Words have power. Written words provide proof. You can read them, and reread them whenever you want. They can speak life to someone who needs encouragement. They can speak death to someone who is being deceived. The choice lies within you. How is it that you want people to remember you? Encourager...that is the gift that God has laid on my heart. To use my written, spoken, and/or sung words to lift people up. To be one link in their road to healing, restoration, joy. I have been without those things, and I claim them to be mine again. If you want me to seek God on a prayer for a specific situation...that is why I am here. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to pray God's Word of Life over you.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My Journey Through 7 Pregnancies-Part Seven!

Wow…it has taken a long time to get here. Both in my life and in my writing. I am so happy to tell you of my journey with my youngest baby. Our family finally felt complete. I still have moments of longing for another newborn (especially when I get to hold one)…but the first fight I break up with my own children usually fixes that. Ha-ha!

My husband comes to me one day and asks if I remember a few years past, going by a house that he said he’d love to live in someday. I remember my exact words when we saw it for the first time. “Yeah RIGHT!” If you are picturing a gorgeous mansion…think again. Think…fixer-upper. Think…old farm. Think…eye sore. No really, this is being generous. ;) When he told me that the owner had called him out of the blue and he set up a time with the family to take a look at it…I was shocked. I expected to look at the house out of sheer politeness in not wanting to cancel. After we politely looked at it I would then make Eric gently tell them no. As you can probably guess…God had other plans in mind.

So us and our three children look at the house. My husband had always wanted a hobby farm. So he pretty much decided he wanted it before even looking inside. I =, on the other hand, needed to see if I could picture us living here. I was very confident I could NOT. So in we came to a gutted house. No plumbing. No electric. No walls in most rooms. Just studs and much clutter. Much confusion. The owner’s husband had begun gutting this house to put a face lift on it. Then in a sudden moment he was gone. He passed away and left a house full of everything he had ripped off of each wall and floor. As I stepped over boards, walked around boxes of plumbing, and ran into pile after pile of old shingles…I saw a tiny glimpse. A view from the dining room. A view that I wanted to have as my own. And soon to follow came the words…”I could see us living here.”

I went into this day believing that we would leave still planning to live in our other cute little country home. (I loved the cozy living room!) But I left this mess of a gutted home feeling blessed. Some days, living in the middle of a construction zone, makes me wonder what I was thinking. Ha-ha! I knew that it was God that laid this house right in our lap. I fully believe that it is an absolute gift from God. Gifts aren’t always gorgeous at first glance. But I have learned too much while living here to think otherwise.

I am happy to say that God has taught me great contentment through this house. I am done wishing. I am happy with what God has given us. Some days we don’t get any closer to making it more beautiful..and some days we make remarkable, lasting differences. No matter what, I am to be content. If this house would have been done and ready to move in…we probably would not have been able to afford a 30 acre country farm. But because we were willing to work as we go…and more importantly as we make the money…we bought a house that would have been seen as just an eye sore to many. And they would miss out so that I could be blessed with the view from the top of our hill. Gorgeous!

Shortly after moving in…(seriously, like two months, tops)…we found out that we were expecting again. Shocked. We were both shocked. We knew that we wanted to have another baby…but ‘our plan’ was not until our house was more prepared. Nothing about living in this house was convenient. I could go on and on…but that is not the point of this story anyway. Lol! (And I am already kind of babbling.)

We press on. This pregnancy was not too difficult. But one thing I do not recommend…being large and pregnant through the summer. Especially if it is going to be the hottest summer EVER in northwestern PA. I was miserable. I remember that my husband was siding our house in the late spring. (A lovely olive green. I get comments on it all the time…people seem to really like the color!) He asked me to come out and help with whatever I could. I honestly wanted to walk back in as soon as I walked out. My face was instantly flushed and I was miserable. I looked for any opportunity to come back inside. A poopy diaper…yippee! What’s that you say? You are thirsty? I am so on it! Ha-ha! For real. I couldn’t stay outside for any length of time at all…and at this point it was only May!

My husband’s cousin and his wife felt so bad for me that they even gave us a little swimming pool. It was only about 3 feet high…but so so wonderful! I would sit and they would splash and run. Every once in a while I would have to save Titus from drowning. I barely had to sit up to do so. Ha-ha…that was the life! Then July hit. It was time to go camping with my husband’s family.

Remember I spoke about this in my last pregnancy post. Tent camping myth…it is relaxing to go camping. Reality…when pregnant, tent camping is NOT relaxing, or comfortable, nor ‘fun’ in most ways. Sleeping in a sleeping bag on the ground…not fun. Waking up in puddles…again…not fun. Chasing kids in the hot sun…not fun. Sweating all day long and then taking a shower in questionable conditions…not fun. Waddling…not fun. Swimming…FUN! Walking back from swimming and already drenched in sweat…not fun. (Am I painting a clear picture for you? I could keep going if needed. ;) )

KFCO '10 & Levi's 1st days 059 See…do you see the redness of my face? That is how I looked all the time. Ugh…I can’t even believe I am showing you this picture. It is awful! I am regretting my decision to include it. See that smile? Fake. Pasted on to be a good sport for this awful picture. It lies, from how truly miserable I felt.

Never in my life have I sweat as much as I did that summer. I finally understood why my husband would get a bit cranky when he was over-heated. I will be more sympathetic for him from now on. It is awful. No relief. I cried. Oh did I. I went in my suffocatingly hot, stuffy tent and cried because I could not get relieved. At one point Eric was gone and I was with the kids. The whole clan decided to go for a walk. (Keep in mind…this is the 3rd week in July. I am due August 15th. I am large…okay…huge. I am swollen. I am miserable to just be awake.) They ask me if the kids and I want to go for a walk too. I decline for all of us…with much tears from the kids. My tears of apology because I knew I just couldn’t handle a 2-3 mile walk with 3 children in the heat…didn’t help them feel any better. So we took up the in-laws on their offer to use their camper.

Ahhh…relief. Being in a camper…now that is fun campin! Air conditioning. Movies so the kids could sit and rest. Cold, refrigerated drinks. This was the life. =)

With this pregnancy coming to an end I had learned my lesson from the last. There was no bitterness. I did remove myself from the worship team for the last few weeks…but that was only because I felt faint when I was on the stage because of the heat! (This summer also solidified (as if there was ever a question) that I DO NOT EVER WANT TO EXPERIENCE HELL. Nor do I want anyone I know or love to enter. No relief. Unquenchable thirst. Nope…that gonna have that!!)

It was the weekend before I was due with Levi. I started to have some questions on if I should be concerned. But it was the weekend. Who likes to go and wait for hours in the ER and be seen by some random doctor who is usually a man? Who wants to show their stuff to just anyone? Raise of hands? No?…neither do I! So I waited. Friday evening…all day Saturday…all day Sunday.

That Sunday was a special one anyway. It was my birthday. 8-8-81. That is my day. So on August 9th in the early afternoon I tell my husband…who is over an hour away working…that I am just a little bit concerned and am going to call the doctor. He acts much more worried than I am. Instructs me to call him as soon as I know what is going on. The nurse says that my mid-wife would really like to see me to be sure that my water isn’t ‘leaking’. (If you have ever been prego…you know that ‘everything is normal in pregnancy’. At least that is what they tell you. All of these crazy things that seem very abnormal…are always normal. Odd!)

I told Eric that I would just find a place for the kids to go and I’d drive there myself because I was confident that nothing was wrong. He was not having it. He told me to get all the stuff we need for the hospital. And to load up the bags for the kids and he will meet me half way. He was very late…even though he was speeding to get there. So we went on our way doctor’s office, already behind schedule. (If know anything about my husband…you will know that he is always on time! Early usually. I am naturally a late person…so we butt heads a lot. Ha-ha!) I am not sure if you paid much attention…but with all of my successful pregnancies…my labors were quite short. Had I been in labor on this particular trip…I absolutely would have delivered in my van.

Can you admit that sometimes it can be a bit frustrating to go through road construction? Okay…now add to that that your doctor is waiting on you and only you before she can go home for the day. Now add that your spouse is freaking out because we are late (for the first time his fault, not mine!). And now add that something may be wrong…and we may have to have a baby today! It literally took us over 2 hours to get somewhere that should’ve taken half an hour. It was getting on Eric’s last nerve.

We finally arrived and the doctor quickly confirmed that it is my water that was leaking. And here I thought I was just peeing myself a little bit. Bahaha! (I’m telling you…don’t count anything out when it comes to being pregnant!) When she told me that because it had been leaking for a few days…there was a increased risk of infection to the baby. I started to cry. She went from stern and not happy with me…to compassionate in two seconds flat. She assured me that it was going to be okay. We were going to go to the hospital NOW to have a baby. And this baby would have an awesome birthday. 8-9-10

That made me smile. I mean come on…I could not have planned that! So almost exactly 4 hours after starting the induction…Levi James was born. 7 lbs 6 oz. (And here I thought he was an Olivia. *shrugs shoulders here* I would not trade my Levi for anything! He is an absolute blessing to me!!) God protected Levi. He had no complications after labor. No infection at all. Praise God!
                                             Levi's 1st days 092 KFCO '10 & Levi's 1st days 086

Just one year later I celebrated my 30th birthday at his 1st birthday party. It was awesome! I couldn’t
think of a better belated birthday present. He has been our happiest child from birth until now. He is an absolute delight to our family. The kids love doting on him. And wrestling with him. And carrying him around. And helping mom with anything and almost everything to do with him. I have 3 little helpers. And the transition from 3 to 4 children…was an absolute breeze! (How about in your family? If you have multiple children which was the hardest transition? 1-2, 2-3, 3-4? Eric and I agree that our hardest transition by far was going from 1 to 2 children. Odd huh? After that…eh…what’s the difference? Lol!)

What was to come when Levi was just 4 months old? I could not have seen it coming. I hit rock bottom. But that is an entirely different story for an entirely different day. Soon my friend. Soon!

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