Tuesday, September 27, 2005


The end of pregnancy brings one word to mind:

~ pressure in my lower back and belly so strong that some days I think I'll about split. Libby did this dance for two weeks. I know it can take awhile...

~ pressure to have the baby when it will be most convenient for the help that's involved. After this week is up, there's no telling when my mom will be able to come out to help. We haven't seen her since May, before that, January. The running joke with Matt is always "Don't have it on this date, I have a meeting," or "After service on Sunday would be fine." He's always joking, but I do take to heart his schedule and it's demands. My batting average has been pretty good the last two time, avoiding the opening weekend of our new worship center, and a massive men's conference that Matt was involved in.

~ pressure created by high and low weather systems that move through the area. Rainstorms bring on the false labor like you wouldn't believe. My water broke with Izak during an October storm. There's a big front coming through tomorrow...

~ pressure to not say (or even entertain) half of what I think

~ pressure to keep on routine with my children when some days I'd just like to quit and go away

~ pressure to remember "control issues" and submit to God's plan, not mine

~ pressure to remind God that my plan makes a whole lot more sense

~ pressure to keep a stiff upper lip when, each day, I think about my girlfriends back in Buffalo and remember that this time will stretch my dependence on God... great... pressure AND stretching...

~ pressure to not cry... much

~ pressure to learn and change because of what I've learned, not merely whine about what the problems are

~ pressure to reach out

So for me, it's hard to avoid pressure at the end of pregnancy. It strikes at the very heart of my "wanting things just so." I marvel at the thought that God, and only God knows the exact moment when this baby will be born. He knows the lessons that He wants me to pull from this time. He knows where this particular path leads. It's easy for me to look back and say with a small degree of confidence, "If this had never happened to me, I can see what I might have become...", but there is no way to say, "And in the future I can imagine that these events will lead to...". It's a good thing to learn to relax in the knowledge that God is the only one in the future, and there's absolutely no pressure in that.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

The Power of Observation

Izak was out on our back patio the other day. Through the open slider I heard him excitedly exclaiming, "A frog! A frog! It's a frog!" We had seen a brown frog or two over the past few weeks, so I walked out to see if it was a returning visitor, one who obviously had no fear of toddlers.

I saw Izak crouched over the pavement, studying, tracking, but nothing that resembled a frog. "No, it's not a frog, Buddy."

Then with the same pitch of excitement he cried out, "A spider! It's a spider! Look at it! A spider! A spider!" Looking closer I answered, "No, I don't see a spider either."

He was quiet for a second and then he asked, "What is it?"

"Well, Z, that's an ant."

"An ant. Hi, Ant."

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The Moon

Izak is fascinated, fascinated with the sky. He can name it all - blue sky, night sky, stars, shooting stars, helicopter, airplanes, birds, geese, clouds (black, rain, white), rainbows, rain, hail, snow. But his favorite feature is the moon. He has a wonderful memory, so I've been teaching him the subtleties between the different types of moon. White moon, circle, crescent, wolf moon, blue moon, and the newest fascination, a harvest moon. His bedroom is on the east side of the house, with windows facing the perfect direction for a moon gazer. Since going to his big bed, I've had to grow used to the notion that just because he's in his room doesn't mean he's asleep. He loves to fiddle around with his CD player, listening to various discs that I've burned for him. (Had to take away Andrea Bocelli last week... Ave Maria being sung at full-force by a toddler is just not conducive to quiet moments.) When he's finally ready to turn in, he will turn of his CD player and quietly fall asleep. Just like that. He's a terrific boy.

Tonight Matt is out for the evening at a meeting. I put both kids down by 7:30p. I've been noticing that the moon is very full and bright the last few nights, and this has been of particular interest to Z. Once or twice I would open his door to see if he was asleep because his room was quiet, only to find him tucked under the shade and blinds, nose pressed to the glass. When he hears me enter he begins to explain, "See it? There's the moon. The big white moon. See it?"

Tonight I thought I would give him a treat and leave his shade and blinds up so he could watch the rise of the moon... but to my surprise, there was no moon to be seen at 7:30p. More to my disappointment than his, I'm afraid. I told him, "You can watch for it, but stay on your bed and listen to music." At 8:30p I went to check his quiet room. He was curled up at the head of the bed, fanny in the air, winding down to dreamland. From the angle I was standing at, I spied the coveted night prize rising behind a young maple in our neighbor's yard. "There it is! There's the moon! Look, Izak!" And I lifted him up to a stand to see the top of the moon in the east. "See? It was coming up, just later than Mommy thought." He began to whisper, "See it? There it is. The moon. A harvest moon." Sure enough, tonight had a beautiful orange sphere, slightly lop-sided, but rising to her place for my son to admire her. "You can watch the moon rise, just please stay on your bed. You may have to stand to see it, and hold the headboard like this (demonstrating), but don't fall. Enjoy, Buddy. I'll be back later."

At 9p I went up the stairs, expecting to find my little star gazer planted at his window sill. A harvest moon. What a temptation! Instead, the room was dark. He had drawn his blind down, and was curled up, sleeping. Too much light? Naw. But tonight Mommy was more excited about the night sky than he was. And that's when it dawned on me that time is passing, and my little one is growing out of babyhood. I covered him with the comforter and thanked God for my kind, gentle boy. For the gift of innocence that he readily shares with me. For his simplicity. For his winsomeness. And yes, for the moon.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Naysayers and Advisors

This part of my pregnancy is always mentally hard. My body has had the last two babies early. I sort of see it as a gift from God to help encourage me because the nausea and vomiting always kicks up at the end. I've been pushing up my Zofran doses to try to control the sickness, which looms around the clock. So here are the two questions I get: 1.) When's the baby due? 2.) How are you feeling? Here are my new answers. 1.) Soon. 2.) Fine. Any other answer than these usually brings on a conversation that makes me want to cry. I hear about the "you usually don't go until two weeks after your due date" rule, despite the fact that I know my body, this is my THIRD baby, and my ultrasound placed the due date almost one week earlier than the calendar date. If I mention that the n/v is worsening I get to hear about (DEAR GOD) crackers, taking it easy, menu choices, other women's cravings during their pregnancies and whatnot. It can actually be such a discouraging time that I don't want company, other than tried and true friends, the majority of whom are in Buffalo and scattered around the country. It's a time that if I want to talk about the pregnancy, I want to be heard, not responded to, unless it's kind words of encouragement and optimism. I've translated this into how I talk with pregnant women, and when a woman says she's 38 weeks, I chirp, "How fun! You go right ahead and have that baby then!" Their faces light right up and they usually laugh. It's a refreshing thing to have a conversation with someone who wants it to end for you too, and doesn't go down the pain/suffering/overdue scenario. I'm a registered nurse, I'm an intelligent lady. I paid a lot of money to learn about pregnancy and childbirth, so I do know the rules, and oh, and have I mentioned that I have two babies already?!? I know what can be, and what is is very challenging right now.

Yesterday I spent the whole day at Loyola University Medical Center orienting through my agency to work there. It was awesome. The day was long and physically tough. It's the most sprawling campus that I've ever seen, and we traversed the length of it... twice. My belly was SO tight, and the contractions (though false labor, I'll grant you that) were brutal. It was fun thinking about my career again. Matt was home having Daddy Day, the kids were having a blast! I felt like a grown-up again. I also plan on knocking off two more hospitals (Northwestern and Sherman) so that I can just start working after the baby's born and not have to waste a day or two orienting. If I only get out of the house two days a month to work, I want to work! There were about 13 of us in the class, other agency and traveling nurses. During a quiet moment when we were all standing somewhere waiting, someone asked, "So, when are you due?" (Everyone stops and looks.) "Soon." "Is this your first?" "No, my third..." And then the best, nicest, most encouraging thing I've heard in a long, long time... "Wow, you look fantastic!" (People smiling, heads nodding.) "Thanks."

Thursday, September 08, 2005


Naps in our house are a funny thing lately. Libby needs 'em. Izak could use them, but does okay without them, and I don't get one unless Libby and Izak and baby #3 are having one. It can add a certain amount of desperation to a day. Take today, for instance. I heard Izak awaken at 5:45a, crying. My guess is it was a bad dream. But once my little morning bird is up... he's UP. Yesterday his nap fell from 1-4p. Since I was out of the house for a meeting I wasn't able to roll him out earlier, thus creating at least a 10 o'clock bedtime (he was froggin' around from 8p on). And you can almost put money on the fact that when he's up late, he will also be up unusually early. Oy vay.

Liberty sometimes has a hard time with nap placement. Occasionally she absolutely wipes out mid-morning, and goes down for the count (her typical 3-hour tour). Which brings her up about the same time her brother goes into his room for quiet time - that tactic is called "tag team." The lovely part is it allows me one-on-one time with each kid, the horrendous part is I get zippo downtime, and by the time Matt gets home I'm not looking so good... .

Several people have offered to help, but I never quite know how the day is going to roll out. And unless baby #3 is in the mood to sleep, laying down to rest becomes futile. Another funny thought I had the other day was that I project my fatigue on all other adults. People ask, "Can I help?" and I think, "Why in the world would you offer help when you're so tired?" I see everyone as feeling as exhausted as me. They look pretty good, but they must be dying of fatigue! I had to laugh when I put those pieces together. The tricks of the pregnant brain! It's hard to fight the feeling when it arises from a cellular level.

Only a few more weeks. And then the dynamics shift dramatically. My encouragement is that since it's my third I know that eventually... eventually... things even out. Thank God!

Saturday, September 03, 2005

The Middle Name

We all know there's a mystical power contained in one's middle name. When it's strung together with one's formal first name it generally implies, "Look out! Trouble ahead!"

Today Libby was on the go. She's discovered the power button on the TV and enjoys flicking the set on and off and on and off and on, etc.. Izak has taken to shouting her name when she interrupts his video viewing, "Yibby!!! NO!!!" To which Libby usually begin to cry. Neither one of my children respond well to yelling. To thwart the tear/frustration fest that spirals out of said difficulties I've begun to do two things:
1) I try to redirect Libby's behavior by encouraging her to turn the set back on. "Liberty Kathryn, turn the TV on." Said firmly, without yelling, but clear instructions (which she sometimes gets and sometimes ignores). This is also to benefit her brother so he can model the phrase back to her. "Yibby, turn it on!"
2) I try to address the heightened tone of his voice by getting his attention, "Izak... we don't yell at sister. Izak..." This phrase is issued with a foreboding tone, one which could land you in a time-out if you don't pick up on the seriousness of the message. But today the conversation took a slightly different spin.

Click. (TV is turned off.)

(Mommy, firmly) "Libby... Liberty Kathryn, turn the TV on, please."

(Izak, hollering from the couch) "Yibby! YIBBY!!! NO!!!"

(Libby looks over her should at brother, chin quivers, tears well up.)

(Mommy, warning) "Izak..."

(Izak, echoing tone) "Izak Kathryn..."

I think he got the point.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Katrina Touches my Home

I never had a blood brother. The Bennetts were a band of women, save Dad. Christopher lived over the fence. He was the same age as us, and we were his secondary home. Every day of junior high and high school he rode to school with us. Many mornings, while Kat and I were putting on our makeup, he'd be sitting with us, telling us about football or swim team practice. After 10 years of being neighbors, he became my brother.

After high school, Chris went into the Coast Guard. He's a fantastic swimmer, and has been part of the search and rescue teams on the helicopters.

Kat wrote today to tell me that he was stationed/living in New Orleans. His wedding is at the end of this month back in Michigan - it's being postponed. His home is under water, everything lost.

Chris is one of the guys working day and night to rescue people off rooftops, and out of other precarious situations. He called home for the first time a few days ago. He's emotionally and physically wrung out. He's seen hurricanes and rescues before, but nothing as massive as this.

Please pray for my adopted brother, Chris, and his family. For his safety, stamina, and own personal recovery from Katrina.

Liberty Kathyrn at 15 months Posted by Picasa

You know you're in your third trimester when...

You know you're in the third trimester when...

1) You lean over to pick something up and you can't bend any greater than 30-degrees.

2) You know exactly how many steps you climb each day - today, 128 and counting.

3) Walking to the bakery and buying a cupcake for your toddler's lunch is acceptable.

4) You're scheduling OB visits with the doctor who has the smallest glove size.

5) Any flirtatious comment from your husband receives your response of, "That's what got me in this condition in the first place."

6) You know the exact mileage to the hospital.

7) You are imagining how big the baby is every time you feel it move.

8) You note that it seems bigger every time you feel it move.

9) You consider naming the baby after your favorite chef at Benihana's.

10) It takes you two days to give yourself a pedicure.

11) At least three or four times a day you find yourself curled up in a corner crying, "Dear God, what have I done?!?!"