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Sunday, 15 April 2012

The Gift of Life

I have just tucked in the babies and gave them each a big kiss.  I told them that the next time they see me, it will be at the hospital to meet our new baby and they were very excited.  In fact, I am feeling very excited! Like answered prayer, all of that anxiousness is being washed away by the sheer excitement at knowing this time tomorrow, there will be a precious, precious little baby in our lives!

So I am watching the sun set not just on my last day of being pregnant, but also setting on what has been a sixteen year season of child-bearing years.  It has been a good "stretch" (pun intended!).  I really do love my life being a mom and watching the precious faces of each of my children is such a delight.  Even Melina today has been tired and bothered by a headache, but I love just looking at her when she doesn't know it, and smiling at my first "baby" who has grown so much.  Barely a year away from being an adult herself...

If this did happen to be the last night of my life, I would be peaceful.  The children made me laugh most of the day and meal time together was extra funny for whatever reason.  I am experiencing not just the gift of life within my womb, but the gift of my own life.  It doesn't always feel like it's been a life worth living... good grief I think I could do without a few chapters of significantly poor choices... and yet those chapters played key roles in the reasons why I choose to live an open life and why I believe that being honest with others is a good way to ensure you're being honest with yourself.

There's that part of me that wonders, should this BE the last night of my life, will I have loved my babies passionately enough to last them the rest of their lives?  Will all that talk about my love being with them always no matter what, live itself out?  I hope more than anything that what they remember most about "Mom" is the smile on her face, the delight in her heart and the sheer joy it has been for me to be their mom.

But tonight, I am not worried about that slim chance of facing my own death.  I think there is far too much living to do for the road to end here.  There are too many people to meet, too many people to love, too many people to feed (and I'm not just talking about my brood!), and just too much goodness to be shared!  Our provisions are abundant... the Lord's bounty in our lives is evident.

Although I do admit that I have been all over the map with my faith these last few weeks.  I thank God for His forgiveness, for His patience and for His tolerance.  My prayers have ranged from yelling at Him "If this is how you treat the people who LOVE you, then I'm not so sure I WANT to spend eternity with You!"  To being silent because I was too angry to even reach out to Him.  But yesterday, I broke down and wept and what escaped my lips through prayer released my fear and my need to feel any sense of control over all of this... "Father... I NEED you!  Yaweh... I NEED you more than ever!  I can't do this without You!"

In my anger, I reached out and found, once again, that He has loved me through each of these steps.  Even though it felt that everything I asked NOT to have happen, happened... (I was starting to think He was playing the opposite game with me), I knew in the back of my mind that nothing has ever crumbled in my life without there being a great purpose in it.  And it feels like a terrible crumbling because had I BEEN in control, I would have never chosen it for myself!

But this Little One has been more obedient to God than I have been!  Despite every instinct telling Baby to turn head down, despite all the efforts and all the prayers... This baby literally planted his/her feet firmly against my uterus, diligent in obeying what God would have been telling him/her is safest.  Because I tell you that had baby turned and been born naturally, the health issue that has arisen could very well have killed him/her.  Which in turn, would have "killed" me.

This was happening behind the scenes, outside of our full understanding, but God almighty answered the very prayer I had offered up to Him in the first place... "Please help this baby to be delivered in the safest way possible."

Poor Duane, who is as constant as the Sun, could not understand how I could doubt God being with me through all of this.  He must have a faith that could put mine to shame that he has not felt like he himself could cry out to God "Why have you forsaken me?"  Or lament with poor David in Psalms who knew all too well what it felt like to have God abandon him.  Instead, Duane is more like Job... "the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh."  Plain and simple.  Even in the face of losing his wife, his children, his home, land and livestock, Job did not stop praising God.  That, my dear friends, is my Duane, too.

Oh wouldn't it be blissful to never, ever doubt Him?  Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could hold strong to the first moment He revealed his love for us?  I suppose that will have to be my life-long journey.

But tonight, I delight in the release of that anger I was feeling and the peace He replaced it with.  I am not angry with Him but rather with myself for having doubted His purpose, His plan... His love.  Tonight, I rejoice in knowing that April 16th is my baby's birthday... that this time tomorrow, albeit in much pain, I will see his/her little face... I will nurse him/her with his/her provisions from God through my milk (let's hope it comes in pretty quick)... and I will begin this next chapter in our anything-but-dull lives.

Duane himself summed it up when I told him in a moment of fear that I wanted him to know that I would never want him to live the rest of his life alone... that I would ask God to bless him with a very special companion should I die... and with a mischievous smirk I added "just as long as she's uglier than me!"  (to which we chuckled).  But by the morning, he held me close and said "I just don't think I could live the rest of my life with anyone else... you're too much of an adventure!"

So let the adventure continue, the blessings abound and new life be welcomed in the arms of those who have been anxiously awaiting his/her arrival.

God bless you all for journeying this whole process with us.  We feel richly blessed by your prayers and your presence we feel through them.  Tonight, life is good... and I feel larger than life (and look it, too!). :)

As for the plan for tomorrow... we are to make our way to the hospital for 8:00 a.m. with the C-section scheduled for 9:30 a.m.  But the doctor said it was looking more like the surgery would happen around 11:00 a.m.  Baby will be out within twenty minutes but the remaining forty minutes will be spent sewing me back up.  Two hours in the recovery room and then finally moved to a regular room.  Melina and Antoinette will drive the kids out to see us sometime after supper, assuming that there were no complications.

Tomorrow... our family will be whole and complete.  What an adventure, indeed!

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Scheduled C-section

Due to an additional health concern, a C-section has been scheduled for Monday morning.  But if my water breaks or I go into labour prior to then, I am to make my way to the hospital ASAP for an emergency C-section.

By no means is this ideal but it's just the way God has it laid out for us.  I'm having a hard time sleeping at night, too.  The timing could not be worse...

Melina is starting up soccer and will be gone a couple of days per week after school plus she still has her voice lessons twice per week.  Throw in a busy semester and counting on her help is pretty pointless.

Duane is anxious to get the fields ready for seeding and to fix his machines.  Instead, he is pulled away from his duties (yet again) to tend to family stuff.

Thank God almighty for Antoinette and the incredible blessing she is to our household.  Today, I would like to ask for your prayers to come her way as there is much that will be left on her plate while I recover from surgery... making meals is no fun with three kids whining/fighting/crying/pooping, etc... nor are Isabel runs fun to fit in three hours per day.  Then there's weekly grocery shops, swim lessons, Ethan's special meals, Isabel's special care, etc... I'm just feeling anxious to heal up and not leave this all on Antoinette's shoulders!

I'd like Melina to feel like she can play soccer this year without feeling guilty for not being around to help and I'd like Duane to get the work he needs to get done without feeling like he is abandoning high demands in the house.

Needless to say, while they have me opened up, I will be asking that they tie my tubes.  We are richly blessed (beyond our wildest dreams) and it's time to start living life as a family moving forward.  We will trust that should there be more children in store for us, they will be brought to us by the grace of God through either foster care, adoption, etc...  If God wants us to love and nurture more children, I know He'll take care of those details.

For now, we feel blessed with our beautiful children and simply cannot face the notion of ever going through what we've endured this past month and a half again.  And this next month will not be easy, either.

So there you have it.  I just ask that the Lord keep the Baby and me safe during this surgery and post... that He guide the hands of those working on us... and that He be with Duane as he feels helpless in this whole process.  I am so incredibly blessed to have such a man at my side and I love bearing his children... but we give thanks for our four and dare not ask for more.

I have pre-recorded four nights worth of bedtime readings for my other "babies" as this has been a routine we have come to depend on (and truly love).  It will be hard to be away from them so long.  Anika this morning shed a few tears as she said "I'm scared that something bad will happen to you and the baby."  Which meant we had a good conversation about Love and how even though you can't see it, you can feel it and know that it is very real.  That even though we cannot see God with our eyes, we can see Him in His creation and feel Him in our hearts... and that should something "bad" happen to mommy and the baby, that my love would continue to be very real and present, no matter what.

Duane and I have too many wonderful visions of the future together to believe that God's plan would mean halting our togetherness at this time in our lives, but we surrender to His Will no matter what.  But if Abraham could plead with God about Sodom and Gomorrah to save Lot and his family's life, then I am hoping that I can argue a little with Him about wanting to watch my babies grow, teach them His ways, play with our own grand babies some day, sharing our knowledge of sustainable farming with anyone and everyone, of laughing lots together and simply rejoicing in the Lord.

With that plea and prayer in my heart, I am hopeful that all will go very well.

May this find you all doing well and God bless you all.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

The Waiting Game

I think perhaps one of the cruelest things a pregnant woman can do to herself is give into the mentality that the 37th week marks the "anytime now" phase.  I feel like I am three weeks overdue and I have not even seen my official due date yet!

I did this same thing when I was pregnant with Anika.  For whatever reason, I was convinced the baby was going to come early.  I told myself December 28th which was reasonable given my due date was January 7th.  By the time January 17th rolled around, I would sit on the floor in the middle of the night because I could no longer sleep, and I would cry and beg God "Why have you forgotten me?"

Ah.. the good 'ol days.  I swore after Anika that with any subsequent pregnancies, I would assume that my "due date" would be at least one week post the official due date.  So with Ethan, I was due October 19th... told myself probably October 25th and was surprised when my water broke and he was born October 13th!

With Sivana, we were just so darn busy all the time, that I flat out asked God that she be late!  It just felt like there wasn't enough time in the day to even prepare for another baby!  My due date was September 26th but my water broke on the 3rd!  Thankfully she wasn't born until the 5th which was my official 37 week cut off mark.... this meant that she was NOT considered premature!

With this pregnancy, I stupidly thought "hmmm, getting earlier and earlier... maybe this one will also be early."  And then with all the upheaval about the baby being breeched this past month and the "hope" that Baby comes sooner than later, it really has felt like I have been pregnant indefinitely.

But here we are... two days away from my official due date... my midwife back from her month of holidays today... and the hope that perhaps Little One has simply been waiting for our favourite midwife in the whole world.  There isn't anyone else we'd rather have at our side as we tackle a breech delivery than our midwife and if all of this "waiting" has meant having her there, it's been worth it.

But I am tired.  I feel like every minute is being subconsciously counted.  Too afraid to start any projects in case it gets interrupted, unable to sleep at night and wishing someone would finally invent the pregnancy-bed-spatula to facilitate turning from one side to the other... and longing for the day where my bladder can handle more than a few drops of urine!  Getting up in the night is a whole other ordeal and then I have to stand there for a minute until my hips stop screaming in pain... and then I have to hop... yes, big pregnant overweight lady hopping in the night... all the way to the washroom.  Hoping beyond all hope that no one else needs to get up in the night to pee only to be horrified at what appears like a limping walrus in the shadows making its way to the washroom!


This morning, I woke up to half my face being swollen.  I looked like I had two faces merged together.. and not terribly gracefully!  What on earth is that about?  Any aspect of feeling "desirable" or "womanly" have been replaced with feeling "overripe" and... well... just plain HUGE.

The good news?  No woman has ever been pregnant "forever" so there will be an end to this someday.  Each day brings us one day closer, right?  And while some are reminding me to savour these last few days as my last ones of being pregnant ever again... there is another part of me that is all done "savouring" and is just ready to move on with our next chapter!  At this point, I feel like I am MARINATING!

I struggled with whether or not to post anything after my lovely state of "peace"... after all, it was such a nice note to leave things on.  But the truth is, the peace came and the peace went but at least it visited at all!  Some of it remains... the surrender to God and the lifted burden of trying to turn this baby.... and even the aspect of trusting the outcome.  But the fear still visits now and again and the sense of feeling like this is never going to end.

All in good time, right?  Had I known what we were going to face with Ethan and discovering his many, many allergies, I would have likely welcomed the opportunity to keep him "brewing" a little longer!  Right now, my journey is to find peace with the moment and not look to the past, nor the future, but savour the gift of the present.

So here's hoping that wherever you're at with your own life, you are savouring the moment... even if you've been marinating in it for what may seem like forever!  That all things come and go... all things pass... and that perhaps we should welcome these moments while we have them BECAUSE they are part of our story.  A life story with a beginning and an end and whose details have been beautifully orchestrated.  May you enjoy your story and not doubt for one second that it is a life worth living!

Much love to you all out there!  I hope that the next time you hear from me, it will be with "THE news". God bless you all.