Blessing #3’s Due Date Anniversary

 

Today has been another day spent pondering about how my life could have been so different right now.  September 10, 2013,  was my due date with Blessing #3. Would I be a mom of three boys, all born within 3.5 years? Would I have a one year old daughter right now? What would this little one’s unique quirks be? What would it feel like to snuggle this little one close? What would his or her voice sound like? Does this baby know how much I love him or her right now?

 

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One of the things I treasure about being a mom is not just watching and celebrating milestones, (and we all know I am slightly obsessed with this!) but the little things too…like knowing that I need to pull socks out of Joel’s pockets while doing laundry. When he takes his socks off, that’s where he puts them for safekeeping.  Or, how Micah loves to play with his hair while eats, it’s both endearing and gross, especially when we have peanut butter and honey for lunch.  But, we’re coming up with some creative yet fun-for-him solutions.

 

Micah

 

I know it’s possible for Daelynn to smile and stick her tongue out at the same time. It’s been so fun to watch her personality unfold this year.

 

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But as I question how my life would be different, I am at the same time, so thankful that I have Daelynn. She wouldn’t be here if Blessing #3 would have been carried to full term.  I’m not sure what to do with all of these feeling: longing, sadness, joy, and thankfulness.  It being one year after my due date I definitely feel less emotional but my longing to know this little one has remained the same.

If I could see this baby today, I would embrace him or her and not let go until I was pushed away. I would tell Blessing #3:

“I have missed, loved, and thought about you ever since Heaven became your home. I am thankful you are unconditionally loved and safe with our Creator.   I wish your siblings and Dad could know you and I’m thankful that we all have the ability to spend eternity with you.  Until it’s my time to join you, you will always have a piece of my heart. I love you little one.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thankful Instead of Anxious

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

I love reading all of the Thankfulness posts during this month. We all have so much to be thankful for and it’s nice to see God and so many people acknowledged for the role of their blessings in our life. At this point in my life, I am trying retrain my brain. I have this annoying tendency to forget most of the wonderful things in my life when something uncertain or difficult presents itself in my horizon. It is so easy to remember my blessings in life during the “good times,” yet so easy to forget them when there is something to worry about—hence the part about retraining my brain. Thankfully I don’t have to undertake this task alone!

My tendency to worry as a mom– Ever since the moment I found out I was pregnant with Joel, I became aware of how vulnerable my heart had become. All of the sudden, I realized in an instant my whole world could be rocked should something tragic happen. I’d like to say since it’s been more than four years since that day I saw the positive pregnancy test, and I’ve been able to master this worry issue by now—but I can’t. God has taught me so much as parent, but at this point on the journey I still have to consciously let things go that are out of control when it comes to my kids. I am thankful for each day that I am able to be my kids’ mom and choose to not worry about the future security of living this dream of a life.

My tendency to worry as a friend- I have been pretty blessed over the years to have had and still have some pretty special people in my life. I tend to feel insecure about treating my friends and family as well as they deserve…especially since becoming a mom. I have learned that I am not good at keeping up at exclusive phone conversation relationships; it actually feels freeing to admit this fact. Scheduling and executing phone calls with two small kids at home tends to stress me out, yet I understand that being a good friend requires some sacrifice on my part. And the truth is, even in other relationships with people that I talk to in person or communicate online with, I often feel like I have let something important slip. I am thankful for the people that God has placed in my life and the amount of grace they have shown me over the years. It puzzles and humbles me at times how loving so many people are to me.
My tendency to worry about my body image- God has done some amazing work in my life the last year through my journey to healthy living, but I do tend to fall back into old habits if I am not aware of taking my thoughts captive in this area. While I believe this will be a journey also, I am hoping to raise a daughter who has a role model that values being fit and strong instead of tan and skinny. I am thankful that I have been fearfully and wonderfully made, that God made my body with the ability to serve Him and others and I understand some wear and tear along with a lot of stretch marks are just proof that I am using my body the way He designed.
My current worry- I am so excited to meet my baby girl in just a couple of short months…however, there is a reason Mel and I don’t try to have babies in the middle of basketball season, there is definitely some added scheduling complications. Mel and I have decided together that he officiating basketball is something that is important to us and our family. He has worked hard and is seeing some of the fruits of his hard work these last few years. This means in January and February he will be traveling to different parts of Northern California to officiate games, this also happens to be the time frame that Daelynn will most likely arrive. I actually like the suspense of not knowing her birthday in advance, even if it would be a lot easier for me to plan around. The thought of going through labor and getting to the hospital without Mel by my side absolutely petrifies me; he is strong for me when I am at my most vulnerable place. We have shared this predicament with some of our friends and family and their willingness to step in and help has been so appreciated. I am thankful for friends and family who are willing to support us during this exciting yet possibly stressful time. I am thankful that even if things don’t happen perfectly I will not have to walk through this situation truly alone.
I am so thankful for the people God has placed in my life, and the “things” and sacrifices of others we have been blessed with do make life so comfortable, but nothing can compare to the hope and assurance I have in Christ.

I Just love these recent pictures of some of the most important people in my life:

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Minor Drama Defined

I broke my “Facebook Code of Ethics” last night without realizing it.  There are several types of posts I try to avoid in this era of living intentionally—a vague post is one of them.  I carefully chose my words, but I now realize the strong implications, given that I was talking about my baby, that the words “minor drama” can have.  By the amount of texts and messages I received I recognized that more of an explanation might be helpful (thank you to my friends who expressed your concern for us!). So I will explain what happened yesterday in two ways.

The short and sweet explanation, or what we call the “Man Version” around here, is that an ultrasound technician called me the morning after my 20 week scan and asked if I could come in for another scan that day.  He said they didn’t get clear enough images the first time.  I said yes, scheduled my exam, and found out that night that Daelynn was indeed healthy.

The “Female Version” of this story adds a few more details.  I felt anxious and excited going into my first 20 week ultrasound…would they find anything wrong, is she still a girl, was my life about to change forever due to the images we all saw? I can be a little dramatic at times, I know.  I also feel  like I am not naïve anymore, life is so precious and fleeting, and I truly need to enjoy each day with my loved ones because I do not know what I will face tomorrow.

I instantly liked my technician, she was warm and talkative…perfect, I wanted her to talk as much as possible during the scan!  I let her know that I understood and respected that there were only certain things she could tell me, but to anything and everything she wanted to share I would gladly listen.  She proceeded checking things off her list: heart, kidneys, stomach, diaphragm, brain, face, limbs, cord, etc. She would tell me what she was looking for and when she found it, just not a “looks good” or “everything looks fine.” She confirmed that Daelynn is definitely a girl and was in the frank breech position.  Not the ideal position, but she is still so small and will most likely be changing positions frequently for the next ten weeks.  Mel and the boys came in for the last part of the ultrasound and we got some the pictures I shared on Facebook that night.  That was it, now I just needed to wait for my midwife to receive the report and then I could find out the exact findings of that scan.

One of my favorite aspects of having Kaiser is the ease of being able to communicate directly with my doctor/midwife. While I have rarely had a phone conversation with them, the internal message center has been a very reliable way to communicate and I have usually been able to get a response from the doctor/midwife herself in twelve hours or less. That night I promptly messaged one of the midwives that is caring for me during this pregnancy and who happened to deliver Micah.  I asked if she would be willing to share the results of the ultrasound report when she receives it instead of me waiting until my appointment next week.  I willingly admit that I am not patient when it comes to test results!

The next morning I was going about my usual Thursday routine after dropping Joel off at preschool when I got a call from an unknown number.  I answered it and learned that it was an ultrasound technician from Kaiser.  He said that some of the images from my scan the day before were not clear and he’d like to get me in ASAP, like one hour from then. He said it was very important that they have a complete report to give to the doctor and I really needed to come in that day (I found that comment odd because the tech the day before stated a few times that she had gotten really good images of everything she needed!).  I calmly asked if there was anything more he could tell me. He said something like “Oh, these phone calls always freak mothers out.” (UHHHM YES!) “He said don’t worry, it’s only bad news if a doctor calls you.”  Ok, trying not worry…that was going to be my goal for the day.  I called Mel and let him know the latest update, and he offered to help coordinate his parents watching the boys since it would be difficult for him to make it to the appointment.

I made a few phone calls/texts and asked for prayer.  Prayer for peace and that they would get the pictures they needed that evening.  I then had to ask God for help numerous times that day, I wanted to take every thought captive and not let my imagination run wild with different problems that my little girl could be facing.  A lesson I have learned this year, and need to keep learning, is that I need to be thankful for what I know to be true day to day or minute to minute…not worry about what I do not know.  I cannot control all that is going to happen in my life, and I need to fully trust Jesus, He will do a much better job than I ever could.  I often prayed throughout the day, “Thank you Jesus for each day that I get to be pregnant with Daelynn, thank you for this day.  Thank you that I can feel her gentle movements and carry her in the amazing way you have designed babies to grow.”

After nap time, I dropped my kids off with Mel’s dad and headed to the Kaiser Hospital in Roseville.  I checked into the radiology department and waited for my name to be called.  While I was waiting I got a phone call from my midwife.  She said that she received my message and wanted to give me the information she knew at that point.  She said that the incomplete report indicated that everything they had definite images for looked wonderful and healthy, yay!!! I asked her what part of her body they did not get clear images of—it was her brain. She said she would let me know the results of the report when she got them the next day.

My name was called and I followed an ultrasound technician into the scan room.  She said there were only a couple images she needed to get.  She also shared that an image from the original scan made it appear as though there might be a cyst growing in her brain. (WHAT?!!) She shared that usually if the technician finds a cyst, he or she will leave a note for whoever creates the final report for the doctor.  There was no note attached to that image making it seem like it was probably just a shadow, but they needed to know for sure.  The scan only took a couple of minutes and I found out she’s still a girl and now head down, wonderful!

The next part of the scan was truly a gift, the technician read my emotions and said definitively “There is no cyst, she looks just fine.” My eyes swelled with tears as I felt relief wash over my body.  The technician said the final report would go to the doctor but she wanted me to be able to sleep that night.  That was it!!!  Also, I did get a message from my midwife this morning confirming that everything was fine in the final report.  Yesterday was such a good reminder of how vulnerable my heart has become now that I am a mother.  What turned out to be completely nothing could have been something that many other mothers have had to face.  I pray that my faith would continue to be strengthened as I face whatever challenges I am given in life, I am so thankful that no matter what happens, nothing can change the Hope I have in Christ.  What gift in the midst of the most dire circumstances.

What If I Never Have A Daughter?

This month our gender reveal ultrasound is scheduled. I have been through this experience two other times, each with its own unique and special memories. As a planner I loved finding out as soon as possible and spending the rest of my pregnancies bonding more specifically with my babies and of course painting and setting up the nursery. This baby we plan on being our last and will be the determining factor whether we have three boys or able to raise both sons and a daughter. I truly have come to a wonderful peace about either scenario, but I didn’t start this way.

 

I was naïve before we started having kids, most people have a boy and girl, right? I don’t know the exact statistics, but it seemed like the majority of our family and friends had at least one of each. I never was good at predicting the gender of either of my kids, my cravings were different each pregnancy and I had dreams that went both ways. I was thrilled to find out our oldest was a boy, how fun!

 
It wasn’t until after I found out our second was a boy that it hit me…I might never have a girl. I want to be very clear, I was so excited for Micah to join our family I wouldn’t trade him for anybody. He was given to us by God and the perfect fit for our family. In fact I started to feel defensive when strangers would ask what I was having and say, “It’s ok, you can try again for a girl.” I struggled with a polite way to say that we are actually excited for our second little boy. But, I also started to mourn a possibility that I never really thought would happen to me—I might not ever experience raising a daughter. I loved growing up with younger sisters and doing fun girly things with them. There is something special about a bond with a female family member. Also, more superficially, no cute little girl clothes, tea parties, princess dresses at Disneyland, shopping trips, and the list goes on. The fact that I was feeling this way also bothered me a bit, in my opinion there is not an ethical way to 100% guarantee having a baby of a certain gender, and therefore it was something out of my control. While it’s ok to acknowledge my feelings of potential disappointment, why dwell on something that I might not have, when I have so much to be thankful for? I decided at this point that I wanted God to change my heart and I began to wrestle with some other deeper thoughts in the process.

 

Why did I become a parent? Well there is a biological answer as well as a philosophical one. Did I have children to make me happy, to meet my needs, and fulfill my desires of what parenting should be like? Answering yes to my last question would lead to a very disappointing parenting experience for me. I like this quote from Gary Thomas in his book Sacred Parenting:

 

“We live in the midst of holy teachers. Sometimes they spit up on themselves or us. Sometimes they throw tantrums. Sometimes they cuddle us and kiss us and love us. In the good and bad they mold our hearts, shape our souls, and invite us to experience God in newer and deeper ways.”

 

I want my role as a parent to be less about making my life pleasant and self-fulfilling and more about learning to love our Creator and others in a more meaningful way. I decided that it wouldn’t be wise for me to try for another baby until I could truly be grateful for whatever God gave us, a girl or boy. Sure I’d love to have a girl, but I much rather embrace God’s plan for our family whatever that looks like.

 
Interestingly, I finally felt a true peace about a third child in December 2012, the month I unknowingly got pregnant with our baby that I call Blessing #3. As you can recall from this post, Mel and I weren’t exactly on the same page about adding another baby to our family and the feelings hadn’t changed after my miscarriage. Also interesting, the month that we tentatively planned when we might start trying again in the future, I found out I was pregnant with Blessing #4, as I will call this baby until our ultrasound.

 
Until my next post I leave you with a letter to our baby:

 
Dear Blessing #4,

 
As I ponder how thankful I am that you have been placed in our family, I want you to know that I love you just the way God made you. Whether you are a boy or girl, healthy or sick, have two toes or ten, are easy or challenging, you are perfect for our family just the way you are. Your father and I can’t wait to meet you and hold you. You have one very excited oldest brother and an older brother will get to learn the joy of adding a baby to our family. I am honored to be your mother, and I will love you along with your brothers and sibling in heaven my whole life.

 

With Love,

 
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13 weeks pregnant with Blessing #4