Wednesday, May 25, 2011

approval

This first picture is me with Lucy at 35 weeks. I am in the middle. The other picture is me now at 31 weeks. So strange, the differences in the way each pregnancy carries. Apparently Asher didn't think I needed a head in that shot.




I have been thinking alot about my fears surrounding this pregnancy, and the base one is that if something were to go wrong, people would all look at me, be watching me, and I'd have this tremendous pressure from people to "perform" or to "find some hope in it" or some other such nonsense. I am realizing that the majority of my anxieties are driven around the need to please other people, or the need for other people to see that I am doing OK.

I don't even know if this makes sense, but I need to write this down. I need to acknowledge that, no matter what happens in my life, I am strong enough to handle whatever comes my way, with the help of God. I don't need to live each day on pins and needles, waiting for the horrible to happen. I can relax, enjoy what God has for me, and let others' expectations fall to the wayside...or, at least, what my perception of others' expectations of me is.

I know that on this blog I open myself up to alot of criticism and opinions. That's just a part of having a blog. I enjoy being able to get my voice out there, even if it is on a very limited basis. That's fine with me. As a human, it's just nice to be heard.

What's not nice is the feeling I have that everyone is watching, waiting for something to go wrong, waiting for me to be on my back again, struggling to make sense of something. When you've lived the past 3 years going from one crisis to the next, it's hard NOT to be in crisis mode.

I just don't know what to do with it, but I am grateful for it.

I don't know how to explain it any better than that.

I've been so worried about whether or not I should go on this Colorado trip, whether or not I should have an early (39 weeks) c-section or wait it out and try a VBAC, whether or not I should do the weekly testing at the perinatologists'. But again, at the end of the day, none of this is up to me.



It's parts terrifying, and parts freeing. It's hard to rest there, but I know I must. As a good friend pointed out, this baby girl's days are numbered, and I can rest in that knowledge. God knows, I don't. It's so easy for us to think we have the plan down, isn't it?

I am working on getting through the days, enjoying feeling her move, taking care of the three other little munchkins who need lots of care and attention.

I guess I just needed to write it out there...how much I seek others' approval, how much I fear their rejection (even to the point of thinking, "If something goes wrong, I will lose my friends, they are tired of my sorrow.")

What a dumb lie, straight from the evil one himself.

So, there you have it.

I'm working on living life a day at a time, just like everyone else does, and taking each day for what it's worth. Pregnancy is, without a doubt, the hardest time for me.

8 more weeks seems like an eternity, but...

I suppose Rome wasn't built in a day.

Monday, May 23, 2011

a piece

This is a space holder for something I've been meaning/wanting to write about but have been afraid to.

I've been convicted in the last several days that sometimes our silence makes our fears stronger.

I just want to make sure I'm held accountable, which is why I'm posting this. I don't have time to write about it right now, but wanted to make sure I did. And if I have all of you knowing I'm going to write it, it will keep me accountable.

It'll be the next post.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

better

Baby Man's case is a disaster of epic proportions. Backward progress is being made, on all fronts.

Mr. Seventh Heaven Dad told me today that he would recommend a c-section at 39 weeks, if I don't go into labor before then. He also offered weekly non-stress tests and biophysical profiles to put my mind at ease, though he doesn't see any problems with the baby.

I'm trying to figure out if doing those would cause more or less stress on me during these final 9 weeks.

He also recommended flying to Colorado, if I am indeed going to go. My only hesitation is not having a hospital closer than an hour away, but I feel like maybe I'm being paranoid.

Apparently last time, at 22 weeks, one of her ureters was extremely dilated. I did not know about this, and for this I am glad. I would have had 8 weeks to think about more problems like Lucy has...or worse. Today both ureters looked great.

Although, at least Lucy could show her how to cath herself. Maybe it would be a bonding experience? "Hey, Sis, you stick the tube in your bladder like this...and then after, do you want to eat a Freezie Pop?"

Love that Doc. Seriously. He is so great and actually listens to me and my concerns.

I think the medication is kicking in because I am feeling a lot less anxious, about the futures of BOTH babies. It is a good feeling.

I *KNOW* I need to enjoy the rest of this pregnancy. Being my last, I know after she's born I will wish I had enjoyed it more.

Baby Man is looking at me with a grin on his face. How I wish I could share his photo with you. Don't worry, I've taken about 5,938 pictures of him already...and, someday, if he is here to stay, you'll get to see all of them,

from the beginning.

musical baby

Apparently Scott and I have been watching too much Glee. This kid is only 30 weeks in utero and she seems to think she needs to be all musical already.

Michael Jackson:
throwing gang signs while rapping:
and, my personal favorite. She's already perfected the glee sign:

Monday, May 16, 2011

abiding

I never feel the battle for my heart raging more acutely than when I am pregnant.

It is what it is, but sometimes I wonder if it isn't meant to be so much more.

I haven't cracked open my Bible in months, so how can I expect to feel peace?

I haven't bathed each day in prayer, so why am I surprised that most days begin in panic?

I haven't truly given it all over to God, I mean, truly, so how can I continue to do what I do and not give each day, each moment that I spent trying to do it on my own some serious pause?

This is me, being real to you. I trust God, but do I really trust God? Do I trust Him to do whatever, in the years that come, even if it hurts like hell?

I'm working on it. It's a daily thing.

A giving, and a giving, and a giving again.

I'm learning that you don't suddenly wake up and say, "OK, God, today I trust you, and all of the days that follow."

It's an abiding, an "I am the vine, you are the branches," sort of thing.

John 15:5
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."

An abiding. The definition of "abide", from the New American Standard Dictionary:
abide: v.intr.
1. To remain in a place.
2. To continue to be sure or firm; endure. See Synonyms at stay1.
3. To dwell or sojourn.

I need to stop being so hard on myself, and I need to start depending more on the promises and truths of God's words, showered down over the ages to other wandering hearts like mine. The world tells me that the perfect school for my children, a perfectly healthy baby, a perfect outcome for another little baby dear to my heart will bring me joy and peace.

This is a lie.

I need to abide in the words and the promises of a Savior who knows everything about me, and who has my best interest at heart...every hour, every minute, every day.

Join me?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

help

This morning I woke up with that horrible, tremendous backache that makes me feel like Grandma Moses, 203 years old, ready for that frail bone that holds the hips together to buckle and snap, once and for all.

My mood was no better.

When I'm feeling this way, the only thing that works is for me to clean...and when I say clean, I mean CLEAN. It's warfare between me and the grime. Scott walked in midway through my cleaning fest while the kids were watching Iron Man (yes, the tv standards have slidden down that slippery slope of debauchery as of late), and said, "Your cleaning ways are turning me on!"

Made me laugh, and I love that man.

It was around this time (~start of 3rd trimester) where hell's bells broke loose with my pregnancy with Asher. I have tried so hard to be that happy shiny pregnant woman, tickers and all, and let me be the first to tell you that most of it is an illusion. In those quiet moments where I am lying on the couch and I feel her kick, I know that baby F is mine, that I will love her, no matter what happens. And it's also in those moments that follow where terror fills my heart.

I've seen too much, I know too much, I've witnessed too much, probably too much for my own good. Add that combination to past experiences and a tendency for a downward spiral into depression and anxiety in the third trimester of all my pregnancies, and let's just say that crying happens alot around here.

It's not like I have any stressors or anything. I mean, isn't it completely normal for a house in your neighborhood to have the FBI show up and do a raid? (different post for a different day) And also, you really shouldn't freak out when the elementary school you adore that is RIGHT BEHIND YOUR FREAKING HOUSE AND HALF THE REASON YOU MOVED HERE is set to close next year. So now there's going to be a big empty building behind our house.

Lovely for resale value.

Oh, and, you know, that 4 month old baby boy upstairs that I love.


What of his future? Totally up in the air, up to the wind, up to a judge. This keyboard has seen so many tears I think it's probably telling the mouse, "Dude, let's ABSCOND. I am SOOOOOOOO tired of the DRAMA!!!!!!!!!!"



There are also kid boogers in the keyboard, which probably isn't so great for ITS resale value, but that is, again, a post for another day.

When I visited the doc she gave me a certain medication which I will not be sharing publicly. She said to me, and I quote,  "You are under a significant amount of stress and you are handling it VERY well. I can tell you take mothering very seriously and you love those kiddos. However, you need this medication to help you not feel so anxious."

And I said, "OK, I will take it."

And it has helped.

It's all flying back to me, why I chose not to have a VBAC with Asher. It has nothing to do with my own weakness, as I beat myself up for about 2 years over; it has to do with my past experiences, the chemicals that make me really anxious during pregnancy, and the fact that every mother needs to make her own choice regarding these things.

I'm not going to beat myself up about it. However Baby F chooses to arrive, or whatever things we choose to do to get her here, I'm going to be A-OK with.

I have to be.

It's all a part of learning, of growing, of knowing your limitations.

I guess I'm posting all of this not because I want to be seen as some ever-faithful martyr, but because I'm being honest at how hard all of this is. This life?

Not easy.

I've seen the red thread break a time or two before, and I'm terrified it will happen again.

And, to top it all off, I've been so anxious on how to tell Lucy her beloved little school will no longer be her beloved little school.

Her response? "Well, Mama, actually, I love the playground at the other school so much better. It has a bug you can climb on and our school doesn't."

Tender mercies, I tell you,

tender mercies.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

pregnancy and anxiety

I am considering upping my medication during this last trimester of the pregnancy. It seems that the OCD is really exacerbated with pregnancy, especially the last trimester.

Going to see the doctor this afternoon about it.

Of course I had to Google it, and of course there is a new study that says the medication I take has a higher risk of producing infants who suffer from PPHN.

Great.

May just have to grin and bear it through this last trimester.

30 weeks on Tuesday, and then another ultrasound early Wednesday morning to check her growth. Of course I will be increasingly nervous as we get closer to Wednesday, because that is just how I am.

The upside is that we'll be able to see some awesome 3D photos of her!

You all are along for the ride, whether or not you wanna be.

Thank you SO much for the support. Pregnancy really is a minefield for me, and I can't tell you how happy it makes me to know that, no matter what,

THIS

is my final pregnancy.

I am so ready for the pregnancy chapter to be over.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

funny Asherisms

me, making a bottle at the sink for Baby Man. Asher walks in and says, "Wow, Mom! That's so cool! You can turn water into milk!"
********
I was going to cut the wristband from a carnival we went to off of his wrist. "That's fine, Mom, but pwease don't cut my blood."
********
"You have to be careful around cars so you don't get dead."
********
Whenever I tell him he's getting bigger he says, "Yeah! I'm getting bigger for my bike!"
********
Standing at the top of the stairs, pointing at his crotch, looking horrified: "Mom! My crayon won't go down!"

Friday, May 6, 2011

humility

Today I used the monthly WIC check for Baby Man at Target:


If you've read my blog for any length of time, you know I'm pretty conservative and I hate huge, wasteful government programs.

My palms always sweat when we are out of formula (and I waited until we were OUT this time) and I am going to use the check. Before foster parenting, when someone would use the check I would think, "Wow, look at that lazy person who can't take care of their kids and has to get handouts from the government (aka their fellow citizens) to do it."

So I look for the most inconspicuous line in which to buy my 10 cans of Similac with the WIC check, and suddenly there are three 3 men behind me, all buying approximately two things.

The girl at the cash register didn't have a clue how to process the check, and I kept saying loudly that I was a foster parent and didn't know the system very well (kind of a lie to save face, looking back on it now).

Like, how many times can I say that without sounding like a moron?

Of course, both Lucy and Asher were with me, and we were buying things we probably didn't need for them. You know the drill: on government assistance and buying brand-name frilly kids' mouthwash, etc.

So, yes.

 That check process probably took 15 minutes if it took one...and 15 minutes is a long time when you're 6 months pregnant and are starting to look it, have a 4 month old in the cart with no shoes on, and two other little ones begging for more toys.

You can't tell me God doesn't have a sense of humor.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

thankful

For some reason (and maybe it's due to being pregnant with a little girl again) I've been thinking alot about Lu and our prayers for her before she was born.

I remember sitting outside on the front step one January night, light midwestern snow mixing with my tears, begging God to let us keep her.

This morning there she was, Princess bag packed, all dressed herself, one new adult tooth in a snaggle-toothed little mouth, telling me it's my turn to walk her to school.

A dewy morning, her little hand in mine, talk of first grade and the adventures ahead.

"But Mama, I really like to be home with you a little more than even school."

She runs up ahead of me and I tell her I'll be watching her until she gets into the school doors.

She runs just like I did as a child.

Awkward, limbs flailing, braid flopping, totally uninhibited.

Tears spring to my eyes, a prayer breathed:

"Thank you, God, for the miracle of her."

It's easy to forget the past prayers answered when you're wearing the knees out of your jeans praying more prayers. It's easy to forget the miracles he's granted when you're walking another weary road, frought with fears.

Lord, don't ever let me forget.

It's in these moments, these ordinary, everyday, hectic moments, that I see God's grace wrapped around her like a light spring jacket:

just enough to keep her warm against the morning chill, but a weight heavy enough to let her know it's always there.

And this, I suppose, would be my wish for her:

always bask in the miracle of life, and never forget the One who granted it.

1 Samuel 1:27 For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition that I made to him.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

doctor's visit

I went to see the Dr. this morning. All was good and things are measuring on target. Now that I am 28 weeks she will see me every 2 weeks with a growth ultrasound every 2 weeks as well, starting in 2 weeks with the perinatologist, at 30 weeks.
 
I am a tad more likely to develop blood clots in the placenta or my own body, so that's why I am on the baby aspirin until 36 weeks. Also, she explained that if she sees any slow down of growth at the ultrasounds, that would be an indication that there is some clotting and she would take the baby if the slowness of growth was considerable enough (no idea how doctors measure that).

Of course I have been Googling Lovenox vs. no Lovenox, but I've seen two perinatologists as well as two OB's who told me there is no conclusive evidence that Lovenox actually helps with perinatal outcomes. In fact, some studies say it can actually cause placental abruptions. 

So, no more Googling for me.

She did say that while I want a VBAC, I need to keep in mind that with some of my extenuating circumstances, if she sees a need to take the baby early, she won't hesitate to do a c-section (I can't be induced due to the two previous c-sections). I really, really like her and know that she knows my desire but at the end of the appointment she said, "Healthy mom, healthy baby" is what we are after!

I need to remember that instead of thinking I have to have a VBAC. I think it really is one more thing for me to obsess over, and while it works for others, or vagi*nal birth in general works for others, each woman's circumstances are drastically different.

Monday, May 2, 2011

28 weeks

Last night at around 7 I started having what I thought were "gas pains", where my stomach just contracted and I could barely catch a breath. Scott put the kids to bed and I just laid on the couch, groaning and moaning until it subsided and I could breathe again.

DUH! Right, Rachel? Hello, contractions! Of course I didn't recognize them as contractions at first, because I have only had painless Braxton Hicks and I have never gone into labor.

I told Scott I just needed to go to bed, and I took an Alka Seltzer. They kept coming and coming and I was still convinced they were gas pains, so I went to sleep as they subsided.

This morning I was thinking, "Those were probably contractions!" I sound like I was an idiot last night, but honestly, it was the last thing on my mind. It only hit me when Scott asked me how far along exactly I was.

I circled the playground this morning after kindergarten while the kids played, getting some exercise. I had a couple of those same contractions so I gave up. I know Braxton Hicks can be painful, too, so I am chalking it up to those.

I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow and will ask her then. I started thinking about having her at 28 weeks and that that would probably mean a 3 month hospital stay. Then, I started thinking, "What will we do with Baby Man? How will we continue with the other obligations of the other kids if I had her early?"

I may have panicked a little bit and am realizing the time of her birth is probably going to come more quickly than I expect it to.

I have an ultrasound at 30 weeks to check on her growth. If there appears to be any restricted growth at all, they would take her then due to the FVL. The chances of that are very very low, as she's looked great up to this point, but I know it's a possibility.

Listen to me, sounding so calm!!!!!

Just strange to think of her as being a real little human being in there, getting ready to come out.