Hope in the Grief

From FB, by Hubby:
When you announce that you’re pregnant, some people respond simply with “congrats”. Others ask more and pretty quickly the question comes up when the due date is. When you let them know that the date is still eight months away, roughly half of people (in our experience) say something to the tune of “wow, you’re telling people really early.”
Here’s why we told people about Kiddo really early. 1) We want people to share in our excitement, to be able to share our excitement and happiness. 2) If we were to lose Kiddo, we don’t want to have to go around pretending everything is okay when we’ve just suffered a death in the immediate family. If we need to grieve a death, our friends and family can grieve with us. Suck it up folks, grieving together is part of relationship.
Sadly, we are at that second place. We went in to the doctor Tuesday morning, found Kiddo easily on ultrasound, but there was no heartbeat. Such early deaths are not uncommon, but the loss is still devastating. Even if you’re not aware of who, you almost certainly known many others who have been through this same loss.
While it may seem inappropriate, don’t feel afraid to “like” this post. It lets us know that you’ve read the news. Moreover, we do not grieve as others do who have no hope, therefore our bottom line remains one of joy, even when happiness has fled.

When I was pregnant with Little Man, I was terrified of a miscarriage. I was pretty good at stuffing that terror for everyday life, but every now and then, I would feel my stomach tighten at the suggestion or thought. This time, I was/am still afraid of miscarriage. But it’s not terror. It’s softer and gentler. I’m not sure what all has affected this, perhaps the confidence that comes with carrying one child to term? Perhaps, it’s a confidence in the timing of God’s work in my life? I hope it is the second, but I honestly don’t know. There is work being done in my heart, though.

 I realized rather quickly something was wrong Tuesday morning. I remember that with Little Man, we heard that heartbeat before the doctor found him on the ultrasound. This time, it was just quiet. I remember seeing a spot of flutter in the picture of Little Man in that first ultrasound; it was his little heart beating away. This time, there was no spot of flutter. Our doctor very gently confirmed what I was thinking, and asked a second doctor to come and look over his shoulder to confirm that what he was seeing was actually correct. Doctor estimated that growth stopped at about 7 weeks, about one week before this. He said to expect a miscarriage sometime in the next few weeks and we discussed our various options.

 I felt this crushing sadness in those moments just after. I wanted to weep loudly and deeply, but, of course, we were still in the doctor’s office. (Don’t worry, I have wept loudly and deeply since.) At first it was a huge, but very general since of grief. As the day wore on, the grief became more well defined. It is my own loss that I’m grieving. I’m not grieving for Kiddo’s state, as I know he is now in the arms of God and, I think, in the arms of his grandmother, my mom. As I grieve our loss, I remember what my hope is based in. It’s not in my children, nor even in myself, but in the work of Christ in me and the eternal life he grants when we accept his work on the cross on our behalf. This hope prompts me to “put on my eternity colored glasses” (as sweet Janene said, who went to God’s arms years and years ago). As David said, in 2 Samuel 12:23 (later half of the verse), “I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.” It feels instinctual to grieve that “I never got know my child!”, but this isn’t true. Because of my confidence in Christ’s work on the cross, I know I will meet this child someday. I can morn with hope.

 Sometimes, we hope that the doctor is just wrong and there are times when that is the case. As I’ve grieved, I’ve reflected back over the past week and I’ve recognized how pregnancy symptoms faded and disappeared. From the start, my hips hurt, and that was my primary socially acceptable complaint. But in the past week, my hips stopped hurting. I wasn’t experiencing the egg roll cravings. My digestive tract seemed to be fairly normal without the help from ‘clearlax’. (sorry to get graphic, but feeling the need to really lay out the evidence). We don’t think that this is a goof on the part of the doctor.

 And, as of Thursday afternoon, I haven’t had a miscarriage yet.

 There are 9, possibly 10, instances where God raises someone from the dead. Elijah raises one boy, Elisha raises two people (one after he was dead himself!), Jesus raises the widow’s son, the little girl, and Lazarus; Jesus himself was raised from the dead; Peter raises Tabitha, Paul raises Eutycus and it’s possible that Paul was himself raised after being stoned and left for dead. This is not a miracle God performs all that often, but it feels appropriate to pray for that now. I don’t believe I can just tell God, claim it and he will do it. I don’t think God works that way. And I know that he desires to see me trust him, submit to him, and rest in his work. I am praying that God will resurrect this child from the dead and give him back to us, but I know that he is not about satisfying my own desires, but something much greater.

 

What will God do? I don’t know if he will return this child, bless us with another pregnancy, or bless us with children in other ways (adoption anyone?). I do know that “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” Romans 8:28. That good might be about making me more Christ-like. That good might be showing someone else his power, his grace, his comfort, his love or some other aspect of his character. I might never see, in this life, what that good is; though I’ll get to see it when I reach glory. I will weep again over this loss, I’m sure, but I will not weep without hope.

Writing Inspiration — goals and excuses

I have felt a complete lack of inspiration when it comes to blog writing lately. Please note that its been nearly 2 full weeks since I last put up a post. I’m sure I’ve had witty thoughts, inspiriting words to write and interesting articles, but none have lasted long enough to make it into the post editor. Maybe that’s  my problem? Maybe I should be writing the posts in evernote.

Anyhoo, one day this last week, I found I had the best excuse ever for the complete lack of inspiration and energy. I’m pregnant!

Yes, let me holler that a bit louder and more clearly. I’M PREGNANT!!!!!

And the timing is just about perfect as far is it being an excuse for not blogging. God’s timing is perfect in other ways, too, though I doubt He intended to give me an excuse for not blogging over that two week period.

I should still have some goals for May, right? After all, there are birthdays this month that require some sort of gift like object (little boy and a nephew), one of the languishing baby blankets is for a friend who’s hubby got a job (yea!) and is moving this summer (boo!), and June is quite out for getting much other than survival done. I’ve worked out to teach some swimming lessons that month — though that gets one goal done, “swimming lessons for little boy”.

Of course, I also need to be sure and tell the story of our journey to grow our family. And post #500 is quickly approaching and there is the sense that it should be some deep/insightful/exciting kind of post. We’ll see.

As for April goals, I did okay.

  1. Write Hubby a love note (though it was by email, that still counts, yes?)
  2. Work on morning devotion habit (a bit of Bible study, a bit of prayer)
  3. Finish the 2 very late baby blankets (since both babies are born!)
  4. Read 2 new books.
  5. Keep up the blog habit (2x a week!)
  6. Work on being intentional with my time.

Yeah, I think I did okay. In fact, I read way more than 2 new books as I jumped for the ‘ultimate homemaking e-book bundle’ last week. 97 e-books. I’ve made it though a slew of those books, though some I stopped reading after a  page or two when I figured out I wasn’t so interested in that book. (note to self: I should review these books as I read them)

May goals…

May will be about maintenance. Maintain habits, maintain house, that sort of thing. And I’ll dabble… in sewing, reading books. And I’ll aim to post about them along the way.

I love the idea of making goals and working towards them, but that seems to be what is first to go when my energy lags or life gets busy. I must remember to make the goals work for me, not be a slave to them.

And Happy Mother’s Day! I got a great mother’s day gift this year…. a positive pregnancy test. 😛 Any other fun gifts?

 

Pregnancy Tips

No, no, I’m not pregnant again… promise.  But a good friend is!  Congrats sweet Sarah!

I’m remember waiting, waiting, waiting, till finally one weekend, I was crazy tired. But we were traveling, so maybe that was it. But I was suppose to ‘start’ that weekend, and I didn’t. Hmmm…. could it be? But this has happened before, and the pregnancy test was negative then, so this could be the same. But it kept on, me being tired, plus, we’d tried one round of a fertility med, so who’s to say it didn’t work?

Labor Day 2010, we trekked to Wal-greens and purchased a pregnancy test. And then the car wouldn’t start. And I didn’t have my keys (Hubby’s key was a copy, and it just didn’t work). So we called a friend to pick us up, take us home, grab my keys and take one of us back to get the car. While he was coming to get us, the car finally started.

Tuesday morning I did the test. And waited…. and wondered… would this be it? YES! I called to Hubby, “come look! It’s positive!”. Oh, the joy! So it was a crazy day of keeping a secret we didn’t want to keep, but knew we needed to tell family first. And so started a week of trying to discrete, after all, what if I miscarried?  And so started the nine months, or 40 weeks, of waiting and learning and preparing.

Tips for the newly pregnant:
1. Sleep as often as you can. Choice between reading that crazy interesting novel and sleeping? Sleep. Choice between TV and sleep? Sleep. Your body is working hard, building a new little human from scratch, and that’s hard work.

2. Check out visembryo.com for growth facts. Yes, yes, what to expect is fun, but this site gives you the good stuff. Note that, at first, it count’s from conception, not the normal counting from start of last period.

3. Eat what sounds good. Even if its weird.  Just make sure you are eating.

4. Drink water. Yes, you are already peeing like there is not tomorrow, but the water will do your body good.

5. A cup of coffee a day is not as bad as it sounds. Two cups a day is as bad as it sounds. or so I’ve read. I, on the other hand, went cold turkey on the coffee.

6. Get a pregnancy pillow. I got one when I was about 5 month’s pregnant and it really helped me sleep. By the last month, I NEEDED it to be comfortable. It helped me get comfortable after having a c-section. At about 4 weeks postpartum, I put it away because it wasn’t helping any more. Originally, I had a body pillow and added pillows along my back till I comfortable. Thus I knew I needed something with pillow along my front and along my back. King size beds are nice for this, but we both still fit in the queen size bed, even with my air-craft carrier of a pillow.

7. If you want to make stuff for the baby, start soon-ish. When you read 12 weeks is soon enough, but don’t put it off thinking “I’ve got months!” Those months slide by so quickly. And though you will have some down time when baby is born, you don’t have that much. Plus, its hard to get much done when you are sleep deprived.

8. The adjustment period for breastfeeding is so worth it. It took me a good 5 or 6 weeks to really get comfortable, but, dude, it is so easy now! No bottles to sterilize, no nipples to wash, nothing to mix up, nothing to warm up. Its all just ready to go.  Its worth getting a book on breastfeeding to get a good bit of head knowledge going, and ask for the lactation consultant to come help you while you are in the hospital.  I got Breastfeeding Made Simple; I loved reading it, and I still consult it occasionally. I’ve heard that The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding is also quite good.

I promise more thoughts on baby gear!

Birthing Babies

Up to this point, the past few posts have been done by Hubby, as I have been recovering from giving birth to Baby. It was a long and hard process, here’s the story as Hubby told a friend:

Rachael went into labor at 2:00am on Tuesday morning.  Contractions reached 4 minutes apart, 1 minute long and painfully strong by 11:00am, so we headed to the hospital, only to learn she was only 1 cm dilated.  They evaluated again after 90 minutes and she showed some progress but was still less than 2cm.  They offered us the choice to admit, or head home for a while longer, so we opted to head home.  
We came back that night at about 8:00 – the contractions were getting a bit longer and definitely still getting stronger, strong enough to make her cry out almost every time.  But when we got back, she was still at 2 cm but they admitted her right away because she was definitely progressing and needed some help managing the pain.  When they gave her the pain killer, it knocked her a little silly, which allowed her to sleep between contractions – a real blessing and it let her gather her strength.  This was some crazy stuff, I couldn’t really see straight and it made me all sorts of loopy. But I slept, bit time and it was beautiful.
They evaluated again at 1:00am and she had progressed to 6cm.  She got on a birthing ball at that point and the contractions were coming close together and quite hard as she went through transition.  Rachael asked to be evaluated again at about 3:45 when she started feeling an urge to push.  Sure enough, she was at 10cm so we got ready to push and the on-call Doctor was there.  The Doc examined through a few contractions and noted that Rachael’s water seemed to be making it hard to get his head properly in the cervix, so we broke the water at about 4:00am. (can you believe that, 26 hrs of hard labor and the water hadn’t broken!)
We pushed for about two hours, until Rachael was completely exhausted.  The doctor said his head still wasn’t quite seated correctly, so the pushes weren’t making incremental progress, but she was going back to square one each time.  With mom exhausted, we weren’t entirely sure what to do.  The plan we hit on was to give her an epidural to allow her to rest between the contractions as well as relax some of the muscles in hopes of causing a re-alignment.  Hopefully once the head lined up, she would have some energy to push again.  
With the epidural she was able to snatch a few moments sleep at times, though she still had a lot of pain (a different pain, a sharp pain in each hip). It was very strange, with each contraction, I’d feel a sharp, sharp pain in the front of each hip. It might have been there with the contractions, but the pain of the contractions covered it? Who knows. It seemed to be giving her rest, but Samuel’s heart rate was slowly descending.  First it came out of the green zone and settled at about 110, but then it slowed again to a new base at about 100.  That when the Dr talked to us and we agreed to go ahead with a C-section.  Because the epidural wasn’t blocking the pain, she had to go under general anesthesia.  Samuel was born, healthy and crying strongly at 8:17.   8 lbs, 1 oz and 21 inches long.  
He’s been doing well, clearing his lungs and passing lots of meconium.  Mom is also recovering well – she’s gotten rid of the IV’s and everything that came with the recovery from anesthesia.  Nothing but a mess of hospital bracelets now.  Samuel is also doing nicely – he’s having a little trouble latching, but once he does, he seems to be a fairly good nurser thus far.  We’ll be talking with the lactation consultant in a few hours to see what might be done to help him latch better.  
I’m having a hard time getting it through  my mind that baby has finally been born, he is before me, I’m nursing him, changing his diaper, talking to him, loving him and praying for him. Its beautiful, and I’m loving these moments. I let him fall asleep on me and waiting till he is totally out before putting him in the bassinet. No, a c-section was not what I had dreamed of, but it has all worked out okay. Baby is healthy, sleeping well, and is an aggressive nurser today. I’ve had amazing nurses who have cared for gently and kindly, a doctor who was willing to work with us to give me the opportunity to have what I wanted and has been gently encouraging me as I heal from what I didn’t want (but at times the ends makes the means worth it). I am so blessed by friends who are rejoicing with me, a son who is already living up to his name (Isaac means laughter), and a Hubby who is so generous.

This has been one part of the continuing story of God’s faithfulness and His good timing.
Such a technophille —  its the afternoon of having a c-section. I hold my new baby, hooked up to IVs  and ox-pulse monitor, etc, and yet I take time to check my email!

Two days post due date…

I have to keep reminding myself that the ‘due date’ is an estimate that should more rightly be called a ‘due month’. Here I am two days after my own calculated due date, and feeling quite impatient. All the ‘false starts’ are a tad frustrating as well. Message to my physical self:  “lets get this party going!”

Baby has filled the given space, and there isn’t much more to be found. Its like a tug-a-war… he wants more space, but my belly won’t get much bigger. At least I hope not!

Need a reference point…. here’s one.

Seems like each evening Baby will try punching and kicking his way out, and I keep telling him, I need chemical signals, not physical ones. Hopefully, he will get the message in the next day or two (the sooner, the better, I think).

There has been an interesting change in Hank (the kitty). He seems ‘protective’ of me. He has always made sure to settle down where he can see both Hubby and I if at all possible, but of late, it seems he is always in the same room as I. He has always liked sleeping on my hair, and lately he hunkers himself down at the top of my very large pregnancy pillow.

He usually follows me when I’m up in the middle of the night, as well. Its a tad creepy sometimes, but nice to have the company who doesn’t need any light to get around :P.

Impatience and trust

I can be a patient person, especially when its something I’m not just all that excited about. Or something that I have a definite date and/or time for. For example, I’m excited about the 2 baby showers coming up in the next week and I was very excited about the baby shower last Sunday. I’m excited about the sewing bee tomorrow, but for each of these, there is a definite date/time for each. However, when it comes to something that doesn’t have a time or date for, or if there is an uncertainty about it, it will drive me crazy. But, you’d think I’d learned how to trust God’s timing by now. From 18 years on, I wanted to be a wife and a mom. Through my 20s, I struggled with the idea that I might not ever get married, but in God’s good timing, He brought Hubby along and we’ve been happily married for nearly 5 years now. Then, when we tried getting pregnant and were unsuccessful, I struggled with the idea that we might never have children of our own. Why was God denying me this blessing, I wondered? Do I really trust His goodness?  His timing has, again, turned out to beautiful! Now, I wait for little baby boy to be born and with 2 1/2 weeks left (plus or minus 2 weeks!), I’m mired in impatience. My head KNOWS that the Lord’s timing is good, but my heart and my body are SOOOO ready to deliver baby boy — so I can hold, so his daddy can hold him, so we can use the car seat and all the diapers that are sitting in the nursery!

Patience, patience… its a virtue, a fruit of the spirit, a good thing! 2 weeks (plus or minus 2 weeks) is doable!

On my mind…. baby

Its a tad late to make it the party, but here’s whats on my mind!

I think the baby ‘dropped’!

Yesterday afternoon, I was waddling along as I usually do these days when I realized my uncomfortableness had changed. I felt pressure in spots I hadn’t before, and less pressure where I was used to feeling it. My officemate, who has endured so much with me while at school and has been a wonderful friend and encourager, said she thought my belly was a tad lower. One gal in the office, when asking me how I was (my gait changed trying to be more comfortable walking), said she thought my belly was sitting lower. I will see a friend who is a doctor Sunday evening and I might be bold enough to ask him about it, because I don’t see Doc till Friday! Can I wait that long to know for sure?

So, first is the previous picture of my huge, preggo belly from about 2 or 3 days ago (purple shirt), and here below is the new I-think-he-dropped belly from yesterday evening (red and white shirt).

 

As soon as I know any thing definitive, it will appear here, I promise!

Is it hot already?

Usually, I switch to drinking iced coffee (versus hot coffee, unless I’m in a very nicely a/c’d place) in late May or early June. In Los Angeles, I never actually switched off of hot coffee in the morning — it was never all that hot.  Here in central Texas, though, when the a/c runs all night to keep the house at 80′ — thats iced coffee time.

Alas, my heat production is such that I officially switched today (not that there won’t be the odd hot coffee day after today). Once the upper 70s are hit, I start melting. This, from the gal who survived 100’F plus with 100% humidity for 3 summers in southwest China! With no a/c! Pregnancy has made me a wuss.

Its still cooling off at night, so even today the windows were opened this morning and the breeze through the house is nice. We get some fairly nice weather in the shoulder seasons here (Mar to mid-April and mis-Sept through Nov) and they are long enough to be really enjoyed. Here’s to hoping Baby doesn’t have too many allergies and window opening can continue!

More Surprising Things about Pregnancy

I previously posted on those things that surprised me about pregnancy here. I’m continuing the thoughts here….

On pants and skirts: getting them to stay up takes work. Either the waists are too big and slip down regularly or they fit nice and comfy, but tend to slip down as I walk, or they are too tight and baby “fusses” against the restriction (if I sit down with close fitting pants, he starts kicking and punching very quickly, like he is uncomfortable with the tightness…).

Babies have amazing strength. He’s gotten me in the ribs a few times and the pain lasts all day. Yesterday, I started to wonder if he’d cracked a rib or some such, but when the pain subsided in the afternoon, I figured he’d just hit a nerve or the bone.

People are very quick to help when your belly starts growing. If something drops in class, I often have 3 students jump to pick it up. I must be waddling (Hubby said I was) because I get offers of help carrying things very often.

Sometimes I forget I have a big belly until I bump it into something. Baby doesn’t usually like that.

There’s more, but its not blog-worthy or appropriate. And I”m sure there will be more yet to come!

Things that surprised me about pregnancy

Getting clothes to fit is a fair bit of work…. the belly size is changing regularly.

The “I gotta pee” sensation changes and you have to re-learn what it feels like.

The “full” and “hungry” feelings also change and you have to re-learn what those feel like.

Eating many multiple small meals is totally different from “grazing”. And it takes effort to learn how to do it well.

Belly Pic

Now, I’m stinking excited about the baby belly that is forming on me. I know not all women find the changes in pregnancy the most becoming, and this is certainly different from anything I’ve experienced before. Sure, I dealt with widening hips at 24, and the rounding off of angles (into curves) at 26, but this is quite unique. I’m so excited about the baby inside, I can’t help but be excited about the belly showing off to the world that there is a baby inside!

The main event of this post:

It’s a baby belly!

Misery

True misery  has got to be something more than anything I’ve experienced. It seems to include not just physically hurting, but a depressed spirit and tired and hungry soul. Thus, I’m reluctant to describe myself as miserable at the moment, but it is sure close.

Last Sunday I realized how very stuffy I was. I didn’t feel that bad, so I called it allergies and stopped drinking milk (which tends to make me stuffy). Wednesday afternoon, I was feeling pretty bad, and though I finished the day teaching, I skipped staff meeting and mock trial for which I am faculty sponsor. I went home and slept a hour, then went to bed early, but didn’t feel any better on Thursday.  By the the weekend, I still wasn’t feeling much better, and was firmly thinking it was allergies. This week, I’m not so sure. Tuesday morning I was feeling miles better and my sinuses were starting to clear. This morning, I felt quite good, and even the right side was starting to clear (blowing my nose like crazy, hard to teach when the  nose is dripping so much stuff). This afternoon, however, my right side sinuses are clogged again, and my head is really starting to ache.

I have successfully made it with no drugs so far. Doc has given me permission to take a few specific ones, but I’d rather not. Alas, I might succumb tonight to the pseudophephidrine (unsure of spelling — its the decongestant). Overall, I guess its better to take the drug and avoid a sinus infection than go drug free and suffer the sinus infection. Aren’t the antibioitics worse? Had one friend who got a sinus infection in the last month of her pregnancy and the doc made her wait till she’d given birth to take antibiotics. Ah, well, I’m likely being way over dramatic anyhow.