Tuesday, March 28, 2017

37 weeks

Today I am 37 weeks and 2 days pregnant.
Which means....we are going to have a baby within the month, no matter what. Our 4th baby. Our 1st baby girl. It's kind of crazy.
As usual I have this list in my head of things I should get done before she comes. Today I was going to pack my hospital bag. But I also wanted to spend some quiet time journaling and praying and reading my Bible because I have really been struggling to find the time to do that.
I also wanted to spend some time doing something Greystoke wanted to do, since we only have a few more days of just us on the big boys' school days. I needed to go to Wal-Mart for some last minute hospital bag items. And then I needed to eat something and vacuum the floor.
And now there is one hour until the other 2 are ready to come home from school, and I also had a blog on my list today. And that is pretty much next to impossible with everyone home and the constant interruptions. I can possibly pack my hospital bag when they are home, then I am a moving target and distractions also aren't quite as distracting.
But this is my chance to write.
I have been struggling a bit with the meaningless again. I am not unhappy by any stretch of the imagination. Life is so good, it is so full of love and laughter and beautiful things. I feel guilty that I so often feel that I am struggling through it.
But the real struggle is just the constant nagging feeling that if I stop or even slow down everything is just going to spiral out of control. When I do take the time to stop, to choose to sit down, I have a very small set amount of time available to do it, and I have so much trouble slowing my head down. I feel like I need to be thinking and preparing for the next thing constantly, to make it easier, less crazy somehow.
This is the slowing period of pregnancy. I really can't do what I normally can, and that always bothers me. At least when there is a newborn involved it feels actually meaningful to slow down. But right now, it just feels....annoying.
Not only am I about to be a mother of 4, but summertime is also quickly approaching. So there will be 4 children at home most of the time right around the time when I am also starting back to work after maternity leave. That's fun, to be sure, but it is also pretty daunting. I feel like I need to be preparing for that somehow.
As of last week at my 36 week appointment, I was 3 cm dilated and almost fully effaced already. The baby's head was very far down, which I already knew because I started being able to eat again. That made me feel good. I know it doesn't mean I will have her any sooner, people walk around for a month like that all the time. But it does mean that things are happening. That my discomforts are working toward the end goal of getting her out smoothly and safely. And that definitely helps me out mentally.
On days like today, I actually feel pretty good. Other than waking up once per hour to use the bathroom, once with The Dude for a nightmare, and once with Greystoke because he is 2, I slept tons better last night. The night before, I was up until 2:30 am with annoying braxton hicks contractions, restless legs, and a complete inability to get comfortable. On days after nights like that, I am just ready to get this show on the road. On days like today, a few more weeks doesn't sound impossible.
This morning during the quiet time I forced myself to have, despite my guilt of putting Greystoke in front of Paw Patrol...again, and the long list of things I needed to get done, I was reading the Psalms and read a verse I could totally identify with:
"During the night, I lifted up my hands in prayer. But I refused to be comforted."
Psalm 77:2
Isn't it funny how we do that? I spend all this time talking to God, telling Him how tired I am and how much I have to do, and how can I be enough?
But I refuse to allow Him to comfort me.
I reach out half-heartedly, half expecting to be told to stop whining and get up and go do something useful.
His comfort requires humility. Not just admitting that I can't do it, because I do that all the time. But just saying that doesn't really mean anything. It's a martyr plea for just a little more energy to do everything I think I have to do. But really accepting His comfort means laying down all of those things that I think are so important. Not restructuring, not prioritizing, but to totally "cease striving". To...in the words of a very popular song that my boys do not allow me to sing, especially at the top of my lungs....Let it Go.
Last night at bedtime our nightly devotion was about the rich man who came to Jesus and asked what he could do to inherit eternal life. He told Jesus that he had "kept all of these commands since I was a boy." Jesus told him that he lacked one thing...to sell everything that he had and give it to the poor.
Aquaman is going through an interrogator stage. I mean, he has always asked 1 billion questions, but now he asks them almost angry for information. This does not exclude devotional time. He was struggling to make sense of thing one, as was The Dude, who wondered how we would go on living if we had nothing.
I was tired. I was up until 2:30 am the night before, remember? And got up at 6:30. I am 37 weeks pregnant. I had just spent 30 minutes reading Lego Ninjago books out loud and answering the 3 million questions that they generated. I didn't feel like trying to explain it. But I tried anyway.
And for some reason, what God told me to say was this: "what Jesus meant is, we need to be willing to do whatever He tells us, even if it is uncomfortable, or doesn't make sense. We need to be willing to drop everything and move somewhere else, or take a new job even if we are comfortable right where we are."

"Or maybe we could be a perfectly comfortable family with 3 little boys, but we need to be willing to have one more child, even if that is scary or makes me sick, or it feels like there is not enough room or time or money."
We need to trust God and stop trying to make sense of everything. And stop trying to control everything. And stop trying to be so comfortable all the time.
They understood that part. They were satisfied with that part. They mostly allowed me to pray and kiss them goodnight after that with maybe only 20 more questions about completely irrelevant topics.
"I thought about days gone by. I thought about the years of long ago. I remembered how I used to sing praises to You at night.....
I will spend time thinking about everything You have done."
Psalm 77: 7, 12
I was singing in church the other day and right in the middle of it, it suddenly occurred to me that soon they will be pulling a tiny baby girl out of my insides and placing her on my heart. A baby girl that I didn't ask for. That I fought God about a little before she was conceived, because I felt pretty busy and pretty full already, and it didn't make sense.
How someday soon I will never be able to picture our family or this world without her. What a gift she will be.

All because I chose to trust God and trust my husband. I ceased striving. I let it go. I need to do the same thing every day, but sometimes it's harder in the everyday than with the big things.
Well while I have written this, Greystoke pooped on the potty and got cleaned up. He drank half my afternoon Gatorade which keeps my blood pressure from bottoming out. He made me put JT's swim fins on and walk around the room. He asked if he could go in the hot tub.
It is almost time to get the big boys. Then there will be homework, which is totally exhausting, especially with The Dude. He really does have a good attitude about it, but he needs me to sit right beside him, constantly redirect him, and I still feel like he makes no progress some days. I have a conference later this week with his teacher who is meeting first with the intervention team about him. He is definitely going to repeat kindergarten, by parent request because I cannot fathom sending him into the shark tank of 1st grade.
Aquaman has got spring fever, and has gotten more edgy lately. He is getting tired of school. He is getting much more tired of Greystoke who has gotten so much more bossy and feisty lately. He struggles with being mean with his words. I remember at my intervention team meeting for him last year, the gifted teacher looked at his IQ testing and said "oh honey, he can't help but argue with that verbal score." But it still drives me crazy. I am not trying to raise an angry smart person. And I know that is not who he is at the core of him. But he can come off so prickly.
I did have a moment of enlightenment over the weekend though at a birthday party full of 12 year old boys. Usually birthday parties are awful with Aquaman, but he was totally in his element here. He ran off with all those 12 year old boys and had a blast. They all acted exactly like him with the quick wits and the teasing and the eye rolling. He was one of them. It was nice to see him fit in somewhere. And nice to comfort myself with the fact that perhaps he is just annoyingly precocious and by the time he is a teenager maybe he will be sweet and mature.
I can hope, right?
It has been a really great week. We spent 2 nights in a beachside hotel with my best friend C who was visiting from Wyoming, and her 4 kids.
Aquaman's behavior was marginal, but much better than last time.
We stayed on the 10th floor and had an amazing view of the sunrise, and the kids spent hours playing together on the beach and in the pool.
Now JT's brother is visiting with his kids, and we have been able to spend some time with them. Tomorrow the big boys are skipping school again to go to Gatorland with them, which should hopefully continue to help the spring fever.
Well, I better go gather my little ducklings.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Our Days

I am sitting out on our balconey watching the younger 2 boys play in the sandbox.
We moved it from the porch to the balcony last week, and at first I didn't like the change. The balcony railings are big enough for Greystoke to put his head through, which means they require constant supervision in the sandbox, whereas I used to be able to stay inside and get something done.
But having it on the balcony has grown on me as the week progressed. Because....I have to sit outside and supervise them. I have to sit. That isn't such a bad thing.
I am 35 weeks pregnant today. I absolutely cannot believe it. It has barely registered that we are going to have another baby, despite months and months of pregnancy. There just hasn't been time to sit around thinking about it.
But the night before last I was up until 1:30 am tossing and turning with contractions and cramping and back pain, and I suddenly realized....this is happening. I forgot how hard the last several weeks of pregnancy are. It is still too early to go into labor, but I am not at all concerned about that. I have had an irritable constantly contracting uterus with my last 3 pregnancies starting around this time. The midwife told me at my last appointment that it is a sign I am doing too much, and it definitely gets worse on days that I try to act like I am not pregnant....but still. I think it is just an annoying fact about my body. With The Dude, I pretended like it was at least accomplishing something...those 6 weeks of feeling like I am in intermittent early labor. But by now, I have given up thinking that. My babies come late, they barely want to come at all. But my body starts wanting them out early.
But last night I slept better. It was daylight savings time, but when you have small kids and a late church service, you don't lose an hour of sleep, you just lose an hour of your day. It kind of made me feel like I slept in, since it was technically an hour later. This morning I feel better. I got a lot done yesterday, and today can be mostly rest and family time.
The boys are off on Friday from school, so I had been planning a kind of last adventure as a mother of only 3 kids. We were going to go to the Tampa zoo. But I think I decided yesterday that I am not going to be up for driving 5 hours round trip in a day, dragging 3 kids around the zoo by myself, and contracting the entire time from fatigue and dehydration. We all have our limits I suppose. I am going to look around for some fun local things we can do instead. It can just be hard finding something all 3 boys like to do at the same time. Especially when the oldest boy is 8.5 going on 21.
But regardless, we do have a lot of fun coming up to look forward. My best buddy, C, is coming from Wyoming the week after next for 2 days, and in order to enjoy that time as much as possible, we decided to get a hotel room in the same beachside hotel where they are staying with their 4 kids. The kids have never stayed in such a "fancy hotel", and are getting pretty excited about our little staycation, on top of the opportunity to miss a couple days of school to do it.
We've all had cold after cold after cold. It's just that time of year. I am getting another one at the moment, which means I will have been coughing until I gag almost every morning for the past 9 weeks. I have not had this many colds in a row since I can remember. I usually only get about one in a year. But at least we haven't had any terrible fevers or anything. Greystoke seems to have outgrown his ear infections, which is awesome. The Dude is a happy wheezer. It is all I can do to get him to use his inhaler, because his barking cough doesn't seem to bother him in the least.
He turned 6 last week, and 6 is looking awesome on him. Just in the past few weeks he has really mellowed out, gotten extra sweet, developed more self control. Every morning he cries a little about going to school. School is hard for him. But he doesn't throw a fit or refuse to get dressed, he just drags himself sadly out to the car and gives me a hug. He had his 6 year checkup last week and has finally made it past the 5th percentile for his BMI, skinny little guy. He failed his vision screen, which his teacher has been wondering about due to his writing difficulties, and since he wheezes several times a year they want to do pulmonary function testing to see if he has asthma or just a reactive airway. So 2 more appointments to squeeze in on top of my weekly OB appointments before the baby comes.
Because I was bragging about how sweet 6 year old Dude has become, he and Greystoke just got in a sand fight. And now we are headed in to the bath. Break time on the balcony is over.
I have been nesting like crazy still, but glad I have gotten this flurry of activity mostly done, though it will of course never be done, because I am wearing out. Yesterday I got all the baby clothes sorted and washed and put away. I bought a few more outfits at the lamb shoppe. This is the first baby I have really needed to buy things for, and I have been surprised by how fun it has been. There is a lot of pink. Poor thing will probably hate pink. The pink carseat is due in the mail next week.
JT is nesting too. We were told that our air conditioning wouldn't last the summer about 6 months ago, and this week he decided we should just go ahead and replace it now. I am so glad we did. It was a long 9 hour ordeal, and we got to get it over with when the older 2 were mostly in school, it wasn't 95 degrees out (though it was 84, I was pretty hot), and we didn't have to wait 2 days with no AC for them to schedule it. Plus, we also asked them to put a vent in our walk in closet, which we have totally cleared out. Which means, for the very first time, I will bring a baby into the world who has her very own nursery. A small one, yes. But still.
I better get going. Hair is washed and younger 2 went racing down the stairs naked where they are probably interrupting Aquaman's swish swishing through his lego blanket. He is building a log cabin in the woods scene. It's an hour until church, and on Sundays I like to try to play with each kid individually, whatever they want, for 20 minutes each uninterrupted. It doesn't sound like much, but they look so forward to it.
"Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom."
Psalm 90:12
I have been reading the Psalms lately, listening to them on my phone too when I get a few minutes. My journal entries are short. Sometimes one verse, and one thought. It's not much either, but right now it is what I can do, and I so look forward to it.
I am remembering to count my days, as some little silver hairs come in. As the last few weeks of my last pregnancy are upon me. As I find myself so wrapped up in what seems like my own importance.
The grass withers, all that is upon me today, all this splendor, it is falling away.
But this is the day that the Lord has made. This day I will live it.