Wednesday, December 29, 2010

4 weeks and counting

Can I just say I have a great mom?  Yesterday was our last visit to St. Vincent's before Caleb's big arrival, and on my way to Indy my mom calls and has, to my surprise, scheduled me a pre-natal massage in Fishers at Villagio Spa (super fancy!) right after my doctor's appointment.  You get Mom-of-the-Year Award for that one!  

So yesterday was my last appointment at St. Vincents before Caleb arrives.  I will continue to see my doc here in New Castle, and Caleb's arrival via c-section has been scheduled for... drum roll, please.... Thursday January 27th.  Wow.  Do you realize that's less than a month away?  Oh wait, do WE realize that's less than a month away???  Holy cow.  That's going to be here so fast.  I have nothing prepared in our house whatsoever.  If you know me well, you know that I'm not exactly the plan-ahead type.  I guess I need to start thinking about how on earth Jonah is going to share his 10x10 bedroom with his little brother.  There's not an inch to spare in that room, especially now that he got a few new toys for Christmas, so clearly I need to do some work.  Eh, maybe tomorrow.  In Africa, there would be 6 kids in a room that size, so I'm sure we'll survive.  I'll tell you, one good thing that's already come from this time in our life is that very little phases me.  That should come in handy soon enough.

Yesterday was the first time I went to St. V's by myself.  Daniel always goes with me, but he's off work this week and Jonah is sick, so we decided he'd stay home with Jonah for the day and I'd go by myself.  It was actually kinda weird, and it got me thinking about how much time will be spent just like that in the upcoming weeks:  Daniel at home with Jonah and me in Indy at the hospital with Caleb.  I'm not thrilled with that arrangement at all.  I'm not excited about my family being split in half for several weeks.  In fact, it's probably what causes me the most anxiety, thinking about Daniel and Jonah being here while I'm there.  So this leads me to my request du jour.  People ask me all the time what they can do for us, how they can help.  And I have an answer:  Come visit us during our hospital stay.  When Caleb is born, we will want all the encouragement and support we can get, especially the time when Daniel and Jonah are here in New Castle.  Visit them!  Bring them food while I'm gone, pretty please, and check in on how my boys are doing.  And visit me in Indy!  I'll be alone a lot, sitting in a little NICU cubicle and will want company.  And maybe bring some candy.  OK, that part is only slightly serious, but honestly, what we'll need more than anything is your presence.  I hope that there's not a flood of cards and visits the first few days and then little contact in the following weeks.  My dream come true would be if we could have at least one visitor a day, both Daniel in NC and me in Indy, during this crazy time.  Now you know.  If you want to know what we need, that's it!
Signing off for now.  Not that I'm going to go to work on the boys' bedroom... I'd rather join Daniel and Jonah in their snuggle-fest on the couch.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Life to the fullest, for sure

First things first.  At 10:30 pm this evening I was laying on the couch and heard someone on my porch opening my storm door.  After being startled and telling Daniel to be brave and go see what was going on, we discovered an envelope taped to our door.  I'm only blogging about this in the hopes that whoever was so kind and generous to leave that enormous and anonymous blessing will read this, since I have no other way to tell you thank you.  Thank you, mystery friend, from the bottom of our hearts.  You shocked us tonight and we are feeling pretty special and loved.  

God has been blessing us so much through the people in our lives.  I am so overwhelmed when I realize how many people are praying for us, supporting us, and surrounding us.  Whew.

So we are doing really well.  And not only because the holidays are a super fun distraction, and not only because people secretly leave us money on our porch late at night, but because God is helping us to accept life how it is and be thankful and joyful in all circumstances.  One example: I really thought by now we would have sold our house.  And we haven't had a single person even look at it!  But I don't even care; I'm not concerned about it in the least.  It's amazing how God has been working on me, helping me to be content and to just go with what comes along.  That's how I have been when it comes to Caleb too.  It seems like no matter what any doctor would say, I could probably look at him or her and say, "Ok, we can deal with that."  I'm in a peaceful place.  

It certainly helps each time we go to St. Vincents and learn more about what to expect with Caleb's birth and first few weeks of life.  Every time we're there I feel more secure; not because Caleb's condition has changed much, which it hasn't, but simply because there's less and less of the unknown.  Both of the pediatric cardiologists that we see believe there's a very good chance that the surgery planned for Caleb's first week of life might not have to happen.  While he would still require other surgeries later, this would make an enormous difference in his life and ours and almost feels like more than I could hope for.  But the whole team of doctors are so cautious when saying that.  There IS NO guarantee.  He could be born and need immediate surgery.  Or it could be put off until he's 6 months old.  We won't know until he gets here.  I feel bad because some people mistakenly heard our report from our last visit and thought that Caleb was healed, or that maybe his condition wasn't as severe as originally thought.  Unfortunately, that's not the case.  But we are trying to celebrate every bit of positive news while we're on this road.  And in my book, the possibility of one less surgery would be amazing.  Other than that, there's nothing new to report.  Please, if you ever say a prayer for us, pray that God would touch Caleb's heart so that surgery could be postponed and we could have a (relatively) normal delivery and first few weeks of life.

At one time I was hoping that the last few months leading up to Caleb's birth could be quiet and calm before the storm.  However, our life seems to continue to get crazier, and if you have room for one more prayer request, let me throw another one at you.  You may or may not know, but at the end of last spring, Daniel and I invited a teenage boy named Kyle to come and live with us.  Kyle is a teen dad that I met through volunteering at Cradles and he has become our unofficially adopted son.  (God must think it's funny to continue to fill this house with more boys.  Kyle even has a son, so when his son is here too, I'm outnumbered 4 to 1.  Soon to be 5 to 1!)  God is teaching me so much through my relationship with Kyle.  The thing is, when we found out about Caleb's heart defect, Kyle was away at AIT training for National Guard so he was gone for a couple months.  We started thinking that the best thing would be to tell Kyle when he came back that we still wanted him to be part of our family, but with the added stress of Caleb's condition, and the fact that our house is 900 square feet, we thought it was time for us to help him find another place to live.  The more I thought about it, the more it seemed totally understandable, even wise.  Worldly wisdom would say, we have so much on our plates that we should really invest in our own family right now.  Or, there's a time and season for everything and this is a time to just hunker down and focus on our own needs.  While I realize that's probably the advice I would give to someone in my situation, God has been showing us something very different.  I have so just wanted to check out of all responsibility other than being a mom lately and God is continually drawing my focus off of myself and back on to the things He cares about.  Even though this is a particularly challenging time in my life, God still asks me to open my life up to serving others.  We're studying Matthew in our young adult group and recently we read a scripture that says if i try to keep my life for myself, I'll lose it.  But if I give up my life for Jesus' sake, I'll find true life.  My response at times to stress and suffering is to turn inward and just try to take care of me and my family.  Not that that's wrong, but I see how God still demands my ALL even when I'm suffering.  

We decided to let Kyle stay here and I'm finding that God is honoring my openness by giving me more strength and energy than I thought I could have right now!  From the world's perspective, it makes no sense to take in a teenage father into our tiny home when I have a rambunctious toddler, a sick baby on the way, and a tight budget as it is.  The world says I'm entitled to have some space, to have some privacy, to want some time to myself before this baby comes.  But as a disciple of Jesus, who cares about what I'm entitled to?  I don't want to be that way, and I am admitting that I have to pretty constantly recommit myself to God's will over my own.  The cool thing is that God's will leads to freedom and joy!  Our home, while I am beginning to think it will never be a quiet or even conventional home, is so full of joy.  As long as my heart is open to anything God would ask of me, He keeps giving me what I need to obey Him, whether it's patience with a teenager's messes, or trust in the face of scary doctor's visits, or unexpected cash to help with Christmas.  I need to remember this- I need to remember that no matter how much it seems like God is asking of me at the time, it's always for my best interest and He will always, without fail, give me the grace I need to do it.  This is real life!  This is true, abundant life!  An open heart, open arms, open checkbook, open schedule, open ears, open living room... nothing off the table as far as what God can have from me.  So this is my second prayer request: pray for us as we try to love and care for Kyle, pray for us to be wide open with our life and allow God to use us even in the midst of struggles.

I hope your day is as abundantly full as mine!