arrival :)

My new baby boy arrived early in the morning of August 30, ten days overdue.  But he arrived at just the right time for him.  He is happy and healthy, and he weighed in at 9 pounds, 4 ounces and 22 inches long.  I am doing pretty well, too.  I’m tired, but that’s normal.  I did have another unmedicated childbirth, and I’m pleased with that.  I also had a waterbirth, which was pretty cool.  🙂

I hope to write more later, but unfortunately I can’t now, because for some reason, my carpal tunnel in my hands won’t go away.  All the swelling was gone from my feet and legs in the first 48 hours after the birth, but it didn’t go away from my hands.  They have improved a bit, but they are still quite carpal-tunnel-y and prickly and stiff.  Luckily my pinkies are okay, so I can at least tell how soft my baby’s skin is with those fingers.

If you have any ideas for how to get this extra fluid off of my hands, I would be happy to hear them.  I’m not sure what to do.

At least my baby is happy and healthy.  🙂  He’s adorable, and we all love him to pieces.  🙂

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a welcome distraction

In my first trimester of pregnancy, I was happily distracted from my early-pregnancy-sickness (aka. morning sickness, although mine was sort of all-day sickness) by the arrival of the PBS TV series “Downton Abbey” into my life.  It provided me a welcome distraction from my general ickies, and helped me get through a trying time.

Now I’m in the final weeks/days of my pregnancy.  I have been afflicted with pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel, which really limits how much I can/should type on a computer.  So this will be short.

But, I have found another welcome distraction.  I’ve discovered “The Hunger Games” book series.  Friends lent me the books, and I’ve sailed through books one and two, and am now trying to go a little slower through the final book, book three.  It’s happily engrossing, and since I can’t do much with my hands/fingers these days, reading a book is something I can still enjoy.  Of course, I can’t do much of anything with all the weight I’m lugging around these days, so sitting and reading is just about right for me.

My “adopted” sister AM came up for a suprise visit last weekend, and we even had the opportunity to take in the movie of “The Hunger Games” at our local budget cinema across the street from our church.  It was nice to get out.

Here’s hoping my new baby makes his appearance soon!

big news

I haven’t been blogging much lately.  There’s a reason for that.

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I’m pregnant.

🙂

I’m at the end of my first trimester, and while everything has been going fine, I’ve been extremely tired.  I’ve also had lots of food aversions, which have made deciding what to make for meals most difficult.  Thankfully, Downton Abbey has gotten me through many a meal prep and a meal consumption.  If I don’t have to think about what I’m doing – or eating – then it doesn’t bother me as much.

Lyd and Jujubee are very excited.  We told them at Christmas, as one of their last Christmas presents.  JJ and I wish we would have thought to have the video camera ready to capture the moment, as Lyd’s response in particular was quite dramatic.  They’re both delighted, and we have all agreed as a family that we don’t care if the new baby is a boy or a girl; God will send us just the right baby for our family.  I’m so glad I don’t have to decide the gender of the new baby!  I don’t know how I’d ever choose.  🙂

While I haven’t been blogging here much, I started a pregnancy blog to document my pregnancy.  If you’re interested in that blog, please feel free to email me for the address.  I plan to keep most of my pregnancy-specific talk on that blog.

I had an ultrasound yesterday and got to see how much the baby has grown.  It was amazing to see the little one waving arms around and kicking legs – and then realize that its crown-to-rump length is only 4.7 cm!  After I got home, I drew a line 4.7 cm long on a piece of paper, drew a circle for the head and a circle for the abdomen on the line, added little stick arms and legs, and held it up to my belly.  Yup, that’s still a pretty small baby, although it’s right on target for its age.

I’ve got a long way to go yet until the end of August, but so far everything is going well, and I’m thankful for that.  This pregnancy has been a long time in coming.  I’ve prayed and waited and prayed and waited for this baby for a long time.  It was a wonderful early Christmas present to discover that I was pregnant, and now that the baby has made it this far, it seems pretty likely that I’ll have a new baby by the end of the summer.  What a blessing that will be to our family!

pregnancy emotions

When I got pregnant with my first child, Lyd, I was completely serene.  I didn’t fear pregnancy, and I didn’t fear how a new baby would fit into our family.  After educating myself and conquering my fears of the childbirth process, I wasn’t afraid a bit to have a baby.  When Lyd was born, I was eager to see her, hold her, and pictures of me taken in the minutes and hours and days following her birth show me with a radiant glow.  I remember being unbelievably happy; I had no post-partum depression of any kind.  The only tears I had were tears of joy.  I remember an incident from when Lyd was about a week old.  JJ and I were in our living room holding and talking to and admiring our new daughter.  IZ was singing “What a Wonderful World” on the CD player, and I wept from the complete sheer bliss of the moment.

When I got pregnant with my second child, Jujubee, I panicked.  I had equally panicked during my short pregnancy before Jujubee, a pregnancy that ended in a miscarriage.  When I became pregnant with Jujubee, my panic returned.  I was afraid of morning sickness again, and I could not picture how a new baby would fit into our family.  In the minutes following Jujubee’s birth, I had a final panic attack.  It didn’t help that Jujubee’s birth was rather sudden and traumatic and that she was born blue with an Apgar of 4.  I remember after she came out and (finally!) gave her first cry, then the nurses gave her to me, but I was shaking so bad I could only hold her for a moment.  JJ had to take her as I cried and wailed, “I can’t handle two children!  I can’t do it!”  To which my wise doula responded, “But Emily, you already ARE doing it.”  Thankfully, my caretakers helped me do the right things to get nursing established and to bond more with my baby, and after a few weeks I was thoroughly in love with my little girl.  It actually was a blessing for me emotionally that Jujubee ended up in Children’s Hospital for 24 hours when she was six weeks old, because I wasn’t sure yet that I really loved her.  When I was faced with a fleeting thought of losing her, I then realized how much I loved her.

I am not pregnant with a third child … yet.  I still hang onto hope that another baby is in my future.  And if I am blessed with another child, my prayer is that I won’t panic this time around.  Some of my panic was physiological; my anxiety wasn’t under control then as well as it is now, so some of it wasn’t technically my fault.  But beyond the physical problems, I really did have emotional issues with how I would possibly handle a second child and how I would love a second child as much as my first child.  Those fears turned out to be completely unfounded, as Jujubee has completely stolen my heart as well as the hearts of the rest of her family and anyone else who spends time with her.  We can no longer imagine our family without her.

So, I pray that the good experience I have had with Jujubee will make me less fearful about another pregnancy experience as well as another addition to our family if I find myself pregnant.  I can’t control what my body does, but I think it’s better prepared to handle a pregnancy than it was four years ago.  Emotionally, I think I’m in vastly better shape than I was four years ago!  I’m still a little nervous (especially about going through morning sickness again), but I now know of even more methods for dealing with it then I did last time, and I also know that it doesn’t last forever.

I was watching some video clips on our computer from when both of my girls were born, and oh my, did I have cute little babies!  I’m really hoping I get the chance to have that experience one more time.  I keep holding on to the fact that when the time is right, God will send us a baby.  If he doesn’t send us a baby, that means the time wasn’t right, and I pray that I’ll be able to find a way to be okay with that, too.  But I guess I haven’t given up all hope yet (especially after a very encouraging acupuncture appointment today) that perhaps a baby is still in my future.

I’ll have to wait and see what God has in store.

surprise babies

My husband was a surprise baby.  He was not planned, he was not supposed to come into existence, and he was born when his parents were … older.  However, I and many other people are very thankful that he was born.  (He also wasn’t supposed to live once he was born.  His mother prayed a “Hannah’s Prayer” over him, “Lord, if you spare this baby, I will give him to you.”  And, wouldn’t you know it, JJ has never wanted to be anything except a pastor.  Isn’t that interesting!  Anyway…)

Over the years, my husband and I have met many more people who were also surprise babies.  They’ve all been dearly loved by their families, and those families can’t imagine life without them.  For example, my parents told me about the pastor at our church when I was a little girl.  He and his wife had two children, then seven-ish years later, had a surprise baby.  Ten-ish years after that, they had another surprise baby!  I like that story.

Years ago, other acquaintances of my parents had four grown/teenaged children.  They went to a party one night, after which the wife complained of bad stomach cramps.  The husband took her to the hospital, where (you know what’s coming!) the doctor told her she was having a baby.  She was stunned; somehow, she had had no idea.  (I guess she was a larger woman, so she didn’t really gain any weight.  Plus she was in her 40s.  But still — how would you NOT know??)  Regardless, they didn’t know, and she gave birth to a baby for whom no preparation had been done.  Wow!  That must have been a huge surprise!

I also know of at least two families who adopted a number of children, only to later on in life have a baby of their own!  Those stories are so … magical, as well as being beautiful examples of God doing everything in his own good time.

I love the idea of surprise babies.  I love the idea of God sending a child to a family at an unexpected time.  I love the idea of God taking over control of this aspect of life and proving that his timing is always best.  I agonize over big decisions, and I’ve always felt relieved that both of my babies were somewhat surprise babies.  Both were definitely wanted, but neither was exactly expected.  (Well, Curious J was certainly hoped for.  We had been trying for a long time.  But then I had some medical issues, so we took a month off from trying.  Of course, wouldn’t you know… ;))  So, I like the idea of getting unexpectedly pregnant, because it’s as if God’s writing a piece of your future in big letters in the sky.  People always wonder what’s the best thing to do, and getting pregnant is as if God is saying, “I’ve decided that it would be best for you to have a baby right now, and I know exactly the right baby to send you.”

With all that in mind, it bothers me that so many people in the world today want to have a high level of control of their lives, especially in regards to childbearing and fertility.  It’s even called “birth control.”  And, it bothers me that so many people, in their desire to be in control of their lives, take such final steps to ensure that a baby will not come when a baby is not expected.  I know, I know, sometimes there are good, medical reasons to take such final steps, and I’m not arguing those situations.  But, I believe those are the exception, not the rule.

Neither am I advocating the “Every Sperm Is Sacred” viewpoint.  Women shouldn’t feel obligated to spend their lives barefoot and pregnant.  That’s not healthy for a mother, and neither does it make healthy babies.  A mother has a duty to take care of herself as best as she can to be able to care for the children God has given her.  And I also disagree with the “Quiverfull” religious movement, that says that by having more children, you obtain more blessing from God.  Children are blessings, to be sure, but blessings aren’t measured in amounts.

But, it seems that there is less and less of an understanding for the middle ground between those two extremes.  In the Lutheran church, the official stance is that it’s not always wrong to use birth control.  However, what’s not talked about as frequently is that it might be wrong in some circumstances, and I don’t feel that there is a good understanding of what those circumstances might be.

Perhaps, as one who is not a “Fertile Myrtle,” it’s easier for me to take the position of being opposed to the easy use of permanent birth control.  I don’t get pregnant at the drop of a hat, nor do I have a houseful of little people with drippy noses and dirty bottoms loudly clamoring for my immediate attention.  But, without divulging details, I’ve … had reason to ponder permanent birth control lately, and I find that (exceptional cases aside) — I’m not comfortable with it.  It seems like it’s telling God, “No, thanks, I don’t want any more of those blessings.”

I know, I know, kids cost money and time and sleep and energy and personal fulfillment and blah blah blah…  I know all of that.  But in the end, children are a blessing from God, and I can’t imagine saying a definite “No, thanks” to a blessing from God.

Maybe I’m biased.  Well, I know I’m biased.  And I’m not saying I want to be Michelle Duggar, pregnant with baby #19.  (Wow!)  But I absolutely believe that God sends the right babies at the right times, and who is anybody to say when that time is up?  It bothers me that so many people I know have (with selfish and un-Christ-centered motivation, in my opinion) said “No, thanks.”

I’m not saying I’m hoping to have a surprise baby in my later childbearing years.  But, at the same time, if God wants to send me a baby at that time – or any other time – I would absolutely accept it with open arms.

Because, I like surprise babies.  Especially the one to whom I’m married. 😉

on a TTC break

JJ and I are currently not trying to conceive a third baby.  I’m okay with that.

This is remarkable because when I was TTC (trying to conceive) baby #2, I was obsessed with getting pregnant.  Really, really obsessed.  Even when we were on TTC breaks for various good reasons, I never mentally took a break.  I was always hoping against hope, that despite our efforts not to TTC, a baby would happen anyway.  I hated not TTC.  During every month that we tried to avoid getting pregnant, I mentally calculated what the time span between Lyd and the theoretical baby #2 would increase by.  Having two children four years apart was not my ideal plan (although it has worked out better then I ever imagined it would.)

Between the time I stopped breastfeeding Lyd and finally got pregnant with Curious J, I never mentally stopped TTC.  It was always on my mind, I was always wondering about it, and frankly, I was always stressing out about it.  I believed Romans 8:28, and intellectually I knew everything would be okay in the end, but I kept seeing Lyd getting older, and seeing myself get older, and I couldn’t see any good end to it.

It was a difficult time, but I learned some good lessons from it.  I learned that events in life really do happen at the right time, even when they don’t feel right when they happen.  I learned that Romans 8:28 applies to pregnancy as well as everything else in life.  I learned to trust God more; after seeing how beautifully everything has worked out so far in my life, how can I NOT trust God?  Everything is working out just fine.

Now, we are on a TTC break, and I am mentally committed to this break.  It’s actually rather relaxing.  After experiencing what it’s like to have children four years apart, I have learned that a larger break between siblings isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  In fact, in many ways it works out really well.  Most importantly, I’ve learned that a friendship between siblings is not dependent on being close in age.  (Plus, like I mentioned once before, my Grandma Violet had 4 babies in 11 years, so I’m well within that time table if I hope to have 4 kids of my own.)

Yes, some of my friends are done having babies, but there are plenty of other friends my age who are still having babies or hope to be having babies.  So, I’m not alone in my future baby hopes, and I’m not the last woman my age whos is thinking about having a baby while it seems every other woman around her is done.  Not by a long shot.

Truth be told, I kind of like this “break” thing.  It’s nice to not be stressing out every month, thinking “Am I pregnant?”  I’m not pregnant, I’m not trying, and I’m totally okay with that.

Ahhh.

getting pregnant at just the right time

Today I got a phone call from a woman in our church, a friend of mine, telling me that she gave birth to her second child early this morning.  Her first child was born just three days before Curious J, and it’s been fun sharing the stages that our daughters have gone through in these first two years of their lives.  Now, a new stage has arrived for their family – a second child.  So, it got me thinking about our family having another baby, which would be baby #3 for us.

While Curious J is still a baby, in many ways she’s not a baby anymore.  And I would like to have more children.  So, I can’t help but be a little wistful at my friend’s new baby.  But at the same time, now is not the right time for us to have baby #3.  At least, from our perspective it’s not.  JJ and I are on a TTC (trying to conceive) hiatus for a few months.  When we were thinking about having baby #2 and had to take a few TTC breaks, I just hated it.  I felt that I had. to. have. a. baby. now, and waiting for the months to slip by was incredibly frustrating.  Of course, it was also frustrating to actually be TTC and to then be unsuccessful for so long.  My two daughters are four years apart, and never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that would happen.

But, the experience of trying to have my second child, and subsequently being blessed with my second child at a time when I had almost given up hope, really taught me an important lesson.  Everything really does happen at just the right time.  The fact that my daughters are four years apart has worked out better than I ever could have imagined.  My biggest fear with their age difference is that they would not become good friends.  That fear has been completely dashed away.  As I watch my two girls play together, imitate each other, fight with each other, and give each other hugs and kisses at bedtime each night, I know that they are well on their way to being as close as sisters are supposed to be throughout their lives.  All my fears were for nothing, because everything is working out just right.

Curious J arrived at just the right time in so many ways.  After seeing for myself just how right of a time it was, I am confident that baby #3, if and when s/he arrives, will arrive at just the right time as well.  And if I am so blessed to even have baby #4 someday, as is my hope, I know that baby will arrive at just the right time, too.

As I think about timing issues, I am comforted by the fact that my sainted Grandma Violet gave birth to four children (actually five – she had one stillbirth) over eleven years.  If she could take eleven years to have her four children, then, hey, I’m right on track!  Sometimes I compare myself to friends who’ve taken (or have been taken on ;)) the “fast track” in their childbearing and have had a number of kids in fairly rapid succession.  I feel like I’m somehow lesser, that I don’t measure up when I compare myself to them.  But the fact is, I’m just not a super-fertile — and that’s okay!  Not everyone is meant for that kind of life.  In fact, when I honestly assess the person that I am, the weaknesses with which I struggle and the strengths which I enjoy, I find myself seeing the wisdom of God’s timing and knowing that it’s probably better for me (and my husband) to have more time rather than less time between babies.

So, while I always pictured myself having babies on a “normal” schedule (meaning every two years), I’m finding myself quite comfortable with a larger spacing between children.  I like being able to spend a lot of one-on-one time with my girls, and I think that’s one of the ways I shine as a mother.  I have been blessed with unique strengths and gifts, and God has seen fit to bless me with babies at times that work with those strengths, for which I’m very thankful.  It’s exciting to think of having another baby, and the control-loving part of me would very much like to know that when JJ and I decided to begin TTC again, it will happen right away.  But, after my experience fretting and worrying while waiting for baby #2, I feel a lot calmer about it this time.  It’s in God’s hands, and it will happen when the time is right.

Until then, I’ll get my “baby fix” from the adorable babies in my music classes, the two new babies at our church, and I’ll spend my pregnancy prayers in prayer for friends who are pregnant or who hope to be pregnant soon.  You ladies know who you are… 🙂