Friday, March 30, 2012

Could I Do This?

Good question. Time will tell.

("Do what? Aren't you going to tell us what IT is?")

"It" is living through as many deep, heartrending trials as this woman has - and coming through them with a faith not only intact, but deepened and made even more vibrant and alive than before. I am in awe.

Take a few minutes to read this story - it is absolutely amazing:

What Can Be Gained Through Heartache?

In an age when losing even one child post-birth is an unusual event, this mama has been called to surrender three of her children to the grave - all due to completely unrelated health concerns - two within a week of birth and one child at an older age.

I love how this mama recognizes God's hand in her life, and His sovereignty. She writes of her son's death (due to anencephaly):
"We missed our precious baby, but we thanked God for a life that taught us to depend on the God we were learning to adore. We praised God for teaching us to value life and family in a way we hadn’t before. (Psalm 128:3) We delighted in God for showing us that we are all fearfully and wonderfully made and that before he placed us in the womb, he knew us (Psalm 139:13-18). Samuel was no mistake. He was planned by a sovereign God that uses all situations for our good when we love him. (Roman 8:28)"
At the end, she closes:
"Watching my children suffer heartache was worse than suffering my own heartache. But that is how it is with God too. He isn’t happy about our suffering. He hurts with us and for us. That is why he is ever so near to us through those times. He will not let us hurt without his loving arms around us and without a purpose behind it. He will not let us suffer without hope. He will not leave us comfortless. (John 14:18) I’m so thankful for my heartache, because “I’m confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in me will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 1:6)
"I’ve since given birth to another precious and healthy son, Harrison, and I find myself satisfied, completely and utterly satisfied. Why? Because I’ve lost and I’ve gained. I’ve suffered and I’ve recovered. I’ve mourned and I’ve laughed. I’ve learned to be content. If Harrison would have been born unhealthy, I would have hurt, but because of my trials, I would have been able to endure the affliction with more confidence. I would have known how to survive. Through our suffering we gain patience, experience and hope. (Romans 5:4)
"Trials and afflictions (that are not sin trials) are not the enemy, they are God’s way of teaching us and we should be grateful for the opportunity to learn to serve him and minister to others because of them. (II Cor. 1:4) I think about what my life would be like, had I not experienced these trials. I’m so happy to have a story to tell; a story that can not only help others who are hurting, but a story that reveals God’s character through the way he cared for me and my family down our road of challenge, heartache and victory. It’s an exciting life to walk with God, a life I’m excited to share with others."
Absolutely amazing.

On a personal level, I have noticed that my experience with physical suffering through hyperemesis gravidarum has immeasurably enriched my life and my character. I have learned so much since that time. But it's been a journey - a long journey - and almost six years later, I'm still not to the end of it (if I ever will be in this lifetime).

I very much admire this woman's willingness to let the trials given to her be a source of deepened faith, rather than the bitterness which is so much easier to summon in times of intense suffering. I'm so glad she has shared her story!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Is this awesome, or what?

What's awesome?

A new HG blog hits the scene! Woo hoo!!

Yes, it's definitely awesome! 

Check out this brand-new blog, from which I expect to see wonderful things in the coming weeks and months:

Naturally Nauseous Mommy

I'm very excited to read and learn more about this mama's experiences. I personally have only known what I term "mild HG" - the type that is manageable and non-fatal (though hellishly miserable) out of the hospital. This mother experienced the hardcore/severe type, so you will find lots of info there (I'm sure!) about PICC lines, IVs, etc. etc.

Looking forward to reading!

Various NVP Meanderings

Good morning, everyone!

I was reading a pregnancy update on a blog that I follow, and I came across the following quote:
"I can hardly believe it, but my nausea is almost gone already. I have just enough background queasiness to keep me from worrying about the baby. I’m still very tired and prone to nausea if I’m on my feet too long, but am so thankful to be feeling better this soon! 
"I’m really curious about what has made the difference this time. I can think of a long list of possibilities, and you can probably add to the list. The problem is figuring out which ones really belong on the list so I can repeat the experience if I have any more babies! 
"..... (One thing is) Very little sugar. When I do eat it, I feel better right away, but almost invariably feel worse later. I know blood sugar dips make me sick, so eating less sugar is probably keeping me more stable, reducing that particular cause of nausea." (emphasis mine)
This exactly mirrors my experience. I spent a lot of time during this past pregnancy noticing how different macronutrients (carbs v. protein v. fat) made me feel, and I noticed particularly that anything high in carbohydrates immediately made me feel great - for a very brief time before I crashed and felt much worse than before. Foods that were fat/protein-rich, like cheese, had a much better result and more long-lasting relief. This is one of the bases of the VLC diet (article coming soon), so I love seeing little confirmations of this in the journeys of others.

Of course, this is all assuming that a mother has the ability to eat - that's a whole different issue.

And, to close, this little article on "Rejoicing in Morning Sickness." Again, this is about morning sickness, not HG, but the same principle applies - though I must say in all honesty that I have never been able to rejoice in HG, nor to summon gratitude for it (in the moment, that is). *Sigh*. But it's a great article, and I love the closer:
"My friend was sitting in my living room during one of our mom’s meetings . She and her husband had recently found out that the child she was carrying had Trisomy 13, the presence of an extra 13th chromosome in all cells. This leads to many physical problems and is usually fatal. She made the comment that she had not been as grateful as she should have been for pregnancy before, that she had complained with the difficulties and discomforts, but that with this child, knowing that the pregnancy may be the only time she would have with this baby, God had changed her heart and she was striving to be thankful for the time that He had given this baby to her.

"My friend’s daughter, Hope, was born and lived for an hour and a half before God called her home. Hope’s momma taught me a valuable lesson that night in my living room. Thank you Lord for another priceless gift and please help me rejoice in the journey."
Good stuff.

Have a great day, all!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Snippets and Tidbits

Notes of what's going on at our house in my latest efforts in homemaking, parenting, child-training, homeschooling, and life-in-general!

- Last week I did something I should have done years ago.... I changed all of my dishes over to the Corelle set that my mom gave me for my birthday. (Corelle is non-breakable glassware.) May I say how blessedly wonderful it was to watch our 5-year-old drop his entire dinner on the floor the following day... and not have to deal with an evening of broken-glass clean-up? Lovely! A mess is nothing when it's not mixed in with glass shards.

- I also moved our dishes into a lower cupboard so that our children could help serve themselves... and also to help put dishes away! It's been great. "Mom, I need a plate!" "Okay, they're in the cupboard!" Yes!!!! Practicality at its finest. Why did I take so long to learn these things?

- In more child-training news, I have also implemented a plan to teach laundry responsibility - a plastic pan that I load our son's clean laundry in - for him to put away, rather than me. As well as skill-teaching, this is an attempt to show him that his current habit of changing clothes three times a day has consequences that he can control! (I think he's channeling a teenage girl.)

- We are also letting the 5-year-old dress himself now... it results in interesting combinations, but whatever.

You may notice a trend here! Yes, I'm trying to ramp up teaching responsibilities and skills to our kids. I've slacked off on this in the past - it is so much easier to do it for them than to train them, especially when they are as unenthusiastic about helping out as our eldest is. But I know the payoff will be tremendous, both for us and for him, so I am working at this task as mindfully as possible.

- For homeschooling - I am giving myself a break to look for curriculum, and in the meantime I have discovered the dollar store! The Dollar Tree is awesome and is packed with Pre-K through Grade 3 workbooks in math and writing that are just perfect for us. For our 5-year-old, it's not so much a matter of needing to learn, but of learning to learn to learn. In other words, sitting skills, paying attention, completing a task, working on a project for a prescribed length of time, etc. Good stuff.

- I am also in the process of trying out a second homeschooling support group - one based in my very own city (as opposed to valley-wide). Very excited about the possibilities!

- I have also developed a basic schedule for us! So excited about this! This has been years in the making. Here it is, and don't giggle. I know it's basic, but this is big stuff for me:

8:00 a.m. - Kids up, getting dressed
9:00 a.m. - Breakfast and cleanup
10:00 a.m. - School
12:00 p.m. - Lunch and Play
1:30 p.m. - Quiet time

I leave such big spaces because we are always occasionally late on the schedule, and this gives us a chance to catch up. It's also great because the clock can catch the flak for things, not me! "I'm sorry, I know you don't want to do school, but it's ten o'clock, so it's time for school!"

- Right now school looks like this: Bible story, Bible memory verses from AWANA, phonics, two workbooks (our "math" workbooks), then reading aloud and Brainquest and anything else. We also try to catch 1-2 playdates or park days per week, besides church and AWANA.

- I caught this idea from a friend (thanks, Z!) - I put a turn-table in the middle of the table with pencils/pens/scissors/glue, Kleenex, and water bottles on it. This eliminates almost every excuse to leave the table - which is a definite boon, considering that any reason to leave the table almost immediately results in a fifteen minute delay.

- I have reached another level in homemaking nirvana - I am now doing two loads of laundry a day! Yes!!!!

- Our newest little chubster is doing well! He is a gentle, easy-going guy and is a joy to the entire family. Besides the fact that homeschooling with a nursing baby who is not yet on an eating/sleeping schedule is not easy, he is melding into our family very neatly.

- I am eagerly awaiting the discovery of our little guy's nicknames! We can pick names, but nicknames are revealed to us - they can't be planned. Right now he is known as Morsel, Kitten, and Snuggle Bunny, but probably none of those will be his permanent nickname. We'll see!

- Our little guy is an excellent nurser, and my supply is amazing even me (hurray for placenta medicine and alfalfa tablets!!!). I have been astounded to see excess milk pouring out of his mouth while he nurses, and when he is finished, his face is coated in milk. Beyond adorable! He is growing and getting nice and plump. We have decided that we are going to change pediatricians, so while we're in that process we have been able to avoid those pain-in-the-neck newborn visits (not complaining!), but I can see that he is gaining weight and thriving. We will see our midwife in two weeks for our final visit (*sob*). I'll update on his weight then.

- Still totally intimidated by the double stroller. I think I need therapy.

Well, I've a lot more to write, but the littlest guy around here is making his wants known loudly! Off to nurse! Have a great Sabbath, everyone!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Five Weeks Old, and Blogging Futures!

Baby turned five weeks old this morning!

I'd post some pictures, but that would take actual computer literacy. I'll try to get DH to send some over soon.

We are doing well! Giles is a darling. He just wants to eat and be held, and otherwise he's a gentle and sweet-tempered guy! This postpartum has been smooth and wonderful. I am feeling great, and the family adjustment is going as smoothly as I could reasonably ask for.

You know what I have found most intimidating about the whole thing? Guesses, anyone?

That's right - using the double stroller. Man, that thing is so intimidating! I have been avoiding it like the plague. For some reason, it just makes me insecure and anxious. I guess having been joined at the wrist to my single stroller for the past six years has created some sort of co-dependency issues!! Right now I'm using the single stroller and carrying the baby in his carrier, whenever possible. I need to get over it sometime... just not soon. And I think I'd like to switch to a side-by-side rather than the bus-type we've got right now. Things to do, things to do.

I've been thinking a lot about the future of my two blogs. There's no doubt that I want to keep them up. Blogging is one of my real pleasures, and a great way to express myself, relax, and interact with like-minded people near and far. I love it, and I want to keep at it despite the fact that my free time is currently nearing the non-existent level.

I also wish in many ways that I only had one blog - it would be a lot easier - but that did not work out when I tried it in the beginning. Too many links, etc. So two it is! But I am steadily resisting the - crazy - urge to start other blogs (homemaking, etc.). Two is IT! Really! No more!

For my birth blog, I plan to keep it as purely birth stuff, with the occasional personal or HG entry copied over from my hyperemesis blog. For my hyperemesis blog, I will continue to post HG things and keep it as my primary personal blog.

My goal is to blog once a week. Probable? Not likely, but that's my goal - to blog weekly, however briefly. We'll see how that goes.

I may - or may not - start posting more homemaking, faith, and parenting-type things on my HG blog, as that is what my life consists of right now - hardcore bootcamp of learning the ropes on my new career as a mother. (Or rather, it's not a new career - I've been in it for six years - but it is a career that is ever-changing, and having been born with no particular talents child-wise, I am always struggling to catch up. God is definitely using this time to stretch and grow me in so many ways!!)

Well, I'd better go do something useful with my few minutes of down time! Love to all!!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Three Weeks!

Baby is three weeks old as of.... forty minutes ago or so! Since we are now skipping church for the third or fourth week in a row, I thought I'd spend a few seconds to put out a wee update.

Firstly - I'm sorry for double-posting (posting the same posts to both blogs) so much! It happens with each pregnancy, I'm afraid. My blogs - one having to do with my personal life and with hyperemesis, and the other with pregnancy and birth - have so much overlap space, especially during pregnancy, that it inevitably occurs that my pregnancy/birth/postpartum updates get posted on both blogs. Sometime in the next couple of months I shall re-banish my personal updates back to my Whining Puker blog.

So - how are we doing?

Not too badly! This has by far been my easiest postpartum. For one thing - no catastrophic nursing issues! Hurray!!!! I can't say how much of a blessing that has been. By this time in our last postpartum, I was pumping around the clock and baby was exclusively bottle-fed. It was, in a word, awful. Having a baby who is a vigorous and enthusiastic nurser is much better! We had some issues with him being a sleepy eater, at first, but being able to recognize the signs right away this time, I was able to correct that right away and he has been a great nurser ever since.

Another awesome thing - baby has been letting me sleep through the night since the first day! Is that not amazing? I just take him to bed with me, and he eats perhaps three times during the night - but he just murmurs gently to let me know that he's hungry, then goes right back to sleep when he's latched on and eating happily. It has been wonderful, and I pray that it continues! One of the hardest things about a new baby is sleep deprivation, and not having that to battle just makes life more sane.

Operation Afterpains was a huge success. Still unpleasant, but nothing - absolutely nothing - like the debilitating time with #1, or the better-but-still-yucky time with #2. A huge improvement!!

Two notes of interest:

Baby Giles, after waking up from his newborn sleepiness, has shown himself to be (1) not fond of naps, and (2) a cuddle bug who does not like to be put down. Did I mention that he doesn't like to be put down?? Not a good combination! I have found myself in a bit of a quandary, due to the fact that (1) I am not particularly fond of baby wearing, but.... (2) neither do I like to let newborns cry. But it seems to be one or the other. Therefore, baby has won the day and is currently nestled comfortably in my Moby wrap as I type! We'll see how it goes from here.

On another note. We have always picked our baby names to be (1) simple, (2) un-nickname-able, (3) not common, and (4) easy to pronounce. Apparently we flubbed on point #4, because no one seems to know the name "Giles"! I was so surprised! I know it's no longer common in this country, but I thought that most people would still know it. I was wrong! Most people are calling him Giles with a hard /g/ sound (it is pronounced with a /j/ sound), and one nurse even called him "Gills." Quite a surprise!

Other than that, life is well. I feel pretty well (placenta medicine working its wonders - entry on that later!), and we have been so very blessed with meals by friends and church family - always such an incredible blessing! (If you want to bless a postpartum family, meal support is the ultimate way to provide for their needs and bless them!!)

It is always a stretch getting used to another child, and #3 has been no different - but nothing like the life-changing cataclysm that baby #1 was, or even the mental stretch that #2 was. This has been not that bad.... so far. But definitely a challenge, and I know it will be even more so after we get more fully back into homeschooling after our new-baby break. And when I attempt to leave the house with three - something that has not yet happened. We'll see!

A funny side-effect of baby #3 has been that both DH and I have completely lost it with regard to calling each child by his correct name. We didn't have this problem when #2 rolled into town, but #3 has apparently messed with our minds. Both of us have spontaneously started calling the boys by completely wrong names - sometime going through the entire roll-call, or just ending with "or whoever you are!" Odd that it happened to both of us at the same time! But quite amusing, too.

I'm afraid that both of these blogs are going to be even more neglected now than they have been this past year or two. I adore blogging, and it is a wonderful release and relaxation activity for me - but there just isn't much time anymore. For those of you mommy bloggers out there who blog actively while homeschooling five-plus children, raising farm animals, sewing all your own clothes, and running two home-based businesses - I salute you! I'm afraid I shall never live up to that mark. So do forgive me if these blogs just aren't as active as I'd like them to be. Blogging is one of my true loves, but with caring for three kidlets and a hubbie, and trying to keep the house livable, it's the first thing to go.

Okay, off to nurse the baby!!