Saturday, August 29, 2009

The One With Another Weekend Thought: Heaven

I definitely am overdue for an update post. Our ultrasound story is pretty fun (like, for real--Sam is NOT a cooperative child. He actually made our tech crack up laughing several times because of his complete stubborness. She wished us luck with the rest of his life at the end, haha. Also, he's not just stubborn, he's a complete weirdo. Which makes me, another complete weirdo, love him all the more) so I'll have to share it. There's been all sorts of other excitement--the guy who backed into my car and caused $1200 worth of damage to the back of it (mom & baby were fine. and insurance is covering the whole thing); 23 of my peers and superiors coming in to have a huge meeting and "observation" at my store (one of my least favorite days EVER) and now, this weekend, all of a sudden a HUGE thing popped up--the possibility of buying a house. Like, in the next few weeks. Gah. Too long of a story to type now....since what I actually want to do is a weekend thought for the day. I had planned to do it every week, and I have been remiss :) But here goes.

I hope it's fine if my weekend thought is also a shameless plug for one of my most favorite people in the entire world--Steven Curtis Chapman. My mom and I had the cassette tape of "For the Sake of the Call" and "Heaven in the Real World" was one of my very first CDs. I grew up LOVING him. I feel as though his music has done nothing but improve over the years, and his recent albums to me have been inspiring, encouraging, and convicting. He has a faith that is amazing. I think this was most clearly seen in the days and months following the tragedy in his family, and I remember reading interview after interview and speculations from his friends, family, and the music world in general wondering if he'd ever perform and write again.

I had the distinct privilege of seeing him perform a year after that--the absolute best concert experience of my entire life. And now, the man people questioned if he'd ever write again, has released a new single--Heaven is the Face. And I LOVE this song. I think that obviously, the idea of losing a child has become so much more real to me since actually having lost a child through miscarriage, and now as I think every second of the day how much I love Sam. The pain that he has come through astounds me. His new album, releasing November 3, is very appropriately titled "Beauty Will Rise." I love that, because beauty truly has risen from among the ashes of his pain. You should learn about Maria's Big House of Hope, the orphanage opened in Maria's name...just one of the many amazing things that has come out of his tragedy.

But I've been so struck by the lyrics of his newest song. I find that heaven is an incredibly difficult concept to grasp. It is our greatest hope as Christians--eternal fellowship and worship; perfected bodies; perfected earth...but really, what is it? I don't know. I have no idea what it will be like.

Some of the lyrics of his new songs are as follows: Heaven is the face of a little girl/With dark brown eyes that disappear when she smiles/Heaven is the place where she calls my name/Says "Daddy, please come play with me for awhile"/And God, I know, it's all of this and so much more/But God, this is all I'm aching for/God, you know, I can't see beyond the door/So right now, Heaven is a sweet maple syrup kiss/And a thousand other little things I miss with her gone/But in my minds eye, I can see a place/Where your glory fills all the empty space/And the cancer is gone/Every mouth is fed/And there's no one left in the orphan's bed/Every lonely heart finds their one true love/And there's no more goodbye/No more not enough/And there's no more enemy/And God, I know it's so much more than I can dream/It's far beyond anything that I can conceive/So God, you know, I'm trusting you until I see/Heaven in the face of my little girl.

I think this song is so beautiful. And so honest. He KNOWS that heaven is a thousand things. But right now, he cares that heaven is the place where he sees his little girl again. And so yeah, Heaven is the demise of cancer and sickness....and a sweet, messy, syrupy kiss from the daughter he hasn't seen in a year and a half and never got to say goodbye to. Loss gives heaven an entirely new meaning.

So for me--heaven is a blond headed boy named Brandon who will probably want to play some sort of practical joke on me as soon as I see him, and who probably hasn't stopped laughing since he got there. It's a tall boy named Dave who I'm sure is dressed in orange pants and will probably ask me first thing if I watched the movie he gave me that's in all subtitles even though I kept telling him I hate that. (And no, Dave...I still haven't watched it. And I still don't think Edward Scissorhands is a good movie....) It's my grandmother, being able to jump and walk and go crabbing again. And it's a little baby that I don't even know was a boy or a girl--with a personality and a face and a body and who I will finally get to know.

So. What is heaven for you?

(For more Weekend Thoughts, head over to Life At the Circus)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The One With All the Boy Parts

No time for anything other than this:
Our baby is healthy, and super stubborn, and is a BOY!!! We're so thrilled!! His name is Samuel Brandon :)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The One With the Thankfulness

So, I'm attempting to join the Weekly Thought linkup over at Crystal's blog every week. And I'm sorta in a funk today. So I'm not sure if my thought will be....well, thoughtful, but I guess we'll find out :)

I'm pretty much a mess. I am worried, angry, scared, tired, impatient, and every other emotion in the book. There were a lot of details I left out of my summary of our ultrasound appointment, and overall I'm becoming increasingly convinced that our tech not only was rude and gave up on us far too easily, she also neglected other important aspects of her job.

However, the MOST unhelpful thing I've heard in this situation is "You should have demanded another tech!!" or "I would have spoken with a manager!!! I wouldn't have walked out!" Um, thanks. When YOU have an ultrasound and your tech scares the crap of you and makes you think YOUR baby is dying, feel free to handle the situation "properly." Are they right? Absolutely. I have already placed a call to the manager of the lab we went to, and will be addressing the issues. No one wishes more than me that we had realized how wrong things were before we left. And no one wishes more than me that this would all be resolved before waiting 2 more weeks. But for real--I didn't know. I've never had a mid-pregnancy ultrasound. I knew things didn't feel right, but I didn't realize enough to speak to someone. Next time I will. People can stop telling me now.

Being convinced of our tech's mishandling of the situation is rather encouraging, in some ways, as it leads us to believe everything with the baby IS normal, and she simply did a poor job. The "what if" still feels very real, though. And I truly believe THAT is where all my emotion is coming from. I'm not trying to be overdramatic. I do realize that the chances are very good that my baby is healthy and normal and that in 22 weeks, I will get to meet Nugget and we will have a happy life.

But I'm not gonna lie--I'm tired. I'm tired of not having a happy, fun, exciting pregnancy like so many people I know. And I get angry about it. Yesterday, I finally put voice to my feelings and cried, "I just want ONE freaking part of this pregnancy to feel normal!" And I realized that my problem is different than the one I'm saying it is. I'm very worried for Nugget. It's a big part of my funk. But it's also that I'm a little bitter about the way this has gone, and that I can't fix it.

I peed on a stick, and cried. I was scared for the next few weeks. Like, I went to the bathroom every ten minutes. And I sat on the toilet a little longer, waiting for the miscarriage to start. When I actually DID start spotting, I completely melted, and spent 4 days certain we were going to lose our baby. I got excited, but always it was dampened by fear. I didn't just get normal pregnant sick, I got pregnant sick from hell. When everyone told me I'd feel "better than ever" once I hit 14 weeks, here I sit at 18 weeks, still occasionally puking, still exhausted, still not sleeping. When we got our first ultrasound picture at 6 weeks, we sat in the car and cried because we were still so scared of spreading the news. And now, what should have been one of, if not the MOST, exciting moment of our pregnancy (excluding the actual birth!) was ruined. And I'm tired of it. I want to pee on a stick and run around and tell everyone and be happy and excited, I want to feel great and amazing, and I want to be looking of pictures of my little gender-known Nugget and dreaming of the future.

And now I realize...that's not ok. This situation isn't mine to control. And I am commanded to be thankful. I am not commanded to be thankful because everything went like I planned, or like I wanted. I am not commanded to be thankful because God did things my way instead of his way. I am not commanded to be thankful because of my circumstances; I am simply required to be thankful for ALL THINGS. And tonight, I have much to be thankful for. For now, I have a Nugget kicking around inside of me, and each little movement is a reminder that for now, my baby thrives. I have a husband who has been amazing through this entire situation; has handled meltdowns; helped me through this; been my constant support and laughter; made me smile; and loved our little baby as much as I do. I have an amazing family, friends, coworkers...I am so amazingly blessed. And tonight, I am thinking on these things. Not the things that could have been, or would have been, or things that I want to be different. I am simply thankful for what is. And I am thankful that I have been chosen to carry this life. Every moment.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Seriously, Nugget??

So. I really shouldn't be surprised. Here's what we learned at our ultrasound today:

Nugget has a head. Nugget has 2 arms and 2 legs, 2 eye sockets. We briefly saw kidneys, spinal cord, bladder, and stomach. We did get a heartbeat reading, 145 bpm, which is good. We also got a very long glimpse of the brain. One time, Nugget looked straight at us. Also waved a little bit.

Here's what we DIDN'T learn:

Are any of Nugget's body parts doing what they're supposed to be doing? WHY did we zoom in on the brain for ten minutes (when our whole ultrasound was twenty minutes...)? Are the kidneys functioning? Is the heart pumping blood? Is Nugget a boy or a girl?

So. kinda frustrating. It was kinda weird. Our tech wouldn't tell us much. Like, I was in there for about 15 minutes, she poked and prodded, pointed out a few things. Then mostly just stopped at the brain and wouldn't talk. Then she had me go to the bathroom, she tried again for about 5 minutes and said, "Nope. I thought maybe if you relieved your bladder it would help. But it didn't. I can't get anything I need." I asked if, based off of what she DID see, everything looked ok so far. She said, "I couldn't see much." Um. Thanks. That's very helpful. I'm not worried at all.

I realize this is very common. I know tons of women are unable to see certain body parts, etc. It's just sort of unnerving to have no confirmation or indication that Nugget is alright. I just want to know if my baby is ok. I already spoke with my doctor; he'll call if the report he gets shows anything until then we wait. Our next ultrasound is in two weeks, and hopefully we'll have more news.

Funny how much more appropriate my last post now seems...

In the waiting, in the waiting, I learned to hold on to the Heart of God.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The One With My Weekend Thought

Pregnancy is so weird. Sometimes I'm like "Man. I never talk about ANYTHING besides Nugget!!" And then I realize it's because so few of my thoughts are Nugget-less. It's the most all-consuming experience of my life. I thought I was bad the weeks before my wedding, but it was nothing compared to this. Especially the past 2 weeks, as we've had our appointment made and are counting down the days to our ultrasound. As I've said before, I think pregnancy-after-miscarriage comes with its own set of rules and its own pile of fears. I kept thinking I'd hit milestones that would make it better, and while getting out the first trimester was huge, I'm finding myself anxious as the ultrasound approaches. And I have wondered much exactly what I am to pray for during this time. Out of fear, I want to ONLY pray that my baby is healthy. I want to pray that I get to meet Nugget, and hold Nugget, and play with Nugget, and take Nugget to kindergarten, and watch Nugget graduate and get married and live a long happy life. The very strongest desire of my heart is to really get to know this little baby I have come to love tremendously in the past 4 months. However, I am fully aware that this is not MY baby. This is God's baby, and as I have already learned, I have no control over this child. This is sometimes a frustrating thought to me--I'm avoiding all the foods I'm supposed to; I'm taking care of my body the way I'm supposed to...I've got all the bases covered. I wish that came with the assurance that as long as I do what I'm supposed to do, my baby will be fine. But it doesn't. And I can do everything I can, knowing that in the end, I will humbly accept the sovereignty of a God who sees the future, controls the universe, and loves my baby more than I will ever be able to.

I feel like what I need to do is absolutely pray my desires to God. But I also need to daily rededicate my child to his care, and relinquish the control I pretend I have but really don't. While I was thinking through all this stuff, I found a song that basically says what I feel like pregnancy (and, while I don't know from experience, I imagine parenting in general will be like.) It's called Prayers for This Child by Sara Groves, and I love it.

"I do not know how I am to pray for this child,
As his mother I don't want my baby denied,
But in the waiting, in the waiting,
I learned to hold on to the heart of God.

Every instinct in me wants to shield him from pain,
Take the arrows of misery, heartache, and shame,
But in the sorrow, in the sorrow,
I learned to hold on to the heart of God.

I only have 2 eyes--be all seeing
I only have 2 hands--be everywhere
I do not know enough--be all knowing
I give this baby up to your care

I do not know how I am to pray for this child
I want to guard him from everything wicked and wild,
But in the trial, in the trial,
I learned to hold on to the heart of God."

Such a wonderfully neat thought. This lack of control, this fear of never knowing this child, this desire to protect my baby and the knowledge that it's not my job...these are the very things teaching me to hold on to the heart of God. So I will hold tightly, knowing that he cares for me and Nugget more than I could ever dream of. And I will pray for this sweet baby, both the desires of my heart as well as for my heart to prepared to walk whatever journey we will face.

Our appointment is on Thursday morning, and I can't wait to hopefully share all the fun details and the gender of our little Nugget! If you think of it, prayers are greatly appreciated! Thanks :)