June 04, 2013

Day 35- 3 am ponderings...


Yesterday was June 3rd, I was 33 weeks and 3 days pregnant with 3 days to go till my surgery and 3 of my kids spent the morning with me.  Funny huh?!

Tonight Jakob and Lily are sleeping near me.  They are both so much easier than the three I had last night.  My charging phone hit Lily in the head and she cried. 

I was there to comfort her back to sleep.  I watched her suck her thumb and rub her fingers through her silky blanket.  (it has been months since I've comforted a night time child)  I wanted to scoop her up and cuddle her into bed with me- but she feel back asleep so quickly and baby number eight was pushing on my bladder.

Laying here in the dark, I can't sleep.  My mind is spinning with the past couple of days and thoughts of the next few days.

My prayer floats to the heavens-- Dear God, make me enough.  Help me grow.  Help me have more to give.  Curb my vision to see that which I should do and feel peace about those things I cannot control yet...  Make me enough!!

Despite the best care at home, I feel the large weight of family pressing on me.  After long days of focusing on keeping my water-bottle cold, keeping myself entertained, and counting stitches on my sampler-- my children come and my life fills quickly.

They want to touch me and lay right by me in my bed.  I feel their need for closeness.  I feel it as much from the child always squishing beside me as I do from the one who doesn't naturally touch me.  

My soul yearns for their closeness- I have spent many days without touch- aside from the every four hour blood pressure/baby heartbeat monitoring.  I crave touch, but my pregnant body is used to space, comfort and solitude.  My life is avoiding physical stress and limiting movement.  Having them on my lap or squished beside me, concerns me sometimes.  I feel tender and timid when I want to feel abundant.  Oh God, make me enough!

My children are well cared for.  They are probably cared for better than they were when I was caring for them.  But, when they show up at the hospital, I see them through different eyes.  

I notice their clothes that are too small or mismatched.  I notice their need for haircuts.  I worry about small coughs and everyday ailments that were probably common place to me before my isolation.

I want to bring them to the pediatrician and go shopping for things I see they need.  I see their half-painted nails and need to clip and clean.  I feel their emotional tenderness and want to hold each of them in my arms- for a day.  I want to laugh with them, talk with them, play with them, and take away the weight that I feel in their eyes.  

Maybe their needs were there before.  Maybe part of having a large family is never having enough for everyone- so a mother must learn to meet the needs of the one that needs most.  Maybe I was used to runny noses and mismatched clothes.  Rest and absence has refined my vision and I feel drastically inadequate for the needs I feel swirling around me.

I'm tired.  No surgery, no new baby, no scars... Just two days of being wheeled to the cafeteria for food by excited active children.  Spending time alone with a mere fraction of my children lets me see how inactive I have become.  Noise and activity are foreign to me.  I love, love, love the hustle and bustle around me.  This is what I do!!! I miss them, I crave them, and I'm afraid of them.  I don't know if I can do what I did- with more need and less ability.  Oh God- make me enough!

My husband is tired.  These months are pushing down his strong shoulders.  He has parented and organized and stretched like few men ever have.  He has carried our home and worked full-time to provide for our family.  He has grocery shopped, car pooled, made almost every other day 3 hour round trips to the hospital.  He's helped with homework, tucked kids into bed, signed field trip permission slips, balanced our budget, coordinated orthodontist and dentist appointments.  He's done school and church and scheduling and sports and 4h (guinea pigs and sheep), father-son camp outs and eagle projects, braces, runny noses and even a lovely case of ringworm from a child who loved on sick barn kittens.

Todd has felt the deepest weight of my fears and also carried the deepest fears of his own.  He's spent months resolving the conflicts at home of children handling normal life with a heavy burden.  He is tired.  I feel it as I am near him.  His need is heavy to me as I need him strong.  He's sick.  Part from stress, part from exhaustion, part from allergies and Benadryl.  His need hurt my soul-- oh God, bless him and make him enough.

If I'm not careful, I can feel angry at the need I see.  It's weird.  Wishing I were stronger so easily transfers to wishing they were less needy.  When I'm tired or overwhelmed, I don't want them to be active or needy.  I feel mad Todd isn't stronger because I need him more- and he sometimes feels mad I'm hours away instead of helping him at home.  I feel frustrated with busy, bored kids, because I crave a quiet nap.  

How you can be angry at struggling people, or normal needy children, is something that still makes me stop and think.  The best thing I can do when I'm tired and overwhelmed is recognize it is me- not them.  I can love them even as I am not able to meet all the needs I see.  I can smile when I'm tired and empathize even when I'm needy. (It is a skill I've learned with nurses who struggle to start my IVs or flush my central line- be kind and empathetic... they will find a vein soon.)

I feel the pressure of change.  I've ordered nursing bras, pants to cover my catheter and shirts to cover my healing belly.  I think about shoes for my kids, summer clothes, baby boy clothes, car seats small enough for a 5lb baby, etc...  I love so many who are having babies and getting married or having birthdays or who are more needy than we are. My mind swirls with thoughts of thank you cards, Father's Day, end of the school year gifts... Simple fun things I love to be able to do for my own kids.  Summer fun ideas?  Geez Louise!! The never-ending list of one who nurtures...  And don't even get me started on the smoking, addicted, young mothers of high-risk babies that rip my heart out in these hallways.  I can't even go there.

Todd spends his free-time looking up houses and vans.  I worry about school districts and neighborhoods.  I want a good place to raise a family-- not too rich, not too poor, not too big, not too small, not too close to Syracuse, not too far from Todd's work.  Blah!  How the heck can I tell about an area without being there?? Will I be we'll enough to make a house hunting trip?!   I know God has a place prepared for us... I just hope we don't miss it in our business.  

I feel the ultimate test of priorities-- how big, how fancy, how rural, how many rooms, mother-in-law suite?, pool?, barn?... What is our price range-- do we stretch our budget and easily house our family or leave extra room in the bank and less in our home?  Or, can we find that perfect gem of a house that has everything for a comfortable price?  I am too tired for renovating and potential-- I need to move into functional.  But, I won't always be tired.  

Oh God, help me to discern, help me to know, help me to feel and see what will be best for my children.  It is painful to move your family from an area so ideal- to an unknown. We need guidance as we transition.

We are looking for a van to carry us.  I feel urgency about being able to carry our family without Jakob sitting in the trunk.  Todd feels urgency about keeping our accounts large so we qualify for a mortgage and can supply our down payment.  He is tightening while I'm trying to nest and nurture.  I feel the pull of finances and I hate that feeling.  I pray that my desires will be for that which is wise and prudent...

My burden is heavy and I haven't even touched on the weight I borrow from others carrying their own heavy load.  Extended family members, friends, lived ones I've adopted as my own...  I feel your load and I'm shouting encouragement to you!  You are a pull on my mother heart as I try to trust and walk forward.

I have learned how to let go and let God, these past six months.  Nothing is changing as I gradually make my way back into my life.  Today, I will take one step at a time.  I will try to feel the calm and peace amidst the tempest of life.  Master, the tempest is raging... But even as the waves swirl around all of us, there is peace and stillness.  I can't zap everything better-- but I can do the next right thing with His grace. Together we can do one thing at a time.

My nurse asked me if I've ever struggled with post-partum depression.  She asked how I was coping with my upcoming surgery.  Usually, birth is the end of my depression.  Usually, my pregnancies are so hard that I can't even comprehend depression as they end...  We'll see...

How do I cope?  I'm honest about my fears here on this blog and to those I talk to... And, I accept that there isn't much I can do to take away the hard.  This is just plain hard sometimes-- but often the big picture is worse than the daily walk.  While I feel the burden of the big picture, I feel the grace in every footstep.  Hard things pass quickly.  

My silly MRI was painful, but it ended.  Steroid shots hurt- for a moment.  Pain is something you cannot wish away, only endure it one moment at a time.  I believe that God gives you what you need, when you need it-- but not always as you ate worry about it.  He will strengthen me as I endure-- I need to control my fears before then.

My surgery is scary... But Thursday will come and in a few hours I will be past the worst parts.  I will have a baby to see and touch and be filled with love for.  I may struggle for a few days, a few months, my normal may change forever... And still normal will return.  

When it is too much to handle and I'm afraid, I just keep walking.  I try to keep a smile on my face.  I try to respond with kindness to the people nearest to me.  I pray.  I listen to inspiring music.  I rest.  I shower and dress as nice as I can, and put on a little make-up.  I remember the things I am grateful for- and I hand my worries over to God (and Todd, ha!).  I often ask myself-- what can I do to change my situation?  Then I accept the fact that there isn't much- aside from enduring gracefully.  I try to think about those who have made it through harder things before me and the many I know who are carrying their own burdens right beside me.  Perspective keeps me grounded and hopeful.  This isn't too bad!!  We can do this!!

We will get through this summer, we will welcome in a beautiful fall, we will be thankful at Thanksgiving and laugh as we write our Christmas letter.  I will be frazzled and fat in our family picture, but there will be goodness in our faces and joy in our eyes.  In the midst of our hard, there will be a fullness of humility and gratitude.  This year- we will feel Him and know Him more.

Someday soon, I will look back at this time with pride!  I will look at our Christmas letter and see the mismatched clothes and feel the weight of a young family growing and I will want to shout to myself-- hold on!  This is a hard year, but it gets better!  This year is transition but next year will be new friends, learning to ski and roller coasters!  Hold on!  Keep walking!  Your family is doing well!! You can do this!! You're stronger than you think you are... His grace is abundant.  (Yes, I do talk to myself often.  Especially when I need a pep talk!)

I have just written and rewritten from 3:30am to almost 6am.  (I hope it doesn't  take that long to read my ramblings).  My baby is kicking-- only two more days of ever feeling that miraculous, beautiful good morning!  Sun is shining through my window and two of my favorites are breathing and mumbling in their sleep.  My silly leg warmer things are beeping because the line is kinked (just turned them off so it doesn't wake my kids).  My nurse and CNA will be in to take my vitals, check the baby, give me a cupful of meds, refresh my water bottle and draw blood for a CBC that will lead to another transfusion before my surgery.

A friend is coming up today to visit with her children and my baby.  Her visit will be fun and active and then she will take my kids home.  I will enjoy and cope through my last day and a half of bed rest before surgery and a baby harder to care for than he is inside my womb.

Sigh... Life IS good.  This will be a good day.

Thank you for listening to my brain process... Now, I think we could all use a good nap.  :)

20 comments:

Amanda said...

Jenifer,
I don't personally know you but came to your site through Pinterest a couple of months ago. I am so encouraged by your "ramblings" and your expressions of faith. I have 4 little ones ages 8 to 3 months and there are tough days. But when I read your blog, I look at my children and remember the true blessings that they are from God. Yes, life is tough and busy but it will so quickly pass. I have been cherishing the days of a little baby that much more. I just want you to know that I am thinking and praying for you and your family in this week. May God give you and your husband the strength and comfort you need as you face so many uncertainties with your own health, a new tiny baby, and an upcoming move. May he also grant all your beautiful children what they each need to endure this passing moment apart from their mother. I pray that the Great Physician will hold you in His hands throughout your surgery and recovery.

So thank you again for your witness. There are a couple verses I'd like to leave you with.

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

"Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them." Psalm 127:3-5a

And lastly the lyics to one of my favorite songs. I am sure you know it.

It Is Well With My Soul

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know,a
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Refrain:
It is well, (it is well),
With my soul, (with my soul)
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life,
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But Lord, 'tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
A song in the night, oh my soul!


Truth that brings tears to my eyes each time I hear it. What a mighty God we serve.

So from one Moss to another "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen." 2 Cor. 13:14

Suzanne Stauffer said...

Know that we are here to share your burden with you! <3

Allie said...

Tiffany's friend (again!)...I think of you pretty all day and into the night these days. Thursday will be all about you...last day of school here but I just know my mind will be in Oregon. You are one amazing gal and I wish Todd was taking his new job at SMU :)

I CAN BELIEVE that you made it this far because you are truly incredible and your family is so lucky to have you as their mama!

Allie said...

think of you pretty much all day. Although I think of you laying in your bed and still being pretty, too! :)

Tiffany said...

I love your ramblings, I love your musings, I love your insights, your patience, your faith, and how you inspire me to live a better life. You are constantly in my thoughts & prayers of late, and I am excited for Thursday... Make sure Todd posts for us!!! :-)

An Ordinary Mom said...

There are many of us praying for you! We love to read your ramblings, especially when writing them brings you peace!

CTR Mama said...

I am amazed at how aligned thoughts and feelings and struggles can be even when the specific circumstances are so different. I was fasting the other day that I could be More, to better handle the challenges of my life and rise up to be who I want to be. In the end, though, I realized that I just wanted to be Enough. With God's help, we can all be Enough. We do what we can, leave the rest to Him, and He makes it not only Enough but Abundant. You can do this, come what may. Thank you for sharing your struggles in a very real way and inspiring us all to hope and press forward. God bless!

Jennie Plastow said...

You ARE enough my friend! You are an amazing woman and my inspiration. I was sitting there with my little man reading your blog and reflecting on this day in my journey as I read your blog. I read the part about Todd being tired to Trever and asked him if he remembered those same struggles. It will end Jen. I promise. So many days I questioned if it would. Before you know it, you will be holding your little guy in your arms thinking back on this day in your journey. It won't seem so terrible in a few months. It will end, just remember that as you go through this next phase.

There were many moments where I wanted to have the details planned and felt like I had no say or control at all. I later realized, that those moments in major trials when we feel a loss of control, it's not that we are not worthy of it, it's that The Lord has taken that burden and is carrying us. You will be amazed at every little tiny detail that He is and will take care of for you. He is carrying you and your family through this. He is and will continue to carry your surgeons and medical team through this. It's an amazing process.

He is making you enough as you lay there feeling helpless.he really is. Your faith is amazing. Stay strong my friend. I am thinking about you and praying for you. I will be fasting for you tomorrow as well. Know that I am sending every oz of faith i have, towards the heavens and back down to you. You will survive Accreta! Go get em girl!!

Amber said...

I will be praying for you this whole week. Thank you for being so real. Life really stinks! I'm sorry, but you are handling this all amazingly well, but I know it's far from easy. May God be with you-- with God, nothing is impossible. Lots of love and prayers your way! :)

Handsfullmom said...

Just wanted to stop in and say you are wonderful. More than enough. Best wishes tomorrow. I fasted for you on Sunday and my prayers are with you.

jenifer said...

Amanda- thank you for your faith! The song lyrics were beautiful and inspiring. The verses brought peace to my soul. Thank you friend!!

jenifer said...

Thanks!! Wish I could share my catheter with you. ;)

jenifer said...

Thanks Allie! Your day will almost be as busy as mine! I told Todd he had to update after surgery! I'm grateful for your virtual friendship!!

jenifer said...

I love YOU! Thanks Tiff. I hope Todd will post while I'm sleeping... Although he has strict instructions to stay with the baby until I can get there.
You inspire me to be better too! I think you'd better plan a trip to Palmyra sometime this fall... We should have a house by then. :)

jenifer said...

Ha! I do tell my husband- this is the last time, forever, that my big belly will be cute!!

jenifer said...

You're kind to say that! It does make me laugh when my husband reads my blog to understand what I'm thinking and feeling. Ha! Why is it easier for me to write than talk sometimes?!

jenifer said...

I totally agree! My life is not harder today than it has always been- it's different hard. Women everywhere push against the limits of mortality to love and serve. There is a quote by elder maxwell that says something like, I can't wait till I enter eternal life and I will be able to do all that my Spirit yearns to do without the limitations of mortality. Love that!! Thanks for your thought!!

jenifer said...

Thanks Jennie- more than you know. I feel a bit guilty that you had to endure so much- but I'm grateful that God let me use your experience as a guide post to help me navigate my own. I know I can do this- because you did. So, thanks! Can't wait to sit, at my house, with my children asleep, my husband near me, and my son in my arms!! Someday!!!!

jenifer said...

I honestly feel your prayers! Thanks Amber. I'm certain surgery and recovery will be tough-- but it will also save my life and the life of my baby! Even when life stinks-- it is worth it!! I know God is near- isn't that always the best part of hard times?!!

jenifer said...

Guess what?! Someday I'll be able to fast again... Wow- the thought of life with no more pregnancy?! Thanks Christina for your kindness and prayers! I feel the power of prayer and fasting working in my life. I know that I wouldn't have made it this far without miracles!

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