Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Short, Sweet Season (but a LONG post)

The Sunday that my placenta tore, I was riding in the car with my husband and son to have dinner at Don's parents' home. I was tired. Not sleepy, but exhausted from always running and trying to do one more thing, like most of the moms I know.
"I think I need to get some rest," I told my husband.
"You can rest tonight when we put William down."
"No, I think I need some real rest, like enough time to slow down and not be rushing around all the time."

He shrugged his shoulders.
I have been thinking about that conversation more and more these last few days. Now that I have been on bed rest for 8 and a half weeks. I think of how God knows what we need and how He delivers it in the least expected ways. How He uses bed rest for teaching and hurting for healing.
I am being completely honest when I say that I TRY to glorify God every single day. I am also being completely honest when I say that I FAIL daily, repeatedly, day in and day out. These last two months, He has made it easy for me to think of glorifying Him.

He has kept our littlest child healthy and strong, despite the odds. Despite APS. Despite our doctors' initial expectations.
Yesterday Joshua weighed (via ultrasound measurements) 1 pound and 14 ounces, ahead of the game for his age. His heart beat was strong and perfect at 154 beats a minute; he has no idea that a battle has been waged against him, that God is winning it for him, for me. I am still at home, though initially I was scheduled to move into the hospital at 23 weeks. Joshua now weighs more than they told us he would weigh at birth! It now looks as though I will carry him all the way to 37 weeks, though initially they weren't sure I would make it to 24.

(Littlest son, know this to be true: The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. Exodus 14:14)

For now, I can say with my whole heart that this time of bed rest has not been a curse, but an absolute hands-down blessing for our family. It has been HARD on everyone, especially for my parents and Don's parents, who have so selflessly given up half of their weeks to come spend the night at our house and take care of William and make sure I am not climbing on top of furniture to hang pictures and sanding and restaining Craigslist purchases in the back yard. It has been hard for me, but it has been so amazingly beautiful, too.

William has developed even closer relationships with all four of his grandparents.

Don and I have developed closer relationships with our parents. Daily I think of how blessed we are to have two sets of parents that offered to help us in this huge way, and how this has been a time for us to overcome any differences and to love each other.

I have learned (though it took at least 4 weeks) that it doesn't matter if my kitchen is perfectly organized or if there are toys on the floor. Or if my mother likes to use seven different dishtowels at the same time.

I am learning to be still, to trust Him above all else, and to be still. Did I mention that I am being still?

In lighter news, I have also learned to embroidery. My mom taught me on Monday and I love it. I ordered the fabric in the pictures above to make a blanket for Joshua, but I've been embroidering it now before I quilt it together.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

Last night I watched the Memorial Day events televised from DC, and I couldn't stop crying. Did you see the reading Selma Blair did? She was telling the story of a young wife and mother whose husband was killed in the war three years ago. Her children were 3 years old and 6 months old.
They showed pictures of their father, the soldier, with his little ones. It hurt my heart so badly to think of that little boy growing up not personally knowing his father.
And he died for our freedom. For yours and mine. For our kids. So that we can walk in relative safety, unable to comprehend a world where bombs go off in cafes on a regular basis and voting results are intentionally miscounted.
 I am so grateful to all military personnel and soldiers, everyone who gives of their time and skill and lives so that I am free.
 And these guys are free.
 They have worries, but not worries about safety.
 We took this weekend to enjoy the small things we might normally take for granted. Playing on an unmade bed for most of Saturday morning. Shoulder rides and Amy's ice cream and playing at the splash pad (I technically didn't break any rules because I sat and watched the splash pad activity without walking, and I am allowed one seated outing weekly).
We didn't do a big barbecue because of the whole bed rest thing, but I sat at the kitchen counter and made parmesan zucchini crisps. I cannot wait to get back on my feet again.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Broken Hallelujah

Sometimes the truth is hard to hear.

Sometimes trusting God is something I can only do with my eyes squeezed shut because I am too scared to look at what lies ahead, though I trust He will see me through it.

Sometimes, when I lay on the table at the maternal fetal specialist's office, my husband's hand closed over mine is the only thing holding me down to earth. I imagine that if he let me go, I would float off and over the roof of the hospital and end up dangling from the moon.

Sometimes, though, God says, "Enough."

Sometimes, He says, "You have to trust me. I will fight for you. You need only be still." (Exodus 14:14)

I have been still for six weeks and two days. I have had no choice. And today, lying on the exam table, my growing belly and sensitive rib cage already stretching to the max, the sonographer looked confused.

"I don't see it," she said. "The tear. It's gone. I honestly can't even see it."

Wave after wave after wave of grace. I tried to keep my head above the water. How does He decide when to apply salve to wounds and when to let fresh scars tear open? I have no idea. I have been on the receiving end of each, but today was a day of salve. A day of balm and comfort and healing and happy happy joy joy bursting through my heart.

A day so different than April 3, when I felt the blood drain from my heart and evaporate, my fingertips and face turn numb as the doctor spoke to us slowly, reaching out and gripping my arm to keep me from falling backwards.

What does all of this mean? It means that today Joshua is strong and healthy, big for his age, moving and kicking, totally unaffected by the dead part of the placenta. It means that the tear is gone, though our specialist won't say it's healed since that part of the placenta is still blank and unresponsive, though it doesn't seem to be impacting either Joshua or me.

It means that today I ordered the most beautiful and perfect crib bedding I could afford. If you are a mother who has had a miscarriage, you know how significant that is. 

We ordered crib bedding today.

God, I have said it when it stung, and I say it now in joy, too: my heartfelt HALLELUJAH!

"God is in the midst of her. 
She shall not be moved. 
He will help her when morning dawns."
Psalm 46 verse 5

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Another Ordinary Day

I had almost forgotten this ordinary day.
Last spring, William and I. We went outside in the very early morning to explore.
Part of me didn't want to let him crawl off of the blanket. Muddy his knees, prick his chubby palms on a weed, a burr, a stray caterpillar.
He was, he IS, so little. And everything else is, in comparison, so BIG.
But off he went. He never looked back.
I, on the other hand, am his mother, and I will always be looking back.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Sunflowers and Jimmy

Sunflowers are the most cheerful flowers in the entire world. They can brighten up a room. I feel happier just looking at them.

The same can be said for looking at this guy.
 He was so happy to wake up and see both grandfathers standing by his crib on a "shift change" day. He adores his granddads.
 His post-nap diaper change. The skinned knees and superman shirt make me melt. (I was just standing there long enough to kiss him and take a picture...I haven't changed William's diaper in 6 weeks.)
Nothing is better than an ice cream sandwich on a hot least for an almost 2 year old. I have permission from my doctor to sit in the backyard with my feet up without breaking any bed rest rules. This has been a lifesaver. 

Did I mention we got a dog? His name is Jimmy and he was $25 on clearance from Pottery Barn. I love him.
 William loves dogs, but Don is horribly allergic. His neck breaks out in huge welts if dog fur touches his face. It's scary. There won't be any real dogs in our family for a long time.
Joshua is breech, sitting cross legged with his head nestled between my ribs. My ribs feel like they have a vice around them, and I can feel his little butterball head rotating between my lungs all day long. It is so reassuring and comforting to feel him in motion. Did I mention his is sitting on my bladder? As much as I hate to waddle to the restroom a million times a day, I need the extra reassurance of his movement and feeling him. I am actually thankful to have him sitting in the most uncomfortable fetal position possible.

It won't always be like this. One day Joshua will be on the outside, and I will be wishing I had a moment to sit and rest and put my feet up. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Peace in the Hurting

I have been kind of quiet lately. I have been listening. And thinking. And listening some more.

I wish I could find the perfect picture for this post. Except that I don't know what the perfect picture would be, and it's definitely not on my laptop right now.

What I want to convey is so deeply personal that it's going to come out a little on the messy side; what I feel is too big to be articulate.

What I want to say is this: I am on bed rest, my placenta is damaged, but my heart is weighted down with joy.

I am at peace. My heart feels real life joy. Right now. Today.

A person whom I love who says she does not want God told me this weekend, "I am jealous of people who have faith. It seems so nice and easy."

Sometimes the world comes crashing down around us; our husbands up and leave, our children step in front of moving cars, our doctors frown and point out cancers. In my case, I learned that the very blood in my veins is on a daily mission to assault my functioning, to clog me up with blood clots and ripped open secret places no one can even detect except through ultrasound. Oh, goody.

What I want to say is this: My cup runneth over.

I feel connected to you, person reading this. From the e-mails I receive, I know you are a lovely person who has stumbled across this little acre of web and you are questioning things, or looking for something, even if you don't know what that something is. Some encouragement? Some hope that there is true and honest to goodness joy to be had after infertility, or loss, or a life that looks perfect on the outside but feels like empty on the inside?

I don't know how else to say it, or if my words have become too muddled to untangle here, but my world is all kinds of crazy right now and I am coasting on a raft of calm. I am grounded and standing on something unshakable: the knowledge that God has promised me a future. That He loves me. That He knows me. That He has searched my heart and understands me. Until you have it yourself, this true thing I am saying will not make any sense. It's not supposed to.

"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." Romans 8:18

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

The commentary in the Bible I love, The Application Study Bible, New International Version, explains it like this:

On Romans 8:28 - God works in "all things"--not just isolated incidents--for our good. This does not mean that all that happens to us is good. Evil is prevalent in our fallen world, but God is able to turn every circumstance around for our long-range good. Note that God is not working to make us happy, but to fulfill his purpose. Note also that this promise is not for everybody. It can be claimed only by those who love God and are called according to His purpose. Such people have a new perspective, a new mind-set on life. They trust in God, not life's treasures; they look for their security in heaven, not on earth; they learn to accept, not resent, pain and persecution because God is with them.

I hope that made sense.