Friday, December 2, 2011

Idiot

Have you ever been the idiot and not realized it until it was too late? I was driving to work in the left lane one day this week and crested a hill with a truck in the right lane in front of me. There had been construction going on for a few weeks, with the right lane closed, so I was waiting for the truck to get over into my lane but he wasn’t starting to merge. I was staring at the guy in the truck and we even made eye contact once, through his side mirror. I was giving him a, “Come, on, idiot, I’m waiting!” look. Finally, I looked up, and to my surprise, the lane closure had switched and the left lane was now closed. I had to quickly switch lanes so I wouldn’t hit the cones. I was the idiot.

I’ve caught myself focusing on the flaws of others a lot lately. I’ve found myself getting frustrated at things that others around me are doing or not doing, and letting things get under my skin. I want to say, “Come on, idiot, I’m waiting” more than I’d like to admit. And I have been convicted to consider the plank in my own eye instead. Lord, let me not be blind to my own shortcomings. Let me not think so highly of myself that I don’t see the room for improvement, refining, and correction in my own life. Help me not to be an idiot.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hugs

I always call myself an “accidental children’s minister,” but today I was reminded that God is in the middle of a lot of happy accidents. I had never planned on being a children’s minister and a lot of days, I feel like I’m only slugging along and someone else could probably do a lot better job than myself. But I love kids and I love Jesus, so its pretty fun when I get to tell kids about Jesus’ love for them. But its even better when I get to show it.

There are two little girls who come regularly with their grandma. The girls are so sweet, but to be honest, I haven’t spent tons of time getting to know them. When they walked in today, they both ran up to me and gave me huge hugs, which was a delightful surprise. A few minutes later, I sat down at the color station to color with one of the girls before we got started. I was asking about Grandma and if they lived with Grandma. She said, “yes, my mom died.” I told her how sorry I was (this girl is six years old) and she offered that her mom had taken too much medicine and died. I don’t know the story at all but its obvious what it looks like and my heart broke for this little girl. I told her I was sorry and gave her a big hug. I think she needed a mom today and I was able to give her a sliver of what a mom would give.

Another girl is one of my favorites (I know, not supposed to have favorites) and we always have good talks. Grandma (different Grandma) takes her to church, too, because her mom is sick. Mom is basically paralyzed from the neck down and in a wheelchair. We pray each week that God will heal her mom. But in the meantime, I get to give the hugs that Mom will one day give when she is well, whether that is on this side of heaven or not. I always make sure to give an extra squeeze when I hug this little princess, one for me and a secret one for her mama.

I think it was Maya Angelou who said something along the lines of, “people will forget what you say, they will forget what you do, but they will not forget how you made them feel.” I hope I made these little girls feel loved and cherished. I cannot think of anything better I could have done with my morning.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Grumpy Hobbit

I have been surprised at how much of an introvert I’ve become since Liam was born. Well, it might have actually started a few months before he was born. I didn’t really go through a “nesting” phase, but I did start wanting to just be home. This is new to me because I’m usually looking for the next fun thing to do and always find excuses to leave the house, even if its just to go to Target. But something shifted and I’m finding myself loving my time with my little family and not having much of a desire to socialize.

This new disposition has come with its share of consequences and I continually feel like I’m disappointing my friends when I don’t reach out. A dear friend recently had a baby and we’ve e-mailed a whole lot but I have only talked to her once on the phone. Its like I can’t bring myself to interact. It doesn’t feel like post-partum depression or anything, I don’t feel depressed at all, I just don’t feel like talking to people! This is especially true because I’m “on” a lot at work, particularly on Sundays. After smiling and running around and hugging kids and giving the lesson, I’m ready to crawl in a hole with my family by the time I get home.

I think one of the reasons for the way I feel is that I want to just soak up every second with Liam. I waited a long time for this little guy and love every second with him, every kiss, every smile (and he smiles a lot!), his little toes, his fat little tummy, the way he flaps his arms when I unwrap him after a nap. I can’t get enough of him! My heart swells when I think about how much I love him. Another reason I think I’m content at home is because it takes a lot of work to get out! Just timing Liam’s feedings, naps, bedtime, etc. is exhausting when you’re trying to fit it in to an outing. It makes you reevaluate if you really want to leave the house or not!

I’m afraid this post is sounding like I’ve become a grumpy hobbit. I hope I haven’t. Its just that I’ve noticed how much more content I am at home when I used to look for reasons to get out of the house and play with friends.

Friday, July 1, 2011

daily bread

Yesterday was a rough day. I woke up at 5:23 to feed Liam for the nineteenth time that night (ok, it was really the third) and just felt like I weighed 1,000 pounds. You know that kind of tired where you feel like you’re moving in slow motion and you just want to sit in a puddle and cry? It was that kind of tired. The thought of a whole day of nursing every two or three hours, changing diapers and taking 20-30 minutes to put Liam down for a nap each time was overwhelming. By the time I finish the process, its time to start over!

Anyway, I usually talk to God or get on Facebook when I’m nursing. This time I was talking to God. I asked him to give me grace for the day. I asked for my daily bread. But then I thought about it and I was afraid my allotment of daily bread would not be enough. I always like to be prepared and have more than what I think I’ll need, no matter what it is I think I’ll need. I never leave the house without at least a granola bar. And I was afraid I wouldn’t have enough to make it though the day if God just gave me my daily bread. You know I’m not talking about literal bread, right?

I knew that I was being ridiculous when it came down to it. I was telling the God who owns “the cattle on a thousand hills” that I didn’t think he was going to provide enough grace to make it through a couple of hours of nursing and changing diapers. Didn’t I remember that my God is bigger than that? I forget so quickly.

Another reason I was feeling like I was at the end of my rope is that my sleep hasn’t been very good lately. Aside from the not getting more than 2 hours of sleep in a row, ever, I’ve had a really hard time falling asleep and when I do sleep, I’ve been having nightmares almost every night. I used to have nightmares throughout college and for a couple of years after. They got a lot better for the last few years but cropped up again after Liam was born. Maybe its just the extra concern I have now that I’m responsible for this child, I don’t know.

My mom called twice yesterday and I just happened to be crying both times- ha! I ended up going over to their house in the afternoon and had a nice time, eating strawberries and laying on the couch while she sopped up Liam with a biscuit. She prayed with me about the sleep, the nightmares, my family’s future and a whole lot more. I even prayed, too. I haven’t prayed out loud much lately and there is something powerful when you say some things out loud. I left her house feeling so much better. I was full from my daily bread.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Discovery

I’ve discovered or re-discovered a few things in the past weeks.

1. The first or second night home with Liam, I was up feeding him in the middle of the night. I could not believe how much I love this kid and how I would do anything for him for the rest of my life. But then I thought about my own mom. How she was sitting up in the middle of the night thirty years ago thinking the same thing. It dawned on me that my mom feels the same way about me. She shows me her love every day, but it was really clear to me when I was sitting there, staring at Liam. There is a special bond between a mom and her children.

2. Liam is usually great in the car, either happily looking around or snoozing. But the other day, he was so tired and just cried and cried on the way home from a friend’s house. He had never done that in the car before and I was beyond stressed out by my poor little guy being so tired and sad. Liam loves my singing (the only person in the world who does!), so I started singing “Jesus Loves Me” to him. I just kept singing it over and over and suddenly the mood in the car shifted. I listened to the words of the song. I had been singing it to Liam- letting him know that Jesus loves him. But I realized that Jesus loves me too. I had forgotten. Liam was still crying, nothing had changed, but everything had changed in a moment.

3. I can’t do this alone. Kyle and I are a team and we work so much better as a team. Its very hard for me to ask for help. Not just the “will you bring me my water” kind of help, but the “I need you” kind of help. Being home with Liam has been wonderful and I have cherished my time with him. But some days, after spending all night and all day with him, I really look forward to Kyle coming home so I can talk to an adult and just sit next to him. I need him to help with Liam and give me a break, but I also just need him to be near. And for some reason, that is really hard to say.

There are other things I wish I had learned during this time. “Don’t sweat the small stuff” is top of that list. I think I’ve gotten better at it in some ways. It doesn’t bother me when I get sprayed with pee or if Liam poops in his diaper 1.7 seconds after I change it. But there are other things I wish I could just roll with (like the whole eating every three hours thing from yesterday’s post. Incidentally, he’s been eating every three hours today- ha!). I want to be one of those moms that doesn’t get ruffled and I feel like I fail at that half the time. I know I’m new at this and Liam is new at this, so there is room to grow. I’ve never been very laidback to begin with, so this is a goal to strive toward. I’m not looking to turn into a wavy haired surfer that says things like “right on” and just seems to wander wherever she is. But I want to be able to take a step back and determine if something is really worth the time I spend stewing over it.


These two pictures are from last Sunday when Liam got baptized!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

BabyWise

*Disclaimer: I keep wanting to find things to write about that are not baby-centered but I can’t come up with anything. I didn’t want to be one of those people who can talk about nothing but their baby. But I spend all day and all night feeding, burping, changing and loving Liam so he’s naturally going to be the main topic of this blog in the foreseeable future.

The book, Babywise, is in my head. I read it when I was pregnant and even typed up several pages of notes on it, if that gives you an insight into my personality. I wanted to read everything I could before Liam was born so I’d be prepared. It’s a good book (but I like Baby Whisperer better) and there are some points I really like:
~ Make sure baby gets a full feeding every time so he’s not just snacking and wanting to eat again in 20 minutes (missing the “hindmilk” if he doesn’t nurse long enough).
~ Follow a pattern of Eat, Awake Time, Sleep so they can get used to going to sleep on their own and not expect to be nursed to sleep when they are toddlers.

But the book says that Baby should be eating every three hours during the day and that’s where my problem lies. Liam has been eating every 2 or 2.5 hours during the day. But the books says he should eat every THREE hours. I’m a pretty structured person, so when someone says three hours, I expect three hours. But in this case, A+B is not equaling C and its gotten to me! I keep making declarations that I won’t worry about the clock and just feed him when he’s hungry. But then I start looking at the clock again. Kyle and I react to the three-hour suggestion differently:

My reaction- “Liam’s hungry. What time is it? Oh, no, its only been 2 hours and thirty minutes! Maybe I can hold him off with the pacifier. Its supposed to be three hours and its only been 2 hours and thirty minutes. The pacifier isn’t working. But it supposed to be three hours and now its only been 2 hours and thirty-one minutes!” This is what goes through my head each time.

Kyle’s reaction- “Liam’s hungry? Well feed him.”

I wish I could unwind my brain. I want to write a book on infants. This is what it will say:

Feed Baby when he’s hungry, change his diaper when its dirty, and love the socks off him.
The End

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Birth Day

Its been one month since Liam came into the world! I love this kid so much and am amazed at how much love I had for him the first second I saw him.

Liam’s due date was May 9. For five weeks, the doctor had been saying he could come “any time” because I was 2cm dilated and 70% effaced. That is not the thing to say to a miserable pregnant woman- especially when the baby keeps not coming any time!

We went for our regular checkup on Liam’s due date and set an appointment for the next week. If he didn’t come by then, we’d set a date to induce. The next morning, I woke up at 3:00am with contractions every 6 minutes. That lasted for about two hours and then the contractions got sporadic, some were 3 minutes apart, some were 11. That went on for about two more hours. I called in to work, saying I “wasn’t feeling well” and that I wasn’t coming in. I didn’t want to say I’d been having contractions in case they stopped!

Finally, the contractions started coming consistently 3-5 minutes apart. We stayed at home for about 3 more hours and then headed to the hospital, checking in at noon and my mom met us up there. When we checked in, I was 4cm dilated. I labored until 4:00pm and then decided to get an epidural at 7cm. It was the best decision of my life! I had planned on trying to do an un-medicated birth but I’m so glad I did the epidural after all. After the epidural, my blood pressure dropped to 80/45 so they gave me a shot of something that started with an “e” and gave me oxygen. This happened twice but wasn’t really alarming (not sure if I should have been alarmed).

At 8:00pm, I started to push and the nurse said the baby would be here by 8:30 or 9:00! I needed Kyle and my mom there the whole time, but it was during the pushing that I was so thankful for them. They were perfect. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Kyle was feeding me ice chips like in the movies and both of them helped me with each push. I am so blessed.

Liam finally came at 10:09pm (not 8:30 or 9:00 like they said!) and I was flooded with such love for him the second I saw him. The doctor put him up on my chest and I was laughing, Kyle and Liam were crying. Liam kept touching my face. I know he didn’t have muscle control but he kept reaching up and touching my face and I was in love.

The took Liam for a little while and weighed him and cleaned him up, but it was all done in the delivery room so Kyle stood by him and I watched from the bed while the doctor cleaned me up.

As I look back, it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But it was all worth it. When Liam arrived, it was a holy moment, one I will never forget.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

38.5 weeks

Well, I’m 38 ½ weeks pregnant and didn’t think I’d still be pregnant. Since I’ve been dilated, effaced, and having contractions for 3 weeks, I was pretty sure Baby was going to be making his debut sooner. The last 3 weeks were rough for me emotionally and I’m not entirely sure why. I am just tired and sore and feeling out of sorts.

Something that bothers me that I will have to remember when friends and family members are pregnant is that people keep telling me when I can and can’t have the baby. Everyone keeps saying, “oh, you can’t have him on ___ day because I’ll be out of town” or “you have to have him on ___ day, I just know you will.” For some reason, that has become really irritating and I think its because I actually take it to heart and start to stress out when the day comes that I’m either supposed to or not supposed to go into labor. I think its time to turn off the people pleaser side of my personality.

I’ve been stewing again about having an epidural or not. My whole life I’ve said I don’t want to have one. Billions of women have had babies without medication. Epidurals can slow down labor and are linked with an increased chance of having to have a c-section, which are two reasons I don’t want one. But then I start wondering if I’ll really be able to do it without an epi. I have fibromyalgia and worry that I’ll just lose steam and not be able to finish. I feel like there isn’t a right answer and am praying that I’ll just know what’s right when the time comes. Just don’t tell me that I “don’t get a medal” for doing it without an epi. I’m not doing it for a medal so leave me alone (can you tell I’ve heard that one a lot?)

Wow, this entry has turned into a rant. I’m really not as bitter as I may have come across. I’m just tired and want to meet this kid!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

I saw these pregnancy questions on a friend’s blog and thought I’d use them for this post.

How far along?
35 weeks, 6 days (I’ll be 36 weeks on Monday)

How big is the baby?
“Average” for right now is 5lbs, 4oz- about the size of a honeydew melon. He was measuring 5lbs, 12 oz almost two weeks ago. My doctor called him a hoss!

Weight gain?
I’m up 8 pounds from my starting weight (but some of that is due to the fact that I lost 10 pounds the first 21 weeks from being so sick!). I’m sure I’ve gained more since my last weigh-in (10 days ago) because I’ve been eating constantly!

Stretch Marks?
None so far. I read that stretch marks are inevitable if you’re going to get them. Some people get them, some don’t. Still crossing my fingers though J

Best moment of the week?
We went over to some friends’ house for dinner last night. It was so nice to sit outside and just talk and feel normal. It was the best I’d felt all week and was just a fun time.

Oh, I have another “best moment:” I talked to my supervisors at work on Monday and they are letting me work from home in the afternoons. I really think this is going to help me make it until I go into labor. Most of what I do during the week is on the computer or phone, so its working out well and I get to sit on the couch and put my feet up while I work. I can’t explain what a difference this makes in how I feel physically and emotionally.

Food and cravings?
I could eat ice cream all day, every day. This isn’t much different from pre-pregnancy, but I sometimes give in because you don’t get a good excuse like this very often!

Movement?
Liam is still moving a lot, especially when I lay down. Its crazy to see a foot or elbow slide from one side of my belly to another! He’s still sitting transverse (side to side instead of head down) and we’re praying he moves head down so I won’t have to have a c-section. I know they’re not the end of the world, but I’ve always wanted to at least try a natural, non-medicated birth. After 17 hours of birthing classes (spread over 7 weeks), I want to at least be able to try!

What I miss?
I miss feeling as independent as I usually do. I’ve been having to rely on Kyle for almost everything- he’s been cleaning, doing the grocery shopping and lots more the past few weeks. Its so hard not to feel like a lazy slug when I’m sitting on the couch and he’s cleaning. He’s been so good about it and doesn’t make me feel bad, but I still feel a little bad. We’re trying to let the baby bake a little longer and I have cramping and contractions whenever I stand or walk, so I’m supposed to be “resting”. Resting is very hard for this multi-tasker. Normally, even when I watch TV, I get up every commercial to do something productive. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to learn from this, but I hope I’m learning it!

Belly Button?
Still in. My mom’s never popped out so I’ve decided that this is genetics, too.

Looking forward to?
The doctor appointment on Tuesday. Its always so fun to hear his little heart beat like a hummingbird and get to ask questions. I’m also looking forward to a little shower that the staff at church is throwing for Kyle & me after Staff Lunch on Tuesday.

Milestone?
Well, today is April 9th and we’re due on May 9th, so this seems like a milestone. We’ll be 4 weeks out on Monday (b/c April has 30 days).

Monday, April 4, 2011

Enjoy Life

The last coherent words my grandpa spoke to me were, "enjoy life." I don't remember if I have blogged about it before but my mom and I went out to CA to help take care of him as he was dying from cancer. The last time I saw him sitting up was at their dining room table. He told me he had one piece of advice for me. I was expecting him to suggest reading my Bible more or something along those lines (he was, after all, a pastor for 50+ years). But he simply told me, "Courtney, I want you to enjoy life."

Of all the things he could have said, this was probably the most profound for me. He knew that I tend to major in the minors, get bogged down with details, and take myself too seriously at times. I've spent the last few years trying to figure out what it means to enjoy life (and still be responsible- ha!).

I've been teetering on the edge of enjoying life with this pregnancy, especially in the last few days and weeks. I am so excited to meet this little guy and I love him so much. But I feel so crappy and experience moments of anxiety. This baby is wedged in there pretty tight and is sitting in a "transverse" position (side to side instead of up and down). So, even though I've been having contractions since Thursday, nothing's going to happen until he shifts. And then I start to worry about what will happen if he does shift and I go into labor early. This baby has got to bake a little longer! I have decided to stop looking up stuff on the internet about transverse babies because I start thinking about it too much.

I want to enjoy these last few weeks of pregnancy. How do I do that when I feel awful? I have this amazing miracle growing inside of me and I want to celebrate it but I find myself feeling guilty. Guilty that I can't make him turn, that I can't stand for more than two minutes without getting light headed and seeing spots. Guilty that I can't do the dozens of things around the house that "need" to get done before he comes. I don't know how to turn that part of my brain off. Kyle has been so good with all of this and has been really strict with making me rest, which is the only way I actually sit down and rest.

Where is the balance of savoring these last few weeks of "in the meantime" before Liam comes? I want to make the most of it but that's as far as I've gotten. I want a different perspective, but I don't know what the first step is.

Friday, April 1, 2011

progress

Well, it seems as though things are progressing. I have been having cramps since last Thursday and the nurse just said to drink more water and rest. I woke up Monday and they were worse. My regular appointment was scheduled for Tuesday and my doctor was out of town so I met with another doctor. He said the cramps would stop in about 6 weeks when I have the baby. Nice.

But then I woke up at 2am yesterday, feeling what I could only imagine to be contractions. I went in to my doctor and he said they were, indeed, contractions (which was a relief because I would have been embarrassed if he said it was nothing!) and that I’m dilated to 1cm and 70% effaced. He said before I panic, it doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll go into hard labor any time soon, but that I’m progressing. He didn’t give me any medicine to stop the contractions and said Liam would be fine even if he came this early (he’s measuring 5 pounds, 12 ounces- about 1 pound bigger than “average.”).

I was trying to run errands today, still trying to figure out what it means to “rest”. I was at Ulta because my coupon expires today and started getting cold sweats and ringing in my ears. I got tunnel vision and an employee came up at just the right time to catch me as I was going down. She walked me to a chair and I started throwing up (she got me a trashcan just in time!). It was hard not to freak out but I called Kyle to come get me and called the doctor’s office. The nurse called back and told me just to go home and rest, drink water, and eat protein.

So, that’s what I’m doing. Resting. Drinking water. Mom’s bringing over lunch. I can’t wait to meet Liam and part of me wants him to come early. But we have SO MUCH to do before he comes! Kyle is trying to finish the bathroom remodel and I have 3 big assignments left for my online class that I’m trying to get done before he comes. The last one is due May 20, which is why I’m trying to get this all done now!

Its so funny how I’m seeing how hard it is to relax and rest. I’m learning a lot about myself and how controlling I am!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

In-Laws In-Town

Kyle's parents are in town for a few days and we've put them to work! Kyle and his dad are completely remodeling our front bathroom. They finished demolition yesterday and are starting to re-wire all the electricity, fix plumbing, install a new toilet, re-tile the floor and tub, put up new drywall, paint, etc. Kyle's mom has already painted our changing table (that his dad made!), cleaned like mad, and is going to wash all the baby clothes so they'll be ready for Liam. What am I doing, you ask? I'm blogging. At work.

I feel bad that they come all the way here from Indiana just to work but they assure me that they want to do projects. They're good people.

We have a baby shower tonight that my parent's Sunday School class is throwing. I'm really excited. We planned it so Sandi (Kyle's mom) would be in town for it. We have been so blessed by baby showers. If I can figure out how to post pictures to the blog, I might just post some later this week.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Saturday!

I slept in until 8:30 today and it felt so good! I can’t remember the last time I slept ‘till 8:30. Now that I’m “old,” my body wakes up at 7:00am no matter what. Plus, I go to bed so early that I naturally wake up early. Being pregnant has been an excuse to go to bed early (I barely make it to 9:00 or 9:30 most nights!) but I’ve always needed to go to bed earlier than most.

I finished all my homework for my online class this morning, and that felt good, too. I’m taking the last class I need toward ordination with the United Methodist Church, even though I don’t think I’ll actually pursue ordination… Long story, but after I graduated from Seminary, there were three classes I still needed to take if I ever want to be ordained. My church has been so generous to pay for the classes and I am halfway through my last one! The only thing is, it ends on May 20th and I am due May 9th so I’m having to work ahead and complete my two big projects a month ahead of time!

Kyle and I are hopefully going to the movies today with some friends and grilling out afterward (depending on if one friend is feeling better today). I feel like we’re trying to pack fun activities before Liam comes, since we’ll probably be hunkering down for a while after he’s born. I love movies! I love grilling!

This blog seems to be more of a “dear diary” post than anything of real importance, but that’s what’s going on with me today.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Slow

Today is really quiet around the church. I knew it would be slow so I brought my exercise clothes and walked the track in the Youth and Family Center. Just a mile but at least it was something. I've gotten slower and slower and can't seem to do anything about it!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Healing

A topic that has come up in a few conversations over the last two weeks is healing. I think about physical healing a lot, since I have lived with chronic pain every day for the last 18 years.

This pregnancy has been much more difficult (physically) than I had ever dreamed and I had asked some people at our staff meeting to pray for my ribs and back. As I’m continually expanding, the muscles are pulling away from the ribcage and have caused nerve pain. I’ve never had nerve pain before and this is some of the most excruciating and exhausting pain I’ve ever experienced. Anyway, not the point of the story…

After I asked for prayer, a friend was telling me that his wife had a similar thing happen when she was pregnant and we started talking about healing. He mentioned that sometimes, we can be healed despite having a cure for what is hurting. As I’ve been letting that thought percolate in my head the last few weeks, I feel like this is a theme that has been woven into my life.

I have prayed for physical healing for more than half of my life. At ORU, I stood up at every chapel, asking God to heal me. I even went to a Benny Hinn crusade willing to do anything to be healed! Nothing ever happened. I thought that faith was like a thermometer and if I could just get my faith up to a certain degree, God was obligated to heal me (that needs to be another post later).

However, hindsight has proved 20/20. Although I live in pain all the time, I truly believe that God has healed me, just not in the ways I hoped for. Living with pain has shaped me into the person that I am today. I would not be the same if I had lived my life pain-free.

In so many Christian circles, we talk about healing and paint God into a corner. Either heal us or don’t. I am beginning to see that sometimes it can be both. I’m not physically healed from chronic pain, but my soul, the depth of who I am, is healed and whole, partly because of living through this experience.

So, while I would take healing and energy the second it was offered, I am reminded that so much healing comes without a cure.