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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Maternity Clothes or Bust!

We took a quick trip to the store that has a bullseye as their sign to look for maternity clothes. I was really disappointed.

When I was pregnant with Johnathon I bought two really nice maternity shirts from there and two pairs of shorts and a pair of jeans from Old....Navy.  That is all I needed with two of my pregnancies. With Bella I didn't really buy anything but I was given a bunch to borrow and to have.

Somewhere along all our moves my shorts and favorite shirts are gone.  I know I didn't get rid of them.  I have no clue where they are.  It is driving me nutso.

So I decided to go try some out.  Now I am a big girl.  I know this and I pick up clothes accordingly.  I tried on a basic t-shirt, a cute dress and a pair of shorts.  I didn't buy anything.

The shirt was way thin and very low cut for my taste.  I could see my bra in the front no matter how I tried to hide it.  The dress was the same way...very low cut and not made for my size bust.  The shorts looked like something a teenager would wear.  Very, very short.

I tend to be modest to the best of my ability.  Mostly because my husband doesn't like my chest hanging out for everyone to see.  To be honest I don't like that either.  Also I am not a skinny girl.  I don't like to flaunt my fat all over the place.  Not my thing at all.  :)

I have looked online at both stores and others and I just can not find what I am looking for.  I wanted a couple of shorts that went almost to my knees, a couple of shirts that you can't see through and that don't show off my chest at all and a couple of skirts.  Should be easy enough.  Right?

Oh well...until I can find something I will just stay with my regular clothes.  They aren't too tight yet.  I know they will be soon though.  Got to give a growing baby room to grow! 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Lasting Imprint Of Birth On Fathers

We were hanging out with our great neighbors and we were chatting about our birth experiences.  As I was talking about Johnathon's birth, I tensed up as I always do.  What I didn't expect was the way that Michael tensed up.  I saw his jaw go tight and his hands clench.  I was surprised.

I shouldn't have been though.  Why wouldn't he be bothered by the same things I was?  He had to watch me go through it all.  He had to be helpless off to the side while everything I wanted for my first birth went to pot.  Looking at it from his side, I couldn't imagine being in his shoes.

My friend Jessica was there also, but she hadn't had to listen to me for my entire pregnancy speak about how I wanted this birth to go.  :)  She didn't have to go home with me after and deal with the mess afterwards when it didn't go how I wanted. 

I didn't want much.  I wanted to have a intervention free birth.  I had always wanted to have a homebirth, but after our loss I decided to trust a doctor with the life of this baby.  The doctor did as best he could during the pregnancy and for most of the birth.  It wasn't all his fault.  The hospital wasn't the best, the doctor could only fight so hard against the hospital policies, my water breaking before labor began, Johnathon being early, the management by the nurses was terrible and we just didn't know what to do.

I won't go into it all right now, but Michael watched me cry in pain and be called a liar by the nurses.  He saw my epidural botched and me cry again.  He went without sleep just as I did.  He watched our dream of a normal birth go out the window.  He sat next to me and listened as they surgically removed our first born out of my belly.  He watched me cry when I was told that I would never breastfeed our son.  He was there while I tried to heal and take care of the precious baby that we had made.

Why wouldn't he be as changed by it all as I was?   He had the same fears and anxieties as I did going into that birth and even more coming out of it.  Johnathon's birth changed me forever.  I have come to realize that it changed Michael too.  He just doesn't show it or express it as I do.  

He is the love of my life.  We have gone through a lot and we haven't even scratched the surface of our life together.  I will try to do better at remembering that it isn't only me going through these life changing moments.  He has changed right along with me.  It feels good not to be alone in my thoughts.

One thing hasn't changed.  He can still make me crack up with just a look.  Or a dance.  :)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Merry-Go-Round of Friends

Very, very soon one of our favorite families on this street will be pulling out of their driveway to start the drive to their new duty station.  

This is the first time that we have had to watch a set of great friends leave.  I know it won't be our last.

Army life is funny.  They throw you into a duty station knowing practically no one.  You are usually away from family and all of your friends.  They expect you to survive without your soldier for months and months at a time.  So what do you do?  You find friends who know what you are going through and you hang onto them for dear life. 

Michael and I have a hard time finding real friends.  We are friendly with everyone and everyone loves Michael.  Sometimes I am harder to love.  :)  So when we find people that we are compatible with we are thrilled to pieces.  

We love hanging out with this family.  They are hilarious and fun and help out whenever they can.  They will be greatly missed.

So starts the craziness of losing friends, gaining new neighbors and wondering if the new neighbors will be crazy.  Fun times.  

There are other precious people who will be leaving eventually.  Until then I will enjoy every moment I can with them, nurture these relationships that I hold so dear and find a chain big enough to chain myself to their moving truck on moving day.  

What?  I can protest with the best of them believe me. 

"Heck no they can't go!!!  Heck no they can't go!!!"  ;)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day and BBQs

I have been posting a lot of Memorial Day stuff on Facebook.  Trying to have everyone remember what this day is really for.

Know what?  I have kind of been leading a double life on this one.

As a wife of an active duty soldier, who has been deployed once already in his 1 1/2 years in, I have a bad habit of thinking of Memorial Day as a day for BBQs.

No I am not stupid.  Yes I really *do* know what today is about.  My grandfather served.  My father-in-law served.  My cousin, Michael's best friend, my person's husband and my husband are all currently serving.  Think about it though.  Really think about it.

Wikipedia - "Memorial Day is a federal holiday observed annually in the United States on the last Monday of May. Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces."

I am thankful for all of the men and women who have died serving our country.  We owe them more than we will ever be able to repay them.

I think about the families most.  The people left behind when someone who is serving dies.   The wives and mothers and fathers and husbands and children and sisters and brothers and all of the extended family.  They will never be the same.  

Put yourself in my shoes.  My husband is active duty for at least another year and nine months.  He has already deployed once and there is always a chance he will deploy again in the time he has left.  Does he have a typically dangerous job?  No.  Does that mean that he is safe?  No.  No one is really safe while at war.  

So although I do remember, today I will be pretending that it is all about BBQs and friends.  I have said a prayer for all those who have been lost, their families and everyone still serving.  

I don't want to think about losing anyone I love today or any day really.  Especially my precious husband.

"A day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces."

We have a big picture of a soldier with a flag behind him in our staircase.  The scripture on it reads:
"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends"  John 15:13

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Poorest We Have Ever Been

We had lived in our house for almost three years, and we got the feeling that we were supposed to move.  We were not sure where or how, since Michael didn't have a job.  

Did I mention I was 38 weeks pregnant when we started talking about this?  :)

Over the next six weeks everything fell into place for us to move out of our house and into a trailer.  I didn't say it fell into place in a good way, but it did fall.  :)

We moved to Wylie, Texas from Wolfe City, Texas when Bella was about 2 1/2 weeks old.  Craziness?  Yes.  It was a welcomed change though.  We didn't like the town we lived in and we didn't have enough money to make the drive to see family as often as we wanted.  It was good.

We lived in a nice trailer close to all kinds of stores and such that we had been so far away from for so long.  The problem with that is that we were poor.  I mean really poor.

I mean all of our bills, which were not that much, took all of our money which was just an unemployment check.  Michael had been looking for a job for a while, but we didn't see the point of him taking something that didn't at least make what the unemployment brought in.  Later came the army, but that isn't a post I have the stomach for now.  :)

While living in Wylie we didn't have any extra money.  We were eating what we could get from WIC with about $20 added to it a week.  Our families helped a ton, but money was still tight.  

Know the funny thing?  We were so very happy.  When Michael and look back at that time we only have great feelings about it.  We were going to church, learning about the bible and making major life decisions that we still follow today.  Some we don't.  *hangs head*

We can remember all of Bella's baby time there.  The boys discovering Veggie Tales and watching them over and over and over.  Turning on music and dancing around the house.  Cooking really great for you food with what we had.  Michael and I having lots of beautiful talks while I nursed itty bitty Bella.  

It was beautiful.  Makes me cry to think about.  Our time there ended quickly after Michael joined the army and we (gladly) moved in with his parents again.  Those days were beautiful too, but the relaxed love and family time was gone.  There was a deadline to our happiness.  I would have to take him to a Dallas hotel on September 12, 2010.  From there he would go to BCT and AIT.  Urgency and dread set in. 

But that isn't what this post is about.  This post is about those days when we ate chicken noodle soup for days on end and we were happy about it.  When snacky cakes at his parents house were the treat of the century and people were in awe that we could get all of us to church on time Sunday morning.  

I miss those days a lot.  Not that these days are beautiful and wonderful.  Believe me they are spectacular since he is home.  The dread is still always there.  When will go to field?  Will he miss another one of Bella's birthdays? (He has missed them all)  Will he deploy again?  Will he change his mind and stay in the army?

So here's to the innocence of Wylie.  Moral of this story?  We can be happy with little or nothing.  As long as we are together . . . anything is possible.

Friday, May 25, 2012

My Husband is The Bomb

Funny title?   Well he is.  

I love my husband.  
I still get butterflies when he comes home.  
I still think he is the hottest man ever.  Ever.

Why?  Well I can't really answer that.  :)

It might be chemistry.  Or God's will that I found my other half.
Or that I don't have to worry about him.

He knows his responsibilities, at work and at home, and doesn't shy away from them.  He is loyal and kind.  He loves me through all my crazy.  He is the best daddy around.  He plays with the kids and changes diapers without complaining.  He loves the Lord and does his best to lead us down the right path.  He listens to Lil Wayne when he really wants to listen to Mudvayne.  He is just the greatest.

He is not perfect, but he is perfect for me.  :)

I find that a lot of wives don't have much good to say about their husbands.  I am not saying that those wives aren't right or that they don't have the right to say what they say.  A lot of times they do.  

I am not perfect either.  I have said not nice things about him.  I always feel bad saying them though.  The good outweighs the bad for sure.  

I think the best thing I have learned to do is not to compare him with other men.  Real or not.  If I find myself comparing him to someone on TV or in a movie I have to remember that they are not real.  Those perfect relationships are written that way.  Those stories took lots of writing and planning and retake after retake before they were that "perfect".  

If I got jealous of a friend's relationship, I would think of something nice Michael does for me.  

Her husband brought her flowers.  Well Michael helps with the laundry.

Her husband surprised her with a date and babysitter.  Michael knows exactly what to buy me for birthdays and Christmas.  He never has to ask.

Her husband bought her a new car.  Michael knows that a new car wouldn't make me happy.  :)

It took training and lots of time to think this way.  I still have trouble sometimes.  My person always reminds me of the good and I do my best to snap out of it. 

Our nature is to never be content.  We always want more or something different.  So we have to learn to find the good in everything in our life and be content.  

He hugs me when I am upset.
He held me without me having to ask when we found out about Sunny.
He protects us with everything in his being.
He loves on my pregnant belly and can't wait for the baby to move where he can feel.
He knows what I hate, like and love.
He holds my hand.  
He makes me laugh all the time.

He is the love of my life and I won't forget it.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Yes. We Are Having Another Baby. No. We Are Not Trying To Be The Next Duggars

Not that I would be upset with someone comparing me to them, but that is another post all together. 

This post also has nothing to do with the fact that a friend of mine just made a comment about us being the next Duggars. :) 

It has to do with people's attitudes about babies.  Their bad attitudes specifically.  

Someone came into our home to fix something yesterday.  He has been here before and he is probably the nicest person I have met that is from here and has to deal with all of us crazy army families.  I had to explain that I couldn't move something because I was pregnant.  It was really heavy ya'll.  

Anyway, he went about his business and did what he needed to do.  Then, while he was waiting for someone to bring him a part he needed, he proceeded to tell me he had a four year old daughter and a seven week old daughter.  I told him congratulations and how I thought that was wonderful.  He said "Well my wife really wants to have another one eventually, but I told her no.  No way am I having any more.  They are a lot of work and they just cost so dang much."

I understand all too well how he feels.  Children are not always easy.  Heck I am guilty of saying things like "Bella is sure being a beating today" or "Goodness they are a lot of work".  Have I ever wished them gone?  Not for a minute.  

Not saying I wouldn't go to supper with my husband and leave them with someone I knew loved them.  :)  I just wouldn't miss out of their little lives for the world.

Later on he was getting ready to go and he asked me if this was going to be our fourth.  I said yes.  He said "Wow.  You are either really brave or really stupid."

Now I would normally have taken this to heart and been upset by someone saying something like this to me.  He has had to fix enough stuff in our house that I know he was just saying it in fun, but with a lot of truth behind it.

Well I don't believe that we are stupid.  I don't consider us brave either.  

Before I start what I am about to say, I need to explain how we do not judge those who think differently than us.  We don't push our beliefs on anyone.  We don't think differently of you whether you have one kiddo or ten.  No judging here.

When I was 23 I was told I would never, ever have kids.  All my life I wanted to be a mother.  I couldn't wait.  I also wanted to be a midwife and a photographer, but that is another story. :)

After being told that I met my husband.  He is precious and I knew that he was the only person I ever wanted to be with for the rest of my life from the very start.  So pretty early on I told him about what the drs had said.  I didn't want him to decide later that he couldn't be with me because I couldn't have babies.  His response?  "We will just adopt."  

See why I love that man so much?

Fast forward. . . we could get pregnant.  Sunny wasn't planned.  Johnathon was.  Then we decided to use birth control.  We were not sure if we would ever be able to have another baby.  After the let down and trauma of Johnathon's birth, I wasn't sure I wanted to do that again.  Ever.  

April 2006.  Johnathon was close to being 9 months.  We went to Walmart as a family and I got sickly.  Michael had already told me I needed to get a pregnancy test since he had seen my gums bleed earlier in the day.  That is one of my early signs of being pregnant.  

We bought a test.  I took it when we got home.  Big old positive.  Michael was standing up hold Johnathon and he looked like he might pass out.  

We had used protection.  God wanted something else.  

That pregnancy was terrible for me.  I bled so much that I gave up on him ever staying alive and I was so sick that I couldn't do anything.  I was like that until close to 17 weeks.  

God took care of us though.  We were living with Michael's parents (yes it is a running theme) and his mom (and dad when home) took wonderful care of Johnathon and I.  My parents took care of Johnathon when they could so I could rest.  

Looking back over that pregnancy, I wouldn't ask to do that again.  Ever.  We also can't imagine our life without Gabriel.  His birth healed me so much emotionally while changing me physically.  His birth led me to become a Doula and Childbirth Educator.  On that path I met some of my closest friends.  

Gabriel is this amazing little mini Michael who loves us very much and brings tons of joy to our lives.  We would have missed out on him had we had our way.

Bella was planned.  After months of trying with no luck and then months of trying hard not to have another baby, we decided to try again and we got her.  

Right after she was born I wasn't sure I wanted anymore.  Michael and I talked a lot about timing and when we would start trying again if we wanted to.  

Then, after talking with a great friend of mine and reading a lot, I asked Michael "Why do we try to plan babies?  We are trying to leave everything up to God.  Why not this?"

He agreed.  He brought up Gabriel and how we could have missed out on him.  From that point on we haven't used any form of birth control.  Except Michael going to Basic and deploying.  Those are *excellent* forms of birth control.  ;)

I know it isn't for everyone.  I am not trying to say that it is.  This is just easiest for us.  We believe that this is what we are supposed to do.  

It saddens me the way most of our culture looks at children as a burden and not a blessing.  Yes they are hard.  Yes they cost money.  Yes pregnancy can be difficult.  Yes I stress like crazy while I am pregnant.  No I wouldn't change a thing.  

So there you have it.  This is how we got pregnant in the first few days Michael was home and why we welcome this addition with open arms.  

Oh...and want to know what I said to the brave or stupid comment?   "Neither.  We just love our kids." 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Emotional Much?

I had a friend post a question on Facebook the other day that said something like "Every time I see an ultrasound I see a still baby.  Will I ever be ok?"

This hit me hard, because it is a question I have asked myself over and over since Sunny.  I do a decent job of hiding my thoughts and fears about my friends' pregnancies.  I try hard to look at everyone's pregnancy as a positive thing.  

I can't always trick myself though.

I worry when people get pregnant.  I hold my breath for them at every sono/dr appointment and pray that they aren't traumatized by their birth.

I have a sono today and every time I think about it I just about panic.  I always do this, no matter what stage in pregnancy I am.  This one is extra scary for me because I am as far as I was when we first started seeing Sunny.  

This constant fear goes into everything during pregnancy. I was terribly, awfully sick with Sunny.  The morning before we found out that our baby was still, I remember standing in the kitchen telling Michael how I was happy the nausea was going away.  I wasn't as sick that day.  So when I am terribly sick I worry.  When I am not terribly sick I worry.  I didn't say it was easy to love me.  :)

This morning I am not as sick as I usually am. I am trying not to think about it as a bad thing.  Little worries creep into my head anyway though.  I worked in the yard yesterday a little.  Did I do something wrong?  Did I work too hard?  

I logically know that all of this sounds silly.  I *know* that planting flowers won't cause me to lose our baby.  I *know* that being less sick is a blessing and not a curse.  I *know* that my worrying doesn't help anything and that what will happen will happen no matter how much I worry.  Still....

I want to give love to the special people in my life who listen to my gripe and complain almost daily.  You know who you are.  You listen to me say things that are silly and full of worry over and over and over.  Yet you always find enough love to not cut me out of your life.  :)

To my precious husband, who deals with me the most, thank you.  I know he gets really tired of me saying things like "Do you think the baby is ok?", "Do you think this will hurt the baby?", "Do you think I should worry that I am not sick or am not sick?".  He is kind and loving and always answers with the best answer he can find at the time.  He loves me where I am and always has.  I love you Michael.

So there you have it.  I am full of emotions every minute of everyday.  I cry a lot.  I worry a lot.  I fear a lot.  I also try to be hopeful as much as possible. 

So here's to hoping that everything is great today . . . 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Why I Can't Relax

In very late June of 2004, in our little bathroom at about 5:30am on a Sunday, I took a pregnancy test with Michael standing by.  It came back positive right away.  I just about passed out.  Michael smiled, kissed me and went to work.  

I spent the next few days not knowing what to think or do.  I had been told positively I would never get pregnant and *if* I did I would never carry to term.  I had reason to worry.  

July 4th weekend, while spending time with Michael's family, I started to bleed.  I was devastated.  I didn't know if it was normal or not.  All I knew is that I didn't think you should bleed during pregnancy.  I called the dr on Monday and they said it was normal.  Ok I thought.  They are the drs.  They should know what is normal and what isn't.  I also asked, again, if I needed progesterone since a year earlier they had tested my progesterone levels and said all that mess about never having babies and blah, blah, blah.  They said no I didn't need any.  

Over the next few weeks I bled off and on with cramping and was sicker than I ever thought that anyone could be.  I did everything I could to eat right and be healthy.  Michael took incredible care of me. 

Through all of this I would worry.  *Gasp* right??  Me worry??  Never. :)  People around me would say things like "Don't worry", "Bleeding is normal", "I have a good feeling about this baby", "This baby is going to be fine".  I tried to listen but my fear always got the better of me.

A few days after our wedding (yes I realize that was backwards but whatever lol) we saw our baby for the first time on a sonogram screen.  I had wanted to hire a midwife and Michael was cautiously trying to be ok with it.  She was kind enough to get me into the White Rose Center in Dallas.  We got to see our little one move and see that precious heartbeat that made everything seem real.  

A little over 12 weeks the bleeding and cramping came back and my fear got the better of me.  I called and begged for a sono at the dr even though I had less than a week until my next appointment.  I got in and everything looked great.  Still had a baby that was moving, "looked great" and had a strong heartbeat.

I tried to relax.  I was being told from everywhere that I was past the scary point.  We had seen the baby alive and that was a great sign.  I started looking into day by day pregnancy journal I had bought.  I started writing the dates in it and planning.  I tried to relax.

Right at 13 weeks was our first official appointment with the dr.  Michael took the day off and we drove to Plano to see our baby and make plans.  I made a comment that morning that I wasn't as sick as I had been before.  I was happy that I was getting further along.  We had our sono and Michael and I joked and laughed.  We then waited in the waiting room for 2 hours for the dr to see us.  

When he walked in our room all the said was "Your baby doesn't have a heartbeat.  We will need to schedule a D&C for Monday."

I lost it.  Michael got up and held me.  The dr was irritated that I was so emotional.  I asked him to explain what he meant.  I hadn't seen the baby on the sono that morning.  The sono tech hadn't said anything to me.  They were kind enough to do another sono so that I could see that the little heartbeat that I had just seen flickering on the screen less than a week earlier was gone.  

Nothing prepares you for the loss of a child.  No matter the age or length that you had that child.  Nothing.  

Sunny was born still into this world August 16, 2004.

I won't go into the D&C and the physical and emotional trauma that the next weeks and months had.  It was bad though.  Michael and I have been forever changed by it all.

All this to say that I don't mean to be rude or hateful when I blow off the kind things people have said in all of my pregnancies since then.  I try to take to heart all the comments like "You have seen a live baby",  "You now have had live children",  "Bleeding is just your normal", "I have a great feeling about this baby".  I try to take it all as fact but I know better.  I know nothing is for sure.

I also know that my worrying doesn't help either so I *try* to keep it at bay.  I try.  

At this very moment I am almost 11 weeks along with this precious baby in my belly, and I am terrified.  These next few weeks are hell for me.  So please try to be kind and meet me where I am.  Please.  

In December, Lord willing, we will be blessed with the birth of this baby.  When he or she is brought earthside, pink and beautiful then, and only then, you may come at me with the "I told you so".  :)  At that point I will wonder why I spent my entire pregnancy worrying.  I will promise myself that if I have anymore children I won't let myself worry. 

Well...I will try at least.