Monday, March 28, 2011

Making Plans (or not)

I was laughed at today, in a good-natured manner, for mentioning that I had given my OB a copy of my "birth plan" at my last appointment. The person's response, besides laughter, was, "I plan on having a quick, easy and pain-free birth!"

Wouldn't it be nice to write it down and have it happen that way because that's "the plan"?

I was a little hurt feeling that someone thought I was being naive to make decisions about how I wanted my baby to be born and expecting things to go that way. I'm not saying that things will go the way I would like them to, but I would like to try to make it as beautiful an experience as it can be.

Paul and I have been taking our Bradley classes and, even if we don't have things happen the natural way we would like, I would like to: A) Prepare and hope for things to be the best they can and B) Feel as though people I care about are respecting my decisions and believing that I have the conviction to try my best.

No matter what, the classes have been a blessing for Paul to feel more involved in our pregnancy and to help him know how to handle me and all the craziness involved in pregnancy. They have helped me know better how to take care of myself and the baby (even if I don't do as well as I should), to feel Paul's support even stronger than I had and to have a chance to spend with him talking about our baby and the changes in our life as we made the weekly two hour drive to class.

People have also given me a hard time about cloth diapering and saying that I won't stick with it. Why don't people just say, "Hey, that's great! Good luck!" and then if it doesn't work out, so what? It doesn't hurt to try. [Side note: Yes, I know many think cloth diapering is expensive and could result in people wasting their money, so they feel they need to "warn you", but our whole point of cloth diapering was to save money. We've bought and had people give us good, inexpensive diapers that practically paid for themselves in two months of using them. If things weren't working for us, cloth diapers have an amazing resale value. Plus, they encouraged Lil' Man to start going potty! Now we hardly use any diapers!]

Yes, plans don't always go the way we would like, but we all need encouragement.

When my husband and I got married "the plan", in our eyes, was to let go and let God decide when He wanted us to start our family- us knowing, of course, that God's "plan" would be to give us a baby ASAP. Well, God either didn't get a copy of our ASAP version of "the plan" or He has a way different idea of "the plan" that was not what I wanted it to be!

Funny how plans go, isn't it? Praise God, I knew that so many friends and loved ones were praying for us.

Looking back now I can see why God had a longer, harder version of "the plan" than the one we had come up with. It was hard and I had some times when I just wanted to throw a tantrum (and did!) that God wasn't doing things the way I thought they should go. Especially when I lost my little treasure, Paul Joshua, and felt as if everyone else around me was being blessed with one baby after another.

We, as Catholics, can understand the beauty of Lent and redemptive suffering, but sometimes connecting the knowing and the accepting are two totally different things.

Now I can look back and see how my suffering was needed for my soul and to prepare me for where I am now and the joy I am able to experience if I accept it. I have a new plan that I pray God will give me the grace to stick to. I plan on doing all I can to make this baby's birth as safe and joyful as possible, but I am prepared to experience the pain, the long time of apprehension and waiting and the suffering that will strengthen my soul and perhaps help others. I will offer up my suffering for my baby and for those who are mourning the disappointment of "plans" that haven't gone the way we would have liked.

Again, that is "the plan", but I know that plan will only be stuck to by the grace of God and the love, support and encouragement of people who believe in me and will respect me no matter what. I have complained during my morning sickness, my long nights battling indigestion, back pain and almost every time I've had the opportunity despite the fact that just a little over 9 months ago I "coveted my neighbors wombs" as they bore children I only dreamed of! I am SO far from perfect! But, I am blessed that I do have a God who loves and  forgives me, Paul to support me, family who will be here for us and a baby who will be incredible no matter how he or she makes it into this world. I am blessed.

Sorry for the rant. There is a lot going on around here right now and I am crazy hormonal, so I just need to get the minor stuff off my chest.

Did any of you have unique birth plans (or a birth plan at all?)??? Did you feel supported? How different did things work out from the way you wanted them to?

The sun is finally shining here! I hope it is where you are and that you have the chance to enjoy it.

God bless!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Annie had a little cow...

I came across this picture the other day and it brought back so many memories of growing up on our farm.

The calf was a little orphan that I bottle raised and kept in the house with me for a while after his mother died. I named him Juan Diego since our property is called "The Guadalupe Farm". He was the cutest thing when he would come into the kitchen to be fed with a bottle the size of my arm. He would slip around on the tiles like Bambi did in the cartoon when he tried to walk on ice.

Even when Juan Diego grew up he was as gentle and playful as a bottle-raised lamb. Sadly, he was half Texas long horn and his horns combined with his playful nature required us to sell him, but I will always remember how special it was raising him.

I want my kids to grow up discovering the wonders of nature here at camp, but also the experiences that I grew up with on our farm raising chickens, goats, rabbits, cows and horses.

One day I was reading Lil Man a book about a farm. He scanned over the picture of the barnyard filled with animals, pointed to the baby chicks and exclaimed with a big smile, "CHICKEN NUGGETS!!!" Ummm, yeah...what can I say???? 

I also found this picture of my youngest brother when one of our pet cats had her kittens:

My siblings picking vegetables from our summer garden:

The tree house and zipline that my brothers built in our woods- complete with an elevator and dumb waiter!

What an amazing and blessed childhood we had!

Thanks for taking a moment to meander down the country road of memories with me. :-) God bless!

The End Is In Sight!

Paul and my life since last May has been such a roller coaster! I have been reflecting on all God has done and the ways he has blessed our lives since last spring.

To recap:

May 2010- We finished trucking and celebrated our second wedding anniversary.

June- Lil' Man came in to our life and we accepted the job at Camp Gray.

This was taken days after Lil' Man came to live with us.
This was taken a few weeks ago. He's grown so quickly!!!

July- We spent with family in TN. I turned 30. We packed and moved.

Riding Sunset at home on our farm in Tennessee.
 August- We moved to camp and that weekend we discovered that I was pregnant-

 Pregnant with this Lil' Monkey!

Over the following months, baby and I both grew...

and grew...


Now the ticker on this blog says that I am 10 days from my due date! Baby is almost here!!!

It's crazy that I have been pregnant the entire time we've lived here at camp. And that the only people here that know what I'm like when I'm not a hormonal pregnant lady are my dear hubby and my wonderful cousin. Life is so wild!

My little angel could come any day now and I am so excited to know who he or she is, see if he/she has Paul's red hair or my blue eyes and to snuggle and smell the incredible new baby smell that we all love so much. I also feel unprepared in many ways and anxious, but I know God has everything in control.

I'm not going to lie, I am ready to feel "normal" again. Not to feel like I'm going to be sick if I eat one thing as opposed to another. Not to have to sleep on the couch while my husband sleeps below me on the floor because its the only way he can be near me and I can sleep (sort of). Not to worry that I am going to collapse if I am standing for 30 minutes cooking dinner. All the small crosses that I am willing to accept, but will be grateful to no longer have to bear.

I am such a baby, but I can't wait to have my mom here to take care of me. Doesn't that seem wrong? As I physically am about to become a mother (spiritually God has blessed me with my angels in heaven and with Lil' Man) all I want is my mommy!!! My mom is so wonderful and makes experiencing things so much more joyful. I know that my excitement will only be more fueled by hers. Plus, she will make sure I am eating well and staying away from things like the brownies that gave me the heartburn that has kept me up writing until this ungodly hour!

I am anxious for spring to truly be here, to get outside and enjoy my little ones in the sunshine! I've been in a slight funk after we had a enough warm weather to melt almost everything and to go outside with out a coat, but then we had two days of rain and we woke yesterday to a world of white. Again. At least mud is no longer being tracked in my house- only small puddles of melting snow! :)

Ahh, the roller coaster of emotional ups and downs! I will enjoy each day of anticipation. I love that our baby will be born so soon before Easter. I seems so fitting to feel pain and anxiousness about a certain loss and yet to know that it will all end with the greatest joy and celebrating. I just love Lent!

Pray that God gives me the strength to carry my crosses better and with a joyful, willing heart.

A blessed Lent to you all!
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