Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Moving On.....

I have the best bloggy friends!

You gals really have shown me the body of Christ in action this past week, with your encouraging comments and prayers.

Now it's time to get a new post up on the blog.  I hope this one is more hopeful, more optimistic.

What have I been doing this past week?

I have been reading my Bible, even when I don't feel like it and even when I can't quite internalize what I'm reading, or when my attention span is very short (which happens a lot in this season of my life).  And slowly, very slowly, Scripture has begun to come back to life for me.  My heart has been touched the past few days.  My heart has been encouraged, strengthened a wee bit, and convicted too.  Praise God He has not alienated Himself from me the way I have alienated myself from Him!

I've been listening to a bit more music too, because I notice it makes me feel better.  It puts everything into perspective for me.  Music is, after all, my prayer language, being a singer and all.  Today I believe that God spoke to me and asked me to concentrate on lifting my voice in song and maybe, just maybe, my heart would be healed and my chains would be broken.  It was an "ah-HA!" moment.  So, I'm going to try to do more singing this week and next.  Baby steps, gals!

I really have stepped up my prayer life again.  I could believe the voice that tells me He isn't listening because I've been unfaithful.  I could believe the voice that says He doesn't want to hear about what I need or want......only deep down, I know those things just aren't true, because He says "cast all your cares on Him for He cares for you".  And "ask, seek, knock".  I spent some time this morning interceding for my kids, and it felt really good.  Some undefinable thing, deep down, slid back into place in my soul.  That's better.

There remains a very, very important thing missing for me, and that is Good Sleep! I take calcium, HTP ( a natural sleep aid, depression and anxiety fighter), and I drink Sleepytime tea, but a lot of nights I don't sleep well, and when I don't sleep well for many nights in a row, ugly things start to happen, trust me! So I need to work on the sleep area.

You know what? I don't know what's going to happen down the road.  I don't even know what's going to happen tomorrow.  But God does and He's orchestrated everything perfectly just for me.  I don't need to know why He does things, only that the Bible says that He does all things well.  I am going to find peace in that.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Being Real


Deep breath.

Can I tell you all a secret that I've been keeping these past few weeks??

Can I? You might be shocked.  I'm going to level with you......

I'm struggling.  Very, very hard.  I'm sinking rapidly in this ocean I've been asked to navigate by One Who they say loves me very much and cares for me and died for me and only wants what's best for me.

I'm actually having a full-blown Crisis of Faith.

And it's just another bit of grief to add to my burdened shoulders right now, but I can't seem to see the shore in this ocean, or to pull myself out of the downward spin I'm in.  It's slowly eating me alive, and it's hurting my family too.

Let me lay it out.

I don't understand why the Lord, after several years of praying for twins, would answer our prayers, and then.......before I knew what hit me......He took one away.  I don't understand why Olivia died.  I don't understand why I'm being asked to say goodbye again.  Why?

I can't seem to comprehend it, even now.  I'm shattered.  I'm broken.  I'm confused.  I'm devastated.  I'm  shaken to the very core of who I really am and what I really believe in.

I'm tired of lying.  I'm tired of pretending everything's getting better.  I'm so weary of platitudes and pretty phrases and looks of sympathy and verses that tell me I'm going to be rescued and blessed and healed and surrounded and taken care of and lifted up and delivered.

I just can't seem to believe it.

It's so scary for me!!! I have always, always tried to trust the Lord and walk with Him and believe Him and do what He wants me to do, not always with a willing heart, but nevertheless, there has never come upon me such a great wave of uncertainty and unsteadiness! I thought that I had my hand firmly in His and I thought that I was doing pretty well, seeing that the grief of our first stillborn baby and a few miscarriages and years of infertility didn't kill me!

But I'm not doing well!!!

My soul is famished.  I can't even sing and worship and lose myself in the familiar songs that I have loved, as a singer, a child of God, and a worshipper......Right now, I no longer believe the cherished words that I used to cling to and confess and raise as a mantra for my life!

Did you hear me? I just don't believe the words!!! I can't be a hypocrite and I can barely raise my voice and I can't form the words about trusting and honoring and obeying and surrendering and holiness and joy......

I thought I KNEW that God was with me! I thought I could trust His strength! I thought I would never lose that feeling of knowing that He was indeed as close as my own skin, my own breath.....

But I've lost it.  Everything around me appears dark and hostile and silent and unyielding!  As never before!

I hear the songs this season of "Emmanuel"..."God With Us"......and I scream out in the very core of me.........

ARE YOU?????


I lift my eyes to the brass domed sky above me and I heave and groan and question!

I'm on a rocky ledge and I'm looking down.  I have never been here before.  I'm crying out for help.  I want so badly to renew my faith.  I want so badly to be that testimony of His faithfulness that I used to so diligently pray for!  But.......

I'm not.  I'm so unfamiliar to me!

I can't even read my dear Bible! I'm so skeptical, so numb, so injured in my spirit.  I thought I knew that the Scriptures were just the thing to heal my heart.  I thought I had enough verses memorized to be able to cling to and renew my mind, but I don't.  I don't.  I don't.

And it's staring me in the face, this lack of anything to grab on to.

I hear all the advice.  I listen as I read of others who have been here before me, and I will be deadly honest with you, I used to scoff at those travelers who were so shaky in their faith as to have a crisis!

Well, here I am.  One of those travelers!

I am suffocating here.  I am a shriveled, dry vine, ready to drop off the plant at any moment.

And I'm begging for God to come and rescue me.....and I can't see Him or feel Him or hear Him!!!

I'm constantly having to fight back hysterical, gut wrenching, gasping sobs and swallow the huge lump in my throat! I'm forever trying to take deep breaths to keep the horrible agony from exploding out of my chest.  I'm avoiding people's gazes. I'm shunning my dear friend.  I don't know the wan, drawn face and the empty, dead eyes that meet me in the mirror each morning.  I am as dry as dust and as frail as old bones.  I'm slashing my husband with words which I have no idea from where they come......

That's the truth.  That's the ugly, unfrosted truth.

I guess I'm asking you to pray for me! I know you have been.  I know some of you have been with me this whole way, these past months.  I know that you have been holding me up and interceding for me.  I appreciate it! I have no right to ask for more and I'm unworthy of your love and your admiration and your diligence!

But I can't do it myself anymore.  I can't continue on pretending that I'm getting better.

I need a miracle.  I need intervention.

I crave the Voice of Truth to drown out all of the other voices raging at me right now.

IS this time really for my glory?

I'm afraid.  I'm pressed on every side.  I want fresh air! I want.......

I want......

I want Emmanuel.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Pennie Again

Another appointment down South is under my belt, and we're getting closer and closer to saying hello and goodbye at once.

Pennie continues to look great.  I suspected, sometime early this week, that she had turned, due to the discomfort I'm now feeling and the fact that her movements have slowed down considerably.  On the 2nd, she was presenting transverse (laying crossways) with her buns down in the birth canal.  Yesterday, she was firmly head down in the birth canal, which did not seem to worry Dr Winkler in the least.  So, I guess I deal with difficulty sitting down for the next several weeks!

She had her hand in front of her face, reminiscent of Scarlett O' Hara.  She looked as though she was saying "O woe is me, I think I shall swoooooon!" We all got a good, much needed laugh over that.

Fluid levels look, well, swell, if you'll pardon the silly and weak pun!

Cervix looks great.  Her umbilical cord is attached to the placenta at the perfect spot.  I had no idea there was a "perfect spot" for that, but Dr Winkler said that there was practically no risk for her umbilical cord to dissolve or become weak during labor.  This is good news!!

I'm thinking about taking myself off of bed rest.  We'll see what Dr Whelan says on the 27th.  But at this point, I think Pennie and I are both out of danger.

Dr Whelan says that I can deliver at my hometown hospital if I can go to 34 weeks or after.  I'm thinking this is a piece of cake.

I get the feeling that Dr Winkler is not worried anymore about pre-term labor.  I'm not either.  It's tiring, worrying about that, with everything else on my plate.

I have to tell you that the closer labor and delivery get, the more I'm just not ready.  It's careening madly closer and I just can't grasp that.  Right now, I'm carrying two Babies.  This is the last time I will have these two Babies, together.  I guess I want to hold on as long as I can.  I know that when labor and deliver comes, then I will have to say goodbye to one of my precious twins.  This may be the only time I ever get to experience the wonder and miracle of carrying twins.  So, I want to hold on!

I'm going to start bringing in the crates of newborn girl clothes today.

I'm going to be ordering diapers in size newborn and 1.

We desperately need socks for Pennie.

I also need a new carseat, and I have chosen a Graco Travel System.  It won't be the double system that I had originally planned on getting after finding out we were having twins.  My choice is the Graco Snug Ride Travel System in Rittenhouse.  It's black and white. It will cost about $295.00.  I'll definitely have to save up for that, as my husband says there is no money for it.  But, we need it and I will have to see how this can happen.

I'm going to prepare a home birth kit, just like I did before Lucie was born, to put on the back of the toilet.  We didn't use it when Lucie was so unexpectedly deposited in the toilet because of the sheer panic that set in moments later, but we want to be prepared, in case I can't make the 45 minute drive to my hometown hospital in time to deliver The Babies there.

I just don't feel like an update post is complete without updating you on Olivia.  Dr says that all of her fluid is virtually gone.  He says that she will be very shriveled, which is normal for a situation like mine.  I was hoping that an adequate fluid level would remain, so that at least her skin would be smooth.  I'm just trying to come to grips with what will happen with her.  I have a feeling that there is no way to be ready for her birth, and that I will just have to "do it" when it comes to that point.  My precious baby.  Baby B.  Olivia Caroline, you will always be one of The Babies in my heart.  You will be intertwined with Pennie as long as I live and breathe.

Will I ever have a Baby B again? God only knows.

I guess that's it.  Isn't that enough? If any of you have favorite brands of socks that you really love, leave me a comment.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dearest Friends

Today I got to fellowship with two of the most wonderful friends I've ever met.  Most of ya'll already read Marsha and Christine's blogs, so I won't link up to them.

I "met" Marsha and Christine soon after I started blogging.  We became fast online friends.

We all met up in real life when Lucie was 9 months old at Christine's house with some other local bloggers.

It was fantastic.  But much too short.  And a long time ago!

Marsha flew in to Christine's yesterday.

And I was able to meet up with both of them again at a fabulous pizza parlor in my old hometown.

I just want to say I'm privileged to know both of these gals in real life.  I mean it.

These girls are wonderful.  We were able to share hearts and listen to hearts and really talk.

I just want to say, since I think they're reading this......

I love both of you deeply, so much.

Thank you both for being a living salve to my torn and bleeding heart.

I think our hearts are linked now.

And that's one of the beauties of blogging.

Friday, December 10, 2010

100 Things

Here are 100 things that you never needed to know about me, but I'm going to post them anyway!!

  • I'm the only person in my whole family who does not have blue eyes.  (Mine are green)
  • I haven't dyed my hair in over 6 years.  Yes, my hair is naturally that dark!
  • I used to be a natural blonde.  Really!
  • I used to collect teddy bears.
  • I have no sense of humor.
  • I adore Kettle chips and homemade sour cream ranch dip, with a Blue Sky Cola with crushed ice.
  • I love sour things.  Almost nothing is too sour for me.
  • I do not like game meats.
  • I almost didn't graduate from high school due to missing half a credit.  Mom came to the school.  Credit was mysteriously found.
  • I never aspired to marriage and babies.  Ever.  How wrong I was!
  • I am a naturally tense person.  I catch myself clenching my hands and hunching my shoulders all the time.
  • I've never had braces.
  • I've had one cavity in my life.  In a baby tooth.  It was filled at the dentist.  Said tooth fell out not too long after that.
  • I used to have a mortal fear of going to the dentist.
  • I have had at least 4 of my babies with no meds at all.  But I like meds in childbirth!
  • I used to wear bi-focals.
  • I used to be anorexic.
  • I have had food issues for quite some time.
  • My favorite color was peach.  I used to be The Peach Girl.  The colors of my wedding were ivory, peach and emerald green.
  • Labor and delivery terrify me.  Every time.
  • I do not like parties.  Or crowds.
  • I used to be anti-social.
  • I hate board games.  And card games.
  • I had never seen a Bible in my whole life till I was 13.
  • Likewise for snow.
  • I do not like pets.
  • I do not like dogs.
  • I struggle with insomnia.
  • I take a lot of naturopathic meds.
  • The only doctors I have are an OB and a perinatologist.
  • I have seen a naturopathic doctor for over 12 years.  As has most of my family.
  • I can't stand the sound of chewing.
  • I am not a compulsive person.
  • I am loyal.
  • I am not a good communicator.
  • I have been in choir, in some form or another, since I was 6 years old.
  • I like to sing.
  • I hate to sing.
  • I am a serious morning person.
  • I hate nights.  I guess you could say I'm afraid of the dark!
  • I would love to have twins again.  Any time of the year!
  • I read voraciously.
  • I can read one book a day.
  • I was addicted to the pain medication Darvocet.
  • I eat gluten/wheat free, as well as mostly dairy free.
  • I like my collar bones.
  • My wedding ring is a size 4.
  • I don't really like or need jewelry.
  • I hate having my feet touched.
  • I snore when I'm pregnant.
  • I don't really know what my Love Language is.
  • I like all kinds of music.
  • I once kissed my newborn baby's buns.
  • I don't think I'll ever dye my hair again.  My son thinks silver/gray hair is beautiful.
  • I do not like alcoholic beverages.  I don't mind if others do.
  • I would like to have more babies at home.
  • I have dimples.
  • I hemorrhage severely after birth.  Yay.
  • I love road trips.
  • I love to eat out.
  • I hate milk.
  • I've never made a snowman.
  • I've never ice skated.
  • I'm clumsy.
  • I love warm brownies.  Namaste or Pamela's. Yum!
  • I'm very suspicious.
  • I'd like to be an author.
  • I have a Bionic sense of smell.
  • I have very refined taste buds.
  • I could watch cooking shows all day.
  • I really like my step-mother-in-law.
  • I come from a broken home.
  • It's always bothered me that my brother does not like me.
  • I can be very morose and critical.  And negative.  
  • I love bare trees in the winter.
  • I love to cook and make up my own recipes.
  • I'd like to record a CD with my husband.
  • I've dislocated both of my knees, the left one, twice.
  • I want to go to France someday.
  • I have a deep desire to be fluent in French.
  • I loved French class in high school.  I remember almost everything.
  • My favorite singer is Celine Dion.  Her voice gives me chills.
  • I secretly wish we were really having triplets.  Or that Olivia was really alive and the Dr made a mistake.
  • After I have my babies, I usually stay in the hospital alone.  At least I have since Kellie was born in '03.
  • We do not have cable television.
  • I really would love to decorate my house beautifully.  Alas, I have no talent for it.
  • I have never liked facial hair on men.  My husband is very clean shaven.
  • I would like to go to Hawaii, with all my kids and husband.
  • I love Van's waffles with gobs and gobs of butter and a touch of syrup.
  • I grew up in Huntington Beach, CA.  I can still smell the Coppertone and feel the sand between my toes.
  • I love hardwood floors.
  • I've been flossing regularly.
  • I have to have a notebook and pen with me at all times, in case thoughts come to me.
  • I like to write poetry.  A lot.
  • I hate showing my written material to anyone.
  • I am a pretty private person.
  • I love V-8 juice.
  • I'm totally okay with having only one son.  And no, we aren't going to "try till we get another boy."
  • And no, we don't NEED another boy.  At least, the Lord doesn't think we do, so far.
  • I love cabbage in any form.  And sauerkraut.
  • I do not like pork.
  • I've been to Mexico on mission trips twice.
  • I can't play any instruments.  I don't want to either.
  • I like to make cards.
  • I save my journals.
  • I adore good pico de gallo and guacamole.  I eat them with a spoon!
  • I have very dry skin.
  • I eat 100% organic and natural.  I feel soooo much better because of this.
  • My bath/body products are mostly organic and natural too.
  • I have sensitive skin.
  • I love Greek food.
  • I only use Dixon Ticonderoga pencils.  Bought in bulk at Costco.
  • We try not to buy things that are not made in the USA.
  • I tend to have a bad temper.  Ugh.
  • I love Risotto.
  • Are you still there???

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Pennie and Stuff

Today I went South for another appointment/ultrasound.  The appointment was supposed to be on the 23rd of November, but we were iced in totally up here then and I had to cancel.  So, I have to say it was a loooong time to go without seeing Pennie.  I have to say, I've gotten used to and so comfortable with "seeing" her every two weeks.

To update, she is now 2 lbs 9 oz!!! She's gained a pound since my last check up! She's a baby porker! Ha.  She was so active.  She even was opening her mouth for us, like she was searching for fingers to suck on.  I suspect that she already is a finger/thumb sucker, because every time we see her, she's got her hands up by her face.

Everything looks great with her.  Her kidneys are functioning great.  The cord is working great.  Her little heart was beating away, bumpity-bump.  She was bum-down, which means her buns were in the birth canal.

Unbeknownst to me, I had placenta previa, which, if anyone doesn't know what that is, it's when the placenta is totally or partially covering the birth canal. As long as the placenta is covering the cervix, vaginal delivery is totally impossible, and premature detachment can occur, leading to extreme blood loss and even bleeding to death.  Today the placenta had moved, so it is now only a low-lying placenta.  Whew.  Placenta previa is not good, and I'm glad that it moved.  It's right next to my cervix.  I am aware of how God delivered me with that situation, and I am deeply grateful.

Please permit me to be very candid here, friends, concerning Olivia.  She is very, very tiny.  She weighs probably 8 ounces or so, and they said I probably won't even know when she's born, that I probably won't even feel it.  They also said that, concerning the condition she's in at birth, they may not even let us see her or even tell us she's born, in case it is an extreme case of deterioration.  That is okay with me.  I'm coming to grips with things, concerning my Olivia.  I just pray that God gives us special grace and peace to handle things at the time of delivery.

I had to have a fun "exam" today, by a doctor I didn't know, who IS NOT my wonderful regular Dr W.  My cervix looked suspicious, so they also did a fetal fibronectin test, which can tell whether I'm at high risk for pre-term labor in the next few weeks.  Thank God, the test came back negative, which means there's little chance of going into labor within the next month or so.  Praise God!!!! I don't mind telling you all that I was waaaaay scared! I was by myself, with Sara and Kellie out in the waiting room.  I had a pretty intense prayer time with the Lord while waiting for the doctor.  He even talked about giving me a steroid shot today to help mature Pennie's lungs, and also hospitalizing me for the duration of the pregnancy!!!!! I feel like, again, God delivered me today.  And I praise Him and thank Him for that.

Today I was contemplating finding out fairly late in my pregnancy that we were having twins, and wondering why we didn't see it sooner on ultrasound or hear a double heart beat, or even have a clue from my elevated pregnancy hormones upon having an initial pregnancy test at the doctor's office.  And I feel that God gently spoke to my heart and I saw how, if I had had my whole pregnancy to bond deeply with both Olivia and Pennie, then the loss of Olivia would have been that much harder to bear. Actually, it might not have been bearable.  I feel like God really has shepherded us through the whole pregnancy.  That is not to say that I did not bond deeply with Olivia.  But I think you all know what I mean.  It's only been two months since we have known that we were having twins, and it has been a whirlwind.  I just barely had time to really adjust to the idea of two identical babies when we found out that Olivia had died.  It was only three weeks.  And I have to tell you all that it was the most blessed I've ever been, and I am so thankful that I got to carry these babies together as long as I did.  I feel, right now, so sheltered and I do see God's hand all over my pregnancy, and all over each one of these babies.

I also have to tell you that I would definitely want to have twins again.  6 weeks ago, I didn't even ever want to be pregnant again.  I was pretty devastated.  But God has a way of changing hearts and He has moved on mine.  In the past, after we would bear the loss of another baby, I would be so petrified to get pregnant, and worried about it all the time.  And once I did get pregnant, the worry and anxiety over being able to sustain the pregnancy was strong.  But now, I feel that my heart has really started to change and see that God's hand is present, even in death.  He orchestrates every single thing for good, and that means tragedy and trials and sufferings too.  So, I guess I'm coming around more fully to His will for my life and my future fertility much more than my own will.

Another note: I do have to be more serious and buckle down more on the bed rest thing.  I do have to let the children take care of me more.  I will take Dr's orders more seriously from here out! I promise! Can anyone recommend some good books to me, for the next 7 weeks?? Thanks!

I'm now really 7 months on the dot, according to Pennie's growth.  I can't believe it's already been 7 months and I'm looking at the last three months of this blessed pregnancy.  I'm soooo blessed.

I would like to leave you with a last thought: won't you consider looking back over your life, over your hard times and your seeming times of desolation, and trying to see where God was showing you something? Maybe you could write down what you think He was saying.  Won't you try to listen more acutely for His whisper? I bet you'll be surprised and blessed by what you see and hear! And let me know how God has sustained you or spoken to you or shown you something! Leave me a comment!