Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Operation Independence

Operation Independence
Mission: To execute all household responsibilities, with great gusto, in order to give Mommy (Word-girl) some much needed relief.
Agents: Mad-Scientist, Word-girl, Agent E, and the Littles, oh and Pinky (heading into her third trimester today!

I'm always amazed at how motivated I am by pain. The last few weeks…okay, months, have been a physical struggle for me. I wasn't fully healed from carrying the twins when surprise baby Pinky came into the picture. Round ligament pain, stretched out abdominal wall, back pain, and heartburn have kept me relativity homebound and sometimes downright  "done in"…which looks like sitting on my couch while the twins go between amusing themselves by destroying the apartment and climbing all over me to "check in". It's been a good day when everyone is alive and relatively happy.

Then I had the revelation, that with one child, I was doing everything...and it worked, but with the Littles and pregnancy, I MUST STOP.
Full stop.
So, in my whirlwind fashion of over-the-top enthusiasm for a new parenting idea, I decided to make it a family challenge of seeing how much everyone can do on their own. Brilliantly obvious, I know.

First night on this mission, I taught Agent E, now 6 years old, how to pour his own glass of milk. Don't judge me for how pathetic it is that I was still getting every single drink and snack he needed.
His reaction was priceless, "Whoa, that was totally CRAZY!" Then the next morning I started brushing his hair before school and he said, "Wait, I can brush my own hair." That's when the invisible hand slap landed on my forehead. Of course he can! What the heck have I been doing to him (for him) for 6 years?!?! So the orders started flying…pack your backpack, zip your own coat, put your clothes in the hamper…wait, better yet, here's how to do a load of laundry. Let's see, count out 10 pieces of clothing…here, this drawer for detergent…oops, too heavy. That's okay, I'll figure out a different detergent container for you.

We all know fostering independence is a healthy thing but the honest truth is, we have to let go of a lot of efficiency and perfectionism throughout the training process. The long term benefits are totally worth it…and when you can't move much, you don't have a choice. So I've become the explain, coach, demonstrate, and follow up captain of this operation. We will succeed.

Failure is not an option.

Baby arrives in T-minus 3 months.

For more inspiration check out this link.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

What's So Wonderful About Christmas?

Delayed gratification.

As I put away the Christmas tree, I contemplated what makes these little green things, covered in lights, so wonderful in the first place. I mean, why do they elicit such warm, fuzzy feelings and make us feel happy? I started imagining what we could do every month of the year so that we could feel as great as we do in December. And then it hit me that the specialness of Christmas, is in large part, because it only comes once a year.

Then, later as I unloaded the dishwasher, I was thinking about how grateful I compared to 10 years ago, and I realized that the greatest gift from infertility and days and months and years of waiting, was deeper gratitude. I appreciate both the meaningful and menial task of being a mother so much more than I would have, had my children come right when I wanted them.

So I'm thinking now that I'm really not doing my children any great service in giving them what they want exactly in the time they want it. In fact, one of the biggest and hardest adjustments for E, when the twins arrived, was not getting the snack or drink he asked for directly after he asked for it! I didn't know that catering to him would mean a harder lesson in patience and difference later. There is something greater I can give my children, along with the gift or whatever they ask for, if I just prayerfully look for the best time...

I can give them the gift of hearts bursting with gratitude.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

From Infertility to a Family of 6

Back a few years ago when I was reaching out into the blogosphere for infertility support, I hated infertility blogs that had morphed into parenting or follow-my-family-blogs.

I avoided them.

On the one hand, it was encouraging to read stories about treatments that had worked and miracles that had happened; but on the other, my heart ached for all those for whom nothing worked....including the 2 years I had already spent with failed treatment. I didn't want to see cute little twin pictures and watch their children grow. It's hard to be happy for other's blessings when you're stuck trying to accept your own circumstances.

And I judged those blogs....why did you waste time crying and striving for a family when clearly your 5 kids were right around the corner? That judgement held me back from reaching out and sharing my own struggles, afraid I would look silly if I ever did have a big family. And then, one day, I just heart just spilled out and I wrote my first blog, Breaking My Silence

And here I am today, my blog morphing into this next chapter of my life...parenting these "littles" (the small people I'm surrounded with daily) with no babysitter, nanny or grandparents in sight!

I'm going to struggle with my blog because I feel insensitive for sharing my happy family when I still have so many friends waiting for just one child. I could create a whole new blog...But I want to accept that although I will always be able to empathize with those who are told they will have trouble conceiving, those people may not be my audience anymore. Like the blogs I avoided, I will completely understand.

Now, more than ever, I want to write for my children. I want to write to encourage fellow moms. I want to write to help myself grow and stretch in this very intense season of my life.

Once upon a time, I had the thought that God might take my longing and ache for more children and overwhelm me with them...and He's a beautiful thing, worth writing about.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Reflections as a Parent in an Overly-Sensitive and Overly-Critical Culture

New Year's Eve has always brought out the introspective, psuedo-writer in me. Even as a young girl, I would steal away to my bedroom and get out my journal, think, write, and pray about the year ahead. Well, this last year hasn't left me with any energy to compile my thoughts but tonight I feel that same tugging.

I heard a parenting author interviewed on a talk show this morning and she said, "Please don't raise any more entitled children. Stop the pampering." This sentiment has been echoed on many parenting blogs and in plenty of articles but it confirmed another thought that has been bouncing around in my head this week...

Our culture is both overly-sensitive and overly-critical. I've formed this opinion in recent weeks from the reactions I've seen in social media outlets to everything from a picture of a physically fit mother surrounded by her brood to the recent fiasco over Duck Dynasty's patriarch's interview in GQ. It seems that everyday, we fain great offense over tweets, interviews, pictures, quotes and, then, in turn slam those sources of our offenses. Sure we come to people's defense, too, but usually at the cost of criticizing some else's response. And honestly, I've gotten so sick of all of it that I've wanted to just give up on social media altogether.

But as a parent of three boys with a little girl on the way, there is a part of me that is challenged to look at all of this and ask myself how I want to raise my own children in such a culture. I'm no longer interested in just analyzing these "situations" for my own growth, but in looking at how I want my children to react and respond to all that lies ahead of them. And there is a lot. We have access to information from every corner of the globe and there is much to sort through.

Which brings me to my new year's thoughts on parenting tonight...
That I want to raise grace-filled, life-giving, resilient children who know who they are and aren't afraid to live out their gifts and communicate in a loving way. And you know what? This goal was looking attainable with my first born who is sensitive, loving, and very flexible and secure...yes, resilient even. Although he has his share of weaknesses and I want to stretch him more in all these areas, he was a very easy child to parent these last six years. I've come to learn with the twins' differences, that so much more of our personalities are a result of nature than I ever wanted to assume. It was more fun to take credit for a toddler who never once had a tantrum or meltdown.

One of the twins started shouting his demands today. Actually, more like screeching at the top of his lungs. The rolling on the ground, stiff-fits weren't doing the trick, so he has upped his ante. I sighed and realized, once again, that parenting him will be so different than my "style" with E. Consistency and kind, firm limits take on whole new dimensions with my more assertive twins. As I tried to type out these very thoughts, one of them woke after just half an hour in I patted his back and thought, "Yes, I'm just at the beginning of learning how to instill self-control and resilience so that my children won't be easily offended or easily offend."  

I believe this year, I will make an effort to write about that very journey.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Sleep Dep....

I have so many "blogs" whirling around in my head every day but no time or energy to write. And since I can hardly form a complete sentence or thought in real time, blogging probably isn't the best idea right now.  Yesterday I called a thermos and thermostat...twice. I read somewhere that doctors operating on little sleep were more dangerous than operating under the influence...I can see why. My hopes of recapturing last year's journey this year, are slowly fading.

I'm. just. so. tired.

This week Avi and Emmett both have colds which means the breastfeeding has just double timed, double time. The only way for them to clear out their noses seems to be nursing, so I'm waking to them crying with congestion almost every hour at night and giving them little milk snacks all day!

BUT, they are just so darn cute and such good babies that even my lack of mental capacity hasn't stolen my enjoyment of them. I'm just a babbling baby along with them!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

My heart felt like it would burst with thanksgiving yesterday. I just can't get over how incredibly blessed we are to have THREE healthy kids! The moms of E's classmates tease me about smiling so much. How can you look like "this" and juggle all of "that." They think I'm super woman for breastfeeding twins and expect that I should look sleep deprived and frazzled all the time. What they don't know, is that even on the days I'm overwhelmed, I'm just so stinkin' grateful for everything in my life, I can't help but smile. I don't know if I would have been this happy, had it not been for all the tears. I think the three years I spent crying inside for another baby, God used to prepare me to overflow with joy in caring for TWO.

They are a lot of's not X 2, it's squared...and some things are just plain impossible, but they are PRECIOUS. They are MIRACLES and I don't take a minute for granted because they are PURE JOY! They are also growing so fast. When I put away Ethan's baby clothes, I expected to fill them again soon with a sibling. When I put away the twins' clothes, I realize that barring another miracle, this is it. These little outfits will be hand-me-downs for another child in another family. BUT, my heart is okay, not because I don't want anymore children, because I'm just so overwhelmed with gratitude for the ones I've been given. Long before the twins arrived, I came to the realization, that we would always want more kids...that one would not be enough...and neither would two...or three...and it actually helped me accept the secondary infertility, knowing that my heart would always have room for more. I knew that I had to find peace with that space in my heart.

Anyway, Thanksgiving a year ago was a mixture of extreme thankfulness and much disbelief. I had my first ultrasound the week before....had seen two yolk sacs....felt the relief that the pregnancy was developing in the right place and that BOTH embryos had taken...but I still couldn't believe it. We stayed in Boston and I prepared a small little Thanksgiving meal for the three of us +two wee babes. A year before, at Thanksgiving with family in Nashville, I had burst into tears when a well-meaning relative had thanked God for Ethan and prayed for the siblings he would have someday. I couldn't hold it together and excused myself to dry my tears.

I often chided myself for being so emotional, for letting my heart hurt when I'd been given so many good things in my life. Why was desiring another child so painful?  Why couldn't I just be thankful for having a husband...a son...why weren't those two amazing gifts enough? Well, they were enough and one day when I was worshiping God I heard him whisper to my heart, "I am enough for you." It broke me---convicted me---changed me forever. That was the first turning point, recognizing that God had already given me everything I ever needed, and anything on top of that was just His grace, mercy, and goodness.

I kiss them goodnight and I'm just so thankful, so very, very thankful.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Why Write?

Sitting here with my watered down, second cup of coffee, a pile of laundry in the recliner, and a pile of toys beside me, I'm wondering how serious mommy bloggers have time to blog! Yesterday I made enchiladas and chili, and just those two events seemed to cause a chain reaction of piling laundry, toy clutter, and fussy babies. Granted I am nursing TWINS and, more and more, I'm seeing how that requires full-time devotion and a lowering of all other expectations!

Regardless, I still want to record the events of last year before they are lost in time forever. There are some priceless details of the twins' story that a fill-in-the-blank baby book just can't capture. The picture of the two embryos in the dish (I like to brag it's the world's earliest baby photo)...presented to us in a moment with a few minutes to decide if we wanted to transfer both of them or discard one. A relatively easy decision for us since we had already made the commitment to use all embryos offered to us in that cycle or future "from frozen" cycles. We didn't know there would only be two "viable" embryos...but more on all that later.

My desire in writing publicly about our IVF journey is to shed light on a topic that is greatly misunderstood, and hotly debated among some circles of faith-filled people. I don't want to persuade anyone; I don't need validation. We've accepted all the decisions we've made, right or wrong, and trust God to judge our hearts justly. I don't need anyone's approval....the smiling eyes of my sweet boys are totally enough. I just want to share how a couple can approach these grey areas of life with integrity and share how my own misconceptions led to a lot of judgmental attitudes in my heart, before I walked it out myself. Perhaps writing will encourage greater love, sensitivity, and unity on the topic. Perhaps not.

My writing won't be polished. It will be messy and full of grammatical errors. It will be a spilling of my thoughts on the topic... subject to future changes as I research the science behind it all and mature in my understanding of the spiritual and emotional consequences....and as I have more time--a precious commodity these days!  I fully admit that fertility treatment is not for everyone and everyone's infertility story is different....with it's own unique set of medical and emotional challenges to overcome. Many women have to walk away from the whole process because it is just "too much." Some friends have only experienced heartache and loss in hopes of creating a family.

Families are formed in many different ways. All I can do here is tell my own story of how a follower of Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit, approaches ethical questions, takes personal responsibility, and walks by faith through the unknown. It is scary to put such personal information "out there", but as a friend reminded me this week, I'm choosing to write for "an audience of One", hoping it will encourage many more, but knowing that it may also offend some. Here goes my heart...more sweet boy just woke up!