Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Messenger's Journey

I'm pregnant.

        (taken December 25th, 2013, when I was maybe 4 weeks and joyfully able to function)
Again.

Like 30 weeks pregnant.
For the fourth time.

So, that's what's been up since I last wrote.
Puke, heartburn, sciatica, exhaustion, swelling, carpel tunnel, pain, hyperemesis gravardium, pain, fainting, hospitals, depression for the second time in my life, healing, pain.

I started blogging here when I was sick during my pregnancy for Adeline, my first, and have continued blogging over those 5 years and through my other pregnancies. I often go back and reread my frame of mind in different stages, and I was thinking how exhaustion let me abandon documenting this go round.
So I'm writing for sake of those re-reading ronde-vous I take some times.

After I had Selah in August of 2012 I remember looking around the hospital room as I held my newborn. Everything in me was prepared for this "last birth", and as I joyfully soaked in the end of pregnancy for me and the beginning of another tiny little life in my arms something in the back of my head said "hold tight".

I changed out of my hospital gown shortly after giving birth and into my change of clothes, and as I glanced in that mirror in the bathroom, I remember thinking so clearly I get me back. I can wake up without throwing up, and I can move around without feeling weak and dizzy, and I can be a momma to the babies that need me instead of popping another dvd in while run cold water under my wrists praying that I don't throw up again. I would get to clean my house, and bend over to pick the toys up. I could go out in the heat and not have to worry about passing out or being embarrassed when my bladder loses control because I'm gagging on the scent of a perspiring human 10 feet away from me. I get me back.

We brought our precious baby girl back to a house with no electricity in the middle of Hurricane Issac, my other two babies had developed bronchitis and pink eye while I was in the hospital. Some would call that stressful, but I was no longer pregnant, and not pregnant is when I'm better equip to conquer, and I was ON TOP OF THE WORLD.

Newborns are exhausting. Especially to a nursing momma of two other little ones. So when Selah was just 2 weeks old and Philip rubbed her head and put his hand on my back, lowered his face to my ear and said "One more, momma. Don't you just want one more?"

One more what?
Hour of sleep?
Sure. take her.

I knew what he said though. Because he said it several more times over the course of weeks and months, until somewhere along that course of resistance God gave me a peace and a change of heart, and I knew we'd bring another baby into the world at some point.

We were on our second ever family vacation. We had saved every last penny of our tax return and every dime in between to go to Disney world in December. We got there and I knew.

The first trip on Space Mountain, I got off and told Philip, "I've got to be pregnant."
His response was, "Cool." as he carried on down to the next attraction with Gideon on his shoulders.
The rest of the day I kept thinking and wondering and tossing around dates in my head, but I know my body, and I knew I felt pregnant. We got to our hotel that night, and he made me take a test.
The rule was: "If it's positive, then we know, and you take it easy on the rides and the trip and we thank God for the healthy baby and pregnancy we claim. If it's negative then don't stress another second over it and we have the vacation we saved for."
The test was negative.
and Philip was positive we were not pregnant.

But I've been there a time, or three, and my body was telling me I was.
He pushed me to ride and have fun, and vacation as if I weren't carrying a tiny little baby, and any time I tried to tell him of a symptom, he'd tell me to chill out and quit being crazy.

We had one of the best weeks of our lives that week. It was so fun. Our last night in the parks, we stayed out until 2 am. 3 zonked out babes in strollers and in our arms, and we just soaked in those last moments of vacation wonder. Ya'll we even made out in Paris. Kinda. Paris World Showcase in Epcot. and by made out I mean that we kissed for lasting seconds for probably a half a minute.

We went back to the hotel and I packed all of our things up for hitting the road the next morning as the rest of my people dreamed of Mickey bars and princesses along the tune of "It's a Small World." I slept three hours before the alarm woke me up, and when it did.

I was pregnant.
I knew.
No denying it. So I took the other test from the pack and it was pretty positive.

So we're in this thing again.

and it was hard.
Again.

My HG diagnosis was early this time, and my hospital admissions were more frequent.
The stress was intense, and like my pregnancy with Gideon, depression flooded me.
No matter how hard I cried out for Jesus, I felt abandoned, lonely, sick, and broken.

For all of the early months I cried. Daily. I missed Adeline and Gideon's birthdays in February because I was too sick to even leave the bathroom floor. March came and I was worn down.
I had such horrible side effects to the medications that were keeping me alive that I stopped taking them. I went to the doctor for a regular check up one Thursday, and I drove myself for the first time in weeks. I didn't faint, I didn't throw up, I just.... had a check up.... and made it through alone without my body going all dramatic in front of strangers. I drove home. I wanted a burger.
I was not stupid enough to eat a burger, but I wanted one. That alone was an immediate victory. Those few normal tasks were absolutely an extraordinary happening.  My friend texted to check and see how my appointment went, when I told her about my burger craving, and that I came home to eat a lolly pop, and something else small I can't remember now, but neither of which came up. She told me there were a couple dozen people fasting and praying for me that day, when two days before that I was in a hospital bed where I was so malnourished that for a short time we feared we had lost our baby. She let me know that some of them would be coming to my house that evening to pray with me, which yea, I was cool with. People prayed a lot with me and for me during these months, and I appreciated every single word, but at this point, I had lost hope because not a single prayer had changed my condition.

I was laying on the couch around 4:30 when in a moment I saw shadows overcome my windows. All of my windows. Simultaneously. I got scared enough to almost puke on the couch right there. I looked out of my back door where two dozen people were gathered at my home to pray for me. I am a forgetful person. Notoriously forgetful. But I will never forget the evening that people who had no idea where my wicked gross heart was in those hard, hard weeks were gathered around and being my strength when I didn't deserve it. Praying for me. Declaring healing and life into me. and showing me that I was worth every breath that my aching savior was breathing into me as I slowly started to turn my back on Him.
I have never been so simultaneously broken and rejuvenated in my life.
I have never seen Jesus show up, the way He did through my friends in my back yard that day.
I will always be grateful for those hearts.

That weekend I ate food, and fed ducks, and sat up on the couch, and walked to the bathroom by myself.

and we believed I was healed.
Because I was healed.
I was healed of the depression and the debilitating sickness that left me literally clinging for my life on 3 separate occasions this pregnancy.
I was healed of the lies I was beginning to believe of my worth and the value and plans of the life inside of me.
I was healed.

and I clung to that so hard.

The HG wasn't gone completely, but soon enough it had relented enough to give me life back again.

During my pregnancies I struggle a lot with this sickness, and have always had real struggles with my relationship with Christ during this time. This time, while the sickness and ailments have been a little worse on my body, Jesus has held me through, just as he did all the others, but this time I held on back.

My health has taken a plunge lately, as the sickness has been intensifying in a relapse type fashion. The best way to ease it is to take medicine that gives me side effects that I would rather suffer without it. The goal is to not have en empty stomach, so I am constantly having to eat, when it is the last thing I often want to do. Then, we battle to keep it down, and I have to eat again. It makes no sense. It has no reason, but it is what it is, and I'm in a place where I am being held, and loved on, and I just wanted to take a minute on this night, while my three are cozy in bed, and I am up, thank you insomnia, to revisit where He met me. Where He picked me up. Because sometimes we fall again, and need to just be picked up. Again.


We both wanted a boy this time, and honestly from the very start, just knew we were having one. He has been such a calm little baby considering the chaos my body stores him in. We struggled on naming him though, mostly because Philip thinks I chose "hippie" names and I think he chooses "are you kidding me?" names. Both of which are probably accurate.

I gave up though, because his will is stronger than mine.
and I am tired.
So he won. It's okay, I named the girls, he's got the boys.

This little one is Ryder.

His name means "A knight; a messenger"

and it has been our prayer that he comes into this world with The Message.

I am 30 weeks now, and basically am feeling about like this:
http://courtneykeb.blogspot.com/2010/12/quick-little-update.html
this:
http://courtneykeb.blogspot.com/2010/12/31-weeks.html
this:
http://courtneykeb.blogspot.com/2012_06_01_archive.html
this:
http://courtneykeb.blogspot.com/2012/07/5-years-married.html
and this:
http://courtneykeb.blogspot.com/2012/07/diapers-and-bubbles-and-target-and.html

heavy on the whining.
heavy on the hurting.
and even heavier on the heavy.

But I'm almost done.
and then I get me back.

Plus a little tiny messenger to love on, which does
in the end
make it worth it.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Memory Adventure to Preserve

I'm sitting in my chilly office chair while my three napping children are giving me my well-earned break of the day.
There's a big white spaced template in front of me, and it's been a while.

My fingers are typing, and words are flowing through my fingers, but really instead of trying to articulate my thoughts best, I want to just upload my memory to this post.
I can enlarge and highlight the best parts, hide the inappropriate parts, and delete the regrettable parts. 

Memories are precious, and preserving them is priority. From a girl who's memory fails over and over again, it's just something I like to do. Preserve.
I like a trigger. A smell. A picture (and if you know me, you know I like a picture), a story.

Years ago, before kids, before marriage, before responsibility, we made a few memories. Many we've let go of, willing to let them perish with time elapsed. Some we love to revisit. Like that one night.

That night we were a couple of 18 year olds, and we skipped out on a family event to look for adventure. It was a cool night, cool enough for a jacket that smelled like too much cologne. Sugar cane had been burning, and the smell lingered in the air as we drove with the windows down and the music up. Philip was a carpenter at the time and had been working on a job framing this gigantic, two story mansion type home. At least that's what my young brain labeled it. People were in bed, and it was late as we went onto the dark property with a waterfront backyard view that we didn't have permission to be on. Only led by a small flashlight's beam Philip showed me things like woodwork and rooms that I nodded and pretended to care about. We climbed these stairs that had no rails so that we could tour the second floor, and although my usual frame of mind would have been panic, nervousness, and uneasiness, we were adventuring. So I was being adventurous. Which clearly meant climbing unsturdy stairs in the dark while trespassing on someone else's property. When we got to the top we saw every single star in the sky, only clouded by our warm breath on the cool late night. It was beautiful. Until I tripped over a power cord and then the neighbor's dogs started relentlessly barking until we finally had to escape because I was absolutely convinced we were going to go to jail.
It was a November 3rd, and I will remember it for the rest of my days.
Mostly because that night I wrote about it in my journal, and read it over and over again for years while smiling and remembering the details so sharply it was as if reading was reliving.

It's been a while since we made a memory to remember. In the daily hustle of Hey I'm a servant to life we recently decided to get away and make a memory or two to remember. Just me and my guy. Us style.

So, we picked a random place in Texas, and drove on over with zero plans, zero agenda, and adventure for a couple of kids ready to feel 18 again.
 We did tourist things like packed my purse with brochures and took pictures with Texas things.
and then we did super cool[er] things like eating out as a party of 2 instead of 5, and if you have or have had young children, and have also taken them into restaurants enduring scowling booth neighbors' looks, waitors' "Wow' ya'll have your hands full" type commentary, and one or more children playing the hey lets throw all of our food on the floor game, then you rejoice with me.
 We did stop on a job for Philip to go in and work for a while, but I do not have a picture of it, meaning it never happened. (See that's where the delete the regrettable comes in). Also we caught 3 hours of Houston 5:00 Friday traffic, which I also chose not to document because I NEVER WANT TO REMEMBER THAT AGAIN.
 and then we got to our hotel.
 which is awesome. Well.... which I thought was awesome. You see, this is maybe the 3rd time I've ever stayed in a hotel in my life. Yes, so I thought hotels were super cool. There was a king sized bed, and I didn't have to clean up at all. Pillows are fluffy, and you get this super cool card scanner to unlock your door, and you feel super important, because hotels are for fancy adventure stays.
 and then I had coffee in bed, which I did spill. THEN I woke up Saturday morning with a terrible crick in my neck from overfluffed pillows, and just when I thought I was going to have one morning of the rest of my life to sleep in, small children....

[YES YOU READ SMALL CHILDREN] must have been playing hot lava or hey this floor might turn into a trampoline if we jump long and hard enough at around 7am. So hotels aren't that cool, I have thus concluded.
But cool. Is The Cheesecake Factory. Romantic. Beautiful. Best salmon ever. Best cheesecake ever.
We ordered a piece to share for dessert, and then a piece to take home for breakfast. Because we are adventurous grownups who can eat cheesecake in bed for breakfast. Only these adventurous grown ups couldn't thinking clearly staying up til midnight and left the cheesecake in the car overnight. Philip determined 72 degrees outside was good enough chill to keep the cheesecake good though, so he did retrieve it from the floor of the car, and we did eat it for breakfast. Due to the prior coffee spilling incident we did not have it in bed though, but it was on a couch. and it was crazy.
 My favorite part of this whole trip was that we never knew where we were stopping next. It was a whatever kind of weekend in the best way... which really goes against everything I am. But I liked it.
 My second favorite part of this whole trip was that my husband is so hot.
 aaaaand my third favorite part of this whole trip was that I mad my first skinny peppermint mocha of the season. Halleluiah
 There was a gorgeous park or two that was wandered around.
 There was a burger that was mighty fine.
 and there was the first time ever I went into a Pottery Barn, and the temptation to cuddle under couch pillows and pretend it was my home.
 THEN WE WENT TO THE MALL AND BOUGHT NOTHING FOR CHILDREN AND EVERYTHING FOR OURSELVES.
everything as in a couple of small somethings.
 Then my friends, we decided to ice skate for the very first time.
 and while it was short lived, it was fun. After 2 laps holding the rails, I was able to finally break free until a small Asian child nearly took me out and then I quit. I will be back, and I will be better.
 Let it be noted, Texas has bullets. and they are totally serious about it.
 We visited a ranch and some old beautiful homes. I accidentally spilled water all over some vintage kitchen I wasn't supposed to be touching, but I did get a nice picture of this gnarly longhorn.
 We Saltgrassed.
 and it was bomb. Bomb as in good. Really fantastic good. Again, party of 2, ya'll.
We attended our first ever hockey game, and although we may have been the only ones there that were not friends or family of the actual hockey players, we yelled and cheered, and enjoyed every second. Ya'll. Hockey is hardcore. and we kind of love it. 
We hiked and strolled around all of these beautiful nature spots where we were super annoying and held hands and kissed and Philip repeatedly fussed me for scaring animals away with my phone camera. It felt like an adventure, one I want to relive again and again. God gave me a best friend, and an adventure away to enjoy him. We were grateful.

The car ride was long, but easy, and we laughed more than we have in a long time.
The weekend was short. Sunday came and we had children to travel home and poor tired babysitters to relieve. It kind of ached to come home. A piece of my heart was left in that weekend. on a November 3rd.