Monday, April 27, 2009

Up late/early

So, it's 4:28am and I'm up. I'm up for a variety of reasons-- my hips are killing me, and I won't get more specific than that except to say that I have discovered how amazingly well the Lord equipped the human body to adjust to birth. Everything loosens up over the months leading up to the Big Day, including ligaments which are fairly important for posture and comfort, but which would block baby from making it successfully through the pelvic bones. I'm constantly amazed with the miraculous nature of gestation...now to discover the joys of birth... :)

I'll go into the hospital tonight where they will give me a "cervix softener" and then I will sleep and in the morning, they will wake me with pitocin. I know-- sounds decadent, doesn't it? I'm being induced because this little guy is ready to GO-- Benjamin (we finally named him!) is 9lbs and ready to make his debut and we're [mostly] ready for him. I take comfort in this: whatever is left to do that I was planning on doing over the next two weeks, both school and house-related, it doesn't compare to how prepared our hearts are for him. We're ready. We're intimidated, overwhelmed, and blessed beyond belief.

It's almost impossible to touch the awesomeness of a for-real miracle happening in your life. I never thought I'd be able to be a mother. I wanted a baby, but I was told by at least two doctors that it would be difficult-- one, when I was a teenager, and the second, about three years ago. Both relating to endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome. But this summer, I cried out to the Lord and He heard me. I cried out to the Lord in July and asked for prayer and then sort of...well... forgot about it... next thing you know, I've taken four pregnancy tests because the people around me just knew. Kristin had a dream, Joy just took one look at me after I said I didn't feel well, Lucy had a feeling... I waited on the Lord and He heard my cry!

And now, here the child comes! And my heart is like Hannah's, and even though we are not naming him Samuel, he is a Samuel in my heart. I cried out to the Lord and I have promised to give him back to the Lord--

27For this boy I prayed, and the LORD has given me my petition which I asked of Him.
28"So I have also dedicated him to the LORD; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the LORD " 1Samuel 1

And that's why, even though I feel completely on edge with fear of the pain of childbirth, I know that I will not die but live to proclaim the works of the Lord-- I know that this child will be fine because he has been a miracle since day one. I have prayed that he would be filled with the Holy Spirit the way that John the Baptist was, from the womb, and that he would love the Lord young and that as intensely as I felt the Holy Spirit as a little girl, he would, too.

OH, I have so many hopes for this little person. And I know that the ones that are sprung from a heart that hopes for his salvation and his character and his spirit, the Lord hears them. I have no idea if he will be rich or poor, smart or...not, handsome or not so much, but I believe this with all of my heart: he will know the Lord and he will live his life for Him. Everything will spring from that.

But tonight, I'm aware that I am on the edge of the biggest physical pain I have ever felt and it's intimidating. I'm happy to be done with this phase-- pregnancy-- for now, but I know that the only way out is through, and I'm trying to keep my head down and push through. Practically speaking, Caroline was telling me about another friend of hers who prays before labor that the Lord would just remove her fears-- 2Timothy 1:7 says that God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, of love, and a sound mind-- and then she said something that I have not forgotten: contractions last about a minute. I can do anything for a minute.

Alright. I'm off. Going back to bed to see if I can't sleep in in the morning-- my last day of school was Friday! I'm worried about a thousand things having to do with school and my students, but I know they'll be alright and I have the most amazing co-workers who will pitch in if things get impossible. I had to laugh, though, when I looked at my "disability" forms (how weird!)-- there's a place where the doctor wrote that I am to do absolutely NO work related to my job over these next 6 weeks. It's awesome to think about, but in the same way that I've heard a mother is never off duty, neither is a teacher. Not really. Not during the school year, even if she's flat on her back.

But giving birth to and figuring out how to take care of my son and how to be parents together with my husband are my priorities now.

My son.

Oh my gosh.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

More "dumb things"

Okay, so I'm telling you now that you'll think I made this one up. You really will, because it's just that good.

We're gearing up to read To Kill A Mockingbird. I was basically giving them a run-down about how the next few weeks are going to look, before I'm gone on maternity leave, and one of my boys raised his hand to ask a question.

CD: Mrs. Swaney, is that book about an alcoholic?

Me: Well, not really...[insert a few sentences of teacher talk]. Why?

CD: Then why's it called Tequilla Mockingbird?

Not kidding. It brought the house down. But it makes sense-- it does sorta sound like that, and he'd never seen the book before...

Total Meltdown

Originally written 3/30/09

So, I finally had a dooooozie of a meltdown! It was like my own little personal hurricane, and it went something like this...

Don had been out of town at a conference for a couple of days and had to take my car, so I was staying at mom and dad's and they were carting my tummy and me around everywhere (my dad took me to school and picked me up after! Just like back in the day!!). My routine was thrown off a little-- it was a DREAM being so close to school in the morning. My daily commute is (admittedly, short compared to others) about 15-20 minutes across town (traffice, idiot drivers, etc), so it was great to get to work in about 5 minutes, and it put me early every day. I ate breakfast sitting down at the kitchen table (!), put my mascara on INSIDE the house (!!), etc.
So, Friday morning I was up EARLY and ate breakfast around 6:30 (normally that happens on the way to school). I did all my morning routine stuff and then headed to school. But I realized at some point in the middle of second period that I hadn't felt the baby move since sometime in the middle of the night. So I drank my water really fast and sort of poked around on my tummy for a couple of minutes-- the kids were doing group work and not paying any attention to me. Well, nothing happened. Normally, I can at least feel a little twinge or poke...nothing.

So, of course, my imagination began to rev its engine.

I called my friend Mini'imah, the 9th grade counselor, and she came down to watch the kids while I went to down some juice or something cold and then lie down in our work room for 5 minutes. Well, there was no juice so I drank cold Vitamin Water, which had NO effect at all. That's when I could feel the tears starting and I knew, oh dang. It's getting ready to start.

Now here's the thing: I'm tired all of the time now. I don't really feel "bad"-- I mean, I'm pretty much uncomfortable all the time, but it's not the end of the world. I'm not nauseated, I don't have screaming headaches-- I can take achy and uncomfortable. But I'm also 34 weeks pregnant-- almost at BIRTH!!-- and am flooded with hormones, I guess, and couple that with tired and the fact that I couldn't get Don on the phone (no service-- thanks TMobile) and the baby was really NOT cooperating, I just started to cry.

What if??? The "what if" scenario is a heartless, soulless, bottomless pit. There is no END to the way a "what if" sentence can be played out... and my brain seems endlessly willing to cooperate with that always-losing-end mentality. What if he's dead? What if he dies and Don isn't here? What if he's in pain? What if...

4/4/09 I had to end there and forgot to finish!

So Mini'imah got me to the doctor and mom met us there and after about two seconds of prodding with the ultrasound thingy, junior woke up-- the doctor could feel him bump the ultrasound thing, i could feel it, mom could see it, I think Elizabeth saw it (my midwife). RELIEF. He was okay.

The verse that keeps running through my mind and heart is 2 Timothy 1:7-- God has not given us a spirit of fear, but rather, he has given us a spirit of power and of love and a sound mind. He has already given it to us. RIGHT NOW. It is mine to walk in, to own, to embrace: it will all be alright-- no matter what happens. It will be alright. And I'm not living in some sort of whacked out religious la-la land. It really will be okay. Somehow.

And for today, it honestly is. According to my midwife, the baby is just getting bigger so his movements are different than they were before. As far as that morning goes, I'm pretty sure I know what happened: I was staying with mom and dad and eating breakfast a LOT earlier than normal (at 6:45 instead of 7:30, on the way to work). That morning, he probably did his morning routine while I was dressing or drying my hair and I just didn't pay attention. He was napping exactly the way he normally would. If I had gotten hold of some orange juice or a coke, he would have woken right up.

So I drank a coke that afternoon and he kicked the mess out of me the rest of the day :)

I am determined not to give into fear again. Which is both easy and hard at this point. Easy because I only have a few weeks left-- 30-something days (one of my students is keeping a daily count). Hard because now I'm pushing down (waaay down) a gnawing panic attack over labor.

But that verse is my verse. And the billions of women who have survived it is a pretty convincing argument that all will be well, too.

Alright! OFF to sleep for a while this afternoon! We're on SPRING BREAK!! Time to do some hard-core nesting :)