Thursday, March 20, 2014

34 weeks

Where do I begin today to describe the roller coaster of emotions that I have been cycling through the past week or so?

As usual, at the end of the pregnancy, work has been a main contributor. It would be an issue right now even if I wasn't huge and uncomfortable and tired and mentally incapacitated by pregnancy brain because of the many rapid changes and the final resignation of my supervisor. But it is what it is.

I think sometimes I get into this mode of rushing around breathlessly at work trying to keep up, and then I'm unable to turn it off when I get home. Some of it is me. Some of it is definitely hormones.

What started out as normal old nesting turned into something of a panic about a week ago Sunday. Every day I was waking up with a long list of things that needed to get done (including being the perfect, patient mother of course), and every day I was falling into bed with maybe ONE of them checked off and yet still completely and utterly exhausted.

(Maybe what I should do is make a to-do list that says: make breakfast, do the dishes, put dirty clothes in washer, move them to dryer, put more dirty clothes in washer, fold them, make lunch, do the dishes, take a shower, keep children from killing each other and the baby inside of you...)

Every dust bunny in the corner, every crumb and dog hair taunted me incessantly.

My sensitive 5 year old, who cries at the drop of a hat, is also sensitive enough to pick up on when I am most easily manipulated (i.e. when I am a crazy emotional pregnant woman who is trying to do way too much), and he turned it all up a notch for a few days, just to make life a little easier.

So, I started setting my alarm in the mornings. Waking up at 5:45 in order to try to beat the my soon-to-be-middle-child out of bed and have a few moments to collect my thoughts, pray, and start out the day in a little less of a sweaty panic.

Though I have emerged faithfully out of bed at alarm time for a week, I have only been successful in beating him down the stairs a few times.

Here is one entry from quiet time journal from last week:

"God, I tried to wake up before the boys and find a few moments of quiet, but within minutes: 2 doors opened. 4 feet. Now there is a 5 year old crunching cheerios in one ear and a 3 year old screaming for my coffee in another...I'll try the couch to see if I can escape....

Why do I feel like such a failure, God? First, The Dude hurt his head and Aquaman suggested that he dump cheerios over it to make it better. Since the cheerios made a mess, Aquaman thought maybe dropping a soccer ball on his head would be more funny. Then a football came sailing at me. Before I could tell them to stop, another one came: this time knocking the coffee out of my hand and onto nearby library books. Now, they're climbing all over me like I'm a jungle gym."

It's kind of funny now when I read it. But that was the day my mood changed from crippling anxiety to inexplicable depression.

I somehow made it to the OB, where everything looked great as it always does. But after that, I pretty much fell apart. I'm so grateful for JT right now. This is a hard time of year at work for him, with the many preparations required before the season starts. Every moment is crammed full, and he has taken on a lot of extra responsibilities that require more details to manage, and more time spent outside of work preparing. He is so tired, but he has been so amazing.

That day, like half the days lately, I didn't know which direction I was even going. All I knew was that I did not feel well. That I felt awful, in fact. And that was enough for him to tell me to go to bed and he would take care of The Dude while Aquaman was at school.

I lay in bed almost the whole day. I cried a little. I felt the tiny little boy growing inside of me, and I wondered how I was going to ruin his life too. I contemplated what I was doing wrong. I didn't turn on the tv once. I didn't pick up a book. I couldn't sleep a wink. I just lay there feeling numb and uncertain. At one point I tried to get up, but physically could not. So I just got back in bed.

After that, things were better.

I drank some hot tea. I didn't even look at the crumbs or the dust bunnies. I agreed with JT that we should hire someone to come scrub the house down a little bit.
I hugged my sensitive little manipulator, and realized that sometimes I take things way too seriously.
That's where he gets it from.

In hindsight, I'm glad all my nesting instincts kicked in early. The baby clothes are sorted in their appropriate boxes. Our new dressers are organized. I even cleaned out the junk drawers and arranged the computer desk. I cannot even imagine finding the energy or desire to do all of that now.

I was thinking to myself that I could just work in a flurry until our littlest man arrived because that is when the true chaos will begin. But the fact is that physically, it's just not possible. And there's probably a reason for that. It's time now to look around, to accept what's done, and to let go of what's not. I bet I can keep up with the 15 loads of laundry a week, even though it will be challenging hauling them up and down the stairs. We'll keep eating, but it probably won't be all from scratch, or even very interesting. I'll stock up our freezer and cabinets with basic essentials for post-baby, but I won't be making any elaborate freezer meals. I'll probably spend the extra money on Lysol wipes because, well, it's just an easier way to clean.

It was the next morning, when I actually DID have a few quiet moments with my Bible before the boys discovered me, that I realized what was wrong all of this time.

I just finished my 2nd Gospel as I continue to read through the Bible. For the 2nd time in the past couple of months I read the story of the woman who broke her Alabaster jar of expensive perfume, her most treasured and valuable possession, on the feet of Jesus to annoint Him. And for the 2nd time it stopped me in my tracks.

Because I so want to be her.
In the deepest part of me, I AM her. I've always moved slower. I've always known there was more than just the surface. I've always connected strongly with the story of Mary and Martha, and I have always known that my heart was Mary's.

She could have been "wiser". She could have sold that jar of perfume and given it to the poor. But she "wasted" it in an outpouring of Love for her Savior.

I want to be her. To be unashamed in my worship. To be untainted by logic, and instead filled with Love.
I have been so distracted by the logistics of life, that I have neglected to be in Love.

By Saturday, I was feeling worlds better. The baby felt like he dropped significantly. I could breathe and eat a little more.
 It was time for the Walk for Life. The Waddle for Life.
We had an awesome time. We brought the wagon, and Aquaman pulled The Dude. They had donuts and popcorn before 10 am. We made it one lap around the park, and then stopped at the swings. And then the bounce house.

When I came home I started spotting. I've never spotted before during pregnancy, and I hope to never again.
I tried my own version of bedrest for a couple hours. This involved 2 boys trying very hard to be still but failing utterly and almost head-butting and kicking me about a thousand times before I finally gave up and got up. The spotting stopped. But I have been thoroughly warned this time.

Slow. Down.

This work week has been better.
I've been tired, and I've definitely cried. But I've caught up a bit. And I've let go of a lot.
I still don't know how our littlest baby is going to fit into this wild mix.
In the evening, as I listen to the endless chatter of the other 2 as they try to wind down for bed, I try to picture nursing a newborn through the chaos. Or pacing with him in the sling as he cries at the colicky hours.
When The Dude, who is sick again, wakes up calling and coughing in the middle of the night, I wonder what I will do if they both wake up at the same time.

I take a deep breath, in and out through my mouth and remember the Bradley breathing and relaxation techniques of labor. And for some reason, this always makes me laugh (when I am NOT in labor, that is).
Because as I look around, all I can see is love. And all I can wonder is why I ever got so overwhelmed in the first place. Sure there will be more details, more routines, and more messes when our family turns into 5.

Sure, time is not exponential. Neither is energy.

But Love is.

And right now, THIS is my Alabaster jar. And it may not smell that great to the world (what little boys ever do). But I know it is a pleasing aroma to My God.

I know He sees, not the broken bits of clay and all that waste. But a heart that loves. That gives. Not because the world will stop turning, and life will fall apart if it doesn't, but because it can't help it. Because it knows the darkness from which it has emerged, and has only overwhelming gratitude for every opportunity it has to beat and bleed and soften from its stony state.

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