Monday, May 17, 2010

Endurance

I broke down and cried this morning. It had been a long time coming.

So much pressure has been building up with this pregnancy, that I hardly realized it until today. I was just reading a book and in it, a dad and his daughter were together eating lasagna in the chill of early autumn. Boring story, right? But tears started flowing down my face and I couldn’t stop. Because they were together, a family, doing something as simple as eating. And I thought how much I just want that simple happiness – I want to eat as a family with my husband and child. I’ve wanted it so long I could burst. I just want to go grocery shopping with my little boy in the front of the cart, swinging his legs, even crying or having a temper tantrum. I just want to go to church with my husband and child, drop him off in Sunday school and kiss him before I go, knowing I’ll see him again in an hour.

There is so much more to bed rest in pregnancy than just “relaxing” when you’ve got a real, scary reason for it. It’s about 90% worry – and praying God will grant you the strength to give the worry up to him – and 9% guilt that you’re not contributing to the family finances (and that you’re actually sucking away everyone else’s time and energy) and 1% resting. I can’t even call the last 1% relaxing.

Much of my day is spent counting kicks and movements of my baby. This baby doesn’t kick and spin around as wildly or as often as Grace did (which is probably a good thing in terms of not getting himself tangled in his cord), so he has me on pins and needles wondering if he’s kicking enough. I’d say most moms don’t spend much time counting baby movements in utero. They might do it late in the third tri, when the doctor tells them to, for maybe an hour a day tops. But when you’ve lost a child at full term, and experienced her lack of movements as a sign of complete and utter doom, counting kicks becomes a critical and stressful part of life. I do it all day long.

But even more, there’s the worry of the reason I’m on bed rest – the placental bleeding. Every time I switch sides or move, I wonder whether I’ve injured the placenta. As a matter of fact, every time I flip sides in the night (which is maybe every two hours), I wait for a kick from the baby to make sure he’s still OK. Sometimes I fully wake myself up, heart pounding through my chest, clock ticking away, until I feel that firm kick. And then there’s the worry about going to the bathroom. I brace myself and pray every time, hoping not to see bleeding. For the first bit of this bed rest, I was bringing my phone with me to the bathroom every time, just in case. I don’t even take my allotted five-minute shower unless Jeff is home, so he could take me to the hospital if I needed to.

So you see – bed rest isn’t fun. (I barely watch TV – actually, I don't at all during the day – and I even have a hard time focusing on a book or any form of reading or distraction.) Bed rest is a job. It’s scary. I'm constantly thinking about what bed rest is trying to prevent – having a baby preterm, and the avalanche of problems that a preemie baby could endure the rest of its life. I don’t even want to list the horrifying things I know can happen to a preemie. I simply want to give my child the best possible start to life. An innocent brand new human being deserves that much.

And I do believe that God is going to bless us with that perfect child. He’s going to bring this child to full term (which I consider 37 weeks, or even 36) and we’re going to get to put him in his car seat and take him home with us from the hospital. And one day, we are going to experience our dream – eating together as a family. And grocery shopping together. And going to church together. If you see us in Whole Foods one day, our grinning little boy in tow, you can know that it’s the best day of my life yet. Who cares if it’s raining, or if we’ve got a flu, or if we haven't slept a solid two hours in a month, or if he’s yelling to the top of his lungs and everyone is giving us a cold stare, or if we’re chasing him down the aisles as he shows his first signs of independence and defiance – we will have a living, breathing, healthy child, and we’ll be living our dream life.

If you pray for us, pray about the worry. I know all of the Bible verses on how not to worry, why not to fear. I breathe them in, soak them up, dwell on them. I know that’s what God wants for us. He wants us to experience JOY. I want to fully enjoy this pregnancy, to fully enjoy this healthy baby kicking inside me, but I will admit that this bed rest has made it challenging. I love being pregnant. I love everything it means. But after being pregnant nine months, and then losing Grace, I feel like I somehow deserve a speedy pregnancy this time. I want the reward at the end of the nine months. I’m so ready for July, so beyond ready to hear my healthy baby’s cry! I have seven weeks until full term, and it is going to be a test of endurance.

10 comments:

karen said...

And you shall ... patience is a virtual not easily endured even for a mother who wants to see her healthy baby and is up and around. You have the right perspective and will endure this last test. The first time I met you was in a Whole Foods so it is full circle that your dream is a kicking kiddo there in Whole Foods. Love and support in your direction.

shoegal31 said...

Heather,

I am praying for your family. Let God take those worries from you, for He will see you through. God bless you, Jeff and baby boy. Grace is watching over you all and smiling. I know that in my heart, He is with your daughter and they are with you.

Summer said...

Heather, I just wanted you to know that I think about you, Jeff, and Baby Boy Young often. You are constantly in my thoughts and prayers and I know that God and Grace are watching over you. Let Him take your worries and allow you to focus on developing and growing a healthy baby boy.

tea_time said...

Prayers for endurance, calm, patience and security for what is now and what you have to look forward to!

I can see how the forced quiet of the world around you could increase your time to worry and be anxious. I hope that you can find ways to dwell with Him instead, and find your quiet and peace with Him.

I also hope that baby kicks extra this week to put you at ease . :)

Jen said...

I don't know you IRL, but I think of you and your family often. I send prayers for this time to pass quickly, and for peace to come over you during this wait.

Samantha said...

This part of pregnancy is hard for any mother, and I can only imagine how difficult it is for you. Unfortunately, this worry doesn't go away when the child is born healthy and perfect. The worry and the guilt are a mother's burden and joy, if that makes sense. In my opinion, this is the true pain of childbirth. The knowledge that we are bringing our innocent children into a world filled with pain and sin. Labor pains are nothing compared with that. I'll be praying for you extra this week, that you can let go of some of that worry and guilt and be able to rest in God and look forward to the future with more hope and less worry. Sending lots of good thoughts and prayers your way!

Rachael said...

you are such a strong woman and your faith always amazes me! You are doing a fantastic job taking care of that little boy and he will be home with you in 9 weeks!!! YOu are in my thoughts in prayers every day!

Anonymous said...

I'm praying for you Heather, take peace in God's blessed assurance. At 6 weeks I was sent to the ER for heavy bleeding. I had two previous m/c and once again it appeared that it was going to happen. I remember laying on the ultrasound table with faith the size of a literal mustardseed when the technician walked in and introduced herself as "Faith". I said a silent prayer "Please God, please let this be a sign". Sure enough she saw our little babe's heart beating away and I am now almost 29 weeks : ) Our little girl's name is now Faith and whenever I encounter worry or fear I think of the beginning and remember that God was always there as he is with you and your little boy. He's there and he's protecting you both.

Meghann said...

Heather, we've never met, but I knew Jeff back in the fourth grade. We used to call him and Jason Barg and another guy (Mike Green???) the 3 Musketeers. We weren't very original in elementary school. :) I was going through old FB friends and found a note about your blog. I had no idea that you and Jeff had been going through so much the past couple of years. I cried as I read your stories - they are beautifully written - and your family is in my prayers. Worry is always the thing that hits me hardest, too, but I trust that God will deliver you through this emotional time as you prepare to welcome a little brother for Grace. Anyways, we may never meet, but you have struck a chord with me tonight and from time to time I will offer up my own prayers on your behalf. Best to you and Jeff and this new blessing.

Liz said...

Heather, I wanted to say a big, huge congratulations to you on the birth of your son! You don't know me but I saw your post on CC and I am so happy for you. I also wanted to tell you that your faith has been really, really inspirational to me. I was (and still am) very moved by it. When I read your posts about Grace and how you responded in faith, I knew that something was missing in my life. I had grown up in a devout Christian family but I had long ago abandoned my faith and turned into a skeptic. Long story short - I've embraced the faith in a way that I never have before. There were several events that precipitated this, but I wanted you to know that your example was one of the factors that helped guide me to where I am now. Thank you.

Congratulations again. May God bless you and may He grant you and yours many, many years!