Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Back to Reality

For some strange reason, nobody has been showing up at my front door at 5:30pm with a hot meal this week. I can't imagine why not! My house is still pretty chaotic and will be for the next year or 10, yet no one sees the need to provide sustenance for my kids anymore. Strange.

Seriously, we were so blessed to have at least two weeks' worth of meals. Having a baby is pretty easy when there are no grocery store trips or meal preparations involved. However, reality has set in. It's back to the normal pace of life, which is a good thing. It's just a little challenging with a baby who is of the opinion that life pretty much needs to stop when he's awake so Mama (or anyone else available) can hold, bounce, and walk him. What can I say? He's a Bond baby. But, along with fussiness, being a Bond baby means being completely adorable and sweet (okay, in my opinion anyway), so I guess we'll keep Sam like we did all the others.

His first month of life (I cannot BELIEVE it's been a month already!) has been filled with new experiences. Of course, he will not remember or even comprehend any of them, but he's had them nonetheless. He experienced his first wedding reception (slept through it all), his first trip to the Pumpkin Patch (when I find all the time I've lost, I'll post pics), the ups and downs of Alabama football, and his first, second, and third trips to Target. He has grown so much and is getting little fat rolls already. In moments like the one I'm having now, when Sam is sleeping peacefully across the room from me and all the other kids are in bed as well, I am convinced I want him to stay a fuzzy, bunched up, sleepy-eyed newborn forever. There are other moments when I feel a little differently, but I'm not really in any hurry for him to grow up, because I know he will, and all too quickly.

One other "first" Sam experienced this month was his first funeral. There is something rather surreal about witnessing a life begin and a life (or two, actually) end all within two weeks. It will make you think about things a little differently. I was still in my baby fog when I got the shocking news that a friend/bunco buddy and her husband had been killed in a motorcycle accident. No matter how many times I experience either the birth or death of others, they both seem so hard to really take in. The miracle of life is think that a person came from two tiny parts of two people, was formed and grew inside of me, and then emerged to be held in my arms mere moments after he was inside my body. Crazy and amazing stuff. And then to think that two people, so vibrant, fun, and full of life can just be gone. We can't talk to them or spend time with them. She won't show up at bunco or Bible study ever again. Children are left parentless and parents are left without their children. Gone.

We go through our everyday lives without really acknowledging the sudden way that our lives began and will one day end. It seems impossible to maintain that sense of urgency and purpose that a constant awareness of those two events would bring. Our days run together in a seemingly endless cycle of laundry and snotty noses and phone conversations and trips to Publix. But it's not endless. One day, all that will be over and done with and all that will remain is what we've done for the kingdom of God. I'm so happy to say that my friend and her husband were followers of Christ and left a wonderful legacy of His love displayed in their lives. We mourn with hope. However, I cannot help but wonder what will be left of my life when I enter eternity. Not much, I fear.

So, as my days are filled with feedings and poopy diapers, sweet snuggles and goodnight kisses, fixing hair and helping with homework, cooking dinner and washing dishes, brief conversations with a busy husband and sleepy days after sleepless nights, I try to stay focused on what matters. The things that will be left after the fire of eternity burns away the fluff of life. I fail most of the time, but I strive to spend time on what matters. Oh, what a difficult task for me. But God gives us those reminders from time to time, when our repetitious days on earth are interjected with glimpses of eternity and we remember, if only for a moment, that this life we lead is just a blip on the radar of our existence. And we try to find and hold onto what really matters.

Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom. Psalm 90:12

Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die. The wind blows, and we are gone—as though we had never been here. But the love of the Lord remains forever with those who fear him. His salvation extends to the children’s children of those who are faithful to his covenant, of those who obey his commandments! Psalm 103:15-18

Friday, October 22, 2010

You Might Be a New Mommy (Again) If...

1. It takes you two weeks to find time to sit at your computer long enough to blog and then actually put together two cohesive thoughts and write a complete sentence.

2. You've gotten a total of 5 1/2 hours of sleep in the last two nights.

3. You've sniffed a newborn's fuzzy little head approximately 147 times in the last 24 hours.

4. You feel like Superwoman after cooking a meal and feeding your family for the first time in three weeks. (Yes, taco salad counts as a real meal, even without lettuce and tomatoes.)

5. You're so addicted to all the homemade desserts your friends have brought you (along with dinner) that you're pretty sure you'll never fit back in your old pants.

6. You're equally obsessed with food and fitting back in your old pants. Unfortunately, those don't work well together.

7. You've recently heard your two-year-old say, "Oh, no, Mommy! Baby Sam's biting your belly button!"

8. You can't decide whether you feel more like a cow or a pack mule.

9. Getting yourself and your kids dressed and out the door by 10:30am seems to be nothing short of a miracle.

10. You're pretty sure if your kids joined forces and could get along long enough to make a plan, they could totally take over your house . There are just so many of them!

11. Your house is a disaster and your laundry is piled to your eyeballs because your arms are just too full of baby sweetness to get anything done.

12. You've now used every spare brain cell you have left trying to compose a post that at least halfway makes sense, so you're pretty sure to be useless the rest of the day.
13. Your idea of a dream vacation has gone from a week on the beach in Hawaii to 24 hours alone in a comfy, clean bed with a padlock on the door.

14. You're thankful that you can still count to four, even on very little sleep, because you can't let your blessings go uncounted.

15. You realize that you've pretty much got the best job in the world: gazing at this face all the live-long day.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Oh, Baby

Who knew that giving birth would keep me away from blogging so long? Well, it wasn't actually giving birth that did it, since that only took a couple of hours. It's all that stuff that happens after you give birth. Okay, that brings up some very icky and vivid pictures in my mind. But I was actually referring to the stuff like nursing a baby, trying to coax a smile from a jealous two-year-old, attempting to keep your eyelids open after many not-so-sleep-filled nights, and changing diapers. Heavens! How do newborns go through so many diapers and clothes? If it's not poop, it's tee-tee, and if it's not that, it's spit-up. Those tiny bodies can produce lots of icky things.

See, it's taken me two days to get to this point in this entry. It's been a wonderful transition, though. God has richly answered my every prayer. Though there have been hard moments and hints of hormonal blues, I really think this has been the easiest transition of growing our family so far. Now, in a couple of weeks, when Sam is awake more and I actually have to plan and cook a meal for my family, I may be singing a different tune.

The Lord really has so graciously answered my every desire for this period of my life, and I just have to acknowledge that. My desire was to go into labor (and not wait until 39 weeks, which really felt more like 45 weeks, and be induced), and boy, did He answer that one. So, at 38 weeks and 1.5 days, I woke up in the wee hours of the morning not feeling so hot. I waited a little while, because this same thing had happened a few days earlier and turned out to be a false alarm. Once I started timing the contractions at 5am, I saw that they were regularly 5-6 minutes apart, so I made an important decision. I had to wash my hair. It's always important to be ready for all those pictures and guests that happen in the moments after giving birth. Priorities, people. I also called in the reserves (a.k.a. grandparents) to come watch over our little sleeping angels, and to wake them up and get them dressed and ready to meet their new little brother. By the time I was presentable, my bag was packed, and Papa arrived, it was 6:15, and I was in pain. However, the contractions were still five minutes apart, so I kept telling Chris to quit being dramatic and trying to drive like he was at Talladega. "It's not a big deal." Ha.

So, we arrive at the hospital a few minutes before 7am, and I walk to the elevator and down the 2nd floor hallway, where I'm told, without so much as a "how do you do" to walk to the 3rd floor. So, back to the elevator and down another hallway we go, where I'm greeted in a friendlier way, but then led on a walk to the building next door. Everyone is so smiley and calmly asking me questions and saying how tiny I am. But all that changes when my doctor walks into the little triage room I'm in (and my contractions are suddenly much closer together), examines me, gets a funny look on his face, and announces, "She's 9 centimeters." All thoughts leave my mind save one: "Oh, crap. My epidural!" The calm words and sweet smiles give way to at least five RN's (which I'm told is a lot) swarming around me, getting me to a real room, trying to find an anesthesiologist, starting an IV, plying me with important questions such as "So, how much weight have you gained?", and saying, "Stay calm. If your water breaks, it's all over." All that meant to me was, "If your water breaks, you're going all natural, girl."

This would be me thinking, "PLEASE get me an epidural."

I know some people's heart's desire is to experience natural childbirth. My heart's desire could not have been farther from that, but I was trying not to freak out. Thankfully, a kind doctor was found who was willing to give me an epidural without all the bloodwork usually required and was also willing to give me a big burst of super strong, fast-acting medicine. I got my epidural (another prayer answered) and got some relief from contractions (which weren't as bad as you'd think at 9-10 cm). Unfortunately, I was soon to find out that the medicine wasn't really as helpful from the hips down. Let's just say I came away almost feeling like a real woman and very certain that, however much that epidural did help, I didn't want to experience anything beyond that.

So, by 8:28am on Tuesday, September 28, Samuel Aaron had made his grand, fast, dramatic entrance into this world IN THE HOSPITAL, not the car, thank the Lord above. It seemed like I'd gone from days of thinking he'd never arrive to holding him in my arms before I could blink. God granted me a fun and memorable birth experience and blessed me with yet another healthy boy to hold in my arms. As miserable as pregnancy can be, I do love the experience of giving birth. It is indescribably miraculous, and to think I've been blessed to experience it four times is just unbelievable to me.

There are so many other ways that God has been so faithful to answer my prayers. Sam is healthy and beautiful and he is nursing really well (which, with my past experience, is a miracle to me). Luke had a few rough days, but God gave Chris and I grace and patience (for the most part) to handle it, and Luke has had a really great week this week. That's a huge praise in my book! We're blessed with family and friends who have helped out so much (I think Nana has ironed 83 pieces of clothing this week), and Sam is even sleeping well at night. Hallelujah! I'm blessed beyond measure and much more than I'll ever deserve, but I'm so grateful. We're just trying to enjoy these precious, fleeting, crazy moments and keep our sanity intact. It's been a hard week in other ways, but we'll save that for another day...