Monday, July 27, 2009

Dramatic Change of Heart - part deux

So, where was I before my hard drive crashed and I lost perhaps hundreds of photos that I hadn't gotten around to backing up yet? Oh, yes, a dramatic change of heart.
It was July 14th and I was at my friend Joy's house. I was discussing the two year ordeal I had been going through with Tim about having another baby - my 5th potentially. In short, I didn't want another baby. The adjustment to our 4th baby was rough on our marriage and my 4th baby was DIFFICULT in every possible way. I couldn't imagine a 5th baby. Fear was abounding in my heart. Joy broke through all of that and said,"The Bible does say to submit in this issue."
Pause. "Really? You're right." And then Diane jumps in to wholly support Joy's declaration of truth. Tim wasn't asking me to do anything wrong, per se. I could trust God with this decision. It was a baby, after all. Not a move half across the world or some disease he was going to give me. So, 9 months and 2 days later Daisy was born. I got pregnant MUCH more quickly than I had planned. And Daisy, with her sweet pixie face, is my most affectionate child. She frequently tells me how much she loves me and is delightful and cheerful. She is three, however, so she's needing A LOT of loving discipline these days. What a delightful, spunky girl she is. My "precious Spring flower" I call her. Her name is perhaps my favorite of all my girls' names. I love flowers!
Most surprisingly, my heart had so changed about having children that even though I had started my pregnancy with Daisy thinking it would be my last, it didn't end that way. I didn't see my OB/GYN for my postpartum visit after Daisy was born, so no permanent plans were discussed. After Daisy turned 1 I had the crazy notion of another baby. Julia was very much planned. I was looking forward to this last pregnancy and enjoyed every minute of it. During Julia's pregnancy, though, many difficulties and trials ensued at home. I was sick for most it with a flu, bronchial and asthma issues, and a horribly painful foot condition. I chose a doctor all the way in downtown and didn't relish the monthly drive down there when my last OB was 5 minutes from my house door to door. Because of my "advanced maternal age" I saw a perinatologist too many times all the way in West LA (my choice to go all the way to West LA as opposed to just downtown. I had my reasons, though. I really liked my perinatologist in West LA).
Anyway, the last few weeks of my pregnancy I felt great. Julia was well-positioned in me so I was very comfortable. I remember popping out of bed in the morning with her, as opposed to easing my way out of bed with Chloe and Daisy because I cramped so badly when first getting out of bed in the morning. I remember telling my doctor at my 37 week checkup with Julia that "I feel great! I was clipping my toe nails this morning!" The memory of his bewildered facial expression makes me laugh even today. He's used to his 37 weekers complaining "How much longer? When can I have this baby? Can I be induced? I can't sleep at night" and on and on. Not me. I really felt good and was so enjoying those last few weeks of feeling Julia move inside me knowing I would never experience this again. I knew all too well that once she was born the outstretched arms from 5 older sisters, Dad, family and friends would be all too willing to hold her. I wished I had waited a little longer to have her. I probably could have held off a couple of days. But, alas, she was healthy when she was born and not premature in any way. I have so enjoyed her this past year. I have so many memories of holding her close and just feeling her sweet little body against mine and thanking God that I got just one more baby. Such feelings of love are hard to duplicate. So, my dramatic change of heart about one baby led to two babies! So, I've decided on another change of heart and it came rather unexpectantly, too. But it's late now and I'll have to continue this post later.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Dramatic Change of Heart

There have been a few times in my life when I have had a dramatic change of heart, or made a dramatic decision spontaneously. We'll start with the dramatic decision spontaneously made.
Tim and I were together on a Saturday morning when we were dating and were intending on going to a Singles Meeting at church a little later on. All of the sudden Tim blurts out, "Let's get married today!" We had been dating for seven weeks (yes weeks, not months or even years). I look at him and say, "What?!" We had broached the topic several weeks earlier, but hadn't discussed it much since then. In fact, we had even "broken up" for several hours (yes, hours, not days, weeks or even months. Everything happened in warp speed time for us.)
Well, he begged me to marry him. He told me some stories from the Bible to justify the crazy decision. We went to my Dad's house later that morning and Tim formally asked him for my hand in marriage. My Dad replied, "Why don't you just live together first?" To which we replied, "Well, Dad, we don't believe in that." So, my teary-eyed Dad gave us his blessing (and some money!) and sent us off with my older sister and her boyfriend at the time. That was almost 17 years ago. The rest, they say, is history.
In retrospect, I would have done things differently. I believe the outcome would have been similar, but the timing and the process would have been quite different. But, I was 22 and immature and I hadn't learned how to make such big decisions with confidence that God always has my best interests in mind. I'm still learning that lesson. Anyway, I feel sorry for Tim. He had no idea what he was getting in to. I was a nightmare of a wife in those earlier years of our marriage. According to Tim, I've been much better the last 8 years - much to his relief! No one would ever accuse me of not trying hard, however. I am one of the most persistent people I know. And I love God who has changed my life. He's given me a new heart and a new mind. As I've clung to the commands of Scripture as well as the promises He's given me, he has changed me. Pleasing him and loving him is more important to me than anything else in my life. But often times my words and attitudes don't always reflect that commitment. I'm glad he's the one who's started this work in me and that he will be faithful to complete it.
Anyway, many years and 4 kids later, I had a dramatic change of heart. I remember the day I was sitting in my friend Joy's living room with our friend Diane and it was a hot summer July day. Her words pierced my heart. What a powerful moment that was that would forever alter the course of my life...
Well, the mother board on my computer is busted, so I'm at the library blogging on my little blog. I have to go because I've got kids at home, plans this afternoon, and the grocery store to go to. Plus, a tropical iced tea sounds really good right now....I'll finish this post later.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Reflections on Julia's First Year

Where do I start? Happy Birthday Julia! You've been such a sweet, mild-mannered baby and I've loved watching you grow and learn how to roll, crawl, and attempt the first maneuvers for walking. You can crawl faster than any baby I've ever had! And you love to eat! When I put you on my lap to nurse you I notice you smack your lips and say "Na na na." You latch on eagerly and patiently keep sucking for several minutes (yes, I've got a very slow let down) till you start enjoying all the good stuff. You are delightful and I love your full, sweet, kissable lips. So precious. You also take great comfort in grabbing and sometimes pulling my hair - hard! Ouch! It seems to comfort you the most, until I'm wincing in pain and have to pry your fat little fingers from hair strands you've pulled out. Anyway, you are very sweet, easygoing, and happy with anybody. We haven't had any issues with separation anxiety, although your sisters report so much crying when I'm gone but you never cry with me. Maybe they're making up stories!

Anyway, as with all of my babies, there is some interesting facet about their birth I share with them. With Julia's birth I've thought what that might be. Perhaps "You got stuck on the way out and your Dad almost had to pull you out. The nurse managed to get you out before your Dad ran for the pliers!" That sounds fairly humorous and I think maybe in the next few years I can say it with laughter. I'm getting closer to that day - but I'm not there yet. I don't cry as easily about the whole situation as I did before. It has been a whole year. I've sought God for healing and I've sought answers. I even got a copy of my chart from the hospital to look over what was actually charted. It looked fairly accurate to my memory. Some questions still remain, however. I contacted the patient advocate at the hospital where Julia was born and explained what happened on the day of her birth. He had a hard time believing parts of it. I tried to be fair to all parties involved. I was surprised, however, at how close to tears I was at recounting certain aspects of it and realized I still have a ways to go. It's been a whole year, but I realized, oh so discouragingly, that it will just take more time than I had hoped.
I don't know when or if the patient advocate will get back to me. I don't think he will have the answers I'm really looking for. Anything will be helpful, though. Even the fact that he is, in theory at least, advocating on my behalf was tremendously comforting. And he was such a compassionate, patient listener. That meant so much to me.
Being affected the way I was by her birth and everything and everyone surrounding it has been very humbling. I appreciate the hours my patient family and close friends have spent listening to me go through all the details - again and again, as I was searching for answers and trying to make sense of it all. Oddly enough, I felt God showed me how my pride caused some of my pain. I realized how the hidden, circuitous route that prideful, self-sufficient doubt in God's goodness led me on the path I took. I have learned much about my own vulnerabilities and weaknesses. Please help me not to forget, God. I really don't want to learn these things again. All this awareness, however, does not let others involved in the whole thing off the hook. But they are not on my hook, they are on God's. Have mercy, Lord, in the midst of your justice.

My flowers, strawberries, and bird bath need watering now. So, off I go to water and tend to my garden. In the cool of the morning in my garden I'm always drawn to Jesus. And so I will talk with my Friend once more about this whole situation and put it in his hands. And I will thank him, again and again for my beautiful, precious, delightful daughter - my Jewel-ia. And if I start to cry - again - I know that I will not hear, "Again? You're crying again?! When are you going to get past all this?" No, in fact, the Bible says that he records every one of our tears and that they are all kept in a bottle. In time I will forget most of those tears, but He won't.