Monday, July 19, 2010

Should be packing

instead of posting, but this face is way too cute not to share






I can't resist the urge to reminisce. 
Three months ago, she was my itty bitty, teeny tiny 4 lb baby...

in the picture above she's wearing a newborn onesie and leg warmers, I mean socks

she did this in the womb and still does it when she's tired

and now she's my wanna be big girl...


Sunday, July 18, 2010

OH MY!

There's a lot going on here in our little world, but first I wanted to ask for your prayers for my sweet friend, Tonya and her adorable baby boy, Matthew Grady. He was born Friday night at 33 weeks (2 days?) and is in the NICU now. We are overjoyed and so so very thankful that he was born crying and although the events surrounding his birth were scary and not what we wanted or expected- he's here, alive and well.
Please pray for his lungs and for infection to stay away, pray for Tonya's physical recovery and for Matthew's NICU stay to be short so that he can go home to be with his mom and dad and his two very excited big sisters.


We're back from Chris' sister's wedding and in the midst of packing. I think it's all going to get finished, but you know, I guess it is going to get finished, because really, there's no other alternative.

I wish I had some cute pictures from the wedding, but I completely forgot to take any pictures of the three of us all dressed up. Hannah was the cutest junior bridesmaid ever! I carried her down the aisle and then promptly passed her off to my mom before she started fussing. It was really sweet.
It was a tad stressful trying to balance feedings and pictures and family and making sure I was eating and drinking enough (breast feeding takes a lot of calories and hydration). I was exhausted by the end of Saturday and we still had our 5 hour drive home. Thankfully, Hannah slept almost seven hours last night and we were able to get some good rest.

Speaking of breast feeding, I had a huge scare last week after I posted about all the stuff we've got to do. I am pretty sure I had a big dip in my supply and after a couple of teary phone calls to friends and a trip to the lactation consultant at the hospital, I think it can all be traced back to stress. Apparently, stress can really affect your supply. So now, I am focusing on relaxing when I nurse as opposed to worrying about all the stuff we need to do, and making sure I'm drinking lots of water and eating well.

Chris is doing the majority of the packing, though I'm helping when I can. I'm only able to pack in spurts, because Hannah insists on nursing every two hours during the day (but hey, who am I to complain when she sleeps seven hours in a row at night?!). When I am able to pack I have a 9 lb baby strapped to my chest. It looks something like this...


Moving madness....



This is such a sweet time and I know I'll carry these memories with me for the rest of my life. The sound of her soft breathing, the gentle sucking noises as she nurses her paci, her little hand resting on my chest as she sleeps all wrapped up next to me. All she wants right now is closeness/cuddles/touch and I am more than happy to oblige. No matter what well meaning family/friends/strangers/passers-by say: I know I won't regret holding her as much as I can. This is what she needs right now, and one day, when she needs her own space and independence, I'll do what I can to give her that too.



We took Hannah for her 2 month check up last week. She's in the 15th percentile for weight now, which is fantastic because she wasn't even on the growth chart when she had her one week appointment (when she weighed 4 lbs 2 oucnes). She's now 9 lbs 2 ounces and seems to grow and change every day. She just started 'talking' to us and I'm pretty sure we got a laugh today. She got three shots at the appointment too. Poor little thing. I hated it for her. Her face turned bright red and she screamed so hard that I had to cry too. I scooped her up right after the shots and she immediately went to sleep. I think that it was all just too much for her and she needed to sleep it off. She wasn't very fussy that afternoon but she did have an extra long nap before we went to our small group's going away/celebrating Hannah party.
Here we are at the party... Hannah wore her special monogramed tutu onesie, complete with brightly colored band-aids on her legs.


We baptized Hannah last Sunday and it was beautiful. I cried great tears of joy and sorrow and wonderment. She's engaged to Jesus now. Isn't that amazing? What an incredible picture of God's covenant love for us. My mind has pictured this moment for literally years... Owen always moved and kicked during baptisms. I couldn't wait to baptize him and wondered what it would feel like to stand before the Church and God and vow to bring him up in the Word and in the love of Christ. And then after he died, I wondered if I would ever get the opportunity to raise a child in the love of Christ and teach him/her all about God's covenant/never failing/unending/forever love for them.
Last Sunday, I stood there, with tears in my eyes and watched my little girl as she was baptized.


Praise Jesus!



I have so much more to say about mothering a living child after loss, but there isn't a whole lot of time to write at the moment. Right now, it's sufficient to say that it's complicated, beautiful, sorrow-filled,  amazing... and it's difficult to understand.


I'll catch y'all on the flipside when we're done packing and Chris is on his way out of town.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

And the floodgates have been opened

I can't seem to shut them again. Can I vent for a minute?

There is just so much to do. I am utterly overwhelmed by all the stuff that needs to get done in the next few weeks. I just looked at the calendar last night and realized that I only have 2 weeks left of living in this place. Only 2 weeks more of living here... where I've lived the longest of any place my whole life (10 years), where I came to college to be near a boy, where my heart was broken (or so I thought so dramatically at the age of 20), where I graduated college and got my first grown-up job and my first real paycheck, where I met the one, fell in love, got married and had all of my babies, where my babies left Earth, where my precious Hannah Mae was born alive and where I came to know Jesus as the only one who could love me and comfort me, and save me.

I'm feeling so sad, so overwhelmed by leaving here. It feels like I'm leaving behind so much. I know I will take Owen, chipmunk and sunshine everywhere I go, they are always here with me, but to leave the place where they lived is so so sad. I can't believe we're actually moving. I'm going to miss my friends here so much. I've really struggled in the past few years to maintain and grow friendships. It's amazing how God answered all my prayers in regards to the friends he's placed in my life. I'm so so sad to leave them. Praise God for the internet and cell phones.

The subject of seminary and moving away has been on the table for years, and now it's time to move forward with it.
I'm scared though.

The emotional side of moving is enough to put me in bed for days (which I have been), but then there's the practical side of moving... and there is crazy amounts to do. I made a list last night and it put me in a serious funk.

We haven't packed anything yet. We don't even have boxes to put things in. How do you pack with a baby who won't let you put her down (I'm not complaining). I'll be staying with my parents while Chris drives all our stuff to our new home, so we'll need to have separate packing areas. He's coming back for us and we'll all go up together the first week of August. After Tonya has her sweet baby boy, that is. I just have to meet him!

We still have to figure out our insurance situation, because I refuse to be without it even for a month or so. When we first got married, we didn't have it for a year and it was so stressful. Hannah needs insurance, so we are just dealing the crazy cost of independent plans. Hopefully, Chris will be able to find part time work that will provide insurance for us. Until then, Chris and I are on a stinky plan (basically catastrophic- it doesn't cover maternity at all, which is a different emotional thing all together) and Hannah will be on a separate plan that is better than ours (I hope).

Both Hannah and I have doctor's appointments next week; cashing in our last week of our wonderful insurance plan. She's going in for her 2 month check up and vaccinations. Which stresses me out big time. Don't get me wrong, I'll all for vaccinating my children- but still, it's stressful to think of her getting shots.

Chris' little sister is getting married next weekend (Yay, Katie!). While I'm super excited about it, it's still a little overwhelming taking Hannah out of town, figuring out feeding schedules while being involved in the wedding and then all the crazy amounts of people who will be there and want to hold/touch her. It's nothing personal at all.... I just am not a big fan of playing 'pass the baby' around. I'm super over protective. After all, I'm her biggest advocate and I should be watching out for what I think is best/safe/healthy. My mottos (which my mom gives me flak for) are 'I don't think you're dirty, but your hands are' and 'Even nice people have germs'.

There's a bunch of other little things on our plates and I'm finding that I can't even get done the simplest of tasks because I'm overwhelmed by the bigger picture. I feel a tad paralyzed by it all.

I'm still trying to figure out how to 'do' this parenting a living child thing... throw in moving and the stress of finances because Chris is leaving work to go back to school, PLUS my friend grief - and I just want to crawl into a hole. We're still not entirely sure how we'll cover all our living expenses while in school. I trust the Lord. I do, but that doesn't mean it's not going to be hard or uncomfortable. Praise God for the full-ride scholarship for his tuition! We are so thankful.

I know I said I needed to vent and I did, but now I'm just feeling deflated. Blah. Maybe if I took a shower, I'd feel more renewed (at least I'd smell better, considering I haven't showered in a few days). Hannah would probably appreciate it. Chris too.

I'm so so very behind on reading everyone's blogs and I have a lot of emails to return. I'm sorry that I've been out of it lately. My personality default is to turn off when I'm sad, upset, overwhelmed, angry, basically any emotion really. I wish it was different, but that's how I struggle. God uses it to draw me to himself and I know he's in control, but don't you ever wish that you could struggle differently or maybe in a way that wasn't so hard?

Maybe tomorrow I'll start on my to-do list and get some things accomplished. I could start small and get refills for our prescriptions and have my lab work done... that would be something, right?


Meanwhile, I've got this amazing human being cuddled up on my chest and I want to enjoy this moment.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fog

I let myself cry tonight. I watched the slideshow I made for him and I felt the tears well up in my eyes and I cried. I looked from his face to hers and back again.

I think for the most part I've been in a fog these past 10 weeks. I look at the pictures from the first few weeks that Hannah was home with us and I can see it written all over my face. I thought I could handle it- that no one else could tell, but I was kidding myself.
The sadness, the confusion, the exhaustion of trying to keep it all together... it was all there. One thing that strikes me the most is the emptiness I felt. My arms still felt empty even though they were never without Hannah for very long.

Now that the fog is lifting, I understand better.

I miss him. I feel his absence in ways I couldn't before. I didn't know what it was like to hold your child and have their eyes lock with yours. I couldn't imagine what his cries would sound like or what expressions he would make.

It's an adjustment. It's been confusing and frustrating. I don't want to lock my grief into a closet and hide it away. I don't want to ignore it anymore; this only serves in adding to the fog.
The grief roller-coaster never tires of sending me into a tailspin. I didn't know that my arms could be so full and yet still hold so much emptiness.

I have to learn to live with my grief now that my arms hold more than just emptiness.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Favorites

This is a wee bit picture heavy, what can I say... apparently, I don't have the ability to edit. 

Some of my favorite things-

My family... and while I can't take any pictures, he lives in our hearts.


Her first smiles.


'Oh, my nap nanny, how I love thee.'


Soft and sweet smelling baby skin.








Experiencing the ocean for the first time.


Two months old!


This face, oh, this face melts my heart.



A pretty little tutu butt.





                                                  My moby wrap is a good, good friend.




A sleeping little girl in our arms.





Walks on the beach with my sweetheart... and a fourth of july shrimp.



Wiggly arms and legs. 


And chubby baby cheeks.



Life has been full and sweet and hard and lovely. Summer is hot and keeps getting hotter. We've been to the lake and the beach and to the movies (yes, can you believe we took our 2 month old to the movies... we did and it was fabulous). I celebrated my birthday with japanese food and a fussy baby. We survived the 6 week growth spurt and are settling into a routine. A routine that could change at any moment- wait, yep, it just changed again. Hannah Mae has discovered her fuss pot gene, which she did not, ahem, get from me. She's smiling now. Her smiles could melt the coldest of hearts. Mine included. She has a divine laugh, which we've only heard while she's sleeping, but I think she's getting close to laughing for real, mostly at her papa because he's just so darn funny. 
Breastfeeding has finally gotten better. She turns 10 weeks old tomorrow and it's only taken 10 weeks to feel like I've gotten the hang of it. Still, I'm constantly worried about my supply and obsessively checking her diapers and such. We think she's up to, oh, I'd guess 9 lbs now. She is definitely twice her birth weight. It seems like she grows and changes right before our eyes. It's scary and wonderful.

There are times when I look at her from across the room, times when I'm removed far enough physically from her to truly 'see' this crazy life all around me and I still can't believe it. 
She's here. She's alive and living here in this space with us. Her swing and diapers and pacifiers litter our tiny apartment and I love her more each day. With each passing hour I find my love for her grows. And when I think about Owen and linger on his face, his memory, I find my love for him has grown as well. Motherhood is a scary, vulnerable and beautiful thing. 

We're moving soon. I can hardly believe it. Chris only has a week and a half left of work before we start marathon packing and then another two weeks after that we ship out to the mid-west. 
I really can't talk too much about moving because it scares me and makes me sad and gives me heartburn... and well, I don't anticipate the transition to be any fun at all. I grew up moving every 2-3 years, so I know (sort of) what to expect. Moving to a place I've never even visited before is not a new experience for me, but I've never been the adult before and my parents aren't going to be there to tell me what to do.  

Hannah's getting baptized next Sunday. I can't even really describe what this means to me. Maybe I'll find the time another day to write about it. I know it will be an emotional day. I can't wait. 


Well, it's getting late and while we're getting more sleep these days, I still definitely sleep when the boss lady sleeps.