December 20, 2012

i refuse to become a victim of fear

I had the flu last Friday, and had been up sick most of Thursday night. My mother advised me to sleep and not turn on the TV. Unquestioningly, I obliged. It wasn’t until late that afternoon, when I was on Fac.ebo.ok and saw everyone’s posts, that I learned what had happened. I have periodically wept quietly in little moments since then – in the car, in the shower, at my desk – anytime I was alone with my thoughts long enough to let the awful hideousness of the situation enter my mind. I refused to watch the news or even read blog entries talking about it.

It wasn’t until this morning, with my son at daycare and husband at work, that I was finally alone long enough to pour out my rage and grief to God. I thought, I need to know.

I need to know that I’m not raising my son, only to have him cut down mercilessly by the devil, who “…prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

I need to know that no matter how long I enjoy life with my child here on earth, we will live out eternity in Heaven.

I need to know peace.

As if in answer to this silent request, my daily devotional yesterday reminded me that there is, of course, a bigger picture.

Proverbs 24:14 (NIV)
Know also that wisdom is like honey for you:
    If you find it, there is a future hope for you,
    and your hope will not be cut off.

The Bible – especially Proverbs – is very clear that wisdom is the most important possession any of us can acquire in this life. Not money, not a wonderful relationship, nothing else replaces wisdom. And true wisdom comes only from God.

Right now a fresh battle is being waged in the war over gun control. Let me be among those who remind us that, even if consensus is reached, the government cannot give us peace. Government ultimately cannot save us or give us hope. It’s not in their power.

Not all things are knowable, but hope is the hallmark of a life of faith in God – and is exactly what the enemy wants to rob us all of. The devil wants to replace hope with fear and despair. That’s why we have to be wise to his tricks and refuse to give in, continue to look to God for wisdom, and allow His love to cover our fears, infuse us with peace, and give us the hope that only He can.

God honors prayer. Pray for the families who now must cross oceans of grief. Pray for the safety of our public (and private) spaces. Pray for those who might become the next random victims. Pray for the minds and hearts of those who might become the next perpetrators. Pray for the chains of the enemy to be broken. And refuse to become a victim of fear.

John 14:27 (NIV)
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

December 13, 2012

baby food wars already?

I tried to feed my son some ground up beef stew. His reaction, if I interpret correctly, was "This is horrible!! Why are you trying to kill me?? I'm a good boy! You hate me and I'm going to diiiiiiie!..." or something like that. Sigh...

Granted, he's been battling a tummy bug since Saturday (though he's never been sick enough to take to the doctor), his sleep has been out of whack lately, and his appetite is about as predictable as Wall Street. I'm finally conceding the fact that he's regressed to an itty bitty baby that can't handle more than the most basic of food choices. Why does it get under my skin when he won't eat what I've prepared for him? I need to not take that personally. 

Meanwhile, said itty bitty baby was up at 2:30 or so this morning and, after listening to him cough and squawk for an hour DH went in to comfort him. I followed soon after and elevated his mattress on one side to help promote draining. Fed him a bottle since he'd only taken about half an ounce before bed (which he gobbled up hungrily), which sent him happily back to sleep. Sometime before dawn, I dreamed I was very good friends with Brittney Spears. 

I need more coffee now. 

December 7, 2012

trash bins and ivf clinics

I turned the local news on yesterday morning. Probably shouldn't have done that. One of the stories they ran was of someone finding a newborn (alive, thank God) in a trash bin outside an apartment complex.

Meanwhile, in infertility clinics all over the developed world, thousands upon thousands of women and men are crying, waiting, testing, and spending tens of thousands of dollars on treatments - absolutely desperate to conceive a baby.

Just what the f*ck is wrong with people?

Reason #367 why I cannot watch the news anymore.

Sigh... end rant. "A person's a person, no matter how small." ~ Horton the Elephant

more food obsessions

I think I’ve made some progress in feeding since my last post (for the love of food). The hungry bugger is chomping away at half a banana (which works wonders at keeping blowouts at bay), some kind of cereal, yogurt or pureed cottage cheese (plain or mixed with fruit, which I’m now trying to give in chunky bits – plus he can’t stand the texture of cottage cheese), some kind of veggie mush mixed with minced chicken (or whatever’s in the nearest non-fruit pouch), plus the regular four bottles per day. He also enjoys fish, mashed potato, squash, sweet potato, fries, tomato soup, beef, and probably some other stuff I’ve forgotten about. 

The whole-food weaning thing has been a mixed bag at best, so I’ve chosen not to worry about it. He’s great at eating banana right off the… banana (without me breaking off pieces), enjoys chomping on cooked mini carrot sticks and other little finger-sized foods. So I’m probably ahead of the game.

The only thing that has me flummoxed is the idea of transitioning him from the bottle to the cup. He doesn’t seem to care about sippy cups, and drinks out of a cup fine if someone holds it for him. Oh well. One transition at a time.

Now if we can just figure out how to get him to quit rocking back and forth in his high chair as if he expects it to start rolling like a shopping cart.

fear of flying

I’m not sure why, but I’m dreading our upcoming flight to Dallas for Christmas.

Okay, I might know a few reasons beginning with my past experiences witnessing others flying with babies. They are mostly not positive ones with wailing children and their horrified, exhausted parents who are the first to board, take the longest to get settled, and are the last to drag themselves out of the plane like haggard old pirates emerging from a dark cave that never found the hidden treasure. I avoided them as much as possible before I became a parent. Now I’m about to become one of them.

So there’s that. And, since I’ve worked so hard at establishing and maintaining my sweet son’s sleep schedule, I’m sure this trip will blow it out of the water. What with relatives, airplanes, security, big liquid containers, a makeshift crib-type bed in the same room as us along with a white noise machine, relatives, visiting and eating and drinking and sleeping… and relatives. What could go wrong? (insert hysterical, buggy-eyed, strait-jacketed laughter)

I think the babe will be wide-eyed with joyous wonder at the airport and on the airplane, since he’s such a social bee and loves people so much. On the advice of my sister in law, I booked our flights near his naptime in the hopes that he’ll comply and nap on the plane. No, it’s not the worst thing that could happen if he doesn’t sleep. But the minute we land he’ll be on his tippy toes playing with Grandma and being loved, cuddled, and pampered as any baby should be – which will be wonderful as long as I can get him down at a reasonable time.

The makeshift sleeping arrangements have me wondering which I’d rather pack – Benadryl (for him) or earplugs (for me)? I’ve been looking at those travel cribs (not the recalled ones) and wondering if that’s the way to go – mostly because we’re planning at least one more flight before he turns 2. Or maybe it's not worth it, and I don't give my baby credit for being adaptable.

To allay my fears, I’ve started trolling baby travel websites to see what I can do to prepare and avoid the worst. Now that I’m feeling a bit more mentally prepared, I’m fairly confident we can ride it out and I’m probably making it worse in my head. 


Then again, maybe he won’t sleep on the plane, won’t settle in a foreign house, will be overstimulated by relatives, and will be cranky as hell which means we sure as hell won’t get any sleep for the four nights we’ll be there which will pretty much mean the end of all sanity.


November 27, 2012

redrawing the boundary lines

Today I emailed the leader of our church small group to tell her that, although it’s a painful decision and we love them, we simply have to find a group that’s closer to us where we can occasionally participate and feel like we’re part of a little community. The group had relocated to a house that takes us 20-25 minutes to drive to right on the edge of rush-hour traffic. As a result, it was a good week when one of us could go. And that didn’t happen very often anymore.

I hated doing that. I’ve put it off for months. Even though we’ve met with most of these people weekly for nearly two years and have eaten together, laughed together, prayed and seen the healing hand of God together. And now we find that, because of how our son has redefined our lives so fundamentally, we have to back out of pretty much everything and start over with what is possible.

The fact is, group starts right about the time we put our son to bed. And right now, that bedtime is more important than pretty much anything else. It’s more important that our social lives. More important than how much time we get to spend playing with him after being at work all day (which is not much).

You’d think that knowing this is a temporary sacrifice would make the transition easier, and that would be true. But while family is top priority, it also adds to the isolation that apparently comes with being a parent of an infant. We thought we’d become part of some larger community of people with babies, but that hasn’t happened either. Instead, most of the women I know who have babies are also about 15-20 years younger than me, so there’s not a lot of common ground.

I’m grateful to be part of a growing online community of new mothers over 40, but that’s not the same as quality time with friends. And it certainly doesn’t help my husband much, who needs that community at least as much as I do.

Looking back, I started redrawing the boundary lines when I was pregnant. The more tired I got, the more activities I pulled out of and the further back I pulled those lines. I kept redrawing them until I admitted that I pretty much couldn’t do anything anymore. That was pure self-preservation and I didn’t feel a whit of guilt for it. But now I do.

I want to be part of community. I want to give of my time, talent and treasure through our church. Now, though, I just have to admit that I can never really say “yes” to anything but only “maybe” and even then I have to be choosy. I’m genuinely baffled when I see people who have more than one child who still volunteer or manage to break away for social activities on a regular basis. It makes me wonder what I’m doing wrong – is there a magic combination and I’m just off by a few numbers? And here I am working four days a week with my husband and one kid, thinking I’m busy (insert sardonic laugh here).

So I guess I’m starting over. I’m erasing the lines I’ve drawn and admitting I don’t know how to draw them anymore. Maybe I’ve been using the wrong pencil? I’m standing outside the puzzle until I figure out how to fit in again, or at least which side needs to be adjusted so I feel like I fit better and know what that looks like. Until then, it’s no commitments and no Yes’s. Just me. One day at a time.

November 16, 2012

ocean dreams

I have been dreaming about the ocean about every other month for a long time now. Not years, but certainly the last couple of years. Every one is unique and beautiful in some ways, but all hold an element of inescapable danger.

The other night, I dreamed that I went down to the beach to join a friend. I noticed that the shore dropped sharply just where the water met the sand. We were talking when I noticed the water level swelling - either the tide was coming in fast or it was a wall of water heading toward us - so I turned to head back, away from the shoreline. It was a hard, uphill climb but I made it to the top of that slope.

But then the landscape in front of me began to undulate just like the waves. It reminded me of an animated movie or Japanese painting, and it was actually beautiful in its own way but I realized I was trapped between the ocean and the land. All I could do was lay down and watch the waves of sea and land move above me as I stared in bewilderment. I didn't drown, though, so I guess that's good.

November 7, 2012

late or right on time?

Last week my husband and I closed on refinancing our home, which is such a relief for us. A nice perk was having the notary come to us with the paperwork, which saved us some time and stress.

The most interesting part of the closing, however, was the notary who helped us. She was a tall, beautiful woman, dressed professionally, who was originally from eastern Europe. When she first walked in, she noticed my son’s play equipment and commented on them. So I told her a bit about him and his age. She mentioned that she, too, has a son who’s about 16 months old and mentioned more than once that he came late – late in her life, I presumed. She remarked that she hopes he remembers her as a young-looking woman. 

During our time that afternoon, I discovered that she had been married for 18 years and that their first (and only) child was born when she was 43: the same age as me, with a similar home setting. I knew she must have an interesting story, as I’m sure every woman who begins motherhood later in life does. But I didn’t ask for details since it’s really none of my business.

We later-in-life moms really are part of a growing demographic.

I was somewhat fascinated at our common life thread nonetheless. When she mentioned for the second time that her son came late, I smiled and said “I’d say he was right on time.” After all, who am I to say whether someone is a latecomer or early bird? If I had conceived and given birth at any other time, in any other month, I would not have the son I have now but a different child. That’s just biological fact. And, I do believe that God has purposed my son to arrive exactly when he has, and that He does not make mistakes or simply work around mine.

It reminds me of Esther’s uncle when he told her that it was very possible her circumstances as the new bride of a powerful king were no accident. Esther 4:14 NIV “… And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

November 2, 2012

stressing out, stressing in

It was early Wednesday morning, before the sun was up. I was walking out the door, taking Sean to daycare, and realized I forgot his bag of bottles and such. I went back in to grab them and headed for the car. I got him buckled in his car seat and realized I didn’t have the security scan cards to check him in. I’d stuck them in my clothing the day before, and I could not remember what I was wearing the day before. It took me about three minutes to remember, and by that time I had burst into tears. I got out, locked the car with my son securely in it, stormed back into the house to get the cards, and took off. I still had to stop for gas and the grocery store, so I was late. Again. Like every day, except Thursdays when I work from home – and even then, it’s a struggle to start my day on time.

I’ve been telling people lately that my mind is a shower drain, and it’s really true. Only the really hairy things stick around – everything else seems to drain away.

My mind has been like that a lot for several months now, and it’s just getting worse. I can’t focus at work, I forget things at home, I’m constantly scrambling just to get out the door in the morning no matter how much I prepare the night before. It’s awful, and I feel like I have absolutely no control over my mind, let alone my life. Most of my women friends are either too busy for me to bend their ears or they don’t work outside the home so they couldn’t relate even if they had the time. Who isn’t insanely busy these days? Some kind of shrug their shoulders and don’t know what to tell me besides something to the effect of Welcome to Working Parenthood. True, but not helpful. My prayer life has also suffered tremendously.

So I have decided to pay someone to help me figure out how to live – my trusted therapist from my days of infertility-induced depression.

I’m under a lot of stress, as I’ve noticed lately. Between insomnia, fractionating brain rhythms, and snapping in half when I forget what I’ve worn, it’s time to surrender to the fact that my old methods of combating stress are woefully inadequate in my new life, and find a practical solution that fits who I am now.

If I learn things that I think could help others struggling with new levels of stress, I will definitely post them.

October 26, 2012

i think i need to stop watching the news for a while

First it was the story about a middle school girl here in CO who was abducted from school and soon after murdered. I prayed earnestly for her safe return, but her teenage captor carried out his horrific plans. Then I saw that another girl in NJ was just murdered by two teen boys. Now, this morning, I saw on national news that a nanny in NY brutally stabbed two toddlers and killed herself. I cried on the outside.

Inside I am on my knees, screaming, holding my hands to my ears because I can't bear to hear it. I am also filled with hatred for, and ready to fight and defeat, the enemy - the one who seeks to utterly destroy all of God's children through whatever means possible.

What if my son became someone's victim? What if he grew up to be some innocent child's tormentor?

The heavy, inevitable irony of knowing that I ultimately have no control over my son's fate is crushing. Like every parent, I want to shield my son from the evil that surrounds us in this world. It is horrific, undiscriminating, rampant, bloodthirsty, and ever-increasing. The days truly are evil.

Sometimes I want to come unhinged when I hear about another death, knowing this is someone's dear child and so is the perpetrator. I don't quite know how to sort out this reality in my mind and heart. Yet, suffering and sorrow and the gut-wrenching reality of our world is with us every day, and we still choose to have children and infuse them with all of our hopes and dreams for the future as they continue whatever legacies we clothe them with.

I need to seek God's heart and will in this. I'll post again when I've done so.

October 24, 2012

fashion and the 40-something mom

Okay, now that I'm down 15 pounds, I decided to take a good, hard look at my wardrobe and make some decisions. The fact is, I have a really nice size 12 wardrobe that could be waiting for me a LONG time. Honestly, I'm okay with that. However, a lot of those pieces won't look so hot on me by the time I fit into them - especially the pants. That, and I'm tired of wearing blue jeans to work most days simply because I'm between sizes and can't predict how long I'll wear any particular size.

I will admit right up front that modern fashion is an anomaly to me. Why do they insist on destroying the female figure with... God help us... empire waists? The last time I looked good in an empire waist was before I needed to wear a bra. I was about 10. And then I see what some teenage girls choose to wear (crazy tight stuff on top and bottom), and I think I'm better off looking tastefully plain. Then again, I'm bored with my wardrobe and seriously need some color. Suddenly I was on a mission.

I did a lot of googling and found a couple of blogs by women who are close to my age, not really "skinny" themselves (though curvy and beautiful), and have at least one pinky finger on the pulse of the fashion world. I read up. I got myself schooled. And then I went shopping. I decided to try the dreaded skinny jeans.

First up: Kohls. I grabbed several pairs from different brands, since I know better than to think one size or style will fit. I hit the dressing room. And I found one pair in dark teal that didn't look hideous! Plenty of stretch with a just-below-the-belly-button waist that's actually flattering enough that I don't totally need to restrict myself to mid-thigh length tops. Feeling confident, I went to Old Navy a couple days later.

The super skinnys from Old Navy? Horrendous. Ridiculous. Just plain dumb, making all the wrong things look bigger. Oh, that's right - I can just wear big flouncy tops to balance out the abomination in my midsection! But then I tried on the Sweetheart skinnys, which turned out to be a more generous cut somewhere between a skinny and straight leg that doesn't cut off the circulation in my feet, and I think I can do this. I bought a winter white pair (may as well be daring) and a red pair. Ooooh... I can't wait to wear those with a caramel-colored sweater and black boots. I'm so gonna rock this look.

Or at least I hope I can rock this look, because today I'm wearing the winter white skinnys with a lilac flouncy top and I'm thinking it doesn't look horrible. I asked my husband and he gave me a mild thumbs-up (he's got no problem being quite honest with me). There's hope for me yet.

Special thanks to: The Domestic Fringe and Musings of a Housewife.

October 15, 2012

i'm too old for this sh*t

I found a Meetup group comprised of first-time moms in my area, and it's pretty active. I wasn't really thinking too much about a possible age issue, because I figured if I don't make it an issue it won't be one. The verdict's still out on that.

Today I met them at a park with a small lake for a walk - a perfect outing for us, even if it's close to his feeding and nap times, we can adapt - right?

It started out well enough. Six of us women, each with a baby boy under a year. Cool. Then we started walking. Normally, my son is the get-along guy. Today he decided that his stroller is a torture device made exclusively for him by a specific demon in a corner of hell. He wailed. I picked him up and carried him, trying to wipe away the ooze of snot running into his mouth. I put him back down and he was cool. For about 10 minutes. And then the wailing and the carrying and the wiping and the mommy thinking her arms aren't made for hauling a 22-pound baby around the lake resumed. Then, near the end of the walk, I finally figured out he was starving and so I went about feeding him the second we got to the pavilion. After his bottle, I laid him down to change him (before burping him - what the hell was I thinking??)

He laid there nice and calm, and after changing his diaper I noticed spit-up had dripped down his cheek, into his hair, onto the changing mat, and into his ear. Yeah. I was that mom today. Oh, the ladies were cool about it and understanding, but with the exception of one person they all seemed to be talking to themselves.

Oh yeah. And they were all about 15-20 years younger than me, none of whom worked outside the home. Exactly what in the world did I have in common with them besides the under-year-old baby?

Complete unequivocal disaster!!

So what did I do? I went to my mom's house. Thank the Lord she was there and had nothing better to do than hang out with her daughter and entertain her grandson for a while so I could regain my sanity and find my bearings. We had good conversation, I had half a glass of wine and lunch, the boy had a nap and a good lunch (that kid can eat).

I finally got home just before 4:00 and promptly took a quick nap while DH played with the boy. I live to fight another day.

favorite quote on getting older

"Society has little to do with it. You throw your own self away. You decide that you're irrelevant. The trick about getting older is to find something you don't know how to do - something you want to improve on. And since I write, I want to get better at that. It has to become about the next thing to do, your passion, something that comes out of yourself. Without passion, we're all sunk - we're just consumers who go out and buy another toaster." ~Abigail Thomas

October 12, 2012

sleep (and the pursuit of rest), part 2

So I went to see a doc (I don't really have a primary - I just see whomever they suggest at the clinic I go to) about my sleep issues. After a brief back-and-forth, he gave me a prescription for a mild sleeping pill. I took half of one that night, half the next night. I guess I slept a little better but felt like I had a groggy hangover the next day. A few days later I took a whole pill. Slept okay, but really not any better than when I drink half a cup of hot milk - and the milk gives me calcium and vitamins that the pill does not. Plus it's just more wholesome to me; I like the idea of feeding myself something completely natural that just helps me calm down, rather than taking a chemical that forces my body to do the same. Part mind over matter. So, I've decided to stick with the milk and I think I'm making more out of this than I should. Ironically, I've slept really well the last couple of nights - probably because the boy has a horrendous cold which makes him miserable, which gives us both a lot more to do, which takes a lot of energy, which exhausts me all the more. So I'm tired but at least I'm getting a solid 7 hours of sleep a night. And that is acceptable. Until I had him, I always knew that I thrived on 8.5 hours of sleep a night and that's probably still true. One day, that sleep will come back to me. Until then, I'm leaning on God to give me just what I need every day.

I'm convinced that what I really need is a better way to rest within my mind and heart. I can't always just stop what I'm doing and chill out (yoga helps, but it's only once a week). I remembered Jesus' invitation to "take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." (Matthew 11:29 NIV) but I just didn't understand it. I wondered if 'taking up a yoke' was an expression in that day, but an expression for what? A burden? That's what it sounded like to me. I wondered what kind of burden Jesus has, and why it would be so light.

Then one day a friend posted this on her wall:

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

Ohhh.... that's just what I needed to see. "Yoke" doesn't make any sense to me, but "unforced rhythms of grace" definitely does. A little gear in my soul clicked into place.

So now, before bed, I read that passage and consider each part. I am meditating on it. Every time I read it, God reveals something else to me bit by bit, angle by angle. And it occurs to me that all I really want is to be closer to Jesus. His life is the key to mine.

At our small group this week, one of the leaders asked us each to answer the question "What do you love about Jesus?" I immediately had a picture in my mind of an ocean with turbulent waves, dark clouds, swirling winds.. and in the middle of this a small island: no waves crashing on it, no rain falling on it, no clouds covering it, just perfect sand and stillness. Since I was near the end of the circle I had a few minutes to consider putting it into words. I said what I love about Jesus is that he is always an island of calm and peace, no matter what storms are going on in my life. I am finding rest for my soul, even if I constantly have to keep swimming back there.

October 8, 2012

how to spend time with a baby

Today my husband took the day off as a comp from his job for his birthday (which was over the weekend). So we decreed today "family day." Not that we had any specific plans. I mean, with a baby you can only get so far with making plans.

Morning was rough. The boy woke up shortly after 5 and we laid in bed waiting for him to go back to sleep (which he usually does). Finally at 6 something it was time to call it a day so we made coffee, and he was way too crabby/hungry to wait for that 7 a.m. feeding so I fed him at 6:30. Naptime was at 8 as we slogged more coffee, trying to decide on an agenda for the day. We thought of some errands to run and packed up. In a fit of desperation at our perpetually dirty home, we also did a bit of housecleaning. Not too much though - this is family day, remember? LOL

That sounds easy. It's not. It's pretty damn exhausting, getting ready to get out of the house with a baby.  Formula? Dispenser? Bottles? Blanket? Towels? Diapers? Extra toy? Jackets? You need to have your shit together if you're going to be gone for more than an hour or so - a lesson every parent learns the hard way at least once.

So we ran some errands, chilled out at my mom's to feed him (which is really nice to be able to do now that's she's retired, not to mention giving her a little extra baby time), then headed to a park to give him his noon nap while we walked around a lake. That was a good walk - just not long enough for his whole nap. Then again, I don't think I could have walked for two hours. One was acceptable. Acceptable enough, in fact, that I was lucky enough to get this pic from the boy:

Stopped at Ta.rget (my second home now that I have a baby) for formula etc., then came home and fed the boy again. Sat on the couch with a beer, the three of us, and just watched him play with his bottle lid. Played peekaboo with one of his little towels. Before I knew it another half hour had passed.

Sometimes I get nervous, wondering what we'll do between the afternoon nap and his bedtime. The good thing is, he's ridiculously easy to entertain (and is fairly good at entertaining himself) and my worry is for naught.

Oh - now it's almost 5 and we'll give him some solids. Nighttime bottle is about 6:15, bedtime by 7, happy hour at 7:01. Yup. That's about the size of it.

October 5, 2012

hurry up and sleep, me!

I'm tired. Tired of being tired. I'm guessing that being tired is just one reason why I've come down with my third cold this year (the other would likely be daycare).

At first, sleeping was easy. Not because I slept a lot after the boy was born, but because I became a master at sleeping whenever I had the opportunity. Not so anymore - he's been sleeping through the night for months, while my own sleeping habits have gone from "light" to "abysmal." Most nights I'm able to fall asleep, but I wake up 4-6 times a night (yeah, not very restful). Occasionally I will lay awake for hours with some stupid song in my head while my brain refuses to settle down. God has given me supernatural strength to perform well at work and do good parenting regardless of how little sleep I've had, and for that I am really grateful.

I know the bedtime routines to follow. I've been drinking warm milk just before bedtime for a while. But it just. Keeps. Getting. Worse. So I went to complain to a doctor, who gave me a prescription of something very mild. I took half a pill last night. I slept reasonably well until the boy woke us up about 5:20. He went back to sleep right away. I did not. Sigh...

Maybe it's the gunshot race-pace of daily life, the ever-present knowledge that No Housework Is Ever Done, making sure the boy is well-fed and well-rested, efforts to maintain relationships with my husband and the world at large, trying to stay productive at work, going through Weight Watchers (down 12 lbs so far), squeezing in at least a couple of workouts a week, shopping for and cooking food, trying to round up the papers so we can close on a mortgage re-fi, checking Fac.ebook - you know, the usual.

Insomnia with a child that sleeps 10-12 hours a night is so completely unfair. I'm trying to pray into this more and let God show me why this is happening. I'm going to a lifestyle coaching session in a few weeks to see what they say about it. Otherwise, I'm kind of stumped. I can't really be less busy - the boy's needs will only increase as he gets older. One thing we definitely need to do is hire a cleaning service. Then at least I wouldn't have that albatross hanging on my shoulders every day. Now if only I can remember to find one and hire them!

I asked the doc when I might find that rhythm again - a new equilibrium. He shook his head and shrugged his shoulders.

September 28, 2012

must respect the nap

Okay, I admit it. I'm a scheduler. Well... not in most of my life (oh wait, come to think about it I am when it comes to having fun). I'm not traditionally highly organized and have always enjoyed a certain amount of spontaneity. But no more. Enter the baby nap.

Shortly after the boy was born, we started fantasizing about him sleeping through the night. Wanna know a secret right off the bat? Sleeping "through the night" is qualified as a meager five hours. So here we were, pining for the day when we could get some real rest and I could stop feeling like a frequent-fueling gas station. So I did what I normally do when I set a goal: I read books. I picked a handful, each with its own philosophy and steps to take to ensure that magical sleepy baby wonderland. (oh yes, it's true that newborns sleep about 16 hours a day - just not all at once.) I quickly learned that sleep is absolutely critical to the health of a child, let alone an adult, and inadequate or poor quality sleep leads to cognitive development issues and a host of other things that I'd just as soon avoid if at all possible. Like every parent, I want to give my son the best chance at being the best person he can be and he probably won't be his best if he doesn't get enough sleep and I know how much I absolutely hate it when I lose sleep so of course it must be The Most Important Thing In The World to him. Gee. Sounds just slightly uh... dramatic... now that I write it down. Ha!

Anyway, one book was downright lackadaisical about it - let them sleep when they sleep and whatever you do, don't wake a sleeping baby - while another was regimented and strict with a down-to-the-minute schedule to guide me through the day (there's always that inevitable "now what do I do with him?" moment - even now when he's seven months old). The latter was *highly* recommended by my SIL. After deciding that Guidance was what we truly needed, we followed what we called "the nazi book" nearly to the letter. Day One sucked. So did Day 3 and 5... but at some point after a few weeks, it actually started to work. At about 3.5 months of age, this little angel started sleeping about 12 hours a night. Yes, we were turning mental cartwheels. We also recognize that every baby is different, and some babies just sleep through the night sooner than others. There's my disclaimer. There are parents/friends who are not so fond of us because of this early success, so we don't mention it too much.

And so, I have become a clock-watching, schedule-timing, generally well-slept mama. And when that schedule gets out of whack, watch out. Not so much because of me, but because of the boy. He's supposed to sleep 30-45 minutes around 9:00 a.m., then about 2 hours around noon. And actually, that hasn't been too hard to accomplish at home especially in the morning. We've learned to work our weekend lives around his nap schedule, and believe me it pays off. Perfection isn't possible, so we strive for general consistency. And we're not above going for a loooong drive to facilitate the almighty nap.

Daycare is another story. I can't remember the last time he slept 2 hours at noon - it's usually 30-45 minutes. This is probably because he's such a social baby that he just doesn't want to miss anything or anyone (because he's still generally very happy and good-natured despite this). So, every day we pick him up from daycare and every day he passes out within a minute of strapping him into the car seat and would gladly sleep the rest of the evening except that we have a Schedule To Keep, dang it, and we are going to keep it so he doesn't wake up in the middle of the night! LOL

Sigh... okay, reality check. I cannot control every part of his little baby life, and that will become more true every year. I'm really trying to go with the flow and help him get the sleep he needs as best I can. But this is starting to get under my skin. I'm hoping that when he moves into the next age group in a couple of weeks, this will sort of resolve itself since they have slightly more coordinated nap and feeding times.

In the meantime, I must remember to respect the nap when I can and recognize that it just doesn't always work out that way. I guess the boy will survive, eh?

Maybe this is one of the reasons I am now afflicted with insomnia and frequent wakings myself. Hmmm...

September 26, 2012

Real Reproductive Age (link)

One of the blogs I'm keeping up with posted this very interesting and thought-provoking article on how lifestyle and environmental factors actually affect the aging of our reproductive systems.

It does make me wonder. If the average woman in a developed country (such as the U.S. or Great Britain) ages chronologically a bit faster than she does biologically, it makes sense that fertility is the first thing to take a hit - the canary in the coal mine, if you will.

Obviously, I don't think it's that simple. Every body is different and there are many, many reasons why someone would suffer infertility. In my case, the specialist told me I had an "egg quality issue" two years ago. And while ultimately I believe God chose to heal my body and heart, I certainly did pursue health as a means of improving my chances of conceiving successfully (I was a Weight Watchers lifetime member before I got pregnant, and am back on the program now). That was a pretty short time frame, though, and not likely long enough to really turn things around if, in fact, that was the problem (and I have reason to believe that wasn't the whole picture).

The question I ask myself now is, How old am I really? Am I too old for anything? I once thought 42 was horrifically old to be giving birth. Now I kind of laugh at that idea and wonder what the future holds. I sincerely hope to be healthy enough to live long enough to see my own grandchildren.

September 25, 2012

for the love of food

in my current (baby) food obsession, i checked out "hungry monkey: a food-loving father's quest to raise an adventurous eater" by matthew amster-burton from the library. i thought it would be fun to see how an official foodie raises his kid.

so far it's a good read, and fairly entertaining. i'm only in the second chapter and already tried one of his suggestions: whole-milk greek yogurt blended with whatever fruit i have around. in this case, it was canned pineapple which i roughly pureed with the ol' stick blender (a device that i can't imagine how i ever lived without). my sweet little baby loooooves it! plus, yesterday i put a bit of cinnamon in his oatmeal. again, loves it.

tonight i will finely mince leftovers from yesterday's dinner: slow-cooker cuban-style pork and sweet potatoes. it's got a little spice from green chilies and cumin, and i'm okay with that. if i can avoid giving him super-bland food, i will. food is one of life's greatest pleasures, and i sincerely believe that the more adventurous we are with it, the more enjoyable it is. so why not start now?

at first, the idea of feeding him real food in addition to the bottle was pretty intimidating only because it's another thing to add to our warp-speed daily lives. like my former boss told me about raising kids, the minute you get used to something it changes. so we're changing to bottle + real food.

now if i can only get around to remembering to start brushing his (2) little teeth twice a day.

September 21, 2012

it's a good morning... sure, why not? (video)

right after dropping the boy off at day care, this came on the radio. i decided to turn the volume way up, which is something i normally only do for pink floyd songs. anyway, i find it impossible to be in a bad mood when this song is on. enjoy!

September 18, 2012

i am obsessed with (baby) food

first it was the general loathing contempt i usually hold for all forms of fast food (especially international chains who's mission seems to be erasing from the planet all flavor and freshness and promoting french-fried obesity).
then it was my own blossoming of becoming a serious (if poorly funded) foodie, relishing every opportunity to try new foods in interesting it was getting a book called Baby Led Weaning, one that eschews pureed food in favor of finger-sized portions of anything baby wants to play with and, at some point, eat.sigh. i know, i have plenty of things to worry about. but the forming of my baby boy's eating habits is pretty darned important and it really does start this early. the problem i want to solve, or rather avoid, is the typical american picky eater: can't stand to try anything new, only wants to eat something if it's mass-produced in the form of a "nugget" and is well on his way to a lifetime of unhealthy eating habits that manifest in either a spreading waistline or diabetes (both of which have been plentiful in my family). only problem with the book above is that i think my son needs the nourishment of solids sooner than he will master his pincer grip. and so, i'm looking for inspiration. my dh's brother and his wife only pureed whatever they were eating for their little girl. seems simple enough. the grocer is packed with aisles of spoon-feeding convenience. hmm, not sure how i feel about that. now i'm seeing books about how the french have everything figured out, and there's another one from a food critic about how he got his daughter to be just as adventurous. okay, this week i'll blend what i made for dinner yesterday: chili mac. hey, it's nutritionally balanced and packed with protein and only slightly spicy. it's worth a shot. oh fine, i'll try some green beans too.but i'm still going to give him long strips of whatever's handy that he won't choke on: banana, peach, celery (which he loves gnawing on). maybe a blend is the best tactic, as this critter's already big enough to be twice his age (97th percentile in length and weight). this is going to be fun!... right?

link: mother and child linked at cellular level

wow. this is just the coolest.
Mother & Child Are Linked At The Cellular Level

middle what?

middle aged. midlife. ick. can you think of a worse way to describe yourself if you happen to be in your 40s?

i look in the mirror and i don't see that. i've seen other women my age - some look like me, some look much older, some look like they think they're much younger. or maybe i'm one of the latter haha!

but i guess it's true. i'm at that point when some people make radical changes in their lives. i've just made a radical change by becoming a parent for the first time. not so much by choice as by circumstance. do i wish things could have been different? ... in a way, yes. there are plenty of advantages to starting a family as a younger woman (physical stamina, youth in general). but, not only are there some specific advantages to becoming a parent now (self-confidence, inner strength, earning power, life wisdom), but if i spent much time regretting my current circumstances i would be shortchanging the incredible gifts that God has given me. what are those?

- freedom from fear
- physical healing
- emotional healing
- deep understanding and closeness with Jesus

apart from what i've been through in the last two years (read more on that), i don't think i would have received these things. certainly not so dramatically anyway.

but why, i sometimes wonder, did God let me go through all this? i don't think too long about that, actually. i know from the Bible that sometimes God allows things to happen in our lives specifically so He can work a miracle through us. i'm referring to John 9 where Jesus tells his disciples that a man who was born blind that "this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him." (NIV). besides, if i posit why God allowed me to go through two miscarriages and a severe depression i'm doing more than guessing His will - i'm imposing it in a way. the fact is, i cannot judge God because it's impossible for me to know His full will for my life. that, i suppose, is what i will learn in eternity when He can display my life before me and tell me the full spectrum of how he used me to help others or show His glory. that, dear reader, is the only reason that matters.

anyway.. so what am i in the middle of? life? i don't know. i could die tomorrow for all i know, though it would be great to watch my son grow up here. i'm in the middle of a lot more than the average lifespan of a woman in a developed country - i'm in the middle of God's story. so i'll look around and see what i can be involved in, be the best mom i can be, work to my full potential, and seek God's will in all of it.

otherwise this middle-aged stuff is crap.

September 12, 2012

and now for something completely different... or, a new direction for this blog

I've run out of musings to muse on a subject that had infiltrated every crevasse of my brain for some time. (in)fertility will always be a part of my life experience, my personal history, and one of many lenses through which I see the world around me. But it is time focus on what is in front of me. And so, I'm choosing to start blogging on what's happening now. As it happens, I'm part of a growing demographic of women who become mothers after 40. Don't believe me? Check out this sample of blogs. So, if you care to join me for a peek at what life as a midlife (WTH!) mom is like, read on. It should be very entertaining!

September 11, 2012


Last night my husband and I were watching Star Trek Generations. The short synopsis is Picard's encounter with the villain, a scientist who is trying to escape the ravages of time by enveloping himself in a nebula that resembles what you might think of as an individual version of heaven.

In a key exchange between the two, the scientist tells Picard that "time is the fire in which we burn." Meanwhile, Picard suffers the loss of what would have been the continuation of his family line through his nephew. In realizing this, he weeps for the possibilities of seeing the family name continue since he had sacrificed family in favor of a career and never got around, it seems, to starting a family of his own for whatever reason. In a turn of events, Picard is caught up in the nebula and is instantly transported to his unrealized dream: a family home with his wife and four children at Christmas.

Oddly enough, and yet not so, that movie was pretty influential. It really illustrated the loss of what could have been and helped to force us to deal with our fear of having children (not having any idea that when we finally tried we'd have other issues to deal with).

One random memory I have from my late 20s is from a sci-fi convention. I was sitting in the audience watching movie preview reels. I looked at the row in front of me and noticed a double stroller with twin baby boys who had the most amazing bright, blue eyes and beautiful smiles. Something shifted in me and I burst out crying later that day when no one was around. I tried so hard to ignore my maternal instincts that apart from experiences like this, I actually convinced myself that I didn't want children.

Or how about this: In the animated movie Up... well it's recent enough that I probably don't need to describe the heartache that the characters experience - and invoke - in the first 20 minutes. That's a movie that we refused to watch once we were diagnosed with infertility. Now we watch it through eyes of wisdom and compassion.

Another influence would be the child-free couples we've known over the years. I couldn't help but look at their lives and wonder if their reality would someday be ours, even as I struggled with my own issues. Yet another would be looking at the lives of couples with several children and feeling overwhelmed and exhausted on their behalf while feeling relief at our comparatively simple lives.

So what's the point of this post? I'm not sure. I guess it's first to illustrate how movies, media, and relationships can and do influence us on our journey toward parenthood. The second is to express a desire to be an influence.

If I had the opportunity to be an influence on someone else who was considering parenthood (apart from any infertility struggles) and was near or over 30 and in a committed relationship, I hope that our example of delaying things almost to the point of no return causes someone to address it sooner rather than later. I kind of wish someone had let me know the truth of how most women's ovaries age. Knowing that fertility starts to decline rapidly in our late 30's might have gotten me to quit procrastinating. Maybe not.

If I could influence someone who suffers with a diagnosis, I hope my life illustrates the hope of Jesus. That there can be joy within circumstances, that one answer may not be the final answer, and that regardless of what happens God does have a plan that moves us beyond what we experience.

As it is, I can honestly say that my son is a big influence on me now. Sometimes I think about the fact that I almost missed this. I can't believe that I put this off for so long - I was really punishing myself for imagined difficulties, thinking I was better off for some reason. Don't worry, I stop short of actually feeling guilty.

These days I'm also influenced by other couples who have chosen to embrace adoption - especially foster adoption. They are absolute heroes in my eyes.

May 11, 2012

"What do you want for Mother's Day?"

I stared at my husband with a dumbstruck expression, not knowing whether I should be pre-selecting a present or just being deeply appreciative for embracing the day because of my infant son. I have no idea, honestly, what I told him. It felt greedy to ask for any "thing."

Here is another thought about Mother's Day: I can celebrate the fact that I have several children waiting for me in Heaven, as I believe God is taking care of them and they are all wonderfully happy in eternity. How they got there doesn’t matter as much as the fact that they are.

And another thought: I am truly grateful for my own mother, for our strong relationship and now for the chance to share motherhood with her as I begin this new chapter of my life. I am also grateful for all of the mothers that have shared their wisdom with me: my stepmom, my mother-in-law, my grandmothers, my aunt, and my women friends. The act of mothering is not limited by blood or family status, and we women should be mindful of this very important fact as we impact the lives of those around us. As a wise person once told me, "whatever you do, be a mother to someone."

I don't know what your situation is, gentle reader. You may be on any number of trails in the mothering journey or you may have decided that your journey has ended for any number of reasons. My prayer for you is that, if you do not have children, you find a way to mother someone and build those relationships as you are given the opportunity. Who cares if there isn't a Hallmark card with your name on it? The greatest gift we can give each other in this life is love – indeed we are commanded to do so.

John 13:34-35
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

And who doesn't need a mother's love?

April 15, 2012

Thoughts on going back to "work"

A week from the day after tomorrow. That's when I go back to my place of employment and continue the professional life that I left hanging seven weeks ago. Truthfully, I love my job and the people I work with and that is no small thing to return to. My brain is carefully wired to do what I do, and I have established myself in a vocation that feeds my creative and intellectual sides. But...

My feelings are mixed like oil and water in a blender that never stops spinning.

Many years ago, I considered myself some sort of quasi-feminist who really believed that a woman should work while raising a family (never mind the fact that feminism was originally all about choice). I didn't hold a high opinion of stay-at-home moms, and felt sorry for the ones that tried to re-enter the workplace after a baby hiatus. If I'm really being honest, I'll admit to a bit of prideful contempt. I know, shame on me. I've become much more even-minded and compassionate in recent years and do appreciate the contribution women make as the center of family life. I have not, however, understood the sacrifice.

Now, seven small but life-changing weeks into motherhood, I have worked my ass off from power-sleeping to reading and implementing every baby-rearing book I could get my hands on between feedings and changings and floor gym sessions and soothings. It's a whole different level of exhaustion. And you know what? I wouldn't change that for anything. Anything. In fact, for the only time in my life, I wish very much that I could stay home with my son for at least the next year and a half. If not much, much longer.

Okay, it won't be that bad, I tell myself. I'm going back four days a week for as long as possible. And I will be working from home one day a week (still need a sitter, but it's less hectic and I still get to spend more time with the baby). I think I'm afraid that I will have a mental meltdown next week. I'm afraid that the professional veneer will melt away from tears of frustration and agony as I purposely separate myself from my son so I can make money and keep our very good insurance intact while saving money to move to a house some day. None of these are lofty goals or selfish ambition.

Of course, I have yet to take a look at the budget to see what we really need to live on, but I already know the answer is the same. This isn't the time to stop working, simply because of where our careers are and the benefits that are now too damned expensive to lose or replace on our own. Not to mention the fact that I have a great job in a time when such a thing is almost a luxury in an atmosphere of high unemployment and shrinking bottom lines.

In the meantime, I have attended play dates, visited friends with kids, gotten out of the condo with my son every single day even if it's just to the grocery store, and tried to squeeze as much as I can from my baby sabbatical. I wish now that I'd taken 12 weeks off instead of just 8, but that last month would have been unpaid and would be perhaps too big a sacrifice right now.

So I'll join the ranks of working moms whom I suspect know deep in their hearts that Having it All means not having the opportunity to fully embrace either one. And that breaks my heart.

March 4, 2012

"You are officially no longer pregnant"

That was the best news I'd heard all day. After 22 hours of labor, my son arrived early last Sunday morning screaming and healthy, and was placed on my chest while they wiped him off, just as I'd requested.

At 3:55 Saturday morning my water broke, and so began the journey down the tunnel called the birthing process. I'd planned to keep my medication options open and alerted our doula as we drove to the hospital. Some hours later, my dilation had still not progressed so they gave me two doses of a medication to help this process - a medication that also had the effect of intensifying my contractions and bringing them closer together. My doula arrived just as I was having the epidural administered - I knew I was not going to cope well enough to endure this without it, but it didn't bother me because it was my choice. In fact, it wasn't the horrifying experience I'd built it up to be in my mind. It was kind of a non-event. So, even though it meant losing mobility and having a catheter, I conceded. No regrets.

The doula was still very useful and a great aide to us though. We talked about our mutual experiences with miscarriage, she massaged my feet quite a bit (which sped up labor, actually), and she was a great source of calm and inspiration during an uncertain time. My mother and good friend also hung out in the room until it was time to push, and even though I wondered how I'd feel about having people in the room it was a welcome, warming distraction to be surrounded by their love and support.

I'll spare you the details of the rest, except to say that the epidural never quite took effect in one area of me so it was by no means a painless experience. In the last couple hours, I pushed with each contraction and didn't have the energy to open my eyes in between them - in fact, I'd let myself doze off in between them to conserve my strength - so when the final moment came I was able to muster the strength to finish. I did insist on drugs right after, as the epi had been disconnected and I got some stitches to repair five tears (yeah. ouch.).

All things considered, it was a perfectly normal birthing event with no complications.

Now, here I am a week later lost in a haze of round-the-clock feeding, burping, changing, adoring, praying, praising God, posting photos on Fac.ebo.ok, crying, and crying again because I cannot believe the unfathomable depth of this blessing that God has given my husband and me. It really is one of those things that everyone says is wonderful but no one can really articulate. I'm grateful and terrified, confident and conservative, wanting to learn and wanting to just rest. But all I can really do is live in the moment whether that means wanting to rip my eyes out of my head from lack of sleep or gush love and gratitude as I take another pic of him being completely wonderful and beautiful, and beyond anything I've ever known.

Oh yeah, I'm hooked. Smitten. In love. My heart no longer belongs to me. Pardon me while I go cry some more and hold my son.

February 16, 2012

so close

39 weeks and a couple of days. That's how far we've come. I saw the doc today and there's been no change in effacement (50%) or dilation (maybe 1 cm) for the past two weeks. Since my due date is next Wednesday, she said that depending on how things go she might talk to me about an "exit strategy" but she assumed I wasn't interested in that yet (true).

I have to admit I'm kind of disappointed, but it did spur me to go for a 20 minute walk after work today. Meanwhile, I sleep like crap. I pee every half hour (baby's head is nice and low). I'd walk more if it didn't make my lower back feel like I was pushing an anvil.

Oh yeah - I've entered the bitchy stage. Bwa-haha....

I know I'm being a bit impatient since I'm not at the arbitrary magical due date yet - it's just more challenging since I'm uncomfortable and exhausted and whatnot. Besides - technically the kiddo is still "on time" if he comes anywhere from two weeks before to two weeks after that due date. Not that I wanna go another three weeks like this, but it is rather reassuring.

I try to give this to God daily and submit to His perfect timing.

In the meantime, I try to find the humor in all of this. Probably my most hilarious recent moment was trying to cut my own toenails. I know, I know. I should just get a blasted pedicure since my feet look like they're retaining helium while shedding the latest layer of alligator scales (sexy!). Since my sinuses like to swell overnight, I snore about as loud as a freight train carrying a bunch of snarling bears crashing through a tunnel. Those are the highlights.

I shouldn't be impatient. I should be one of those women who loves being pregnant because she's just so damn grateful to be pregnant in the first place. But I'm... just not. I do, however, love feeling my son warble around. I love singing to him and saying "good morning" and watching in amazement as he moves like a fish in a bowl toward my husband's hand whenever he touches my belly. Truth is, I'm already in love and I cry whenever I think about the nurses putting him on my skin right after birth, cord and all, unwashed and pure.

In other words, it's a mixed bag. A bag of fresh fruit that doesn't even have a name flown straight from Eden, putrid rotten fish from the bottom of a swamp, gourmet chocolates filled with raspberry cream by reincarnated Mayan priests, and water. Buckets of water. Because that's what I'm required to do - drink oceans of water.

January 28, 2012

what exactly was Eve's curse – pain or sorrow?

This is a question I've been turning over in my mind. Last weekend I talked to a friend at church about it, and she mentioned that Genesis 3:16 NIV says "I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children." That would seem to sum it up, but I asked her whether she thought that specific sentence was for all women to come throughout human history or just her? We were befuddled together.

I decided to do some research, as I suspected that there was more to this curse than a painful childbirth. It just felt a little too simple. I mean, why is childbirth painful in the first place? Well, every contraction is the muscles moving the baby down through the birth canal – it's a top-to-bottom squeeze, if you will. So every contraction is one step closer to the birth. They're progressive.

Ironically, when women react fearfully toward - or tense up against - the pain & pressure, it can make the process take longer and can lead to interventions. In a normal situation, the key is to embrace it and not fight it so that the body can do what it was built to do. Epidurals can make that process easier by relaxing mom's muscles (and if they're used very early can also extend labor time), but so can various relaxation and focusing techniques.

Okay, enough background.

After the fall of Adam and Eve, God tells them what live is going to be like from that point on. What I find interesting about what he tells Eve is the difference between the KJV and NIV versions. The KJV says "I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children…" That sounds different from the term "pain" that NIV uses. Obviously, a closer study of the original Hebrew version is in order.

The interesting thing about Hebrew text is that it is layered. Each character often has more than one meaning, and in context can mean different things. This is very much unlike English which – except for all our duplicate words that can mean totally different things depending on pronunciation – are generally single-purpose and not multi-faceted.

All this is to say that I found a fascinating biblical study about just this subject which I found very revealing. In a two-part series, Jack Ke.lley of asks and presents plausible answers to some key questions about this:

- Why would God command Adam and Eve to populate the world and then make childbirth so painful? Is that really His intention?
- Do the terms "increase" (NIV) and "multiply" (KJV) necessarily mean the same thing?
- What does the verse really mean and to whom does it apply?

What I like about Jack's study is his honest search for the truth. But now I'm at a stopping point, as his is the only one I've found so far. I'm not one to stop with one study and declare "ah-hah! I knew it!" My search is incomplete. But I'm fairly convinced that the NIV translation isn't providing the whole picture.

Anyone know of any resources that actually pay attention to this scripture? If so, please share!

January 20, 2012

right around the corner

The doc told me yesterday that he's lightening or lowering. Getting into position. My reaction was kind of like entering a marathon and getting my bib number sent to me.

Around 10 this morning I actually had lower back pain - something I have not experienced at all during this pregnancy - which only lasted about a minute. I thought it was a bit odd.

Around 3:30 this afternoon, I got a nice solid dose of cramping during which I closed my eyes and focused on breathing. It passed within 30 seconds.

Shades of things to come. I am drinking my raspberry leaf tea every day now, as this is supposed to help tone the uterine muscles (and thus make them more effective for baby's birth day).

Still haven't booked a doula, but am leaning toward hiring one direct from the hospital. If they get back to me on time...

January 8, 2012

embracing and letting go

At some point in the last couple of months, we had been watching our 10-year-old greyhound go through a series of illnesses that left us broke and seriously stressed out. We began to realize the true limitations of our current living situation: a two bedroom condo, no yard, and a concrete patio. That means gearing up for doggy potty walks 3-5 times a day, which we have done faithfully for 8 years. Unless he's sick, in which case it means even more quick walks and breaking out the carpet shampooer and washing bedding and anything else that comes into contact with bodily fluids.

I should stop here and say that Louie has been an amazing dog. He doesn't chew on things, doesn't bark at people, isn't aggressive, and just wants love most of the time (when he isn't sleeping 16 hours a day). He doesn't do a lot of normal dog things either, like fetch or sit (looks incredibly uncomfortable). We adopted him from a local greyhound organization and really loved him.

With a string of recent stomach upsets plus an infection, I started to realize quickly my own capacity for taking care of this senior hound coupled with the impending responsibility of a newborn. If I felt overwhelmed and exhausted now... Well, we wondered if it was fair to the dog to keep him on when we'd be learning how to be parents and cleaning up a different set of bodily fluids on a daily basis.

Very early Christmas morning, we woke up to an absolute disaster in our master closet. We sprang into action with the washing machine and carpet shampooer - even had to clean some extra clothes and a dresser - and we knew what we had to do.

Yesterday we drove Louie and all his accouterments to a foster that specializes in taking care of senior greyhounds, lives in a big house that backs up to a nature trail, and has three other dogs to keep him company. We knew we were making the right decision. He'll be much happier there, and won't get ignored by owners who are learning how to take care of a baby.

This morning was hard, though. I woke up thinking about how I didn't have to take the dog out, how for the first time in years we could just sleep in and not worry about cleaning up the latest illness... and cried. Eight years is a long time - almost as long as our marriage so far - and it was the end of an era.

We're in transition from being fur-kid parents to skin-kid parents. In a way, caring for Louie has prepared us (I can't even count how many batches of poo and barf we've cleaned off the carpet and the dog), yet of course we're nowhere near prepared. But we are definitely ready. Even at this moment, our son is shifting around in my belly and I'm incredibly excited. I never thought I'd have to let go of something really significant in order to take hold of this, but I do. I really do.

Oh, someday we'll probably get another dog. But it will be a few years, and not unless we live in a bigger place with a backyard. We'd have moved by now if it weren't for the real estate market crash, and we have many thousands of dollars to save before we can sell the condo and put a downpayment on a house. So there it is. We're stuck here for now, but like many other people we're doing the best we can with what we have.