Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Waiting Room

I'm not good at reading while I'm waiting. Especially in a hospital waiting room. I always take a book along thinking I'll get some reading done during these "quiet" minutes. But my heart is anxious so I watch.

There's a group of people sporting the same t-shirts. They're wrinkled like they're brand new. One woman is knitting, and two of the men are busy on their phones. They're chatting and look like they're glad to be together.

I read another paragraph.

There's a man sitting to my right. He's all by himself. He has a red purse with him. I'm assuming he's waiting for his wife. The purse looks heavy as he totes it to the front desk to check on his wife.

I re-read the same paragraph.

Starbucks is right across the hall to my left. The line never seems to end. It moves quickly but people just keep filing in for their $4.00 coffees. Several walk past me with their red cups looking like lizards. Their tongues barely touching the edge of the lid. And then not. And then trying again. They're all anxious to sip their fresh beverage but they know, the coffee's practically scalding. The sign at the front register says so. And most of them have been burned before and know they'll regret it.

There's a woman sitting in the coffee area. She's wearing a red turtleneck sweater and is talking really loudly into her phone. She's shouting about how she feels like hell and can't seem to get rid of her hacking cough. I reach for my hand sanitizer kind of wishing I'd brought a mask.

The women from the group of t-shirts join around a table. I wish I could see what their shirts say. Out comes a deck of cards. They shuffle and deal. No one gives directions as they've all played this game before. The cards snapping together as they are shuffled seems so loud in this anxious little room.

I read another paragraph. I dig through my purse to find a pen to underline something that I should remember. I look around waiting for the recovery door to open with a nurse telling me I can go back to see my baby. But it's just another delivery guy. They sure get a lot of packages back there.

There's a woman in a blue vest at another table. She's right next to the free waiting room coffee. She's on her phone, looking through a book, writing, then erasing, then writing again. She pops the top off her pink highlighter and makes some marks in her book. I can't tell if she's working or studying.

I read on. This book is really good and I should probably read it when I'm not so distracted. This is some good stuff that I'm going to need to process.

A man wearing black dress pants and black shoes walks by. He's supporting the Hawkeyes with his University of Iowa jacket. He sits right next to the woman studying at the table. She doesn't even look up to acknowledge him. He sits with his head in his hands. She puts her work away and takes out her phone. It doesn't look like they know each other but it seems strange that he would sit so close to someone he doesn't know. Maybe they do know each other but have nothing to say.

Finally, I take my turn in the Starbucks line. I'm thankful for the gift card in my pocket. I order my coffee and two pieces of pumpkin bread. My baby will be hungry when I see him in recovery. He loves food so I know he'll appreciate this treat.

I return to "my" seat, glad that someone didn't take it. Now I become a lizard as I wait for my coffee to cool-off enough to drink. But it smells so good and I can't resist, and I sip burning the tip of my tongue just like I have so many times before.

The group around the table are giving each other hugs as the nurse updates them on their loved one. "No bowel resection." There are tears of joy and looks of relief. They seem more energetic as they shuffle and deal their cards.

I read over the words I've underlined. I read the next page and the next.

I look up from my book and there's a little old woman about two feet away staring at me. She has a hospital badge on so I ask her if she's looking for Caleb's mom. She looks confused. She asks if he had an MRI and I answer yes. I'm the one she's looking for. She gives me instructions to Recovery II as if she's said them a million times. I don't hear half of what she says but say thank you as I grab my book and coffee. I look over at the man with the red purse. He looks slightly defeated that he hasn't been invited to go to recovery.

I'm thankful to see my baby smiling on the nurse's lap as she rocks with him. I'm glad he took his little blanket. She hands him over and says he handled the anesthesia well and that I should sit with him for a few minutes before heading to our next appointment.

I sit on the recliner with my boy in my lap. My feet don't touch the floor and I probably look younger than I feel. I offer small bites of pumpkin bread to chubby hands and the look of delight is priceless. He refuses the milk in his bottle as he claps for more bread. I sit thankful for this chubby-cheeked boy.

After about fifteen minutes, I gather our things and give the nurses my sincere thanks as we head out the door. To another waiting room.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Our Twin Story: Part 1 - We're What?!

I really don't even know how to start this post. :) The twins' first birthday is coming up and what a better way to celebrate than to tell you our story...their story. But I have to start at the beginning of the journey.

In April 2010 we lost a precious baby boy, Elihu, at 15 weeks. The grief hit me like I'd never have expected and sent me into battle with God. I knew He had a plan but I wasn't ready to trust that it was a good plan. I didn't want to let go of my little boy. But God faithfully continued to pursue me and He so lovingly gave me Elihu's name. We had a heaven party to celebrate his little life in October 2010 and shortly after that we found out we were expecting again. Instead of falling head over heels for this baby I guarded my heart and I still regret that. I didn't allow myself to fall in love just in case it didn't work out...and it didn't. We lost that baby, Elliot, at 10 weeks. Instead of devastation and anger towards God I felt guilty for not allowing myself to be vulnerable to love. And I still hurt, just in a different way. I trusted that God had a good plan for my life, for my family and for my babies, but I felt lost.

I spent most of 2011 working on healing my body after medical procedures, sudden hormonal changes, thyroid issues. And when we got the "ok" to start trying again in November, I didn't want to. I was scared because I knew that if we lost a third baby I wouldn't be able to handle another pregnancy after that. But we went ahead and started "trying."

I noticed that my period was about a week late. I called Jonathan to pick up a pregnancy test on his way home from work. I peed on the little stick and waited for the full three minutes before was negative. And I was disappointed. I guess I was more ready than I had thought. But instead of being angry I cried out to God. And I mean, I cried. I finally asked Him that if it was not in His plan for us to have more children, to please oh please take this desire away from me. I was ready to give in fully to His will. I woke the next morning with swollen eyes from bawling into the night and Jonathan looked at me like, "What happened to you? Were you crying last night?" Yep, he slept through the whole thing. :)

About a week later, I still hadn't had my period so I thought I might as well pee on that second stick that came in our "two-pack" of pregnancy tests. I left the stick in the bathroom and proceeded to go about my day. About a half-hour later I went into the bathroom with fresh towels and saw that stick still sitting there. And it was positive. WHAT?!

I called Jonathan and told him to pick up another "two-pack" and come :) And they were both positive too. I made the official call to our OB and spoke to the nurse. The rule at our clinic is that you don't get to see the doctor until you're 12 weeks along, but since we had complications our last two pregnancies they let me in at 8 weeks with an ultrasound to make sure "something was there." What some awful words to hear. But we remained hopeful.

In fact, that night, a week after my last bawl-fest, I cried out to God again. I boldly approached His throne of grace and pleaded with Him to give us twins. I told Him that our desire was to have four kids and I didn't think that I would be able to handle another pregnancy if this one went well, let alone if this one ended the way our last two did. I pleaded for Him to let me keep this baby and to please make me pregnant with twins (they do not run in our family). I woke the next morning with swollen eyes and Jonathan looked at me and knew that I had been crying the night before while he was asleep. :) I told him that I asked God for twins. He looked at me like I was crazy. He told me what most people would've said if I told them about my prayers, that I should just be thankful for a healthy baby, that I was pretty gutsy to ask God for twins when I should just be happy to have a healthy pregnancy. I told my dear sweet husband that God already knew what was on my heart and that I wasn't afraid to come and ask Him for the "impossible."

On December 28th, 2011 we walked into that OB clinic with a full bladder anxious hearts. The last two times I was in this clinic, they did not end well. The anxiety was almost choking me. I had to remind myself to keep calm and breathe. I couldn't look at the magazines of pregnant celebrities. I had a hard time being in the same room with all those pregnant women. I was so glad that Jonathan was with me. After waiting for about 45 minutes, my bladder that was full when I arrived was about to burst. My husband and I laughed, but not too hard, about me needing to empty my bladder just a little bit. The only problem was that I didn't know if I could stop once I started. :) I know this is weird to share, but there's a reason for it later. So I did. And it did not feel good. I emptied about half of my bladder and went back to waiting for my name to be called.

Finally, I was called back for our ultrasound. I may have looked calm but I was a nervous wreck. The tech left so I could change into a gown and I was almost to the point of an anxiety attack. Jonathan held my hand and prayed for me and our baby. I was so scared to see another lifeless image on the screen. To see a baby, with no heartbeat is horrifying. Praying helped to remind me who God is and that no matter what I knew God was in control and that He loved me. The tech came in and put that cold jelly on my belly. We stared intently at the screen. Eight weeks is pretty early to have an ultrasound so it was hard to see what was going on. The tech ultrasounded my belly for a bit and then said, "I'm going to need a closer look. Don't worry. It looks fine, I just need a better look." I thought she was lying to us and I was panicked. I was also mad that we were probably going to be charged for two ultrasounds because I needed a potty break earlier while waiting. I was allowed to empty my bladder and when I returned the tech started the second ultrasound. Jonathan and I returned to staring at the screen. And that's when I saw it. I looked at the tech and she smiled at me. I said, "Is that..." And she said, "Twins. You're having identical twins!"

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Funny Confession Ecard: I've been overthinking about otherthinking again.

I've heard the word shy defined as "a fear of social judgement." Introverts get energized from time alone whereas extroverts get energized when they're with people.

I'd say I'm about 75% introvert, which leaves 25% of me needing time with my family, my friends, my church, and ministering to students. But since I've been confined to the couch, the hospital, and my home, I've noticed that my introvert is taking a shift towards shyness. I'm becoming a recluse. It's even hard for me to write, which has always been an outlet for me, because I'm afraid of offending someone: making myself look pathetic or like a saint (I am neither). 

Introvert and extrovert are at war within. :)

My introvert is calling for space away from my littles - little hands, little spills, little diapers, little cries, little discipline-issues. There's no escaping people. I shower with the bathroom door open so I can hear any fights, any alarms beeping, any crying.

But my extrovert crying out for attention too. I miss worshiping with fellow believers. Sure listening to the sermon online is great, but worship is lacking without the people of God around you singing praises and crying out to God together. I miss my friends.

And then shy creeps in. Do I still have friends? Have I been replaced? Is it socially acceptable to talk about your struggles? Do people even remember who I am? What do they think about what I'm wearing? What about the weight I've gained since having the twins? Will people still think I'm funny? Did they ever think I was funny?

I think all of this adds up to leaving my heart open to a huge attack from Satan. Feelings of annoyance and frustration for my family. Feelings of jealousy and comparison toward people in my community. Feelings of inadequacy and insignificance creep into my soul. These are not healthy nor helpful feelings.

How do I battle this? How do I embrace the life that God has given me? How do I conquer my feelings and live with Truth in my mind and my heart?

The only solution is the Word. My husband often reminds me that those things, my doubts and fears, are not true. Those thoughts of insignificance and inadequacy are lies and I need to block with Scripture. Philippians 4:8 is one of those powerful verses that I need to meditate on when I have those negative thoughts and feelings. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

I am learning to accept that this is the journey that God has me on and there's no use in fighting it. I need to find joy in my little home and in my ministry to little hearts and hands. I need to acknowledge the significant role that I am playing in my sons' lives. I need to be at peace with the way God made me and that I have value because I'm His. This is no longer my life but Christ living through me and when I let Him fill me I will shine and there's confidence in that.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Today I Will Choose Joy

I need to repeat this aloud to myself multiple times a day.

Like when I hear matchbox cars being scraped across my hardwood floor. That is such a grating sound. I want to take good care of the things God has given me. And when I hear that sound all I can think about is the scratches that are being left behind.

So I say to myself, "Today I will choose joy."

I think about the little boy that is "driving" those cars. I think about how tender his heart is and how much fun he's having while he plays. I take the time to listen to him singing "10,000 Reasons" while he races cars back and forth over the floor. I remind myself that people are more important than things.

I also add "purchase a rug for the bedroom" to my shopping list. ;)

Wood floors are pretty trivial around here with the babies and the monitors and the tanks of oxygen. But sometimes a pet peeve can be even more irritating when it seems like we can't even "control" the small things. I am thankful for all my little boys and all the "excitement" that they can cause. ;)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Desperate for More

I love Sally Clarkson. And I love her books.

I appreciated going through The Ministry of Motherhood along with Good Morning Girls. It was such an encouraging reminder that what we do at home with our littles is important and eternal. Our home and our family is our ministry. Whether I'm praying with my little boy after he's been disciplined to wiping yet another tiny hiney - I am ministering. God loves our mommy hearts and Sally's been so great at encouraging them. :)

She has a new book out, Desperate, that she wrote with Sarah Mae. I ordered my copy a few days ago, but am really looking forward to it. This has been a difficult season for me. 12 weeks of bedrest through the spring, spending 12 weeks of summer in the NICU, and being "trapped" in my house since August 8th and seeing no "relief" until RSV season is over at the end of May has been tiring on my heart. And it's been lonely.

But I've noticed something, there are a lot of lonely moms out there. Moms that are tired from racing around in their vehicles delivering one child to this and another child to that. Moms that have children with special needs that require more time, patience, care and understanding. Moms that don't have family nearby to help when you just need a 10 minute walk around the block to keep your sanity. Moms that feel the need to keep up a perfect home, decorated, clean and inviting, but too tired to have anyone over to enjoy it. There are moms who are exhausted from disciplining - oh, so tired.

We all love our children and would do anything for them but it's a tiring and often thankless job. We are desperate for more. We are desperate for God.

I'm so looking forward to reading Desperate by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson. And the authors are hosting a give away of a spa/mentoring weekend in Colorado Springs!! Make sure you head over to the Desperate website to find out how to be entered in the give away.  **contest over**