Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thank you for Bruce

2 years ago I was laying on an operating table, holding Richard's hand, with tears streaming down my face as my obgyn doctor performed a D & C. Taking my baby who had been inside of me for 3 months, but had passed away days before. I would begin a long, dark walk after this through depression and my relationship with the Lord would only be strengthened.

A year ago I sat with tears streaming down my face and typed as the Lord allowed me to take the exact words from my heart and place them on a page in this post. It had taken me a whole year, but I was able to see a glimpse of how the Lord had used our sweet baby's short life to glorify His name. It was only the fact that our hardship had been for His glory that helped me survive.

I was able to say Thank You for losing our sweet Grace. Thank you for taking our baby, thank you for being with me in the darkness as I cried, questioned, and struggled with how this could be. Thank you for leading me down this path of darkness and holding me close every step of the way.

Last year Angie Smith challenged her blog readers to be thankful for something that they desired to feel the opposite about. Like loosing a child. We are instructed in the bible to be thankful in all things, whether we perceive them as good or bad.

This year, with tears streaming down my face again, I can say Thank you for "Bruce". Did I just say Bruce??? Yep, you heard me...Bruce. Although I could sit for hours and type all I am thankful for and yet again love to reflect on how God has provided in so many ways for our family, this year I am thankful for "Bruce".

"Bruce" is the name that our littlest one has inherited until birth. The little one that is thriving at 26 weeks in my belly. The little miracle that we have prayed and waited for the past 2 1/2 years. The little one that has also helped me try not to take any moment for granted. The little one that I know is not guaranteed to survive another day yet alone until birth. Not because there is anything wrong that we know of, but because I do not know God's plan for him or her. The little one that is helping me enjoy every kick, move and moment of life instead of worrying about what will happen tomorrow. The little life that I am praising the Lord for.

***(Bruce is our child's name for now because his or her two big brothers think we should name the baby Bruce Wayne Batman. Since that name doesn't happen to be on our list, we are compromising and calling the baby bruce until he or she is born)***

I am comforted by the fact that God is sovereign and His plan will prevail. Do I wonder what life would be like with little Grace running around here instead of watching us from heaven? Sure, however I know that wasn't God's plan for her life.

So despite not knowing what tomorrow will bring, I thank the Lord for so many things. Thank you for a loving husband who I couldn't live without. One who this year you have blessed with a job he loves and where you are working through him. One who is everything I could ever have imagined and more. One who I pray I will grow old with.

Thank you for two small boys who I love so much and am enjoying every minute of their lives (well maybe not the minutes when they are disobedient and grumpy, but most of the minutes). Who you are using to shape and mold me daily Lord. Who have blessed me in more ways than I can fathom. Who I am so thankful to call my children and be called mommy by.

Thank you for Grace. Thank you for her life, for continuing to use her to help others see the light when they are facing the same darkness. Thank you for Bruce. I pray you continue to protect him or her as that little one grows and prepares for life out here.

Thank you for a wonderful family who loves us and supports us and who we couldn't be without. What a blessing it has been to be close to family this past year!

Thank you for friends who are your hands and feet and whom we have been beginning to form relationships with that will hopefully last a long time.

Thank you for so much more. I look forward to seeing what the Lord has in store for us over the next year. I pray you are able to reflect upon God's plan for your life and praise His name despite the circumstances you are facing.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Loving my body

What a powerful title huh? How often do you hear people say they love their body? Ummm, probably almost never. I know there are a few of you crazies out there who don't struggle with self esteem issues when it comes to your body and I say good for you! I, on the other hand, am one of many who have struggled with this for a long time.

Since this is a very loaded subject, I am going to state that the following statements/thoughts that are shared are those of my own. I do not mean to offend anyone or make anyone feel poorly about themselves. I am simply sharing my heart, being real, and being honest.

Loving my body has never been easy for me. In fact, I can probably say that if I am truly honest, you would rarely hear me state that I do love my body. Why is this so hard? Why do so many people (women and men) struggle with this? My battle began a long time ago and the older I get, the more I realize it may never go away. I became very obsessed with exercise, eating right, dieting, and how thin I was at a young age. My mind played many tricks on itself and I was fortunately rescued from the darkness of the lies before I could hurt myself too badly.

However, as a result of many years of this negative, inaccurate, distorted way of thinking, I've always had to keep my guard up. If you have never struggled with this you probably won't understand. Ever since I was able to see the light and was pulled from the dark pit of lies, I have been scared to death that I will be sucked back in again. Every time I start exercising on a regular basis I have to be careful the cycle won't repeat itself. The frightening thing is that it is deep subconscious thoughts that start telling me to focus on the numbers again (calories, miles, minutes, pounds, etc) and I become obsessed with these numbers and loose sight of why I am exercising: to feel good about myself and be healthy.

Pregnancy always magnifies this for me in many ways. First, because I vomit the ENTIRE pregnancy. It is of course worse in the first 20 weeks and slowly improves until the end. With my first 2 pregnancies weight gain was an issue as a result. I was also continuously dehydrated and in need of IV fluids during my pregnancy as a result. This time I have been taking zofran (a beautiful anti-nausea drug) that has solved that problem. Second, because I puke my guts out for so long and loose so much weight at first I end up having negative energy and spend many weeks on the couch or in bed. I am not complaining about this and am thankful for the constant reminder that it is a healthy pregnancy. Last, because of my history, I have felt it is safest to not exercise and not put myself in a situation in which I could harm my baby by overdoing it or not eating enough.

This pregnancy I had hoped I would be able to exercise regularly, just because I feel so much better about myself when I am able to do that. I also had been doing it on a regular basis before getting pregnant as a way of coping with our infertility. It helped distract me and motivated me to take better care of myself. Since I was the sickest with this pregnancy, I caved and have been taking the zofran to help with the throwing up and nausea. It has been a miracle drug for me. I have been able to function as a normal person and take care of myself and my family.

So I started feeling more human around 18 weeks and prayed for another week about rejoining our local gym. I still felt unsure of whether or not this was a good idea. I wanted to start exercising again because I have been struggling with loving my body due to my "normal weight gain" during this pregnancy. I feel huge and still have a ways to go. I did not experience this with my first 2 because I wasn't taking the zofran. When I started to feel bad about myself I decided to do something about it.

The day I laid it at God's feet asking Him to help me know if this was a wise decision or not he answered LOUD and CLEAR. The next day I had contractions the entire day and had some bleeding as a result. I was very frustrated by this and spent some time pouting and crying about it. However, I am thankful for the clear answer. I have not had problems with preterm labor or delivery before and am not going to start now.

I am still having them off and on and definitely notice when I overdo it and need to ease up a bit. As a result I have been focusing on loving my body instead of being depressed by it. I wish I didn't throw up the whole time, I wish I didn't have body image issues, and I wish I wasn't contracting already.

However, I am overwhelmed with joy and praise for this life inside of me. I would choose a few extra pounds, some undesirable bulges, and a rounder look over no baby any day. I am also looking forward to working out after this little one arrives. I know it will be hard and I am constantly praying for the Lord to help me turn my negative thoughts into praises.

Some women are blessed with a "perfect" pregnancy and are able to run, exercise, eat without puking, and only feel rotten for a few weeks or months. I am however not one of them. I think it is wonderful if you are one of the lucky ones who does not struggle with any of my above mentioned issues. Wether you are or not, please don't judge. Instead encourage someone who does need it. Encourage them to LOVE their body, even when they don't feel like it.

I would love to be one with a "perfect" pregnancy, but am not. So, instead I am choosing to love my body. I am loving the life that is constantly moving and is showing his or her personality already. I am also thankful for a healthy little one!

So no working out for this girl until sometime after March 4th. If there is anything I have learned in the past 6 years working in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit it is that the best NICU is inside mom! Looking a little thiner or having less weight to loose after isn't worth the risk of my baby coming too soon. Instead I can enjoy my time with the boys and work on loving my body! That will definitely be harder for me than making myself go to the gym every day!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

24 weeks

Today we are 24 weeks! Our baby is over 12 inches long and is over a pound! It is a kicking, moving, flipping, and active machine.
This little one is by far the most active and I am loving it ;0) It is definitely one of my favorite times during pregnancy...when you are big enough to look pregnant and the baby is small enough to move all over. This little one just might be the most stubborn little Dafoe yet.

At my dr's appointment on wednesday my dr was able to witness firsthand our little one's stubbornness. After I had already shared with my dr. that this little one is already showing his or her true colors with a little bit of an attitude, it took her 5 minutes to hear the heartbeat. Not because something was wrong with the baby, but because the baby was either moving too much or kicking the dr as she tried to hear the heartbeat! It was hard to not laugh at it while she was doing this also.

I was able to hold a friend's baby today at MOPS who was actually a former patient of mine in the NICU. He is doing wonderful and is up to 9lbs (5lbs heavier than when I last saw him). It was so marvelous to hold him against my chest and try to remember the boys being that small. I am so looking forward to snuggling this little one up as soon as he or she makes the big debut!

I have been asked if I am having twins when people find out when I am due! I know I am a little big, but didn't think I was that big. I was measuring a little big at my last appointment, but so was the baby at our ultrasound. I think this one will just be even bigger than the boys (if that is possible). Either way, I am trying to be thankful for a big, healthy baby and not feel hurt by the comments about multiples. Most people don't believe me that there is only one in there. They repeatedly ask if I am sure, have I had an ultrasound yet, etc. Sometimes I just say well actually there are 3! That shuts them up!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Productive Momma

Have you ever placed a task on your to-do list that was unobtainable but by just writing it on your list you felt productive? Maybe I am the only one. Either way I have been one productive momma for the past 3 days and have almost conquered the unobtainable! I have been crossing off things on a to-do list that have been there for months.

For those of you who don't know me very well I am a pack-rat, saver, and sentimental freak. I can find a way to become attached to just about anything and find a need to keep it. Ask my hubby. I also have a fear of throwing things that I "just might need" whether I will use the item in the near future or in years from its storage date. To put it into perspective for you, our oldest will soon be 5 years old and our youngest recently turned 3. I have saved ALL their clothes, shoes, coats, toys, art projects, etc. Not to mention all my notes from nursing school, text books, etc.

Now, since our boys are only 20 months apart this was wise, we have certainly gotten our money's worth of everything. However, now that our next child is due to arrive sometime at the beginning of March (give or take), I am wondering whatever possessed me to save all this stuff. We have no more room for storing it all so I have been left with no option but to start purging.

I can only thank Jesus and my husband for the motivation to purge and a desire to eliminate some unnecessary items from our home. I have also been feeling so rotten during this pregnancy that I have not had the energy or time to tackle this overwhelming project. Thus waiting to do this has only fueled my desire to start purging.

However, this week I have done it. Although we still have a long way to go, I am so proud of how much we were able to do (Richard has been helping too). Our spare bedroom upstairs/office/storage room/future nursery is starting to clear out. It feels amazing! Why hadn't I done this before! The funniest thing is that in the almost 6 1/2 years Richard and I have been married we have moved 4 times. This last move I did do some throwing, but was too overwhelmed with packing, working full time and trying to say goodbye to the place we had called home for so many years (remember the sentimental freak that I am).

I decided that this monumental occasion deserved a post of its own...and a list of all that has been done this week:
  1. I went through the boys room from top to bottom, removing anything that was too small or wasn't worn and packed it up for the next kiddo or got rid of it. Anyone who has done this before knows this alone is no easy task!
  2. Our whole family dumped every toy in our home out on the floor of the basement and we sorted, threw, gave away, and organized ALL the toys. We put all the toys that are no longer played with, but will probably be used be the next kiddo in bins, labeled them and stored them away.
  3. Our generous neighbors down the street had given us 4 garbage bags full of clothes for our boys that their boys had outgrown. I went through all these bags and had Jonah and Elijah trying on clothes to see what fits for 45 minutes. They are now set for a long time and we even have a tote full of clothes for Jonah to grow into! What a HUGE blessing!
  4. I am embarrassed to admit that we have boxes full of "stuff" that hasn't been touched since we moved over a year ago. I have made it through about 6 of these boxes and ended up throwing most of their contents.
  5. I have taken 7 garbage bags full of clothes, household items, etc to the Salvation army. I have made 3 trips to Once Upon a Child and filled our garbage bins outside twice! Yikes!
  6. We have been able to also give away quite a bit of toys, clothes, etc to friends who maybe in need of what we don't need anymore.
  7. I have been getting rid of quite a bit of my own clothes that have been taking up space in my closet for far too long.
  8. I have been able to clean out some of the "hot spots" in our house that are magnets for mail/paper pile ups.
  9. I was able to sort through and pack up 3 sizes of clothes that Elijah has grown out of and had been stashed in the laundry room in various ways. It is now labeled and stored!
  10. I also decided to clean our house since that has been greatly neglected during the past 2o some weeks ;0)
  11. I have also started tackling sorting through the baby stuff (blankets, bottles, baby gear, etc) and organizing that. I of course made many sweet discoveries like the little tiny hat and mittens we needed for Jonah (born in December) that this little one will probably need too!
I am hoping to keep the purging going, but will be taking a short hiatus to let my body recover! I just wanted to let all you fellow pack-rat, sentimental freaks such as myself know that it can be done! You can throw, purge, and de-clutter your life!!!!! It sure feels good, give it a try.

Once we have a better internet connection I will have to post a picture of the office before we started cleaning ;0) It is quite remarkable! I hope you are all having a marvelous week and I bid you happy purging!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Just playing around

Today the boys played in the backyard on the playset graciously given to us by some friends whose kids have outgrown it. The sun was shining, the wind wasn't blowing (a rarity in ND), and they played together for hours at the "park in our backyard" as it is now referred to!
It was so fun to watch them playing, it brought back many memories of my sisters and I playing in our backyard for hours. We played blind man's bluff, marco polo, and had shoe flicking contests. When I went out to snap some pics and witness all their "tricks" I mostly heard superheroes saving the world, brave nights rescuing a princess, and witnessed spider-man like moves. Quite impressive I might add!
Jonah reassured me this trick was safe and he was "really good at it" so not to worry!
Elijah might have some brain damage after hanging here and twisting his body as if he was being tortured in a deep dungeon. Somehow he thought it was fun and his giggles left the three of us almost in the grass (I say almost because I had to pee from laughing so hard and went inside). The laughing turned to crying when it was time for lunch and they had to come inside!
I pray they will have endless hours out here and allow their imaginations to continue to run wild. It will also sure come in handy next spring when we have a little one running the show again! I am again reminded at how precious this time is with my little boys at home. Thank you Lord for days such as these and I pray for many more!