Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Year of the Roller Coaster

I have had a chance this week to reflect on the events of the past year.  
My year started off in a very dark place because I did not truly allow myself to grieve the loss of our child the previous year.  It was extremely difficult to extricate myself from the hole I was in and God knew I was in trouble.  He sent some friends my way to help get me out and set me back on the right track.  It took a few months of hard work, but I finally allowed myself to be angry about our loss and grieve it.  Giving myself permission to be angry is what finally unlocked the healing, I think.  I pray none of you have ever had to experience this, and I pray you never will.  It is something you can never really forget or recover from, but you can learn to accept it and find a place for it in your heart so that you can continue on. Even as I write this, I can't stop the tears from falling.
And from the recovery period of this experience, I learned just how deep the desire in my heart is for the child I have seen in my dreams for the last fifteen years.  The daughter that will join our family through adoption.  Tony and I have discussed adopting since we were dating and we always knew it was quite possibly part of God's plan for our family.  I have felt the pull growing stronger and stronger for the last couple of years, but I was afraid he didn't feel the same way so I didn't say anything.  In February, God helped me conquer my fear and tell him just how strongly I felt about looking into it right now.  He answered me with the sweetest words he could have ever said to me at that moment, "The Spirit has been working on my heart, too."  I don't think I had ever loved that man more than at that exact moment.  We prayed about it for a few weeks and then started doing some research. A LOT of research.  We explored domestic and international.  We researched about twenty countries, and about ten of those in depth.  We went to a seminar, watched adoption videos, read books, talked to people.  And we finally found an agency called Adoption Ark that was piloting a program for a country called Kyrgyzstan.  We learned all we could about this agency, this country, the need for adoptive parents.  We received the requirements from our caseworker and plunged into this new world headfirst.  We jumped through hoop after hoop. And then, when the requirements changed, we jumped through those, too.  We were told the "paperwork pregnancy" would take between six and nine months- we finished it all in less than four.  We were only waiting on one last piece of paper before we could mail everything off. 
It came the very same day we found out we were pregnant.  
We prayed about this new development together and asked for God's guidance.  We both received the same answer.  He was calling us to have two more children right now. We would proceed with the adoption and be pregnant.  How amazing is our God?! We felt completely humbled and blessed that He would give us the gift of not one, but two children at the same time.  Little did we know His true plan.  A few weeks after we found out we were pregnant, on July 2nd, we went for a sonogram to find out how far along we were because we didn't know. The sonographer made a discovery that would forever change our lives: I see two heartbeats.
In my life I have never experienced such an overwhelming, all-encompassing joy and such an overwhelming, all-encompassing sense of loss at the same time. I knew at that moment, we had just lost our daughter in Kyrgyzstan.  We felt the Lord leading us to add two more children to our family right now, but not three more.  I felt this loss just as strongly as I felt the loss of our last child.  I fell into another pit grieving her for about five weeks.  Because I had just been in this same pit not even six months before, I knew I didn't want to stay in it for long.  God helped me get out of it this time with the tools I had gained from the last time.  I still long for this daughter and I always will. Last night, we were packing up some of Sydney's outgrown clothes and unused items and we came across the special blanket we purchased for this daughter.  The longing in my heart is still strong, and we pray about this child still.  If it is in His plan for our family, one day we will bring her home.  I only ask for comfort and patience for my heart until that day comes.
This past year has been quite the roller coaster of emotions for our family. Great highs and great lows.  But one thing has been constant throughout this journey- the presence of God. Looking back, there is not one moment I cannot see His hand or feel His presence, not one.  He is a constant comfort and ever present source of help in times of trouble. He is always there to offer me hope, especially in my darkest hour.  How blessed am I?  How blessed are we all? To have such a loving Father as He.  All praise and glory be His.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Status Report

Nothing new to report- which is good news, I guess. Everything is going very well right now. Still having contractions, but no dilation as of yet.  My doc still wants me coming every two weeks which puts my next appointment/sonogram on Dec. 30.  He is considering me further along than the due date suggests-based on the boys' size in the sonograms.  According to him we are 32 1/2 weeks, instead of not quite 32 weeks. Not a big difference, but every little bit counts!  
Big sister Sydney is super excited about her brothers, but right now the impending arrival of Santa Claus is overshadowing pretty much everything else.  The only thing she tells people she wants (when they ask her, of course) is a swim doll.  I am not too excited about this particular desire. I have read the reviews online about the toy (as all consumers should) and it has about a 50/50 track record.  Half the dolls work and half do not.  But since this is her only real request, I guess we have to get it. Luckily it only costs about $25 and is not overly expensive.  I really just don't want to carry it to the pool or figure out how to dry it out and store it between baths. She and I have been practicing for her preschool musical for about a month and a half now.  And she has got her lines and lyrics down pat.  I cannot even tell you how much I was looking forward to her musical debut this year (especially with all the not doing anything).  On the night of her big production (it lasted 10 minutes), she was so excited.  We sang in the bath before the program and in the car on the way there.  We got there and she was fairly jumping up and down. We went to take our seats and wait for it to start.  When she walked in and saw us, she smiled real big and waved her arms.  Then she saw everyone else and froze.  Then the lip came out.  The show started and instead of singing and dancing her heart out (as she did at home) she wouldn't smile, wouldn't sing, wouldn't say her lines, wouldn't dance, and all she would do is stare at everyone with her lip out.  During the last song we thought she was finally going to start crying, but instead she said very loudly (people 6 rows behind us heard her), "Daddy, I have to go potty."  Three times.  Everyone around us started snickering.  And so her musical debut did not go according to plan. Since then, she has asked every day if it is time to go to her program. I think she may have blocked it out.

Monday, December 8, 2008

30 weeks and counting...

As you will probably guess from the content of this blog, I am getting a little bored.  Four weeks down and at least four more to go, the bedrest is starting to get to me.  I have completed almost all of the little "projects" I can do from the couch and I need some new ones.  Online Christmas shopping-check. Christmas cards-check. Online nursery shopping-check.  Thank you cards-check. Obsessive list making-check. Hired people to complete nursery-check. That was a hard one to do because I really wanted to do it myself. But seeing as how it is upstairs and I am supposed to stay downstairs and rest, that was not going to happen.  I haven't even seen it yet!  Granted, it is still a work in progress, but it is hard to keep from going up every hour to check on the progress.  I think it may be good for me to let other people "do" for me instead of trying to control everything like I usually do.  The only thing I need to control right now is protecting our sons.  And so far, I am doing a pretty good job. We have only been sent to L and D once for a shot to stop contractions and hopefully that is the only visit we will make until after 34 weeks.
My blog friend, Lori, had this list posted on her blog and I thought, why not.  I am not sure what title to give it other than 99 things I may or may not have done. If you find it interesting, copy it and post it on yours making the necessary changes for yourself.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars

3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity 
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis

10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch-sewing
15. Adopted a child 
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill 
24. Built a snow fort 
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping

27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice 
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise 
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community

36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person

39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight 
46. Been transported in an ambulance 
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie

56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Gotten flowers for no reason

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check

68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial

71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt 
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades

75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem-on the top of my list
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one 
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a lawsuit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee