One Year Ago Today: A Phone Call That Changed Things

One year ago today, The Bull got a phone call that changed our immediate and long term plans.  It was an Alaska State Trooper and he was wondering why Four Young Adults had my camera and The Bull’s prescription drugs.  There was no reason for them to have had them.  Turns out these Four Young Adults had been in our home, unauthorized, and helped themselves to some of our things.  Nothing of great value; mainly sentimental things.  A camera that The Bull’s dad had taken pics with when the kids were young; things our dads had given to us; trinkets given to us by people long since passed away.  Clif bars and polished stones.

The Four Young Adults were arrested 22 June. One young man appears to be a career criminal with a rap sheet as long as my arm.  Two others have a pretty good start on their life of crime: a young man and a young lady.  (To be honest, she has been a defendant in several of her cases.)  The fourth is a young lady who seemed to have a promising future; a Google search shows awards and honor roll listings and no prior offenses.  Both young ladies had young daughters.  The Bull attended their arraignment.  One of the young ladies was crying, wondering who would take care of her daughter.

Most posted bail and were out of jail within a week or two.  We were still not sure why they picked our house to rob and burglarize, or if they would return.  The stolen and recovered items would be returned to us; we hoped soon.  But the broken and missing things we only had hopes of getting money back.

Needless to say, this added to my already high anxiety level with being pregnant with unusual symptoms after miscarrying.  How do you tell the kids that no, someone wouldn’t be interested in stealing their toys when thieves broke in and carried off board games?!

You would think that this would be a quick ordeal as the persons were caught red handed.  Oh No Not At All.  The Grand Jury trial was within the month, but their court dates were pushed back again and again, month after month.

In October we spent substantial time trying to place values on our belongings.  How do you estimate the value of something purchased brand new for a small fortune in 1970, a family treasure, that now can only be purchased used for about a hundred bucks?  How do you value a hand made, one of a kind item made by someone now deceased?  Items that you weren’t even sure how many you had?  The restitution is only allowed to be actual purchase price as proven by receipts or actual replacement value.

All Four Young Adults finally made Plea Agreements in January/ February of this year.  You would think that this would end the ordeal.  Oh No Not At All.  We still had to wait to be allowed to claim our stolen property.  (We finally got our items back on 9 June 2011.)

Then there is the matter of restitution for the items that were damaged or disposed of (including The Bull’s father’s camera.)  Part of the Plea Agreements was that we would receive from these Four Young Adults money to replace these items.  If nothing else, we figured we would get our due in October 2011 when their Alaska Permanent Fund Dividends would be garnished.

The matter is concluded, right?  Oh No Not At All.  Last Friday we were informed that one of these Four Young Adults (Mr. Career Criminal) is contesting the restitution.  The Bull needs to rearrange his work schedule to take substantial time off to make a 3 hour drive, one way, to take to the court paperwork that they have already been given and testify.

Where is the justice?????  We have been wronged and yet the courts allow these criminals to continue to delay justice.  I am SO frustrated right now I want to scream!!

Sweet Thoughts on a Sunday

On Friday I was looking up the kids’ names in a baby name book.  (We named them after people who have been important in our lives, or people we like, not based on the name’s meaning.)    I looked up our little baby girl’s name, although I already knew what it meant.

What I didn’t know was that her name is a symbol for victory!  It struck me as being wonderfully significant–a victory of having, holding a baby after losing one in miscarriage.

That would have been enough, but there’s more. . .

Saturday morning the girls and I left to run a few errands.  There on the radio was one of my favorite songs, “Redeemer,” by Nicole C. Mullen.

A few lines popped out at me.  In an audio sense I mean. :)

“The very same God that spin things in orbit
runs to the weary, the worn, and the weak
and the same gentle hands that hold me when I’m broken
they conquered death to bring me victory!”

And I know that this song is talking about the LORD’S victory over death and sin that we celebrate every Easter. . . but on a personal level, it is a lovely realization that He conquered death in my life (miscarriage) and brought me Victory (Calf #5.)

It had been a long, rough pregnancy last year and the fear of miscarrying again was huge.  Add to that scary symptoms that I’d not experienced in other pregnancies and a boatload of family difficulties and changes.  I am so grateful for this little Victory Girl and for a sweet little realization.

This Is The End . . .

. . . of the year.  Goodbye 2010.  Hello 2011!  Please be good to us, I beg of you!!

Remember this commercial . . . .

Or this one?

We loved these, though I preferred the ballet one. :)

This week I have read two blog postings of hope and ideas and words for 2011 and I liked both of them.  So I’m going to do my own Miller Lite-type combining.  If that’s ok and not a copyright infringement, anyway.  ;)

From the first, I get these words of wisdom:

I desecrate now when I dismiss it in my push for the next. There are snowflakes sticking to the glass of the window.Right there at the table’s edge I can see them clustering together, piling, melding on the pane. I almost missed it.

I miss living this moment because my head’s already moved into the next moment — the one that isn’t even here yet — and when I am not in this moment but trying to shove into a moment that doesn’t even exist — I miss out on living at all. I may bodily be in this space but I am not even alive.

Could I be walking through the years but not even be alive?

She goes on to talk about the pushing ahead to fear, the worry of what is to come.  Staying grounded in the here helps one to enjoy the moment and not get too upset about the what is to come.  Or should I say, what may be to come?

It strikes me that our LORD calls Himself  “I AM,” not “I WILL BE.”

(Nor does He call Himself “I WAS,” but that is somewhere I am not yet willing to go. . . the regrets and pain of the past have been huge for me and I can’t yet deal  with many of these.)

And He knows how much I am filled with fear over what may happen.  I spend far too much time planning and fearing the future.  I find myself miserable and afraid over things that,  honestly, may never happen.

On another level, I spend much time trying to get to the future.  There are so many items on the “to do” list that the loved ones often get pushed aside.  Sadly, these little people with whom I’ve been blessed, the very ones for whom I am often doing the “to do” list, are the ones who suffer.

No I can’t play a game with you, I am washing the dishes and making dinner.

No I can’t read you a book, I have to get the laundry into the washer.

No I can’t help with your chores, I am busy with my own chores.

No I can’t make you cocoa or play Legos with you or hug you or take the time to listen to your stories. I am too busy.

Sad, so terribly sad.  Calf #5 may be the one to teach me what I already know and have preached for nearly a decade.  These children grow up so quickly that I don’t want to miss a moment of their young lives.  But I somehow find myself missing their milestones all the time.  All three of the older calves first turned from their tummy to their back at a few months of age–and each time I was in the kitchen when it happened!

I don’t want to wait until tomorrow to start this.  Today I helped #3 put the silverware away.  This was her chore for the day and really, how hard can it be to put 50 pieces of flatware into the drawer?  And yet, she’s only three and a half.  Until a few weeks ago she didn’t know what “silverware” was, so when I asked her to put the silverware away she started stacking up the children’s plastic cups.

It took maybe two or three minutes of my time to help her.  I had other things I needed to do–feed the baby, eat my own breakfast, take a shower.  But I made myself stop and work with her.  I like to think that it helped her more than just getting the spoons and forks and knives to their proper places, that working together with her mama and not feeling the loneliness and despair of having to do something beyond her abilities all by her small self was good.

Two minutes.

The second post offers a prayer, and one little line of it stood out to me.

You’ve gone to measurable lengths in the last year to show me how the enemy of my soul operates in one specific area: he can’t block You from blessing Your children so he tries to block Your children from enjoying it.

Gulp.

See why I tacked this one with the first?  I get so caught up in the what is next that the now disappears.  And I rarely enjoy the blessing of now because I’m stuck on the difficulties of life.

We have had many good, difficult, rough times these past few years.  Lots of change, lots of stress, lots of hard things.

I’m learning, much like others who have gone before me, that the joy and pain of life is linked.  Rarely do we have one without the other.

(I’ve not yet read that book, by the way; though I do intend to. . . someday. . .)

One way I’ve learned to cope with the hard times of life is to cling to the promises given over and over in the Bible:  Despite our difficulties, trials, fires, and hard times the LORD is with us.

It’s taken me some time to realize exactly why this helps.  It was only cemented in my mind this week after reading this blog post.  It’s not that His presence takes away the hard times.  It doesn’t necessarily make them easier for us to deal with.  But knowing that He is with us, with me, is proof that He has not abandoned me.  The bad things in life are not happening because He has gone, is unhappy with me, doesn’t love me.  This is life and sometimes it’s not very pretty.

(So I guess, technically, that’s three blog postings not just two.  :D  )

I never cared for new year’s resolutions, I thought it was a clever disguise for my mom to try to convince us to fight less and behave better.  Besides, they are too easily broken and then what do you do? give up till the next year?  But I want to keep this thought in my mind.  Maybe I’ll stick it on the mirror.

When hard times come,
. . . because they will come. . .
I want to remember that He is near me.
He has not abandoned me and He still loves me,
no matter what is happening and how I feel.
I want to remember to look past the hard times to see the joy in them.
I don’t want to miss it.
And I want to do this where I am today,
here and now.

Song for a Fifth Child

Song for a Fifth Child
by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton

Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
Sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I’ve grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren’t her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
For children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

 

SHE IS HERE!!!!!

OK, I’m a little slow.  She’s been here for two weeks now.  (and this picture is a week old!)

We are enjoying our newest little one.  I’ve spent much time cuddling, feeding, and loving on our newest little miss.

The kids LOVE her.  They always want to hug and kiss and touch her.  Calf #1 sings “Jesus loves you” to her when she is fussy.  Calf#2 makes her neat things out of paper for when she’s bigger.  Calf #3 wants to hold her all the time.

The Bull got to have some time off work and was able to spend lots of time with his newest daughter (and the rest of us, too!)

Her birth was not fun; somewhat traumatic, but I don’t feel like talking about that now.  (Maybe some day, maybe not.)  But she and I are healthy, and we are enjoying our new little one.  We are so glad she’s here!

Calf #2, I think, put all our thoughts best a week or so ago.  He came in to where #5 and I were resting in my bed and looked at her for a few minutes.  Then he said, quietly as she was sleeping, “God let us have a live baby!”

I could only sigh in agreement.  “Yes, buddy, you are right.  Wasn’t He gracious to us?”  :)

Twofer

So we (The Bull and I) were wandering through the grocery store, trying to walk and get labor started (. . . didn’t work, btw.)  As we were walking through the aisles to get some tea we ran into a lady we’ve known for years, but have not seen in a while.  I hoped in vain that we could pass by her unnoticed.  (ha ha ha ha ha!)  The conversation went a bit as follows:

(her) “Oh, Hi there! How are you doing?”

(me) “Oh, just hanging in there.” (hoping she didn’t notice my belly sticking out a mile.)

(her) “Oh I see you are expecting another one!  What number is this now?”

(me) (smile and walk on)

(The Bull) “This is our fourth.”

(me) (hoping in vain that this will end the conversation. . . )

(her) “And when are you due?”

(me) (suddenly very interested in reading all the boxes of tea)

(The Bull, proudly) “Last week!”

(chit chat about hope it works out ok, congratulations, etc.)

It’s these kinds of conversations that make me want to skip social situations entirely.  I hate being overdue and yet that seems to be my lot in life as I’ve gone past my due date with each of the calves . . . . . . . except for the one I miscarried.  :(

And that other question?  Please, just shoot me ok?

Holly mentioned this the other day.  It’s such a hard question and there is no right answer to it. . . I personally answer based on whether or not I’ll ever see the asker again, usually.  Some times I really want to say that this is my fifth child.  It’s kind of awkward when I say that to someone who sees our children, since the head count doesn’t add up.  (Although it was kinda fun watching her face trying to figure that one out.)

A couple of times I’ve been asked, and Calf #2 answers.  His response is something like this:

“We have 6 in our family, 3 boys and 1 girl but 1 boy died before he was born.  And now we’re gonna have another one, but we don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl yet.”

Fortunately this has been in business contexts (doctor’s office, that kind of thing) so the response to this revelation is usually something like “Oh I’m so sorry!  Let’s check out how you’re doing!”

Once again, I am sad about how this miscarriage has affected the children.  He’s also asked me if this baby will die.  “Well buddy. . . . everybody dies. . . . so yes, this baby will die.  I don’t know if the baby will get to stay with us for a while.”  I just don’t want to make a promise I can’t keep.

Waiting

It’s so hard to wait for something you really, really want.

like a baby.

Then again, I’m not yet to my due date. . . have gone past with three mooselets.  I expect to have a ways to go yet.

The birth tub has been set up and filled.  Even before birth, it is important. I soak every night and it eases back pain.  The supplies have been bought and tossed into Calf #3′s room, now turned into a birth room.

The heartburn has not been so bad this pregnancy. Not sure why that is, but I am very, very grateful.  The SPD pain has eased somewhat also (although I slipped on ice getting into the van on Monday and aggravated it. ouch.)  The numbness and tingling in my hands has gotten worse and worse and I am looking forward to it disappearing.  I know it will taking giving birth to do that.

The Bull’s mom is here, she will help with the children during labor along with another friend who is a doula.

All the children have said they want to be with me when the baby is born.  Calf #1 wanted to be there when his sister was born, but I did not know that until two years later.  (That was so disappointing.  I just figured that he, being a boy, would not want to be there.  Didn’t even consider it!)  Calf #2 has said that he wants to be in the tub with me and he wants to cut the umbilical cord.  Calf #3 has said she wants to be there too, but this may be a “me too” kind of response.

We have read a few books with them to prepare them.

Welcome with Love

I Watched My Brother Being Born

Baby on the Way

And we’ve watched a few youtube videos of home birth and water births.  Because it’s all very well and good to say that “mama will make noise,” but birth noise is something entirely different from what they are used to.

We’re also still dealing with the after effects of last year’s miscarriage.  Calf #2 has asked (SEVERAL times) if the baby will die.  I do not want to make promises I have no control over. . . but we do have a good track record of healthy babies.  “I don’t know, but I hope not!”

We are all waiting.

While I’ve been waiting, I’ve been busy.  There are the multitudes of things that ought to be done before a baby’s birth, house cleaning and clothes washing and keeping up with the chores.  There are a few things special to our situation; I was so sick this summer that I put off many, many things. Now I’m playing catch up.  (trying to catch up.)

And there’s this:

which really hasn’t been as hard as I thought it would be.  I have a new ergonomic keyboard and type for a half hour then take a break. It works ok with the hands.  I thought about skipping this year: what if the baby comes early? what if I can’t finish the novel? what if I can’t type?

The Bull asked a good question, though: would I be more disappointed to try, and not make my goal?  Or to not try at all?

So I got started.  Doing pretty well too.  Maybe this is why I’m not desperate to have this baby, as I have been in previous pregnancies.  Maybe I’ve just finally understood that the baby will come when he/she is ready, and it is OK.

Maybe I’m just not looking forward to nursing round the clock and sleep deprivation and newborn days with busy older siblings.  :)

No matter.  I continue to wait, and it is OK.  Baby will be here soon!

Pregnancy Update

Yup, still here.  Still pregnant.  Given my propensity to birthing after my due date, I may have another month-ish to go.

I am very happy to say that the nausea has finally disappeared!!  Sometime between the end of September and beginning of October things got a lot easier in dealing with food.  Thank you LORD!

The other discomforts are still here, though.  Like the SPD pain.  Seeing my chiropractor weekly (cha-ching!) helps keep it to a dull roar.  The gagging (especially while taking vitamins) continues; I’m taking a break from my prenatal vitamin for a few days (it’s one I take 6 a day of!) to see if that will calm down this gag reflex.  A few days ago it started me some really fun braxton hicks contractions.  Good times.

But the braxton hicks hasn’t been as bad this pregnancy as it was with my third little one.  That time they were strong for months.  This time I barely feel them.  I like this better.  :)

Another “fun” part of the end of pregnancy for me is having my hands and fingers falling asleep.  I hear it is similar to a carpal tunnel type of injury.  I think it’s related to normal pregnancy swelling/ water retention, or my neck being out of whack, or something like that.   I use a hot rice pack on my shoulders (to improve blood circulation) and a cold pack on my right wrist, where the swelling is worse (to reduce the swelling) at night and it seems to help a little.  Typing is not fun.  It should go away after baby is born (although after my third calf was born it stuck around for a few months.)

I’ve had three visits with a cranio sacral therapist (cha-ching, cha-ching, cha-ching!) and I guess it’s helped a lot.  At least, going in for the third visit I felt better than I did going in the first time.  Something about human touch, and an understanding person to talk with maybe.

I have found an interesting thing happening.  I wasn’t planning for this, although it is a good thing. . . I was trying to be cautious and wait a bit. . . having been afraid all this pregnancy of losing this baby, I am surprised already to find myself falling in love with him or her!!  I knew it would happen.  I just didn’t expect it so soon.  It coincides with another interesting thing:  So much of the fear that has plagued me this pregnancy just. . . disappeared??  Maybe I just had to get closer to the end of the pregnancy, to see that things were probably going to be okay?  Getting past the day I miscarried?  I don’t know how or why but I am relieved.

And I am nesting.  I think it’s hitting a little earlier this time? I don’t know.  All I can say is I’m thrilled to be able to tackle the piles that have been accumulating all summer long. . . when I was exhausted and nauseous and couldn’t focus or think straight.  So far I’ve done two loads of baby laundry (receiving blankets, bibs, snowsuits) and I have a few more to go.  Maybe getting past the nausea helped with this, too.

As for the children, right now they are sledding down our lovely little hill in the two inches of snow we’ve gotten in the past week.  (If past years are any indication, this will be added to over the winter until it finally melts in April.)  Yesterday they built a snow man.

Baby-wise, they are also starting to get excited.  They are coloring pictures for the new baby and making projects, even (the middle kid) a puppet stage!  The oldest calf has this habit of coming up to me to say, “The baby needs a hug!” and then he hugs and kisses my belly.  I’m really liking this!  The little girl asked if the baby will sleep in her crib with her.  (Yes, she’s still in a crib.  Sometimes.)  I have this idea that when the baby and I are napping we’ll have a companion.  :)

And even still. . . when my younger son introduces our family, he says “We have six in our family but one isn’t here because he died before he was born but my mom is pregnant with one.”  It is a mouthful for the kid.  I feel bad for the people he’s told (a doctor and a guy who came to fix stuff in the house) but they have handled it fairly well.    And it is good for me to know that this is still on his mind.  It’s on my mind, too.

And along those lines, I have run into these two good articles that I thought I’d share.  (Thanks to Crystal, another mama who misses her children, for sharing these on her blog!)

This one is written by a woman who lost a baby and gives some very good advice to those who want to support someone in grief.  (And if you’re curious, it was months 2 through 11 that were hardest for me.)  (And as for these, we call them “Bible verse band-aids.”)

This one I wish I’d read a few months ago, as the anniversary of miscarrying with my son was horrible and I think it would have helped to read that yes, it is normal to want to do “something” and to find some practical things to do to remember him.

(More good advice to be found here.)

Well, that’s about all the wrists can tolerate right now.  I’d like to say that I will post when labor starts, but I have a history of fast labors so I may not.  (With my 3rd labor, she was born exactly one hour and fifteen minutes after my water broke.)  It’s entirely possible that my next post will be an introduction of some sort.  :)  At yesterday’s check, baby was posterior.  I’ve done that before and it was not much fun.  Would you pray, please, that baby will turn to anterior and stay that way for birth?  Thanks.

Pregnancy After Loss: The Children

One of  the hardest parts for this mama’s heart about pregnancy after miscarrying is watching how my children process it.

Last July before we started sharing the news of our pregnancy with  Shelomith with friends, we talked about it with the children.  Their reactions were heartwarming. Our youngest, just over two years old and very much still a baby herself, had no clue what we were saying. The middle boy (then almost 5) jumped up and down and clapped his hands.   Obviously  excited.  The oldest, just about 7 years old, just stared at us a moment.  Then he asked, “Does this mean you have a baby in your tummy?”  When we said “yes,” he smiled a huge happy smile.  (Later on we corrected his anatomical error)

For the next couple of months, while  I was dealing with morning  sickness, they were busy sharing this wonderful news with the world.  The hygienist at the dentist’s office.   The guy in the grocery store line behind  us.  Some random person at the park.  It was a bit embarrassing before I started showing. (Not that I had a flat belly anyway, mind you.  After three children the little pooch would have made someone wonder if  I was pregnant even when I wasn’t.)

But I was honestly tickled by their reactions.  My oldest has made it clear that he wants a lot of brothers and sisters.  Once he said he’d like us to have 100.  (!!!!!)  The middle boy too made it clear that having more siblings would be a good thing, though he’s not put out such a high number.

The  one unknown was  my “baby” girl.  Early in  that pregnancy, she still nursed.  She was upset if I held another baby.  She liked having her mama all to herself and was not ready yet to share, even with her older brothers.  Once I started moving into the second trimester, she decided she was done with nursing (and I was happy about that and sad about that, all at the same time.)  Her clinginess and inability to share me subsided too.

And then  I miscarried.  This was a shock to all of us.  It happened overnight, while the children slept. When we heard them waking The Bull and I knew that we’d need to tell them right away what had  happened.

So we brought them into our room, all three of them, and told them briefly and in kid-sized words what had happened.  We told them that something sad had happened and that the baby had died.  They asked a few questions and we answered  as simply as possible, as best as we understood.  (We didn’t, and still don’t, have an answer to the “why” question.)

We gave the boys the opportunity to see the baby.  (We figured the little girl would not understand  this part very well.)  Littler boy took a quick look and then was onto other things.  Bigger boy stared for a long, longtime.  I was actually surprised they didn’t have more of a reaction, but then again. . . what did I expect??  Lots of crying and carrying on?

That was a bizarre week.  Mama stayed in bed for days (it was a difficult recovery physically also), friends brought food, and we planted an evergreen tree for the baby.  The little girl started having difficulty sleeping and we brought her back into our room, which saved our sanity and helped her sleep a little better.  I figured that while she was too young to understand what happened, she still knew something was wrong and was upset.

After a few weeks, though, it was as if nothing had happened.  At least to the kids’ perspective.  Life returned to “normal,” schoolwork resumed, regular activities were reinstated.  (I, however, was not back to normal.  Lots of tears, even during school and other regular activities.)  The holidays came and The Bull and I tried to keep our regular traditions; it was hard for me because I really didn’t feel like celebrating.  But for the children’s sake we did.

And then one day, nearly six months later, I found out I was pregnant again.  It was in the middle of an emotionally difficult month.  I don’t even remember, honestly, when we told the children; but they had very muted responses.  No jumping up and down or clapping.  Sure, they were happy.  But after last time?  When we lost the baby?  Just didn’t seem to be that big of a deal.

The first few months of pregnancy were super busy, difficult, stressful for our family and for me personally.  I wanted to get past the gestational age where I’d miscarried last year before getting emotionally invested in the pregnancy.  (And even after that, it was difficult.  I had SO many fears that something was wrong with the baby.  An ultrasound helped, but the fears were still pretty strong.)

The children went with us for the ultrasound.  I think it was good for them to see the baby on the screen.  I asked the sonographer to measure the baby’s foot, so that the children could see by comparison how big the baby’s foot was.  While it was good for them to see the photos and hear us talking about the baby, it really wasn’t as interesting for them as it was for us!

I found a great site and have gone through the months of photos with the children.  “Look, that’s what the baby looks like right now!”  “Hey, the baby’s eyes are closed now!” “How cute!  See the baby yawning!”  It’s fascinating to me to see such details about the baby’s growth and development.  Not so fascinating for them.

I have tried to have the kids feel the baby move.  One time in particular, about two weeks ago, they had rubbed lotion on my belly for twenty minutes!  That is usually a great time to feel movement.  By the time the baby “woke,” sadly, they had lost interest and would not even look at my belly rolling.  When the baby is moving, they won’t sit still long enough to feel his/her movements.

And they have been interested in the new baby, but just a little.  Not as much as I’d thought they would be.  Not like they were when I was pregnant last year.  Yes, they have books to read and toys to play with; connecting with a baby who they can’t see isn’t high on their priority list.  But still, I expected more from them.  Last pregnancy they were announcing it to the world.  This time?  I finally asked the oldest in May or June why they weren’t talking about the baby and he looked at me, blinked.  “Oh.  I forgot.”  Forgot??

I’ve been frustrated about their lack of reactions and wondered if they just don’t care about babies any more.  Probably not, because they love to play with friends’ babies.  But really, I think that a friend hit the nail on the head last week.  While talking about the children and their lack of reaction to this pregnancy, she said “They are waiting too.”

Of course!

I was waiting to get to 17 weeks to know that I wouldn’t miscarry again at 16 weeks like I did last time.

Then I was waiting to feel the baby move, especially since I never felt Shelomith.

Then I was waiting to get a good report from the ultrasound to “see” that the baby was ok.

Then I was waiting to get past 24 weeks gestation, the age of viability, when a baby had a chance (albeit slim) of survival.

Now I’m around 32 weeks I know that the baby’s chances of survival are better and better.  I’m starting to find home birth supplies and really feeling like this is going to happen, we are going to have this baby and all is going to be OK.

The children, however, are still operating on that physical/ visual plane.  I think they will be waiting to get emotionally invested in the baby until he or she is here.

I remember talking to my middle son about something I’d read on the EHD site.  “The baby can now hear.”  This was about 20 weeks, just a few days before our ultrasound.  He grinned, obviously pleased.  I asked if he’d like to talk to the baby and he put his face close to my belly and said something silly.  I was thrilled!

Over the weeks after that I realized that he would have a special relationship with this baby, much like my first and my third children have.  I like that.  The secondborn needs a buddy.

Two weeks after our ultrasound, he told me one day that he wanted to talk to the baby.  I quickly pulled up my shirt so he could see my belly.  He leaned in close and told the baby, “I’ll share my frog bracelet with you, but don’t break it.”

I guess the kids will be alright.  Our waiting time is getting shorter and shorter.

(While you’re here, please remember to vote in our poll.)

Vote Here/ Vote Aqui

EDIT:  The poll is now closed!  It looks like blog readers think this baby is a boy!  (For those of you who voted “alligator,” we apparently need to have a talk about genetics. . . ;) )  We shall soon find out who is right!

This being a mid-term election year, the stakes are high.  Primary candidates around the nation are campaigning and things are looking topsy for many.  The voters are ready to wield their Constitutional power and this could change the way things are done in our country for years to come.

Here in Mooseland, we have our own poll open.  The stakes are high.  The issue is vital.  Every vote counts.

Since we don’t find out baby’s gender before birth. . . what do YOU think??  Is this baby a He, a She, or an Alligator?

Vote early, vote often.

(just kidding, you can only vote once per person. :)  )

Please Pass the Cheese

Warning: The following post is a whiny rant.  Read with caution.  :(

“Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.” ~ the Man in Black, The Princess Bride

I keep going back to this quote.  It seems to be true for so many areas of life!  Pregnancy is no different.  The word that keeps coming to my mind for this pregnancy is “debilitating.”

Physically everything is normal with me and the baby.  I need to remember that and keep that in the front of my mind.

Still. . . this just hasn’t been a whole lot of fun some days.  Yesterday in particular was rough.

I’d not slept well the night before.  I don’t know how long I laid there staring at first one wall and then the other.  Rolling over in bed while pregnant is hard. . . difficult to do and painful.  Lying on my left side is not terribly comfortable and lying on my right side aggravates the heartburn.

I was angry, really angry.  The discomforts of pregnancy are huge right now, and they really get in the way with all the little things that I enjoy in life and the things I want and need to do.  I was tired of being pregnant . . . I changed my mind, I don’t want a baby anyway!

I woke earlier than I wanted to, considering I’d been up so much overnight, and started on my morning routine:  eat a protein bar, gag down the first of four or five piles of supplements, brush my teeth (and gag again.)  (I don’t know where this overactive gag reflex comes from, but it’s been here the duration of this pregnancy.  Don’t tell my dentist but I haven’t flossed in months because it, too, causes problems.)  Shower quickly then go back and lie down and catch my breath.  Because just taking a shower wears me out.

I don’t do well without enough sleep to begin with.  But for whatever reason, that triggers nausea for me.  Yes I am in the third trimester, but I am still dealing with nausea periodically.  Thankfully, it is not the all-day, all-intensive nausea like what I had in the first trimester; but it still difficult to deal with.

The Bull had been up part of the night too, with a bad sore throat.  He went to the doctor and got medications for strep throat.  Calf #2 has had congestion and a cough; it seems to be getting worse instead of better.  Yippee skippee!! Let’s all be sick too.  That would be just great.

As the day progressed, my mood sank lower and lower.  The three mooselets were too noisy, too wound up.  With the SPD type pain that I have had (for the past two months!!), getting out and about is hard.  Walking around our little place is hard.  Getting into our vehicle to go anywhere is not a pleasant thought.  The fatigue/ lack of energy makes it hard to do simple tasks.  We’ve spent most of the summer inside because I can’t fathom taking the kids places where I’d need to run after them.  Nice summer, ha ha, stuck inside all the time?  Cabin fever is supposed to be just in the winter and yet I was feeling it in August.  No wonder the kids are all wound up.  They’re truly bored!

I find myself needing to eat every couple of hours this pregnancy.  But while most pregnant women have food cravings, I go the other way.  Aversions, they call them.  I get a rumbly in my tummy and I look at what’s in the fridge, the freezer, the pantry. . . then shut the door and go back and sit down, totally repulsed by what I saw and smelled.  Few foods sound appetizing.  And yet, the tummy. . . the baby. . . must be fed!  Otherwise the nausea comes up again.

But what’s really fun is when I figure out something that actually doesn’t sound too bad, and spend the time and effort cutting up veggies and cooking up the meat and putting it all together.  And then sit down to eat it.  And my stomach turns.  Yeah. . . good times.  So I’ve mainly relied on frozen foods this pregnancy.  And one of the few things that sounds good is macaroni and cheese.  But I can’t live on that alone for the entire pregnancy.  Don’t even ask me how much of it I’ve eaten.

So I found something that I think I can tolerate and sat at the computer to read the news. . . blogs. . . emails. . . whatever I can find to distract my focus from the nasty stuff in the bowl.  (And it’s hard to type up blog posts or even leave comments while trying to eat.  Trust me, I’ve been working on this post for a long time.  This has severely and adversely affected my blogging.)

In the afternoon I laid down and tried to nap.  Woke after an hour, moaned and groaned while turning to the other side, took some of my current heartburn remedy.  Right now the heartburn is limited to when I’m laying down.  And when my tummy is empty.  So dealing with it is relatively easy, I just eat up a handful or two of hazelnuts.  But before long they won’t work any more and the heartburn will be an all day thing; then it will be Tums to the rescue.  I slept a little longer and woke in a bit of a panic when I realized I needed to get dinner fixed and on the table before The Bull got home.

Dinner.  Yuck.

And I have nearly 3 months of this left?!?!?!

I found myself wishing I was not pregnant, thinking I could not last another day of this.  As in, Take me to the hospital tonight and let’s just have this baby now!!

Never mind that at not quite 30 weeks, the prognosis for said baby would not be much fun.

So after a dinner that I couldn’t eat, I loaded the kids into the van and drove to a local fast food establishment (or four.)  A cheese burger and fries, fried chicken and mashed potatoes, ice cream for the kids.  Heard on the radio about someone whose baby is sick, seriously sick. Made a note of the website with the intent of looking it up later.

Back home I get the kids settled with their ice cream and start eating my own dinner(s.)

I tried to convince myself that another couple of months of pregnancy would be OK.  Looking at the Wikipedia page on preterm birth and reading that likely a baby born right now would spend two to three months (or more) in the NICU.  Surely that would be harder than these pregnancy symptoms, right?

Put the kids to bed (oh blissful time) and look up that website for the sick baby.  Perhaps you’ve heard of the Christian contemporary music group Sanctus Real?  The blog is called Bowen’s Heart.  It’s about the lead singer’s new son Bowen, and he has Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS).   And. . . . my heart breaks.  They are kinda vague on the details but it sounds like they’ve been through the wringer the past couple of days.

So I finished the night with a much better state of mind, a little bit of hope for a better day.  Could have been the fried chicken. . . but I know that getting a different perspective on pregnancy was good also.

Today, contrariwise, has been a fairly good day.  Had a better night.  I remembered to take my homeopathics at bedtime, slept much better.  I think I can make it a few more days being pregnant.  Got to the chiropractor for an adjustment and a new thing called craniosacral therapy.  We’ll give it a try and see if it helps anyway.

I got home and read through the latest blog posting about the little baby Bowen.  The story does not sound like fun, one of the pictures is visually hard to look at.  I did not know they could do that kind of thing.  The song, “All of Me,” knocks my socks off. The first lines hit me pretty hard.  “Afraid to love, something that could break, could I move on if you were torn away. . . .”  Yeah, I can so relate to this.  It’s been hard for me to really want to connect with this new baby I’m carrying, with the fear of losing him or her like we lost Shelomith.

And yet, I know it’s not fair to #5 to not love him or her. . .

****Disclaimer:  Yes, I do feel like a bit of a weenie complaining.  I know women who have dealt with infertility or multiple pregnancy losses and would give anything to be pregnant, at any cost.  Bedrest, morning sickness, aches and pains, difficult labor, they wouldn’t care and would happily do any of it just for the chance to have a baby.  And after miscarrying last year I felt almost desperate to conceive again, to have another baby.  The best part is that I know that once baby is here 90% of my symptoms will disappear.  Literally, within minutes of birth!  (The remaining 10% will disappear after a few weeks to a few months.)  I just have to hang on a few more months. . . a year from now this will all fade away and all I will remember is the bliss of our precious baby. . .

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