Friday, August 21, 2015

Birthday Lessons

"Count your life by smiles, not tears. Count your age by friends, not years" - Anonymous

Today is my 35th birthday.  For the first time in quite awhile it doesn't feel like my birthday.  I mean, I know that as you get older birthdays really do just feel like another day, but this year is different.  I don't quite know how to explain it but it doesn't feel like my birthday - I was neither anticipating nor dreading it.  It's just Friday, August 21st.  That's it.  Nothing more, nothing less.

In a way I'm a bit relieved by this.  Last year my birthday was incredibly emotional.  Olive had just passed away 3 weeks earlier and I was in such a daze.  I look back to where I was, as a person, one year ago today and it's amazing to me how much has changed.  One year ago today I could barely breathe.  I spent my days laying around, not wanting to get out of bed.  When I would get out of bed I would make a pot of coffee and sit on the back porch in my pajamas for hours.  I didn't want to move from that place.  I didn't want to see people.  I still wasn't answering my phone.  I was just trying to survive.

One year ago today I was extremely overwhelmed.  I had nothing to do with myself physically but emotionally and spiritually I was a wreck.  I was hanging on to God by a thread.  I was questioning everything from whether or not God had changed His mind about me being fit to be a mother, to where heaven was.  I would compare myself to a mother whose child had gone missing. I believed in my heart that Olive was in heaven, but because heaven is still such a mystery to us all I couldn't fathom what that meant.  I didn't know where heaven was, so I didn't know where she was - and that was incredibly painful.  I could not even bring myself to look up into the sky for fear of hyperventilating.  The vast horizon, with it's sunshine and clouds was too much for me.  It was such a powerful feeling, and one I was so fearful of.

I'm happy to say that today I can enjoy a good sunset.  I have begun to find joy again and I'm looking forward to what this new year has to offer.

I've learned that you can truly find a miracle in every day - because every day is truly a miracle.

I have a deeper relationship for my husband and a respect for him I never knew possible.

So many beautiful people have come into my life, and some really special friendships have been formed.

I try to make time every day to spend with the Lord.

I have a deeper love for my parents, siblings and other family members - knowing that our time on earth together is shorter than any of us could have possibly imagined.

I long for heaven. I've never been afraid to die - but now more than ever I feel at peace with this temporary life, knowing full well that the salvation I've been gifted in Christ will bring me to my forever home soon enough.

I am eager and anxious to meet the sweet boy who is moving, grooving and growing stronger every day inside of me.  I long to cradle him in my arms and breathe in his sweet smell.

While I'm no where near where I thought I would be at 35, I'm content with the path God has laid out for me.  Each new day I'm more and more aware that this life, even with all of it's challenges, is working out exactly as it was meant to. It's not always easy to see the beauty in the pain - that's certainly something I couldn't do a year ago today, but God-willing - I have the next 35+ years to continue working on it.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

It's a.....

We are still coming off of the emotional rollercoaster from last week.  While the week itself was full of really high highs and really low lows, I will say that I am happy July is over.  I'm not usually one to wish the days away, but knowing that we survived this first major milestone is bittersweet - but I'm choosing to focus more on the sweet.

I realize that since announcing I was pregnant again I haven't spent much time discussing this current baby much (enter feelings of mom guilt).  While last week was definitely a week to focus on Olive, we also had quite a few special moments this month with this baby too - one very specific one that many people keep asking me about.

To start, we had our first prenatal class (we have had other prenatal appointments, but this was the first group class we did with other couples delivering late this year).   It was nice to meet everyone and begin a new journey with these parents.  If I'm being honest though, it wasn't that long ago that we were just doing this - so I think that added to some of the mixed emotions we were feeling the entire month.

We also met with our OB for a consult, met our perinatologist for the ultrasound (and to discuss my advanced maternal age - which will NOT be talked about anymore on this blog - ha!) and daddy got to feel baby move for the first time!  We went into our ultrasound a little hesitant, but left feeling very comfortable that everything was great.  Baby is measuring ahead of schedule, just like big sister did and looks healthy and happy.  I mean, c'mon...look at this peanut!

So far this pregnancy has been very similar to my pregnancy with Olive (I wasn't far enough along with Baby #2 to really have any pregnancy symptoms).  I had some nausea during the first trimester, although it didn't last near as long.  As far as how I'm carrying, that is pretty similar too.  The only major differences are that I've battled more insomnia with this little one, and I'm not having near the cravings I did with Olive - I mean almost zero!  Most of the time I am trying to figure out what sounds good, instead of making a break for a Taco Bell drive-thru at the drop of a hat!
Early on we had decided that this baby's gender would also be a surprise, but as the weeks went by I found myself getting increasingly anxious about many things.  For one, I was having a hard time connecting - especially during the timeframe where I wasn't really feeling sick anymore but still hadn't felt much movement. Another big issue for me was that all of the baby items we had, in my mind, belonged to Olive.  They were purchased with her in mind, but she never got to use them.  Had Olive been alive we would have naturally used the same things for this baby, but since she hadn't been brought home it felt like we were going to move this baby into "her" room with "her" belongings.  I knew that I needed to make some changes if I was going to be comfortable with using these items (everything had been washed, tags and boxes thrown away, and we certainly weren't going to return thousands of dollars of merchandise!).
Additionally, I found myself becoming more anxious for the birth - I really just want to go into that day with one goal in mind: deliver a breathing, crying baby.  I didn't want any extra surprises in the delivery room.  So, after much discussion with my husband we decided this time around we would find out the gender.
To most people this would be the end of the discussion, but for me it brought about more feelings of guilt.  I knew that we had decided that we didn't want to find out with any of our babies.  The fact that we were making a different decision for this child meant that we were already treating this baby different just because of his/her sister, which is something I find myself struggling with on a daily basis.  I felt like I was weak - giving in - and letting my husband down.  He reassured me that we cannot compare these situations - each is a completely different set of circumstances, and whether we found out in the delivery room or sooner - we were going to find out together.  (Have I mentioned how much I love that guy?)
With Olive's birthday coming up we decided to include this baby in her celebration - to make it a true family affair.  We had the doctor write down what the baby was and then gave it to our dear friend who was making Olive's birthday cake.  Inside she would surprise us with either pink or blue so that when we cut into the cake on Olive's birthday - we would know if we were celebrating with her little brother or little sister.  We both had our suspicions - and around 9:30pm on Olive's birthday we dug in.
Even though I was expecting a boy - it still has taken some getting used to (which I may get into more on another post).  After letting the news sink in a for a couple of days I can tell you that we are thrilled to be welcoming Olive's little brother to our family later this year.  God certainly has blessed us and we know that this little boy will fit in perfectly!
*And we welcome any name suggestions as boy names have always been difficult for us!*