26 August 2014

Judah

I laughed as Judah was born; I didn't remember until my midwife's apprentice reminded us. That is NOT to say my labor was peaceful or joyful or even positive. It was intense to the point of overwhelming for several hours (for those who understand these things, I went from being 3 cm dilated to Judah being born in just over 4 hours). I told Stephen during my labor (I believe shortly after vomiting) that if we were ever to get pregnant again, we're going to the hospital and they're stabbing a needle in my back (I've since begun to reconsider, but I make no promises either way).

 Judah was born "en caul": with the amniotic sac ("bag of waters") unbroken. That wasn't because we made a decision not to break my water; there just wasn't time - the contraction I had just after my midwife checked my dilation was the same contraction during which his head was born. Luckily, I was able to wait for another contraction for the rest of him to be born.

And that's why I laughed - the joy of a thing completed, particularly something inconvenient (he was born at 3:41am in the worst time of year for people who minister to college students), painful, and long-awaited.

It's weird to have a new baby again, when we've been so long expecting our next child to be adopted as a... not-baby (could be toddler or older, but not a baby). It's also a strange feeling to be elated that he's here, and yet still feel the lack of our little A. Judah has two older siblings, but one is missing from all the photos. It's hard to wrap my heart around sometimes.

Still, it's a comfort, really; it reminds me in my heart that God hasn't closed the door to adoption for us. We don't know if we'll have more biological children, but our family is certainly not complete. As we adjust to being a family of four (as in, wait, when do I take a shower now?), I confess I already think of us as a family of five - and expectant family, still. We are still in gestation, and there is no estimated due date yet. As one wait is over, my earnest hope is that I'll continue to wait well on this much longer-deferred hope: to cast my cares at God's feet; to be thankful for His many ways of protecting, loving, and caring for us; and to receive God's peace (instead of being petulant. Yes, petulant).
Judah Titus; 8/15/14; 7lbs, 14oz; 20.5"; ours.

16 July 2014

Umm, oops. . .

Sorry for the radio silence. In the past two months, I've decided to make a career change, started and finished a college class, gone to Colorado with my parents and Ezra, gone to Crystal Beach with Stephen's family, and organized (and prodded and kept Ezra out of the way) the addition of a dishwasher into our home (which didn't have a dishwasher before, making it quite the job). All of this while Stephen has gone out of town to raise support at least ten times.

I have also been CRAZY nesting. Pushing my body to its limit moving stuff and cleaning and organizing and finally having an epiphany about it. I am trying to make myself feel ready to have a newborn and a rambunctious three-and-a-half-year-old at the same time. The transition to motherhood was very difficult, and only in the past nine months have I really been working through the issues that surfaced after E was born. They generally revolve around me feeling wholly incompetent to parent, so having another kiddo is. . . scary. We'll leave it at that.

On top of that, we should receive the referral of a child we are considering adopting any day now (though it's been "any day" for a week and a half already). So much change and upheaval and uncertainty; no wonder I'm trying to control the one place that I can.

That being said, I'm off to the baby room, to throw more things away and make more space (for a person who won't measure two feet long. Hormones are crazy pills).

29 April 2014

Parenting Insight.

I got it this morning: why staying at home is really hard for me, especially right now. You see, of the five love languages (words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch & closeness, acts of service, and gifts), acts of service is the one I speak least. Like I do not speak it at all. [so if you do something to serve me but don't cue me in that you're doing it out of love, I'll probably thank you but won't feel loved by it.]

But acts of service is all I do for this kid, you know? And man, it's awesome when he says thank you, but it is horrible when he can't even be happy about it. Not just not acknowledge it, but seems to look for something to be unhappy about it. YOU SUCK ALL MY ENERGY, CHILD. Not just because you're rambunctious (I pretty much like that, except when you hurt me), but because you require me to constantly go against my personality with almost nothing in return.

To top that off, gifts is my #1 (luckily I speak other ones, or my marriage would be a shambles; Stephen is not a natural-born-gift-giver). And a 3-year-old is not really capable of thinking of something I like and then giving it to me.

And on top of all that, I'm very fun-oriented. I'm not a particularly driven person, not a high achiever (it seems exhausting, honestly). And it seems like this 3-year-old is intent on finding ways to not have fun. He asks me to stop the water in his bath, and when I do, he falls apart that I stopped the water. What am I supposed to do with that? YOU LOVE BATH TIME. HAVE A GOOD TIME. WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH YOU. You need to stop spitting/screaming or you'll have to get out of the bath.

So whew this stage is particularly hard. I am glad I had that insight this morning; it doesn't change my situation, but still, more awareness can help me manage my own behavior when my son clearly is having trouble managing his.

23 April 2014

We went to Collegiate's annual staff conference last week, and it's a time I love because there are women there who have been working in college ministry (or participating as their husbands work, or both) for a long time. They've raised children within our church network, but the kids aren't with them (and E wasn't with me), so we can really sit and talk.

Something that was said has been going around and around in my head:

You don't have to be mentally healthy to glorify God.

And those are words that nourish my heart. My body chemistry right now is really messing with the way I normally function. I'm very hope-driven and fun-oriented. Those things can take a hit with more-than-full-time parenting and pregnancy without adding medicine that further reduces my capacity for hope and for fun. I don't feel like me.

But I don't have to be healthy to glorify God. I don't have to be stable or strong or not cry about nothing.

It's given me a way to reroute this experience through a different lens from my norm. It helps me remember that I don't have to participate in these feelings. I can experience them, but I can do it with the recognition that my body chemistry is influencing how I perceive my life.

It's helped me remember that, for emotional people, we can sometimes only see life through our emotional experience, and that's not healthy. It's not good to ignore or suppress them, but they shouldn't be our guide. We need to take captive our emotions and bring them to Jesus, just as we are our thoughts.

So yeah, everything feels bad and I'm having a hard time enjoying life, but that doesn't mean I can't experience this season in a way that gladdens the heart of the One who made me (and this placenta that is TOTALLY FALLING DOWN ON THE JOB). And He knows why this is happening and when it will stop and just how it feels. And I am comforted.

01 April 2014

Adoption Update

Well, it's April. It seems the decision about this little person has been made for us by the fact that the orphanage still haven't made the referral, added to the fact that the courts have been making the court dates farther out (sometimes over 2 months from receiving our dossier). Combine both of those with my (albeit slight) pregnancy complication, and it means we would be utterly unreasonable to continue to consider accepting the referral once it (finally) comes. Stephen would probably have to stay in Uganda while I had baby Q (no, his name won't start with Q. Q is short for "Quoi?!?"]

Am I sad? Yes. Poor Stephen found me crying in the shower about it yesterday. [I wish I could give him warning about when I'm going to cry. I think it would help him to feel less alarmed.] This adoption has been so hard for a long time. But I do feel the peace of knowing that I will look back and know that God's hand was on us in this time, by not even giving us the opportunity to have to make a decision about the referral. To have the option and still have to say "no" would have been much harder.

If you would take a moment and pray for this child, that God would swiftly lead Generations to his/her adoptive parents, I'd be grateful.