Friday, April 15, 2011

Recliner Chronicles: Bedrest, Day 9

I have learned a lot of things the last 9 days, both about myself and the world in general. Turns out that having to WORK for a living really deprives you of all the up-to-the-minute details of what's going on in the world.

I have learned that Maury is, in fact, NOT a one-trick pony. Yes, he can still be counted on to identify your baby daddy from the 11 choices you brought to New York for testing, but about once a week he will also offer a lie detector to see if your Significant Other **really** took those scandalous pics of himself to send to you and not some other... er... girl.

My dogs REALLY think that everytime I leave the room, I'm gone forever.

You can alleviate tailbone pain by creating and adhering to a strict buttockal rotation schedule (center, right cheek, center, left cheek, center, right sidelying, center, left sidelying). This works for 3 hours. After that, Tylenol and a change of furniture are your only options.

Pick a show... any show. It's still on somewhere at some time of the day. And it's far worse than you remember.

My iPhone lives to suck up to me so I keep paying the exorbitant fees required to maintain it. I haven't lost a game in 8 days... there's NO way I'm that much of a Cribbage Rockstar.

Reality TV looks more real all the time.

I'm far more picky than I thought. When I take care of myself, I just know to toss my salad with the dressing if I expect me to eat it, not to pour my soda over ice if I expect me to drink it, and for the love of all that is good butter my toast, but only put jelly on half of it. When other people are taking care of you and you have to say all these things out loud, it makes you sound high maintainance... even to yourself.

I haven't had a Nutter Butter in 15 years. I like them.

When going to the bathroom is the only reason you're supposed to get up, you stay very well hydrated :).

All that junk on QVC is starting to look really good... I never realized how versatile a velour jumpsuit can be.

The fine people at peopleofwalmart.com have now brought us several more websites... and they're every bit as awe-inspiring as the original concept.

And just think... I still have about 11 more days to go! Oh, the things I can learn!!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Bigger Than the Boogieman

I will start by saying, as great as it sounds in the middle of a fatiguing workday, bedrest inhales profusely. I'm not sick, really not tired, just... in bed. I have bathroom "priviledges," although there comes a point in pregnancy when the bathroom is not a priviledge... it's a necessity. So for 48 hours now, my entire world has been encompassed in about a 15 foot circle. And the light at the end of my 15 foot tunnel is about 2 weeks away... But it's OK. As stir crazy as I already am (and will be SO much more so if I don't get to go home on Monday), it's for a greater cause. Not necessarily one that I understand right now, but I know I will see it clearly one day.

I don't think this is about Jonah, not really. Like so many other moments in my life, I think this is about Rebecca. This is about Rebecca taking control, mastering her own destiny, worrying. This is about Rebecca creating too much noise in her own life to Be Still.

I've had time to look back over the last week, and it's incredible to be able to see the hand of God in ending up where we are right now. So many little details, meaningless individually, adding up to preparation for what we never saw coming.

After spending months in no particular hurry to get things done in the nursery, we have, in a week's time textured the wall, painted the room, and bought, cut, painted, and hung chair rail. We also finished buying all the furniture in the last week, though we haven't put it together because the room wasn't finished.

After spending months poking around at getting things organized for maternity leave, I maniacally spent the beginning part of this week finishing spreadsheets, updating folders, and organizing materials. I still didn't get everything finished, but I had things in such an order that I was able to tell someone else how to finish getting things where others could find them.

On a whim one day this week I happened to ask Casey what the best way to find him in the middle of a work day was. Two days later I had to do it.

On Tuesday, my little boy stopped his usual activity level. I was busy, so I didn't notice. I hurt, but I was busy and didn't listen to my body. I became very ill and was in alot of pain, but I was busy and didn't pay attention. By Wednesday, I became aware enough of his decreased movement to become concerned, and instantly I knew in my gut that I needed to be checked out. After what was likely the longest 20mile drive of my life, I sat down in Dr. Wagman's waiting room. Not 5 mintues later, Jonah resumed his normal movement and hasn't stopped since. God used this little punk of a boy to get me where I needed to be at that moment. I didn't pay attention to my body, but I listened to him. He was (and is) perfect. I needed to Be Still.

God is definitely bigger than the boogieman. Louder than the noise, the worry, the control we think we wield over our own lives. I'm completely out of control here. I have no idea when I'm going home, when I'm going to deliver this little one, how we're going to survive without the pay I'm about to get docked. But He's bigger than panic or a paycheck. I just need to Be Still.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Are We There Yet?

Yesterday I got up, joked with Casey that we should call in, and went to work anyway. I had 6 weeks of work left before I took off to welcome Jonah. By 7:30 last night I was sitting in a hospital bed for who knows how long. What a difference a day makes.

Midday I really started to notice that Little One just hadn't been nearly as active as usual. I started thinking back and realized that he'd been abnormally mellow on Tuesday, too, so I called Dr. Wagman's office to see when I should worry. By 3:15 I was in her office watching my fully breech, fully active little man pulling one of his favorite stunts... being non-compliant. Strong-Willed Fetus Syndrome is a thing, and my child definitely has it. So Jonah wasn't in trouble... what IS going on? One helter-skelter trip to the high-risk perinatologist later, I was standing in admitting processing that no, as a matter of fact. I would not be going home.

Why are we here? Apparently Jonah is both non-compliant AND persuasive and has talked my body into helping prepare for his arrival a little too early. My cervix is 17 mm and funneling instead of the 40 and straight it should still be at this point. Upon interrogation, it seems that I've likely been having contractions (mild and painless) for several weeks. Because they weren't particularly uncomfortable and I'd never done this before, I had no idea what was going on.

So the plan, as best I know it until Dr. W comes and tell me otherwise, is to stay here. In this bed. With a view of the DART rail station. We don't know how long. Based on her past patients of Dr. W's (and a late night phone call where she was told I'd be here for "a couple of more weeks"), me nurse seems to believe that I'll likely be here until 34 weeks (8 more days) or beyond. Delivery isn't imminent, but I have to be on bedrest until we're in the "safe" zone (techinically closer to 35 weeks, but 34 will do). He's had steroids to boost his lungs, so if it's sooner rather than later, that's one fewer thing to worry about.

So my plans, once again, made God laugh. But I'm very thankful that He used a 4lb. 8oz. (ish) little boy to make ME listen and to keep us safe. I'll update as a know more, but frankly I'm OK with there being no action on this particular front!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

My Teacup List

Two years ago right now, I was completely, 100% single. One year ago right now, I was pouring all my energy into wedding planning. Right now... well we all know where I am.

Yes... I move quickly. Let's move on :-).

Last week, Casey and I were standing outside the Bellagio in Las Vegas, when the guy next to us at the railing announced that seeing the Fountains of Bellagio at night was on his bucket list. Now, I can't think of a single thing I want to experience in my life that's set to "My Heart Will Go On," but he made me think. I'm not making a bucket list... I feel like my life has only just begun (finally!!) and I intend to delight in it all for a really long time.

But there's that little matter of Jonah. In right around 10 weeks (give or take... it's really up to him!), he will usher in a new life for me. So before my time, my choices, my actions cease to belong pretty much solely to me, I'm making a mini bucket list. I call it "My Teacup List." I figure one a week oughtn't be TOO hard... right?? So between the nesting, the planning, the all consuming baby prep, Momma wants to take care of a few things.

1) Finish a book. I'm very embarrassed to admit that the last book I read all the way through was "Breaking Dawn." About 2 years ago. Since then, I've started several... most of which had the word "Shopaholic" in the title... but never manage to budget time to get through them. This book CANNOT be "The Mother of All Baby Books" which I recently started in a sheer panic when I realized that I'm not worried about RAISING children... I have no clue how to keep them alive.

2) Take a long, semi-hot bath. Not too hot, of course, because my body doesn't really belong to me right now. But a nice, long, soaking bath would be nice. The problem with this is that I don't have a bathtub I can fit into, so I may have to road trip to my mother's or rent a hotel room.

3) Have a date night with my hubby that doesn't involve Papa John's and RedBox. Not because we're cheap, but because there has been a marked decrease in energy the past, oh, 30 weeks :). Sometimes I think back and remember that we got married because we actually genuinely enjoy each other, and I want to make sure we don't forget that between the decisions and the projects and the day-to-day-ness of life.

4) Get a massage and a pedicure. I can practically hear my OB clucking at me from here, but MAN my feet are wrecked. While this doesn't bother me while I'm up and moving, which is most of the time, when I do stop, look down, notice my swollen ankles, and sit down, I'm feel sorry for the poor guys. As for the massage, I'll just never say no to that!

5) Have a date night with my hubby that doesn't involve Papa John's and RedBox. I know I just said that, but the more I think about it, the more important it seems :-).

6) Host a gathering of some sort. Most of you know that I LOVE to have people over. I haven't done it in ages because.. well... my house has been a garage sale staging area for close to a year now. Just can't clean around that. Still... it's my love, and taking care of people is strangely relaxing for me.

7) Make a wedding album. For some reason, my obsession right now (besides hot dogs for whatever inexplicable reason) is to finally get wedding pictures printed and framed. Then I realized that we don't even have a wedding photo album. That's on my hit list. I want to be able to sit down and remember that day without having to sit at my computer and open iPhoto.

8) Spend a day on the couch in my pajamas and not feel even a little bit guilty. Maybe re-watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy again. I know there will be many, many days this summer where I don't get out of my pajamas, but those days will be about Jonah, about meeting his needs, about bonding as a family. I just want one day where I can kill the nesting bug, not care if the dishes are dirty, the laundry's folded, or there's junk mail on the coffee table, and enjoy it.

9) Take a day trip. Go to the lake, have a picnic, see something. Or nothing. I'll be pretty much home bound in a few short weeks, so breathing fresh air and focusing on nothing instead of everything is in order.

10) Count my blessings. The last two years... Busy? Yes. Insane? For some. Incredible? No doubt. God has blessed my life far beyond what I'd hoped, and infinitely more than I have deserved. I know that parenting, like marriage and like singleness before it, will bring days of unspeakable joy. Of intangible sorrow. Of having to place my son, may family, myself in God's hands over and over and over again. But bitter or sweet, each day will be incredible.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Notes From the Underbelly

Does anyone else remember that show? I remember liking it, but then it disappeared into that vortex that seems to crave mid-season sitcoms. Just came back to me while I was scanning my brain for titles :).

So, 27.5 weeks have come and gone. 12.5 to go until due day. Let's not dwell on that now.... I have a carseat and a lot of onesies, a quarter painted and three-quarters textured room, and a borrowed swing. If I think about it, I'll feel overwhelmed, and I'm SO not in the mood for that today :-).

No... today's locomotive of pontification centers around things I've learned or noticed in these nearly 28 weeks.

1) I don't like people as much as I used to. I don't really have any explanation or anecdotes to go with this, it just occurred to me today that I wish a little more every day that I had any sort of technological aptitude so I didn't have to deal with them all the time. I've found myself backing out of relationships that were parasitical, budgeting time with people who have only negativity to share, and wanting to run screaming from anyone with parenting advice... especially those who have parented children I in no way want to replicate. Maybe I SHOULD listen to their advice, actually...

2) I miss pants with zippers. They have a way of holding in all of my abdomen's dirty little secrets and making it look like it's not so bad. I keep waiting for my belly to move from it's present "baby muffin-top" status to regular "baby belly" status and pick up the abdominal slack. So far no luck. Having said that, I can practically hear people lining up to bring to me to my next point...

3) I have grown to hate the words "just wait" more than any phrase in the English language. My real beef here is that they almost ALWAYS come after someone asks how I'm doing. Whether my answer is positive or negative, the reply almost always begins with the words "just wait." "Just wait until you can't tie your own shoes." "Just wait until he's sitting so low you can't walk." "Just wait until you HAVE that baby belly that takes up all the abdominal slack." "Just wait until he's born... you'll be more busy/get less sleep/have less money than you ever dreamed." I do realize that all women have the need to share the pregnancy experience, and at it's root I find this charming and a truly precious connection. The reality of it is that a) I just answered the questions I was asked... I didn't ask how I'd feel in 6 weeks, and b) I don't want to anticipate misery. I'm not always comfortable, but I'm determined to not always be negative about it. I have to be pregnant 12-14 more weeks (PLEASE not 14, Lord!!), and I want to continue to enjoy the last few weeks alone with my precious husband in our comfy little life... even if that life now includes a large c-shaped body pillow and a belly wedge.

4) Everyone has the best way to raise children, and any way in which you disagree is harming your child. I have been a middle-class, Caucasian, reasonably Conservative evangelical church-going Christian for most of my life and have traveled in the same circles, and never in my life have I experienced what I've seen, heard, and read since I've been pregnant. The dogma and propaganda is real, and it's passionate. Crunchy parents have no problem telling Creamy parents they're bad parents by not co-sleeping, not nursing until the kiddo's in kindergarten, not wearing their child on their stomach 24/7, by vaccinating, or for (**gasps**) having to go back to work to keep a roof over said child's head. Creamies have no problem embracing traditional parenting hook, line, and sinker, trusting their doctors, the government, and the FDA without question or research (and throwing stones at less-traditional parenting all the while.) There's no grace on either side for following your own instincts, doing what's best for your family, and putting a little thought into parenting. It's heated and manages to put everyone on the defensive for one reason: we all want to be Supermom, and any hint that you're otherwise instantly and loudly translates to "YOU'RE A BAD PARENT!" My take on things? I have my opinions based on research and real life experience. I will follow my instincts and do what is best for my son and my family (and if it's NOT what turns out to be best for him or us, I will be flexible enough to change it), and I will not tell you about it or defend myself. And I promise that in 10 years, Jonah will be just fine... even if I AM getting an epidural.

5) Morning sickness does not go away. It just returns with less predictable frequency. People need to stop the lies and admit this so first time moms don't think they're home free after their first few nausea-free days.

6) I now am familiar with the location of my round ligaments, sciatic nerves, and several other anatomical landmarks I'll spare discussion of, and I can tell you with about 90% accuracy which tiny body part is poking, kicking, pummeling, or sitting on them.

7) I'm not immune from anything I thought I would be. I have experienced nearly every disturbing, embarrassing, or downright hilarious pregnancy symptom at least once, and I no longer have any shame about it.

8) Everything is sad. T-Mobile commercials, The Biggest Loser, grocery shopping, Tia falling off the couch, American Idol, one of my poor kiddoes having perpetually short pants, ARD meetings. I've cried over all of these things. I also have no shame about this.

9) I will get no sleep after Jonah's born. No wait... I actually did know that, but for some reason people keep telling us like it's news. I thought I'd declare my knowledge of it.

10) I can't wait :-).

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My Liberation

(... or "Things I No Longer Care About, Not Even A Little")

OK- I know my extended title sounds TERRIBLE, but allow me to explain. In the last 6 months or so, a number of people I went to college with have turned 30. I LOVE reading their Facebook statuses on that "fateful" day. Nearly without fail, they address the surely coming Decade of Doom with some sort of grave resolution. There's usually some sort of statement that essentially says "I've lived a good life, but tomorrow I'll be 30."

I think I remember feeling the same way in the days leading up to 30, but when The Big Day came I remember thinking, "I'm 30. So what?" Some time later, I look back at 30 as sort of a watermark. It's the age before which I wouldn't choose to live again. Nothing in my 20's has been this awesome, thank you very much.

Not only have all of my most incredible life moments occurred in my 30's, but there's a certain comfort in being an age where you're established and nearly everyone considers you an adult. It's been somewhat liberating to realize a few things about myself these last couple of years.

1) I don't care, even a little bit, what your opinion is of my opinion. I made it for some reason, rational or not, and I'm entitled to it. Even if it's ridiculous. Even if it's blatantly, obviously incorrect to the rest of the world, it's mine. Respect it, because I have little doubt you have an equally ludicrous one hiding in your inner depths (which I will respect)

2) By the same token, I don't care, even a little bit, if you disagree with me about something. You can disagree with me about religion, politics, fossil dating, or the color of the sky, and I will think of you exactly as I did before. I will respect your right to your beliefs just as I hope you will respect mine. I've had many meaningful friendships with people with whom I disagreed about nearly everything. It just makes you find their virtue in other areas instead of relying on common ground.

3) I don't care, even a little bit, what you think of my housekeeping. I'm not a neatnik. I didn't marry a neatnik. We're not nasty... the food's put away, dishes are washed, and there are clean sheets and towels. There's also junk mail on the coffee table, dust on the armoire, and socks in the floor. We're happy, healthy, and comfortable. If I know you're coming, I'll clean. If not, I'll probably just clear a couple of dog toys off the couch for you. I don't foresee this changing anytime soon as I'd rather spend my valuable time with my husband and son as a family than testing laminate floor cleaners.

4) I don't care, even a little, if you don't care for dogs. They live here, and I chose that. While I've chosen your friendship, you do not live here. I am aware that I have special needs dog. I will put him elsewhere for your safety if you're a stranger, but if he knows and loves you, he'll be around. Do NOT mistake this for not caring if you're afraid or allergic to dogs... I DO care about that!! I'm not that person.

5) I don't care, even a little, how much your purse cost. If you tell me, I will smile because I'm probably thinking that I bought my purse AND the month's grocery staples for the same price as your purse.

6) I don't care, even a little, if you think I'm cool. I will wear maternity pants, comfortable shoes, and gloves that do not match my scarf. I will dance in my car and sing loudly to 90's Boy Bands. I will have no clue what FloRida and Lady Gaga are talking about, but will sing along anyway. I will spend my Friday night watching COPS with my husband. None of those things make me who I am, and I'm not interested in making you think I'm anything else.

7) I don't care, even a little, if you think I'm NOT cool. Some things, even funny, are inappropriate and I won't participate. I will not talk about certain things because I hold them sacred. I will turn certain songs off the radio or certain shows off the TV. I will not help you wound someone's spirit in the name of fun, nor will I knowingly stand by and let it happen. Because for all that I DON'T care about, I still care a great deal about being in the world, not of it.

8) I don't care, even a little, for drama. If you have a genuine crisis, I will stand beside you to the end. If you're just bored without something happening, I promise I'll have a difficult time handling your self-made storm long term.

9) I don't care, even a little, about your past. By that I mean it doesn't matter to me where you came from, only where you are now and where you're going. If you've wronged me, it's probably hurt, but I've thus far been able to forgive anything. If you haven't wronged me but just feel wrong, I don't care. Make peace with God and with yourself and stop caring, even a little, about the rest of us. In the end, you and God are all that matter.

10) I don't care, even a little, how you feel about my decisions. This sort of combines several above points, but it's ultimately the MOST liberating thing I've learned. Especially in this season of change in my life. My life is much different than it was even a year ago... my perspective is different, my eternity is different, my needs are different. My frivolous choices don't matter in the long run and the biggies are made with one eye on what's best now and what's beneficial in the long run. HUGE choices are made with one eye on eternity. And I choose to assume that others make their decisions the same way. I may not understand yours just as you may not understand mine, but there's a reason for all decisions.

And that's all I have to say about that :).

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Letter to My Son

My son... surreal. Surreal to think, surreal to say, surreal to grasp. But his reality came flooding into my life today in a way I could never have prepared for. I watched him dance, watched and heard his heart beat, appreciated his perfectly formed heart, kidneys, and brain as only someone in healthcare can. But beyond watching a baby on a screen, I realized something deeper. This wasn't a baby I was watching; this was my baby. Two days in my life have moved me to tears repeatedly... this was the second.



If I could put it into words, it would go something like this:

Dear Little One,
On September 22nd, we found out you were heading our way. I cried, mostly out of sheer terror. Despite what many thought (though few said), you were not a "surprise."
We let God choose the timing in which you'd come to be, but you were chosen, expected, and so very wanted... we just weren't sure quite when to expect you! But the Lord knows best and he chose to give you to us at the exact time His plan called for. You became my reality, but in an abstract way.

A few days later I saw you for the first time, and you scared me for the first time. With all the matter-of-factness required to survive as a doctor, Dr. W told me she wasn't sure you were viable. I realized at that moment just how much I wanted you, how I wanted God to hold you in His omniscient hands. Daddy was worried about me, but never about you. He knew you were safe. At that moment, you began to teach me about faith... and how little control I would have over the coming months. Maybe ever again. And you were a little more real to me.

A long two weeks later, we saw you two weeks bigger... dancing, tiny heart already beating in your little body; a body still unrecognizable as a person. And I knew you were still real. You were nice to me in those early weeks. Maybe a little too nice, as some days I wondered if something was wrong because I felt OK. As if you sensed that, the next day would be a bad day. I always found those days comforting because I knew you were still with me. You were still real.

The weeks have passed, precious boy. Nearly nineteen of them. I'm almost halfway to holding you in my arms. Yet until today, you were still only abstractly real... almost like a pen pal you've never met. Today I watched you on a screen as I had before, but today I saw a person. A perfectly formed brain. Four heart chambers. Kicking feet. Ribs and a spine. A perfect face resting between two folded arms. A little individual annoyed by the poking and prodding to the point of literally turning your back on us at one point. In a moment, a body became a person. A person became an individual. That individual became my son. You became my absolute, concrete, permanent, passionate reality.

Not that you weren't always real, but in literally a split second I knew who you were. You were mine and I was yours. I'm a mother... not that I wasn't before, but I understood it in a different way in that moment.

I worry about so much, little one. I worry about how to protect you for the next 21 weeks from things seen and things over which I have no control. I worry about the choices I have to make now and those I'll be making a few months from now. I worry about taking care of you. How am I supposed to keep you alive? I kill things. I do realize English ivy and little boys are actually different, but what are you going to need from me and how will I know?

I worry about not setting the Godly example for you I desire to. I worry that you won't see Him reflected in my life, that you'll have no idea of the joy and freedom of living in Christ. That you'll see our family's faith as a list of dos and don'ts, not a relationship that fulfills far beyond the "attractions" of this life.

I worry that I'll succumb to the easy route of giving you everything you want, that you'll grow up with no awareness of those around you or the world we live in. That you'll fail to see the blessings of your life or understand the importance of compassion and "doing life" with others.

I don't worry that you won't become a doctor or a lawyer. I don't worry about you being top of your class or a star athlete (although for the sanity of your poor momma please have some athletic abilities so I won't cringe everytime you play your chosen sports). I'm worried that I will fail you in the way that I see children failed by their parents every single day. Not in care and feeding and material provision, but in helping you to become a whole, productive, caring, principled man of God. I know that's years down the road, but it's a lifelong job for Daddy and I that begins with your first breath. I know I can stumble and fall and have to backtrack, but I cannot fail. The Lord has given you to us to raise to a man. It is our most significant responsibility... one of the few things that truly matters for the rest of our lives.

You're already teaching me, little one. Teaching me faith. Teaching me to look beyond myself and what I want. Teaching me that 13 weeks isn't too early for my hips to be killing me. We have so much to teach each other, to learn from each other, to learn together. You're already challenging me to stop being the picture and to become the frame.

Grow now, Jonah. You've much to get done in the next few months. And so do I.

I love you... more than I ever thought I could.