Sixteen

There’s a new mayor in M town.

Or at least she would like to think so.

Little Miss thinks she’s running the ship around here and we are all to be at her beckoned call.

Sorry, hunny, things haven’t been that way since you were…oh… about six weeks old?

Needless to say, we are working on big words like obedience, come, and no.

And while this little training course has sucked some of the fun out of this month, now that we are nearing its’ end we have seen some very positive changes in MG’s behavior. Less tantrums, more compliance.  Less tears of frustrations, more smiles of joy (on both ends).  Less throwing toys across the room, more asking for help.  Cheers all around!

The biggest barrier seems to be communication.  She can’t tell us what she wants, so often conversations dissolve into fits and tears.  We can’t explain to her in toddler language why she can’t go in the street, so we have to tell her to stop and expect her to obey.  Just because we said so.  This is hard stuff, folks.

Plus, we’re at the height of stranger danger.  My friendly, happy-go-lucky baby now only wants Mama to do it and no one else may hold me, thank you very much!  The pediatrician assured me this was normal and said something along the lines of, “They all cry like this at the 15month and 18month well-babies.  It’s just this age.”  Phew.  Then as we were leaving she dropped this ego-buster on me, “Wow, you’ve got a feisty one there.”  Just what every Mama wants to hear after a long day!

Oh my little feisty one.  You certainly have a flair for drama!  You are mimicking everything we do: throwing paper in the trash (even paper that isn’t trash), clapping your hands along with the contestants on Wheel of Fortune, smiling cheesy smiles back at us, recreating noises that you hear Mama and Daddy make, slapping your hands on the ottoman to the beat of a song, attempting to dress yourself, pointing to every.single.object.on.every.single.page.of.every.single.book, blowing on the hot spoon before you put in your mouth, trying to feed Mama your leftover cheese, passing us the clean utensils from the dishwasher to be put away and more.  Each day is a new wonder with you.  And despite all of your feistiness, we’ve seen plenty of sugar and spice and everything nice from you too.

So let’s try and channel that drama a bit next month, shall we?
(Just because we’re your parents doesn’t mean we don’t have some learning to do too.  So go easy on us.) Otherwise, you may end up as an only child.  (this is not a threat)

Love ya bunches and bunches,

Friday

was wet and rainy.
It was one of those rare days where we didn’t have anything planned except to keep the washing machine cycling…and due to that, we couldn’t exactly leave the house.

I sifted through my overstuffed supply cabinet, looking for an activity to suit a 15-going-on-16th month old.

Then it dawned on me, why not do as any good teacher and start with the basics?

I pulled out my trusty Crayolas (no RoseArts in this house!), some art paper, and a roll of masking tape.

MG sat in her high chair and I hastily selected a color: orange it was.  I demonstrated for her quickly, knowing she’s really into cause-and-effect these days; sure enough she too wanted to try to make that tangerine line snake across the paper.

 

She did it!

And then quickly reminded me:

that I’m potentially raising a Southpaw (just like her Granny & Aunt M).  We’ll give it another 6 months before we officially put it on the passport though.

Together we created a little terra cotta, tangerine and teal masterpiece to hang on the fridge:

By then the rain had cleared a bit and we found ourselves outside.

She was fascinated by the newly sprung dandelions (Daddy wanted me to be sure to let you know that they did NOT come from our yard)

And splashing through the shallow puddles with bare feet.

There’s nothing like that unexpected giggle of delight to make you see the world differently.  I have forgotten what it is like to splash through puddles (actually, I usually try to avoid them) and to pick weeds (usually I try to avoid those too).  But those chubby little fingers and toes are experiencing them for the first time.  And that is something to never be avoided, as much as it can be helped.

All in all, our rainy, wet Friday mostly consisted of weed picking, puddle jumping, worm avoiding (can’t quite bring myself up for that experience yet), dog watching, feet washing, giggle inducing, finger pointing, flower sniffing, and hand holding.  With a little bit of art on the side.

On this rainy, wet Friday, we used crayons to create art and the LORD used the rain to create this:

We are thankful for the little ways that God often reminds us that art and nature are so closely tied.

Points

After our little ER incident and illness, we are slowly recovering over here.

Yesterday was touch and go.

Low point:  Waking up at 7:30am after a restless night of sleep and multiple trips to the nursery to comfort our sick girl.
High point:  Getting new clothes for my gal and I at Old Navy.  Spent $60 got $30 back in ONbucks.  Went to CVS to pick up some reinforcements (Infant Advil, popsicles, nail polish).  Won $5 in CVSbucks on my receipt, enabling me to get that other bottle of nail polish I was eyeing.

Higher point:  It was 84 degrees here!!!  The sun was out.  We wore shorts.  We took 2 walks.  I can’t remember a March 15 this nice since my Mississippi days. 
Lower point:  MG got her first boo-boo when we she tripped on the sidewalk.  Oh it just hurts me to see that perfect little knee with baby-soft skin so scratched up.

Lowest point:  Catching Atticus vomit with a pair of my shorts from the laundry.  This sickness is welcome to leave our house now.
Highest point:  After her afternoon nap, MG’s fever finally broke.  Praise the LORD, our Comforter and Healer!

Today?  Today it is 80+ degrees out again.  I’ve got a sleeping baby, clean laundry, and a scoured house.  I’m wearing new clothes.  I’ve got the start of my summer tan.  I’ve got a Dove Gray and Coral Reef mani/pedi.

All points considered, we’re looking to be flying pretty HIGH today.

Midnight (-opposite word of-)Mayhem

If you had said the words “emergency room” to me prior to the early morning of March 14, 2012, I would have envisioned the following:

-a waiting room full of people in various states of traumatic pain & at least one victim of a severe bleeding accident; possibly with a severed limb
-doctors and nurses yelling orders to each other in moments of haste “we’re losing this one!”
-screaming babies and children with panicky parents waiting for hours in the middle of the night to be seen
-+something dramatic similar to an episode of Grey’s Anatomy.  Except, I don’t watch GA because even televised trauma makes me squeamish.

This is most certainly NOT what I envisioned:

My two sweethearts rocking gently in a quiet room.

Here’s how it started:
MG slept restlessly on the night of March 13.  Every time I went in to check on her, she felt a little warm, but I didn’t think anything of it.  You must know by now that she’s been teething so I wrote it off as another night for the tortuous molars.  By 8am, she was unmistakeably  awake and when I went in to retrieve her, noticed that she felt quite warm.  103 degree fever.  Ugh.  I gave her some Tyelenol (that’s been banned, remember? or has it?? I wish they would make up their minds) Advil and felt it was a good sign when she swallowed some applesauce for breakfast and played quietly with her toys.

Poor thing became less and less herself as the day wore on.  I finally phoned the doctor while she took a morning nap.  “Try to keep her comfortable and hydrated”.  She had been drinking fine, so I kept an eye on her.  We continued the meds, but her fever never dropped below 101.

She didn’t want to be put down the rest of the day.  My back was starting to kill me.  When Daddy came home, he scooped her up and rocked her to sleep for an afternoon nap.

The night progressed slowly with our poor, lethargic sicky.  There was another frantic call to the doc when she began to turn blue and started shaking uncontrollably. This was followed by another spike in fever.  We watched her closely and were worried to put her to bed, but the doctor said that was exactly what she needed to fight this: rest.

I was finally ready to crawl into bed around 11pm after checking her like 15579815380 times, but the last time I checked on her, I just had a funny feeling. Call it Mother’s intuition. She was breathing hard and heavy, almost as if she’d been working out.  The doctor received another call and when I held the phone up to MG’s airway, she said, It’s time to take her in.”  In fifteen seconds, she’d inhaled 15 times. 

I woke up my tired sleepers and we piled in the car.  Fortunately, the closest ER is like a second from our house…but to say I was apprehensive was an understatement.

Halfway to the entrance, Daddy says, “Oh, I left something in the car, you go on ahead and take her inside.”  What, and wait in line behind the screaming gunshot victim?  No thanks.

But lo and behold:  inside it was quiet.  And calm.  There were ZERO patients in the waiting room…or lack thereof.   The Ice Queen receptionist DID nearly throw me off my already weak game, but Sugar Daddy-I-can-charm-anyone-into-a-smile melted her cool heart quickly.  The nurses oohed and aahed over our pitiful baby as they weighed her and poked and prodded her with about every instrument imaginable.  She really only cried when they swabbed her throat-via-her-nose for the RSV test.   The rest of the time, she spent taking turns between Mama’s, no Daddy’s, no Mama’s laps.  She just couldn’t get comfortable and she would reach out with both arms to the empty-lapped parent, “will you try it for awhile??”.

Next up was a trip to the torture chamber AKA chest x-ray.  She only hollered a little and Daddy stayed right by her side the whole time.

I, in the meantime, stayed on high-alert for drama.  At some point, there was a crazy nurse commotion in the hallway,
Nurse: “Sir, SIR, you can’t walk around without shoes.”
Shoeless Man: “Uhh…I can’t??”
Nurse: “You cannot be barefoot.”
Shoeless Man: “But I left my shoes at home.”

Shoeless Man: “Do you have some slippers I can borrow?”

Suffice it say, I was glad we missed the entrance with whomever cause Shoeless Man to walk out of his house, drive (illegally), span the asphalt, and pace the tiled hallways sans footwear.  Must have been pretty traumatic.

Finally, after about an hour’s wait, a dozing Daddy, and an exhausted little family, they confirmed she had strep + an upper respiratory infection.  One  Rx for amoxicillan later and we were being discharged.

I have to say, my first experience at the ER was quite the learning experience.  Calm and drama-free (minus Shoeless Man, of course)?  Quick and easy?  It almost makes me think I could do this again someday.  Almost.  Maybe even by myself…if I had to.

The only thing I’ll do differently next time is just remember to throw an extra pair of slippers in my bag.  Afterall, you just never know what you’re going to see there.

MG’s Birth Story: The Day She Entered our World

March 11, 2010:  A day I’ll never forget. It was the first day we lived knowing that MG was coming into our life….And yet….we still had so much learning to do.

Once again, this pregnancy started like the last one.  I had symptoms nearly immediately, but wouldn’t let myself believe I was pregnant until I had proof.  I woke up early that morning after a restless night of sleep.  The very first thing on my mind was that I had a doctor’s appointment that day.  Since I suspected pregnancy, I wanted to have something firm to tell him so that he could give me advice.  I decided just to take the test, even though I knew it was early.  At least if it was negative, he might be able to give me hope.

After waiting the required five minutes, I stared at the test.  I tilted and turned it looking at it from every angle. Two lines stared back at me.  One dark, bold one next to a ghostly faint one.  Was this it?

N agreed to examine it with me.

He wasn’t convinced. Neither was I.  Deep down, I ached for it to be true.  But everything was different now.  There would be no tears of joy, no joyful celebrations until we heard with our own ears that tiny, beating heart.  The miscarriage had tainted everything.

I found I was even nervous to bring it up to the doctor that day.  I was too scared to admit it might be true.  He wasn’t scared for me.  He clapped my back and shook my hand and said, “Let’s check your blood work!”

We waited and waited for that phone call.

I’ll always remember where I was when I saw his number on my cell phone.  It was during the school day, but mercifully, I didn’t have any students at the time.  And he spoke those wonderful words, “You’re pregnant!  But just barely.  Come back in on Monday and we’ll test again to make sure your levels have raised.”

I couldn’t wait to tell N.  We celebrated, cautiously. On Monday, my levels had in fact risen and we scheduled an ultrasound.

We prayed and prayed over this new life that was forming in me.  Time c r a w l e d until that first ultrasound and every time I had to use the bathroom, my stomach knotted up wondering what I would find.  Each time there wasn’t blood, my heart did a little victory dance.

We were so “young” then.  We knew what we wanted, but we didn’t really know.  We knew that we loved this baby forming in my body, but we didn’t really know how much more we would grow to love her.  We knew we were ready to be Mama and Daddy, but we didn’t really know how much of us those roles would require.

Thankfully, God gave us MG anyway.

 “To know that I was known by a new living being, who had not existed until she was made in my body by my desire and brought forth into the world by my pain and strength – that changed me….I would feel milk and love flowing from me to her as once it had flowed to me. It emptied me. As the baby fed, I seemed slowly to grow empty of myself, as if in the presence of that long flow of love even grief could not stand.”   Wendell Berry, Hannah Coulter

 

part III

Resolute (part 1)

I’ve heard all the bad press.  I’ve seen all of the weightloss and anti-smoking commercials that begin December 1.  I’ve observed all of the newcomers to the gym between the weeks of January 1-14.  But I don’t really care what the media says about New Year’s Resolutions.  Because I myself tend to be an avid maker and keeper of such resolutions.  

It’s important to know that I don’t fault others for their lack of participation. But they just work for me.  I put a lot of thought into making them. And I kinda look forward to our (N & I both make them) annual family tradition of carefully thinking through them, choosing one or two, and then sharing them with each other in order to be accountable.

Last year, I resolved myself to be more honest.  I know, I know, that one seems less resolution and more intention.  But specifically, I meant more honest in the social media world.   Prior to 2011, I was working everyday and spent about 30 minutes/day on Facebook.  This would leave me little time to leave comments for others or to even stay abreast of everything.  That, and the fact that I sort of enjoyed my Internet anonymity.  I liked that I could enjoy pictures from afar from people who I would barely converse with in “real life”. 

When I left my job to stay at home, I started to spend more time online.  I started to really contemplate my actions and that’s when I was confronted with my deceit.  Was it really fair of me to talk to my husband and/or friends about a cute photo album I’d seen on Facebook but never tell the maker of the album I’d admired it?  Of course this isn’t realistic all the time, but I just felt like there was a glaring hole in my life and I decided to make a change.  First, I cut my friend list down to people who I would actually talk to in real life.  A lot has changed since 2005 when I first activated my Facebook account, including my friends. Second, I starting commenting on pictures that I really had comments on and “liking” things that I really liked.  For an insecure introvert like myself, it was really hard at first to put myself out there.  I mean, will people think I’m obsessed and creepy?  Will they wonder what business I have commenting on their picture?? Will they think I’m on Facebook  like a l l the t i m e??  

But once it started, it began paying back with great rewards.  I felt completely esteemed when others returned the favor.  I mean if I like receiving random comments on my Internet stuff, why wouldn’t others too?? In some ways, being more honest on Facebook actually helped me to deepen my real-life friendships.  I know, crazy, right?

The honesty clause also related to other social media outlets.  When I had an unusually positive or negative experience with a purchase/at a restaurant/on vacation, I left reviews and told people what I honestly thought.  I couldn’t justify complaining in real life if I hadn’t made my thoughts known first to the person/organization/company.  Also, people love encouragement.  It may take me 2 minutes to fill out a form about a positive experience, but that compliment may impact that person’s life indefinitely.  Being genuine felt refreshing and just plain like it was the right thing to do.

There have been many rewards for my new honesty clause.  Some big and some small. It has carried over from my online life into my real life.  And looking back at all of the positive outcomes, I am so glad that I followed through with it.

So, what, you may ask, was my New Year’s Resolution for 2012?  Does it live up to the hype of 2011??

Well, I’m not quite ready to reveal it publicly yet, but I will give you a little clue to peak your interest:

Here’s to keeping  past resolutions strong while engaging in new ones,

Thoughts on 28

Yesterday I woke up on the wrong side of the twenties.

Thirty is so close it’s practically breathing down my neck.  And I realized this is the first decade I’ve lived in that I haven’t been anxious to leave.

And then I cried.

Well, not really.  MG took care of that for me.

Mama birthdays are so different.  March 1 happened to be the only day of the whole year that Daddy had to work until 9:30pm.  Baby’s getting more teeth (either that or I’m going crazy or maybe that is going to make me go crazy-arghagharrgh) and woke up unmistakeably unhappy at 7am.  (But before you start to feel sorry for me, know that Daddy took the day off today!  Which means Mama gets the day off today!!  AND he  brought home breakfast. AND we’re going out to dinner.  Spoiled indeed.)

If you could have asked me at 16 what I thought 28 would look like, I probably would have said “married, SAHM, with one or two kids.”  Check.

But I doubt I would have said that little kid is a little girl named MG

Who loves to get into Mama’s drawers

And who loves to play dress-up with the contents.

Who “reads” everything she can get her hands on

Who looks darling in shoes

And who sleeps in the funniest of positions.

Being a 28-year-old, married SAHM with one child also means that I don’t get to go to either John Mayer concerts this year (let’s just say something miraculous happened after I wrote that).  Or enjoy the harmonious voices of my students singing “Happy Birthday” to me.  Or go out for a night on the town with Daddy without setting up a babysitter, an MG dinner to go, a packed diaper bag, and a cell phone within easy reach.    I’m a full-grown adult now.  There’s no getting around it.

But I think I’m okay with that.

Besides, I found out that 28-year-olds get drop-in visits from friends

(which means that MG also got a drop–in visit from a friend)

And balloons on their mailbox

And enough texts, calls, emails, cards, Facetimes and Facebook notifications to make this Mama feel so very blessed.

So being an adult’s not so bad.  Besides, I never got a Marc Jacobs purse for my 16th birthday.  Or a shirt that I loved so  much that I had (accidentally) pinned it not once, but twice on Pinterest.
(source credit: Pinterest)

Spoiled indeed.  {Love you, babe!}

My life as a 28-year-old is exactly how I envisioned it at 16. I just didn’t know then what I know now:  The true in’s and out’s of being an adult are so much more AND less than I ever imagined.

There is definitely one thing in common between my 16-year-old and my 28-year-old birthday wishes:

Sugar.

And while I didn’t know this at 16, this 28-year-old, married, SAHM knows it now…
That the best kind of sugar in the world looks something more like this:

Here’s to year 28!

Leap

oh yeah, I forgot this was a LEAP YEAR?!”

I am always a little taken aback when this phrase comes up in conversation. You won’t hear that from me, mind you. Leap Year never, ever, ever catches me by surprise.

Why am I hyper-aware of this non-important-holiday-day?  Well, I guess that’s what happens when it is the day before your birthday.

Yep, that’s right, every time Leap Year rolls around, it means one thing: I have to wait an entire extra day for my birthday.

I was born on March 1, in a Leap Year.  I missed a Leap Day birthday by 8 hours and 14 minutes that much.

(So now can you guess how old I am..I’ll give you a clue: I’m still in my twenties. {But that’s all I’m saying. And I may be saying it for a few more Leap Year Birthdays too…but only as long as I can get away with it.})

I do  have to admit, every time Leap Year comes around, a little part of me still regrets that I wasn’t born on that day.  

Are you scoffing?  Most people do.

Followed by a variation of the following phrases:

You would only get your birthday once every fill-in-the-blank  years!”   This is another thing that always surprises me: the same people that forget it exists also can’t remember how often it comes around. It’s four. NOT six, seven, or ten years.

What would you do??  Would you just pick the 28th or the 1st to celebrate on?” I realize that most people are just verbally processing when they ask this…but the answer is yes.  And you would be surprised how often they do!   In my family, we rarely celebrated on the actual day anyway.  We usually did cake on the day and then a party on the weekend before or after.  So not having an actual birthday wouldn’t have been much of an issue.  Heck, we probably would have eaten cake on the 28th and the 1st.  Just because we could.

You wouldn’t be able to get your driver’s license…Because you’re not sixteen, you’re four.” Yes, someone actually tried to convince me of this once or twice.

Don’t you ever wonder: what would it really  be like to have the rarest birthday in the world?  It could be one of those fun party icebreakers:  “How old are you?”  “Six”. You could join a group and commiserate/celebrate with other Leap Day babies.  And when you get to that age where birthdays are just embarrassing (now), you could completely ignore it if you wanted.  Oh, the possibilities.

As much as I sometimes wish I had been born on Leap Day, I do like having a March 1 birthday just about as much.  I kind of have a thing for numbers and I just think the first is a much “prettier” day than the 29th.  March firsters also get their own “special” day:  “In like a lion” day (bet you didn’t remember that one either).  And March is generally just a much nicer month than February.

That, and having an aquamarine birthstone alone makes it worth it.  Not even a purple amethyst can dissuade me of that.

And let’s be honest, even though I wasn’t born on Leap Day, I pretty much claim it anyway by telling nearly everyone that I was almost born on Leap day”.   My own little claim to fame.  I get all of the benefits of a Leap Day birthday and all the benefits of a March 1 birthday.  I guess that’s worth making me wait an extra day to celebrate every four years.

So, dear friends, I hope you find something adventurous to do on this 2012 Leap Day.  Remember it only comes around once every FOUR years and only in EVEN years divisible by FOUR.  But don’t worry, you can count on me to remind you in 2016 (wink).

And to all of my full-term pregnant friends…maybe consider a little…. castor oil…..today???!!

Happy Leaping,

MG’s Birth Story (the miscarriage)

Our story of MG’s birth ends well.  It ends with a healthy and beautiful baby girl.  More perfect than we could ever could have imagined.  But it doesn’t start that way.  It started with one of the most painful events of our married lives.

But there is, as they say, beauty in pain.

“There is always some shame and fear in this, I think, shame for the terrible selfishness and loneliness of grief, and fear of the difference between your grief and anybody else’s.  And yet comfort somehow gets passed around…Once in a while we hear it sung out in a hymn, when every throat seems suddenly widened with love and a common longing: In the sweet by and by, We shall meet on that beautiful shore.”  Wendell Berry, Hannah Coulter

In September of 2009, I had been having a lot of “weird symptoms”.  I couldn’t put my finger on it, but something was off: I was feeling nauseated, exhausted (but having trouble sleeping), and restless.  When I couldn’t shake these feelings, I turned, as usual, to my outlet of choice: the Internet.  Immediately, all the signs pointed to pregnancy.  I freaked.  This was not our plan.  We still had a lot of “living” left to do.

I shared my newfound computer knowledge with N.  He wasn’t fazed and told me there was a simple solution: just take a pregnancy test.  Negative.  So I tried to put it out of my mind for a couple of days. But deep down, I knew…I KNEW what my body was telling me.

On September 22, I woke up early (again) after a restless night of sleep (again). The pregnancy tests came in a pack of 3.  I decided it was time to seal my fate with a second attempt.

I didn’t have to wait the full 3 minutes before I began to see two blue lines appear.  Proof.  I was pregnant.  Though I was staring at reality, I couldn’t hardly believe it.  I never thought it would happen this way…unplanned, uncomplicated, unemotional. I felt as though I had just sampled from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  Our youth was gone.  Our future was determined.  Our eyes were now open to a new and permanent reality.

I had to tell N immediately.  I let him sleep until his alarm went off, but I knew the second I heard him stirring, I would not be able to hold back our news.  There would be no cutesy banners or gift-wrapped onesies announcing our future. Just two sleepy, bed-headed sojourners at five in the morning.

He saw the light on in the guest bedroom and came padding in to find me reading. “Didn’t sleep well?”.

“Nope.” pause. Pregnant pause. I could find no good delivery.

“I took a pregnancy test this morning.”  He waited patiently.

“And?”

“Well, you’re going to be a father.”  (just a lot sooner than you envisioned.  I hope you’re okay with that.  I’m sorry that I’m going to be a wreck for the next nine months.)

I think I’m going to be sick” he said, and ran to the bathroom.

I couldn’t help but laugh at what I encountered when I found him there.  He was lying on the floor, broken out in a sweat, eyes closed, with a smile on his face.

“Did you throw up?”

“No.  I just feel like I could faint.” Oh boy.  I laid right down there on the floor next to him. My husband.  The father of my baby.  While I’d had some time to prepare for this and an hour or so to compose myself, he had just let himself believe it for the first time.

And he was smiling. This was a crazy journey we were on, but he was happy to be on it.  And suddenly, so was I.

After work that day, N brought home a cookie cake (my favorite) that said “My Baby’s having my baby”. It was a sweet gesture on his part, but I think it was also because N hates to keep secrets.  And he needed to tell someone, ANYONE, the biggest news of his year.  He did make the baker promise not to tell anyone.  And we let ourselves celebrate this new and overwhelming journey we had begun. It was our little secret, between just the 2(.5) of us (+the baker & the receptionist at the doctor’s office) eating cake and laughing in the face of our future.

We had let this baby into our hearts.  We had just begun to love it and think of it as our own. We had grown giddy with excitement over its growth. So who would have predicted that it would end so soon?  Why would God surprise us with new life and then just as quickly take it away?

Exactly one week later on September 29, I woke up to a card at my breakfast spot.  It said something sweet about the pregnancy and N proclaimed a new tradition to give me a card every week of the pregnancy.  (Secretly-I think he felt bad for his initial reaction, so he was trying to show me that he was truly glad we were pregnant).  It was a wonderful way to start the day, but when I arrived at work, things began spiraling.

I had arrived early to set up my supplies and get my room ready for the students.  Soon after, I discovered some alarming bleeding.  I called N right away and he talked me through it and we started praying.
The doctor’s office wouldn’t open for another hour and a half and thankfully my two morning classes were a good distraction from my frantic mind.  Much to my heavy heart’s dismay, the bleeding worsened.  Finally the doctor gave us the okay to come in to his office.  Before I left, another teacher pulled me aside and asked me what was going on.  I told her that I just needed to leave, that something was up, and asked if she could cover for me.  God bless her heart.  She must have known but she never said it.  She walked me to my car and alerted my boss.

N and I had carpooled that day and thankfully his office wasn’t at all far from the doctor’s.  I picked him up. We didn’t talk.  There was nothing to be said.

In the doctor’s office, we must have made quite the pair. I was the only one in the waiting room crying.  Nate tried to comfort me.  I’m sure some women were there waiting for the happy news they were pregnant or to find out the gender of their baby.  We most certainly tempered the mood.

The doctor examined me. He told me I was still pregnant, but often, the bleeding will lead to loss.  But then he gave me some hopeful news. He told me that he had seen miracles before.  I held on tightly to that word.

We weren’t yet ready to go home.  It was too late to return to work.  So we drove to lunch and in the car we talked about it for the first time. N had lost all hope.  He tried not to show me, but I knew.  “We can still have a miracle.” I said thinly. But I knew he didn’t believe that this would end well.
It felt really weird to sit there and eat our lunch, silently begging God for the life of this child that we had only known for about a week.  Just a little over a month ago, pregnancy had been the furthest thing from my mind.  Now I was consumed with thoughts about saving my baby.                                                                                                                                                       The rest of the afternoon, I fielded curious texts from co-workers and lay on the couch watching episode after episode of Laguna Beach.  It felt good to escape to the land of high school where the biggest problem was making sure you had a good date to the senior prom. I prayed and prayed and asked God for a miracle.

The next day, I didn’t know what else to do but get up and go back to work.  The bleeding had continued, but not enough to let me know if anything had happened one way or the other.  My boss confronted me;  I told him the truth and that we were still in limbo.  He was so kind.  Later that day, he emailed me a prayer he had written for our baby. The big and small and kind gestures of others is truly something I will never forget during this time.

I asked him if I could leave as soon as my classes were finished to go home and rest.  He told me not to worry and leave whenever I needed.  That was good because around 10am, the cramping began.  At first, I was able to walk it off, but they soon became stronger and I didn’t know how I could continue to teach the final two hours before lunch.  I told the neighboring teacher that I had to leave immediately. When she looked concerned, I started crying.

I don’t know how I made it home that day.  The pain was so intense that I thought several times I was going to throw-up.  I knew I was losing the baby.  Nate came as soon as he could.  He held me while I cried.  He didn’t cry much because he had already mourned the loss.  He had already known.  Up until that very point, I had held on to the thought that somehow I could save this baby.  What else can a Mother do?  I finally allowed myself to grieve its loss.

The doctor had asked me to come in the next day and he confirmed what I suspected.  The life within me, the great surprise of our year, had passed.  Thankfully, my body had emptied itself and no surgeries would be necessary.

He told me to wait at least 3 months before becoming pregnant again and most importantly that this was not my fault.  Even though I knew this was true, I kept finding different ways to blame myself.  I wondered if God was punishing me for something. I wondered if I had not loved or wanted the baby enough and that’s why it was taken away.  I wondered if I had not taken care of myself and all of the running I had done had provoked its demise.

I had only been given a few weeks as a Mother and already I had failed at my number one job: protecting my baby.

When those terrible thoughts resurfaced, I reminded myself that it wasn’t my fault.  Over and over and over.

It’s funny how things can so quickly change.  A month prior to this, I had never noticed all of the pregnant women around me.  Now, during these 3 months of wait, it seemed like every where I turned, there were round bellies and news of expectation.  I avoided Facebook for a while because every time someone complained (probably legitimately) about their children or their pregnancy aches and pains all I could think about was how I would gladly trade places with them.  My grief was consuming at times and next to non-existent at others.
In hindsight, those three months turned out to be a wonderful time for us and our marriage.  It gave us time to step away from the emotions and consider if having a child now was something we really wanted.  It taught us to have patience and rely on God’s timing and not our own.  It allowed my body to heal.  And it gave us a true, longing, all-consuming desire to become parents.

And as you already know, this story ends well.

There is pain in beauty and beauty in pain.

Sometimes I still think about our first little baby.  The little one whom we never knew nor held on earth.  The longer we remain on earth, the more we come to realize that Heaven is slowly being filled with people that we have known well or have longed to know.  This has only increased our ache for it.  Someday we will kiss the face of our unknown little one.

But had it not been for the life OR death of this child, we would not have our MG.  This tiniest of tiny human beings began one of the most important chapters in the story of our lives.

Such is the miracle of life.

 

part II

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