More Car Conversation

Eva, with all her curiosities, wanted to know why we live in Missouri.  Out of all the places in the world to live, she wanted to know why I had chosen this place.  I really hadn’t chosen Missouri specifically, I had responded.  I explained to her that I just never felt the need to move away because all our family lives in Missouri.

“Not all of our family,” she said.  “My dad doesn’t live in Missouri.”

I should have seen that coming, I suppose.  After a moment of thought, and holding my breath that maybe we could talk about the weather instead, I pushed on.  I agreed that yes, her father doesn’t live in Missouri.

“Why would he move away from all of his family?”

Should have seen that question coming, too.  I just spoke the truth as I see it.  I usually try very hard not to offer opinion when speaking of her father, but I did this time.  I said simply that the choices he has made do not make sense to me so I can’t help her understand his reasons.  Feeling bad for her, I said something like I was sorry that he was so far away because it is sad for her.  She agreed it was sad sometimes.  Then I asked her something I had never been brave enough to ask her.  I asked her if she gets angry at her father sometimes for moving away.

She said, “No, not really.”

“Why not?”  I couldn’t resist asking.

“Because, every year he gets meaner and meaner,” she said very matter-of-fact.  “I’m glad he isn’t around here because then I would have to see him all the time.”

My heart broke for her some more.  She is right, he is mean, but I didn’t expect this.  I didn’t expect her to be glad on any level that he isn’t here.

 

12 Weeks, 3 Days

My blood pressure has been high the last couple of weeks.  I have been very concerned about my blood pressure since this is what prompted an induction with my daughter.  Pre-pregnancy, my blood pressure couldn’t have been more ideal.  Last week, though, it was hanging out around 140/75.

This past Monday, as I was sitting in my obstetrician’s exam room, I was making every effort to have an ideal blood pressure reading this time.  The last time I was in the office, the billing department had spoken to me right before it was time to get my blood pressure taken.  The billing department had informed me that if everything went as planned, I would be paying $2,500 out of pocket.  If I needed to be hospitalized for anything pregnancy related prior to next year, however, they informed me I would be $5,000 out of pocket.  That is a LOT of money for my family.  The nurse wouldn’t even tell me what my blood pressure had been at that appointment because it was so high.

So this time, I was determined to think only happy thoughts as my blood pressure was being taken.  The nurse smiled when she was done and informed me it was 124/72.  Not fantastic, but much better than 140.

After speaking with my obstetrician (she is hilarious, and a great conversationalist), she pulled out the Doppler to listen to the baby’s heart beat.  I didn’t look at a clock, but it felt like an eternity before she found that little thumping beat.  I could tell even she was starting to get nervous as she searched, and searched, and searched for that baby.  We both heaved a sigh of relief when she found it.  The heart rate was “perfect” to quote her.

New This Month:

1. My doctor offered testing to check for genetic abnormalities such as Down Syndrome.  We declined.

2. I get to take a break from Metformin.  For the next week, I am taking half the dose.  Beginning next week, no Metformin at all.  My intestines are thanking me already.  We will probably start it back up after the glucose tolerance test at the 24 week mark.

3. I have enough energy to clean again!  This is especially good news since we are closing on our house in a week, and moving the next day!

4. I am getting frequent headaches.  Thanks, Progesterone,  as if the endless fatigue last month and the month before wasn’t enough of a present from you.

5. My pants won’t fit, even with the belly band, anymore.  I purchased new pants today.  More purchases to follow after we spend a fortune on the new house.

6. My muscles in my lower abdomen hurt, a lot.  My doctor said I am going to be stretching a lot of scar tissue from my c-section I had with Eva.  She said to expect it to be unpleasant.

Not New This Month:

1. I am still very moody.  Ask my poor husband, and I’m sure he’ll tell you all about it.

2. Meat is still disgusting for the most part.  I can barely cook it, much less eat it.  This wasn’t a problem before I was pregnant.

3. I am experiencing random bouts of vomiting.  Still.

4. Smells are overwhelming.

5. I cry over some of the most ridiculous things.

6. I am unexplainably (I doubt that is a word) excited to go through it all again.  To quote a friend, it is hard work being pregnant.  She is right about that.  Even as I whine to my husband about my headache, or my bellyache, or my backache, or as I hang up on him (again) to vomit (again), I am still so happy to be pregnant.  So bring on the hard work!  Only 194 more days to go until my due date!

Liebster Award

I have been nominated for a Liebster Award by a wonderful lady, Paula, at http://www.emptyhands2openarms.wordpress.com.  Please swing by and read her blog.  She is a freelance writer who has been through infertility and come out on the other side with a better outlook on life and a stronger relationship with God.  She is a source of strength for me, and I can’t thank her enough for all the kind words and encouragement she has given me.

Thank you so much for nominating me!

She posted a few questions she wanted us nominees to answer. Here they are below:

1.  Who is your favorite author and why would you recommend them to another reader?
Cassandra Clare is my current favorite author. I seem to pick a new favorite every few years. I have and will continue to recommend her to others, especially her Infernal Devices series.  I would recommend her to another reader because she has a very original twist to her stories.

2.  What is your favorite memory at age twelve?
I spent most of the summer with my godmother. I have so many memories of time with her I can’t choose just one.  Age twelve, specifically, makes me think of the many times she let me drive her car down the driveway.

3.  What are you normally doing at 8:00 p.m on any given evening?
Nagging my six-year-old daughter to brush her teeth and get to bed.

4. Do you have a book you are working on presently?  What are you planning to call it?
I do, but unfortunately it isn’t titled. It is a middle grade fiction book that is a bit of a coming-of-age story.

5.  What has been the most difficult challenge in your life thus far?
My divorce was very difficult for me. Adjusting my life, my dreams, and regaining my confidence was a long, arduous journey, to say the least.

6.  Where do you find comfort when life gets tough?
My child’s hugs and kisses, my husband’s embrace, and prayer bring me comfort and solace.

7.  What are the qualities of a really great novel?
Anything that evokes emotion in me is a winner. I tend to gravitate toward stories with some form of emotional turmoil.

8.  Which of your posts is the one you re read from time to time?  What brings you to it?
A guest post I wrote on another blog about my infertility struggle and resulting pregnancy at jordanforty.me/prayer. It reminds me of how I felt not so long ago, and renews my joy of pregnancy every time I read it. This post reminds me to pray and to have patience.

9.  If you could know the timing, how would you spend the last day of your life?
At home with my family.

10.  What do you value the most in true friendship?
Honesty.

 

I would like to nominate the following blogs for a Liebster as well:

1. Electric Mystery

2. Erin at What To Try When Trying

3. Stop Telling Me To Relax

4. Peas 4 Our Pod

5. Waiting for The Bump

I would like each of you nominees to tell us five things about yourself that mean the most to you each.

 

liebsteraward

Recuperating

Friday my nose began running.  My thought was surely this was allergy related.  Saturday, after only five hours sleep (thanks to working an evening shift and returning for a morning shift), I began to run a fever.  Sunday was the worst.  I was scheduled for a twelve hour shift, and I hadn’t felt so ill in a very long time.  I haven’t missed a day of work, because I haven’t exactly had a choice in the matter.  My coworkers all pitched in a bit more than usual to lighten my burden, however.  They made me feel cared about and important.

I have been coughing and coughing, especially at night.  I haven’t taken anything other than Benadryl and Tylenol for fever for fear that something will harm my little, growing baby.  I am 9 weeks and 3 days pregnant today, and all this coughing has made my abdominal muscles so sore.  It makes me nervous.  I felt my lower abdominal muscles cramping last night.  I immediately sat down, and then laid down and just rested.  The least cramp or discomfort in my lower abdomen definitely grabs my immediate attention.

I am in the process of recuperating still, and now Eva has it as well.  I’m hoping life returns to normal soon.

Those of you that are waiting for the Liebster Award post–it is coming, soon.  Thank you each for your patience.

8 Weeks, 3 Days

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I went back to the doctor today to check on my little soybean.  She (no, I don’t have gender confirmation) is right on track with a healthy heart rate at 170 beats.  Everything looks perfect right now.

I also spoke with my obstetrician about VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) and natural birth.  Both are very important to me this time around.  She was very open and honest about her practices.  She made it clear there are no hard and fast rules for labor anymore.  It is all about how the baby is handling labor.  She even gave me an example of a recent patient that labored for a full 48 hours before it cesarean became a topic of discussion.  Everything she had to say was very encouraging.

Four weeks before I go back for another check up.

For All The Piano People Out There

There is an excellent 130-page piano lessons book available tomorrow only for free on Amazon in ebook format.  It covers technique and music theory.  It isn’t a song book, though.  It is meant to replace about 3 years worth of piano lessons.  It is made by Steeplechase Arts, and written by a music professor.

If you don’t have a Kindle, you can get a Kindle app for pretty much every smart phone, computer, laptop, or tablet.  Once you download it, it will remain in your Amazon cloud so you can look at it from any device that has the Kindle app.  The Amazon link will take you straight to the book.  There are 30 free videos stored on YouTube to go with the book to get a better handle on technique.  The YouTube videos are pretty helpful.

Can’t beat free.

Looting in St. Louis

Let me begin by saying that my heart goes out to Mike Brown’s family and friends.  It is so hard to lose someone you love under any circumstances.  My prayers are with them.

I live outside of St. Louis, and at the moment, I couldn’t be happier with that.  Everywhere on the news is someone reporting on the incident in Ferguson, a neighborhood in St. Louis, Missouri.  Some of the reporters, though, just make me angry.  Many seem to think that looting and rioting is a justifiable reaction to the death/possible murder of Mike Brown.

First of all, the immediate headline on any article concerning this shooting/death of Mike Brown, is something along the lines of ‘unarmed, black man was shot by police’.  There aren’t a lot of details out as the investigation is still ongoing.  That is to be expected.  However, the details that are out make it clear that the police officer that shot Mike Brown was being attacked, by two men.  These men, one of which was Mike Brown, attacked this officer as he was exiting his vehicle.  Everyone agrees on this.  There has been no dispute between sides that this is what initiated this encounter.

The part that is disputed was that Mike Brown had quit fighting after a struggle with the officer’s gun, and that Mike had put his hands in the air.  If he did surrender, obviously the officer shot the wrong man.  If a thorough investigation reveals that the office did murder Mike Brown, then by all means send the officer to prison.  I do not understand looting and rioting over this, however.  How is that showing that you stand on the side of right?  How does that prove that this is a social injustice?  How does it help this situation at all?  It doesn’t.

Looting and rioting is not motivated by self-righteous anger.  This is not what people on the side of justice do.  This is what self-serving, greedy criminals do.  The looting keeps expanding ever outward every night.  An incident that occurred in North St. Louis is now being felt in South St. Louis.

If I had a problem with the police, and I truly felt that violence was the only resource left at my disposal to resolve this problem, I would not then turn that violence on residents and business owners.  The logic doesn’t exist.  Taking one event and using it as a banner and as a pass to participate in looting does not give the looting some noble purpose.  There have been people in South St. Louis county that have reported having their homes shot, cars vandalized, and businesses burglarized.

How is this honoring Mike Brown?  How is this bridging the gap to heal the racial divide that splits our country?  How is this preventing another death such as Mike Brown’s?

Pregnancy Literature

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This book has become my new favorite.  I want every pregnant woman in the world to read this book!  I highly recommend it to anyone even thinking about having a child.

In other news, today is week 8 of pregnancy.  I’m already showing.  I didn’t show with my daughter until I was about 20 weeks.  I was not prepared to show this soon.  Clothes shopping here I come!

Anxiety–A Guest Post

This week I participated in a blog swap!  Jordan Fortenboher has written something very personal to share on my blog, and I am excited to introduce her.  She is a worship leader, speaker, and wife.  She lives in the greater Cincinnati area where she also blogs about faith and bravery.  You can read more from Jordan here, and my guest post on her site can be found on the same site.  You can follow her on Twitter here!

Thank you, Jordan, for a wonderful experience!

Mindy Minix

 

 

I felt it flutter in my heart and bubble in my stomach as I prepared to leave–more like procrastinated from leaving.  I felt it shorten my breath and tighten my grip on the steering wheel.  That agoraphobia aggravating my plans and good intentions.  It’s not even that bad.  Nobody even really knows about it.  And I almost let it decide how I was (or wasn’t) going to use my day.  (Wouldn’t be the first time.)

And, in all vulnerability, I looked down at my hands, covered in white dry cracks, about to bleed again.  I made another, duplicate mental note that I need to stop washing my hands so much, that I need to try to change the rules in my head (within reason) so that my hands can heal.  But there are so many germs…everywhere.  I breathed a sigh of giving up again.  Whatever.  My knuckles weren’t bleeding yet.

The whole day seemed normal, until I stopped to think about why I forced myself to drive to Starbucks to edit my book instead of staying in my cozy comfortable familiar chair.  At home.  That wouldn’t have caused so much stress.  But I needed a change of scenery.  Staying home wasn’t helping me get work done.  But as I parked my car and turned off the ignition, I started thinking that maybe I should have tried to pick something…safer.  Something less anxiety-filling.  Something easier.

And Starbucks is really fine.  Probably one of the safest places my fearful heart could go to work on my writing.  I walked through the glass door and I felt a wave of relief.  My favorite table was open.  No one else was there (besides the workers).  The music was soothing.  Perfect.

That doesn’t always happen.  I recalled the time a few days before when I packed everything up to go work there and arrived only to find that they were out of dairy-free options.  And almost every table was taken.  And the noise was swelling, threatening to burst my ear drums.  So, did I suck it up and get to work anyway?  No.  I ordered plain coffee to go, turned around, walked out the door, and went back home.

Is that what I was afraid of, then?  Too many people?  Or things not being what I expected them to be?  Imperfection?  Change?

I quickly threw my bag down on a chair to claim my favorite table, even though there was no one there to beat me to it.  I ordered, awkwardly.  Waited for the coffee, awkwardly.  Kept my eye on my stuff at the table in case invisible people were going to appear out of nowhere to steal it.

Finally I got my coffee and I sat down to write.  I took a sip of my vanilla latte–still too hot–and winced when it burned my tongue.  When will my desperation for safety and perfection go away?   I thought.  Must I be miserable forever?  I swore to myself (again) that I would find a way to overcome this.  Somehow, I would figure out how to fix it myself.

As if in mockery, I got out my manuscript.  Daring to Be Brave, the title laughed.  Right.  That’s me.  Daring to be brave as I take my little scaredy-cat self the whole 4.7 miles to…Starbucks.  That’s brave, alright.

As if in answer, I thought:  No…sometimes living a normal day takes more bravery than people realize.  I’m not the only one.  I need this book.  And I think maybe someone else might need it, too. 

So I edited and wrote and edited some more.  And I’m still working.  But I think someone needs to hear this:  You’re not the only one going through whatever it is you’re going through.

Maybe people make you think that something is wrong with you if it takes all the strength you have just to make it through each day.  I am so, so sorry if that is the case, because it’s not true.  And we might not be going through the same thing.  Maybe your struggle isn’t anxiety or perfectionism or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  But whatever it is, it’s valid.  And it’s OK to be struggling.

You are enough, right where you are, just as you are.

As I keep writing my book, I’m realizing that I am so far from having all the answers.  But the good news?  I know the One who does.  And He has me on this amazing journey of transformation.

I am slowly (VERY SLOWLY) learning to trust in Jesus instead of letting myself be a slave to fear.  It’s not a quick fix (let’s face it: nothing ever is), but you know what?  Maybe it’s not about the destination.  Maybe the journey is the point.

Maybe all we need is just enough bravery to take the next right step.

 

His Happiness

My poor husband is going through something.  He is having buyer’s remorse before we have even bought the house.  We have a large sum in the bank in anticipation of showing we are ready to pay the down payment at a moment’s notice, and it is about to eat him alive.

We have been sticking to our budget pretty carefully.  This weekend, I think it has hit home for him that even though we have lots of money at the moment, it is all about to disappear and none of it will be used for anything fun.

We also have started buying diapers, one pack a week, in anticipation of (hopefully) the arrival of our baby in about eight months.  I purchased diapers every paycheck when I was pregnant with Eva, and it worked out really well because I didn’t have to buy a single diaper for at least the first six months of her life.  He seemed to enjoy this purchasing of the first baby items.  He even threw in a package of wipes.

I think maybe, just maybe, he is starting to realize this is the end of his childhood.  Even though he is a great step-dad to Eva, he could still conceivably walk away and become a carefree bachelor.  Now, I’m pregnant, and we’re buying a house.  If that doesn’t scream adulthood, I don’t know what does.

He is surviving, though, and talking to me about it at least.  I’m sure it will be my turn later, around the 8 month mark, to have my moment of panic that I will, again, be responsible for another little life.  Right now, I’m still just so happy to finally be pregnant again.

These are good problems to have.