Friday, December 24, 2010

Having a Heart Like Mary

Though I don't really classify myself into a Christian denomination, I have grown to love so many different traditions and can appreciate the roots of my faith. In recent years, I have really come to respect Catholicism. I was raised a Protestant, and honestly, I was taught that there were very few Catholics who really knew God. I look at that now and laugh because I have come to know so many who know Him!

I don't fully know or understand all of the Catholic teachings about Mary, but I have learned this: I have not given Mary the respect she deserves as a hero of the faith. It's easy to praise people like Moses, or Paul, or Abraham, but Mary is often overshadowed in Protestant circles.

I had the rare opportunity to identify with Mary when I gave birth to Samuel on Christmas Day. I know that December 25th isn't really the day Jesus was born, but I still found myself thinking through Mary's experience in becoming a mother to the Son of God. I understood the special feelings she probably had--being pregnant, knowing that the baby who would be born was special, knowing that she would one day have to give Him up. As I looked at Samuel, I knew that motherhood was special, and how much MORE special it was for her.

This year, I am pregnant with twin boys, Felix and Milo. I was 37 weeks yesterday, and I am so grateful that I have had a healthy pregnancy and made it to term with them. I have been struggling in my heart, though, because it is quite possible I may have a c-section. I know c-sections aren't a big deal for a lot of people. I know that people often recover quickly and well from them. I know that in the grand scheme of my life, it isn't that big of a deal. I know that it is a beautiful experience for the mommies who have them. I can't downplay the experiences of others. I KNOW it's okay, so don't feel a need to convince me of it.

But, natural birth is very important to me. It is one of my passions. It is something I have devoted time and research to, something I have experienced, and something I think women should be educated about.

In dealing with my own disappointments concerning my birthing experience, I am being taught of the Lord. He is showing me today that I can trust Him no matter the outcome. I can say like Mary, "I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled." (Luke 1:38) Mary humbly accepted the Lord's will for her--to bear the Son of God while yet a virgin engaged to be married.

Mary had to sacrifice to carry Jesus. She could have said, "No, I don't think I want to do this. I'm not willing, and I don't want to ruin my reputation or my upcoming marriage. It's not convenient, and I have my whole life ahead of me." Instead, she proclaimed herself the servant of the Lord, and she welcomed the fulfillment of the angel's words.

She said, "Yes, Lord. Your will be done."

I, too, have been chosen for this. God knew these boys before I even knew they existed in my womb. He has had plans for them before the foundation of the earth. He knit them together in my body and knows them intimately. Every mother has to make a sacrifice when it comes to childbirth--whatever the form. Mine may be the pain of natural childbirth, or it may be surgery and recovery. Either way, there is a sacrifice involved (not to mention the sacrifices of caring for children!). Am I going to walk into it with a willing heart or a begrudging one?

Will I choose to have a heart like Mary's that welcomes whatever may come? Or will I demand my own way, my own timing, my own experience? I do not know what will happen. I do not know if I will get to have a natural birth or a c-section. But, I do know that His ways are higher than mine. His words for me are for good and not evil. He will not lead me down a hard path without providing the grace I need to walk it with Him.

Today, I choose Mary's response. I pray I will do the same tomorrow and each day so that I can say with full confidence, "My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name." (Luke 1:46-49)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Third Time Is Not So Charming

The house was relatively quiet. The kids were all playing with toys or watching PBS. Then, I prompted the older two to run upstairs to get dressed so we would be ready to leave for a Christmas party.

"Mom, Lucy's hair is all wet," Sam called down from their room.

Perplexed, I heaved my 9 month twin pregnant body, complete with cankles and marshmallow feet, out of my chair and made my way upstairs to investigate. The bathroom door was closed and had the childproof doorknob cover on it, so I knew she hadn't been playing in there. I get into their room, and I saw her wet head and couldn't figure out how in the world she managed it. I then realized what it was.

It wasn't water.

This was not the first time I had seen this.

In fact, this had happened in our house TWICE before.

It was Vaseline. Vaseline in her soft, fine baby hair.

This is a mommy nightmare.

This is a 9 month twin pregnant mommy's seventh level of hell.

You see, this happened twice before with Maryn. Sam had found Vaseline and smeared it into her baby fine hair when she was about 12 months. I even blogged about it here. The first time, I took a picture and tried to be calm about it. The second time, I just got mad. I learned to put the Vaseline on a tall shelf out of sight.

Three and a half years have passed, and just this morning, I saw Vaseline in their room and quickly grabbed it and put it away in the bathroom closet on a high shelf.

But she found ANOTHER container in the twins' room (which was closed, but the door must not have been fully latched) and smeared it all over her head and all over their dresser and a few toys (that I know of...there may yet be more).

So, I sent Sam to grab the camera, and I determined to be calm while I got down on the bathroom floor and attempted to wash her long hair with baking soda, dish soap, and baby soap.

Lucy prior to her bath-her hair is NOT wet. That is just the vaseline.

Unfortunately, she is a greaseball.

And thankfully, we aren't having Christmas family portraits taken.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Has It Been Over A Week?

Wow, I stopped by my blog to look at my sidebar and see what was new with everyone, and I discovered that I haven't updated in 8 days. Sheesh. Sorry about that. My midwife says I have "placenta brain." Sounds kind of gross.

Well, I'll be 36 weeks tomorrow. I had a good visit with the doctor on Monday. Everything looked good--blood pressure, heartbeats, unchanged cervix. So, I really don't have anything to report--unless you want me to talk about the pain in my pelvis...

I can't believe I've made it this far already. I know for sure that my boys will be here within a month. The doctor definitely won't let me go over 40 weeks, and if these little boogers don't move, then they'll most likely be here by the end of the year. So, really, they could be here in 2 weeks. That's crazy.

I'm not really nesting. I had a spot of it a couple of weeks ago and got everything washed (with Em's help--she's my housekeeper) and ready for the room that they won't use for a while! :) When I think about what I need to do, it overwhelms me, so I just tell myself everything will work out. My, how I have changed!

Here's my mental list:
  • Make a list of all the people who have volunteered to help and organize the days/numbers so they can be called in for reinforcements.
  • Install the car seats in the van and make sure that Lucy's seat will actually fit in the rear seat with Sam's and Maryn's booster seats.
  • If the above doesn't work, I guess we need to look for an alternative??? God altered physics for us when we put three in the backseat of our Acura Legend (one infant carseat with a base, a convertible car seat, and a booster seat); we're praying He does it again!!!
  • Pack a bag for the hospital.
  • Have definite child care arrangements in place.
  • Revise the birth plan.
  • Have a sheet explaining the kids' schedule and favorite foods and where things are located.

Will I actually accomplish these? I do not know. But, at least it's a start!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sacrificing Plans for Peace

I went in for my ultrasound yesterday to check out the boys' sizes and positions. Well, the little boogers have both gone transverse (that's sideways...and babies don't come out sideways, just so you know). There is still time for them to move, and my OB/Gyn friend told me that transverse is the most unstable position. Sooooooo, I am praying at least Felix will move into a head down (vertex) position.

Their measurements were funny to me because the margin of error is now up to 1 lb. :) There are some doctors out there that will make decisions to induce or c-section a baby based on their size from the ultrasound. That is not wise. Find a different doctor if your doctor does that! The margin of error is too great! the soapbox. Anyway, Felix measured 5 lbs. 9 oz, and Milo measured 5 lbs. 14 oz. So technically, they are somewhere between 4.5 and 7 lbs. That's a big window!!! Either way, they're growing well, and I'm thankful.

I am retaining a lot of fluid, but my blood pressure has been consistently great and there was no protein in my urine. I'm just huge. I measured about 41.5 cm at 34.5 weeks. And I gained 12 lbs in 2.5 weeks!!!!! Crazy. Like I said, I'm retaining fluid....and the babies measured two lbs. bigger than they did a month ago! Just crazy.

As for plans, anything could happen. Anything. It is a bit unsettling to realize that any scenario could take place. They could both turn vertex, and I could have a vaginal delivery. Felix could turn vertex, and I could deliver him vaginally, but if they're unable to get Milo to turn, then I could have him breech...unless he won't come out breech and something goes wrong, and then I could have an emergency c-section. Or...neither one turns, I go into labor, get to the hospital and have an ultrasound and head to c-section, or neither turns, and I will have a scheduled c-section on Dec. 30th when I am 38 weeks.

Too many scenarios to think about.

This is stretching for me. I like to be in control, and I'm not. I've lived under the illusion often in life that I am, but I'm not. Maybe you do that too. I don't know, but one thing is certain--Jesus loves me.

That's right. Jesus loves me. As I was praying over this situation yesterday, I asked Him to speak to my heart the truth it needed to hear, and what He said came in the words of one of my favorite songs, "I am my Beloved's and He is mine, so come into Your garden and take delight in me, take delight in me...Here in your presence, God, I find my rest; here in your presence, God."

No matter what is going on around me, I can find my peace and my rest in Him. He loves me, delights in me, and wants me to rest in Him and enjoy Him.

I am really okay with that.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Just checkin' in.

Wish I had more to say. I am checking in to say, "Hello!" and then I will disappear again for a bit.

I am really tired. My friend, Tina, helped me make up five different meals today, and we did double portions and froze half. I am EXHAUSTED. It was really wonderful though, both to see her and visit and get so much accomplished today.

I think I am going to hold off on extra cooking for now. I'm too big to be on my feet for this long at a time. I am estimating that I have about 17 meals in my deep freeze for now. This will come in handy once the delivered meals have ended.

I am feeling alright. I have made it to 34 weeks today. I am praying for 3 more. I slept better last night than I have in awhile. The boys moved somehow off of my pelvis and I don't feel as much pain there. That is a blessing. I go to the doctor, ultrasound, and midwife on Monday, so I'll have more news then as to how things are going. I appreciate your prayers.

Well, it is time for me to go supervise the kids as they clean up their room. The house helpers will come tomorrow; I can't wait. I am going to kick back.