Saturday, March 12, 2011

Life Update, and Various HG Thoughts

Greetings, mes amies! It has been forever since I've done a "life update," so I thought I should check in, having a rare bit of free time (that is, time that I really ought to be doing something useful but will allot to blogging).

So, what's been going on around here?

Beats me.

Seriously, motherhood has messed with my mind. I am busy 24/7, around the clock, always-always-always busy. And yet I can never come up with anything when someone says "So, what have you been up to lately?"

I usually have to respond with a blank stare while my mind does an (unsuccessful) review of the recent past... coming up with nothing other than meals, childcare, housework, dishes, laundry, etc. etc. etc.

But life is full! Life is good! Life is a constant challenge, a constant stretch, as I continually pursue this new and foreign career of motherhood. Every day is a challenge in a way that I never could have dreamed pre-kidlets.

But in terms of specifics, you've got me there.

We have spent a lot of our time lately being sick. Our eldest missed his last two weeks of preschool being sick, and the two adults of the family had a cold earlier this week, the vestiges of which are still on their way out.

The most important and grievous event of the month was, as I posted earlier, the death of our dear friend Kay, whose terminal cancer prognosis of "eight months" became something like "six weeks," and who left us early last week. We miss her so much.

Kay's memorial service was today, and it was absolutely beautiful. It was definitely the largest I've ever seen - somewhere in between three and four hundred people. A reflection of the beautiful woman whose life was celebrated!

Being that we still had the leftovers of a cold, we sat in the back by ourselves and left right after the service, skipping the reception, but I was so glad that we got to attend.

In the car afterwards, DH and I both spontaneously started talking about how memorial services like these (those done for people who have lived their lives excellently) are so convicting and inspiring. They make us want to focus our lives more clearly on Christ, to live for the Gospel, to reach out to those who need love and care - rather than focusing on selfish pursuits, hobbies, self-interest, etc. It really helps to refocus and rethink the spiritual direction of one's own life when you see the end-result of the life of someone who has really "run the race and finished the fight" in such an excellent way.

After this big weekend, the coming week will focus on our upcoming trip to California... assuming that neither of the children comes down with our cold, in which case our trip would probably be moved or scrapped. Not that I would regret that at the moment - I'm so tired!!! But I know we'll have fun when - and if! - we get there.

Speaking of being tired!

One of my main yowls about motherhood is simply that one does not get downtime while sick! Can I get an amen?? Regardless of how sick one is, the amount of dishes, meals, discipline, playtime, baths, needs-needs-needs-needs stays 100% the same. And saying "Mummy is sick right now and can't play with you" is a sermon that falls on deaf and uncomprehending ears. I know it will get better with older children, but with the younger kidlets, it is exhausting.

Which actually, though unintentionally, brings me to a topic which I wished to discuss! (If anyone has made it thus far through this long and monotonous monologue.)

I have been wanting to write on the topic/theory/philosophy/etc. of.... (dum dum da da dum)..... TTC.

That's right. Fertility aficionados who are in-the-know recognize what I'm talking about.

For everyone else - TTC means "trying to conceive," also known as "being open to children." (In case I didn't make the topical connection well enough, it is that TTC = HG = being very, very sick.)

The question being, of course - Should we? Should we not? Do we even want to? (The answer to that one depends on the day.) Would we be idiots to even consider such a thing? (Yes, probably.)

(And I should say now that we are not really considering this for the immediate future - this is really for future reference.)

Over the past six months, as I've written, I have had four "life questions" in my heart which I have done my best to turn over to God (since He knows the answers!) and to stop thinking about, since I can run myself in circles tormenting myself with unanswered questions that I can't peacefully resolve. Those questions were (1) which church should we attend?, (2) should we school or homeschool?, (3) should we ever consider having any more children?, and (4) what eventual role should I play in the birth community?

Believe it or not, I believe that God has given us answers on #1 and #2.... peaceful answers, with agreement and harmony between DH and myself, and answers that we did not have to hack out with blood and sweat and tears (my usual method) but which were really "given" peacefully over a period of time.

(Aren't you dying of curiosity to know our answers? No? Ah, well. But I shall write on them anyway - another day.)

Question #4 is just as enigmatic and elusive as ever, but I believe that it will stay that way for some time, as it's probably years down the road.

But question #3.... Ah, question #3.

Here are three truths I have written out regarding question #3:

(1) I would love to have one or more additional children. (In fact, were it not for HG, I would probably be a Quiverfull mother and on baby #4 or so by now).

(2) Humanly speaking, it would probably be foolish for us to have any additional children, being that I am unable to cook, clean, discipline, or otherwise care for home and children during a large part of my pregnancy.

(3) As to what God would have us do, I am completely clueless.

I do know that God works in ways that are completely foreign to human wisdom, and that acting with human wisdom can be completely wrong. For example, someone told me once that a special needs child should be aborted so that he wouldn't be a burden on the rest of the family and cause "adverse effects" on their welfare. That is human wisdom at its worst. God can work through so many ways that are foreign to us, so I don't want to write that off. And I can say quite truly that having a second baby (surprise!!!) was a wonderful thing for our family, even though I was doubtful about that fact while I was nauseated and vomiting over and over and over.

Would a third baby be the same?

Or would it be wisest to stop here?

I really don't know. The thought of never having another child grieves me terribly, while the though of having another child scares me to death.

I think most HG mothers know the feeling.

Here's something (sort of) funny that happened a few months ago.

Sometime before Christmas, we had our first real postpartum pregnancy scare. Or rather, I had a pregnancy scare. DH was clueless! (He always is until I show him the positive pregnancy test.)

And here's how it went:

One moment, I would convince myself that I probably was pregnant. My thoughts would run:

Oh God, please, no. I can't do this. I just can't do this. Please don't let me be pregnant. How can I care for a high-energy four-year-old and a special-needs two-year-old when I'm so nauseated that I can't eat, can't move, can't do anything? Please, oh please, don't let me be pregnant. Oh God, I don't know what to do. Please, God, don't let this be true.

Then, the next moment, I would convince myself that I really wasn't pregnant. Then my thoughts would switch to:

Oh, okay. I'm not pregnant, I guess. Gosh, that's too bad. I really would have liked to be pregnant. I miss being pregnant. I'm sure we could have worked it out somehow. It wouldn't have been so bad. We could have pulled it off. I wish I had been pregnant.

Then I would switch back and forth between the two. Constantly. Twenty-four hours a day. Considering that I can go back and forth several times during a three-minute period, it was the quick way to self-tormenting insanity. And it stayed like that all week until the arrival of my cycle proved that I really had been fussing over nothing.

Sometimes I think that finding out that one is pregnant is easier than the waiting.... One now has to face the enemy square-on and fight him, rather than waiting to hear his knock at the door. "Is this it? Is it now?"

My goodness, I wish that I didn't have HG. I wish this problem would go away, or never have happened. I would happily have had ten children with nary a care, and I'd be on at least #4 by now.

Though I will say that HG has brought some incredible blessings into my life, and some lessons that I badly needed to learn. I've posted a bit on that in the past, and I'm going to post more on it when I have time. I needed the life lessons that HG had to teach me. (This isn't to say I'd like to learn them again! Nor is it to say that all HG women have the same life lessons to learn.... God uses individual circumstances to minister to individuals, and the purposes of HG in each woman's life can be incredibly diverse.)

But all that to say, that we do not have an answer to our question. Should we be trying to conceive, be open to children when we feel the Lord's leading, or just be completely done?

I don't know. But I am praying for a peaceful decision on this matter, with perfect agreement between myself and DH, so that we can move into the future and out of this "are we done? are we not?" limbo.

HG mothers of the world, how have you solved this dilemma?

I should add that I am completely in sympathy both with HG mothers who choose to end their ability to conceive permanently, and with those mothers who choose to continue having babies. I am on-board with both of you! So please do not read this post as a judgment on either side, because it is not.

As always, comments and questions are welcome, but only those which are civil, kind, and friendly. Unkind or rude comments are, as always, deleted without reply.

Have an awesome Sabbath, everyone! I am on Day 4 of my "no sugar for Lent" commitment, and have only cheated once! (And I was sick at the time.... I plead temporary insanity.)


  1. Hope you don't mind me getting to "religious" in your comments section! If you do, please feel free to delete :) You won't hurt my feelings.

    I've been struggling with two questions recently. The first is, "Does the Lord still heal?" and the second is, "Why won't he take away my HG?"

    I do believe the Lord still heals. I wholeheartedly believe that He does. He is the same yesterday, today and forever right? And we know He healed people in the past.

    So then WHY won't He heal ME? I think there's some lesson I'm supposed to be learning through HG. I try to deny it, and rationalize it away.

    "Lord," I plead, "I've already struggled through this one, two, THREE times! Haven't I earned your healing grace?" The word "earn" echoes in my heart. Earn. No, I haven't earned healing. No one has. No one can. We can't earn anything from the Lord, can we? It's all given by grace to we who do not deserve anything.

    So if I haven't/can't earn HG healing and haven't been healed in His grace, then why do I have to keep suffering? What does He want from me? Because honestly, it sometimes seems as though HG is meant to be my route HOME, if you know what I mean.

    Why are we here on Earth? To become like Christ and learn to love the Father, right? And how does suffering through HG accomplish that?

    I can't claim to speak for any other HG mom, but I know when I'm in the trenches, I'm holding onto our Father's hand for all I'm worth. I have never, ever felt as close to Him as I do when I have HG. It's as though I'm in that "valley of the shadow" with death on one side and life on the other, and it isn't clear on which side I'll end up.

    And then there's Jesus, who served us all through his suffering. How can I serve people through my suffering? I believe my children benefit the most from my HG. They see how it deepens my faith. We have discussions (because talking is about the only thing I can do) about God and Jesus and faith and healing. They probably learn more about faith in 9 months of pregnancy than in several years of attending Sunday School.

    Am I supposed to learn anything else? Probably. And I believe that HG has been the Lord's amazing "teaching tool" to help me.

  2. Well, I don't have faith like all of you so I don't think HG is anything that has been put upon me or could be taken away. Does is really make you feel better to think like that? I'd feel rotten if I thought it was something to do with God. Nah, I think it is just blooming awful bad luck.

    I could have written the rest of your post myself. Flip flip, wishing I was having another baby and then thinking how awful being really sick is for 9 months. Flip flip, it's like having a split personality. Flip flip. I don't have any answers either. I think that once I get on top of all the thyroid medication I'm just going to get pregnant and that'll be the decision made. I'll just try and forget how sick I get and get pregnant then I'll just have to muddle through. I am never going to talk myself sensibly into being pregnant again so I'm just going to have to be like a mad bungee jumper who doesn't know if there's a knot on the end of the rope and JUMP! What a nightmare it is though, what an absolute blooming nightmare. I'm like you, I'd love oodles of children and if it wasn't for this HG I'd be having a big family but as it is I really don't think my body is going to hold out to more than one more and I must have lost my sanity when I was pregnant or I wouldn't be thinking of going through it again. Babies are just lovely though and I really, really want more children. I'm so torn between wanting more children and not wanting to be really sick for 9 months that I don't honestly know what I want. I just don't want to be sick flip flip but I want another baby flip flip but I don't want to be sick ad infinitum. Double think is the way to go.

  3. Hi, you two!!!

    For Becky:

    Of course I don't mind you getting "too religious," my friend!! As much as you like! I find that my experience with HG (as well as anything else in life) is inextricably wrapped up in my faith, so for me, a discussion of HG is a discussion of God, faith, theology, the works. Bring it on. :)

    Frankly, I am blown away by your faith. You are an example to me! I wish that I could say I've drawn closer to God during HG, but for me, it was the opposite. HG round #1 was my time of screaming "WHERE ARE YOU, GOD??". It was truly my moment of identifying with Christ on the cross - of feeling abandoned by God. And I have spent the past 5 years or so working through that! I'm going to write about it sometime. But in the meantime, I have come to a point of realizing that God has used HG for great things in my life and in my heart.... horrible as it was. I really will write it all out sometime. But it doesn't mean I want to go through it again, LOL! In the meantime, keep writing - you are inspiring! :)

    For Sleepwalker:

    I know that this mix of medicine and Christian theology must be really, really weird-sounding! My apologies for that! Yes, odd as it sounds, I do believe that this is God's will for my life. That sounds terrible (God made me suffer) but at the same time it is very comforting, because I believe that - because God is in control of this - no suffering occurs that is not absolutely necessary for eternal purposes. In other words, it's not random and meaningless with no good outcome - it is leading to something very, very good which could not be accomplished otherwise. I hope that that makes sense! And again, that is the Christian perspective. There are many other ways to look at HG.

    And I'm completely with you on the flip flip flip thing. In all honesty, I think that's why our last baby was a "surprise" baby - because I could not have consciously set myself out to try to conceive on purpose.... so I just wasn't too careful with our NFP rules (because I wanted a baby!) even though I couldn't bring myself to say "let's do this thing!" If we ever have another, he or she will probably arrive via the same method, LOL!! Viva the surprises! :)

    Okay, you two! Off to bed!!! Love to all my HG sisters!

  4. I finally put up the promised post on this on my blog last night. As you said, it's not easy, it's downright frightening at times, but oh, the babies are so worth it!


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