Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Helpless and Loved

Made it through Spring Break and Justin's uncovered schedule. Made it through 4 days of a sick 2 year old. Made it through Easter. Made it through my due date....again.

Today I am 40 weeks and 2 days pregnant. The middle child is sick today and home from school. We tried to walk to the park and play for a few minutes just to let the 2 year old burn some energy since he is the only one who has any. But we didn't make it long. We stopped at 7-11 on the way home and got some cold drinks to get us through and now they are watching Daniel Tiger's "when you're sick" episode, because I am too tired to try to break up the fighting at the moment.
If nesting is a symptom of impending birth, baby girl missed her window. I have given up. I can clean and clean and prepare and an hour later it looks like I did nothing, my back is killing me, and I have lost the will to live.
So whatever. Things will be a mess when she gets here, but she may as well get used to it.
We did have a fun spring break, and I am glad she waited through it. We did the crazy zoo splash park, which was way too crowded, and dyed Easter egg at Noni and Papa's house.

Then we had an Easter egg hunt in their backyard.
We also had an Easter party at Grandma and Grandpa's house on Easter Sunday, and celebrated Daddy's birthday, which is coming up in a couple days.
But I think my favorite thing about spring break this year, was just hanging out and playing together at home. We did a lot of simple things like making Lego parachute men, balloon powered cars, and Lego man zip lines. Aquaman spent all day perfecting and experimenting with creating the Lego man's zip line apparatus as well as adjusting the angle of the line and was in absolute heaven, other than having to deal with Greystoke and The Dude messing up his projects every 5 minutes. There was a lot of that, Greystoke is exhausting to everyone lately, and especially Aquaman and his legos.

We took short walks and went to the park.

I enjoyed just watching them create and play together. That is one of the benefits of a big(ish) family. We don't have to go anywhere to have a good time. Which I guess I better get used to. I have always enjoyed getting out to the beach and the parks and going on adventures with my kids. But the past 2 years Aquaman has become so resistant to going just about anywhere, and trying to drag him and 3 other little ones out is going to start becoming impossible soon. I figured he has had a good school year, he has had a good attitude about school, he is exhausted....he earned a week to spend mostly at home.
Instead of Easter baskets from me, I got them a baby pool and slip n slide because....you just really can't beat a baby pool and slip n slide.
It was cooler than I thought it would be this week, and they didn't last long in the cold water, but luckily they could hop in the hot tub to warm up in between sessions.
Sometimes I really wish we had our own backyard and I could just let them go crazy, but we have the best of both worlds here really. All of our immediate neighbors like us and our kids and never complain. And we don't have to deal with the yard work.
And now, here we are. The boys went back to school yesterday. Aquaman cried for a while Sunday night, but bravely and calmly went without a fight the past 2 mornings, even this morning when The Dude got to stay home sick.
And my induction is scheduled for next Monday morning, the 24th, at 7 am, 8 days after my due date, which incidentally is just the same amount overdue that Aquaman was. It is good to have an end date in sight, and most days I feel ambivalent about it. I am terribly uncomfortable. My irritible uterus doesn't give me much break from its constant useless contractions. Baby girl feels big. And every time she moves it just....hurts my insides. I am tired. Some nights I still can't sleep. The housework is never ending and the stairs feel impossible.
But at the same time, I have had 2 great experiences with induction. No pitocin, just a morning of cervadil, broken water, and walking.  and there is something nice about its predictability, especially when you have 3 other kids to arrange for and a husband who may have a difficult time getting out of work. But God knows best. It is in His hands.
I feel bad sometimes wanting this pregnancy to be over so badly. Sort of ungrateful or something. After all, this pregnancy will most certainly be my last. Won't I miss it someday? I guess so, but I don't really think so. I have long enjoyed the end product of pregnancy, and the anticipation...but never the physical experience of it. It is a helpless feeling. It is a feeling that is probably very good for me, because I have been able to juggle a lot of things. I am a good multi tasker, God has blessed me with the capability and strength to care for my family, to be a helper to my husband without a great deal of difficulty.
But when I am pregnant, I come face to face with my weakness, with my mortality, with my need to be cared for myself.
I think a lot of women deal with this sort of insecurity, and I have fought it probably all of my life. This need to care for others and do for others, and if I can't, and if I need to be cared for, I have somehow failed.

This past winter I watched one of my clients at work struggle with this, and I don't know if she ever really came to accept it before she died, and it broke my heart, and also made me resolve to do things differently, to see things differently. She started saying she wanted to die because she was no use to anyone anymore. She felt that she was just a burden to everyone, hated having to be cared for, having to "bother people" for help. I reminded her that she was no less valuable of a human being when she could do nothing for herself than she was when she could take care of everyone else. I reminded her of all that she did for others, and that there are times in our lives when we have to be humble and step back and allow ourselves to be cared for.
But pride is a deceitful thing. Pride tries to convince us that it is somehow noble not to accept help from others, not to want it. That we can do everything ourselves.
I struggle with this pride, and I especially struggle with it when I am pregnant.
And the remedy for it? To remember that we are loved. And that our being loved has nothing to do with what we are capable of doing, and everything to do with our Creator, the great Lover of all mankind.
"He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart."
Psalm 91:4
So for today I am just going to get through one more day. Knowing she can come tonight, but that she may not. Knowing that even though I feel like a beached whale, incapable of keeping up with the demands of life....God is looking down on me with mercy....not pity, not contempt....just pure Love because He made me. He made this little helpless girl inside of me who will someday very likely struggle with this same issue.
But I hope I can show her a better way, a more humble way. A more loved way.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Spring Break

I have a few minutes of quiet upstairs on my laptop in bed on a Saturday afternoon. The boys are watching a Wild Kratts special on Amazon and eating movie popcorn leftover from when JT and I went on our last pre-baby date on Thursday.
The Dude asked, astounded, why I was letting them have more screen time today, and I said because I am pregnant and tired and anyway it is spring break, so enjoy it. Pregnant and tired is my excuse for everything these days.
Saturdays are better, and even though this week will probably be a little crazy with spring break, it somehow feels better to have them all home. Otherwise, almost all of our interactions are when I am completely exhausted and having to force them to do things they don't want to do. Drag myself out of bed, no time for coffee, finish packing the school bags, empty the dishwasher, start the laundry, get everyone breakfast, get everyone dressed, brush their teeth and drag them out the door to school. And they have been tired of school. I don't blame them, it's that time of year.
Then pick them up and there is homework to do and lunches to be packed for the next day and dinner to eat that there is always something wrong with, and the worst words of all....bedtime.
But this week, the school books have been put away. I don't even know if I am going to make them read, I will just read to them.
Last weekend, on Sunday, I took them all to Jetty park, where JT works because it was a good opportunity to see "cruise ship Sunday" when 4 cruise ships pull past right by the Jetty. It happened to fall on a Sunday when JT was not working, so we left him at home, since he hasn't had 2 days off in a row for a while and he wasn't dying to spend his one day off at work...
It's nice to get away from the house with the kids. Not worry about the messes and the broken things which stress me out so much more when I am in nesting mode. We had a great time, despite that in general I am really struggling with wanting to snap off everyone's heads every time they talk. I don't remember being this cranky when I was heavily pregnant with the others. Maybe it is the added girl hormones, because it sure does feel like pms. Maybe it is because I am older. Or already have 3 kids. Or because JT's work has all of a sudden amped up the stress level right at the time when I need him the most. Whatever it is, I am glad it will be over soon. There is an end in sight. But life has suddenly gone from lightning speed to each day dragging on endlessly, and I can't fathom that I might be spending another 16+ days this pregnant.
It doesn't help I have seen one of my least favorite midwives for the past 2 appointments, and have to see her again next week. She has absolutely no sympathy for the mental exhaustion of knowing that my pregnancy will probably once again end in induction, this time long past my due date. It also doesn't help that I don't feel like I really know any of them or any of them know me. At every single appointment I have to re-explain my birth history and they don't seem like they care much anyway.
My only fear that is slightly bigger than having to wait until my 41st week to be induced is my fear that she will instead decide to come this week, spring break, the craziest week of the year to be a lifeguard, and JT will not even be able to make it to the birth, and I will have to be there alone with a midwife that I don't even know when my daughter is born. But I have been reminding myself that I am never alone. I will have the ultimate birth partner there with me. So, when the hormones don't get the best of me, I can breathe deeply again and remember that however it ends up it will be good, and perfect, and exactly the way it was supposed to be.
I am not someone who gets that worked up about childbirth anyway. We didn't get pregnant again because I wanted to experience that miraculous moment of birth again. That is just a very small part of the whole picture. I feel like a lot of pregnant people focus so much on birth that they forget they are going to be parents in the end no matter how the birth turns out.

Just like I really didn't put too much stock in having the perfect wedding because what I really wanted was a great marriage....I know that having the perfect birth is not really that important either.Though I will say, my wedding was pretty perfect, to me, and I am so blessed to also have a great marriage,

I think I am rambling.
So yeah, I will be 39 weeks pregnant tomorrow. And baby girl has been given instructions to wait until her due date to make her appearance, because Daddy has to be at work this week.
At my appointment on Thursday nothing new had happened, except she probably dropped another cm. But I think she is kind of going up and down throughout the day anyway, that's what it feels like.
So, for now, I am just trying to put at least one thing I can look forward to into each day so I don't go crazy.
Yesterday was hard. The toilet and the dishwasher broke. JT had to go to a meeting in Boca and was totally stressed out. The Dude refused to let Grandma take him to school because he just needed to be in control of something, so I had to get a naked Greystoke off the potty and run them there. Aquaman's shirt was tucked in and his pants were around his belly button and he refused to let me fix him and then I may or may not have told him I was trying to help him not look like a nerd, which of course hurt his feelings, and I felt terrible the rest of the day.
There were piles and piles of laundry to put away, and The Dude got into some shaving cream while I was trying to do that, and Greystoke took out every toy in the house and threw them around the house. They were all tired because they stayed up late when JT and I went on a date the night before. And I was tired because I stayed up late putting them to bed and because I have a baby who does not feel small practically falling out of me, even though I know it is not quite that easy.
I got Aquaman a drink that he had been begging for and then he immediately jumped up to sit on the table for some reason and spilled it everywhere and that's when I started to cry, because I cry at least once a day right now because...well I have no idea why exactly.
But I stole a few minues to lie down in my bed and read the Psalms with my new study bible that I am loving because I have been reading children's Bibles since mine fell apart a long time ago. I prayed for the patience and energy to make it through another 2 weeks, another 2 days, another 2 hours, and He gave it to me.
I read the boys the Lorax during dinner so that I wouldn't totally freak out about their terrible table manners. I mostly kept my mouth shut when The Dude could not sit still and Aquaman ate enormous bites that got all over his face, and Greystoke spilled most of his.
And today has been better. We spent 10 minutes at an Easter Egg hunt. I had to leave Aquaman alone in his age group since it was just me with 3 kids. I could see The Dude, but Aquaman was behind me, which definitely worried me. I stayed with Greystoke who walked mildly around, grabbed about 5 eggs with my encouragement and then announced that he had enough. I found The Dude whose bucket was completely overflowing. And then we went to collect Aquaman just in time to see him trying to tackle another 8 year old boy. I thought he was trying to steal his eggs, but it turns out he was trying to put the boy's "litter" back in his bucket because he had thrown a candy wrapper on the floor. I don't even know what to say. We have started calling him "constable".
But the morning was redeemed when I remembered that we needed to walk over the causeway. We have been talking about doing it forever, and it was a nice cool morning and Aquaman obviously had way too much energy on his hands, so we did it, and it was really fun. And we got really tired. But not too tired to get the house cleaned up when we got home...just tired enough that now I can lay here and write for a few minutes and they aren't trying to scale the walls with their bare feet for a few minutes.
It's going to be a good spring break, I can tell.