God is always working to make His children aware of a dream
that remains alive beneath the rubble of every shattered dream,

a new dream that
when realized will release a new song, sung with tears,

till God wipes them away
and we sing with nothing but joy in our hearts

--Larry Crabb

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Dear Baby Riedel,

I am loving feeling all of your little--and not so little--kicks and movements, but would you PLEASE quit using my bladder as a pillow/punching bag. Although I am thankful for the opportunity to rise from the bed/sofa to use the restroom, I am a little afraid of what our water bill will be like and may be becoming slightly frustrated that the spasms that your antics produce result in frequent but ridiculously underestimated volumes. I also fear that you may develop a cone head if you don't move back up a little. Thank you for your cooperation...well, actually lack thereof, in this matter.

Sincerely and with much love,

Your Mother.

Things have been going well. I have now been on strict bed rest for 3 weeks and am only getting up to use the bathroom and take a 5 minute shower. Craig has been absolutely fabulous in making sure I have everything I need. He has even worked on some culinary skills and has made spaghetti, beef and noodles, and is going to attempt lasagna soon. He also made Jesus a chocolate cake with from-scratch white frosting for His birthday....after I dropped a few hints and eventually mentioned that he didn't want to tick Jesus off. Plus, he needs to practice up for making his own birthday cake next month. :) Seriously, it was probably the best chocolate cake that I have ever had. Sooo yummy.

I'm feeling pretty good for the most part. I am craving OJ and citrus fruits, but unfortunately they make painful spots on my tongue. With my inability to tolerate much salt intake it is hard for me to get enough calories at times, but I am now only 2 pounds shy of my pre-pregnancy weight. I never dreamed that I would be trying to gain weight for any reason...it has never been a problem before! Laying around does get pretty uneventful at times, but I am appreciating this season by enjoying feeling baby's movements and knowing that I would still rather be laying on the sofa bored out of my mind than watching our little one trying to get everything it needs via tubes and warmers. It's all good.

It is incredibly humbling to watch Craig do everything it takes to keep us going--without the slightest hint of complaint. He has cleaned the house from top to bottom, done the grocery shopping, done countless loads of laundry and dishes, set up the Christmas tree, made the basement not so scary with boxes and mess leftover from the move, and much more. I have decided that by the time this baby is born, Craig will have decided that either he doesn't really need me or that I am a saint for doing all of this "behind the scenes" stuff that he now realizes doesn't just do its self. As I often tear up in telling him how thankful I am that he is so wonderful, all he says is "you did it all when I was deployed...I can do it for a few months." This is true, but I think that it would have been much different if he was laying on the couch watching me do all of his work like I am doing to him. Very humbling indeed.

I haven't written much lately because I've had a lot of trouble putting my thoughts into words. I'm trying to do better, but must can't seem to make things make sense. It is hard to explain what is going on in this head of mine...there are so many confusing emotions in there and I spend a lot of my time just staring at the wall trying to sort it all out.

Thanks for all of the prayers and warm thoughts for our family. We are so blessed!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Very Random Thoughts

  • Hospital fish is not too bad. Although as a nurse I took a solemn vow that I would never eat it, things changed when I was starved for 27 hours.
  • Broke my promise to not ever use "real" silverware in the hospital made after I more than once saw some disgusting non-food related uses. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Disposable is still preferred, but no longer a requirement.
  • I actually considered smelling Craig's breath when half of my peanut butter cookie turned up missing, but refrained when I remembered that all I have to do is dial a number and another can be delivered. Gotta love room service.
  • Showers are taken for granted entirely too often.
  • Reading online editions of Detroit area newspapers are ridiculous, as evidenced by the following headlines: "Woman accused of stealing Christmas toys for Children from K-Mart" and "36 year old mad accused of strangling mother's cat; attacking officers in standoff."
  • There is nothing like meds with nasty side effects, having to use alternative toileting methods, and not being allowed to eat to set priorities straight.
  • Chocolate chip cookies are really really good, but have nothing on the Peanut Butter ones. Of course I am only indulging in them because my baby likes them. :)
  • Whipped Cream makes me want to gag and Craig has consumed entirely too much of it.
  • Disposable shavers should be illegal. Ouch!
  • Some nurses are better at their jobs than others. I've been very fortunate most of the time.
  • When asking a generally non-shopping oriented husband to pick up a few things, be very specific and don't expect things to be as described to you.
  • Attention nurses/ultrasound people: Please use caution as not to allow ultrasound gel to get in my belly button. I don't know why this bothers me, but it does. Alot.
  • Baby Riedel may have some attention span issues. Or maybe not like ultrasounds. Or maybe both.
  • If you wake someone at 0600 from zombie land and ask them if they have felt fetal movement, the honest answer will probably be no. Um, I don't generally feel the baby in my sleep, which you have now interrupted. Do you know that I am not a morning person??? 6 am doesn't work for me so please try back after 10.
  • If you wake me earlier than necessary, I will find a way to get you back. When I got up at 0555 to use the bathroom, I nearly caused the resident who was sneaking in my room to wake me up wet her pants. Ha ha!
  • If you lose one's toiletries bag containing my deodorant, you can expect one to get progressively smellier as the day/week goes on. Don't blame me, you told me to leave all of my stuff in the other room and you would bring it. Now it is most likely in Ohio. (no kidding, that is what we were told!)
  • I have quite a few people in my life that are simply wonderful.
  • Craig makes me laugh. After an ultrasound I was thinking about how blessed we are when I asked him what he was thinking. His response? "They used all of the wrong combinations of metal in that wheelchair...it is going to corrode in no time. Should have at least coated it in Cadmium instead of Zinc." I love him. And then made him wash his hands after touching the actual wheel part. I know what hospital wheelchairs drive through sometimes.
  • A pitcher of ice water accidentally spilled in one's bed travels really fast.
  • I understand that hot showers are out right now, but I was hoping for something beyond frigid.
  • Hospital pillows could easily be confused with a paper towel in a pillowcase. Thin, small, and crunchy sounding.
  • Pretty sure that the nurse is not sneaking in and putting the toilet seat up, as Craig claims.
  • I'm going to miss the plastic grocery bag that has been dancing in the wind on the roof outside my window. It has sadly been entertaining.
  • Curling and styling my hair does wonders for my spirits.
  • There's no place like home, but we CAN live in a 10x10 room if necessary.
  • Cable is frustrating when there is no TV guide.
  • Somehow, I've lost 2 pounds this week and Craig has gained 3.
  • Every morning I thank God that baby stayed in its current "playpen" for another night, and every night I thank God that we've carried another day. Today I'm thanking Him for a whole extra week...


I have been challenged. We have found a nice church that fits us. The messages are down-to-earth and thought provoking. They make me want to be a better person...a better wife, daughter, mother (agh...that seems kind of scary...), and friend. The music draws me in and is refreshing. The people are friendly and there is a lot of common ground. BUT, there is one thing that I disagree with, and it happens to be a major sticking point. Baptism. Specifically infant baptism. It has compelled me to do a complete inventory of my beliefs. To know that I believe in infant baptism because that is the way I was raised and it is in my comfort zone is not enough for me. I am an analyzer and want to know WHY I believe what I believe, and what the Bible has to say about it. So, in my downtime this week, I have executed an exhaustive nternet search explaining different reasons on why or why not to baptize an infant. I can respect other people's viewpoint, and I certainly don't expect any church or organization to cater to any one person's thoughts if that is what they, as a body of believers, do not embrace as Biblically sound. However, I feel strongly convicted that God allows the types of thoughts that I have been having to either guide one in a different direction or to cause them to explore His word more thoroughly...or maybe both.

In my quest to find answers, I came across an article supported by David Feddes and the Back to God Hour that most closely aligns with my core beliefs. If you are interested in reading it, click here. I think it is fascinating and relates to all views.

The question remains, though, where do we go from here? Do we continue to attend a church that would not only decline to baptize our child, but require Craig and I to be re-baptized by immersion to qualify for membership? Is it right to attend long-term without becoming members? Do we continue to look elsewhere when we've already visited so many churches and haven't found a good fit? Is it time to expand our criteria to include churches that are over an hour away from our home? Oh my....so much to consider.

One thing that I am certain of is that we will not go with the re-baptism option. Craig and I were both baptized as infants and not only (to me) does that act serve as a seal of belongingness but a part of family heritage. These are the kinds of questions that I think my dad would have had....only he would have had an answer for me. I wish so much that we could sit down and have a talk.

I welcome any respectful feedback or discussion on this, and you can expect the same from me if you are interested in dialoging.

Thanks for checking in!

P.S. Everything is going great here. No new news to report. Ultrasound on Monday and likely discharge on Tuesday. :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The day

Disclaimer: We are not intending to find out the gender of our baby. There has to be at least some unknown in all of this. For simplicity sake, and perhaps more honestly to salvage any hope of my sanity, I am not really paying attention to whether I type "his" or "her" or "it." Please don't assume I've made some big reveal inadvertently.

I have been promising many that I would be blogging, but sit down at my computer and find no words. Right now, the world still seems pretty quiet. I hear the gentle hum of my compression stockings and what I consider to be the greatest sound on earth right now...a tiny heartbeat. We're in the process of doing our twice-a-day contraction monitoring and heartbeat tracings. It makes me smile and even shake my head at times. I am not sure what we have got ourselves into. Baby lays still for just a bit, then just as I begin to get mesmerized by the sound of his heart, he brushes up against the monitor making a static noise or kicks it with a big loud thud. I even tried recording a portion of it on my computer to post here, but then he moved all together and the nurse had to come in to reposition the probe. Besides that, I couldn't figure out a way to do audio without video and I, although still strikingly beautiful, have not showered for 4 days now and have managed to lose all hair accessories but one pony tail holder that is not doing one bit of good around my wrist. To top it off, the hospital lost my toiletries bag so I have zero makeup. I don't really care how I look, but I feel significantly less than human when I have put no effort into my appearance. Hopefully soon I'll make it through some running water. With time continuing to pass I am becoming more and more convinced that we're in the right place doing the right things. As long as these near constant wiggles from within continue and the contraction monitor shows a flat line we are good.

The doctor said today that he ordered another ultrasound for Monday afternoon. As long as everything looks good with that, he will let me go home on Tuesday. Naturally part of me wants to be home now, but I know that this is the safest place for us right now. It is not too bad, really. My bed is fairly comfortable and the cable programming is decent. My only problem in the moment is that the remote for the cable is under my bed and I can't reach it. Craig stepped out for a little bit to get some fresh air, run to the library for me, and get his computer fixed so he can connect again to a secure gov't website for work. (not that he has to work, but it does give him something to do). Of course, my nurse call button is also on the remote.

In a nutshell, here is what led us to being here. I woke up in a foul mood Monday. I had slept poorly and just felt like a crab. I had two doctors appointments scheduled, with my routine bi-weekly ultrasound between. Craig drove me to the first one because the roads were horrible. Like I said, I was super grumpy and at one point actually told him (in completely unprovoked hysterics, I might add) that I wanted him to pull into the Hobby Lobby parking lot that was coming up because he was annoying me and I wanted to leave him there. (I'll have to go into more detail about why my Craig is so wonderful later...) The first appointment went great. After a quick exam I was cleared to travel back to Iowa and Nebraska for Christmas and was planning to be gone about 2 weeks. Then the ultrasound. The u/s tech and I are usually pretty chatty, and that is how things started off, except for I was a little quieter than normal because in my foul mood--I had very few good things to say so not saying much was my best option.. She put the probe on my belly and SHE stopped talking, too. Matter of fact the only thing that she asked was if I was seeing the doctor after my appointment with her and "good" when I said yes.

The doctor told me that there were some big changes on the ultrasound and wanted to do an exam herself....the same changes that caused us to lose Christoper 9 months ago. She found that I was dilated, which at this stage of pregnancy is not normal. I was having contractions, but did not know it. My doctor had placed a stitch several weeks ago that was still intact and giving us some safeguard. Within minutes I was on my way home to meet Craig so that we could get to the hospital. Once on the monitor there we were assured that everything was good with the baby, but I was still contracting quite a bit. We were admitted to Labor and Delivery. The title in its self was admittedly scary, not to mention the reminders of the events surrounding our Christopher's birth that were reminiscing in my mind as we settled in.

Let me just say at this point that which you probably already know. I would do ANYTHING at all to protect this baby, and whatever I have to do to make sure that it arrives into the world save and healthy is what will be done without hesitation. With that being said, Monday night I was started on some IV medication to stop the contractions. Within minutes I felt like I had been dipped in a vat of icy hot (minus the smell). My skin was cool to the touch but felt like I had been sitting in the sun for hours...hot and prickly. My sinuses stuffed up and I couldn't breathe through my nose at all. My mouth dried out. I was nauseous and started vomiting. The worst part of all, though, was the vision changes. I developed double vision out of EACH eye. If both eyes were open, all I could see was a scrambled mess. BUT, if I just laid still and closed my eyes I could hone in on nothing but the sound of baby's heartbeat, feel its kicks know moment by moment, then hour by hour, that it would all be ok. It has been. Now we're in day by day mode.

We am convinced that we would be in the hospital either way tonight. There are no words strong enough to express how grateful I am to be here laying in bed with baby tucked safely inside where its needs are all met than having limited time with him/her while it was in the care of NICU staff. We are blessed.

I can't necessarily explain the peace that I feel. I believe that that is the result of all of the prayers that are being lifted up for us. For that, my friends, I thank you so very much.

There is not much of a plan from here. We will continue to have monitoring done twice per day and more if there is any evidence of changes. On Monday we will have another ultrasound, and on Tuesday the docs will decide whether or not I can go home. If I am discharged I will have to return for check ups a couple times per week. Anything is fine with me as long as this baby stays in its current playpen.

Need to go for now...It has taken me ALL day to write this...a result of a brain that can't make a sentence like it used to. Will try to update soon...

Saturday, December 4, 2010


The flurries of gigantic snowflakes in the air are yet another sign that Christmas is coming. A Christmas that I am not at all prepared for. I have 4 gifts stashed in a not-so-difficult-to-find hiding place, none of them wrapped. I have an idea of what to get people, but lack the motivation to go to the store to pick them up. Top it off with the advice of my doctor who says "NO SHOPPING...not even groceries" (He fears I will be on my feet too long or lift things that are too heavy) and my Christmas is forced to be viewed from a different perspective this year.

It's been good, and is just the tip of the iceberg of what I would do to bring this baby into the world safe and healthy. At first I was a little frustrated with not being able to do all of the things I wanted to do, but not anymore. I have found contentedness in quiet moments, for those are the moments that I can truly allow God to speak to my soul, and allow the importance of so many things in life to fall into place.

I have thought about the true meaning of the seasons on many a Christmas in the past, but none have affected me as profoundly as this one. Perhaps it is because I just finished Francine River's Legacy of Grace series and it has shed new light on what Mary and Joseph may have gone through on their journey to Bethlehem. Maybe it is because this is the second Christmas without Kim or my dad, which is touching on a whole new feeling of finality about their deaths. It could be because, in the back of my mind, there are those remembrances of last Christmas when we believed that this year would be the year that we would get to hold our long awaited baby in our arms. Or the thought that the baby that is now growing under my heart offers much hope of that dream for next year. Most likely, though, it is a culmination of all of these emotions. Emotions that I have had the bittersweet pleasure of exploring while living the "non-strenuous" life.

This year has exposed facets of life that I never knew existed. Grief that brings pain beyond which I think I can bear at times. Joy that far exceeds anything that I have ever celebrated. Peace beyond any blissful thought that has ever crossed my mind. Despair deeper than any agony that I have ever known. And hope. Hope far exceeding what I ever conceived possible.

About year ago I had just learned that I was pregnant with Christopher. If you would have told me then that his little life would end before he got a chance to breathe his first breath I could have never fathomed how I could possibly deal with such devastation. Sometimes, I still cannot. Acceptance has come through living it and believing with everything in me that the Jesus has had His hand upon us through it all (although I admit that at times I had to force myself to believe it). This mindset has brought an incredible sense of peace. Peace that allows me to recollect on the day Christopher was born with a sigh of contentment. Peace that affords me to recall first and foremost the joy that such a tiny little boy brought into our lives. The pain of our loss is very real, but there is peace that provides a refuge from it.

It seems so simple to me that a baby born so long ago in a stable on Christmas day continues to bring all I need today. Sometimes TOO simple for my mind to understand. My brain seems to constantly try to make it more complex as I look for "strings attached" to this gift, but none can be found. A gift that is given selflessly and abundantly. A gift that is consistently what I need and crave more of. A perfect gift from the heart...of God. And that is what I believe Christmas is all about. The gift of Jesus...the REAL meaning of Christmas.

So, maybe I'm more prepared than I thought...