Friday, November 30, 2012

What a comfort.

    I met with a local doula today that was recommended to me by my midwife. Obviously without the husband around, going with a doula is a no-brainer. If you don't know what doulas are, hop on to her blog--here--and be ready to fall in love.

   After sharing with her the past 37 weeks of my pregnancy, she was willing to go ahead and sign a deal with me even though I don't have the funds up front--and give me a discount on her normal fee. As it turns out, her husband is a local pastor and she's a sister in the Lord. Just speaking with her today eased so much of my birth-related anxiety, it was truly a blessing. And I'm so excited she's going to be a serious support system as I finish up this pregnancy, and even for a few weeks afterwards (home visits??? Yes, please!).

  Now I just have to beg, borrow, and steal to pay her for her services.  Should the Lord move you, that obnoxious paypal button is still living on the sidebar of this page.

   Feel free to come on out now little one!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

When is this waddle gonna become a swaddle?

  When Thad first went to No Longer Bound in July, there were quite a few things I had to deal with emotionally. The one that lingered the longest was my anger and straight up fear of going through labor and delivery without the one person I really wanted to be by my side. I was angry that we wouldn't be sharing what will probably be one of the most important moments of our lives together. I was angry that I have to go through something so difficult without him. Obviously, there was a lot for me to work through there.
   So I cried every day for the first 93 days he was gone, like clockwork, thinking about giving birth to our child without him. And I know he prayed for me a lot about that because (other than telling me he was) I certainly wasn't praying about it like I should have, and God rescued me from my anxiety. I don't know when exactly it happened but one day, thinking about this just didn't make me cry anymore. And one day, I just accepted that God's plan is better than mine, even when it doesn't feel like it. Obviously this was God working all these things out in my mind, and I'm really glad that Thad petitioned for Him to do so.

    So when, two weeks ago, after I had clocked out from my shift and I was taking a load off in the back room at work and decided to check my email and got the news from the program director at NLB that they would be allowing Thad to come home for a few days for the holidays, I began bawling hysterically--but my first thought wasn't that he'd get to be here for the birth. I had so emotionally unattached myself from the idea of having him by my side for that that all I could think about was how not terrible Christmas would be this year.

    .....but now it's sunk in. Thad is going to be here for Christmas. My due date is December 20th and he lands the evening of the 21st. And ALL I WANT for Christmas is for my husband to meet my daughter.
   So, enter anxiety. I know--I've heard it over and over--that *most* first-time moms deliver late, around week 41. But if I deliver late, Thad doesn't get to meet his daughter. I know that I live in 2012 so with modern medicine I could just induce labor whenever I want and problem solved....except that I never planned on induction. I never planned on any kind of drug being introduced into my labor/delivery, which is why I'm delivering with a midwife in a birthing center as opposed to an OBGYN in a hospital.

  I'm a big fan of natural birth. I'm a big fan of letting Clementine decide when to make her entrance, and only when she's ready. Thad knows this, and if I could talk to him about all of it I know he'd probably tell me not to induce. But I can't talk to Thad about it--again, the only person I want to talk to about it, and who should have an opinion that counts--because NLB hasn't told Thad he's coming home yet.

   I'm not sure what I'm going to do. I have a decision to make, and I just want to make the right one for Clementine, for Thad, and for me. My prayer is A) for wisdom in making the right choice and B) that she will come right on time and no drugs necessary. In the meantime, I'm gonna do everything that my midwife suggests to bring labor on and try to find the funds to get this lady-- be my support during labor, especially if Thad cannot be there for it.

Monday, November 26, 2012

I just want a waffle.

  I'm up at 5am because I had a horrible nightmare I had to wake myself up from. Problem is, I've only gotten 4 hours of sleep but now that I'm awake I'm terribly hungry.
   Why isn't music like this anymore? Where have all the Bing Crosby's gone?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Children are a blessing, right?

   Parenting is hard.
   How do I know this?
   Because parents love to talk about how hard it is.

   Don't get me wrong. When it comes to parenting, I do not for one second think that I know more about parenting than anyone who has kids. I realize I have a kid but she hasn't left the womb yet. I know how uncomfortable and difficult pregnancy can be, but that's it. When people who have kids want to give me advice, I am all ears. I have SO MUCH to learn. When it comes to "parenting" I am still in diapers, too. I love when mamas want to tell me about their experiences, what they've learned along the way, etc. I am the willing student of any parent that wants to talk to me about their children.

  But I'm annoyed.
  I'm annoyed because 95% of the time I talk about something about my baby that I'm looking forward to, there's a parent there eager and waiting to tell me how much there's an aspect of whatever it is I'm talking about that sucks.
  For example:
  Me: "I love my cloth diapers! They are so cute. I can't wait to use them."
  Parent: "Yea, we'll see how you feel in a few months. Just wait til your life revolves around diapers."

  Me: "I felt my baby's butt today through my stomach. It was so cool."
  Parent: "We'll see how you feel about her butt after you've had to wipe it 100 times."

   Me: "I can't wait to dress her up in these outfits!"
  Parent: "Yea she'll hate everything you put her in one day."

   This is no exaggeration. These are real conversations I have had. It happens nearly every day, to the point where I don't want to talk about how excited I am about my child with people who have children. And I was thinking this morning, isn't that a little backwards?

  Shouldn't it be the people that know the joys of parenting that are the quickest to share in my joy, too? It makes me sad and fearful that parenting can take its toll on people's emotions so much that all the joy seems to be eclipsed by all the difficulties. I think that if I asked these well-meaning parents how they felt about their children they would have nothing but love and wonderful things to say...but why is it those are not the quickest things to roll off the tongue? I just don't have that answer yet.

  Here's how I feel about all the hard days I'm gonna have:
  1. I got married, and then I had sex. So basically I signed up for this. I signed up for the backaches, the stretch marks, and the waddling. I signed up for the responsibility of another human being. I signed up for the good days and the bad.
  2. The Bible says that children are a blessing. So first and foremost, on the days when my child has been screaming for hours, I haven't slept, we're both sick, whatever the case may be that is making my day seem unbearable, I hope that I remember that God says children are a blessing--not a burden.
  3. All family relationships require self-sacrifice. God uses these relationships to make us more like him.
  4. There are millions of people in the world who want children who don't have them, and who would happily wipe up the poop off the walls and love to console their teething, screaming child.

   I know that I won't remember these things perfectly. I know that there will be long, dark days of difficulty, and the fact that I will be husband-less for minimally the first six months of all this will just make it that much harder. I know all of these things--but why do parents feel the need to constantly remind me?
   I wish there were more encouragement flowing than there was discouragement, or warnings, or caution signs. I feel like I'm being told "Don't get too excited" all the time. And while I will, 99% of the time, bow to the knowledge of the parents that have gone before me, I just can't do it with this. I will fight to keep my joy. I will fight to love this baby's bottom even after I've wiped it 100 times. I will fight to think these cloth diapers are cute even after I've had to clean them up after explosions. I will fight to love my daughter even when she doesn't love the clothes I put on her. And when I'm having a bad day I will do my best to remember that it's just a day, it's just a down that comes with all the ups, and that I am so so blessed to have this little one in my life at all. And I hope that on the days when I'm feeling discouraged and weak and when I just need a nap, that the older, wiser, parents that have gone before me will be more quick to hand me some encouragement than discouragement.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Hello Home Stretch

    My ten days spent in Georgia felt like a month. Never in my life has a week dragged on so slowly, or gone by so quickly at the same time.
    My friends Stacey and Allan renewed their wedding vows the first Sunday I was there, and what was really special to me was that No Longer Bound let Thad (and his roommate, Jason, who is married to my friend Kelly) go because there were several people that work at NLB that were going. It was so nice to get to spend time with him outside of the Bound, especially at such a sweet event in our friend's lives. It was also great because the seating was at the bottom of a steep hill that I never would've gotten my pregnant waddle safely down if Thad hadn't practically carried me.
Kelly&Jason at the renewal
   I also loved getting to spend time with Thad around his buddy Jason. The bond these guys in the program have with each other is really something else. I actually envy it in a lot of ways, and it's extremely encouraging.
  During the week I got to spend time with hands-down one of my favorite families in the entire world, the D'Arienzo's. My friend Laura and her husband Anthony moved down to Georgia a few years ago and I had never been to their home, or met their youngest son Matteo, who turned two the week I was there. Being there was exactly what I needed in a lot of ways, the biggest being that we just got to relax and spend time together and I got to play many games of of cars with Matteo. I also learned lots of Mommy-things, as I got to watch how Laura takes care of her cloth diapers and she sent me home with some great baby books that I need to get read (and fairly quickly as I only have 6 weeks left til my due date).
   I saw Thad during the week as well, as family is welcome to go to church with the men on Wednesday nights. A mother of one of the men in the program (that is particularly dear to our hearts), Mrs. Cheeseman, split some of the driving with Laura to get me there. It was awesome to spend time with her, as she's traveled down this road of addiction for awhile now and we had some awesome conversations.
   It was so fun to go to the Wednesday night service with Thad because the Wednesday night service at the church they go to is more like a concert than anything else....and if you know Thad and I, lifelong members of the frozen chosen, you know that we are a bit out of place in that setting. And if you know Thad and I, you know that we laugh together. We just laugh and laugh and laugh together, even in the most inappropriate of times and places, we just make each other laugh, so basically....we had a really great time. I know that's a strange thing to say about a Wednesday night service, but we just have that effect on each other.
  I stayed with Mrs. Cheeseman that night because the service gets over late and I was an hour away from where Laura lives. Once again, it is so awesome how God uses people and brings people together. She made me feel so at home in her home, and I loved getting to meet her family. It's always nice (and oh-so-encouraging) to build relationships with people who are going thru a similar struggle.
   The final visit Thad and I had was mostly melancholy. Neither of us could escape that it was our last tiny bit of time together before Clementine comes, and that it will be a long, long stretch before we see each other again, or even speak to each other again. I woke up at the hotel Sunday morning at 4am and we just cried until our alarm went off at 6. We trudged somewhat awkwardly through church that day, and through lunch with the guys, and through the following hours of sitting together and waiting for it to be 4 in the afternoon, when I was getting picked up from NLB.
  I felt strangely comforted as we parted ways and since I can't think of how to explain that now, its fairly obvious that it was a divine comforting. I had spent the whole day terrified of that moment and then when it came, I somehow had the strength for it. Thank you, Lord, for that. I only teared up at the airport and on the plane a few times, and didn't even have a major breakdown until yesterday so, God has been good.
    Now that I have no more Georgia trips to plan for, I'm starting to nest...and it's kind of a relief. I don't know why I decided to start washing every article of clothing in my life this week, but I have, and that includes the few articles of clothing I have for Clementine and the couple cloth diapers I have, as well.
   I am SO EXCITED for my baby shower, which is a week from Friday, and it has nothing to do with gifts and everything to do with the fact that I love that a whole bunch of people I love are going to be in the same room with me celebrating Clementine. I'm so excited about her, I love that other people are, too.
  Thank you to everyone for your continuing prayers, especially as I get ready to deliver and as Thad struggles with being separated from us for Clementine's arrival. There is much to be joyful for over here and still a long road ahead for us. All for His glory.