Mark and I have a great relationship (not to be interpreted as perfect). I realize that what we have is rare in today's society. I got to thinking of why we work so well together... what it is that has made us strong and bonded together, operating as one.
I'll admit - our marriage vows didn't mean a whole lot to me as a 19 year old kid. I just wanted to be married and enjoy the perks that were afforded to married people. Our vows were something I had grown up hearing and could recite to you. So, that's what they were to me - something we recited as part of a ceremony that landed me with an adorably cute husband and a ring on my finger but offered me no insight into what being a wife would be like.
But time has a way of changing things, bringing deeper meaning and understanding. Such has been true of our vows. It hasn't always been peachy keen for us. We've had our ups and downs, times when I wanted to throw in the towel but instead buckled down and worked harder. No... it hasn't always been easy. There have been a lot of dark days tucked within our 13 years of marriage. But we've always done it together and faced another day hand in hand.
So how do we make it work?
Number 1, we have a shared faith in Jesus Christ that sets our foundation for everything in life. Without it, we no doubt would be just another statistic. Our faith dictates our choices, gives us hope and peace, strength, and the perfect road map laid out and orchestrated by God Himself.
We also decided from the beginning that divorce would never be an option. If there was a problem we would work it out or else live our lives in misery. We've chosen the harder route - the one of bumps and bruises, tears and sweat - the road of work. Because marriage is work. Failure to work will inevitably lead to division and bitterness. And we chose from day 1 that that wasn't the route we wanted to take. We'd fix whatever was broken and come out on the other side together. And we have.
We also made a commitment to put in as many protective layers around our marriage as we could - buffers against the world, if you will. Some of those are praying together nightly for our family. Even if Mark is working, he'll call and we'll pray together over the phone. We also agreed that if we're both home together that we'll always sleep in the same bed. There have been times that laying next to him was the last thing I wanted to do. There've been times I got up and left to sleep on the couch but always found my way back, crawling in under the sheets to hear him whisper "I'm glad you're back." We agreed not to go to bed angry. And honestly, there've been some really late nights around here. Nights where it's 2am and we're still bickering about something stupid that seems so relevant at the time. Nights where I find myself dozing off only to feel a gentle nudge and "Are you still awake?" Because we're committed to our marriage. To each other.
We agree that our bodies are not our own, that to deny each other would create an open door that neither of us ever want opened (I Cor. 7:5) . So we offer ourselves freely to each other. Moving on now.
We each try to fulfill our God given roles. He works to provide for our family and how I love him for it. It's a hard job, a hard schedule.... and he does it so faithfully. He protects our family from undue outside influences, by checking for locked doors, and appeasing me during one of my stranger danger lectures that the kids probably dread by now. Likewise, I try to make our house more than bricks and sheet rock. It's our home. I care for our kids and him to the best of my ability. And when it's not taking away from my responsibilities at home, I'll work outside the home doing counseling part time to bring in extra income. Roles matter. More importantly, fulfilling the roles God has assigned for you, not the ones you want.
We also have separate and shared dreams. Mark has a dream to own his own business one day. I have a dream to write a book. Those are both great dreams and aspirations. But we also have a shared dream to one day add to our family through adoption, to take our kids on missions trips, to save up to one day travel to Hawaii and Australia. It's about dreaming together and then supporting each other through those dreams, be they shared or separate.
One of the biggest things I think has impacted our marriage is starting from day 1 with a shared bank account. You cannot operate as one if you don't have shared accounts. There is no accountability or unity and many a marriage has met its demise because of this one simple thing. It requires working together, communicating, and being responsible.
Our bank account may be smaller than a lot of peoples. We sacrifice a lot for me to be able to stay at home with our kids. But we do it together. We sacrifice together.... and you know what? We're content. I love our home. We've looked at other houses, even made offers, and I always find my way back to our home. It's small, yet roomy. It's where we've brought our kids home from the hospital, where we lost our other 2, where we've spent 12 of our 13 years of marriage. It's where we've argued and made up, where #3 and #4's memorial tree is. And you know what else? He doesn't use it against me. He's never said "If you'd just work we could have more." Never. Because life isn't about having more. It's about having each other and there's no price tag on that.
What I will say is that despite living on one income, one of the biggest ways he's looked out for our family and protected us is by being a good steward of what God has given us. We do not have debt. Our vehicles are paid for. There's no outstanding balances on credit cards, no overdraft fees or bill collectors. There's security and contentment. So husbands, if you're reading this, your wife wants you to know that one of the biggest gifts you can ever give her is financial security.
We also make a point to do things together. Since our oldest 2 kids are in school now, we try to have a weekly lunch date. It's usually something cheap and that we have a coupon for. Here lately it's been to Schlotsky's since we each won a years worth of free sandwiches. Sometimes it's simply renting a movie from Redbox and watching it together after we've put the kids to bed. But most of all, we've learned to be happy in the mundane. There are fewer places I'd rather be than curled up next to him watching TV. Now might I fall asleep there, particularly since having Emi and being up multiple times each night? Yep. But if I'm going to drift off to sleep, I pray it's always beside him.
We've also learned the art of mutual submission. I know that word makes a lot of people cringe. Let me say it again so you can get it out of your system: submission. When done correctly, it's a beautiful thing. It has nothing to do with someone being better than the other. It has nothing to do with being domineering and controlling. The Bible actually talks of mutual submission, listing Christ as the example of how He served others. Things roll so much more smoothly when we remember this. Like when I'm at work and come home to find him cooking dinner and throwing a load of laundry in. Or when he comes home from work to find the yard mowed and the trash taken out. It's about helping each other, submitting my interests for what's in the best interest of him and it's oh so beautiful when we remember that serving each other reaps benefit after benefit far exceeding anything that comes of me only worrying about me.
One of the other things we've learned is that we have to allow for each other's faults. We're two imperfect people. That can only mean that we each have faults. And poor Mark got the short end of the stick with me. I'm flawed beyond compare, flawed in more ways than I'd like to admit. I'm clumsy, I've made a career of listening but often fail to listen to what he has to say, I'm often impatient and argumentative, I can be stubborn and bull headed. He knows this and he loves me anyway. Just as I love him despite his leg shaking, leaving socks in the floor, playing devil's advocate, and his slight OCD tendencies that at times drive me bonkers. Why? Because we're in it together.
Together - for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, til death do us part.
That's meant a lot of hard times when we were broke and didn't know how we were even going to buy bread much less anything else. It's meant being out of debt and being able to help others now. It's meant caring for each other after c-sections, appendectomies, gall bladder surgery, nose surgery, carpal tunnel surgery. It's meant enjoying our health and being active together. It's meant all the good times. All the bad times. All the triumphs and joys. All the losses and heartbreaking moments of losing those we've loved. It's meant late night arguments and making up. It's meant doing life together. Hand in hand, side by side.
And there's no one else I'd rather do life with.
Here's to the past 13 years and to however many more God grants us together.
May they always be walked hand in hand with you.
And there couldn't be a more fitting song than Steven Curtis Chapman's "Together". Enjoy.
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
Mark and I have a great relationship (not to be interpreted as perfect). I realize that what we have is rare in today's society. I got to thinking of why we work so well together... what it is that has made us strong and bonded together, operating as one.
Monday, November 25, 2013
I am not SuperMom.
Whew. Now that I've gotten that little tidbit off my chest, allow me to continue.
I remember when Anna and Eli were younger and I wrote this post. One of my friends sent me a message saying "I'm glad you wrote that. I always thought you had everything together."
It broke my heart. I want to be real. I want to be honest about my struggles and the trials I face. And so, I'm not SuperMom.
Not even close.
I imagine that SuperMom has everything together at all times, with all her children.
No, I am not SuperMom.
But I am their mom.
I'm the mom who's rushing my kids out the door, saying "Hurry up, we're going to be late." I'm still in Mark's pajama pants, a t-shirt, with my hair sloppily pulled back into a ponytail, usually wearing my house shoes. I imagine SuperMom would shake her finger at me and give me a good 'tisk, tisk, you should be ashamed of yourself."
But I am not SuperMom.
I am their mom. And as their mom I have them to school on time, clean, dressed, with their lunches packed specifically how each of them like it. And on a good day, there's a special note waiting in there for them. And better yet, on extra good days, I go eat lunch with them.
I am the mom who has more on my plate than I know how to handle, yet I somehow find a way to manage it all. Whether it's having a fussy Emi in the bouncy seat, Eli in the bathtub with shaving cream, and Anna in the hallway with me sitting between them going back and forth giving them each their spelling words to practice or reading with Eli while simultaneously feeding Emi and giving Anna a lecture about her attitude, I'm there. Doing it. Managing all that has to be done. Doing reading and sight words and spelling words and sentences with Eli during Anna's volleyball practices while sitting on the cold gym floor painstakingly attempting to feed Emi carrots - re-feeding her the same bite 3 or 4 times until she gets the hang of it. But I'm there - reciting sight words, listening to Eli read Froggy Builds A Treehouse, watching Anna practice, and soaking in sweet Emi's gummy carrot smiles.
I imagine that SuperMom would have such a strict routine that the baby would've already been fed and that all homework would've already been completed before practice while having dinner on the table so everyone could eat beforehand.
But I am not her.
I am their mom. And their mom pulls it all together and gets people where they need to be when they need to be there. It's not always structured and pretty, but we get it done and have fun doing it.
I am the mom who puts on her favorite jacket, fresh out of the dryer, only to have Emi spit up all over me.... and then drop a spoonful of pureed peas on my jeans - the same pair of jeans I've been wearing for days because nothing else fits (yay!)... then walks out the door wearing those things because I just don't care anymore what people think. I'm a mom. I have kids. I should look like it. And if I don't, at this point in my life, then I'm spending entirely too much time worrying about myself and not taking care of my family.
I can only imagine that SuperMom is always put together, perfectly dressed, every hair in place, makeup impeccably applied, and that she looks down on people like me.
But I'm not her.
I'm their mom. And as their mom, I care more about making it to their games on time than appearing all put together for the sake of appearances.
I have alarms set on my phone for basically everything because if I didn't, I no doubt would forget something. I have an alarm for 6:30 that goes off every Monday - Friday alerting me to get up and get the kids ready for school. I have an alarm set for 7:15 every morning to remind me to give Eli his medicine. I have an alarm set to remind me that Anna has volleyball practice. I have an alarm to remind me that Eli has occupational therapy. I have an alarm reminding me that Eli has speech. I have one telling me not to forget Anna has volleyball games. I have another so I don't forget that Eli has speech again. And finally, I have one set for every Monday - Friday reminding me that school is about to let out and to go get the kiddos. Plus the alarm for Sundays so I can make it to church early to run through music ahead of time.
I'm sure SuperMom has an excellent memory and could juggle all of that and much more without a single pause.
But I'm not her.
I'm their mom. And their mom needs reminders to stay on top of things and to get them everywhere they need to be. And that's okay.
I'm the mom, who after Anna's volleyball practice, is walking outside with all 3 kids in tow only to find someone parked so close to the van that I can't walk in between the vehicles, much less with a car seat. I exclaimed rather annoyed "What idiot parks so close I can't even get in the van?!" and then said idiot walks out from beside her vehicle. I had to apologize to the kids when we got in the van (after climbing through from the passenger side to get Emi in her base) for saying a word I don't allow them to say.... and then spent the rest of the evening getting on to Eli for saying it.
Sure, SuperMom never would've been impatient and certainly wouldn't have called someone an idiot, especially in front of her kids.
But I'm not her.
I'm their mom. And I fail. Often. Oh so often. And I find myself apologizing to them.
I'm the mom who can't smell dirty diapers. Never have been able to. And so I rely on Anna to say "Eww!! MOM!! Emi stinks." or hope that I'm starring at her cuteness and see her making her "poopy face".
Sure, go ahead. You get the idea.... SuperMom would never need to rely on someone else to tell her. Yeah Yeah. Who cares. I'm not her.
I'm their mom. And this mom is real.
Real. Like getting frustrated because Eli has certain textures he doesn't want to wear - like sweaters. And then if it fits too snug or too loose, that bothers him too. And so getting dressed every morning is an ordeal and I find my patience waning. "Just get your clothes on!" "We're going to be late." "Why are your clothes still not on?!" "No, I don't know where your belt is." "Wherever you left it." "I'm sorry you think this sweater doesn't fit right, please put it on anyway." "Fine, just choose a shirt that doesn't bother you. Anything! I just need you dressed son!"
I'm sure SuperMom would have the perfect ideas to remedy this every morning. I'm sure all her efforts would be successful and well received.
But I'm not her and I get frustrated and discouraged and oftentimes make matters worse by trying to rush him when rushing him only creates more anxiety. There are days I just stop what I'm doing and get eye level with him and say something that I have to say often "I'm sorry. Let's start over, okay? Mommy is frustrated. You're frustrated. Let's work together. Please put on your shirt."
Apologize? Psshh. "For what?" says SuperMom. Because SuperMom never makes mistakes and certainly wouldn't become upset with her son who has Autism/Aspergers and is easily upset by things that seem insignificant and minor to the rest of us. No. Not SuperMom.
But I'm not her. And therefore I apologize and then spend a good portion of time thinking of ways that could make things easier for him.
Because I'm his mom.... their mom.
I'm the mom who wonders when I lost control of a situation. Situations like sitting in the living room reading off sight words and spelling words to Eli to spell when something like this ensues:
Me: Ok. Spell "thank".
Me: Shh. Let him do it.
Me: Ok, spell "spank"
Me: Stop touching the nativity. If you touch it again I'm going to s-p-a-n-k you.
Anna: What in the nut balls!?
Me: What on earth!? Where did you hear that? Don't ever say that aga...
Anna: What? You say nuts!
Me: *to Eli* Next word "bank". *to Anna* It's different. You can say something is nuts. You cannot say nut balls.
Me: Move away from the nativity!
Anna: But why is it different?
Me: It just is. Don't ever say it again!
Me: No. Only one "n", b-a-n-k. Not b-a-n-n-k.
I'm fairly sure that SuperMom would never have a kid pick something up from school and say something inappropriate. And certainly if they ever did, her look would immediately relay the message never to do it again.
But I'm not SuperMom.
I'm their mom. And while I have the look that gets them in line, I'm also just real. Life happens in this home and we take those instances and turn them into teaching moments. Whether it's a legitimate sit down conversation or in the midst of the back and forth of homework, we use them to teach Biblical truths - truths like "do not let any unwholesome talk proceed from your mouth." No, I'm not her, but that's okay.
I'm the mom engrossed in dirty diapers and spit up, letting the kids stay up late for movie and popcorn night, who reluctantly let them have pet chickens (don't ask), who cleans up cat vomit on the bathroom mat and lets them have and decorate their own Christmas trees, who takes them for treats for good grades and plays the piano to lull them to sleep.
No. I'm not SuperMom. But it's okay. Everything doesn't have to be perfect and all together. There's beauty in the chaos and I'm learning that more and more.
I'm busy painting pink rooms with trees and owls and birds and then a camo room with all things hunting, John Deere, and outdoorsy. I'm stepping on Lego pieces and swimming in a sea of tiny socks and other clothing accumulating in the laundry. I'm doing homework, reading with my kids, getting up at 3am to feed Emi, and praying over meals as a family.
But I'm also often impatient. I'm not structured enough. I forget things. I find myself rushing a lot to make it on time everywhere we need to be. I'm the mom with a hungry baby only to discover I made it out the door with bottles and water but not the formula. I say things I shouldn't. I get in a tizzy over things that won't matter one bit tomorrow. But you know what? I love my family. My love isn't perfect, but it's what I have to offer and I offer it freely.
No. I'm not SuperMom. And that's okay.
It truly is.
You know why? Because I know a little secret:
God hand picked me to be their mom.
And since he chose me out of billions upon billions of other people to be the mom to our sweet kiddos, I have to believe that He has also equipped me to be to each of them what each one needs.
Therefore, I don't need to be SuperMom.
I just need to be their mom to the best of my ability.
And Lord willing, I pray I won't fail them.
Posted by Phoebe at 5:00 AM
Friday, September 27, 2013
I remember being a little girl dreaming of the day I'd be an adult. I had this picture in my mind of what life would be like. I'd be happily married to the most handsome man ever. A man that was kind and compassionate, funny, a leader, and who fervently loved Christ and His church. I would be thin and fit, contemporary and stylish. I would work doing something fun, although I dreamed of being a counselor but just didn't want to go to college. I would have 4 kids who were perfectly behaved and excelled in everything. I'd be a soccer mom, a baseball mom, a football mom, and a perfect wife. I'd be patient and understanding. I'd live close to my family and we'd get together every Sunday for lunch after church.
I had this picture.
Life doesn't typically turn out how we dream it to be. Sure, we can try to make these things a reality, and there's nothing necessarily wrong with that. However, at some point, I've found that I have to let go of that picture and embrace the puzzle pieces God grants me at different times in my life.
A lot of my dreams have come true. I'm married to my prince charming - my tall, dark, and handsome knight in shining armor. He's kind and compassionate, makes me laugh all the time, he leads our family and loves Christ and the church. He loves me. He loves our children. He's faithful and honest. He has integrity. He works and provides for our family. He's been through a lot of ups and downs with me and it's drawn us all the closer. Sure, there've been times I've wanted to give him a good kick in the pants. I'd be lying if I said otherwise. Marriage isn't always roses and sunshine. But it's what you do in those moments that define you. And I choose to be defined by the commitment and love we have for each other. I look back at some of those moments and find them comical - like our argument over who was going to get up to let the dog out in the middle of the night or when we were fighting over turning the air on in the van because I was hot and he wasn't.
I had a picture but only part of it is there.
I'm not thin. I'm not fit. I'm not stylish and contemporary. I'm not working full time. I don't have 4 kids and the 3 I have are certainly not perfectly behaved nor do they excel in everything. I'm not a perfect wife and mom. I'm not always patient or understanding. I don't live close to my family or have Sunday lunches every week.
I had a picture but part of it is missing.
There are parts of my life portrait that I never imagined.
I never imagined arguing with my husband. Yet on occasion we do. I never thought I was impatient until we had kids and that quickly changed. I never thought I wanted to be a homemaker. Truthfully, the thought of it was at one time repulsive to me. I never thought I'd be more than 15-20 minutes away from my family, yet I'm over 2 hours away.
There are parts of my picture for which I was never prepared.
I never imagine sitting in a doctor's office being told we may never be able to have children on our own without some form of medical intervention. I wasn't prepared to hear that, come home and tell my husband and then spend the rest of the day crying because my dreams had just been shattered. I wasn't prepared.
I never thought about miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies. Those were just statistics that happened to other people. And now I'm all too acquainted with each of them. I wasn't going to be the woman that people looked on with pity, that they avoided because they didn't know what to say to me. I wasn't going to be her. That wasn't part of my picture.
But it was part of the picture God has for me.
I didn't think I'd be the mom of a son with Asperger's/Autism and a sensory processing disorder, yet I proudly am. I always looked at those moms as super heroes - people God had granted an extra dose of grace and dedication while looking at myself as someone who would never be equipped to raise a child with a disability. Yet I'm doing it and finding that He daily grants me that grace and dedication that I've witnessed in other moms in my situation. This wasn't part of my picture.
But it was part of His.
My picture is far different than I had ever imagined. Yet as God hands me each piece of the puzzle, He hands me a glimpse into His perfection and His bigger picture for my life.
I didn't want to move away from my family, yet here I am. And looking back, it was one of the best decisions we ever made. Sure, it's been hard. I miss my family. And now that we have 3 kids running around, I miss having help. But being away from them taught us to depend on each other and because of that we're all the stronger.
I didn't want to go to college - now here I am with two college degrees. Two degrees in counseling. Two degrees that enabled me to see signs in my son at an early age and allowed me to work with him to ensure that he was diagnosed correctly and can now receive the treatments he needs.
Piece by piece, the puzzle is coming together.
I didn't want to deal with infertility, yet we did. And through it, God showed us that it's not always what the doctors think, but rather what He has ordained for our lives. And he has blessed us with 5 children (3 living, 2 in heaven). And although I didn't want to be a statistic, (1 in 4 that experience pregnancy loss), I'm more understanding, can relate to so many people, and have been able to use my experiences to minister to others.
God didn't completely rework my picture. I still got my handsome hubby. I'm a mom five times over. I even get to be a soccer mom. I'm a counselor (although incredibly part time). And although I don't have weekly Sunday lunches with my family, I'm still incredibly close to them and enjoy going home to visit.
Sure, my picture is different. It's not what I had imagined for my life.
But He's shown me time and time again that it's picture perfect.
And alas, it is.
Posted by Phoebe at 10:55 PM
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
It's been one week since baby girl was born. A lot can happen in a week. Ups and downs. Ups and downs. My new motto has become "it's been 1 day" or you know, however many days it's been. It's gotten me through a lot over the past 7 days. I presume it'll be the same for the weeks ahead.
It kind of began the opposite way around. As a countdown. Only 10 more days! 5 more days and we couldn't be happier! ONE.
And then came the day. I was inwardly a nervous wreck. I didn't hardly sleep at all. We went to bed at 12:45 that morning and I slept from 1:00 - 2:15. After laying in bed, restless, anxious, fearful, and excited, I got up at 3:40 and began getting ready for the hospital.
Only a few more hours and she'll be here. Hang in there.
The anxiety grew as the time approached to leave for the hospital. And as we got there, I thought I might throw up.
Only a few more steps, Phoebe. One foot in front of the other.
And there we were, checked in and getting prepped for baby girl to make her arrival. Satan is good at finding our weak spots and using them against us. Even amidst all the excitement (and there was a lot), I was fearful.
What if something happens? Why can't they find her heartbeat? What if something is wrong with her. Why am I sitting in this holding room answering the same questions 6 different times to 6 different people? Father, I'm so scared.
And there it came. His still small voice, saying:
I have not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. II Tim. 1:7
And thus I began saying this to myself over, and over, and over. And then there we were. In the operating room, prepped and ready, and Mark walked in. I always love that moment because Im always waiting and looking for him. And he's always so handsome as he walks in in his scrubs with a big smile on his face. He sat beside me and asked "How are you doing?" I said "Ok" and he said "You look like you're doing a lot better than before."
And my heart smiled a little at how powerful Scripture is in the lives of those willing to use it.
It's an odd feeling going through surgery being awake and knowing that within a few minutes you're about to go from a mom of 4 (2 living, 2 in Heaven) to a mom of 5. It's exciting. It's scary. It's a blessing.
And as they tugged and pulled to get her out and she cried her first cry, tears streamed down my face because of His faithfulness. I could hear Mark talking to her, cutting her umbilical cord, and all the staff talking about her thick head of hair and guessing at how much she would weigh in. But her cry. Her precious, glorious cry. It was powerful. It was loud. It was healthy. And as Mark helped get her cleaned up and walked her over to me, my heart rejoiced at seeing her sweet face, at knowing her crying stopped as Mark talked to her and brought her to me, and all I wanted to do was touch my sweet girl. And what do you know? For the first time in 3 c-sections, they unstrapped my arms and let me touch her.
And so it began.
It's only been minutes and I'm so in love with her.
I want to see her. When can I leave recovery?
It's only been 30 minutes, Phoebe.
Ok. I'll be more patient.
And as the time went by, that's how life has become for me.
The pain doesn't seem that bad.
It's only been 3 hours and you're on morphine. Don't get too excited.
Oh my goodness. The pain is horrible.
It's only been 6 hours. It'll get better. Give it time.
She seems to sleep a lot more than she should.
She was just born and she has a touch of jaundice. She'll be more alert soon.
Anna and Eli seem to be doing really well adjusting.
They're going to have their moments. Don't assume it's all going to be cheer-i-o.
My sister is going back home after being with us for 4 days, helping out with Anna and Eli, with stuff around the house. How are we ever going to make it? I just want to cry.
It's okay, Phoebe. It's been 4 days. You'll get the hang of it.
Anna thinks I love Emilee more and don't have time for her anymore. Eli refuses to talk to me after returning from staying the night with friends and announces he doesn't want to hold the "dumb mean baby anymore". And my heart breaks at all the failures and trials that lay ahead, at the task of being a mom to 3 and not just the 2 that were basically raised as twins with all of my attention.
It's been 4 days. Everyone is adjusting. Give them time.
Nothing fits. I still look 5 months pregnant. These pants show my belly rolls. And so I'll have a meltdown and cry in the bathroom because of trying to find something to wear to Emilee's first doctor's visit. And so it came.
It's been 5 days. Give it time. It took 9 months to gain it, you won't lose it in 5 days. Give yourself a break.
I feel overwhelmed and inadequate to be the mom of these 3 kiddos. And Satan creeps in reminding me of my 'failures' - of my inability to do for my family as I would like because of recovering from surgery. And that present inability seems like it will be permanent even though I know it won't. I've been down this road before. I know better. Yet the emotions come and I find myself crying on the couch, feeling overwhelmed at the task before me.
It's only been 5 days. 5 days. 5 days.
And as I ventured out to run a few errands with the family, I found myself frustrated at how tired and sore I still am. Embarrassed at Eli loudly asking me in the middle of Kroger if "your boobs have milk yet". And for the record, no they don't. And yes, I feel like a failure for something out of my control. At Emilee screaming at the top of her lungs in the van, at my inability to climb back there to help, at Anna trying to calm her down, and at Eli covering his ears, rocking and humming because it upset him. At going to Open House for Anna and Eli and forgetting important papers for Eli's teacher. At people asking how many weeks old Emilee is and me having to correct them with 6 days. I'm hormonal and everything is out of whack. And so the emotions came and I cried over dinner.
It's been 6 days. Only 6 days. It gets better and easier. Hang in there.
I worry every time I put her to bed at night if and when she'll wake up. I worry that the 2 am feeding might be the last. That the kisses and snuggles I give her as I lay her back down may be my last with her. And I cry out to God begging Him to take the fear away. And He always responds:
I have not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. II Tim. 1:7
And He hasn't. I know this is from Satan. And perhaps it's hard for some of you to understand the level of fear for us moms who've lost babies before. All I can say is that it's real and it's hard to relinquish because I've waited so long to have her in our arms, just as I anticipated with #3 and #4 and it never came. I've watched my friends bury their babies, worked with others who grieve the loss of their babies, and have experienced a similar loss twice over. It's real.
But it's also from Satan.
And so it's been 6 days and I still worry. It's been 6 days and I'm fighting back and letting go.
I woke up this morning to realize that baby girl is already a week old and wondered where the time has gone. And in that thought came the realization that I've spent a week worrying instead of living and loving to the fullest.
It's been7 days and piece by piece, I'm letting it go.
I'm laughing at Eli's crush on a young lady from church. I'm laughing at how excited he got when her and her husband brought us dinner tonight. I'm getting excited that I did the dishes today and cooked lunch (including shucking corn) and managed to do a load of laundry as well.
It's been 7 days and I'm feeling better. I'm resting in His goodness and provision.
I'm holding our sweet Emilee more and worrying less about her being spoiled. I'm soaking up her sweet baby smell and Jack Nicholson hair, her hiccups and whimpers and the longest baby toes ever.
It's been 7 days and God has been and always will be faithful.
It's getting a good report at the doctor and seeing the scale drop 20 lbs from this time last week. Only 6 more to go to pre-pregnancy weight, although everything is shifted and not at all like before, but alas, it's progress.
It's been 7 days and there's light around the corner.
I'm soaking up sweet Anna snuggles and kisses. Enjoying how she loves being a big sister and wants to do everything possible to help out. I'm basking in how Eli loves giving Emilee kisses and has nicknamed her "Kitty".
It's been 7 days and things are kinda normal.
It's been 7 days. 7 days of His faithfulness and provision. 7 days of Him revealing His goodness. 7 days of Him carrying me through the many ups and downs.
It's been 7 days. 7 hard days. 7 gloriously wonderful days. 7 days as a family of 5.
7 days of faithfulness and healing.
It's been 7 days and I'm so in love.
I'm smitten with her. Smitten with Anna and Eli. Smitten at God's provision through losing #3 and #4. Madly in love, smitten with my husband who has handled everything like a champ.
It's been 7 days.
But He's always been faithful.
Posted by Phoebe at 10:17 PM
Friday, August 02, 2013
There's a question that lingers in my mind. It has for over a month now. And it's completely random yet plum full of meaning. Meaning I haven't wanted to digest. Truthfully, I don't know that I want to at this point either. Yet here we are.
Why haven't you washed the bottles for Emilee, why are they still in the box sitting on the counter?
I know the answer. I knew it the first time I asked myself it. I knew it today when Mark asked me why they haven't been washed yet, seeing as how delivery is a maximum of 5 days away. It's a question answered with a question. The same question my kids often ask me.
What if she doesn't make it?
They're not cheap. We could return them.... you know, in case something happens.
It's the same reason everything we've been given still has a tag on it.
And lest you think I'm odd, I'm willing to bet I'm not alone in this place. I'm (unwillingly) part of a group of women who've lost their babies, who've watched their friend's bury their babies, and whose kids are all too acquainted with death.
It's a reality. We've lost 2 babies. My kids know this. My best friend lost her 34 day old son, Jackson. Our good friends lost their son, Wade, 4 days before his scheduled delivery. It's life. It's real. And it's part of who I am. I see life through this filter, although I wish I didn't.
And it lingers. The thought. The fear. The panic.
What if something happens?
5 days. 5 days. Actually like 4 1/2 at this point, but who's counting?
When we were told 7 weeks ago that she was measuring 4 weeks ahead, I was relieved.
Good, maybe that means she'll come early! Oh please oh please oh please!
Less time for me to worry and fret over her well being.
And a week went by, then another, and another, and now here we are just 5 days away from her scheduled delivery.
Her size is large, no doubt. They estimated her to be 5 lbs. 11 oz seven (yes 7) weeks ago. She's so large that I'm considered high risk now and monitored very closely, having non-stress tests every single week I go in. Her movement has decreased because she's, no doubt, crowded. And so now I have to keep up with her movements, making sure she moves every 3-4 hrs and if she doesn't then I have to drink something sweet and count movements for the following 2 hrs. It's tiresome, not because it's hard, but because it's emotionally draining.
Draining, like waking up at 3:30 in the morning realizing I hadn't felt her move in 4 hrs. Draining, like drinking orange juice and laying back down to count movements. Draining, like waking Mark up and beginning to panic because she wouldn't move. Draining, taking 45 minutes to get her to move just once. Then 10 more minutes to get her to move another time.
And then Satan creeps in like he always does, echoing lies that God can't be trusted. Reminding me of the times we lost #3 and #4. The times I petitioned God, begged on their behalf, only to be answered with "no." There are reminders everywhere - living within my memories, sitting as a memory candle on my dresser, in the questions of my kids. And in those dark moments of despair, fearing the worst, it would be easy to listen to the lies. But I refuse.
I refuse to believe that God isn't good and that He hasn't been faithful.
Because He has.
I can't tell you the number of times I just wanted to feel her move and would begin praying that God would let her kick or roll and before the words could ever leave my mouth, she would begin moving. Scripture has come to life in those moments with these words echoing ever true.
Posted by Phoebe at 9:20 PM