April 22, 2014

34 Weeks Pregnant

Oh my goodness, there's so much I want to catch up on the last couple of weeks, including a recap of the conference and our time away in Denver, but I'll save that for the next couple of days.

For now, I'll do a pregnancy update or I know I'll keep putting it off and then he'll be here and that'll be the end of that. And sorry for the terrible quality of pictures. Bathroom selfies were all I could get while Matt's at work and the boys are napping. (I mean, I could set up the timer on my fancy camera but then that would entail setting up my tripod and the timer...and ain't nobody got time for that.)

How far along: 34 weeks.

Total weight/gain: I hadn't gained anything at my last appointment from my previous appointment which follows the trend of my other pregnancies. In the final 6-7 weeks I either plateau or lose a pound or two. Amen and Hallelujah.

Maternity clothes: 100%. I'm actually down to very few (if any) shirts that comfortably reach all the way down to the bottom of my belly. I may need to do another thrift store run to look for some oversize everyday-wear ones. (FYI, I get most of my maternity clothes from the thrift store and couldn't recommend it more. If you go regularly and pick up a couple of items here and there, you build quite the wardrobe for super cheap. I have Liz Lange, Motherhood Maternity, etc., all second-hand and in great condition for about $4-$6 per item.)

Stretch marks: I don't think I have any new ones besides the few on my sides that I've had since Micah's pregnancy.

Sleep: is a booger. Matt was out of town for 9 days last week and I got spoiled rotten having the bed to myself. So between having to adjust to sharing the space again and getting up 17,000 times a night to go to the bathroom and the hip and back pain, sleep's not too good.

Best moment this week: Hitting the 34 week mark and really starting to feel like I'm in the final stretch.

Miss anything? Not being in constant sciatica pain and sleeping well.

Food cravings: Not so much. I still have to have protein or I become very hangry.

Anything making you queasy or sick? Not really.

Gender: Sweet baby boy! Luke Honor.

Labor signs: I've actually started having a few painful contractions, a few that I've even had to breathe deeply through. I talked to my doctor about it and he said it can happen earlier with subsequent pregnancies. Other than that, just the regular Braxton-hicks.

Symptoms: Near-constant sciatica and back pain, difficulty getting up and down, getting out of breath easily, just overall feeling bigger and ready to go.

Wedding rings, on or off? Mostly off nowadays.

Happy or moody most of the time? Depends on how much sleep I've had. If I feel mentally rested, pretty happy. If I feel mentally exhausted and my eyes are tired, I'm pretty moody.

Looking forward to: I love labor and the anticipation leading up to it and of course holding him in my arms and soaking his sweet face up.

Well, there you go. Hopefully, I remember to do another one before he gets here!

April 07, 2014

Why we don't ask them to stop dropping the F-bomb

(I was using a lens I don't normally use in some of these photos so some of them aren't super sharp. Photographer OCD.)

(I also had the permission of the skaters below to post their pictures.)

We've been taking the boys to the skate park in town. It started by accident. We originally were just taking them to ride their bikes along the trail by the river. But one evening when we were going by the park another dad had his young sons there and so we figured we'd let the boys try it too......aaaand the rest is now history. It is now their most favorite place in the entire universe and the number one place they ask to go.

I like it for a few reasons. I love that it's growing in them a sense of adventure and courage. And they get braver every time (much to my heart attack's non-delight).

But I also love that it lets them (and us) interact with a different "culture." I don't want our boys growing up thinking there's an Us and there's a Them. There's just a We. We are all people loved by God, innately sinful from birth, in desperate need of the saving grace and forgiveness of a Savior, Jesus Christ. And I don't want our boys thinking otherwise.

Do I think about the fact that sometimes they're inhaling second-hand smoke? I can't help it. Do we tell them to step back or go someplace else? Nope. Do I love that they occasionally drop the F-bomb within the boys' hearing? No. Have we ever asked them to watch their language? Nope. We're on their turf and if the boys should ask us what those words are, we'll take the opportunity to explain words and language and, hopefully, ultimately point back to the heart.

(Now, I have told teenagers to watch their language when they were curse-happy at a playground. But that's because it was a playground. Kind of goes without saying.)

Matt and I love talking with the skaters when we're there. Matt usually hangs out at the top of the bowl (or whatever they call that thing) and talks with the guys and I usually find a place along the wall to sit and watch them. And we've found the most interesting thing. They gravitate towards us. I've had several times of sitting there, all 19 1/2 months pregnant of me, and had teenage boys come over and sit right next to me wanting to converse. I tell them how awesome they are and I can't believe they can do those things and before I know it, they're back on their boards doing tricks right in front of me. They do the same with Matt. And we're lavish in our praise. Dude! That was awesome.

Because for some of these kids it might the the only time they get a word of encouragement that day. Or week. Or month. Or year. You never know what kind of life you might be speaking into someone's heart.

And we know there's a place for being wise and believe me, we're on it. We're not going to be foolish and put our boys in situations that they're not ready to handle yet. But we also don't want to raise them in Bubble-Wrap Landia.

When Micah says, Mom, look at that girl's pink hair! I say, I know, isn't it so pretty? 

So while it's not the primary reason we go by any means (we go because the boys love it and have a blast), I love that it gives the opportunity to show love and kindness to a "different" group of people and for our boys to do the same. It makes my heart so happy when I see Asher ride his bike within inches of a group of them and say, Hi! Watch me!



Ask me if we regret this decision in 15 years when they're on a pro circuit and I go to bed every night thinking about broken bones...

March 28, 2014

An update on last week's request for prayer

I thought I should update you on the last week since I specifically asked you to pray. I wish I could say that I magically felt better after reaching out but I think the difficult thing about grief is that you still have to walk through the milestones and pain and memories and loss and anniversaries. I think the big difference that I felt though is that it didn't feel unbearable as it had before. I could tell people were praying for me. (Which is always amazing to me, by the way.)

Tuesday was by far the hardest day, the 30 week mark. I was teary and easily angered most of the day. Asher and I visited her resting spot while Micah was at school and I felt like I usually do when I visit her - so incredibly sad that I have to go to a cemetery to visit my daughter.

After we left, I had to return some shoes at a store Which-I-Shall-Leave-Unnamed and had a terrible return experience with the employee helping me. Long story short - I left with the shoes. I was so mad and felt extra indignant and self-righteous because I wanted to yell at the lady that I had just come from my daughter's grave and could she possibly wipe the defiant smirk off her face and possibly have a little more compassion??? 

Later that day I could not escape the Holy Spirit's conviction that he wanted me to call and apologize to her. At one point I literally said out loud, No, why do I care? I don't want to do it. But I could not get out from under the weight of it. So I finally called and asked to speak with her (but she wasn't there) so I left the most awkward message they have probably ever received. Can you please tell her that I'm the girl who was in this morning trying to return my son's shoes? I was very rude to her and I just wanted to call and apologize....

So quite honestly that's what the day looked like. Tears and sadness and anger followed by I'm-sorry's. The boys. Matt. The store lady.

We had already decided to go to a worship night that night and I'm so glad I had already committed to a friend that we'd be there because we actually turned around on the way because I did not feel like I could tolerate seeing so many people. But then I remembered I'd already told her we'd be there so we turned back around and ended up going. My heart wasn't in the worship and I only sang about two lines the whole night but it did feel good to just sit and talk with the Lord in my heart.

And I ended up having such great, encouraging conversations after that I'm pretty sure the Lord had orchestrated it previously to make sure we were there.

So. We're past another painful milestone, the one beside her birthday that I was dreading the most actually.

Thank you, Lord, for your grace. Thank you for Grace. Thank you that we experience fellowship with you in our sufferings (Philippians 3:10). 

And thank you to the huge lot of you that wrote to let me know you were praying. It has a greater impact than I can express and I think even than I fully know.

To end on a happy note, here are some pictures off my phone from the last week.

That is a dead wasp. IN OUR HOUSE. Killed by ME. Have I never mentioned my manic/phobic fear of bugs? No? Well, it's manic and it's phobic and I was probably (definitely) praying out loud the entire time.

This is the smile Micah gives every time I ask to take his picture. I love it.

Asher is our cuddle-bug. He's always down for a good snuggies.

I took some pictures of Asher while Micah was still napping. I love this kid.

He let me take his picture but he had to get all his current favorite toys first.

Showing me how they're lined up.

Have a great weekend, my friends. So thankful for each of you.

March 19, 2014

I'm not sure how else to ask except - would you please pray for me?

Ok, I'm doing it. I'm reaching out. I've been battling the lies that tell me that I've asked for too much, people are tired of hearing about my loss, my grief, my needs; they're tired of more requests for prayer, more burdens placed on them by the needs of someone else. They have enough of their own needs, for the love of everything good and right in this world.

But I'm humbling myself again and putting it out there that this is a journey and some days are darker than others and some seasons are more wintry than others, and two days ago I found myself flung back into the darkness and the cold. Right on the heels of a particularly refreshing and encouraging season, I might add.

Simply put, I would so love and appreciate your prayers.

I am 29 weeks and 1 day pregnant. I was 30 weeks pregnant when we lost Grace and 30 weeks and 1 day when I delivered her. I have a full week ahead of me to remind me of those final days, and the memories and reliving have already begun in crushing measure. And then I have the beginning of April to relive when we were in Seattle and learned of her severely worsened heart failure and subsequent grim prognosis for making it to 34 weeks. And then I have April 26th, the day she was born into our arms, still and silent.

It feels un-doable, quite frankly.

And on top of that I'm preparing and studying to speak at this conference (which you should go to, by the by), and while the Lord has planted seeds of direction and insight, it's not all coming together. So I find myself having anxiety and fear thrown in for extra measure. Again, at this moment, it all feels rather not doable.

So I'm not sure how else to ask except - would you please pray for me?

I'm not even sure exactly what to ask specifically for. For this coming week. For the coming month. For the conference. If there is anything that terrifies me, it's going where God is not. It's quite the story about my agreeing to speak at this conference (and also quite the honor) but the Lord was absolutely behind it. So I trust that he's in this. But I need more trust to make it to the finish line.

So there it is. It's so incredibly hard to ask for help, to put myself out there, to be in such a needy spot, but the prayers of the saints are worth it to me.

Thank you. So much love to you all, more than you know.

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.
 2nd Corinthians 12:9

March 09, 2014

27 Weeks Pregnant

We finally had warmth and sunshine yesterday when Matt took this picture so we were immediately out for a hike and bike rides. We take what we can get around here.

27 weeks and 4 days.

How far along: 27 weeks and 5 days. Officially in the 3rd trimester!

Total weight gain/loss: I don't know. Well, I don't know since my last appointment. And I've conveniently "forgotten" what it was. Let's just say I'm sure it was gained

Maternity clothes: In my defense, I did wear a shirt today that isn't maternity. But other than that, all maternity. 

Sleep: It's been a little better the last week. I get up several times a night to go to the bathroom but in between I sleep pretty soundly. 

Best moment this week: I'm just so stinking excited to meet him and hold him that it grows every week as we get closer.

Food cravings: PROTEIN. And sweets.

Food aversions: If it doesn't have protein, I don't want it. 

Gender: A boy! Luke Honor.

Labor signs: Braxton-hicks have started but nothing too strong.

Pregnancy symptoms: Weight gain, sciatica pain, waddling, heartburn, low energy.

What I enjoy: I never tire of the kicks and rolls and turns and hiccups. I'm always in awe of the growing belly and love to imagine him in his cocoon. I'm just so super thankful that I get to carry a baby. I can't wait to have an itty-bitty baby in my arms again. 

What I am looking forward to: Our next ultrasound. It was at this ultrasound that we saw Asher's chin dimple and I'm dying to know if Baby Luke has it too! Micah doesn't have one, Asher does, Grace didn't have one, so now I'm wondering if we're due for another one with that squishy, dimply goodness. :)

This photo of Matt last weekend in the middle of the blizzard we were having will give you an idea of how much snow we've had and why it's such a big deal when the temperatures hit 40 and the sun is shining. The wind chill was like negative 20 in this picture.