Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Retelling: Worst Day








I finally got to wear normal clothes again! :) Holding our boy on December 21st. Trying out some Christmas hats. Yes, I'm smiling. I had to, it was a picture and I was holding my son. (That's the feeding tube in Levi's nose by the way, not oxygen. Thankfully he didn't need that.)

Monday, December 21st. I can't say this was the worst day ever in my life anymore. Losing our second baby now has to rival that. But it was one of the worst.

Let's start with some positive/funny things.
I do remember trying to change Levi's diaper in the morning with Andrew. And Levi continuously ppeed and pooped everywhere. I swear we used like 4 diapers before that was over. It was pretty ridiculously funny.

Then I was discharged. I no longer had to stay in the hospital. Which in theory isn't so bad, but it was. Just imagine how excited/scared you were to go home with your baby. Now subtract the baby. So now you're just sad and scared. That's bordering on it.
Not to count in that we had to pack up over 2 weeks worth of belongings that had made it to the hospital. And move into a motel. And go find a hospital grade pump for well, you know. And you're in a strange town. And then you have to go shopping for undergarments to wear while using said pump. And have a prescription for incredibly strong narcotics filled. And try to find a few other necessities that you well need. And it's 4 days before Christmas so the stores are just INSANE. And all you want to do is cry because you're in intense pain physically and emotionally, you're a disaster. Your teeny-tiny baby is all "alone" in the hospital and you're out here fighting not happy Christmas shoppers. Yeah, it sucked.

We did race back to the hospital in the evening because the March of Dimes was having a pasta dinner for all parents who had children in the NICU. Let me tell you, that helped so much! The March of Dimes was an unbelievable resource for me especially while Levi was in the NICU. Not only did they provide practical opportunities every week, like the meal and a cpr course, they also provided a chance to visit with other Mommas and Dads and have someone to share your experience with. As well as emotionally encouraging things like making a bracelet with Levi's name on it and doing some scrapbooking.
So the dinner really encouraged us while feeding our tummies. I also got to talk to other Mommas who had had a c-section and learn that I would in fact walk straight again.

So then we went and spent a little bit of time with Levi and Andrew changed his diaper all by himself. :) I was very proud.

Then we had to leave. You see, the next day Andrew was going back to work and I was staying near the hospital to be near Levi. So I would be mostly all alone. So we went shopping for some breakfast food, lunch stuff and snacks. I remember standing in the milk section of the grocery store and seeing a Momma with her little baby in the cart cooing at her. And I burst out sobbing. Just cried my eyes out into Andrew. Because that should have been me, but it wasn't. My baby wasn't with me, he was in the hospital without us there. That was the worst moment I think. I'm sure the woman thought I was nuts but I didn't care. I just hurt so much.

The good news? I got to sleep in the same bed as Andrew for the first time in almost 3 weeks. That was good. I tried to sleep.

Sidenote: I'm going to tell this now so that I don't have to think about it again: We were currently staying in a cheaper but okay motel because it was what we could afford. The hospital had a guest house but it was actually more expensive than this motel. Some dear women that Pastor Darryl found through our sister church in that town had volunteered to drive me back and forth to the hospital since I wasn't allowed to drive for about a week. Which was great, until we realized how umm shall I say "druggie" the motel was. So on Wednesday our churched chipped in and I moved to the motel/house that was on hospital grounds. It was super nice and they took great care of me. But it was an emotional unfortunate incident that if it hadn't of happened, it would have been less stressful. As it was, I spent one night in that motel alone and I cried my heart out, because I was alone. But it did get better. It's just yucky when I think about it, so I really don't want to talk about it more. But those dear ladies were wonderful and blessed. And our church, they were awesome. Not only did they help with lodging that first week, the next week a family in our church put us up in a rental house they owned that wasn't furnished, but gave us a place to sleep. I couldn't handle that the first week, I still couldn't walk well enough and such. But it was awesome the second week. Some friends in our Sunday School class also fixed our car which had broken down before all this began. So after that first week we got our car back and I could drive myself finally.
All good things. So I didn't want to end too negatively. Except to say those first few nights were incredibly hard. So let's not talk about it again. Thanks.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sickness

Levi (this year now!) has a cold and both ears are infected. I'm starting to feel sick myself. We stayed home from my parents to get some rest. Lord-willing we'll be better by Christmas. So that's my life. I hope to get some rest and get a few more cookies baked and presents wrapped. All while being so in awe of Christmas.
My heart is such mush this year. God is working a mighty work and I'm so thankful for the chance to enjoy and reflect this year.
Levi may get sicker. Who knows? We may be in the hospital again at Christmas. There are no guarantees. But God is sovereign and we have a Savior. That's worth my joy.
Now I'm off to take my sick self to bed. Ugh...

The Retelling: The First Few Days...

So now you've heard most of the details that I can remember of Levi's BIRTHday. The next few days get a little fuzzy, I'll be honest. Here's the thing, I had a c-section. I was on amazing pain killers and really didn't realize how much I needed them. I was so concerned about Levi being in the NICU and spending every moment I could with him, I really didn't take care of myself like I should have. I really think it's only by God's grace that I didn't develop any infections or hurt myself while I was pushing myself a little more than I should have. But enough about me. All that to say I didn't realize how much I was running on emotion and adrenaline and how much I needed the pain killers the nurses kept making me take. So Until Monday things are a bit fuzzy. So I'll give this my best shot. I took to writing down the essentials in a notebook. But it's very basic info.

On Saturday the 19th, Levi's first full day of life, both of our families were still here. At 5am I was wide awake and just wanting to see my baby so a nurse wheeled me down to the NICU. Andrew was exhausted so he stayed in bed. Now I understand why but at the time I didn't want to sleep, I just wanted to be near my baby. The nurse was just changing him and giving him a bit of formula/colostrum and Levi got put in clothes for the first time! Up to then he'd just been in his diaper in the "giraffe" incubator. The "giraffe" was an incubator that the lid can be raised up on a high neck. Hence the "giraffe" nickname. I got to hold my boy too! It was a precious sweet time.

I did try to go back to bed after that visit but I just couldn't sleep. I was too adrenalized and the morphine was still in effect. Around 11am Grandma and Grandpa Otto got to hold Levi for the first time before they had to leave. We also tried nursing for the first time. Interesting experience to say too little. I do remember that Andrew taught me how to change Levi's diaper. It was actually one of the few blessings of having him in the NICU was that Andrew learned more about him right away. That's helped us a lot.
Pastor Darryl and Pati also stopped by to visit. What a blessing!
In the evening our friends Jim and Teri came to see Levi as well. Andrew's family was in seeing and holding Levi at the time so I was out in the lounge visiting. (Only 4 visitors at a time, the NICU's small) While visiting my Uncle Romane and Aunt Judy surprised us by visiting. Their daughter lived near the hospital and they stopped by. Shocked me but what fun! By this point my morphine had wore off and someone wheeled me back to my room. I so wanted to stay and see Levi more but I was sooooo exhausted and in pain.

Sunday, Dec 20th is a little clearer in my head. Not much but a little. I again was awake at 5am and went to see Levi. He had his first poopy diaper which was really good! I got to change his diaper which at the time, was HUGE. Just to touch him was so wonderful. I guess that's one way to explain what exactly the NICU was like. It was not like a normal hospital delivery where baby is in your room 24/7. I got a few visits a day with my son. Changing his diaper was a blessing.
We tried some nursing again throughout the day. Levi was just way too small to get it.
Our friends Jay and Nicole stopped by as well. Jay was brave enough to hold our tiny boy.
Andrew's parents had to leave on Sunday as well, so it was just us that evening.
I do remember that they wanted me to try to nurse Levi again but it just made me cry. Because it wasn't working and I was exhausted. I just wanted to hold my boy. So I did, while he was gavauged. (fed through the feeding tube that was basically a permanent part of his face at this point. That's how Levi got almost all his nutrients the first 2 weeks of his life.)

I'll fill you in on Monday Dec 21, 2009 tomorrow. It's just too hard and emotional tonight.
I will tell you this. It was at the time THE WORST DAY OF MY LIFE. Only losing our second baby rivals it. So stay tuned. It does get better after that. I promise. Like this year, Way better.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Retelling: The BIRTHday

December 18th

What a Day. It started quite an adventure, but that's a story for the days to come. Let's start in the morning.

We woke up sort of feeling, surreal I guess. It was THE day. Baby day. Our hours were counting down to changing the rest of our lives.
And I was scared to death. I wasn't so scared about being Baby boy. I was more nervous for that. No, I was scared silly about getting a spinal. Whenever I had thought about delivering and doing it "naturally" it was basically because I didn't want an epidural in my spine. Leave that part of me alone thank you very much. So the thought of a spinal was getting to me. So I just tried not thinking about it. Andrew ate breakfast, I went hungry. :) That stunk too...

But, I did get to shower, and both sets of our parents were there as well as Andrew's sister. So we chatted and tried to stay busy. My nurse, my wonderful amazing nurse, Erin, kept telling me what to expect and kept us going. She was my big blessing that day. She had had a C-section as well and was a huge comfort!! My doctor was a bit behind that day so we were kind of pushing it to the designated 1 o'clock time. So we kept talking. :) I felt like I took lots of drugs and swallowed Magnesium and such to help me not be nauseous during the delivery. When you're painless but not totally feeling-less during delivery it can feel weird I guess having stuff pulled out of your tummy. So they try to do what they can to help with that. And no, I had none of the side-effects of it, Thank the Lord.
So Andrew got all dressed up in cute blue scrubs (his were much smaller than mine :) and we were waiting. The doctor actually got there a lot faster than we thought he would so I think by 1:30/1:45 or so I was walking into the delivery room. It was the most I'd walked in 2 weeks! Oh, the irony. They got the spinal in and it was much easier and really pain-free. Just a small prick from the local they give you and you don't even feel the spinal. It was weird to try to move my feet and not be able to. VERY WEIRD. Before I was really mentally prepared, they had started and they brought Andrew in. My nurse anestitist (sorry, bad spelling) was also a huge blessing. She to had had a c-section and talked to me the whole time. Before we could think, they told Andrew to stand up because here comes Baby. It was 2:06pm.

And then...

one of the best moments of my life...

I heard my Son cry.

There are no words to describe this. If you haven't experienced it, I'm sorry, I can't explain. You think you will understand, but you don't. It's utterly undescribable. It's the best most powerful emotion in your life. I was instantly in tears. My precious son was alive and screaming. He was MINE. A kind of love you didn't know was possible just overwhelmed me. I was sobbing. It was even more miraculous because we didn't know if he would breathe correctly right away or if he would be able to cry. But he did. And it was amazing.

Andrew took pictures right away. Lots of pictures. :) And all the nurses and the neonatal team that was there told me how beautiful he was. And they weren't just saying it. He was really cute.

You know the amazing thing? He looked like his ultrasounds. I don't know why that surprised me, but it did. He was our boy, the one who had been growing inside me for these very long but very short months. He was flesh of my flesh.

They got him cleaned and bundled and I got to kiss him and we took a quick picture with Andrew holding him by my head and then he was off, being wheeled to the NICU. Andrew followed him. He was so tiny, but really, he didn't look like a preemie. It's hard to describe if you've never seen a preemie baby, but they have a certain look to them. He had a little bit, but overall, he just looked extra small. Erin, my blessed nurse, came to me and said with all sincerity "Bethany, he really is gorgeous. I'm not just saying that, he really is a beautiful healthy baby." And I cried again. And immediately, I knew my heart had left my body and I would never get it back again. It was out there, with my boy.

It took longer to stitch me up than they thought, due to things I'll explain later. The nurses kept telling me now was the time to sleep, but me, being a new parent and sick of bed rest, didn't listen. I couldn't. I was adrenalized. I couldn't wait to go see my boy again. It took about an hour to stitch me back up and then they wheeled me right down the hall to recovery. My Mom was waiting there and I just blubbered about my boy. Andrew was there pretty quick too actually. He told me all about our boy. He weighed 4 pounds 10 ounces and was 17 3/4 inches long. He was a really good healthy weight for his gestation. They had him hooked to monitors and an IV in his foot because his blood sugar was a bit low.

I spent an hour in recovery and then they wheeled me out and down the hall to the NICU to see my boy. The hospital there has a really neat thing of playing "Braham's lullaby" every time a baby is born. So as we went down the hall the nurse hit the button and the whole hospital knew another life was being celebrated. We went into the NICU, and for the first time I got to hold my son. He was amazing. He was gorgeous and just everything I could have imagined. I loved him so much. I understood God's love so much more almost immediately. I only got a few short minutes with him and then I had to get wheeled out. As I left I asked Andrew "Name?" and he said it, the one I was hoping for...

Levi

It was just right. We had chosen correctly to wait and see him before naming him. We didn't have to discuss any others. He was Levi. Levi Nathaniel. We had chosen Nathaniel as a middle name in the week before because of it's meaning. Nathaniel: "Gift of God" It was just so fitting because he was our precious Christmas gift from God. And Levi? Well, it was Andrew's great-great grandfather's name, and I've always liked it okay. It means "United" or "Joined in Harmony". And we didn't know how fitting it was at the time. Again, more on that later.

So, the rest is a bit boring. Lots of medical stuff with me. Our families got to go see Levi. They didn't hold him that day, but they got to see him. They got me up a little and I got to drink some juice and such later because by dinner time, I was STARVING. I wasn't in any pain because Morphine can be a great blessing.

Around 11pm Andrew wheeled me in a wheel-chair down to see our son. Levi Nathaniel Preston. Our wonderful miracle. We got to see him get his hair washed and sponge bath. All clean and snuggly. He had beautiful dark hair. He was so tiny.
As I tried to sleep that night he was all I could think about.
He was here.
He was ours.


Update:
God's love is so real to me today. As we celebrated Levi's first birthday I thought often of his shaky start to this life. And I cried this evening. Because it's just so crazy and amazing how much I love this boy. He's changed so much. He's gone from a scrawny not even 5 pound bugaboo to a toddling crazy boy. Full of smiles and life. Always on the go.
God is so good and so gracious. We don't deserve His love or our son. But He's entrusted us with his care. We are so blessed.

I love you Levi Nathaniel. No matter where life takes you I will always remember that first cry. Because it was a miracle. Always remember that, Son. God miraculously granted you life. I pray that you will use it to serve and honor Him wherever that may take you. May God be glorified through your life always. I love you Levi, but the LORD loves you more. Never forget that.
Happy Birthday Son.
Love,
Momma

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Denial

I have one ultrasound picture of our Given Over Baby. It's in my hard case wallet where I stowed it when we left the clinic the day we got it. Normally I carry ultrasounds around for a while so I can show people.

Now?

Now I can't bare to take it out of my wallet.

What if I lose it?

Neither can I bare to see it.

My solution?

Quit using that wallet. So I have. I emptied it of all the necessities and stowed it away.

I guess some things still leave me gasping for enough air to make it through each moment.

So it'll wait, for an easier time. If there is one.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Retelling: Longest Day Ever

So Monday, a year ago...(I know it's Tuesday, do you mind? I'm a little behind)
All had been fairly boring up to this point. Boring hospital stay. Monday not so much.
I woke up super early and knew something wasn't good. A trip to the restroom proved that. I got to pull the emergency nurse cord for once. Let me tell you, that gets you attention REALLY QUICK. I mean ALOT of attention. Sort of awkward actually.
Anyway, back to bed and lots of monitoring. I had a lot of hip pain that I soon realized were contractions. Let me tell you right now, that night, I had the worst nurse ever. (in my mind) Andrew and I were staring at the monitor and we could see every little tiny bump that showed when I had a contraction, and we could see baby's heartbeat slow with each one. The nurse? Didn't so much believe me that I was having contractions because they weren't major ones or showing up much. Yep, I'm a back laborer. Maybe they should invent a monitor for a pregnant woman's hips and back. 'Cause that's where I get 'em. Anyway, I digress. Next nurse came on within that hour. The moment she walked in the room she said "so I see you're having some contractions" Thank You Jesus!! Sane person has arrived. Her name was Erin. I loved her immediately.

What followed was the longest most boring day of my life. They wouldn't move me so ultrasound came to me. That took forever. They wouldn't let me eat because it looked like baby may have to come that day. You know how when someone says you can't eat you immediately get hungry? Ugh...
Spent the whole day flat on my back watching television trying to get comfortable (still having contractions) and starving. They didn't want to stop my contractions because they weren't awful and even though I was scheduled for a c-section they help prepare your uterus to have the baby. So bring 'em on! Well, that's what the doctor said anyway. Speaking of the doctor, he was MIA most of the day. He was super busy and emergencies and such so I got last billing. Meanwhile I'm disgusting, it's almost 4pm and I'm about to eat my pillow. I called my nurse, literally in tears and said "PLEASE! If you're not going to deliver this baby please let me eat!" So she called the doctor, brought me the best chicken strips I'd ever eaten (you know, considering starvation factor and all) and got the doctor to get himself to the hospital. Where they decided I was doing better and we'd hold off. So I got to shower too. :)

But the exciting thing happened, baby's birthday was decided! I would officially be 34 weeks on Saturday of that week, but since a c-section was needed (baby was still breech) they wanted to do it on Friday as more staff would be at the hospital. I was good and fine with that. Let's get this party started!! So December 18th was set as baby's BIRTHday. 1pm was the time. One day at this point wasn't the end of the world. They still wanted to wait until Friday, as those extra days would help, but better to deliver during the week. Whatever, let's go!

So the day ended better than it began. But really, it was a nightmare. I spent so much of it in pain and hungry. A lot of emotions and worry. A lot of boredom. A lot of baby monitoring.
It also sealed my fate of having to wear the monitors almost constantly. I understand now better the concern about keeping constant attention on baby, but someday, I'd like to sit that doctor down and make him stay strapped to something for 100+ hours...it's intense...

But there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Less than 4 days to go to Baby! Yes, we knew that it wouldn't end there, baby would be little, but we also were ready to meet him. Friday couldn't come soon enough.

Desperation

I just reheated my morning coffee by turning on the coffeemaker's little burner/heater thing. I used to be a Barista. I know better. My inner Coffee self was cringing as I did it.

But sometimes, A Momma's gotta do what a Momma's gotta do.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Retelling: Jingle Bells

My wonderful husband works for a television station here. Every year they do a telethon called "Jingle Bells". They usually raise over $100,000 every year for the local Jaycees and they in turn give out HUNDREDS of boxes of food and toys to needy families all over the area. It's an awesome thing and a lot of local talent gets some TV time. Since Andrew works for this station, I usually don't see much of him the week before Jingle Bells and that day, he works insane hours and I don't see him until Sunday morning.

Until last year. Since we were sitting in the hospital, we watched Jingle Bells on the internet. Together. It was weird and just another reminder of how our lives were so bizarre right then.

Here's a look ahead: This year, I'm sitting home without my husband again as he runs a camera for many hours. But I'm not alone. My son is dancing to the music of the telethon...

in our living room. With me. He's healthy. I'm crying. God's grace is sooo amazing to me at times like this. It's going to be a VERY MERRY Christmas this year.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Retelling: Just Hangin'

I know, it's been a while. Have you been in suspense? Just bored? Hanging out? Well, that's exactly how this week went for us a year ago. We did not have the baby Saturday night, and my parents did make it down on Sunday. I don't have a clear memory of much other than hanging out. I do remember finally getting to shower. And getting to dress in scrubs not a hospital gown. That was awesome, wearing somewhat "real clothes". My parents ate some cafeteria food, entertained us, etc... And we waited. Things sort of quieted down on the baby front so we just hung out. Monday morning a few more things were decided. The plan was to get to 34 weeks pregnant. Which was 12 days away. Not long right? Well, not now, but when you're sitting in a hospital bed and you're only allowed up to shower? It's a long time. Trust me. Part of me just wanted to say "Take this Baby!" But of course that wouldn't be what was best for the baby. So we waited. My parents headed home on Monday when it became evident that nothing exciting was happening. They had jobs and lives and such after all.

That week we really just hung out. Andrew went out and got some groceries and he would eat breakfast and lunch in my room everyday. They had a pull out chair/bed for him that he says was fine comfort wise. There was also a larger mini-fridge in our room which was an AWESOME blessing!! We had some friends stop by. Jay & Nicole brought us games and food. Great snack food! Jenn & Mark brought tons of treats, movies, hair ties (salvation!), etc... Amazing distraction!! Teri & Pati, well they went into our house, cleaned out all the perishable food, did the laundry, basically made sure it wouldn't rot away. They also brought me goodies and clean laundry. I know others stopped by, Holms, Jaimie and Johanna, Delanie and Kiddos. Everyone brought food or something. Trust me, we were well taken care of! Every evening Andrew would go down to the cafeteria and get some dinner and come back and eat with me. He tried to describe the cafeteria to me, it sounded good and like he had plenty of choices. Me, food wise, I was pretty impressed. I had a menu delivered every evening to fill out for the next day. It listed choices for each meal, and they were pretty amazingly good. But if perchance I didn't like any of the options, they included a menu to keep (glossy finish and everything) that had every possible option to choose from. So if I had a craving, just write it in at the bottom and get a delivered meal. I have no idea if that cost me extra, all I know is it kept me sane and made it possible to actually enjoy eating at the hospital. And it tasted GOOD!! That was a big thing in my life at the time. That and getting to take a shower and wear scrubs. Like I said, we were bored, I was easily amused.

And yes, Andrew got to stay with me the whole time. Like I said, the goal was December 19th, 34 weeks pregnant. But here's the thing. That wasn't a promise. Each day we had to take at it's own merits. We didn't know when we were going to have a baby. So Andrew's boss graciously gave him the time off. Without pay of course. But hey, beggers can't be choosers. I was just so grateful he was there. Some people have questioned me about why he didn't come back and work and make money. And all I can say is while we were trusting the Lord, every day was scary. Every day was an unknown. If I had been rushed into surgery and he was an hour and a half away? Nightmare. We knew baby would be taken to the NICU almost immediately if not immediately, so we wanted Andrew to be able to go with him since I obviously wouldn't be able to. So he stayed, and we were blessed and I wouldn't change a thing. We were bored and bounded together.

I had an ultrasound every other day almost and they measured many things, Baby's fluid levels (which were pretty low, due to my water breaking, but they stayed in a "safe zone", he just didn't have much fluid to swim in), whether he was practicing breathing (swallowing fluid), whether he had big movements, etc... I also only had a small taste of the size of the hospital. Andrew would try to describe it to me, but really, all I saw were my room, out my window, and the small portion of hallway as they wheeled my bed to ultrasound, I was on the 3rd floor, ultrasound on the first, or in the basement, I can't remember. The ultrasound techs got lots better after the first dragon lady. And the volunteers who did things like wheel me down there and back? And the volunteer snack cart that went around every evening? Amazing! I learned to love volunteers.

Other thing I learned to love? My nurses. Here's the thing about hospital nurses. They're busy people. They have lots of responsibility. Here's a clue about being a anti-partum patient (on bed rest, waiting to have a baby). You get the best nurses!! They're usually BSN RN's, have lots of training, and also have a little more time than normal. They're basically baby-sitting you, they may have 3 Mommas, but really, they have 6 patients, because of the baby count, so they have less outside bodies to take care of, so they may even have time to chat, or paint toenails. No joke, I had some great nurses. Backrubs too. Which helped a lot when you're in bed all day!
One bad thing about bed rest? Compression socks. I'm not kidding. Yes, you want to eat your legs off. Other bad thing? What I can only describe as oxygen boots. They're pads that strap to your lower legs (you wear them at night while you're "sleeping", or during the day at times) and you turn on the machine and they inflate then deflate. It's supposed to help the blood flow in your legs so that it doesn't just pool in your legs but circulates. Bad part, noisy and you're legs are hooked to tubes. So getting up in the night? Try to remember to untangle yourself. Rolling over? Try to untangle yourself. The first 3 days I thought I was going to go crazy. Then you get used to them. Sort of....

Friday Andrew decided he should run home and see the dog (again, God's family was taking care of the Dexter too!) and get some stuff and check in at work. He also brought back some Christmas decorations to liven up our room. Including his fiber optic Christmas Tree. That I hate. But it made me laugh, and it was a good distraction. My favorite nurse called it the "Spectro Tree" It became well known on the floor. He also brought other lights and garland and our stockings. It was a long boring day without him. But we made it, and then it was the weekend and Andrew's parents were coming for a visit. Some distraction finally.

Every day I marked off another day in my notebook. The days dragged, I watched TV and learned the values of "mindless television". I was too crazy hanging out in bed to do something of lasting value. I didn't have the concetration to write or read much or anything. My mind was racing and exhausted all at once.
And so, we waited.


I got lots of cards and letters!! And the "Spectro Tree"...

The lights and garland over my bed and on the wall.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Retelling: Chaos

When I was a kid I used to think that Chaos was pronounced phonetically. I couldn't figure out what it meant. Then years later someone read it and I understood. So really, Chaos did actually bring Chaos to my grammatical life.

Anyway, Chaos is the only word I could think of to describe Friday and Saturday a year ago. Because it was, absolute Chaos.
And it all started oh so early. I woke up around 12:30am Friday morning and knew there was a problem. I called our Dr. She said wait and see. I called her again at about 3am, which, I believe is actually when my water broke. We never quite realized it until the next night, because it sealed itself off well, but it did. And so back to the hospital we went. Where I spent the day again. With no hope of going home. I was there overnight at least. We had visitors, I think Andrew even went to work, because really, what could he do? We missed the Christmas Dinner Theatre at our church. Andrew went out and bought me a candy bar because I was sick of hospital food already. I had the mindset to at least ask that they pad my bed because I was in a delivery bed and they ARE NOT comfortable. Which came back to bite me on Saturday.
It was a long night. I sent Andrew home to sleep in our own bed. Because really, why should he suffer too? I slept on and off some but let me tell you, now I was getting afraid to move or anything. I was also annoyed. There's no other word for it. I had assurance that our boy was fine. Not just from the monitor that showed he was, but also from my heart, and the peace that only God can bring. So why was everyone else freaking out?

By Saturday morning we were figuring out that this wasn't going to go away. That I probably wouldn't be going home. Stuff started to get worse. My beloved Dr. was there and did several exams and ultrasounds and really couldn't figure out why my body was doing what it was doing. But it obviously wasn't getting better, only worse. They tried to test to see if my water had broken and didn't think it had, but really, I was just foolin' them. :)
So by the afternoon it became clear. I would probably be having this baby sooner rather than later and since I was only 32 weeks that day, it wouldn't be here. We were headed South an hour. God again moved mightily and allowed our Doctor to allow us to let Andrew drive me, not to have to take an ambulance. Only one problem in this little scenario...our car's ignition had froze the week before so we had borrowed a friend's little tiny car to go to my parents with. In all the comotion Andrew hadn't gotten it fixed yet. Umm...I am not riding over an hour in my very pregnant state in his little pickup truck. I love him, I'm thankful for his truck, but it's not happening. Again, God is amazing. Our beloved friends/pastor Darryl and Pati loaned us their incredibly comfortable Lincoln. It was their incredible deal, amazing car, and they loaned it to Andrew, for several weeks. She also brought me more chocolate, :) and they prayed over us. And we were off. I think it was around 3pm. I hadn't showered since Thursday night. Just had to throw that in, because I was sooo crabby about it. I know, bigger problems.

We got to the VERY LARGE hospital, finally found which door to go in, and I got wheeled through what I think may have been the longest route possible. They got me into a room, and Andrew finally found us. What came next were a million questions (they made Andrew leave the room because some of them were if I had been abused and that caused this. I have an amazing husband and I just wanted to cry for the women who have the courage to say yes when that's the case. God be praised, not me.)
what felt like a million pokes, and meeting the on call OB briefly as well as going to get an ultrasound. Not my idea of fun, it was an INTENSE ultrasound and that lady is definitely on my remember and do not like list. I think that may actually be when Andrew caught back up with me. They also had a neonatologist come in and meet with us so we got an idea of what to expect if we did deliver a preemie. Which was becoming a reality. They thought it might even be that night. And what should occur to both of us? "We don't even have a diaper bag!" Again, least of our worries, but you have to realize, we were a bit overwhelmed and didn't quite realize what having a preemie would mean at that point.

So it was a long evening as well. But the neonatologist really helped. To her, 32 weeks was amazing. She deals with 24 weekers. Our baby, HUGE rate of success. 34 weeks? Even better. I had had my steroids, baby's lungs should be okay if not great, so we just take it as it comes.

So we were left in limbo. They wanted to get me to 34 weeks but only the night and next day would tell if that were a possibility. I would have to deliver C-Section really no matter what because baby was still breech and they couldn't risk turning him because of the already complicated situation.
My parents decided to head down for a day or two no matter what, but if I would deliver that night, Pati promised to come so that I wouldn't be alone because Andrew would have to go with our boy to the NICU. It was chaos, absolute chaos. We had no idea what each hour would bring, let alone the coming days. But our hearts were not in total chaos. I knew deep down that our baby was okay and that God was sovereign. None of this was turning out the way I wanted or hoped, but we were where we needed to be, no more traveling, and we would just see.

All I wanted to do was take a shower.

Friday, December 03, 2010

A Break, literally

So today deserves a little break from the story telling. Don't worry, it was an exciting day, and I'll get to it either this afternoon or tomorrow. They kind of go together anyway...

But today, in real time, I think I'm beyond a klutz. Last night I stood up into an open cupboard door in the hallway. Banged my head so hard I cried. And said a "bad" word, but you already guessed that. Today I have a headache. Right now I have high respect for brain surgeons and God. Our skulls are marvelous things and I frankly think I should give mine a break.
Speaking of breaks, I learned something this morning. That "Break Resistant" label on the back of Corelle dishes? It really doesn't mean "Break Proof". Trust me. We now have 7 cereal bowls. And I need to mop my floor.

Our tree is up. It's a fake pre-lit one that we received for free several years ago. We used it once. One of the branches didn't light up so we just wrapped other lights around it. This year? Alot of the branches don't light up. So we strung more lights around it. I'm in the process of stringing popcorn. Because we're going simplistic this year. It's Levi's first MEMORABLE Christmas (not his first, like everyone seems to think, he was born the 18th and was one week old on Christmas) but I digress. So we want to put more simple ornaments up and not overload the tree. Because he needs to start contributing to it. Right now, He just wants to touch it and eat it.
We're putting it up in stages, just the tree, then the popcorn, then the ornaments, because he does better not touching one thing at a time.

So, Christmas party tonight and tomorrow night. This year, my heart is just so thankful for the meaning of Christmas. And to not be sitting in a hospital. Yep, sneak peak, I had to go back. :)

And just to help us remember, or to let you know, there's a happy ending to "The Retelling" Here's some visual reminders:


My boy, eating a graham and watching Elmo...

There's Elmo!!



And looking mighty cute might I add in his jammies and bare feet...



Getting so big! He was pushing his tractor around and around the kitchen.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Retelling: Here We Go Again

It's Thursday. This day started WAY to early a year ago. I woke up at about 4 am I think it was, and immediately knew we were going to the hospital. I called in and told the ER we were coming and thankfully, we only live about 10 blocks away. So off we went. You know you're pregnant when they just wheel you right up to OB and won't even look at you in the ER. The nurses in OB say pregnant women scare the ER staff so they get them there as fast as possible. That made me laugh. :)

When I got to OB they quickly hooked me up to monitors and asked a million questions. Including, do you feel like you're having contractions. Umm No? I don't know, what are they supposed to feel like? So even though it didn't feel like it, I was in fact having a few contractions. So I got a shot that hurt like the dickens to try to stop them. Which it did, but it also made me really wobbly and nauseous. I also got the second shot of steroids to help our baby boy's lungs develop. That one hurts too. ALOT. For a long time. Just so you know. Baby meanwhile was fine. Not showing any signs of distress and just hanging out.

Andy called my dear friend Pati even though it was super early and it shocked me how early she came to see me. We really didn't know what would happen, it was just a wait and see experience. Me, I was feeling disgusting because I hadn't showered in like 36 hours at this point. The day was spent in partial boredom, in sadness over eating the food. :( And trying to explain to everyone that we really didn't know what was going to happen now.
Oh, and trying to ignore the woman in hard labor next door. Apparently since I wasn't really in labor that should be progressing they stuck me in an extra not quite as nice room. Which was connected by the bathroom to the water birthing room. So gallons and gallons of water running and a laboring woman. Great.

By the evening I was such a bore to the nurses that the doctor let me go home. :) Not really but everything again was behaving. So the doctor gave me her cell number and told me to call her no matter the time if ANYTHING changed. I was never so thankful to go home and take a shower. I was disgusting. Really. Out of fear for ruining our bedding and total exhaustion, we slept on the couches. We were exhausted and I felt it deeply. I also felt like this couldn't be over. Impending Doom? I'm not sure. But we tried to sleep. And we did.

For a few hours.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Retelling: The Calm before the Storm

I'm titling this series of remembering Levi's arrival "retelling" Just because, that's why. And just to clarify, I won't write everyday, believe me, the story gets to dragging at a few long boring points.

One year ago today (Wednesday), we were at home. We had been released from the hospital on Tuesday with the strict agreement that we would go home and immediately go see my OB and get checked out and a game plan. Which we did, with the ultrasound film that they had taken up there and all the charts, etc... And there was nothing, just like they said. No indicators as to why what was happening was happening. Nor why it had stopped. So she said take it easy, but otherwise I'll see you on Monday for my regular appointment.

So we went home, unpacked, and tried not to freak out. I went to work on Wednesday, today, and everything seemed normal. I was exhausted but that wasn't that unusual. We even went and did AWANA at our church like always, although I was told I looked awful .
We went to bed. Everything seemed back to normal. I can't even say I had a sinking feeling, because I wanted everything to be okay. I didn't want to be like a nurse I had in the hospital that delivered at 32 and 34 weeks. Not happening to me okay? So we went to bed and slept. Some.

It was the calm before the storm.

~In a side note, will you prayer warriors please, Please, PLEASE pray for my friend? She's 30 wks 2 days pregnant with her second son and it looks like she's going to be delivering early for sure, if not sometime this week or next. In our town that means going an hour away where there's a NICU. She's trusting the Lord but anxious of course. So will you please pray for her and her husband and son and baby? For Peace and for protection. And God's glory! Thank You friends!

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Time to Dance

It's Monday. The last Monday in November, 2010 to be exact. While the DATE isn't the same, this Monday last year marked the beginning of our journey in the birth of our firstborn. One year ago I was in a hospital bed in a small town hospital in my small hometown. We had gone up to visit my parents for Thanksgiving and were to be heading home that day. But when I awoke, I knew something was wrong, and it was. I won't give the details for the faint of stomach but a trip to the hospital was necessary. I was 31 weeks and 2 days pregnant. I spent one night there being treated by a doctor who wasn't an OB but took good care of me but frankly, didn't know what to do with me.

I'm going to take time reliving this experience in the coming weeks. If it bores you or it's an old story, I won't be offended if you don't stick with me.

As we approach our son Levi's 1st birthday, I'm celebrating his year but also remembering what the beginning was like. Ecclesiastes 3 has become very dear to my heart in the past month, and tonight verse 4 is so fitting. Verse 1 says "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:"
vs 4
"a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;"

This year, I'll Lord-willing be laughing and dancing as my miracle and gorgeous son turns one year old. But I'll also need some time to weep and mourn and remember the incredible beginning to his life. Because it's a great story, full of God's amazing power and faithfullness. And while it's got it's share of tears, it's all about God's glory. And so I think it's worth telling from my memories. And so, tonight as I remember sitting in lonely hospital with my husband and parents so far from home and watching that little heartbeat on a monitor, full of unknowns, I remember that God knew all along what would happen and the rest of the story. And He was there.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

True Thankfullness

I'm a little past Thanksgiving for my list, but to be honest I haven't been feeling all that thankful. If you had asked me Wednesday night I would have told you I was only thankful for my husband and son. (All of you count too, I just had a bad attitude)
We were headed up to my aunt's house Thursday morning, and I was being a good little passenger and trying to sleep but also trying out my newest technological advancement, texting. I know, I know, get into this decade. But seriously, I always hate it when people text others when they're supposed to be talking to me, whether in person or on the phone or whatever. So it was with kicking and dragging feet that I officially became a "texter". And I'm already addicted.
So I sent out a mass Thanksgiving text saying this: "Happy Thanksgiving! What are you thankful for?" The responses were so good for me. I got about 8-10 responses and they were nothing theological or lofty, just honest heartfelt thankfullness. And some heartfelt honesty from another friend who didn't feel very thankful either. As I tried to think of how to respond to those who asked, what are you thankful for? Ecclesiastes 3:11 came to mind, and I realized that I could be thankful for that promise.
"He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end." Ecc. 3:11

I can be thankful that God makes all things beautiful in it's time. Even the memories of last holiday season. Even the pain of this loss. Someday, Heaven or here, it will be a beautiful thing and memory. Because one day I will know or not care why.

So here it goes with my ABC's of thankfullness:

Andrew
Baby #2
Cherry Coke
Dexter
Ecclesiastes 3:11
Family
Grandparents, mine and Levi's
Honesty. It's a rare thing and precious
Intelligent conversations
Jesus
Kleenex
Levi and Laughter, the best medicine together
Medicine for all my various ailments
New
Open hearts. Only then can God work in us
Pajamas, footy for Levi
Quandries and how they make me dependant on my Savior
Red Walls and Red Toasters and Red Mixers. They make me smile. :)
Second Chances
Tassimo, not mine, a friend's, but I love going to visit it
Usborne. Lots of books for my boy
Visions of Christmas
White Chocolate
X-Country Skis. They're beautiful
You, because you read my rambles
Zig-Zags... Because they make you stop and think...

Monday, November 22, 2010

Levi - 11 Months







Levi, you were 11 months on November 18th!
You are so incredibly big and cute! This month has been so memorable as you've gotten to be so much fun! You're growing like crazy too! Up that is, not outward, which is a bit of a struggle with your pants.
You weigh around 19 pounds (just guessing) and are wearing size 3 diapers. You are in 12 month clothes because you need the length in the pants. But we're so thankful for cloth diapers because the extra fluff in the bottom helps your pants stay up. Otherwise, you'll crawl right out of them.

You are wearing size 3 shoes, size 2 is definitely too small now! You now have 8 teeth but are constantly drooling so some more may be on the way. That 8th tooth finally came through this month and now you have 4 on top and 4 on bottom! You're even finally!!

You're now crawling the "normal" way and you figured out that it's a lot faster so you do it all the time! You are very fast! You've even managed to sneak up on the dog once or twice. He's so surprised that we just laugh. You can crawl up stairs on your own too!! You tried to go down them on your own too but that resulted in the fabulous rug burn you're now sporting on your head. You can open cupboard doors and pull books off the shelf. You stood on your own for the first time on the 17th. You were holding things in both hands and stood for about 10 seconds on your own. We're so proud! You're constantly on the go, you never sit still unless it's to watch Elmo for a few minutes.

Speaking of Elmo, you love him!! You're definitely a fan. You get so excited when he's on and if he leaves the TV screen you lose interest pretty fast. Christi and the girls bought you a small stuffed Elmo and he's now your favorite toy. You wake up in the morning and immediately look for him in your crib and spend time talking to him.

Talking wise, you said your first word!! "Uh-oh" it is! You say it so clearly and most often when Dexter is barking. It's pretty humorous. You do say "Da-Da" and you're attempting to say "Puppy" as well. You're learning how to say "Please" in ASL. You pretty much just wave your arms, but you know when to do it. You know what "Hi" and "Bye" means and wave at the appropriate times. You're still a growler! You growl a lot and it's really funny. You talk a lot. You're always jabbering and chattering a lot. From the time you wake up to the time you go to bed you're moving and talking. If you're quiet it usually means you're getting into something. Which you do often. You jabber at us and reach to be picked up too. You try to pull yourself up if we're not fast enough. You're a little more cuddly now and will at times lay your head down on our shoulder if you're sleepy.

You went swimming again this month and you're finally big enough that it wasn't too cold! It took a while for you to relax but eventually you were kicking and splashing and even put your face in the water 3 times all by yourself!! You're going to be like your daddy and a big swimmer. At least we hope so!

You know what "No" means and you know what you're not supposed to touch or get into. But you're definitely stubborn and a sinful boy. You want into stuff no matter what. We're working on teaching you to obey the first time. You are very rebellious and holler and scream when you don't get your way or get something taken away.

You eat lots of big people food!! You feed yourself very well and have your "pincer" talent down pat. You always want what we're eating and you love to feed yourself.
You've learned to hold your own bottle and sippy cup though!!

It's so amazing to watch you grow and develop this month. No matter how stubborn you are, you're a great joy and we love you so much!! You are so fun at this age! You're constantly learning and growing and discovering things. You've changed so much this month and it's amazing how we can see you learn and realize things. There's no way to express how much you've changed, except to say you're really no longer a baby, you're a little toddler boy. It's just amazing to talk to you and realize that you understand and are processing it. It also makes what we say and do so much more of a responsibility. Because you're watching and listening always! I could go on and on because you've changed so much this month. But the biggest thing is that you continue to grown and realize your need of a Savior. Because you are sinful Levi, and that's more evident now than ever, and you need to ask Christ to forgive you one day. So we pray that you realize your sin at a young age and your need to be saved.

We love you Levi Nathaniel!! You're our boy and we're so thankful for you!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Awareness

It's Prematurity Awareness Day!



We have a personal stake in this day. As most of you know, Levi was born at 33 weeks, 6 days. He was so tiny at 4 pounds 10 ounces and 17 3/4 inches long! But he was sturdy. He never really bore that look of a preemie. He was just miniature.
He cried immediately and we had time for Andy to hold him, me to kiss him, and to get one quick family photo. Then he was whisked away to the NICU. Andrew went with him and took lots of pictures for me to see later. They weighed him, got him hooked up to monitors, got the footprints, and did lots of tests. His blood sugar was pretty low so he had to have an IV for a few days (in his foot, his arm veins just weren't big enough). He also had a feeding tube put in as he was too little and weak to be able to eat correctly. I got to hold him for the first time about 2 hours after he was born. He was so tiny but so perfect. I loved him immediately. It was torture to have to go back to my room and rest. I didn't get much sleep after his birth. Every time I woke up I wanted to go see him. Andy and I went later that night and got to see him get all cleaned up and learned a little more about his care. I was so out of it as I was in so much pain, but I remember him getting his hair washed and just rubbing his silky head. He definitely looked like his Daddy. But he has my nose, poor baby!

The following days are so clear and so fuzzy. I will say this, the day I was released from the hospital without my baby was one of the worst days of my life. Unless you've experienced it, it's hard to describe. But I firmly believe God has given every Momma that instinct, that gift, to nurture their baby. And when you have to leave him in the hospital, it's torture. We didn't realize then how fast that time would go, or how small it would be in the grand scheme of things. But each day was so long and hard at the time. We just didn't know when he would get to go home. It was hard to even fathom that. I remember a nurse saying we might be gone by New Year's, and being in shock because that was unthinkable at the time. Christmas Day was sad and lonely but wonderful too. Levi had the lid of his "giraffe" raised that day. A giraffe is what they called the isolette's. Because the lid could be raised up on a long neck like a giraffe. That was a big deal because it meant he was regulating his own temperature. That was one step to get to come home. If someone had told me we'd come home less than 2 weeks later, I wouldn't have believed them.

But we did get to come home, on January 4th, 2010. 18 days after Levi was born, we finally got sole care of him. And really, those first 18 days, you don't feel like the parent. Oh, you love your baby and care for them, but you're not the main caregiver, and that's hard. But without the NICU, the nurses, the neonatologists, and especially, the March of Dimes support program, it would have been a nightmare.

I know many people have issues and strong beliefs about the March of Dimes and some aspects of their program. But I need to tell you this, without their support program at St. Cloud Hospital (The only program in Minnesota!!) I would have been so desperately alone during that time. Andrew couldn't be there every day, he had to go back to work. I was an hour from home, trying to recover myself, and trying to learn to be a Momma and get my baby home, and I was alone. That support program provided activities, food, and the opportunity to make friends in the NICU with other parents and to share our sorrow and experiences. We even could laugh together.

So, I ask you to not only support the March of Dimes, but to realize that every baby is a miracle, and thanks to our gifts of modern medicine and programs, more and more babies are living. 100 years ago I doubt that Levi or I would have lived. But we did by God's grace and mercy. And by his gift of modern technology.

So today I'm thankful for the March of Dimes, and I'm thankful to ask you to help raise the awareness of prematurity and do all we can to stop it. So that no other parents have to go through what we did.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Clear the Air

So just to clear the air, a few words.
Yes, I had a miscarriage. Yes, I think about it every day, hour, minute, moment. Yes, there are times when I forget or don't think about it. Yes, those times are often shattered quickly by reality and sadness. Yes, I will get past this. No, I don't want to talk about it all the time. No, if I tell you I'm doing good, I'm not lying. I may be using that as a relative term. No, if you ask "really" and I say "really" that does not mean keep digging. No, I do not hate you if I don't open up my heart and soul to you. I may just be having a good day and not want to go any further; I may just not think you really need or want to hear about it. No, we may not be that close. Yes, grief is a very personal thing. Yes, I'm done talking about it for now...

So back to our scheduled blog. My son is currently throwing a fit. I'm rather ignoring it because I told him "No" and he proceeded to freak out. He has been disciplined and now I'm letting him be. Christi, you were right, he just needs a day to get back to his routine and sleep pattern. We've had a whole bunch of girls in our house the past 2 nights. It's been soooo much fun and stinkin' hilarious!! Levi has adored having 5 extra sets of eyes on him at all times. And the new sippy cup and Elmo doll? Amazing!! He's a very loved and blessed little boy. And that's what he is, a little boy. The girls dressed him today. They did an amazing job and he looks like my handsome...umm preppie almost? little man. Not my baby. And I'm okay with that today. Because I've seen the joy older kiddos can bring. And the hilarity that comes from their mouths.

We went swimming at the Y while they were here. Levi was rather scared of the noise at first, but then the mushroom waterfall shut off and he was a little braver. But at first, he just snuggled into my shoulder. Which I loved, because he doesn't do it much. But I made him sit in the water in my lap, and showed him to splash, and he loved it! He loved the little girls coming to splash with him. He loves his bath but this huge amount of water took a little getting used to. But by the end, I had him on his belly and he was kicking his legs and swimming with his arms.
And then, to our surprise, he put his face in the water! All by himself! 3 times!! He loved it until the last time when he got a little too much water in his face. But I was sooo proud of him!!

And so, while my heart is grieving, I've also realized my heart is outside my body. In the form of my son. And I'll never get it back. And that's okay. As I told my new Momma friend in my devo at her shower this weekend, "Your job is to put yourself out of a job" meaning, we're raising our little warriors to let them go and fight for what's right and for Christ. So my heart will never be fully mine. But for now, I'll enjoy the look of wonder on his face as he discovers something new. And I'll prepare to let him go. But I'll always have his Daddy!! And he's my favorite anyway!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

A Time

First of all, thank you to all of you who have expressed your sympathy. That very word, sympathy, is so much more real to me now. One definition:
sympathy: the fact or power of sharing the feelings of another, esp. in sorrow or trouble; fellow feeling, compassion, or commiseration.
I have felt that so much this week. The sharing of our grief. Some of you amazing women have shared your own stories of sorrow and grief. And in doing so, you have given me permission to mourn. I felt a bit of remorse a day or so after posting what I did about the loss of our baby. I felt as though I hadn't given myself any room to fully grieve. That I must always have the right attitude in order to glorify God. I do think anger can be a sin, in certain circumstances, but as someone so bravely reminded me, God can handle our anger. And He can. He can handle my sorrow, my tears, my confusion, my sharp feelings, my physical pain, my feelings of unfairness, my anger even.

And I feel all that. But mostly, because I ache. I ache physically because this whole process was a lot harder than I thought it would be, and I ache emotionally, because now it's just so real. My baby is gone. And if I didn't have the hope of knowing that my child was with the Lord, I couldn't handle the anguish. I had someone challenge my theology of where children and babies go when they die once. I don't know if they still think the way they did then, but I can only say this, God is sovereign, and none of us deserves saving. But even without my selfish pain now, I firmly believe He is merciful and holding all our little ones in His hands. God is righteous and Holy, but I have great faith that my child is with Him.

My emptiness and lonliness has an answer, that I will one day be with the Lord and rejoice that He took my child. For He knows and sees far better than I do what is right and good for my life. So while I ache to hold my child as a Mother should, I know that someday I can truely say that "He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end." Ecclesiastes 3:11

And I am looking for reasons to laugh and smile and dance. Like the little bundle I was allowed to hold this morning. He is reason for rejoicing. And my son who now crawls and goes up stairs, proof that life does go on. And the incredible thanksgiving I feel for the gift of a friend who loved enough to talk me through and laugh me through the darkest moments. Those things are treasures and gifts worth laughing over.

"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die...a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance." Ecc 3:1, 2a, 4.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Blessed be the name of the LORD

"...The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD." Job 1:21b

Our baby went home to the Lord sometime last week. There was no heartbeat at the doctor's today. We are sad, but we have hope. The Lord gave us this miracle from the beginning, and this is His Perfect plan for our lives. We refuse to be bitter and angry. Who alone is perfect and almighty? God. Not us. God.

"Even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you. For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the ear. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book was written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them. " Psalm 139:12-16

Our pain is not a mystery to God. He knows it and He knows our baby. He loves this baby more than we ever could. And frankly, I'm a bit envious, our child is with Christ. What more could I ask for them?
So we'll continue to weep and pray, but know this, God is faithful. He loves us and is not out to hurt us. He never leaves us in our grief. We will praise the Lord and give Him the glory. Not in spite of this, but because of it.

"Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?" Psalm 139:7
"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Lessons...REVISITED

So yesterday I shared some lessons I'm learning. I think I'd like a ReDo. Okay with you?

So Today I've learned/realized that I need to be less freakoutish. I mean this. I'm incredibly hard on myself sometimes. I've really been enjoying reading some blogs as previously mentioned that have to do with home organization and living simply. That's my goal and dream. It shouldn't be my god/idol. God drove this home to me last night in a rather hilarious way. I try so hard to have our home be a place that my husband enjoys coming home to. The smell of fresh baked bread may help him overlook the dusting and dirty bathroom that need attention, in my mind anyway. I've been rather convicted about my pile of papers and my lack of an organized place for everything. But yesterday I put this all aside to drag out my scrapbooking because it kind of hit me that I really should have more than one page done in Levi's book before Baby #2 arrives. Then maybe I won't confuse their ultrasounds either. So I spent some time organizing my things last night and worked on a few pages. And my dear husband, who is not quick to notice things or give compliments for my attempts at cleaning (which always vindicates me when I don't want to do it, he doesn't notice anyway!) :) says the following "That's really cool/good that you're working on the photos and scrapbook. Thanks for doing that."
HA! So for all my futile attempts at having a "star" home, what does my husband appreciate? That I'm keeping memories of our family. Yep, priorities.

And today as Levi refused a morning nap and generally was being a bit chaotic, I had to take a deep breath and go, "really? does it matter if that paper pile gets taken care of?" Because really, as long as the bills get paid, my son and husband are coming first.

Plus Grandma and Grandpa are coming this weekend, free baby-sitting equals clean desk! :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Lessons...

Some lessons I'm learning right now:

~God's Faithfullness is AMAZING!! Just so you know, this baby is a huge blessing and just a miracle.

~My son has discovered his tongue...He's been clicking it for weeks but now doing awesome things with it. It's pretty stinkin' funny.

~Drinking Coke every morning is not going to help me not gain a million pounds with this baby. But oh how it makes my tummy feel better. Right now, none in the house and I'm going to try to keep it that way.

~Every pregnancy is different but some scary similarities too. This one seems more extreme sickness wise.

~If God wants us to have a girl, I need to start preparing my heart NOW for that.
(Just to clarify, a girl would be awesome, but we think it would be fun to have 2 boys first, especially since they'll be so close. And frankly, girls scare me.)

~That I need to control my tears and hormones even though they are abundant and treacherous. That lady who brought me to tears in Wal-Mart? Should have ignored her and just thought of joyful things...

~God is upholding me every day.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Levi needs to tell you...







Yep, It's True!! Baby Preston #2 Due to make an appearance June 12, 2011!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Levi - 10 Months






My how time flies when you're having fun. And I can truely say that. Levi, you're fun!!

You were 10 months old on October 18th. You are such a big boy!! You're probably around 18 pounds, and you have 7 teeth but you're working on at least one more. You wear 6-9 month and 9 month clothes. You are wearing size 3 diapers and size 2-3 shoes.

You need shoes now! You're not walking but you're still army crawling, a little bit of regular crawling, getting into a sitting position by yourself, pulling up on stuff, even just sitting on your knees and balancing that way. You love to pull up and stand by things, even letting go at times. You get scared when you get unbalanced though! You sure want to walk!! I think it'll be by the time you're 1! You just love to be where we are and will get yourself there if we leave you "behind". You're forehead is forever sporting bruises and scrapes from your many attempts to get yourself up where you want to be and the falls that result.

When your Daddy gets home from work you love to follow him into the bedroom and talk to him. You're sure a jabberer! I'm sure I have no idea where you get that from. :) You're sort of figuring out that Da means Daddy. No Momma yet though. You know what the word Puppy means and always look for Dexter when we say it. You know the ASL signs for water and no very well!! You don't like the no one so much. If we say yes and nod our heads you get a silly grin and shake your head no at us. It's pretty funny!

You've definitely got our stubborn streaks!! You can get pretty mad when something is taken away or you're told "no". But overall, you're such a good boy!! You're pretty happy and take 2 good naps a day when Momma lets you. :) You love going to the "Y" and playing in child watch. I always get told what a good boy you are when I pick you up. You love to watch everything that's going on and all the other kids, no matter where we are. You really should have been the baby after 4 other kids, because you're so laid back and love to just watch and learn. But I'm sure God has a plan for that personality!

You love to go on walks in your stroller and you love to holler at stuff as we go by. You love your pupppy and would love it if he'd sit still and let you pull his ears! You love your Momma and Daddy and are slowly getting a bit better about being only a "Momma's Boy". I'm thankful for that! I love to share you and your smiles! You can wave at people and are always ready with a smile!

You are a joy to our hearts and we love you so much! It's so much fun to see your personality and to interact with you. It's so great how you love being around people and how you watch and observe. We pray so much for you and that you'll accept Christ as your Savior and live to glorify God forever. We love you Levi, you are our firstborn and our boy. Even if you are a "Crazy Baby!" :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Why Blog?

I do enjoy reading other's blogs. I especially like reading people's that I don't know. Because frankly, then I don't have to be polite and agree or like everything. I can just learn, laugh, enjoy, and leave when I want. A blog that I'm reading now is pretty interesting. The gal is very much more minimalist living. Not too much stuff, just the things that add to our lives, not take away. So that paper pile on my desk? Not so good... She's all about simplifing so you have a home that you enjoy. Which in theory I agree with. Except for those people that becoming simplified takes away from their lives. I know someone who literally said one time, "I can't go do that, I need to organize my closet." Now, I really think that keeping an orderly home is important. I am so far from mastering this that it's not funny, but in general, I'm learning and trying. But I do think that people and our relationships are so much more important than our homes. Now, if my home is a disaster 24/7, and I can't invite people into my home, then my home is a deterrant to my relationships. But above all, people over things. So if I need to dust but someone wants to get coffee, that person comes first.

All this as background to the fact that this gal who's blog I've been reading has just written an e-book all about blogging and how to do it time-efficiently, while making money, from home. Somewhere deep in my heart I'd love to read and follow this book. But then I'd have to buy it ($8 for a book just doesn't fit in our budget lately) and then I'd have to feel guilty for not following it after I read it. I'm not a great one at reading self-help/self-do books. I get bogged down in the details too often and then feel guilty for not accomplishing anything.

So blogging, while I'd love to have a wonderfully interesting blog that hundreds of people read and love to follow that also pays me well, I doubt it will ever happen. I feel as though our life isn't that bloggable, and frankly, I don't know if I care enough to keep it up. I don't blog everyday, because really, I don't share every detail of my life with everyone. I used to love to debate people. Didn't matter the topic, if we could debate it, let's go. Oh, how I've changed. Now, especially being a Momma, I'd be blogging about things like flu shots, vaccines, anti-biotics, going to the gym, being a stay-at-home Momma even when finances say I shouldn't, among other topics. I know from previous experience that all of these topics can start huge debates, especially the vaccines/anti-biotics issue. And you know what? I don't want to debate. I want to trust that most people are praying and seeking God's will in their lives and in their family's life. So if they come to a different conclusion then us, so be it. Let's not divide the few and precious friendships we have by pushing each other away with our opinions. Now, when it comes to Biblical issues that the Bible is very clear on, like Homosexuality and respecting our husbands, I will debate, because I think a clear right and wrong is there. But again, I'm not trying to push others away, but some things are worth standing up for. Like the truth of God's word.

So, I'm keeping my blog simple. Maybe if I garner $8 I'll invest in the e-book and keep my guilt complex in check. And maybe, I'll gather a few more readers to this simple blog. But if I'm going to do that, I need to learn to keep it shorter. Better work on that.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Made It



Andrew has been canoeing and camping the last 24+ hours with a friend. It was supposed to be all weekend but they just went yesterday afternoon until this evening because of some things. They were supposed to tent it. Until one of them forgot to put the tent in the canoe. So they picnic-tabled it. Sleeping on top to keep off the cool ground. Thankfully they had warm sleeping bags. Since it wasn't me I laughed. They seemed to enjoy the adventure of it. Again, glad it wasn't me.

So we at home had our own adventure. I've spent some time away from Andrew since our marriage. And plenty of time in the hospital without him when Levi was born and had pneumonia. But I don't think I'd been home alone since the baby without him before. For whatever reason it creeped me out and made me sad. But I got some prayers and some sleep (had to turn the furnace on though, nobody to warm my toes!) and it was fine. But boy were we glad he was home! The dog literally did somersaults and Levi laughed. Me, I'm just thankful he's fine, had fun, and that I have a warm body to snuggle with again.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Nope, I don't know you

Two recent trips to the grocery store produced (ha, punny) the following encounters:
1st encounter:
Me, wheeling through the store in a quick hurry...
Older lady, but not too old to be cute enough...chasing after me to get a peek at Levi, who is sitting in his seat, sound asleep, in the bottom of the cart, trying to avoid total strangers.
Older lady: "Your daughter sure is cute, let me see her."
Me (with strained smile on my face) "He's actually a boy and I'm in a hurry."
Older Lady: "Oh, well he looks like a girl."

Thank You, next time I'll remember not to dress him in pink and not put a bow in his hair, oh wait... :)

2nd Encounter:
Me, with a list of things to do on a slightly hectic day, again, pushing Levi through the grocery store. This time, with a bottle in his mouth because poor child, he was starving.
About 60 year old lady as she approaches with a very nasty look on her face: "Are you really that busy?"
Me: "Excuse me?"
Lady frowns at bottle and stalks off...
I can only imagine that she assumed I should be at home with my child held closely as I don't dare feed him an inferior bottle. Well, I wasn't, nor will I always be. And frankly, Levi loves bottles and I love accomplishing things that have to be done, like buying food to feed us.

I'm not really as crabby as I sound. I actually thought the 2nd encounter rather hilarious, mostly because it was the first time I had ever fed Levi a bottle in a shopping cart. Oh well, can't win them all.

What I can do is remember that everyone's life is different and everyone's perspective is different. So give everyone a little slack, even the bottle-hating lady. :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Walk-Off

I don't normally watch "The View" I admire 2 of the co-hosts for sticking it out having multiple frustrating discussions with others who are not just unreasonably liberal, but unreasonable period. I don't hate liberal people. I'm fairly liberal on a few things in my life. I hate being put in a box that says "Republican" or "Conservative". Rather I'd like my thinking and such to be labeled "Biblical". Anyway, the reason I don't respect these other co-hosts is their refusal to contemplate that someone in their political party could possibly be wrong or that there are other ideas and beliefs out there that are in fact, not stupid and right. That faith is not a crutch, but a good thing. And no matter who I agree with, I hate watching usually just because it's such a hen fest of bickering and whining and women being not so Biblical in their ungraciousness and gossipness.
All this to say that I watched it this morning because Bill O'Reilly was scheduled to be on, and while I don't agree with everything Bill O'Reilly says, I really respect him for standing up for what he believes and making calls that a lot of people are too cowardly to make. Plus it's always great fun to see him vex a few of the co-hosts. :)

Today was no exception. You could tell from the one's face almost immediately, even just as they were announcing him, how ticked off she was that they even dared have him as a guest. It went downhill from there. The 2 co-hosts spent most of the time sitting in contempt and disagreeing with every syllable that came out of his mouth. Which is fine, if it's done in a polite and orderly manner. It wasn't. The culmination came when Bill made a fairly vague statement that just made these co-hosts irate and they walked off the stage. One didn't look like she had the guts until the other one did. I have to respect Barbara Walters a lot though. She doesn't always do a good job of hiding her political affiliation, although I believe she tries. But on this occasion, she called them out. She apologized and said they should be able to sit there and have a civil conversation discussing the issues no matter what, and be able to without ridding your hands of someone and leaving the stage. The co-hosts eventually came back, although still with much contempt. And I got to thinking about this.

Not only about how immature these women, one a grandmother, the other old enough to be, acted, but about Barbara's point. No matter the person, no matter their differing views, we need to be able to respect, and dare I say Love them with the love of Christ, enough to have a civil conversation with them. Now, there are always exceptions to this, such as when that person is acting unreasonably and histerical, for example. But then I took it personally. How often do I, when discussing a hard topic with my husband, just get disgusted or discouraged and give up? I may not literally walk away, but I close myself off because either it hurts to much, or it's too hard to make it work. We may not even be disagreeing, but perhaps the topic or issue itself is too hard to think about or make work. So I give up.

So my lesson? My husband is deserving of respect no matter what, and I should never just walk away from him or close off. I need to work on this.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Musings of the Day

I have toys scattered all over my floor. My son is finally old enough to leave his own evidence of his existence and to do so quite handily at that. I have dishes drying in the rack and more waiting to be washed. I have clothes waiting to get dryed and I hate to think of the more I have to wash. I have dust and cobwebs needing attention. And yet, I have so much! Today as some Mommas got together and shared prayer requests, I have so little that needs attention. People have lost parents, have husbands traveling leaving them at home for multiple days with multiple children. People are facing financial losses that were unexpected, children waiting for them in other countries while they wait on our government. There are sorrows galore, as well as laughter. And my requests? For my son to stop coughing (but his ear is all better!! Thank you Jesus!) and my husband to do well on something. While important to us, not earth shattering.

Now, I firmly believe in sharing ALL of our burdens and not just big things. Jesus cares about Levi's sniffles as much as someone's pneumonia. He cares about our little tasks and the doings of world leaders. So no burden is to small to carry to Him.

That being said, I admit to a bit of frustration. As I read about a person and all the things they were buying or desiring, my heart just aches. Because slowly and surely, Andrew and I are getting it. Perhaps it's just our lack of finances, but there is SO much more to this life than things. And frankly, I'd love to downsize and live smaller. Because here's the honest truth, God doesn't care. He doesn't care if my home is decorated well or has new carpet or the latest fashions.
He cares if I've fed the sick and needy and if I've shared His love and salvation with everyone I know.

So my laundry? Yes, it'll get done, but only after I've rechecked my heart and considered my motivation in all I do.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Of Diapers and Papers...

Levi's had an ear infection for several weeks now. We're on a stronger antibiotic which is causing some fun diaper issues. So for now we're letting our FuzziBunz have a break and using some good 'ole disposables. So I'm digging through the massive paper pile on my desk searching for coupons. I HATE buying diapers but I'm incredibly thankful for the option to just throw out the mess. It also convicts me to clean this huge paper pile. But it seems that as soon as I do, more things just show up. Recycler I'm not apparently. Considering my dad works for a paper mill, perhaps I'm just keeping him employed.

In other news, it's supposed to be 82 degrees here in this great Northern state today. I'm a little depressed. Once it gets cold, I'm all geared up for Fall. And now, suddenly, it's Summer again. I'm a little frustrated with the Bi-Polar weather. I know, I'm the only one. Maybe I'll hang some clothes on the line in thanks for the weather. That oughta brighten the day as I dry my sweaters and sweatshirts outside. Ugh, there's something wrong with this picture.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Levi - 9 Months







Levi, you were 9 months old on September 18th! You're such a big boy! You weigh 17 pounds 3 ounces and are 27 inches long/tall! You are in the 10 percentile for weight and height, but the 50th for head size. That's funnny to us. You don't look like you have a huge head! :) You've had a cold for 2 weeks and so you didn't get any shots at your checkup. You have your first ear infection and are showing signs of being just like your Momma. The first antibiotic didn't help at all so hopefully the second will. Momma had lots of meds and tubes in her ears so we're praying you're not like that.

You're on the move! You can army crawl your way anywhere you want to get, as well as roll and scoot. You've just figured out how to get back into a sitting position from your belly. Very exciting stuff! You like to stand on the couch leaning on the back looking out the window. You've figured out you have to hold on but haven't quite mastered pulling yourself up.

You've developed such a funny personality! You jabber and talk and growl all day long! You figured out how to click your tongue and love it when someone does it back at you. You're also showing your sinful side and throwing yourself back when you don't like the person holding you or what they're telling you. You definitely know what "NO" means and don't like it! But you know how to obey too!

You're so big! You're wearing 6-9 months and 9 month clothes. We attempt to keep socks on you now that it's chilly but you love to pull them off!
You still nap pretty well, and take a morning nap usually now, but you don't always sleep so hot at night. You've done a lot of crying it out lately because you just throw fits if we come in to quiet you down because you want to just be picked up. So you're learning to put yourself back to sleep.

You love to swing!! You're a boy who loves to move apparently! We have a swing for you and you love the park too. You still love your puppy to death and sometimes try to get his bones and toys and then you guys tug them back and forth. Dexter's very gentle with you but still doesn't like you pulling on him. :( You're learning to pet the puppy nice...

Levi, we love you so much and have so much fun with you! You are still a bit of a Momma's boy and reach for me now! That's cute but can't happen all the time, got it? You say Da-Da all the time but don't always know what it means! You can wave hi and bye though!! Your whole arm waves which is funny. You're such a people person! You can be such a crabby boy but then get around people and you're all smiles. You're in general a very happy boy and we're so thankful for your sweet temperment. You're learning to play by yourself on the floor and have fun rolling around and crawling and talking to your toys.

We love you Levi and are so excited for what the future brings with you!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

You Alone

One of my dearest friends on this earth lost her elderly father yesterday. But I love the way her husband phrased it. God answered their prayers and her father is now free in Heaven. For Believers, We feel the loss, God feels the welcoming them home. As I spoke to her multiple times yesterday, we shared the sorrow, but were also able to share several answers to prayer in the whole situation and in other areas of our lives. God boggles my mind. We so often limit His abilities based on what we think will happen or our cynicism. God is not dependant on us to work. He doesn't need our help, He alone is worthy and powerful.

So today, as we marvel at the Grace of God and the homegoing of one of His saints, these words echo in my heart. (A note about this particular saint. No matter our failings as husbands/wives/parents, God works. Both this man's daughters are married to pastors, one a very famous family, a son who's a pastor, and so many grandkids/great grandkids who were/are raised to love and serve Christ. That's a legacy we can pray for no matter our failings.)


You are not a God
Created by human hands
You are not a God
Dependant on any mortal man
You are not a God
In need of anything we can give
By Your plan, that's just the way it is

[chorus]
You are God alone
From before time began
You were on Your throne
You are God alone
And right now
In the good times and bad
You were on the throne
You are God alone

You're the only God
Whose power none can contend
You're the only God
Whose name and praise will never end
You're the only God
Who's worthy of everything we can give
You are God
And that's just the way it is

[chorus]

[bridge]
Unchangeable
Unshakable
Unstoppable
That's what You are

[bridge]
[chorus]
[bridge]

~So in our good times and bad, let's remember God doesn't need us to work. But when He chooses to let us watch and participate in His plan, let's remember who's worthy!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mercy and Grace

I'm remembering way back to my own AWANA days on this one. I had to memorize the difference in Mercy and Grace. We as Christians often use them interchangeably, but I do think it's an important part of salvation and life to distinguish them.
Here are a few rough definitions from what I remember from AWANA:

~Mercy is God NOT giving us what we DO deserve. ie. destruction, sickness, death, disease, an eternity in hell seperated from Him.

~Grace is God giving us what we DON'T deserve. ie. joys, blessings, love, happiness, a home, job, family, friends, earthly pleasures, but best of all, an eternity with Him on a new Earth that is perfect.

Today, I need both of these in great abundance. I need His mercy to not let Levi get any sicker. When he coughs and turns pale I envision losing him. It's been such a long road and I need God's mercy to get through a winter of this.
I need Grace to enjoy the little things in my day. Such as Levi finally sleeping for more than 15 minutes. A husband who rocked him back to sleep at 5:45am when I couldn't bear to get up one more time.

Ugh, and now I need mercy and grace to deal with the fact that as soon as I type this, he's awake again. I love my son, I'm so thankful for his every breath. But I'm thankful for the grace and mercy of God that allow me to love him no matter what.