16 June 2014

bambino #3

Most expectant parents I know anticipate the 20-week ultrasound with some eagerness and happy anticipation. Oh, we get to see the baby! and if you're the type of couple that wants to find out the sex, Today's the day we find out if we're buying ballerina tutus or baseball caps!

Ever since Ewan, there has never been such a thing as a routine test or ultrasound in any of my pregnancies. And so it was no surprise to me to wake up this morning well before it was light, and check the time on my phone.

3:30 am: T-minus 6 hours to appointment time.


I reminded myself of all the things that were supposed to help me stop worrying: although not impossible, it was statistically unlikely that we'd have another child with a heart defect or other life-threatening abnormality. I was just feeling this way because our very first experience of a 20-week ultrasound threw us into the deep end of every expectant parent's worst nightmare. It probably wasn't going to happen like that again.

I breathed in deep, exhaling slowly.

There was no going back to sleep, and no ever going back to the days of blithely expecting the Best News Ever when you've already been the "someone else" to whom some of the Awful Things have happened.

I let out a breath of relief when everything the ultrasound tech saw today was normal, perfect, healthy as can be. Baby was perfectly developed in every respect, and flipped around from top to bottom a couple of times, probably just to show off and impress us.

I know pregnancies are common, and that healthy babies are born every day, but ever since Ewan I think that it's not overstating it in the least to say that IT IS A FRIGGING MIRACLE that any of us come out that way, with all our parts in the right places and working as they should.

And so we don't take it for granted. We're so grateful to God for another very spunky, healthy child (so much for having a mellow one this time around, eh?) and for the chance to be parents to another sweet kiddo.

So, without further ado, Baby #3 is a ...

P.S. We're leaning toward one name in particular, but aren't totally settled on it yet, so no news on that front just yet. :)

NOTE: For those of you who may not be familiar with our story, the monkey in the picture belonged to our first child, Ewan, who passed away at 16 days old after bravely enduring several surgeries to treat a complex congenital heart defect. From the time he was five days old (his first open-heart surgery) until the day he died, he usually had his arm wrapped tightly around it.

13 June 2014

... and so it goes.

So, no sooner do I stage my blogging comeback than I quickly fall off the face of the blogosphere again.

Heh. Heh heh.

Not long after my last post, I learned I was pregnant with our third. And not long after that, came the very strong and persistent feeling that I needed to sleep all day, only to be interrupted by those sudden and even more pressing urges to vomit. And then we had family from out of town visit, and then, and then, and then ...

I might have been more motivated to write again were it not for the pesky, prickly, and unwavering feeling that the internet is not a very safe place to be these days. Peruse the comboxes on any article or blog post that dares pose an opinion of any sort, and you know what I mean. Internet trolls are alive and well and multiplying ugly little troll babies who can't play nice.

And it's not just the trolls I worry about. I've even found myself refraining from online interactions with people I know if I suspect a difference of opinion will arise. I've participated in very few discussions of any sort online (but have observed a lot more), and I can't think of many times where I came away feeling like, Wow, that was really productive and I think we all have a deeper understanding and appreciation of where the people who think and believe differently than me are coming from. Usually, the tone is something more akin to, Those people are ignorant jerks and my goodness, I feel so, so righteous in my rightness! I don't doubt there are places where the dialogue is something more like the former description, but I'm guessing that's the exception.

(This is why in my online life, I tend to stick to cute kiddo pictures and funny, pithy family updates.)

I'm not interested in mud-slinging, in using internet to yell at people or be yelled at. I hate the presumptions that occur, the far-fetched inferences, the detailed and ultimately certain reading in between some very broadly spaced-out lines that occurs between total strangers. People can be crammed into some very tight and ill-fitting boxes. I find the whole thing stressful, distracting, and distasteful. It's bad manners on crack.

I used to love -- as in really, really love -- this whole blogging thing. I was reconnecting with old friends and making some great connections with new people I never would have met otherwise. Now I find I can't approach it (or almost any social media interaction) without at least a tinge of anxiety because of what I've observed and admittedly, my own fair share of bad experiences.

I'm not likely to get into current events or politics or any big hot-button issues. Just not my cup of tea, really. It's just me and my life and some thoughts, and I don't pretend to think that it's going to be for everyone. I don't care about stats or traffic or being a famous blogger. I just want to write and connect with a few folks and for everyone who chooses to be here to know it's really okay if we can't be eye-to-eye on everything. We can still be friends. Promise.

10 February 2014

I believe ... :: #1

"I believe" is a little series I'm trying out in order to affirm those every day beauties, miracles, and simple loveliness that is easy for me to overlook.

* * * * *

I believe I've never regretted putting down my phone or closing the computer in order to play with my kid.

I believe in getting dressed and making an effort with my appearance even if I have no plans of leaving the house. I also believe in staying in lounge pants all day long and choosing a nap or a mini "Castle" marathon over a shower.

I'm pretty sure my daughter's laughter is the best palliative for life I know of.

I believe in coffee. And chocolate.

I believe in sitting down, taking a deep breath, taking it all in, and being really thankful.

29 January 2014

Coming back.

I promised myself months ago, before the fireworks burst and fur-clad celebrities announced our transition from 2013 to 2014 in Times Square, that I was going to write again. And here we are at the end of January, these being my first words to be pounded out -- my first attempts at putting anything "out there."

Having a small child at home provides a ready excuse for avoidance, as well as the unending cycles of laundry and dishwasher loading and emptying and picking up bristle blocks and flashcards off of the floor.

I call it an "excuse" because it is. I consider motherhood and keeping the house running to be my first and most important work, but it isn't my only work. Writing is my work, too. And I've been running away from it as surely as Jonah ran as fast as he could in the opposite direction when God told him where to go, what to do.

I've been so afraid. I can see clearly how silly this is sometimes, but when I access a readily available catalog of blogging memories, I remember that the fear, however silly or wrong or restrictive and binding it may be, is not without reason.

When I first started blogging, I met new friends and reconnected with others. I made soul connections in what, at the time, felt like the most improbable way. Across geographic distances that would have made meeting any other way impossible, we had meaningful conversations. The internet felt like a great cozy living room or your favorite coffee shop -- the one with knobby wood floors, eclectic furniture, and tattooed baristas.

Somewhere in the course of my tenure as a blogger, my experience changed. While I maintained those meaningful connections, those cozy conversations with kindred friends, there were also those I could have done without. The critical stranger's voices, those that were only too happy to criticize and cut down, to lambaste and state assumptions about me as fact. Anonymous comments were cyber hit-and-runs, hateful words left without a face or name.

It didn't take much of this for the cozy living room to become a distant memory. The internet had come to feel more like a Roman arena where thousands of spectators crowded in and pressed forward, cheering as the victims du jour were ripped limb from bloody limb by the lions, the crowd cheering More, more. Please pass the popcorn.

I wanted no part of it.

I may share someday what has prompted my return. It's enough now to say that, for a thousand reasons, I know it's the right thing. I still see the arena and lions and crowd of spectators, and I still feel trepidation at volunteering myself like this. But I'm choosing not to let it chain me anymore. I've let loose the shackles, rubbing wrists that are reddened and raw and out of practice at doing this thing.

It's time to write again.


P.S. Jamie the Very Worst Missionary wrote about this recently, too and I may have shouted AMEN and fist-pumped at the end of it.

13 September 2013

storm & sun

Emotional hangover. That's what I call this.

Austen wakes in the wee hours, before we see the first hints of sunlight creep through the bedroom shades. I leave her room, hardly able to keep my eyes open. But when I return to bed, pull the sheets and the comforter up to my chin, releasing the sigh that means I'm settling in, sleep still doesn't come.

My Dad had a heart attack on Monday. A hundred and one little miracles later, and he's still with us.

If just one little thing had gone differently that day ...

But it didn't. It didn't, I remind myself, attempting to avoid long, imaginative trips into a nightmarish might-have-been. It is what it is (sedation, wait-and-see, we don't know yet), but those short forays into the hypothetical nightmare remind me to fall on my knees thankful for this limbo.

And here I am, over three thousand miles away. I could do no more were that geographical gap closed, and yet the knowledge that he's far away in a hospital bed has me searching airfares, considering any and all means of traversing the distance between us.

I fell apart last night, thinking of how I want him to get better, of how I wanted him to wake up so I could hear the laugh that I could identify blindfolded out of a thousand laughs in a crowded room. I thought of how the last thing I talked to him about was our malfunctioning fridge, leaking water all over our kitchen floor. Did I tell him I loved him before I hung up?

So it's early, and these tears prick, this lump hurts my throat. Driving home yesterday, I saw dark and ominous storm clouds on the horizon and right in the midst of them, those illuminated by the sun, shafts of light boldly piercing through the spaces between the bulbous tufts of white.

Yes, I thought. This is what this is: the storm and the sunlight, all in the same view.

* * * * *

Updates on Dad's recovery HERE