my favorite indulgence besides partaking in something that goes into my mouth is being able to expand my mind thru books, conversation, or an outdoor setting. the last 9 months i have chosen to survive. that doesn't mean how i have done things is right or recommended, but its how i chose to do it. if i thought too much about what my day to day entailed, i would fall off the bandwagon. if i tried to plan anything i would only be severely disappointed by what my body was no longer capable of without severe consequence. if i put my faith in someone to finally let down and share my struggles, i would usually get my feelings hurt by their responses.
i whittled my circles, my routine, my life. whittled it down to what i could manage until this baby came.
around christmas i had a few awesome weeks. only a few migraines, i was able to eat normally without hives or extreme gastric distress. the nausea and vertigo seemed to leave, slowly. we enjoyed christmas activities and i was able to cross things off my list. i was able to be excited about holding a baby and even thought about finding out the gender. then,
it went sour again.
amniotic fluid started to push at my insides like a balloon pushing full blast at my organs constantly. by 24 weeks i had a super scary incident that left me contracting for a 7 hour stretch that i could not stop. i am the queen at getting contractions to stop. my abdominal muscles were not stretching the way my body needed and there were about 2 chairs i could sit in without being brought to tears. my SI joints in my back were so inflamed, i limped/hobbled everywhere i would go. and then this strange pain started in my upper back. i waited too long to talk about it, thinking it was just another thing, and then we found out that some reflux turned into an ulcer that started bleeding. que anemia. and by 31 weeks i was at the bottom of a slippery slope. i would contract at the word "move" despite my arsenal of tricks. all i could do was to pray that my body could adjust. and here i sit at the cusp of 37 weeks, still here.
the hard things have let up. the ulcer is under control, a few adjustments from a chiropractor, despite scott's apprehension, have made a huge difference. my blood count is getting to where it needs to be to deliver a baby, and while the contractions aren't much better, i will take any ease i can get. and suddenly the dr. tells me, we need to make our plan. here are your limitations. too much fluid, the baby's head just won't stay down, much less engage in the birth canal. it's made your uterus a pancake shape. yes, contractions feel like those chubby, orange wizard of oz midgets hanging all over my middle swinging inside and out, i tell him. contracting with a transverse baby is torturous. so, he gives me some time. some time to consider what will be the best route that i am comfortable with. he also tells me not to worry, that's his job. and for the fourth time, it looks like a c-section is on the table. and i hope, for the fourth time, i will be able to avoid it. and so i have been quiet and prayerful.
the other day, i was able to cross some things off my list. whenever i have a good day, i go thru and prioritize with exactness what is most important. if i clean a certain area that has been bothering me, i have to automatically take myself out of the game if something else the kids need me for comes up. so most good days, i focus on making the house feel semi uncluttered, making the kids meals, and telling scott what i wish i could have accomplished, and like a super hero, he makes it happen, always. he also says he has arranged a vasectomy for the day i deliver because he will never watch me go thru this again. i can gather all the kids i want thru other means he says, but i will never be responsible for doing this to you again. and then i beg, please don't. let's not shut doors, and he laughs.
i was reading one of my favorite books for the umpteenth time in my life the other day. i was able to get a few pages in and then had to digest for a while. harper lee always boggles my mind. every time i read her prized and only published novel, i learn. to kill a mockingbird is my favorite self help book, my favorite parenting tool, my favorite to inspire routine and learning in my kids. i am amazed at the capacity atticus has as a single parent to be exactly what his kids need simply by being himself. he is always thoughtful and takes honest consideration to his kids requests. he doesn't dismiss them as children but rather his most prized stewardship without giving his kids a sense of indulgent entitlement. he loves they way they need it, he dismisses judgement of others and always shows respect. he is slow to judge, quick to accept, and always true to who he is. my goodness, i appreciate it. i admit to closing the pages a little quicker than i should because started to feel the need to reevaluate. have i stayed true to who i am while i have been in the thick of a thin thing? what rough edges have i let be knocked off, or, have i held on to my hard edges. have i been fighting change or the capacity to become better by only hanging in there and surviving. have i let my heart be still? sure, my body has had to be still, literally, but a heart and body that are still are two different things. a still body has been necessity and ultimately, someone else's life is depending on my body being still. but my heart.
in my need to numb up to get thru, i fear that my heart has been still and hard instead of soft and still. i have been afraid to let a lot of things in for a plethora of reasons. i have never been in a survival mode this extreme before.
i was called to jury duty yesterday. it happens whenever my belly is bulging or i am nursing a newborn. every time i have escaped with my number not being called up, but yesterday, despite my telling them of my predicament, my number was called in to report for a jury. it also happened to fall on the day of my neighbor's funeral. well, neighbor is a technical term. he was first a friend, living in close proximity to his family and vast array of animals is only a bonus. i thought for sure, the county clerk would take one look at my phenomenon of a belly and dismiss me at once. instead, i was grilled in a room full of 50-60 other people, quietly filling out their questionnaire. how far along am i, how many contractions have i had in the past day, how much pain am i in. i was mortified. i have a disorder on a large scale that hates having attention in any shape. once the bishop had to say my name over the pulpit and my face turned hot and my heart raced like daytona and fluid leaked out the holes on my face without me having control. scott always has to whisper, breathe heidi, you are going to pass out. i don't know why its painful, but its a real thing. so my tears were brimming as the torture continued and i just don't cry unless its in a pulpit setting and i testify of the things i know. so as every strangers eyes are on me, i waddle over to a chair to start my 10 pages of questions regarding my opinions on lawsuits. i can't even remember my opinions on toilet paper anymore much less questions of deep moral absolutes. plus i can't see because there is moisture coming out every part of my head and i am contracting about every 4-6 minutes. i finish, leave, and sobs creep out as i exit the building. i am not excused and have to report back at 1:30. i will miss the funeral.
i cry the whole way home. i walk in the door looking 75 years old, with puffiness and wrinkles i have not earned thru a well lived life but thru crumbling. scott has magically had the day off, which is not normal and obviously a tender mercy. i sob the predicament to him and he is unsure how to act. i have not made tears like this a normal appearance in our marriage until this pregnancy. maybe it is age. i go upstairs and try to get under control and then i pray. please help me to be okay with however this day turns out. if there is any way i can go to this funeral, please intervene. and then the clock ticks and as we are starting to check kids out of school so they can make the funeral and i have given up hope for miracles, and the phone rings. the county clerk has got me excused from jury duty. my tears and puffiness then feel purely grateful and full of testimony that he knows the hairs on my head and the new found puff around my eyes.
i can't say what one pull it was to get to this funeral, mostly it was on account that there were so many reasons. ron brown was a man that you only come across once in your life and will never meet again. he played a large role in my brothers life as cameron was considered the fourth brown son on many hunting excursions. many times he was a constant with them on adventures across the vast expanse of the rocky mountains. i have always known and loved the family and then we moved by them when we were newlyweds. we haven't moved too far since then and have had the privilege to be loved by this family in a most tender way as neighbors. sundays soon meant a hug and kiss on the head from ron and high praise on my behalf, always undeserved i have to insert. we once asked him if he could bring a little display for our cub scouts for the annual blue and gold banquet that was themed "cowboy" and he brought the whole farm. he set up a fence in the church, brought exotic animals and taught those scouts how to wrangle an animal proper. i have never seen greater pride from boy scout eyes with their new found confidence. this was no small feat for ron and his bride as he was in the midst of chemo. they went above and beyond. ron brown was a cowboy. he was famous for his way with animals, sharing his talents with hollywood and the LDS church movie productions. his life was extended and his animals were used in all of the new bible films and other new church movie endeavors. his son at the service yesterday said ron had a talent of communicating spirit to spirit and that's why he had such a way with animals and people alike. you knew he loved you when you were around him. my brother wrote a classic tribute to ron that was read at the funeral yesterday. after i added to the puffiness of my face thru that funeral, it became abundantly clear to me why i needed to be there. it was like ron cementing his contribution of influence to my life.
who we are in this life is enough. all of us have a ron brown, atticus finch quality about us and its enough. every person is unique, its our divine inheritance. it has to do with an all powerful god and the things he puts in his universe. it's enough to make and keep friends, its enough to keep relationships alive in rough spots. its enough to raise kids and its enough to do good in the world. its enough that we can abandon our tendencies to compare and embrace our opportunity to discover that unique divinely inherited quality of every person we come across.
my greatest discovery in this parenting journey is that we are not the sculptors of our children, but the receivers of discovering who they are. we do not get to dictate who they are by shaping and molding clay but discover the masterpiece they come to us as. this has freed the guilt i indulge in sometimes when i feel that little voice tell me i am not enough and certainly not good enough to keep bringing kids in to an imperfect mess.
and so my excitement rises as we are in the homestretch of this hard thing, ever grateful for the unique circumstance of having a due date. rarely in this life do we have due dates from the hard things, i am appreciating every ounce of that. and i can't wait for heaven and earth to meet so that we can reunite with a spirit who has always been connected and loved by us.