  They are less likely to brag about their status as home schooling parents; after all, that would obviously be too prideful.  But they seem to see nothing wrong with making comments like "if they employed home schoolers those kind of mistakes wouldn't be made."

I wouldn't mind these comments nearly as much, I suppose, if they were made in private, at a home school group meeting, or between friends who were both home schooled or home school their own children.  But if you're in a situation where you don't know the full background of everyone in the room, or if you're on a Facebook wall, you are risking offending people.  And while saying "homosexuality is wrong" will offend people, that is a pretty clear Biblical mandate.  Home schooling, on the other hand, is (newsflash here!) not exactly commanded in Scripture.  So unless you know every single person on my friend list, and know that every one of them is linked to homeschooling somehow (which is most certainly not true), you shouldn't be making those kind of comments on my public wall.

When the particular comment that brought this tirade to mind was made, I was torn between ignoring it and deleting it from my wall. My fear was that deleting it would offend the person who made it. But, it became a matter of sheer numbers.  By leaving it up, I was risking offending multiple people who do not home school.  By deleting it, I might offend one person.  I chose the lesser number.  But folks, don't put me in that position.  Don't make me choose to offend someone.  Think about what you're saying.  Walk the talk, as some modern churches would put it.  

(And btw, I've noticed the same problem with some stay-at-home moms, especially those that home school.  The last time someone made a comment about that I wrote a note explaining why I was staying at home and tried to make sure that everyone realized I was not better than anyone else because I had chosen to stay at home.)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Cheapening honor?

My very long break from blogging has been caused by our dear refurbished computer finally biting the dust.  I hope that the month break from easily accessed Internet has broken my daily Facebook and BabyCenter habit.  You'd think my house would be spotless now... not so much!  I did manage to read a lot, and given that I'm about to welcome child #2 in less than 7 weeks, I doubt that will be the case for quite a while!

This topic is one that I'm somewhat hesitant to publicly write about.  I don't want to offend, nor do I want to land on a list somewhere.  But I feel I owe it to others to at least voice my opinion. 

I don't think the flag should be flying at half mast right now.

*ducks head to avoid flying rotten tomatoes*

Is it safe to come out now? 

Okay, here are my thoughts behind that shocking statement. 

The point of half-mast, or half-staff, is to symbolize a nation in mourning, or to show respect.  For example, flags are to be flown half mast on Memorial day.  That is to show respect, and in a way, mourning, for the soldiers that have died fighting for our country.  They are to be flown half mast for a long period of time after the President or Vice-President has died, and for shorter periods of time after a member of Congress, state governor, or Supreme Court Justice dies.

The problem comes when we fly flags half-mast because of a presidential proclamation.  I'm not saying the President shouldn't have this right, not at all.  But it then becomes more personal as to what we honor and mourn.  Here is my question:  how do we decide what is worthy of national mourning?  And by default, what is not worthy?

My concern is this: we are showing that we are mourning the death of a number of people in a movie theater.  BUT:  How many active military have died in the last year?  I don't know the answer.  But we haven't mourned them, except by lumping them together on Memorial Day.   Where do we draw the line?  So a shooting is worthy of mourning, according to the current President.  All right... but how many have to die before it becomes worthy of national attention?  5?  10?  So if 3 people are killed before a concealed carry permit holder pulls his/her gun and shoots the shooter, that's not worthy of being mourned, but if 19 people are killed because concealed carry is banned in that place of business, we mourn those people?  (I'm not saying there's been 3 people killed and then the shooter stopped, I'm just throwing out random examples of what could be.)  Is it not the number of people dead but what they're doing?

I feel we are cheapening the half-mast symbol.  Yes, it is sad that all those people were killed.  But there are people shot every day!  The city of Chicago alone could cause us to fly half-mast the entire year!  I don't believe that people participating in a recreational activity have more right to be mourned than the soldiers killed in a training flight, training so that they can protect our country.   We should be sad, we should learn from this (private businesses that ban concealed carry are leaving the door wide open for mass shootings), but we should not cheapen the deaths of others who are worthy of national mourning.