Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Just a Muse

Aaaaand, September is over. Seriously, did it last about three days total? I mean, I realize I probably nap more than the average person, but since when have we started bridging the space/time continuum?

Not that I know anything about the space/time continuum. There are lots of things that just happen in this world that I don't understand. Like time zones. And the process a mail goes through at the post office. Ooooh, and how a fax machine works. That one really baffles me.

Anyway, it was a fun month. Here are some randoms of the coming and the going:
1. Abigail, for the most part, was really good this month. I mean, we have our moments, and she has been really clingy to me lately. But I don't feel like I have lived on the discipline train every day, which is often where I have a boxcar suite. It's been pretty nice. She's been agreeable. She is mostly obedient. Oh yeah, and usually I have to be within five feet of her. Seriously, when did this fun new phase of "don't let Mommy out of your sight" start?

2. Paul got a new laptop from the church. I mean, it is his, for church use. But when not in church use, we use it at home. And a friend gave us a wireless router, so we can now be online in our living room. This feels so freeing, like we don't have to be holed up in the office to check email, or my current addition, to play Farkle. And oh, the newness of a new's SO FAST.

3. I think October is going to be a super fun month. I have weekend trips for three weeks in a row. Super fun. Did I say those words already?

4. Oh, and pertaining to the new computer, I don't know if I am going blind, or officially in my 30s. Because I prefer the words on the computer screen to be the size of, say, ladybugs. I press ctrl+++ several times a day, until my computer looks like a large-print Guidepost. And I love it. And then I complain about my sciatica flaring up.

5. We have our ultrasound on Monday. I cannot believe we are to this point, and I am so ready. I don't really have a strong feeling either way, but I am kind of betting on girl. Let's just say, I would be less surprised by girl than boy, but so excited with either. I can honestly say I am neutral. But not like I want to buy all yellow and green neutral. Like neutral until I have the go-ahead to buy pink or blue.

6. Paul is currently talking with the kids at Awana for "Popcorn with the Pastor." I asked him what he was supposed to talk about. He said, "My favorite subject. Myself." And I totally thought that this is unfair and they need to have "Popcorn with the Pastor's Wife." Because I could tell stories. And I like popcorn.

Hmmmm. I think six things is all I'm good for today. I have high hopes for October. I'm pretty sure it is my favorite month of the whole year. It really is the kick-off of the holiday season, in my opinion. The changing leaves, the festivals, the late-night cups of hot chocolate, the switching over of the clothes from summer to fall.....LOVE IT. So, I'm sure October will be over in a blink less than September. And I will ponder things like how text messages are sent.....and where our world would be without satellites....and how people survived before crock pots....

Friday, September 25, 2009

I Think I Get It Now

Sometimes I have deep thoughts. They may be fleeting. I may chew on them in my mind for a few minutes and then go back to the norm of the day. I may revisit them, I may not. This week I have been thinking a lot about faith and fear in my own life. I've thought of quotes I have heard, ones I love, like "When faith enters the room, fear flees." I've thought about the Bible verse that says, "Perfect love drives out fear." And then I wonder why it is that I still feel it....the fear.

When I say I feel the fear, I don't mean I sit in the corner of my room sucking my thumb. And I don't refuse to live my life. But it still seems to be there, in my mind (mostly pertaining to pregnancy, but even to other areas as well). Sometimes, personally, I feel that faith and fear do indeed cohabitate in my thoughts, and that you can experience both. Maybe not at the same moment, but both are often there. I have faith in the God who gives life. But I fear that life being taken away.

Now, let's look at the facts:
I am 17 weeks pregnant.
I have had four (?) ultrasounds that all evidenced a growing baby inside of me.
I have heard a strong heartbeat by Doppler on two occasions.
I feel movements now....very small and faint, but recognizable.

Yet, just the other night, lying in the darkness in bed next to my husband, when the best stories and secrets, frustration and laughter tend to happen, I told him words that were spoken in silly, irrational fear. "I keep thinking it is all just going to go away, like a dream." Of course, my ever-rational husband said, "That would be one crazy long dream." I knew he was right. I knew my words were ones of fear and not faith.

Yet, I do not feel devoid of faith either. It is there, I can feel it. It is solid. It is Truth. It is what I repeat to myself when the fear sets in.

I read a blog faithfully called I Should Be Folding Laundry. Beth, the blogger, is currently pregnant, about 12 weeks along. She has two (gorgeous) kids, and then was pregnant with twin boys, James and Jake. She lost James and Jake at 20 weeks. Her story is heartbreaking. Her sadness is real and understandable. She had another miscarriage earlier this year. But now....she is pregnant. And glowing. And taking pictures of her belly. And excited. I love reading her blogs about pregnancy and how much she is embracing it and enjoying it (even in the sickness). I read her words, knowing her story of great loss, and wonder how she can just "put it all out there." How she embraces this pregnancy with such hope and faith.

When I have gone through losses that, by human standards, were not as hard as hers, why do I still fear so much? Why do I think that if I get too excited, or love this baby too much, I will lose it, too? Please don't misunderstand me....I am so happy about this baby. We have taken steps of faith, like choosing names, and making plans. Yet I still think that even in the happiness I feel, I will wake up from this dream and be back to square one all over again.

Today, I read Beth's blog. She does feel the sadness of losing James and Jake. It is still tangible and her life is forever changed. Then she ended her blog with these words, "I’m off to begin my day…THIS DAY that is so remarkable and beautiful, I’ll be sure to live it because that’s what it’s here for…I’m hoping you do the same."

And then I felt like maybe I got it. Maybe I understood how she is embracing her pregnancy in faith, even while feeling the real grief of losing her twins. She doesn't want to miss it. She wants to accept this day as the gift that it is. There are things that are out of our hands. But I can choose to embrace this pregnancy, relishing every little kick of a tiny foot, imagining, dreaming, hoping....or I can fear that loving it too much will make it not be real somehow. I can choose faith today in loving what is happening inside of me...or I can miss it. Thanks for that reminder, Beth.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

At Least I Can Show You Pictures

I wish I had more to tell you today. Throughout the week (and trust me, I'd love to write more than one blog a week, but don't seem to currently have the material), I tend to think of cute little stories to share, or some truth of God or life that has been rolling around in my brain. But then I don't blog about it, and it's too quickly gone. I guess that is called pregnancy brain.

Do you know how bad pregnancy brain can be? Last night, I went out to a meeting, and realized I had forgotten to put on my eyeliner. As in, I did all of my other make-up application steps that I have been doing since, oh, 15 years old, and forgot one of my personal most important ones. Wow.

So, here is my life in pictures over the last few days and weeks. Enjoy. (There are others still sitting on the camera waiting to be uploaded....husband....but I guess sometimes he has things going on, too).

One of my two best friends from high school, Alison, got married. She was gorgeous.

I played Matron of Honor. Abigail played flower girl.

Alison gave Abigail four lip glosses with her flower girl gift. Abigail hid one of the lip glosses in her basket of flowers, and proceeded to plop down on the steps and apply lip gloss just as Alison was walking up the aisle.

This is me with the Maid of Honor, Megan, who rounded out our "best friend" threesome.

This is me with my handsome husband. We both agree that we look better in black and white.

Last week, we ate lunch out at the restaurant at the lake. Abigail was becoming quite the poser with her straw. Right before she blew milk bubbles all over the table and got her straw taken away.

A girl and her daddy by the lake. Again with the black and white.

My favorite kisses in the whole world. Unless my husband is reading this, in which case they are my second favorite kisses in the whole world.

We also had great fun a couple of weeks ago canoeing with friends. There is nothing quite so cute as seeing three little kids in life vests standing in a foot of water. But those pictures are still on the camera, so alas, will be on another blog. Maybe. Unless we forget, which is totally likely these days.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What's in a Name?

We have not really spent a lot of time pondering baby names, as I think we are still, even now, leaning toward the side of "overly cautious." However, my ultrasound is three weeks away. I do not have any feelings one way or another toward a certain gender, although my friend Angie has been working some "boy" voodoo magic my direction.

When we were expecting Abigail, it seemed we knew from the beginning that she was a girl. I just did. The ultrasound just confirmed what I was already certain of. Therefore, we did not spend a great deal of time choosing a boy's name. We really discussed all of the aspects of the girl names, tried out how they sounded, tried different middle names. The boy name we just kind of threw in for good measure at the end, just in case.

I find that one of the things that has become a pet peeve of mine, and I'm sure it is just me needing to lighten up, is discussing baby names with other people. I naively went into things with Abigail's name, prepared to tell everyone that she was "Abigail" as soon as we knew. Then I realized how quick people are to share their own opinions of names. They would say things like, "Are you going to call her Abby? I like Abby." As if to say, "Abby's fine, but not Abigail." Or I would throw different names out that I was considering and they would say, "That sounds more like a girl's name than a boy's name." Then, when my friend Debra was having her baby shortly after I had Abigail, and in all of her wisdom decided not to share the baby's name until he was born, it all made sense. It had never even occurred to me to not share the name.

I don't know what we will do this time. Chances are, we'll share it. Because it helps us identify with this baby even more to have a name for him/her. I've already had plenty of conversations over what everyone else thinks we should name the baby, and frankly, I'm over it. As soon as I shared with a group of friends the name we are (pretty well) decided on for a boy, and one of my friends said, "Ewwwww!" I realized that it's just up to us. It seems no one has the same taste overall in names, and no one has the same reasons for choosing a name. We just have to choose the one that will suit our child and our family name the best. People adjust to all the names once they have a baby to put with it anyway.

In the meantime, after looking through a decades-old baby names book, I've decided to just call it "Hortense." It'll do for now.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I Am

It was over a year ago. I had just found out I was pregnant. I was thinking all of those thoughts that course through your brain after you first confirm that news. I was ready, especially after our loss that spring. I was nervous.

I sat in the little room at the doctor's office where my barrage of blood tests would begin over the next several weeks. The lady sticking the needle in my arm that day was a new face to me. I never had made it far enough into the last pregnancy to have all of the hormone tests done. This was a face I would be seeing frequently over the next few weeks and months.

She was older, and looked rough around the edges. She looked as though she had lived a tough life, and was no more excited about her current vocation of drawing blood. She glanced at my chart to see what all we would be testing for that day. Realizing it was all pregnancy-related, her first words to me were, "Well, do you want to be?"

Do I want to be? What kind of question is that to ask someone? She doesn't know anything about me. Can't she assume that I do, and that question is not appropriate? I felt my insides jump the way they do when you want to tell someone all these things, but just replied with a courteous, "Yes. I do."

Today I was at a new appointment. My three-month check-up with my dermatologist. My skin has been a crazy mess for over a year and my hormones have chosen to take a wild ride across my cheeks. I started seeing this doctor sometime last year. Actually, my first visit to her was when I found out I was pregnant. She wanted to prescribe something for me, and when I told her I was trying to get pregnant, she had me take a test at the lab. Once the test confirmed that I was pregnant, she told she would hold off on prescribing anything for me until after I had the baby.

A few months later, I was back with crazy skin and no pregnancy. And we have been seeing each other every few months since. Today, I was back, telling her that I had quit using all that she had prescribed at my last visit since I was pregnant.

She prescribed a few things for me, telling me how hard it was to find something I could use while pregnant. She said she hoped things went better for me this time. Then she said those words.

"You were wanting to be pregnant, right?"

What is it with that question??? What in the world does it matter to her whether I wanted to be or not? And especially after knowing that I lost two pregnancies last year, why ask such a question?

"Yes. Very much."

I wanted to ask her why it mattered. Does it affect what she would prescribe for me? Like, if I wanted the baby, she would give me something "safe" and if I didn't want the baby, she'd give me Accutane? Of course not. I knew this was not the case. Still, on my drive home, I couldn't get this question out of my head.

I have decided this question is the step beyond asking someone "Are you trying?" This has become such a normal, accepted question in our society, but really, when you think about it, it is a personal question. Don't get me wrong, I have asked this question plenty of times without giving it a second thought. But to go the next step, when someone is pregnant, and to ask them "Do you want to be?" is an unfathomable question to ask.

I do understand that babies do not always come at opportune times in one's life. Maybe a woman wasn't "trying" to have a baby. Maybe the plan did not fit into "her" timing. I'm sure many a teenage girl has found herself feeling scared and alone when she sees those lines on a test. Even when a couple is "trying" to have a baby, the baby changes lives forever, and not always in the most convenient ways.

I'm just saddened that in a culture where babies are so easily done away with, and pregnancies so quickly terminated, that people now think (and especially those in the medical field!) that it is a socially-acceptable question to ask someone if "they want to be pregnant." I have always been pro-life. I don't think that someone needs to experience miscarriage to confirm that life is from God and is a precious gift. But once I experienced miscarriage, once I physically felt life leaving my body, it solidified in me everything that is true of our life-giving God. It made me realize that life is precious. Even if I had not "planned" this pregnancy, what should be done of it now? What answer does a doctor (a dermatologist, no less) expect to the question, "You were wanting to be, right?"

Yes, we wanted to be. With all of our hearts. However, I still think the answer to such a question should not be, "Yes, I did," but moreso, "Yes, I am. And that's all that matters."