Tuesday, August 28, 2012

8 months of pregnancy in retrospect

As I officially approach the final weeks of this pregnancy, I am reminiscing on how easy this pregnancy has been for me and thanking the good Lord for allowing me to experience a "normal" pregnancy.

After my huge ordeal with twins, in which I experienced nearly every complication known to man in regards to the pregnant body, I was terrified when I found out I was pregnant yet again.  Fears of constant vomitting, weeks in the hospital, rashes, high blood pressure, bed rest, complications with baby, and other various things began to swirl around in my head and I really wasn't looking forward to doing it all over again.  I actually cried for a few days just thinking about the misery of my pregnancy experience.

Well, now that I have made it through to the 8th month of this pregnancy, I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised and grateful, and I think I now understand what normal pregnancy feels like.  It really isn't too bad.  In fact, I might say that it has been somewhat enjoyable!  I only experienced a short stint of morning sickness, a week of high blood pressure (due to me taking on a job that was too much stress), and some discomfort in this homestretch (which I am sure is totally normal).

I don't feel like I know baby Kamryn the same way I knew the twins at this time.  This is mostly due to the fact that I have been kept busy by the twins, our cross-state move, and fewer visits to the doctor and sonograms.  I don't even know what she looks like.  But maybe it will be a sweet surprise when we actually meet her in less than 4 weeks!  Now, if I could only get the nursery wrapped up, bottles and clothes washed and diapers purchased...I would be good to go!  Until then, I will enjoy my pregnant belly for the final time.  No more babies for us after this!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Mommy Dreams

Little girls often have a way of dreaming what their perfect adult life will look like.  For me, I remember dreaming that I would be married by 23 with 2 kids by 30, perfectly spaced out 3 years apart.  As I matured in age and reached high school graduation, my dream stayed the same but included more details, such as what my husband would look like and how my kids would behave.  By the time I was pregnant (before we found out I was carrying multiples), I would dream of a perfectly well behaved, Christ-like child who always responded to me with "yes ma'am" or "no ma'am" and of course obeyed my every command.  I envisioned how things would be for me as a mommy; how I would never do what so-and-so did with their child, and how I would hold everything together seamlessly without much struggle because I am a planner and always have been.  And of course everything would go according to my plan.

That, my friends, is called delusion!  How silly I was to think that I knew everything before "everything" happened.  I remember praying daily that God would bestow parenthood upon Kris and I.  After all, it took us over a year to conceive.  So you can imagine the joy we experienced when we first saw a positive pregnancy test, which was confirmed by the doctor.  I thanked God graciously and promised to raise this beautiful child to the best of my ability.  I still, however, thought that I was the one in control.  Until the day of our ultrasound and we found out that God has a serious sense of humor.  He had given us TWO babies.  "How funny", I thought, "are you punishing me?  You know I cannot handle two babies at one time.  This is not how my plan was to go.  Remember...I wanted two children, spaced out by 3 years, not 3 minutes." 

I can't imagine what my thoughts must have felt like to our Heavenly Father.  He must have been so disappointed in me for feeling this way about His master plan for my life.  I can only relate to the extent of when one of my children disappoints me by disobeying.  I have to believe that God was much more disappointed in me than I have ever been with my children.

When the twins reached the age of 1, I thought that I had developed a pretty good plan and that everything was going accordingly.  They were following my instructions and schedule perfectly and I just knew that I was certainly not going to have to face the "terrible two's" if I kept up the hard work.  Oh silly me!  While my children are well behaved, for the most part, they are still normal children who get into things they aren't supposed to, fight me on the little things, and of course throw temper tantrums when they don't get what they want.  I, however, have been under the lie that I am to blame for this behavior and that somehow I am an unfit mother because my children aren't following my perfectly laid out plan that I established before they were born.

It has taken me months of personal frustration and unnecessary comparison of myself and children to my friends and their children, to finally realize that I am NOT in control of this life.  I have failed to ask the Lord how He feels about me and my children.  Or how He would instruct me over the hurdles of the day.  I have failed to step back and laugh at the unpredictability of each day with twins.  I have seriously failed in experiencing pure joy through my hardships.  I have allowed a lie of a "perfect life" and "perfect children" and "perfect situations" to overshadow my abundant blessings.

What I realize today, is that my dreams have not lined up with God's plan for my life.  And that is OK!  It is ok for me to be blessed with 3 children under the age of two, rather than having 2 children "perfectly" spaced out in age.  It's ok for me to change a dirty diaper on the couch, rather than on the changing table (of which I previously told myself that I would never do).  It is certainly ok for my children to be upset and act like 1 1/2 year olds, because they are children who don't comprehend things the way I do.  And is is ok for me to live a life that doesn't resemble the norm of what my friends are doing with their children.

Friends, if my lessons can do anything for you, I pray that they would encourage you to stop placing judgement on yourself as a mother, and to not place any comparison on your life to other mothers.  Sure so-and-so's kids always have the cutest bows and matching outfits and take perfect pictures.  While it may seem that your kids are unruly, always messy and can never take that sweet picture that you had hoped to capture.  I assure you that these things do not matter.  What matters is that you are happy, your kids are happy and your family is happy.  All other things aside....pure joy begins with the Father.  Knowing that He has a master plan for my life is all I need to remember and to let my dreams of the perfect life die.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

When all you can do is cry!

Moving from city to city is like second nature to me.  I have been somewhat of a nomad since I first left my parents' nest at the young age of 17.  The thought of the new city, new adventure, new people, and new experiences always excited me.  Of course I always moved when either single or married with no kids.  Yes, each move brought new challenges, such as a new job search, or finding a place to live.  But nothing was ever too stressful that it absolutely made me go crazy.

Maybe it's my pregnant hormones that are raging in this 6th month of pregnancy.  Perhaps it is the thought of moving with 2 toddlers and figuring out how to facilitate that.  Or maybe it's the stress of trying to find a new pediatrician, new OBGyn, and hospital to deliver this new baby, but I am about to have a mental and emotional breakdown.  Gone are the days of excitement over a new move and in rushes the fear of not being capable to handle it all.

As most of my friends know, I am a type A personality who likes structure and routine in my life.  I go a little nutty at the thought of the unknown.  My sweet husband is stressed about the normal things: his new job, finding a place to live, getting us moved to our new city, and making sure that I stay happy.  I don't think he knows about all the little things that a move with children entails.  I find myself running in circles, trying to figure out what takes the most priority. 

At the end of the day, I realize that I am a vastly different person than I was pre-children and my ability to multi-task has increased 10-fold.  But really, all I want to do is grab a strong margarita, sit on the patio and cry about the insanity of it all! 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

5 years of moving forward and pressing on towards a sweet life!

I once heard a saying "Time heals the pain."  I laughed.  In the midst of pain, time doesn't seem to be in the hurt person's favor; at least it wasn't in mine.  I am coming up on 5 years of grief....painful and very complicated grief.  March 26, 2012 will mark 5 years of time that has elapsed in my life without my parents in it.  When I think back to that dreaded day, I never would have imagined that it would take 5 years for me to reach the place that I have.  Nor would I have ever have dreamed that my life would be as sweet as it is without my parents.  Sounds contradictory doesn't it?  I thought so too!

Right now, I look at my husband and children and see a life that is beautiful.  I see something that was given to me by way of blessings that can only come from above.  I see myself as a strong, confident, independent woman who trusts herself, the Lord, and her husband.  On March 26, 2007, I was a lost, broken, scared, and very lonely woman who never thought that by loving the Lord and placing all my trust in His hands, would I ever emerge from the ashes as a wife to a supportive and loving husband, nor a mother to two beautiful children.  I thought myself to be unworthy.  Because, after all, who would want to marry someone who had such a dramatic and tragic event take place?  I remember crying out in desperation to the Lord, saying "Please God, take care of me.  Please make me strong enough to endure the pain that my heart aches with.  Please remove the images and the memories of this horrific event from my mind so that I can see life with fresh eyes.  Please heal me.  Heal me from the inside out and show me what I can be."

Time heals pain.  It does.  But so does the Lord.  In fact, had I never turned to the Lord on this very day and left it all at His feet for Him to pick up and make whole, I am quite certain that my life would look strangely different at this 5 year mark.  I have visions of me being in a rehab facility, or strung out on drugs just trying to numb the pain, or worse....dead. 

I recall the day that God brought Kris into my life.  I would have never met my husband had my mom not tragically lost her life.  It was by way of a blessing that the Lord moved in my life and brought me to Kris.  At this time, I was taking many kinds of pain killers and anxiety pills, drinking a bottle of wine a night, shopping my pain away, and living life by way of survival.  I had even contemplated suicide.  This man, my husband, walked in and helped me save my life.  He convinced me that I was on the road to being an alcoholic, that I didn't need ALL of the medications I was taking, and helped me to see through the fog and learn to rely more on the Lord than I thought I was.  You see, I prayed every night to the Lord after loosing my mom, and felt as though I had not received an answer.  I was impatient.  Kris was a blessing to me that God brought into my life to take care of me and turn my heart back to Him and teach me patience.

I recall the day that I married this man.  Without my parents in sight, and with a lot of pain and hurt of missing them, I walked down the isle to the best thing that happened to me since the last day I spent having lunch with my mom.  I recall the frustration and agony of not being able to get pregnant when we wanted to, and thinking...."God, I have been through enough....please allow me happiness."  I remember the loss of a baby thinking that my body wasn't equipped to be a mom and I was inadequate.  Feeling rejected and alone and hurting from the void, I turned again to the Lord and sought His comfort.  It was my husband who had reminded me that God has His own plan and that I needed to trust it.  And then I remember finding out I had sustained a pregnancy and it was twins.  Both Kris and I laughed at God's humor.  I remember the tearful nights of juggling the twins and thinking "I just can't do this without my mom."  And then woke up one day to a new found confidence within myself that allowed me to trust my motherly instincts and learn that God was beside me through it and Kris and I weren't alone through the journey.  I remember the day that we found out we were pregnant again.  That was a funny day!  Kris and I knew that against all the 99.9% odds, if we were indeed pregnant, then it was because God believed that we needed another blessing in our lives.  And I look back at it all and think of the fullness and happiness that has occurred along the path of these 5 years.  All without my parents. 

Indeed, these 5 years have been the most fulfilling, blessing filled, awe inspiring, and action packed years of my life.  It saddens to me to think that I felt myself unworthy of love.  Unworthy of happiness and unworthy of a healthy and happy family.  Back on March 26, 2007, I could have never imagined life moving forward without my parents.  I certainly couldn't imagine the life I have now.  Through the happiness of the past 5 years, there have also been many personal struggles of grief and agony.  Learning to deal with the raw emotions while "in the moment" has been my biggest accomplishment thus far.  At the 1 year mark, I was incapable of functioning as a whole person.  I thought that after 1 year, the pain would be gone but I had largely underestimated grief.  At 3 years I thought it was silly that I was still needing to take the day off work to regroup and handle my emotions.  I had largely underestimated grief.  At 5 years, I still struggle with the emotions, but I feel that in this past year, I have learned the value of dealing with something, rather than emotionally reacting.  I have learned that nobody has answers but the Lord heals the hurt.  I have learned that even my husband doesn't have the capacity to meet me where I am with my pain, but God does every time.  And I have learned, above all, that life moves on.  Indeed, life moves on.  During my journey of grief over the past 5 years, many times have I wanted time to stop ticking.  Many times have I wanted to go back to the way things were before that tragic phone call.  But now, I see that my beautiful blessings would have never come, had I been stuck in the past and not pressed forward, through the pain, through the muck while desperately seeking the love and comfort of the Lord.  I am so happy that God transformed my life.  I am so thrilled that He thought me worthy of a husband and of children; that He blessed me with trials deep and wide enough that I would seek His heart with wreckless abandonment and cast out all other temporary methods of happiness; that He would teach me and grow me and encourage me to be the best wife and mom that He knows that I can be and that He would heal me from the inside out.

At this 5 year mark of grief, I can now choose to celebrate the life that has unfolded because of the loss of my mother's life.  It was once said to me "it was as if your mom had to die so that you could live."  This saying made no sense to me at the time it was spoken, but it makes the most sense now.  I am finally capable of living my life and being happy in it, without asking "why did this happen to me?" or "how will I ever move on without them?"  Sounds crazy that I would have a sweet life after tragedy?  Trust the Lord, and He shall provide you with the desires of your heart! - Psalm 37:4