Sunday, July 13, 2014

I have a birth story coming - I promise.

For now, I will say this.

Suzy is a delight. As she would know, because I say this often, she's -

A little cutie pie,
apple of my eye,
little Suzy Rose,
the sweetest, I suppose,
my favorite little girl,
my favorite in the world,
a true gift from above,
gives Daddy so much love,
we love her much, it's true,
a joy to live with you.
Now, time for nigh' nigh'.  Yeah, 
go nigh' nigh'.  :) 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

almost done, one way or another!

41+1 going on 41+2.

I am tired, and it's 11:05, but I want to document this.

I'm a week and a day late, going on a week and 2 days late.  It's incredible to say that, knowing that it means that I have a baby in me and knowing that it's not wondering if this child is going to happen, but when.

So this is how it has all gone:

1. I couldn't have had a better experience with this pregnancy - physically speaking.  I feel good even at this time, with the only discomfort being the process of my hips widening and the ever present after 5 pm heart burn.  Tums are my friends, but a word to the wise: get the mint ones, not the fruity kinds.

I didn't get sick, nor did I have any ailments that could have landed me in the hospital or on bedrest.  I fully expected those things, so I'm quite thankful they didn't happen.  That all to say, I knew that at any moment they could, and so that's why I'm thankful. 

2. Emotionally speaking, it was up and down in the beginning.  The first trimester I was definitely feeling the preggo craze, but by 2nd semester I was significantly more relaxed.  Thankfully that lasted through the 3rd trimester, because it was a really busy time.

3. Luck - sheer luck (or providence, although it's a bit random in its application from person to person).  I had less than a half dozen people touch my belly unsolicited during this time.  How about that!  And those who did - they were my family.  Definitely better than strangers, but still weird when you only usually get hugs instead of two hands jostling around your abdomen.

4. Loved - I have been super thankful for all of the support from family.  They have provided so much humor, care, and generosity this whole time.  My friends have been really great, too, especially with the notes from those far away and the help from those here.  My husband has been awesome - level-headed, up for participating and learning, and overall a huge encouragement.  Finally I have been so thankful to God for all He has given us through these relationships and his own providential blessing. 

5. Well, I'm about to head to the hospital soon, as it turns out, and hopefully this baby is on her way.  Additionally, I hope that everything goes well and that we can actually figure out a name! :)

Sunday, December 29, 2013

What I've learned, observed, and still don't know.

I'm pregnant, and people are excited, including me.  There are a lot of things I've reflected upon during these last 32 weeks (as of tomorrow), so here it goes - a veritable smattering of thoughts and reflections.


   Having gone through infertility for 3.5 years really did a number on me, as it would on anyone.  I wish it were easy to explain, but I don't think that it's possible.  Getting pregnant was a total shock; when you try for so long you end up eventually expecting pregnancy not to happen. 

   After becoming a bit bitter and very numb last year toward the whole process, I was late in February of '12.  Since my body was working like an alarm clock, I have plenty of indication that occurrence was a miscarriage, not just a fluke hormonal change, and that brought my whole self-created armor to shatter.  I hadn't cried like I did that month since my dad had died, because that's when I started to feel a little bit of hope and excitement again. 

   Something else I have reflected upon is the advice I was given during those years.  There's an internet meme or chart or something out there that marks off all the conflicting tips that people can give to women (and men!) who are trying to have a baby. 

   Frankly, the only thing that any assortment of tips or approaches that an attempt to make a baby have in common is sex, so telling someone to do jumping jacks while drinking squash juice and relax but not too much may not work for everyone!

   I will say this, so it's not so long: the best thing anyone can do is to listen, to pray for the couple to be encouraged and to find peace, and to let them know they are not alone.  It also doesn't hurt to tell them to keep going, but that needs to come sensitively, especially if they decide that the journey is done for them, which can include natural childbirth, medically assisted childbirth, or adoption. 

   The last thing that I want to say for now about infertility is this: life still happens, and if this is a time for you or someone you know to go through childlessness, I encourage you to consider what goals you want to achieve that don't have to do with a baby and go for them.  I got so conflicted about pursuing anything because I always struggled with what I would do if I got pregnant.  Never did I think, "Oh, I will go for said goal, and then I can always choose to stop if a baby comes along."  So if you're stuck waiting for something that you truly desire, see what else around you can be done and go for that for now - I wish I had!

Pregnancy Journey:

    So far this pregnancy has been about as good as it possibly could be - physically speaking.  I am very thankful to say that I haven't had any morning sickness, no gestational diabetes, and only the normal aches and pains  and physical changes that come with a human growing inside you and gaining 30+ pounds. 

    Emotionally and mentally, it's been fairly normal based on what I have read.  People talk about pregnancy brain, and I guess there's some merit to it.  For me, I forget things like crazy now, and I don't immediately care.  Both of those things are opposite of the usual for me.  Usually I never use a planner because I just don't need it, and usually when I do forget or lose something, I fret so much that I could benefit from a sedative.  That all to say, I have yet to lose my wedding rings, money, or things like that.  What I do forget, and it significantly bugs me, are people's names - people I've known for a few years even. 

     To the emotional side, I definitely am more tearful than before, but I am still struggling with the emotional issues that were there before I ever got pregnant.  When my word-less-ness came back last fall (a symptom of greef for me - losing my thoughts and words mid-sentence), blaming it on the pregnancy was easy for a lot of people, and it kept me from having to explain why it was happening.
     I have really struggled with depression and loneliness this past fall, and I can both attribute that to the hormonal changes but also attribute it to the very stressful events that have happened.  Much of October and November was difficult for me because I had lost the regularity with which I met my friends last year, because my husband and I were significantly busier with work and school than we had planned, and because we hit some financial burdens that really shouldn't have happened (oh insurance, how fun).

    The Christmas season has been good for me and John.  It's been wonderful to get away for a while, to come home and relax together, and to start to get excited about this baby girl coming into our lives.  Our pregnancy class that we took mid-December was great - and all weekend long - and we are much more ready to get this labor going.  I'm still scared to death of it, but I really do feel better about it than I had in the beginning.  Also, it was cool to see so many other couples who were at about the same point as we are.  I will say this, though: a lot of future great-aunts, regular aunts, grandmas, and a grandpa decided, for the first time in their lives, that my stomach was worth manhandling.

Pregnancy Thoughts, Observations, and Things I Still Don't Know:

1. I wish Lake County, IL people were more warm and open, but boy am I glad that almost no one has tried to touch my stomach!
2. Everyone has an opinion about everything, and a lot of times they are simply opinions.  That is why I have stayed far and away from nearly everything on the internet aside from some articles on WebMD, Mayo Clinic, and the NorthShore University Medical System website to set up appointments.
3. What to Expect When You're Expecting is a great book - even-handed, very informative, and intelligent.  I started reading some other book that told me that swimming in any freshwater lake or stream should be totally avoided during pregnancy (the horror!!).  I went back to What to Expect the next day. 

4. I haven't gotten a flu shot, and I won't.  The vaccine only covers one or two strains of the flu, and I don't desire to inject a scientific chance into my body that may do nothing against a virus I have been quite naturally resistant to over the last 15 years.  That to say...

5. I will likely get the tetanus/whooping cough vaccine, particularly because that directly affects my baby both pre- and post-birth.  I can handle a bad cough, but I'm afraid she won't be able to.

6. Enough with the serious stuff for a bit - my cravings have included chocolate, chocolate chip cookies, cheese, and beer.  Don't freak out, I haven't had a lager in a good long time.
  What I've been adverse to is smoked anything, bitter vegetables and fruits (usually the fruits aren't fresh when they are bitter), and anything remotely bad-tasting (to me).  I accidentally took some oyster stuffing at Thanksgiving and almost had to leave the table after I took a bite.
  Frankly, I'm obsessed with food right now, but I promise I won't steal anything of yours. I will certainly ask about it, though!

7.  We call our baby "Brunhilde" right now, and that's because a. we don't have a name picked out, b. all the names that I have liked have either become popular or aren't mutually appreciated (for good reason) in this family, and c. we aren't announcing it until the baby arrives.  Some people are very right that anyone will tell you their opinion about a name pre-baby, but are more likely to be quiet post-baby.

8. Speaking of which, anyone will give you their opinion about pregnancy, period.  I'm sorry to all of you who heard anything from me that wasn't actually truthful or asked for and was particularly unhelpful. 

9. Horror stories from the delivery room are not helpful to the pregnant woman.

10. My belly band on my maternity jeans indents my stomach a little bit when I wear them.  I hope that isn't harmful to the baby - does anyone know if it is?

11. My husband is going to be a great dad, I wish my father was around to be the wonderful grandpa that he would have been, and I hope and pray that my child learns to love God with all her heart, soul, mind, and strength. 

If you got to the bottom of this, good job!  Go enjoy a chocolate chip cookie - I know I would!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thanks 29 & 30

29 - I'm so thankful for God's provision, protection, and everything that He is.   I'm thankful that he has given us a life worth living, an eternal destination worth hoping for, and himself.  He is a blessing beyond full comprehension, yet we can know enough about him for us to genuinely worship him with our whole hearts, souls, minds, and strength.

30 - My husband, who I am so thankful for, lives out God's love everyday.  The best.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanks - 27 & 28

27 - Yesterday we had a long drive, and I am thankful that
A. We made it to John's place safely,
B. Our car didn't break down (a legit concern these days), and
C. Arthur's Garden Deli in Rock Falls, IL, was open the evening before Thanksgiving - so fresh and so tasty and so reasonably priced!

28 - Today I am thankful for family, both my own and that from which my husband comes. Also, I am thankful for Belly Bands and the way they help keep my pants up post turkey and pie.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanks - 10-26

Its been a tough month in a lot of ways, and,
it's been hard to be thankful.

I've felt convicted about that, since not being thankful
is a source of pride to a degree.
This is mainly because there is at least one thing to always be thankful for -
the Triune God -
and from Him the incredible small and big blessings He gives.
So, without further ado, here is a catch-up thankful list.

10 - I'm thankful for the U.S. veterans and the sacrafice they make for our country.  Yes, they get paid, but we ask far more from them than what money could ever buy, and they volunteer to give it. 

11 - I'm thankful for the trinity wives small-group discussion I had on this night.  It was really interesting to hear what everyone had to say from Colossians 3, and it was exciting to see our leader for that night take an innovative approach to her lesson.

12 - Tuesday nights are our free nights, so it's nice to come home and not do a whole lot instead of getting ready to go to the next thing. 

13 - I'm thankful for the example my professor described about caring for others on this night.  He grew up with a troubled, distant, alcoholic father.  So, at a young age and in light of this situation, my professor was invited by his church pastor to his church's father-son breakfast.  He set an example of love, of leadership, and of personal and meaningful commitment to the church family.

14 - We had a prospective student from the Phillipines visit our campus this past week.  On this day he would have fully landed back home to search for his family.  I'm thankful that he got there, and I hope that he found the people he was looking for.

15 - I'm thankful for the good medical team at Mayo Clinic who helped take care of an urgent situation that a member of my family faced.  The person is alright, but I want to keep it private on here since it's not my personal story.  Thankfully, though, the team at Mayo is (very) good at what they do and don't leave people stranded.

16 - we had an unexpected free weekend starting on this day, so I will say that I'm thankful that we got a full two mornings together, starting Saturday the 16th!

17 - Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies.

18 - I'm thankful that we stayed safe from the storms that hit Illinois, and I'm thankful for the kind and thoughtful support that has been going to the communities hit by the worst of it.

19 - I'm thankful for all of the friends I have made at TEDS, and I wish I could see them more often. 

20 - Class was really great on this night, but probably the funnest part of it was sitting next to the husband of one of the women I did bible study with last year.  He's a plain-spoken guy from Kansas with a sharp-as-a-tack mind for apologetics and theology.  On top of that, he's 22 and puts me to shame when it comes to this stuff.  Let's say I'm quite thankful that we exchange notes each week!

21 - Today in the office we talked about movies and music and other pop culture - all with our boss leading the discussion.  It was great.

22 - FRIDAY, and the day my mom came to visit.  It was nice introducing her to my coworkers and having her drive me home while we waited for John to get off of work. Also, the look she had when she saw my pregnant belly was pretty great.

23 - I got to see my sister this day and my mom went on a cleaning frenzy in my house.  I can't help but be thankful for that!

24 - On Sunday we said goodbye to our campus pastor and his wife.  He is such a caring, pastoral leader, and we hope that he and his wife are blessed in their next steps in ministry.

25 - Oh Monday - well, I'm thankful for the small but in-depth small group meeting we had last night, and I'm also so, so thankful that the end of this workday meant the end of the first half of my Thanksgiving work-week!

26 - And yes, it's Tuesday again, and I'm so glad that I had tonight off and that I don't work tomorrow!  Finally, I'm thankful that my baby is strong enough to kick this laptop that sits atop my belly.

That's it and that's all for now.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Day of Thanks - #9

Today I got to hang out with a bunch of women from all parts of the world - Australia, China, Indonesia, and South Korea.  I also got to spend time with women who are from all over the country as well as one who is also from Minnesota with a primarily German heritage. 

We talked about what holidays are like at our homes and in our respective countries, and we also talked about what life is like for us here at seminary.  It was awesome to be able to connect with people from other cultures as well as share the foods and teas that we have grown up with. 

I'm super thankful to be at a place where I can talk with people from other parts of the world nearly every day, and I hope this opportunity continues throughout the rest of my life!