Saturday, January 29, 2011

incessant pregnancy chatter

***if you don't want to hear about pregnancy (um, completely understand), stop reading***

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OK, so this time I am going to have a VBAC. Or try. I can't believe this is me saying this, but the doc gave the all-clear for a VBAC even after 2 c-sections; I guess the rules have changed.

Anyway. How does this all work? Anyone out there have a VBAC? What was the experience like? How did you prepare? Anyone in my area know of a good doula? I hear it is good to have someone advocating for a natural birth AT the birth. I know my doctor will be good with it, too.

Can't believe this is *me* talking about natural birth.

I even considered a home birth. (for 3.2 seconds) I said it aloud to Scott and his reaction was, "Hell, no!" (he said it like he was from the deep south.)

Just don't want my fears to keep me from having that experience of a natural birth.

Who IS this person??????????

runts

I cannot find Runts candy anywhere. I am craving them. WHERE ARE THEY?????? Checked at Target, Wal-Mart, online.

WHERE ARE THEY?

Oh, Runts, I miss you. Oh, and check back for the captivating story of my first time using WIC checks for a foster child. Interesting.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

let's hope i'm in the intelligent category

Nicole, thanks for letting me eat all of your expensive organic food and then some macaroni and cheese OFF OF YOUR CHILDREN'S PLATES, and throw it up in the toilet.

I'm classy like that, you know?


*********
Lu has a recital tonight that the grandparents are coming to. At first it was "cherry pie from Costco and ice cream and coffee" served, (I had decided against dinner because at this point I'm sort of lazy), and now it's changed to, "Let's see what we can find in the cupboard because taking a cranky 4 week old, 4 year old, and 5 year old to Costco during the lunch rush doesn't sound like tons of fun.

What can I do with mandarin oranges, yellow cake mix, and Cool Whip? Beuller? Beuller?

**********
I like the electronic babysitter and I'm not afraid to admit it.
**********

Now is your turn to ask me any question you want about foster care, having a child with some special needs, being a little whackadoo, incessantly getting pregnant or trying to or deciding not to and then getting pregnant again only to be sort of in denial that I even AM pregnant, or my thoughts on Barack Obama (wait, you already know.)

Ask away.

Oh, and my favorite quote:

“The biggest cause of trouble in the world today is that the stupid people are so sure about things and the intelligent folks are so full of doubts.” – Bertrand Russell

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Happy 1 Month


Happy 1 Month to the little guy we've had since he was 3 days old.

Happy 1 Month to the little guy I just didn't know how desperately I needed to take care of.

Happy 1 Month to the little guy who calms down when I walk into the room, and who screams when I leave it.

Happy 1 Month to the little guy whose older foster brother and sister are smitten.

Happy 1 Month to the little guy who is now 9 pounds 12 ounces, news from our WIC appointment this morning, up from 7 pounds 7 ounces a month ago.

Happy 1 Month to the little guy I love to buy things for. Little guy, it's such a joy to go through that baby aisle at Target and not feel bitterness any more.

Happy 1 Month to the little guy who loves to watch Sports Center with his foster dad. Melts my heart. Every time.

Happy 1 Month to the little guy who introduced us to the world of foster care. Who took us from the hypothetical child to the real one.

Happy 1 Month to the little guy whose daddy loves him desperately, and is working very hard to get him back. Does it feel good to know so many people love you, Little Guy? I hope so. You are loved.

Happy 1 Month to the little guy who has actually allowed me to enjoy this pregnancy. I am too busy not to! I was lying in bed discussing with Scott whether or not he thought this was a boy or a girl. I stopped myself. It was a normal conversation, not about Trisomies or birth defects or anything else. It felt good.

Happy 1 Month to the little guy who knew we needed him as much as he needed us.

And Happy 1 Month to the little guy who may be with us for a few more months, or forever.

Either way, I think of all the other "little guys" out there who need us, too.

Last but not least, Happy 1 Month to the little guy who has inspired others to look into foster care.

A message from little guy:

"Get off your butt and do it."

Happy 1 Month, little guy.



Monday, January 24, 2011

nothing left to fear

I look up at that ticker and can't really believe I'm 14 weeks pregnant. I used the doppler and heard that little heartbeat and honestly feel like that must be someone else's baby. Or that this baby didn't get the message that most don't live very long in there.

The old me would have said I'm jinxing myself and not even written that, but the new me doesn't have anything to fear. If this baby is meant to be a part of our family, he will be, as surely as the sun rises and the moon sets. And if not, then I got to carry him today.

As a dear friend likes to say, "Today I carried life."

I'm past the point where they do the nuchal fold translucency test and a bunch of other tests that look for chromosomal abnormalities. We elected NOT to do those tests because a) we wouldn't do anything about the results anyway ((read: termination)) and b) I want to enjoy this pregnancy and not KNOW there is something wrong even if there was. I want a normal pregnancy.

Denial is bliss.

I was listening to a song by Andrew Peterson called "Dancing in the Minefields", a song about marriage.

One of my favorite lines ever is from that song:

Cause we bear the light of the son of man
So there’s nothing left to fear
So I’ll walk with you in the shadow lands
Till the shadows disappear

******

We are headed to Chick-fil-A after we pick Lucy up, surprise, surprise. I'll sit in the booth and write a bit, and sip some soda, and watch the kids play. I'll snuggle baby man, who just started smiling yesterday, and who I might not have tomorrow, and I'll be content.

It's a good place to be.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Call me the counterculture.

Just finished reading Portia di Rossi's book, Unbearable Lightness, about her struggle with anorexia and bulimia. It amazed me to see that yes, there were familial factors coming into play with her problems, but there was a HUGE societal component, namely, the modeling industry, that told her she needed to be a size 2 or certain measurements or else she wasn't beautiful.



Se*x and bo*dy image...two things I am already talking to Lucy about. Some may say it's too young, but I do not. Do you really think I want to wait to talk about it when she's 13 and already thinks I'm a dork and getting this information from school/her friends?

Why not teach her when she still treats everything I say like it's gospel?
She's already been thrown hundreds, if not thousands, of images in the media telling her what "beauty" is, how a real woman looks, etc. Why wouldn't I throw my hat into the game, as the single most influencing factor in her life? I am going to define most of what she sees a woman as being. Scary, but a good challenge.

Two conversations we had today:

(me, looking down at baby and feeding him)

Lucy: Mama! Haha! You have a double chin!

me: Yes, Lu, I've always had a double chin.

Lucy: Do I have a double chin?

me: Yes, you have a little double chin too. (Thinking this would horrify her....) Do you want to have one?

Lucy: well, yes! If you have one, I want one, too! **giggles and runs off**

This really makes me think about all of the negative things I say about my body in front of her!

******
Lucy, watching some prepubescent girl dancing on tv while flipping channels.

Lucy: Mom, I really don't like how that girl is dancing.

me: That's good, Lu, I don't either.

Lucy: She's throwing her body all around.

me: Yep.

Lucy: Why don't we like that again? Why can't she dance like that?

me: Well, she's dancing like she's a grown woman, and even then, she's throwing her breasts and butt around like she wants people to notice her for that. I don't like it when people are just dancing so other people will notice their bodies for the wrong reasons.

Lucy, nodding, in thought: Yes, that's right. We want to dance right. **switches channels**

Hooray!

Little victories, right?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

snow day

Today is a snow day! Neither kiddo is interested in playing in the snow. I suppose I can't blame them.

I don't like cold either.

I am working on going through a bunch of baby clothes a friend gave us, as well as vacuuming, dusting,

Oh, and eating.

Voraciously hungry. Only 13.5 weeks and this cannot continue. Tips on things you ate, low calorie, that kept you full and not super hungry?

Baby Man is with us for quite a while longer, it appears. He has been such a blessing in so many ways.

His morning nap:

Having him around, just being able to love on him for now, has been an amazing gift. Scott and friends can see it, too. It's been fun for our whole family.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

8

One 40 pounder and one 8 pounder woke up in our house this morning.

Only one of them will sleep under our roof tonight.

Guesses as to who that is?

We had a good last day with older; went to Wendy's and the dentist.

Hint: We've recieved a bit of news as to how long he'll be staying so I've taken the liberty to buy the CUTEST valentine's outfit (and socks) at Target, size 3 months.


:)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sarah laughed

I was just reflecting yesterday on how good God is.

About a year ago I was really praying that He would either take away my desire for more children or open Scott's heart toward foster care and possible adoption at some point. Thinking (and I suppose this is where I had not so much faith) that God would change my heart, I reluctantly prayed the prayer, praying for peace at the same time.

I have learned in my 31 years that having peace is so much better and more fulfilling that getting what you want. Even getting what you want can leave you empty and longing...but peace? That's where it's at.
Anyway, I prayed and prayed and prayed.

After miscarriage number 4, about 6 months later, and after a visit with a domestic adoption agency where the representative looked across the table at me and said, "If you've got a check for $25,000, I can get you a baby pretty quickly." and then when I asked, "How much counselling do the birth mothers receive?" and he answered, "You don't have to worry about the birth mothers," I walked away with a really, really bad taste in my mouth.

I've since heard that this adoption agency is shady, but I feel like that meeting, and subsequent talks with Scott had us realizing that we did not have the money for a classic domestic adoption. We talked more about another pregnancy and decided against that (haha), and I was ready to leave the living room to go upstairs and get ready for bed.

Then I heard it.

Scott's voice, quiet:  "What about foster care?"

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Scott had told me earlier, a year or two even, that he could never, ever do foster care. It wasn't something he was comfortable with and it just wasn't an option for us. Though I was disappointed, I knew that you can't force your partner into something so huge or there will be some pretty dire consequences as a result.

So, friends, when he said this?

Shock.

It was almost like you could hear the record-screeching sound in the room.

The week before I had decided that we obviously weren't ready to begin looking into foster care, so I knew we weren't going to start the MAPP classes then. The NEXT DAY after Scott and I had this conversation, I got a call from a fostering agency I had called for an information packet telling me, "You're coming to start the MAPP classes on Monday, right?"

Laughing a bit, I called Scott at work and said, "Apparently we're starting the MAPP classes on Monday."

And we did.

Ups and downs, ins and outs, so many things to think about and prepare for. There were many times during the process that I really thought, "This is a nice class, but we won't be able to do this."

or,

"I can't ask Scott to do this. It's too much."

God kept nudging me to give all of this back to Him, even though I was starting to get really excited about it all.

After I learned I was pregnant (and I saw that pregnancy test and literally laughed out loud), there was one more meeting with the social worker we needed to do. "Let's just get it done," I said. "We've come this far!"

So we did. Nauseous and near vomiting, I signed the forms and Scott grinned a little bit, wondering if I needed to excuse myself to throw up.

Then the social worker said, "Well, how about we sign you up for two kiddos?" and we looked at each other and kind of shrugged and said, "Sure."

??!!

After she left that night, we looked at each other and said, "Two! Ha!" and laughed.

We really didn't talk about it much more than that, thinking it would take forever to get our temporary license, and knowing that some people wait for forever to get a placement. We hadn't even talked about what would happen when they called us about a placement, because we thought it would be forever.

Random day in the end of December: Phone rings, it's the director of the agency on the line..."Hi, Rachel, um, you're approved, we've got a placement of a newborn at the hospital and 2 year old sibling. Admissions is going to call you in about 2 minutes to ask if you'll take them."

I hang up, laughing, thinking, "Of course we can't take them. I just got over feeling nauseous 2 days ago, and we can't possibly have two more kids in the house!"

Admissions calls, giving me the baby's statistics and telling me what they know about the sibling (very little). They ask me if they can bring the children over, and I say, "Wait a minute! Don't you need to have more information about me or something? We don't have anything set up! We don't have the hardware for our crib! Wait a minute!" and she said, "Well, do you want to check with your husband and I will wait until I hear back from you before I call anyone else?"

I laugh and say, "No, don't wait. I'll talk to my husband and if you haven't found a placement for them within a couple of hours then you can call me back."

I call Scott, Mr. Two Children and Done, and breathlessly tell him, "You will never believe this. The agency has a newborn still at the hospital and sibling, and they want us to take them! Isn't that the funniest thing you've ever heard?"

"Oh, well, isn't that sort of what we signed up for? I mean, it's up to you, if you think you can do it."

I tell him I think it's funny and impossible, and I laugh. We hang up.

Newborns get placed very very quickly in foster care, so I was sure I would be "off the hook" and they would be placed and we wouldn't hear from the agency again. 2.5 hours go by, and no word. I call my cousin, my friend Nicole, and leave a message on my friend Dawn's cell phone. All the while I am praying to God for guidance, laughing a bit that I am even considering this.

Am I crazy?! What will our families think?

My cousin calls and tells me that maybe these children are meant to be in our lives for one reason or another. Looking at that as "my sign" and finally feeling peace, I call back admissions, fully expecting the children to have been placed long ago.

"No, they haven't been placed,"

and I gulp.

"Can you go to the maternity ward at such-and-such hospital and pick up the baby?", she says, nonchalantly, because she arranges these things every day, I suppose.

I stammer again, and it's arranged that the children will be dropped off at our house. My heart is pounding as I make phone calls, clean the house, rally the troops. I take Lucy to a birthday party at the local skating rink, listening to my friend Alisa shriek and smile on my cell phone.

It is so surreal.

What are we doing?

*****

There have been tears and many many sleepless nights. There have been wide-eyed looks from strangers, especially the one who told me I "looked great" after I told her the baby was 6 days old and I said, "And I'm pregnant, too!"

My OB visit was funny as well...she looked a little confused when I walked in with a toddler and a newborn!

For the most part, reactions have been positive and I've heard from strangers their own foster stories. One woman at Costco today looked me straight in the eye and told me I was an angel sent from heaven.

Sometimes I need to hear that, because some days are hard. Heck, after 12 hours I was calling the social worker asking her to find the children a new placement. Oddly enough, it wasn't really found and we changed our minds. :)

Scott and I have had to work as a team more than ever before. Having four children under the age of 5 has tested our patience, but it's also made our house a livelier and more filled-with-joy sort of place. I've noticed that he has become amazingly more tolerant of noise. If we go back to "Just two" soon, it's going to feel like a very empty place around here. Funny how your perspective can change!

The outpouring of meals and gifts from people in our church body has been amazing, as well. My friend visiting from California the first Sunday we brought all 4 to church said, "I'm really touched by how much people here care." She kept telling me, "You can do this." Funny how I've kept hearing that phrase, in one form or another, for quite awhile now.

I cried when my dear friend Alisa sent the kiddos new clothes and lip gloss and a Snickers bar for me. I felt the love that went into packing that box, and the excitement for these babies' lives. That was in the early beginning, when I wasn't sure how I was going to keep on doing this.

I think the timing of this is all pretty funny, as having these children has not allowed me to worry about this current pregnancy. I just don't have the time and the energy to think about all of the "what ifs" or "could be's" and I feel like that is a gift from God in itself.

My 3 good friends here in KC all say how good it has been for me to be busy during this pregnancy. It is! It's been so good.

I wanted to document this story and I also wanted to encourage those of you who have been praying and praying for something and see no results.

I prayed and prayed for a baby for 3 years. All I had to show for it was miscarriage after miscarriage, a history of babies with birth defects, one fallopian tube, various blood disorders, and dead-end adoption options.

I couldn't help but think of Sarah, long ago, longing and longing for a child and finally giving up. 100 years old?! Too old. Abram tells her God told him they would give birth to a son, and boy did she laugh.

I think of Sarah sitting in that tent out in some desert in the middle of nowhere, laughing away. Thinking that her God had deserted.

God didn't hear her laughter. Instead, he was focused on just a few furiously dividing cells in her old, dried up womb.

He saw nothing funny about it. He was delivering on a promise...but it was His timeline, not hers.

In the end, her laughter only served to spur on the plans God had for her life...plans He held to His holy bosom, jealously. He didn't need to give her His reasons for the wait, and He let her laugh as much as she wanted to. Her laughter did not affect His plans, yay or nay.

I do wonder, sometimes, if those laugh lines on her face faded a bit the first moment she heard the cries of her wrinkly, newborn little Isaac.

I wonder if it was, instead, tears of joy that fell at God's feet and covered them,

absolution.

Friday, January 14, 2011

end of the week recap

Things are going more and more smoothly every day; I think this is because I am working on getting rid of junk, simplifying (having no more than two drawers' worth of clothes for each of the 4 children, that is all they need), getting rid of toys in preparation for Asher's party on Sunday, etc. That's the American way, right? Get rid of toys so you can get more?

Everyone is settling in more and more. We have no idea how long the kiddos will be with us and things are already taking some interesting turns.

Scott and I both say we are so glad we've done this. There are so many intrinsic rewards in knowing you are helping little ones out. I see now why people who have done/do fostering say, "It's the best thing I've ever done."

Going now to check on a little heartbeat. I don't abuse the doppler, but it sure is fun to hear.

When I went to the doctor she pointed out that I wasn't even listening to the heartbeat before; I was listening in the wrong place. What I was really hearing was static!

Thanks for the false sense of security, doppler.

We already have a name we love; it's very Scandinavian. VERY Scandinavian. If you've known me long you probably know what it is.

And I'm convinced it's a boy.

hello

More of an update soon, but I saw this on a fellow foster mama's blog and had to post it:

 "Speak up for those WHO CANNOT SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES and endure JUSTICE for those being CRUSHED."

Proverbs 31:8

When was the last time you seized the opportunity to DO what the WORD says?
 
We are officially licensed as of this morning! Had our walk through and everything.
Had some thoughts on the comment people often make: "That's good you're doing the fostering thing, but I could never do it!"

Why do people feel the need to say that? Isn't that kind of like saying to someone, "That's good you adopted that kid, but I never could?"

More thoughts later. 

p.s. Big baby was mad I didn't get a photo of he and little baby. So, here you go. I've righted those wrongs, Big baby.
 
 
 
 
Publish Post

Thursday, January 13, 2011

adoption and foster explained

I think that last post caused some confusion!

We are definitely rooting for the kiddos' biological parents, for a number of reasons. The term "foster" means that we are "fostering" the babies in our home while the parents work on getting their lives straightened out. If that can't happen, the state looks for relatives to take them. If that can't happen, then the foster parents are looked at next. This is why the process is called foster/adopt. 89% of kids adopted from foster care in this state are adopted by the foster parents.

We originally were going to start fostering with the idea that I was not going to get pregnant again (I mean, look at my history, wasn't looking so good), and we were going to START with just one child and doing respite care. Respite care means that we would watch other foster parents' foster children for a week or so while they are taking a break, going on a vacation, having surgery, etc.

Apparently wires got crossed because the call we got for these babies was not for respite care, but more of a possible long-term situation. 3 hours later I am sitting in my living room with a 2 year old and a newborn, holding a sheet of instructions for dealing with circumcision and cord care (!?) How surreal can you get?

At first I wasn't sure I could do it at all, but things have gradually gotten better/more manageable.

After our good pregnancy ultrasound, things are complicated a bit more because in July, if the babies are still here, I would have 5 children, all under 6 years of age.

That is alot.

So, we are taking things one day at a time. We are rooting for the babies, for their parents, and for everyone involved. We know that we are providing them with love and care that they can't be getting other places right now.

And for now, that is enough.

Monday, January 10, 2011

appendage

I picked a fight with Scott this morning and cried on the way to the doctor's. I kept praying over and over, "God, help me to just deal with this one more time...because I can't do it again. I can't do this again."

And then I got to the doctor's and the receptionist was telling me all about insurance information and I couldn't focus. My friend Dawn was there and started her usual asking questions thing, which is good, because I pretty much become incapacitated before and during ultrasounds.

I remember thinking on the way to the ultrasound how I would write on my blog that it was over.

Anyway, the receptionist looked at me funny and I told her I was crying the ugly cry all the way to the office and then she said, "You still have the tag on your sweater" and I looked down and there it was and I ripped it off.

What a hot mess I was.

Then Dawn said, "Yeah, well, she's been through alot."

Dawn earned 10 points there.

Dawn also earned points because she brought me a good luck donut. We told the tech she couldn't scan me until I had a bite of Quik Trip Donut. It's ritual.

There I was, shoving donut into my face, trying not to cry.

Wand on belly, too fast, too fast, and I thought, I'm not ready for it to be over. Blinking back tears, I'm not going to cry this time. Not going to cry.

See a small, still form, obviously the baby, not moving. Can't see the heartbeat.

Arm wave.

Was that just my body making him move? Probably.

But wait, dead things don't usually wave all four appendages at once.

And there's usually not a really fast heartbeat. 170.

My doctor came in to the room and looked like she'd just won the lottery. "Congratulations!" she said.

I was still in shock.

Was, and am.

Just like those little flailing appendages on my baby, grief stands attached to me, an appendage of its own...an appendage I am comfortable with, an appendage I was without today.

And that's when I realize, it's only an appendage.

It's not me.

******
Lu and baby...too sweet not to post. This little one and sibling have brought so much to our home. We are rooting for bio parents so much. They are the sweetest little things and have already captured our hearts.

Happy Meals all around

Saturday, January 8, 2011

it

I have my 12 week ultrasound on Monday morning at 10 AM. I thought I'd be nervous, but that's only happened once. Yesterday I started having DBTs (dead baby thoughts) but then the kids distracted me and I forgot about them.

Strange, but the thing I fear most with another miscarriage is letting people down. Letting those people in my family who were so excited about this, down. I know it doesn't even really make sense, and it's all about the people-pleaser in me, but there it is.

Regardless of Monday's outcome, I am not doing pregnancy again.

This is my 6th pregnancy, and I do have my limits. There are only so many dead baby ultrasounds one can take, so many blood draws, so many consultations with perinatologists, obstetricians, and nurses. Only so many sonograms to check for correct implantation, body parts in the right place.

Only so many times I can throw up before I say, "This is it."

So, this is it.

It's a peaceful place to be.

Guy

About to take the 4 to a skating party. Will wear baby in the Ergo, Lucy will be in skates on the carpet, middle two each get 4 quarters to spend on games. We will buy dinner there, and hopefully see the cheezy guy that is at EVERY skating rink, the guy named "Guy" who is 40 with a fake tan.

He skates on his 80s rollerblades, running into the kids after he puts a song on the turntable. All of the kids think he's rad, and he thinks so, too.

Guy, here's to you.

pictures coming...

Thursday, January 6, 2011

hi

Things are going very well. We made our second trip to Target today and everyone was good. Can't tell you how many times I got the, "Wow, glad it's you and not me!" or "You sure have your hands full!" comments.


Everyone loves a newborn baby. Even teenage boys checking you out at Target. What is it with newborns? (Not checking me out, but checking my items out. Wanted to clarify.)

I secretly think it's funny that everyone thinks I had a baby 10 days ago and am wandering around Target with 3 other kids.

Is alot of kids really that uncommon?


I read this in a forward and it made me LAUGH...



Can you stand the mess children make? T o find out...
1. Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains.
2. Hide a piece of raw chicken behind the stereo and leave it there all summer.
3. Stick your fingers in the flower bed.
4. Then rub them on the clean walls.
5. Take your favorite book, photo album, etc. Wreck it.
6. Spill milk on your new pillows. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

crib recs

does anyone have good recommendations for a small/euro size baby crib? not a pack and play, but a smaller crib?

Monday, January 3, 2011

we're still here

still here, things are good, actually got 8 hours of sleep last night.