Friday, November 15, 2013

In His Hands

These past few weeks I've been looking back on the pass 14 months of my life.  Some crazy things have happened to my life, my body, and emotional health that I have needed to process to be able to continue on.  But something that hurt me (beside miscarrying two babies) was Ellie's birth and my recovery. (Check out that link for the post I made about her birth back in Oct 2012 after she was born.)

*Only read on if you want details of Ellie's birth story and my reflection.*
(Now I can say I warned you all.)

Weeks after Ellie was born I bawled, cried uncontrollably.  It wasn't depression.  I know what depression is, and it wasn't that.  Instead it was anger.

I (probably every mom) would like to look back on the birth of their child and say how wonderful of an experience it was.  That it was such a wonderful feeling to finally meet their baby face to face after months and months of waiting.  I remember looking forward to that very moment I finally got to hold Ellie in my arms and thank God that the pregnancy was over and now began the fun part--watching our daughter grow and see who she would become!

But I never had that moment.

When I was sick and sick and sick while carrying Ellie, I remember pleading to God to just put me to sleep with an IV until I could finally give birth.  He answered my prayer, but in a different way then I wanted.  He allowed me to take day by day as hardship to see the BLESSINGS He would show me as I watch Ellie grow now.  I thank Jon very often now for all those times he carried my barf bags out of our small apartment so I wouldn't have to smell them anymore, or those crazy times he had to stop somewhere to get me something to eat.  Or those times he had to wash dishes, feed a baby a bottle at my work, and everything else because I wasn't capable.  Or those multiple times he had to watch me throw up in the garbage can while driving me home from work or small group.

But back to the hospital when Ellie was born.  I had pictured pushing my baby out and holding her and telling her I was so thankful I finally got to meet her and that, "I am your Mommy."

But I don't remember the first time I held her.

At the time I didn't know this, but while pushing Ellie out I was loosing too much blood.  My doctor wanted to quickly get me out of that room so he could see better to stitch me back up.  I had two degree tearing (inside).  He asked me if I wanted drugs before he began and apparently I groaned in response.  (So thankful Jon at that point stepped in and said, "YES!")  Even now I don't EVER remember my doctor asking me that!

While looking at pictures a couple days later, I saw everyone holding Ellie while I was away in "surgery."  I asked Jon, "So every one there got to hold Ellie before me?"

Jon replied, "No.  They let you hold Ellie before they sent you off...."

I don't remember.  I just remember crying out in pain.

this picture is proof I did hold Ellie before they took me out

Jon reminded me that in the end all that matters is now you are both healthy and doing fine.  He was right, but I had to process it all as a new mom.

When I got back from "surgery" my mom and sister helped me nurse Ellie for the first time.  It was so precious.  I couldn't move my arms and they helped hold Ellie for we could have that moment.  Of course not the picture I had originally in my mind for nursing Ellie, but she latched on well.  She was a natural at it!

While at the hospital she didn't nurse often because she had a bowel movement while coming out.  She was getting rid of a lot of brown stuff.  It was awful!  Some nurses were telling me if she didn't want to nurse not to force it, while others told me nursing would help it!  But meanwhile I was anemic and totally out of it.  My hemoglobin level was way down and I was passing out.  I wish I knew I was anemic the first time I had a nurse help me to the restroom.  Originally I was told they wanted me to go since I hadn't gone since giving birth.  I told them I didn't feel like moving so they tried other things (iick) and so I was motivated!  I got up and passed out three times by the time I finished going to the bathroom.  Had I known, I think I would have taken a different route or known to be put in a wheelchair BEFORE I passed out.  I passed out so much it took a few extra nurses and oxygen to wake me.  It was awful.  All the while Jon had to help with Ellie since the nurses had now made it clear, "I'm not allowed out of bed unless a nurse is present to help me."

I missed seeing my daughter's first bath.  I was so thankful my mom had left their video camera for us to use since we didn't have one yet (yeah for Christmas present last year)!  Otherwise I would have never got the chance to have that "first" picture in my mind.  I had to stay in bed.  I was so out of it I didn't get in my comfy clothes I had packed for the hospital stay.  I was taking iron and other meds constantly to try to stay alert.  I felt miserable the entire time.  I was thankful for one nurse that promised to bring Ellie to me in the night if she wanted to nurse so I could finally rest for the first time after getting to the hospital.  It was nearly 48 hours since I had slept (and even that was a couple hours).  Who sleeps well when they're 41 weeks pregnant and being induced the next morning at 7am?

When it was just the three of us in the room we would get snuggles with Ellie and spend time as a family.   I would ask Jon to retell me the birth story from his point of view.  (Amazing to hear new things I didn't even remember happening!)

Weeks after Ellie was born, Jon would come quickly to the bathroom in concern.  He would overhear me crying in the shower.  I told him I was still hurt by the way my body responded to the way Ellie was born and how I missed out on that "first moment."  I didn't have that joy in me.  My body ached.  I was still upset I didn't stand up for myself as a mom and tell a mean nurse to step off.

You see, after Ellie was born she was coughing up, sneezing up, and trying to control the brown mucus stuff coming out and I wasn't able to help her.  Someone always had to be around and alert (thanking that nurse for watching her while I slept).  I was so anemic that I could hardly move.  I was given two units of blood when my daughter was two days old.  I remember not enjoying it.  It meant I was still hooked up to an IV and stuck in bed.  I was unable to move my arm.  I wasn't able to hold my baby girl.  My arm hurt.  It hurt to get blood.  It felt weird.  Who's blood is this?  I was told I couldn't leave until my levels were back to a better number and so it was either get more blood or wait in hospital more days.  I chose the blood.  I wanted OUT.  I wanted no one bothering me or the baby anymore.  I wanted night time sleep and morning snuggles.  No more constant checking my baby and making her cold!  No more IVs!

I also teared up while in the hospital.  I had this nurse after one switched out from giving me the blood.  This nurse made me cry.  CRY.  I had her again when we checked out too, and I was ready to run (if I was able to I would have)!   Before leaving me the first time I remember her saying, "I'll try to be here again tomorrow morning to see how you are doing!"


She made me cry so HARD.  She made me do things I didn't want to do.  At that point though, I wasn't confrontational.  I was just, "Do what I have to do to get OUT of here!"  She forced me to pump.  She made me pump for 15 minutes (and again the next day)!  It hurt so bad.  I was still getting used to the nursing thing and I wanted Ellie to get better at it too.  But remember how Ellie wasn't nursing as often because she was hacking up stuff?  Well, I wish I would have nursed her more by the time this nurse came in!  Jon and I purchased our breast pump at hospital (it was very convenient actually)!  However then the nurse (and she had another one with her that I never understood why) but two verses little me?  Eek!  I was vulnerable.  I just had a baby, anemic, two units of blood, and only had one shower in the past three days (including even after giving birth!).  I was miserable.  I was in no place to be VOCAL and stand up for myself.  And Jon would have, but pumping and nursing he said he had no idea what to say!

This lady forced me to start pumping to bring my milk in.  Right there I was MAD.  Then she scolded me for not sitting correctly.  I was MAD.  I just had a baby lady...that "area" you want me to move "up on" is stitched up and swollen!  Boo!  After she left I remember texting my mom and sisters in tears.....I had a mean nurse!  I needed a woman's point of view and my own family would know I just needed something cheerful to hear.  They felt bad for me.  I was miserable and in tears.  Poor Jon.  In the moment I blamed it on baby blues.  My sister had told me to prepare for them while in the hospital.  She clued me in on sometimes your hormones are so unbalanced, all the excitement, and just going through a lot at once causes you to sometimes cry for no apparent reason.  So I blamed the situation and my hard bitter anger on that.  My tears were just my emotions playing a trick on me.

I cried when I found out I had her again the next morning.  However the nurse I had between was AWESOME!  She helped me be able to take a shower!  Yeah, first shower at the hospital and after having a baby!  I remember telling Jon I didn't want to get out.  But I did eventually....then the nice nurse reminded me, "If you want to go home soon they won't let you until they know you walked the halls."  So my clean self walked the hall with Jon and Ellie.  We pushed the "crib" and it was so nice to get out of the room.  I pictured what it could have been like the day before if I was capable of it and how much better the outcome would have been if my health allowed it.

And after all that, that explains why I had so much hurt and anger towards the way Ellie's birth story had to go.  I kept reminding myself we were given such a good, healthy baby that I should just focus on that.  Jon kept reminding me that now I had the chance to focus on her NOW rather than the first couple days of hard times.  I'll be forever thankful for all the times Jon helped me in the hospital and the 41 weeks of pregnancy.  And I just had to remind myself all of that crazy stuff that happened....well, it IS a part of Ellie's birth story.  And it did help my miscarriages not be "so bad" too.  When I labored Taylor at home I was passing out...and I knew what to prepare for and how to respond.  Jon was right there to help me.  And when I had to make hard decisions with Alex's situation I was able to think back and say, "I do have a voice.  I'm the mom here, and it IS my body!"

God used my daughter's birth story to help me process my miscarriages labors.  He reminds me of the hardships of bringing Ellie into this world to remind me that she is truly a blessing to us.  I don't take that for granted!  I know God is faithful and that is something He has certainly helped me better understand over these pass 14 months.  I'm so thankful He has all of our children in His hands.  And now He certainly has Taylor and Alex...waiting for me.

Thank you Jesus.

Daddy holding Ellie at hospital

Thursday, November 7, 2013

it's a thursday, i can cry if i want to!

meaning Ellie.

but I guess I could cry too after a day like today. however i have had worse.

{Thursdays are my errand day.  It's a nice break to the week.  And I do it all at once.  Lately it's including using coupons and shopping discounted stores for stuff for the new house, and can't help but pick up some outfits for Ellie if I happen to see a cute one three.}

first started off with showering while i let my baby girl cry in her crib.  believe me.  better to have her cry in crib then standing at shower door in tears!

then i had to exchange some toothpaste at Target.  ha!  hubby wanted a different kind.  it was on sale so it was worth it.

then it was time to browse JcPenny (Home) & Kohls.  I had noticed in Sunday paper some good sales and as long as I was out on my "errand day" might as well take a look.  Found a couple things for Ellie.

Then went to the mall for lunch time!  I had some GAP pants of Ellie's to exchange to a different size.  But they didnt have what I was looking for and they were swamped so I just headed right for the food court.

There were some nice people at Maid Rite, and I went to find a table in a happy mood.  I got to eat my food while handing some meat to Ellie.  Then I fed her some baby food.  Jon called me then, who was in Ames admiring the Home Depot crew installing our new living room windows! :)  Ellie & I went to the rest room but there was no changing table (surprisingly even in the family restroom), so I took her to Von Mour.  Still no place to change a diaper.  So quickly changed her on the couch in ladies lounge and nursed her. (Meanwhile this nice gal came over and handed me a sample for aging skin.  Apparently I'm looking old and tired.)  After quick browsing sale racks of different stores we went back to the car to head towards TJMaxx.  Ellie fell asleep in the car and surprisingly stayed asleep as I transferred her to stroller.

Found a blue and brown blanket for our new living room that matches PERFECTLY!

Got a few onesies that will fit Ellie this spring/summer, and my nieces a perfect Christmas gift both on clearance (wont go into details so family can be surprised). :)  All (including that perfect blanket) for the price of $1.57.  WHAT?  Yeah, gift cards are awesome! :)

While checking out the clerk was really nice.  She thought I had a young baby but I had Ellie covered since she had fallen asleep.  She happened to woke up shortly before I paid, so I let the gal see her.  "Oh wow she's older than I was thinking!" :)  Yeah, not too often you see a 13 month old asleep or something I guess!  But then it's what she said next....

"So are you planning to have another one any time soon?"

I have two options.
(1) Tell her the truth--actually yeah, but we miscarried twice this year.
(2) Just shrug it off since she doesn't know my life story and say "Not right now."

I went with option two.  She was too nice and it wasn't ME who was going to make a good day bad for her!  I walked back to my car with the thought, "Sometimes you just have to let those things go and not try to teach someone a lesson."

Next up was a short drive to Gordmans & Michaels!  Yeah for coupons....things were going well.  Ellie had taken a nap (short but I'll take it), I just paid with cash for multiple items, and I was going to go buy something for the new house with coupons before they expire soon!  Or so I thought....

Walking into Gordmans I start looking at their house decor with my paint samples to find something that would match.  We're still looking for big lamps and I was hoping to find work, misc.  Now that we own a house I have the options of having things that I couldn't do to decorate when I had a small apartment.  I found some wall art that has a sweet saying on it (for $10).

 Halfway through the decor aisles Ellie started to give out her upset scream/cry.  I have no idea where it came from but suddenly she was not liking anything I tried to do to help her.  She loves water bottles, tried that.  It only made her more mad!  I was now that parent who had the screaming child EVERYONE in the store knew where I was.

I got her out of her stroller and that seemed to help.  Too much shopping for this little girl!  Few aisles later, I had to put her back in the stroller but she got even more upset (more eyes glaring at us).  So I picked her up and noticed the side of her pants were wet.  Whether it was water from the bottle or pee I was going to change her...anything to possibly make my poor baby happy!  But I was on the WRONG side of the store for the bathroom and I had merchandise so I couldn't go inside.  It was too much of a hassle so I did something for the first time in my life and continually had to tell are a mom and you are going to be okay.

I found a quiet aisle and put down a changing mat and changed my wet daughter right there!  She wasn't happy but I gave her the diaper cream container to chew on.  (Oh yeah, did I mention I think she's teething again?)

After that job was accomplished it didn't really change her attitude, but she did just look around from time to time.  I had never experienced Ellie to this upset level before.  It was NOTHING like her.  Quickly I glanced at a few things and checked out.  I ended with that small artwork and a matching set of necklace and earrings.

I threw her diaper away outside on my way over to Michaels.  Praying of course.  She seemed mellow now so I was hoping for the best.  However, not long until the hard crying began.  Her tears rolling, I quickly grabbed a couple things that match perfectly with our blue (that blue is a tough color to match), and happily walked to the.....wait a second.  Line at the check out?  Bummer!  While waiting I held Ellie and she smiled at the people in line.  Oh silly Ellie.  What is going on?  So apparently, everything I got at Michaels was on clearance so I couldn't use the coupon.  Oops.  But I have a cranky baby so I'm not changing my mind or going back to look for something else!  I left with a blue vase (that will hold the flowers I already purchased a few weeks ago) and a basket for the living room that is the same blue and has a tan/gold trim which will match the walls and curtains well. :)


I had a few other places I wanted to go, but by this time (4pm) it was time to get Ellie home!  I loaded everything in the car and we drove home.  She fell asleep on the way home.  It was a long day.  I unloaded the car while she was snoozing.  Luckily I was able to transfer her car seat to the dining room without her waking up.  Dinner time for me! :)

Ok, so I normally keep my cell phone on vibrate unless I'm waiting for a call.  I never want it to wake up my baby.  I got in that habit when she was born!  I continue to do it when I'm at home, because if anyone is seriously trying to get a hold of me they know my parent's house number!

ANYWAYS, suddenly I hear my phone ringing.  and it's on LOUD.  UGH!

It was my mom.  (she felt bad but what could she have done?)

My cranky daughter was awake now.  I changed her diaper.  Tried to see if she just wanted to crawl around and feel FREEDOM for not being in a stroller anymore.  No.  She wanted held.  Her bottom was red (diaper rash? stroller rubbing?  constipation?).  We'll find out soon I bet!  Then she wanted to eat what I was eating.  Then she wanted nothing to do with the spoon.  She wanted it, but she didn't want to eat at all.  I tried giving her a drink.  Nope.

Grandma comes home!  Grandma gets ready (making a pizza) for small group and is busy so I hold Ellie and say "Ma ma ma?"  Then Ellie finally says "Ma-num a-num...Ma mama" which means I want nursed.  I nursed her and put her jammies on.  She has been in her crib ever since.

Lessons I learned from my day:

(1) Shrug off people thinking it's time for you to have more than one children.  No matter what your life story has come to be.

(2) Be prepared to change your daughter's diaper.  ANYWHERE!  And have the look on your face say, "No big deal."

(3) Sometimes coupons are not worth it enough to browse stores if it causes your baby to have a cry out session.  Just go another time.  Probably with hubby's help would be an awesome bonus.

(4) Thankful I had extra clothes to change her.

(5) Thankful no one called her a "he" like that one kid did at Target last week.
(Yes, I go to Target on a regular basis.  It's the closest store other than Walmart from my parents.  It has variety.  So with a baby it's one stop for a lot of things.  And I like browsing there too.)

The end of my very, long...hopefully I can look back on it as being productive, day!

And a picture I've added later... :)

time to leave on a happy note :)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Guilt-Free Parenting

Awesome Pinterest parties.

Numerous homemade meals.

Keeping your smartphone in your back pocket and not in your hand for browsing.

Not allowing your kids to watch cartoons.

Having your child on time, dressed, and hair combed for outings.

Your house designed and clean like a Pottery Barn magazine (not just during nap time).

Your husband returning home with a warm meal, clean house, you in a dress, and smiling children.

Laundry always done on time and put away.

Never making time for yourself.


Parenting has it's ongoing lists of what it means to look like a "good parent" (and wife).  If I spend my days and nights making my kids feel like a Perfect Home is what matters most, they will grow to see my guilt (and shame).  If my time and energy is spent on trying to look good rather than doing what is best for my family, am I really benefiting anyone?

My parties are not going to be Pinterest-worthy.  Am I okay with that?  When I post my party pictures on Facebook or Blog will I feel guilt or happiness?

If I have to stop through a fast food drive thru will I be able to do it without thinking my kids are not getting the very best?  (It's okay to acknowledge the unhealthy choice but there's no need to feel guilty about it.)  There's a time for fast and easy.  There's time for a good, healthy homemade meal.

If I'm searching my smartphone constantly just to fulfill my selfish habit, that's a different story.  But what if I'm doing it to check my email for something I need?  What if I'm checking my email to someone who is posting a prayer request?  What if I found out I'm attending a party and need to bring something and I'm about to leave the house?  Am I going to feel guilty that I just had my daughter play with some toys while I checked my email real quick?

Your child is sick.  Has kept you up all night.  Your baby is teething.  You are exhausted.  Might me a good afternoon to watch a movie or cartoons.  I'm not judging.  Feel guilt-free Mommas.  If it's what you need to get through the next day, go for it.  And while you're at it go ahead and order pizza.  I'm exhausted just thinking of that scenario.

Having your kids look a certain way outside of the house is not a bad thing.  It's where your heart (and others) heart are at.  If we all go out of the house in pj's in Walmart you won't be as noticed with "looks" if you went to a sit down restaurant.  But the stress you give off to your children to try to make them look a certain way before leaving the house, is rushed and not very beneficial.  If peacefully you can get ready to leave the house, that would be the most helpful.  Something I surely want to work on.  It rubs off on the kiddos.

If you want my house to look a certain way (Pottery Barn), that's not a bad idea.  I like Pottery Barn and I like their stuff.  However if you feel like your house can never look "good enough" there's something to sit down and discuss with your spouse and God.  What is it about your house you don't like?  Why is it so bad to have discounted furniture while you have young kids who like stickers and markers?

The idea of having your hubby come home and everything looking perfect.  Is such a nice thought and something to motivate me, that's for sure!  However if I continue to struggle with making that happen, I'm going to shame myself into thinking I'm failing as a wife and mother.  When Jon and I first got married, I asked Jon what was the top things he wanted to find when he came home for dinner.  There were a few things I thought he would say and then a couple that I had never thought of.  But it helped!  So if I'm not going to get anything done that day except those things that are on my hubby's top priorities--I call it a good, productive day!  It's a way to have a better attitude and response to the idea of having warm meals and a clean house for dinner.  It also benefits the marriage. :)

Laundry is always going to be an ongoing battle.  So why even bother?  Well, you might want to wear clothes tomorrow!  The laundry issue is always a hard one.  But what works best for me is to try to get it all done in one day, and then the next day to make sure it all gets put away (the clothes that were air dried as well).  If I keep my focus on knowing I have set aside a day for it, then I don't feel guilt when I see it starting to pile up.

Feel guilty when you set time apart from your kids to have time for yourself?  Well, I'm still working through this.  I know it's an ongoing battle.  What about time just for YOU even without hubby AND kids?  That's rare for me.  Right now it's mostly during a good nap. :)

Today I saw Ellie go off and play on her own and she wasn't getting into trouble so I just let her play.  I then returned to the couch to browse the internet.  Should I have been down on my knees playing with my daughter?  Sure.  But when my daughter is playing independently I encourage it!  I want my kids to be able to play without having to have their Mommy with them every possible second.  Now, if only I could figure out how to have her do that while I'm trying to fold laundry or make my lunch. :)

In result dear other parents, don't feel guilty about being the Perfect Person for your children.  This culture has pushed every possible temptation to allow us to feel such guilt and shame.  Gain confidence in knowing who you are as a parent.  You know your child(ren) the best.  Do what works best for your family.  Because what works for us, probably doesn't work for you.  And know that Jesus takes you as you are, because the person that is overlooking your act of parenting could cause harm.  Don't allow yourself to feel guilty.  Press on and know that Jesus takes you as you are, not as what people think you should be.  If anything lets encourage one another.

Encouraging Scripture from Hebrews 10:

19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[d] and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”[e] 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.