Friday, July 28, 2017

Where Art Thou Sanctification?

It's been an eventful week.
I joined a support group on Facebook for parents with anencephalic babies shortly after Noah's diagnosis. Most days, it's one of the first things I check in the morning. There is so much information and support from the people in that group. I feel a bond with those people like no other. There are daily postings, and (unfortunately) a lot of people going through the same battle we are going through. Maybe I won't always describe this situation as a battle, but right now, it's what it feels like.

Each day brings new news: sometimes a picture of a long anticipated birth, along with stories of love and loss. Sometimes just questions about ways to cope, or medical experiences, or ideas for memory keeping and celebrations of life. I personally love seeing and hearing about the birth stories. It's almost become an obsession. I want to know every detail. I guess in a world where google can give us so many answers, I've gotten used to the idea of needing to know exactly what to expect. If I get enough data through each of these stories, I can pinpoint how my story will play out. I've even tried to morph images in my head to get an idea of what Noah will look like. I have been afraid of this. It's petty and immature I know, but I scare easily, and I am scared of what he will look like.

I hear from so many people about how strong and inspirational I am to them. Don't get me wrong, it feeds my ego and who doesn't love that, but honestly, I'm not any more strong than anyone else.
The time is closing in, I am only three weeks away from delivering Noah, and it is time for me to get myself in gear. Which gear? If I weren't so selfish feeling, I would say reverse. Maybe give myself a little more time to enjoy the kicks and flips I feel Noah doing inside me. I'm not kidding, he is literally flipping, we saw him on the ultrasound. No, not reverse, I am really really done being pregnant. This is the hardest pregnancy ever. Not just because of Noah's condition, but every part of it. My body is not keeping up and I can't handle it mentally.
The gear doesn't actually exist in car reference, but I need to shift into finding the path to sanctification. I've been seeking it for many many months now, and I get glimpses of it here and there, but I need to find it fully.

I know this may sound a little naive, but over the past two months the doctors couldn't see Noah's face on the ultrasound because he was too far down in my pelvis. I thought that maybe, just maybe Noah's skull had miraculously grew. If his skull grew, and his head managed to close, he would be able to protect whatever bit of brain he had left. Maybe this would be the miracle story of the century.

Well, I just had a day of appointments yesterday. Noah was breech when we first looked on the ultrasound, so we were able to snap a 3D image of his face. I mostly requested the image because I wanted to know whether he had a cleft lip which is pretty common in anencephalic babies (again, a fear I had). There on that image was not only proof that Noah didn't have a cleft lip, but also the most blatant evidence of Noah's condition. It hit me like a ton of bricks, but made me realize that I'm not scared at all of how Noah looks. Shortly after, we saw Noah turn head down into a full flip and I fully took advantage of the humor in that situation.

We toured the Labor and Delivery dept. and met the Bereavement Coordinator. We talked about everything from entry paperwork to discharge information. It was really nice and perspective changing. It all suddenly became really real.
I woke up today with fear of labor for the first time in this pregnancy. I think it's pretty normal, but it's so unsettling.

As much as possible, I need to just stay connected to my holy place. I need to remind myself that there is something much bigger here that is going on. There is a perfect plan, and I'm part of it, my family is part of it, my friends and support team are part of it, and Noah is part of it. What it is is completely unknown to me right now, but I trust that it is all part of my journey toward sanctification.
God is good!!!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Fireflies and Photo-Bugs...

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever." -Psalm 23

THIS! This is one of my husband's favorite Psalms. He even plays a tune to it on the guitar. I've heard this Psalm probably a million times. Not that I don't appreciate it, but I've never really related to it...until now.

I am at a point in my life where (while on summer break) I don't have to rush around for anything. As a matter of fact, I can sleep in. Every one of my children can make themselves breakfast (and lunch if need be). I don't necessarily sleep in late, but I do like to linger in bed. There is a huge Crape Myrtle tree in our front yard, and it completely covers my second story bedroom window. In the summer it's so full that I don't even close the curtains for privacy. There is a pair of cardinals (among a gazillion other birds) that hang out in our tree. Right now the blossoms on the tree are a tender, but vibrant pink. So, I spend my lazy mornings just staring out at this lively little space. I have no idea what kind of meetings or interactions are taking place, but I like to imagine the conversations being had. 

I feel as though, just like in the Psalm, God is slowing me down. He maketh me lie in bed to enjoy his tiny little natural world, just outside my window. "He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul."

I don't know what the fall will bring, but I do know that I will have a hand in homeschooling the children again. Last year Danny was the sole homeschool-facilitator. I was so ill from the pregnancy, that aside from my few days teaching at the Math Science Center, I couldn't handle anything else. 
We have very different methods and ideas when it comes to homeschooling. He is rigidly academic- driven, where I'm more art and nature-study-driven. I think it was brilliant to have the children experience both. Don't ask them which they prefer when Danny is in earshot :)

I'm excited to begin our nature journals more than anything else. You never know what you'll find when you're out exploring. Just tonight we found a few friends on our evening walk.

Lula is always catching fire flies:

I recently pulled my camera out. I haven't been taking photos; I haven't the desire or creativity lately. I wanted to make a few nice photos for Danny's mom before she headed back to Ethiopia. I figured the cell-phone pictures (though the quality isn't that bad) wouldn't cut it. So here I am, schlepping that dang heavy camera around because I have recently gotten the photo-bug. 


...and my goofy boy.

Well, we have 5 weeks left before we meet Noah. I know it sounds like a very short amount of time, but I am not doing well physically. I am completely wiped out. My body feels like it's not holding up. I can't explain how painful it is when Noah kicks downward. I remember this with the others a little, but this is just breath-taking. My doctor said that I am experiencing high fluids 25cm to be exact. This could put me in pre-term labor, but I'm feverishly praying against that. Apparently, a low-sugar, high-fiber diet can help, so I'm working on making some dietary changes.  

Today was the first day I cried in a long time. Danny wanted us to take the kids to the beach, as much as I wanted to go, anxiety flooded over me. I can't go far for long. I get too tired. I got completely emotional because I felt like most days, I'm missing out. Danny will regularly take the children out while I rest. Today I didn't want to have to rest. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. Yeah, I know this is temporary, but it was just hard to grasp that today. I kept thinking that most pregnant women who miss out because they need to rest can say that it all pays off in the end. The reward in the end is all worth it. My reward is going to be taken from me and that was hard to grasp today.

We ended up going to my mom and Vince's pool across town and had a blast! We even dressed up as cows afterward and enjoyed free Chick Fil-A for Cow Appreciation Day :) "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil."

Kobe had an amazing thing happen to him tonight. He got a phone call from his good friend Juan, whom had been in a very bad car accident a month and half ago. For the first three days after the accident, the doctors said that Juan was brain dead. We have been praying for him every day and night. Updates would trickle in and little by little we would get news of his progress. Just a couple updates ago, he was giving yes and no signs. Then he was smiling, moving limbs, and giving more responses. Every update, Kobe would run into my room and jump around in excitement. "Look mom, look what Juan is doing now!"
So you can imagine what it was like for Kobe to get a phone call from him tonight. "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever."
God is good!
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