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

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Big Melt.

I knew it was coming. I could feel the agitation in my bones as day after day turned into week after week of bed rest. On Thursday it happened. It was not pretty. Mount meltdown started to spew its freak out lava.

Generally speaking things have been going pretty well. Since September (gulp) I have been on restricted activity, and since December 6th I have only been on my feet long enough to take a quick shower, use the bathroom, or go to a doctors appointment. The lack of stimulation was catching up with me. The cloud of frustration was starting to build, and by mid week last week all emotions ran amuck and the storm began to brew.

It was the accumulation of a lot of things, actually. The helpless feeling of watching Craig go to work all day, come home tired and knowing he just wanted to relax, but instead starting in on a pan of spaghetti for dinner. The reality of the distance between my family and I being far apart as my grandma moved out of her home and into a care center...of hearing the stress in mom's voice as she was forced to face another of life's difficult choices. Not having had a doctor's appointment for 2 weeks, keeping me completely home bound and without fresh air (well, unless you count the short time I spent in front of the open patio door.) Missing seeing what goes on in the "real" world except through the eyes of the TV, Internet, or what others have told me. Lack of sleep because the very same night that baby quit punching my bladder it began thrusting up on my diaphragm, leaving me without enough air, an overly full stomach, and reflux like I have never dreamed of. And speaking of dreams, lots of them...everything from my grandma playing in a harmonica band while I was trying to teach a class on PICC line placement to a bunch of ladies at my mom's church to fairly vivid dreams about my dad. The bottom line was exhaustion. Beyond tired of limitations. So with that the tears started. And didn't stop. Not for nearly two days. Not even watching YouTube videos of babies born too early were helping me keep my motivation as they usually do.

Yet, I remained thankful that we are at a point in our lives where we can do this. I'm not laying here all wrapped up in this blanket of confusion for nothing. I am doing this for something so much more than myself. I'm doing this for our future, for our baby that is growing and kicking and thriving under my inactivity. The thought makes me smile, yet doesn't erase the frustration. It is an odd place to find ones self in when you don't want to be where you're at for one second longer, yet wouldn't do a single thing to change it. That's where I was.

On day 2 of the funk, Craig gently approached me.
"Honey, we have to do something different." and then he stepped back (and quite possibly assumed a defensive posture...I think he is scared of me.)
"What? What can I do different?"
"This weekend we're getting you out of this house."
"I can't"
"There comes a time when the health of your mind is just as important as everything else."
"Where would we go?"
"Wherever you want. You need a break."
"Target? With pizza and bread sticks from the Pizza Hut snack bar inside? Really, do you think it is ok?"
"31 weeks. There's always a risk, but we'll get you a wheelchair and just stay for a little bit."

And with that the hormonal pendulum swung 180 degrees to the other end of the spectrum. The tears were gone and I was ecstatic. The only other person who really understands and shares the reality of our situation had given me the go ahead. I had a date. With a little nervousness but even more excitement Saturday finally came. We took it very very slow and easy. I humbly rode slightly reclined in a wheelchair and warded off the stares of those who in my mind were thinking "Why does SHE need that?" We rolled through the aisles of baby stuff. Stopped and shared a small cheese pizza and 3 piece order of bread sticks. Above all, I found my smile. I was not just an incubation machine for our baby, but a real person. It felt so incredibly good.

Despite my determination not to overdo, I had just enough in me for a quick peek at Wal-Mart's baby stuff. I perused the baby section from a motorized wheelchair (there were no other ones available) while Craig chased me. Yes, it was embarrassing, but my goal was to take a break from the mundane, not to have a baby that day. We picked up a few things and some groceries. Within 2 hours from the time we left I was back on the couch fairly tired but not having felt better in a very long time.

This will not be the norm. I only have a few more weeks and have no intention of breaking the rules again. I was just at that place where the benefit outweighed the risk. I'm glad I did it, and now am back at home on the couch where I need to be until my doctor gives the green light to be up. At last week's appointment he said that as long as the next three ultrasounds looked good I can be on my feet again in about 3 weeks. THREE WEEKS people!! That is better than I had hoped for. It won't be much longer...I can do this! It is about time to reap the reward of our persistence.

I hesitate to post this because I don't want it to sound like I am complaining about our situation or that I would not do anything in the world to keep this baby safe. I am trusting that you know where my heart is in all of this without further explanation. After all, I have always claimed that it is not easy being me!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

TV Commentary

The last month has allowed me a LOT of time to find things to do. One of which, is TV. As a general rule, I don't turn the tube on until 4:00 to keep my mind from going into funk mode, but occasionally check out late morning/early afternoon programming for anything that I may be missing out on. These are some observations.

  1. The best show available? Criminal Minds. Hands down. It is intense, thought provoking, a little creepy, and highly addictive.
  2. E-Trade has the very best commercials. They need to make a few more for variety, but I love the one that starts off "Apparently, riding the dog like it is a small horse is frowned upon..." Hilarious!
  3. I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant. Whatever. I wouldn't know I was pregnant either...if I hadn't been crabbier than a she-bear for the first few months (when I hadn't fallen asleep from exhaustion for no reason, anyway), puked nearly every time I thought of or used toothpaste, felt near constant pummeling from within, and if my belly hadn't started resembling a flesh colored watermelon. I don't believe it much...
  4. The Biggest Loser is awesome, but the contestants cry entirely too often. That gets annoying.
  5. Yesterday's episode of A Baby Story was a little irritating. The chick went on and on about how horrible 10 weeks of bedrest was. Ok, I get it. Can't really call it a party, but seriously, how many moms have been lucky enough to feel just about every one of their baby's movements. Not to mention the fact that what you did worked, and you have a healthy baby. It's about perspective, lady. I'm glad to know that this is what I need to do to keep our little one safe...therefore, I will not complain.
  6. Man Vs. Food. A little disgusting. It used to make me nauseous, so I would avoid watching it. Now it makes me hungry. Especially for that massive burger he tried to eat the other night.
  7. Storage Wars is pretty good. Go Jarod and Brandi go. Dave has a bad attitude, Barry is weird, and Darrell is entertaining. Just wish that the new episodes started before 10 pm.
  8. The Cheez-It commercials are annoying. I do like Cheez-its, but the "Nacho Cheese" commercial is on my last nerve. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that Craig laughs at the stupid joke every single time.
  9. Chili's jalapeno sliders look fabulous. I am all about spicy with this pregnancy. Baby doesn't seem to mind, but keep the majority of dairy products far, far away. Strange, I know.
  10. House Hunters has amazingly few reruns. I like that.
  11. Nationwide has the worst commercials. They are neither funny or informative. Waste of time

I think that is the end of my opinions on TV. It is clearly overrated. What are your favorite shows?

Monday, January 10, 2011


If Only. I wrote in my journal recently about how fortunate I feel to be able to have this time with this baby. All too soon life will be crazy with a newborn and I will inevitably start taking for granted some of the "little things." If only I would have known and could have had the opportunity to carry our Christopher for longer, too. Don't get me wrong. I am at peace with where things are now where he is concerned. I could never choose between this child or him, yet I realize full well that I could not have had them both. My choice has always been life. I gave him life as best I could during the brief time we had. Now it is this baby's turn. I have not and will never forget those 4 months of carrying and the sacred day and a half of holding and loving my firstborn, but choose to believe that this child's life will be enhanced by the fact that he lived, not for a second as a replacement of his being. Christopher is irreplaceable, as is Madison, as is this little one. Each has filled a different place in my heart. The scar that losing Christopher has placed there will never completely heal. At times I even wonder if it is a scar at all, but rather still a gaping wound. It seems that healing has begun and then just as a scab turns to scar in the final stage of healing, the scab is ripped off by some reminder or unresolved emotion and the wound is fresh again. Somehow in this cycle of events though, there are refreshed memories of who he was. A swelling of grief followed by a wave of peace that delivers my heart from the turmoil.

Sometimes my heart dreams the dream that is my firstborn son. I wander through images of him playing and cuddling and doing all of the things that he, had he lived, might be doing today. He would be 6 months old. Learning so much and bringing smiles to our faces. I think about how we would have just celebrated our first Christmas with him and how different our lives would be.

I can only dream in the "what-if's," for they are not our reality. The "what if's" may never be, but our reality is certain. Our reality is that our very much loved and desired Christopher has died. We can't hold him, or touch him, or make new memories with him. What remains of him are contained in a tiny urn and memories in our hearts. That is our reality, and it stinks. Reality has also informed us that that hospital room on March 10 is not where our journey to becoming a family came to an end.

The "what-ifs" have plagued me once again through this pregnancy. Listing them here would only cause me to think too much about them and re-create uncertainty. Our reality in this situation is and has been from the beginning that nearly 29 weeks ago now a living, kicking, and likely ornery little one was planted under my heart. Each day it continues to grow and get stronger, and even if he/she were born today the viability rates are 90%, but there would be significant time spent in the NICU. Our reality also is that things have stabilized since baby's escape plan was thwarted. There have been essentially no changes on the ultrasound. Praise the Lord!

I recently had my first appointment with the high risk group since discharge from the hospital. As it turns out, it is also my last appointment with them. Now that we are officially in the third trimester there is nothing more that they need to do. It is up to this body of mine to cooperate and keep this baby in for as long as possible (within reason, of course!). As tradition has it, I got lost leaving. This time while wandering through the parking garage trying to find the car. The sad part? I even convinced Craig that HE was the one who was looking in the wrong place. "NO, Honey, I am SURE we parked over here..." We didn't--he was right all along. I honestly don't know why he ever listens to me anymore, other than the fact that he is probably scared that I will have a (like it would be an isolated incident) meltdown if I thought he wasn't listening.

Nothing had changed at my appointment...good news. The doctor did tell me that at 36 weeks I could pick up my activity a little. Although that is still 7 weeks away, 7 is better than 12. Before we even left the house the morning of my appointment I was exhausted. My muscles have already lost tone and were sore from just walking down a flight of stairs and to the elevator in the office. I hope that I have a little time before baby gets here to strengthen back up a little. One of the joys, I guess. Part of my tiredness was also due, in part, to the fact that I woke up at 0430 that morning when someone decided to put a little extra pressure on my bladder again. As I returned to bed after using the bathroom I started thinking about food. We had only gotten take out once since being in the hospital and had agreed to drive through McDonald's for breakfast. I was still awake at 0630 when my alarm went off trying to decide whether I wanted a breakfast burrito or an sausage mc muffin. 2 hours of deliberation over a 99 cent item? Seriously! (I went with the Mc Muffin, by the way, which I realized actually comes on an english muffin, not a biscuit, which is what I really wanted and the whole reason it wasn't a clear winning choice from the beginning.) Mc Muffin= English muffin, Biscuit=biscuit. Should be easy to remember!

It is finally starting to settle in a little bit that we are actually going to bring a baby into our lives. Even as I type that sentence it sounds a little shocking. We have waited for this phase of life for SO long, and to know that soon we will get to see, hold, raise, and love this little one is nothing short of glorious. We cannot wait. Every night as we go to bed now Craig and I talk about how we're one day closer. Closer to not a dream, but a reality that is this, our child.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Necessities.

It has taken us a little while, but we are finally settling into a rhythm. I have identified a few things that need to be on the coffee table next to the couch to make this whole bed rest thing work. At night I make a pilgrimage to my bed taking many, but not nearly all, of them with me. Craig, in case you have forgotten, has been crazily fantastic in making sure that I have everything I need within reach before he leaves for work in the morning, during his lunch break (he comes home) and throughout the evening.

Here are the essentials:

The Water Jug. Filled. No ice. Pretty much all I drink these days is water...and I drink a LOT of it. So much so that some may even feel that I am starting to resemble a camel, only with the bump on the wrong side (that is on the belly, not the back). Milk has been upsetting my stomach, but I still try to drink it on occasion. Juices are pretty much out right now because they irritate my tongue spots, which are getting much better. Occasionally, I will have a small glass of Squirt, but water really tastes the best. I guess that is good.

The Remotes. TV, DVD, Cable, and Wii. My rule is generally no tv until mid afternoon. Otherwise, I find myself in a funk. There really isn't anything good on, and I prefer to stimulate my mind with things other than court tv and Freaky Eaters. (That show is nuts, I tell you. There was one chick who drank 37 CASES of cola per month, and another who would eat nothing but french fries--ever. Bleh!) I do indulge in a few games of Mario Kart through the day. Someday I will reach my lofty goal of placing first on the Wario's Gold Mine track. For now, I just try not to fall off of the track more than 10 times in the three laps.

Magazines. (Thanks, S!) Who knew that if you eat chocolate five or more times a week you may be 57% less likely to have coronary heart disease than people who don't? This is stuff I need to know! I also learned that it is winter outside. There were snowflakes and everything in the air today! It is toasty warm in here all curled up in my knit pants and ted hose. Those knit pants, by the way, fit just fine last week but are feeling a little snug today. Somebody is growing!

Crossword Puzzles. (Thanks, B!) Proof that my brain still does still work well...for recalling trivial information, anyway. Anyone know what a 5 letter word for "diminish" is? _BA_O.

My laptop. AKA the Green Bean. It has kept me connected and sane...although the latter is questionable.

The Phones. One charged cordless land line and my cell. What I ever do before texting? Good thing we have the unlimited data plan.

A Book. Just finished Peace Like a River by L. Enger. A good read. Took a bit to draw me in, but I enjoyed it. Now back to my good friend, Frannie. (that is Francine Rivers and I have been crushing on her books for a long time now.) Last time I went to the library I checked out 6 books, read, and returned them before they were due. This time Craig checked out two for me and I'll be calling later today to renew.

The latest ultrasound pictures. They are of a face, a foot, and a hand (I think). When boredom sets in and the days seem long they renew my focus on how far we've come and that, really, two more months of this is nothing compared to how many years of joy this child will bring. I can tell even in the last 3 weeks how much baby has grown, offering assurance that we're doing what we have to do right now. New pics next Tuesday!

The dustbuster. Things tend to get a little messy when one eats all of their meals in a reclined position. I have spent a fair amount of time dustbusting the couch, floor in front of it, and myself. I even had to dustbust my hair once. That was gross. Parmesan cheese and it was an accident, if you must know.

My Bible. The Psalms are really getting a workout these days. I need to delve deeper into another chapter, but the concentration just isn't there.

A Journal. This child will hate that book for someday, because I will pull it out when the kid is out of control naughty and inform them of every little detail of the things I have endured for their existence. =) It is fun to think about, but probably would never happen. Probably.

I think that is it for the essentials, but the other items that are currently occupying space on the coffee table are: insurance forms (gag), some thank you cards, some tortilla chips left over from Mexican take-out last night (de.lish.us), my magic mirror, a banana, a box of stale Cheez-its, a can of compressed air (I really need to clean my keyboard!), scratch paper, Christmas receipts, a basket with my pills, a few random M&M's, and a Hello Kitty watch. It's a pretty full table.

I hope this finds you all safe and warm on these chilly winter days. We are at 28 weeks now, which is a good milestone for us because the hospital that is closest to us is able to handle a premie that small. We really don't want to utilize those NICU services, but it is reassuring to know that they are there.

Until next time,