Tuesday, April 28, 2009

38 Weeks

A few days ago, I took the girls to the county fair, hoping that between walking around for a few hours and all the horrible food that we ate, some dilation would take place that might just land in the hospital with a baby in my arms. But alas, baby Hannah is sitting tight. We did have a great time at the fair, though. We went with a sweet friend who was kind enough to take the girls on the carousel, since mama's a bit too prego to go spinning on a carousel.

Toria could hardly contain her excitement.

Her cheesy poser smile.
Juju, on the other hand, was not quite as sure about this ride. As their grandfather has appropriately pointed out, Toria is the one who will say, "Hold my beer. I wanna try this!" While Juju will be the one who will sit back and observe whether or not her sister survives before considering getting involved.
In the end, though, she said that she had fun. Round and round they went. Toria just squeeled with joy the whole time. Juju held on tight. 

Toria: Look mommy!! I'm a cow!!!

Here she was actually mooing! This kid just makes me laugh!

Mommy, I'm a bunny!! Look, I'm a bunny!

So, seeing as how my plan did not exactly work, here I am at 38 weeks. Somehow, I thought that by the time a woman has the third kid, she doesn't have to carry all the way to due date!! So, I set myself up for a let down, feeling so sure that I would go early. If only my uterus would contract the way that my calves have been contracting, in the middle of the night, so that I wake up in the morning feeling as if I have done step aerobics all night. If only.

I've started to get a few stretch marks on the underside of my belly, not that I can really see them except in the photos!

So now, I am officially 2 cm (that was the progress for the week, from 1.5cm to 2cm. woohoo.), and 40% effaced. Apparently, my cervix is quite favorable. For what, I'm not sure, seeing as how I'm not contracting and not progressing, but it seems to be favorable for something, so I will rejoice in that.

So, that's where we are. Maybe my favorable cervix will decide to give a little this week and we'll finally get to meet sweet baby Hannah. I have received ample advice on how to induce labor, most of which I have passed on, although the castor oil coke float is sounding more palatable with each passing day. But I am walking, which only seems to cause my feet to swell, especially as the desert begins to heat up again, and my husband is doing his part, ahem. 
That's all for now. Grace and peace y'all! I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

I'm a Big Girl Now

I realize that I cannot keep my precious angels small and adorable forever, but I just didn't think that they would grow up so quickly, or so smart. The other day, my three year old was attempting to pin a button on her shirt. Her princess button, no less. I saw that she was struggling a bit with the pin part and making it work, so I simply offered a helping hand. 

Mommy: Toria, can I give you hand putting your button on?

Toria: No, mommy. I'm a big girl now. I can do everything by myself. Thank you though.

Mommy: Huh?

She's a big girl now? When did that happen? She's 3, and is no longer in need of mommy-help? Huh?
By God's grace, though, she does seem to know her limitations, at least for the time being. She reappeared a few minutes later with button in hand.

Toria: Mommy, I tried and can't make it work. Could you help me?

It's good to know that for now, mommy-help has not been disposed of altogether. But deep in my heart, I know the day is coming. Much faster than I am ready for. 

Grace and peace y'all. Lots of it for the mommies.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

37 weeks...

Ok. 37 weeks and feeling quite...large and uncomfortable. I'm still slightly dilated, slightly effaced, but nothing to get excited about. Just waiting, waiting, waiting for sweet Hannah to make her appearance. That's all for now. Grace and peace, especially for the ever-expanding belly!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Truth and Consequences

So, a couple of weeks ago I found a journal that I had begun writing in back in September. Some of you may remember that we returned from Africa at the end of August, and September was a time of transitioning back to being stateside. During that time, and the weeks that led up to that time, God had really laid on my heart to step back from all that I was involved in at the church, from teaching a women's Bible Study, to being part of the leadership team for MOPS. At the time I did not understand it, but I knew that it was His will, and so I followed in obedience.

In this journal, I wrote:
What a strange season of life I am in right now, though I do feel a great sense of peace in it. After being able to exercise my gift of teaching for two semesters, and was privileged to hold some leadership positions in various ministries, I have felt the Lord urging me to step back from all of it, to rest and grow in Him. The verse He gave me is from Isaiah 30:15:

In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.

Above all else, I feel a call to deepen my relationship with Jesus, through prayer and increased study of His Word.
At the time, I wrote with such confidence and peace of the path that God was leading me down. Little did I know that I was soon to enter one of the hardest storms of my life. Little did I know how my Savior was trying to brace me, steady my feet for all that was to come. Is He not merciful?

The problem is that once the storm came, I failed to look to Him. Instead I focused on the storm, on the strength of the winds and depth of the dark clouds. I stopped crying out to Him and tried to wade through it on my own, by my own wisdom. Dumb. I'm sure that no one else out there has been so foolish as to think that they could get by their own smarts, that the way that seems right to them must be the right way. But then there was that one time with Peter, the Rock, who almost sank like one. This is what the Gospel of Matthew says about the account:
After he (Jesus) had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear.

But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."

"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."

"Come," he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"
Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt? You knew He was calling you to trust. You knew He was calling you to lean in on Him in full dependence. You boldly asked for more of Him, for a deeper relationship with Him, to see and experience more of Him. You asked to walk on water. He wanted to grow you. He was calling you to go deeper, and sometimes, that requires trials and tribulations in order to exercise that growing faith and dependence. He called you out of the boat. Why did you doubt?

Job 36:21 says, "Beware of turning to evil, which you seem to prefer to affliction."

I would like to say that that's a low blow, but there is too much truth in it. In affliction, counsel is not sought out properly, decisions are made in haste based on worldly thinking, and the ripple effect is astounding. So then, what to do with the consequences, because everything, whether good or bad, comes with consequences. I will trust that the maker of all things can make something of even this mess. I have to believe that truth.
The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. 
He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. 
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. 
As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. 
As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. 
But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children - with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.
Psalm 103: 8-18
Grace and peace y'all.

Friday, April 17, 2009

36 Weeks

Good morning y'all! Well, here we are at 36 and a half weeks. Baby is estimated to weigh about 6pounds 13ounces by ultrasound. She is doing well, very active, though running out room. Mommy is doing well, though much less active. Just wanted to get those up. I have to go back to the hospital this morning for yet another NST (non-stress test) to check baby Hannah's movements and heart rate. I feel like I live at the hospital these days. It will be nice to deliver so that I can just be at home for a while! Grace and peace, y'all. Hope you have a wonderful Friday!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

35 Weeks...I'm slowing down

Ok, here we are at 35+ a few days. I am most definitely slowing down and this baby is getting bigger. She seems to have nestled down into my hips in a manner that is so completely uncomfortable. Not much longer, though. That's what I keep telling myself. I am definitely nesting these days though, as I am seeking out ways to organize and simplify life. The only problem is how slow I move and how achy I feel afterwards. Well, I am off to bed, where I will battle frequent potty trips and leg cramps for the next several hours. Woohoo!! Enjoy the pics y'all!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Life is Unpredictable

So, I had to work the last couple of days, and what a hard couple of days they turned out to be. For the sake of making the days go by quickly, I offered to take one of the sicker patients on the unit, not expecting to be sending her off to the morgue the next day. But that is what I did. 

Sometimes, this life just baffles me, takes me by surprise, downright floors me. I have been a nurse for five years, and have worked in the pediatric intensive care unit even longer. I have been involved in many code situations (patients who go into arrest, whether cardiac or respiratory, requiring resuscitation, CPR and rescue drugs), I have assisted in many rooms of patients who have died, and I have carried my fair share of children to the morgue, but it has never been my own patient. Somehow that changed things. And she wasn't a child, she was a young mommy with a new baby at home. Somehow that changed everything. 

This patient whom I had cared for, whose hand I had held, whose ear I had whispered into, whose skin I had stroked, whose husband and family I had spoken with throughout the days; her body could not fight hard enough and we could not keep up fast enough, and she slipped into cardiac arrest. To watch this life slip away, to see her chest get flogged with pre-cordial thumps, compressions, and multiple shocks from the defibrillator was heart-wrenching for me as a professional. As I pushed drug after drug, as I yelled out for the recorder all that was happening, my eyes caught the horrified look of her husband standing just outside the door, arms clutched to a family member. We could not save her. Time of death was called.

There are few sounds as painful as the wailings of a mourning husband, draped over his bride who is no longer here. There are few things as tragic as a baby who will never know her mommy. There are few scenes as painful. And as the room cleared and the family began to mourn this incredible loss, the adrenaline, frustration, exhaustion, disappointment and pain of it all welled up in me, and the tears began to flow. I could not stop them. And so I kept moving as I tried to tidy up the room and turn it from a room of treating and healing to one of mourning and wailing, never lifting my head to make eye contact, as my vision had become blurred from the tears. Just keep moving. All the way out of the room, past the doctors and nurses gathered outside, straight to the bathroom where I could let it go, and work to regain my composure. 

Some have asked how we do what we do. I honestly don't know. I mourn and grieve. We hug a lot. We allow the tears to flow. And then the phone rings and there's another patient coming in who needs an ICU bed, so we pull it together and work with everything in us to see this patient do better. And then at night, I hug my kids a little tighter and little longer (until my three year old reminds me that she needs to breathe), and I bury my head on my husband's chest and just hold him. 

I am gearing up to go back to work the next couple of days. I know it will be better. I just needed to process those last few. 

Don't forget to hug your kids, a little tighter, a little longer. Don't forget to tell your husband how much you love him. Life is just so unpredictable sometimes. I wouldn't want you to miss out on an opportunity. 

Grace and peace, y'all. All kinds of grace and peace.