Friday, October 21, 2011

Grateful for Small Victories...

This morning was filled with a lot of hope. I spoke to the pediatrician and he was super surprised by Faith's progress. In fact, he said that if she was eating well she may even possibly be able to come home with me when I'm discharged tomorrow.

Hope welled up inside me. I had been refusing to allow myself to think of the possibility of leaving here without my baby in my arms, and for that moment it seemed like I had been doing the right thing, just avoiding and ignoring that possibility.

Our first feeding of the morning was the best we'd had yet. She latched and fed for about 5 minutes without any aids. I thought we were making real and totally doable progress when it came to the goal of tomorrow.

Then, came the afternoon feed. Faith was just sleepy and content (they still have her on a sugar solution in her IV that helps to keep her blood sugar up, which is good and necessary, but also makes it so she doesn't feel hungry.) We held her for about an hour hoping she would wake up and open her eyes, but alas, no luck.

We came back to the room with hopes that I could take a short and needed nap. My iron levels are severely low. Apparently I must have bled too much yesterday and my body just hasn't been able to bounce back. This has left me a very sleepy, very dizzy Brittany at times, but I have been trying to push through because, inevitably, I have been more worried about Faith than myself. Well, the nap didn't work because it was lunch time.

The goal then became eat and nap while Jeff went to take a nap and do some things for himself. Well, I ate, but I decided I wanted to chat. I called my sister in law and talked for over an hour...well, too bad no nap...I realized it was almost 2 PM and I should probably try to go feed Faith again.

Well, I though there was hope in succeeding at a feeding because they said she was awake and her eyes were open...a very good sign.

I have been trying to get the hang of the whole breast feeding thing. Its been frustrating because not even my colostrum had been seeming to come in yet.

Well, things went from bad to worse...

Faith would latch and then sit there, doing nothing. We tried using an SNS drip. You fill it with formula and either tape the little tube to yourself or put it underneath a nipple shield and trick the baby into eating and wanting to suck...that wasn't working either. I was trying to remain positive and simply cheered on my daughter stating that if she wanted to come home tomorrow she needed to start showing the nurses that she knew how to eat...

and then things got much worse...

The wonderful nurse running the NICU whom had been helping me with acquiring my feeding skills rubbed my back and gently explained that based off of the way Faith was acting, she was pretty sure that she wasn't going to come home with me tomorrow.

Without warning the floodgates opened. I had been ignoring the thoughts of what it would be like to walk out of this hospital tomorrow without her and now I was being told it was reality. My sweet nurse suggested we stop trying to push something on her she wasn't ready for and explained that a lot of babies born before 38 weeks have a tendency to understand the latch and not the suck part, even though they have a working and strong suck reflex when tested. Maybe Faith just wasn't ready to eat on her own yet. She said that I would be welcome to stay on at the hospital in an extra room so I could be close to her until we could take her home, but the earliest that she could see Faith leaving the NICU and coming home would be Monday.

I sat, sobbed and held my baby. I prayed quietly hoping for the hurt in my heart to go away. When you're pregnant and anticipating how things will end, you don't picture having to leave your baby at the hospital...especially when everyone keeps telling you how great she looks and how much progress she has made. The NICU nurse continued to stroke my back and tried to make me feel better, reassuring me that it was okay to cry and that everything would be fine. Reminding me of all the obstacles that Faith had overcome in spite of everything...

The nurse had to leave go help another couple with their baby. She suggested that I hold her and love on her for a minute, but that maybe I should leave and get some rest. I held her close and prayed for some hope, a little glimpse that everything would be okay. I had literally just thought my "amen" when I noticed Faith snuzzling my neck like hungry babies do. She also started to eat her hand. In my head I thought, "If she can suck on her hand than she can suck, we just need to keep trying." I lowered her back down to try again. The NICU nurse came back and said, "Oh, you're going to try again? Okay. Just let me know when you're ready for me to take her or you need help."

She turned around to talk to some of her co-workers and Faith went to town! I let her know that Faith was feeding. She turned around and looked at her with a surprised look. She said, "Well, I guess just let me know when she stops." About 10 minutes later Faith started to grunt and cry. I pulled her off the latch and tried to burp her. She got the hiccups. We had to wait for about 15 minutes to try again. I tried using the nipple shield and the SNS again in hopes of possibly getting her some actual nutrition (again, I didn't think I had anything coming in at all- not even colostrum) but she refused to take it... I had to laugh because as soon as the nipple shield and SNS were gone, she opened her mouth wide and went to latch onto the bare skin. I decided to let her have what she wanted...wonder of wonders- I realized she was swallowing, she was actually getting something! She continued to feed for another 15 minutes and pulled herself off with a grunt. I burped her and she fell asleep on my shoulder.

The NICU nurse came over to tell me that Faith's jaundice levels were higher than they'd like and that she was going to have to put her on a bili light once I left, but she definitely remarked how amazed she was with Faith. The last 15 minutes were what had surprised her the most.

I'm not going to allow myself to think that just because she finally fed things are going to turn around and she will magically come home tomorrow...especially because she is now officially jaundiced...

However, I am going to say how grateful I am for small victories and little miracles. Faith can eat, she is a little pro at it. I am so blessed by a loving Heavenly Father- he answered my prayer right away. I was witness to a miracle this afternoon, and I am truly awestruck by his ability to surprise us with an immediate answer to a humble prayer.

I think of all the people out there that are praying for so many big things, and maybe they don't see the answers right away...

My humble prayer that my baby can come home tomorrow may or may not be answered, but I am so happy for the small victories that I was able to witness today. Small victories are just one way that God lets us know that he truly is listening, we just have to be willing to look for them and wait for the bigger ones.

Thank you to all of you that have been offering prayers and good thoughts in my behalf on on my daughter's behalf- I think you should know that I truly believe that you played a huge role in this small victory today. I was just the one who was blessed enough to witness the immediate answer to my prayer added to all of yours first hand.

Hugs and loves until next time darlings.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Well...So Much for Maternity Pictures...AKA Faith's Birth Story

Monday I talked to my older sister about shooting some maternity pics and a few hours later I started contracting..

Funny thing is, I didn't think I was contracting...I couldn't be...maybe I was constipated or something...(yes,I just used the word constipated in a blog- get over it!) I tried not to think too much of it. I went to my little sister's gender announcement party for her coming addition and they started to get a little worse. My older sister (who is also a Labor and Delivery Nurse) tried to help me time them. She put her hand on my hard as a rock belly and said that they were definitely contractions... I kept trying to track them, but they weren't steady...

Sleep evaded me that night. I would get to sleep for an hour or two and have a few contractions, get ready to try to time them thinking they were steady only to have them stop- the same process would repeat many times...

I walked all day on Tuesday hoping that things would get steady...and I was MISERABLE! I was exhausted from no sleep and the unsteady contractions would go from being super painful to annoying like a toothache or would stop all together for a few hours...

Right before I got ready to teach voice lessons for the day I sat on the couch in the living room and felt a tiny gush of water...nothing too extreme, in fact I wouldn't have thought anything of it if it hadn't been for the fact that my contractions seemed to get worse a few hours later.

My friend Erica came over that night and visited with me. All the while my personal nurse (AKA my older sister Amber) was calling me from her shift at the hospital trying to convince me to go up for a labor check...

I really didn't want to for a few reasons:

1) I didn't want to go up to the hospital and be told that I was just constipated or something and not in labor

2) It was about 3 and 1/2 weeks too soon for this baby to be making a grand entrance, therefore impossible that I was in labor

3) I didn't want to go, have them tell me that yes, I was in labor, but I would have to go home until contractions were steady...

I decided to wait it out. I called and left my midwife a message and since we had an appointment the next morning, I would let her do the labor check...


8:45 yesterday morning rolls around. My husband hesitantly went off to school and my personal nurse decided to join me at the doctor's office...

I'm kind of glad she did because I wouldn't have known where to begin...

We listened to baby's heartbeat, it was fine and my midwife decided to test and see if I was leaking amniotic fluid...she didn't even have to stick the paper all the way in, it was VERY water had either broken or I had a tear in the sack. She checked me. I was 75% effaced, but only dilated to a 1. She sent me right up to the hospital.

She felt horrible because my lack of contractions and my broken water meant I would absolutely have to have Pitocin. I told her I was okay with that because I knew it was necessary for my safety and baby's safety. My only problem with Pitocin was the use of it to "speed things along" unnecessarily like some OB's try to do. this point I'd already been in labor for over 24 hours and dealing with no sleep and crappy contraction patterns...I was just ready to be done and I knew this would be the only way.

I got to Mountainview and they hooked me up to moniters...apparently I was having contractions and they were pretty steady but I just wasn't feeling them- ergo they weren't doing anything.

Then came the dreaded bag of actually took a few hours before I started feeling the contractions. The nurses were surprised at my level of pain tolerance, the Pitocin was pretty high before I felt the contractions.

After about 6 hours on Pitocin I felt another large gush of water. We assumed that was my water breaking the rest of the way. I got on the birthing ball for about an hour to try to help manage the pain (since I couldn't do the tub like I'd been planning on because the baby had to be on constant monitoring to ensure she was handling the Pitocin alright) My midwife came in to check me and was helping me off the birthing ball when Niagra Falls gushed...I swear I stood there for 3-5 minutes as water went all over the place. I was so embarrassed and apologized through my tears. My midwife simply said that there were towels that could clean up the water, and we needed to look at our bright sides: 1) the fluid was all very clear and 2) with the water completely broken for sure things should move along faster.

Then came the sad part...she checked me and I was only about 2 or 2 and 1/2 cm dilated. My contractions started getting more unbearable, though I refused to admit that the pain was a 10 even though it was...tears kept flowing and, of course, they only made the contractions worse because I was all tense because I was crying....Jeff was, in short, amazing. I told him that I didn't think I could do this, he quietly kept assuring me that I was doing awesome and he was on the ball. If I needed anything he was quick to be there. Anytime I was in pain as they checked me or as contractions got worse I would close my eyes and all of a sudden I would feel his hand wrapped around mine. I definitely couldn't have done it without him.

Although I was on Pitocin, I was trying to be gung ho about the no epidural thing... however, after about 10 hours on Pitocin, being so exhausted I could barely see straight, and having contractions that were about 3 times more painful than regular ones stacked right on top of each other- and not causing much cervical change to boot... I knew I couldn't do broke my heart, I felt completely defeated, but I knew that if I was going to have to labor through the night (and I would have to) I needed to be able to get some sleep.

We tried Fentanyl before the epidural. It worked for about an hour and then I was a weepy, sobbing, wet mess again. My knees were starting to bruise from me having Jeff do counterpressure on them to help mitigate the pain of the contractions. My nurse came in and we had a chat about how I wasn't doing anything wrong to have the epidural; in fact, my nurse noted how surprised she and all the other nurses had been that I had lasted as long as I had. They didn't doubt that I could go all the way, but they knew because I'd been in labor since Monday I would likely be way too exhausted to push when the time came. She quietly kept assuring me that I was making the right decision.

Of course, I was a sobbing mess, I felt defeated and of course the crying made the contractions worse so I cried harder because I was in constant pain...

It honestly felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders when the Anesthesiologist came in. However, he was very slowly preparing everything and I had about 6 contractions by the time he got the ball rolling.

The worst part of the epidural was the numbing shot. He called it a killer bee sting and boy howdy he wasn't lying...however, once that was set and numbing everything I didn't even feel the rest. He was even pleased with the fact that his test dose actually worked right away and I was immediately feeling some relief.

It ended up being a huge blessing that I had the epidural. My midwife and my nurse were able to do what they had been wanting to do but were too afraid to do while I was in pain...they turned the epidural down and slowly started to turn it back up so that they could get the contraction patterns steady and effective, they were also able to place a special electrode to measure the contractions more effectively because the external monitor wasn't picking up my contractions correctly and I wasn't getting credit on the monitors for how bad the contractions really were.

When the electrode was placed my midwife saw the level of my contractions and told me how amazed she was that I had waited as long as I did for the epidural...

They turned down the Pitocin and slowly started to turn it back up in hopes of getting a steady pattern going. It worked, but it still took until about midnight before I was dilated to a 4. About an hour later I was a 5...and baby got lower and lower and lower.

By 6:30 I was completely dilated, but the nurse didn't want me to push without my midwife and was concerned because I still had a lip of cervix on one side. She decided to let me labor down- this means that she decided to let my body try to push the baby down as low as she could possibly get before I did too much work to try to move her down on my own.

By 7 I was dying! The had asked me to stop pushing the renew button for my epidural because they wanted me to be able to push effectively and, while it wasn't painful like a contraction, the pressure was almost unbearable! I had to push- but my midwife wasn't there yet...she was on her way but no one could say how far away she was.

I cried tears of anger and relief when she walked through the door at 7:30, I couldn't wait anymore to push! She checked me, or should I say she barely stuck her two fingers in and said, "I'm sorry I took so long! Baby is right there isn't she!?" We got ready to push right away.

It felt good to push, it relieved a lot of the pain until I got to the famous "ring of fire" section of the birth when the baby's head has finally made it past the pubic bone...

However, apparently I am a rock star- everyone was shocked that I had her out after only 30 minutes of pushing. Most first time mom's push for hours. Part of me thinks its because by the time I was able to push the majority of the epidural had worn off so I was really, really able to feel how and where to push.

Baby came out and they laid her on my chest for about 2.2 seconds. She was small enough that my midwife knew she couldn't let me hold her at first. They had a respiratory therapist waiting in the room while I pushed and he immediately went to work. Considering how early she was, they weren't surprised she was having a little trouble breathing and had been preparing me for it since I had been admitted to the hospital the previous morning.

I think the only thing I wasn't prepared for was not being able to hold her. I didn't even get a good look at her face. All I had was pictures that my husband brought over to me... the lucky duck could walk and stand, I unfortunately could not.

Jeff came back to me and made sure I was okay before asking to go be with the baby. I told him to go.

There were concerns of infection because my water had started to break so long before the actual delivery took place, and of course there were the previously mentioned breathing problems...the breathing problems weren't too bad, her lungs were simply a little "stiff" and she needed to have some help to keep them pushed open at first.

I finally got to hold her at 2 PM. The NICU nurse is awesome. She also gave us a very positive update. Baby is almost weaned off the oxygen, has been able to suck on a pacifier, and the labs they have gotten back so far have pointed to no infection. There is one more lab that take 48 hours to get back, if that one is clear I should be able to take her home when I go home on Saturday.

I too am on infection watch because of my water being broken for so long, so I have to stay at the hospital for 48 hours as well.

Hopefully I will be able to go in and try to feed her sometime later this evening. The pediatrician has her on a sugar IV fluid that has made her not very hungry because they needed to keep her blood sugar up in case she wasn't breathing well enough on her own to feed, but they suspect she is and will be ready any time now...I'm just waiting for them to come get me.

Well, that is how my last few days have gone...who knew things could get so interesting so quickly!?

Hugs and baby kisses until next time darlings!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Things I'm Loving Right Now


I woke up this morning feeling like a grumpy sour-puss...

It seems like things that normally don't bother me at all just can't seem to roll off my back. Perhaps I will blog about those things if they are still bothering me tomorrow, but I prefer not to blog about things while they are making me want to punch someone in the face...I have learned from experience that sometimes other people are feeling the same way that I am but on the opposite end of the spectrum, and I would prefer not to get more worked up by causing a heated debate...especially because we're almost to the point when baby could come any day (Thursday I will be 36 weeks...if I went into labor they wouldn't do anything to stop it...)


I decided that, in an effort to lift my grumpy spirits, I would blog about things that I'm loving right now...even if sometimes they make me tired and I don't want to do them...

I am loving baking using the seasonal fall fruits. I have had the overwhelming need and desire to make an apple pie or tart for the last few days, fortunately for my family I haven't had any apples in the see, I am one of those bakers that has a tendency to bake and then not partake- leaving my family to consume the unnecessary calories. My most popular ventures have been my "crumbles", in my house we call them cobblers, even though technically they aren't a cobbler (cobblers have a cake-like crust, a crumble has a delicious streusel topping on top of the fruit.)

I made a delicious peach crumble the other day with some peaches my sister had canned and gave to my parents. I think mom and dad ended up eating the majority of that one. I also decided to try my hand at a plum crumble. My mother-in-law gave us a very large bag of plums off of her tree to use the last time we went to Preston and I hated thinking that they would go to waste. Before the batteries in my camera died I managed to get a snapshot of that deliciousness. I'd never had a plum in a baked dessert before this. I have to say that I enjoyed the tart taste.

I've also been plodding along with preschool. My niece gets super excited to come when we meet and she is super smart. I did manage to find an online program to supplement our learning process. You have to be a member to access all the content, but you can access a majority of it for free!!! The content includes learning games that help teach phonics, reading, numbers, beginning addition/subtraction...Raylee would probably play on it for the full 2 hours of preschool if I would let her. She loves showing everyone that she can read certain words or that she has done something correctly in a game.

For all my homegirls out there that are experiencing the joys of homeschooling for preschool click here to check it out!

I thought I'd also show you some of the last pictures that I have of the drawings and activities we've been doing.

Here is our alphabet wall...I have since added a few letters, but until I remember to get new batteries to put in my camera (which needs to happen soon since I need to pack it in the hospital bag) You will have to deal with a not so current picture of my cartoony doodling abilities...LOL

Here is our number wall, again, I've added a few numbers since. Raylee always gets super excited when she sees a new number or letter on the wall when she gets to class. She is super eager to be a "Number and Letter Master!" (as she calls herself.)

A few weeks ago we did our unit of days of the week. We learned a little song to remember the days of the week in order to the tune of "O My Darlin' Clementine" Every day we had school, we made a very hungry caterpillar and added a new ring with the day of the week attached and the food that made it grow.

Here is a full view of our days of the week wall (which is now a days of the week and month wall...we made a giant calendar last week for the month of October and hung it up! )

Every day when she comes to class we say what yesterday was, today is, and tomorrow will be and mark a day off of our calendar. She took her caterpillar home and insisted that her mom hang it up so that she could remember the days of the week. Kiersten says that she still talks about what the caterpillar needs to eat that day.

Well, I guess this is all you get until I get batteries. I have been writing a lot of crochet patterns and have made a few gifts (that I still need to get shipped to people) , finished a commission (that I still need to get dropped off and collect the money for), and have just been trying to stay busy...

As for completing the day thinking of things I'm loving right now, my thoughts are now turned to my husband. I'm hoping for a date night tonight (or a mini one) to get me out of my grumpy funk. I think Starbucks inside Barnes and Noble for some hot chocolate is definitely in order...or something to that effect... No matter what, I definitely need a hug from him right now... why oh why must be his college classes be so far away??!?!?!

Hugs and loves (without the grumpiness- we hope) until next time darlings!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Here I Sit

Here I sit...

Watching as my belly moves back and forth...its slightly painful each time because literally it moves from side to side as baby rocks back and forth.

I'm pretty much exhausted. I just woke up not long ago from a nap that lasted about an hour and a half and I feel like it did some good, but not enough.

However, in spite of my shape shifting belly, I sit here and think that life is pretty darn good. It could be so much worse, really. I am so grateful. Somehow, God in his mercy continues to bless me and life seems to plod ahead.

There is so much uncertainty in my life right now...will my husband graduate in December? will he be able to get a job (because we hear every day how hopeful to be on that front *sarcastic face and tone*) will my baby be healthy? on and on the questions can come....

So many questions, so many "what ifs?"

But, the more I sit here, the more I think of all the really wonderful things that continue to happen, I think of all the little ways that God blesses me and I choose to feel peace. I choose to not allow myself to be bogged down and concerned by all the "what ifs". I think of what IS, and I have the overwhelming feeling that no matter what happens, we will be taken care of.

I know without a doubt, if we continue to follow the council of the Lord given to us by his servants the prophets that we can weather any storm. I know if we follow he law of tithing, we will be able to find and open the windows of heaven and receive all the blessings we could ever want and need.

God is a loving father. He may not bless us with our heart's desire right away, but sure as I sit here and watch my morphing belly, He will always make sure we have what we need.

I also know we can't leave it all up to God. I know that we need to be making wise choices, spiritually, financially, and physically in order to be able to receive what He wants to bless us with. We can't go on a shopping spree, spending money that we don't have and then pray for and expect God to fix our financial situations when they become dire...we have to be willing to do part of the work.

Yes- God performs miracles. Through His power Christ was able to heal the sick and afflicted, and that healing continues today through his Holy Priesthood...however, in order to receive a miracle we need to BE a miracle. We can't be afraid of standing up for what we believe in, we can't be afraid to make hard decisions...

whether that decision is to move to another country or state to take a job in our field, or whether that decision is to forge ahead and grow our families in spite of economic turmoil because we know we've been directed to do so... our actions need to be worthy of those miracles.

So...I sit...I forge ahead...I work to do His will...I look for His blessings, and I allow myself to be grateful.

I think of how much worse any situation could be as I look at the trials of those around me and the trials of others that are showcased by the media....I then realize that I wouldn't want to trade my trials with anyone else. Heavenly Father knows what we can handle, he also knows when to test us.

Someday I will have the faith of Abraham, who took his son into the mountains to turn him into an offering at the Lord's request only to have the Lord stay his hand and tell him that he had passed....I don't know if my faith is to that level.

I do what I can. I just make sure I try a little harder each day to listen and do what I'm directed to do by the spirit...even if it scares me or I don't understand why.

We don't always need the "Why" at first...we just need to know that a "Why" exists, and will be revealed to us at the right time. I sit...

Hugs and Loves until next time darlings!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Its a Peach Cobbler Kind of Day


After spending way longer than anticipated at the doctor's office (apparently it was a busy morning of labor checks and work for my poor, wonderful midwife! My appointment was supposed to be a quick one that started at 9:15, we didn't get back to a room until 10 and then we waited for a while- we didn't leave until almost 11! My poor midwife- all she could do was apologize and then tease me for gaining more weight...) I left feeling confident and very reassured about the time ahead of me.

Baby has dropped. I thought she had, but my midwife definitely confirmed that when she was shocked and amazed by how low her head is, she was also amazed by the fact that there was a whole fist's worth of space at the top of my belly where baby used to be. Baby is head down, and according to my midwife, it doesn't look like things will be changing any time soon.

At the end of my appointments, my midwife always takes time to talk to me and address any concerns or fears I have-no matter how silly they may seem. Today I definitely wanted to have a chat with her. In light of the news that yet another friend of mine was induced and had a labor that ended in a C-section, I was feeling pretty concerned. You see, I have had 6 friends over the last 4-6 months that have had babies. One of them went into labor naturally and everything went swimmingly. Out of the five that were induced, only one went on to have her baby naturally- all the rest were C-sections. I wanted to get my midwife's opinion on this. I felt like I needed to be prepared and know where to draw the line, so to speak, when it came to being induced.

My hope and plan, as of right now, is to have a drug free birth. I want to avoid Pitocin and any other hormone synthetics like the plague- and while I reserve my right to wimp out and ask for one, I want to try to do this without an epidural. Not knowing for sure where my midwife stood on induction, I felt like I needed to talk to her and see if my expectations were unrealistic.

I have to say how refreshing our conversation was. I gave her the background of my concerns, using my personal statistic of 4 out of 5 friends having an induced labor end in C-section, and I asked her the dreaded question, "I know this is a little early, but when would we start talking about an induction?" Without skipping a beat my dear midwife answered, "42 weeks, and even then we would do an ultrasound to make sure if baby is still tolerating life inside the womb. I agree with you, we should let your body do what it wants to do when its ready to do it."

I can't tell you how relieved I was.

She even described that there were more natural ways to induce labor than I had heard of and that, if a Pitocin and drug free birth was my wish, as long as things were safe for me and for baby, we would exhaust our natural options before moving to the synthetic ones. She related to me the story of a woman she had delivered on Saturday. She was 41 weeks and 2 days and had been dilated to a 3 for about a week. Susan said that, because she was dilated far enough, they were able to break her water and induce the contractions naturally. She said that this woman delivered within 3 hours of having had her water broken (P.S. it was her first baby) Susan said that she was even surprised by how quickly the delivery went, but not surprised at the same time...she said that the woman's body was ready to have the baby, it just needed the extra push of the broken waters to get things moving the rest of the way. While she can't guarantee that I will deliver in 3 hours if I happen to go over and wait it out...she said she can guarantee that if my body is ready, the experience isn't half as bad as trying to force it.

It was nice to know that I'm not taking crazy pills with my lofty thoughts of a drug free birth...but my attitude is, if my pioneer ancestors could do it without Pitocin, Cytotec, Epidurals, etc., why can't I? Again, I totally reserve my right to wimp out, but I am going to try my hardest to remain focused on what will be better in the long run, and from everything I've researched and read, the recovery from a drug free birth is faster for both mom and baby...I'm going to try to keep that and those pioneer women who delivered in the back of ox carts in mind...

So...what makes it a Peach Cobbler kind of day??? Well, not the discussion I just related, but it made me feel better, and I know that I have lots of friends expecting babies in the coming months and I thought I'd share. :)

It is officially fall! My favorite kind of weather is here! I love the brisk air, the changing colors of trees...the fruit that falls of the trees...

We have peaches that have been sitting around the house, and nothing screams fall day to me like a yummy peach I think I'm going to get going on that and I will let you all know how it turns out- it will be perfect with my homemade beef pot pie that I am slow cooking as I type!

Happy fall and happy babies! Keep smiling and enjoy the beautiful weather ( I love fall days, especially rainy ones...)

Hugs and loves until next time darlings.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Consider the Lillies

I know its been a while since I posted last. I apologize. I was told on Thursday by a devout reader (namely my cousin Lexi- Hi girlie!) that she reads my blog every day and that I needed to update it.

Things have been a little hectic around here to say the very least, well maybe not more hectic, but the more pregnant I get, the more I find that things that I used to squeeze into my schedule with ease are harder and harder to find motivation for. I've been very discouraged as of late- worried about the baby, worried if I will be a good mom, worried about finances, worried about my husband...and I definitely have felt like a broken record- a broken record that plays one complaint after another...

Lately, my solution to end the broken record feeling has been to avoid the question of how I'm doing, or to lie and say I'm fine...of course, this doesn't work with my husband or my family members who live close by because they look at me and know I'm lying...My husband has been ever so gracious to remind me where liars I've come to the solution that I need a new solution.

This weekend has been a very fun filled and enlightening one.

My cousin Samantha kicked off the weekend on Thursday with her wedding. With the exception of my uncle Neil and his wife, all of my aunts and uncles came to help celebrate. As I sat at the reception visiting with family members that I haven't seen in a long while, a part of me started to get a little sad in a way...the event became almost bittersweet.

Why was it bittersweet? It was a wedding for goodness sakes! Well, the reception reminded me greatly of the family summer picnics we used to have. We'd all go over to grandma and grandpa's condo and have a big picnic lunch or dinner and a pool party. They also served our famous Winberg family punch at the reception- which of course reminded me of all the Christmas morning waffle breakfasts we used to have... I started to did it get to be that we grew apart? We would come together at least twice a year every year when I was a kid. It was fun to see everyone and rejoice in being together. It was fun to watch my dad and uncle tease eachother and be goofballs. I remembered my grandpa wearing his "Bah Humbug!" sweater every Christmas morning and pretending to be a Scrooge until the Lil Smokie sausages were complete, making it possible for him to eat his waffle breakfast...

After my dad and grandpa died, the waffle breakfasts and picnics seemed to come to a screeching halt. I guess losing 2 vital members in one year would be a major shock for any family. For a while, we started having a pre-Thanksgiving or Christmas pizza party at Leo's Place, a local pizza restaurant in Idaho Falls. It almost felt like normal again...but gradually, as cousins aged and people became busy those get togethers eventually stopped too.

I couldn't really pinpoint it, what had happened to us? Why had it been 2 years since I'd seen most of my family members? These people are the last link I have to my would think I would be chomping at the bit to make excuses to get together...

I left the wedding excited to have seen everyone and to have had the opportunity to introduce my husband to family members that had not met him yet and hadn't made it to our wedding, glad to see that some things never change- made evident by Uncle Jeff who was the same goofball he's always been- but terribly frustrated...what was the answer? Why had we become so distant that, even though many of us live in the same town, we never see each other? (of course, this became added to my list of worries and concerns...)

All I can say is I am so grateful for General Conference this weekend. The Lord knew what was weighing heavily on my mind, and I was blessed with the answers.

What is General Conference you may ask? Some of you are not members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and some of you may know about the church, but don't know what the hoopla is about. Every first weekend of October and April (every 6 months) there is a worldwide meeting of the LDS church known as General Conference. Many people flock to Salt Lake City with free tickets into the Conference Center (lucky ducks that they are) or to the overflow in the Tabernacle to listen in person (or almost in person, since those in the Tabernacle watch via satellite) while other members of the church watch or listen from their homes of churches around the world. We have 4 sessions of General Conference that are 2 hours long a piece beginning with 2 on Saturday (plus a fifth general Priesthood session specially for the men) and 2 on Sunday. During this meeting, we listen to the inspired words of our church leaders (namely our beloved Prophet Thomas S. Monson, his counselors, our apostles, members of the quorums of the seventy, and other auxiliary church leaders.) No one is given a specific topic to speak on. All people called upon to speak by the Prophet are instructed to pray and speak about what God prompts them to talk about.

Some of you are thinking...this girl is nuts- she sits through 8 HOURS of church!!! To which I proudly respond- you're darn right I do!

I listen because there are always words of council and great hope. I can promise you, whatever ails you, you will find the cure in a conference address. That address may be from our beloved Prophet, or it just might be the address of the 2nd Councilor in the Young Women's General Presidency....there is something for everyone.

This weekend was a veritable spiritual feast for me. All my worries and concerns seemed to melt away.

I must admit, I'm horrible at remembering who gave what address- so bear with me as I give you the highlights.

Yesterday, there was a wonderful address that spoke to my heart in the second session of conference about the importance of families and, more importantly, our divine duty to be parents. Since I married, I have had many people that I respect question the decision of my husband and I to start our family so soon...frankly, we weren't expecting it quite as soon as it happened, but we had made the decision that we would welcome children with open arms if and when the Lord chose to bless us with them. Knowing that I had been told in high school that I would have a difficult time conceiving children, we acted in a manner that we thought was the best to increase our chances of being able to have biological children, but those sweet moments of grief where my husband held me and told me that we would travel the world and adopt from every continent will remain etched in my memory. I am so blessed to have him....anyway...back to the address... the speaker related his own story. As a young, newly married, returned missionary, he and his wife had made the difficult decision that, while they wanted to start a family, they would wait so that she could work and support the household while he finished medical school. Shortly after this discussion, they were visiting his in-laws for the weekend and happened upon an article in the Ensign (an LDS church magazine that contains articles and addresses from church leaders). This address from a then apostle Spencer W. Kimball (who would later be the prophet) cautioned the saints that they shouldn't put off having families for what the world tells them they should have. The speaker related how within 30 minutes he was in the office of President Kimball, relating his decision with his wife and their reasons. The sweet, then apostle, listened carefully to him as he related all his concerns. He simply told him that he should not delay working for eternal happiness in order to secure temporal happiness. He said that if you are working towards things that matter to God, he will bless you so that your needs are met.

In other words, we shouldn't delay in starting our families our of fear that we won't be able to give them all the latest gadgets and toys- should we be smart in thinking about our situations- yes, but, with the Lord's help, you will always be provided for. Of course, this is something that I had been telling myself over and over as I have been questioned about the choice that my husband and I made- but it seemed more striking as I heard it from the pulpit. It brought me peace. The world and the people in it may not understand what drives us to have families and children, we may be told that we should seek for other things first like world travel or riches, but we understand the riches that we will receive from heaven as we have the sacred and special opportunity to be mothers and fathers- to watch someone grow and help them navigate through this world. All the time that I could have spent singing in a foreign country or living with all the worldly goods money can buy will not be able to replace the sacred and special moments I've had while carrying this baby- they cannot replace the sacred and special moments with my husband- the moments where we make decisions and work together towards our ultimate goals with the help of God- I wouldn't trade the day that I found out I was pregnant or hearing our baby's healthy heartbeat for the first time for all the gold and riches that the world could offer me.

There were also great addresses given about how we use our time. (Hello answer to my worry about my family) We were cautioned in one address to evaluate how we are using our time and to not allow ourselves to become swept away and so concerned about social networking, tweets and facebook that we forget to make time for the Lord and our families. We were reminded that social networking and the Internet can be of great value in sharing our beliefs and reconnecting with family members (alive and dead) after hearing the several addresses given about time management, I have decided that I am going to make a few goals: 1) I will write a facebook message or email to at least 1 family member a day while I am spending my time doing my "social networking" 2) I will try to be better at writing on my blog- many of my family members use it to keep up with me and I have noticed that it has become a journal of sorts. This blog could be printed and invaluable to my children and my grandchildren on down the line. From it, they will be able to read my thoughts, feelings, and gain insight from my experiences and 3) I will replace one time that I log onto facebook to check messages and notifications with a solid 30 minutes of scripture study. Yes, keeping up with friends and family is a good thing, but I also need to keep up with my Heavenly Father and scripture study is one way to open that window of communication.

In the first session of Conference today was a wonderful talk given by one of the general young women's presidency. She addressed something that Jeff has been concerned about- What do I do with a little girl? This question has plagued him for the last 14 weeks...because that is when we found out that we were going to welcome a daughter into our family. This address really touched me because it made me even more grateful to my Heavenly Father for blessing me with such a wonderful man to share this life and eternity with. So- what do you do with a girl? You love her and you set a good example by loving her mother, by honoring your priesthood, and by acting as a patriarch in your home- asking questions and interviewing her and her friends to gain the insight you need to preside over them justly and this sweet sister described the attributes of a good father for a daughter I was brought to tears. I have such a wonderful husband, and I know from conversations we've had before this address that he will be the kind of man to do all the things she described- he likely would have done them without there ever having been a conference address on how to be a father to a daughter- but it was nice to have some suggestions spelled out- those suggestions just made me love him even more and made me even more grateful to have him in my life.

Finally, a talk given towards the end of the last session of Conference was enlightening and brought me great peace. In this address, we were taught about the importance of prayer and the importance of understanding how prayer works. When we're out in the world in the busy hustle and bustle, its easy to forget who is the source of all the bounty, wealth and blessings we receive. Some important points were made about why we pray and why we need to pray more often, namely: God loves us, and what is important to us is important to Him. Just like any parent, if we don't approach him and tell him what we need, how can we expect to be blessed with it? We also need to remember that prayer requires action. We can't pray to do well on a test in school and expect to do well if we haven't been paying attention in class or even have attempted to study for it. We must be working with God to prove that what we want is important to us and worth our time- if its worth our time, it is worth His. Also- EVERYONE has the right to pray. The speaker said almost verbatim that thinking we are too spiritually gone to seek help from the Lord is like saying an ill man is too sick to seek help from a doctor.

So- as for all those worries I've had...well, I know that being a good mother is important to me. I know that I am doing all I can at this moment in time to help my little family be in a good financial situation. As I pray for guidance and help I know that there will be a loving God there to help me, lift me up, and point me in the right direction. Most importantly, I must remember that patience grows from long-suffering. Every trial and concern that weighs on my heart is an opportunity to grow stronger spiritually and to forge a closer relationship with God- the catch is that I have to remember to turn to Him.

I am so grateful for the spiritual feast I received this weekend. I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who continues to speak to His servants today and to me. I know that as I work to be more Christ-like I will be blessed to grow closer to God and to be able to serve my friends, family and strangers in their times of need more completely and wholly.

If you read all of this- bless you- I know its probably a novel of gobbelty goop, and you may not have the same beliefs that I do. Let me say that my humble prayer for you and all of my friends, family, and associates is one of peace and clarity. I pray that everyone I meet will be able to find the answers they seek as they navigate through life, that they will be able to make good choices and be able to please themselves and God (if they believe in Him). We are so infinitely blessed. We have families and friends to surround us in times of struggle and we need to remember to call upon them. We also have a loving God- our father- who willingly waits to listen to our prayers and help us solve the problems of life and overcome obstacles and trials. We also have the ultimate big brother in Jesus Christ- who loved us so much that he chose to be our Savior and Redeemer. He paid the price of our sins so that we wouldn't have to. He also worked and continues to work to help make up the deficit when we fall short in our lives. Call upon Him and our Father in Heaven for help. While you may not see the blessings immediately, I can promise you that there will be peace, I can promise there will be love and the answers will come.

The Tabernacle Choir sang one of my favorite songs today. It is based off of a scriptural passage from the New Testament (I think Matthew) Christ addresses a multitude and shares with them the secret to having continued faith through struggles. I will leave you with those words:

Consider the lillies of the field, how they grow?
Consider the birds in the sky, how they fly?
He clothes the lilies of the field, he feeds the birds in the sky
and he will feed those who trust Him
and guide them with His eye.

Hugs and loves until next time darlings!