A “Wish List”

I’d never done this before, but I’ve added several things to my Amazon Wish List, and besides posting it here, I’m adding a link to it on the side of my blog.

I’m usually the person that, when asked what she wants for Christmas/birthday/etc, doesn’t have any ideas. But right now, there are quite a few things that I could rattle off to someone interested in my interests, and I thought I’d make it easy for them. You’re welcome, Mama! There might be others who would like to know about such a list, so I’m doing something out of the ordinary and a bit uncomfortable for me and posting it.

/deep breath

Thank you, and have a lovely day.

Update – almost 14 wks, ultrasound

Warning to my few male readers: This post covers reproductive-parts topics, so proceed at your own choice. The short of it is that baby and I are both fine and doing well.

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In seven pregnancies, the only ultrasound I had performed was a brief one to confirm that Katie’s tranverse/frank breech position in labor. The lack of ultrasounds was not by accident or laziness, but due to a decision to skip procedures that were not truly medically indicated. Ultrasound technology can be a great tool, but it is a tool that is greatly over-used in U.S. obstetrics without good evidence to back up its nearly ubiquitous employment. So we chose early on to only use it if there was a good medical reason.

Well, I’ve had a new and strange pain this pregnancy in my lower right abdomen. It has at times brought me to tears with its intensity. I could feel a swolleness that seemed to be in the area of my right ovary.

At my 13 week prenatal (last Monday), B. was able to feel the swollenness in the tender area. This is why we decided to go ahead and listen for hearttones with the doppler, because though it’s rare for an ectopic pregnancy to make it that far, it is possible. Finding hearttones (at last!) confirmed that there was indeed a growing baby in my uterus, though it didn’t explain the pain.

Over the weekend, my pain “pattern” changed, and on Monday I called my primary midwife, Mary. Jonathan and I agreed with her that it would be good to get an ultrasound to see if we could find out what was going on. We had several possibilities I was going to look into for where to get the ultrasound. I procrastinated through Monday, though, and Monday night was in quite a bit of pain.

Tuesday morning I called the number Mary had given me for a wonderful OB that she’s gotten to know recently. I talked with her late Tuesday afternoon, and by the end of our phone call, she said she would call the hospital closest to me Wednesday morning and see if they could get me in for an ultrasound on Wednesday. On the list of possibilities were ovarian cysts of various types(that might be causing torsion, a twisting of the ovary on its “stem” that could lead to the death of the ovary), ovarian cancer, and an ectopic pregnancy (in addition to the growing little one).

Wednesday afternoon found us at the hospital. At the welcome desk was a huge bowl of apples. I asked Jonathan if he thought they were to there to keep the doctors away.

The ultrasound tech who worked with us was extremely nice and she really helped put me at ease. She did both a trans-abdominal and a trans-vaginal ultrasound. I had a lot of mixed emotions about the whole thing… wishing that we didn’t need to do it at all, delight in seeing the tiny person growing inside me, and concern about what they might find. Alex, the tech, asked if we minded if she printed us a picture of our baby. Of course not! Though I would have preferred to not need the ultrasound, I figured I might as well get a baby pic out of it!

The long and short of the ultrasound results are that the radiologist didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. When Mary told me this over the phone last night, I wailed, “Well, then what’s wrong with me??!??” But I have to admit it’s much better than finding out that I need to have surgery, etc.

I don’t know if the Lord has chosen to heal whatever has been causing me pain (I haven’t had any significant pain since Monday night and can barely feel the swollen spot), or if there is some other cause than my ovary for the pain. For now, we’re moving forward in faith and trusting that if there is anything that needs to be dealt with, it will be made clear.

In the meantime, I keep coming back to this precious souvenir, which has greatly relieved my sense of surrealness about this pregnancy. There really truly is a baby in there and I’m so thankful!

Gratitude Challenges

I’ve been thinking lately about gratitude. Mostly because it seems the Lord keeps bringing it before me. Repeatedly. He’s good at things like that.

Several years ago, Ann Voskamp made a choice that would change her life. She chose to focus on gratitude, and began her list of One Thousand Gifts. In the years since, it’s become the endless list, because she didn’t stop at one thousand.

In this post, Sarah challenges us to give thanks when it’s inconvenient, for the hard things. A clip: And I should be grateful that He thinks enough of me to carefully craft difficulty to edge me toward beauty, kindness, and grace with pressure. I don’t want to just be thankful for the easy. I want to be grateful for the hard. And that involves a choice…one I’m making today.

I’m going to make the choice. I’m not sure yet what form my list will take, but I’m going to become more deliberate in choosing to be thankful. At least some of my list will be shared here, but I don’t yet know how much. We shall see…

For starters, I give thanks for:

1) The pain God uses to draw me to Himself, to teach and mold me. I do not understand why the answer to my prayers cannot yet be “Yes,” but I thank Him in the pain, for I know that He is good.

2) His love endures forever

3) that two year old little man, perched on his stool in the kitchen, patting out biscuit dough and cutting biscuits with me

4) the hard work my man puts in to support our family

5) parents who are two of my best friends

6) naps to the sound of rain outside my window

7) midwives

8) the myriad of colors in our sweet gum trees this fall

9) the comfort of my husband’s touch in the night

10) pie pumpkins lining my hearth

Baby Update – 13 weeks+

Monday morning, I had a prenatal. I’ve been a little uneasy about this pregnancy, which has seemed almost surreal to me at times for some reason. Though we don’t generally opt for the use of a doppler during prenatals, preferring to wait for hearttones until a fetascope can detect them, I was more than ready to hear this little one’s heartbeat on Monday.

After some discussion (because I hadn’t talked to Jonathan about my perceived need to hear the heartbeat), B got the doppler ready and started looking. And looking… and looking. Since I was already concerned, it seemed like an eternity. After a couple minutes, B suggested that she try her other doppler (that’s more sensitive, but has some battery issues). One she got it powered up, she went back to looking for a heartbeat. It was obvious it had a better signal, but still… looking and looking. I just closed my eyes, waiting and praying. I could feel the tears pricking at my eyelids. I never thought the beat of my own heart would be a sound I wouldn’t want to hear. And then, the most beautiful song in the word – the beat of my little one’s heart. My eyes flew open and met B’s, both sets full of joy and relief. Sweet little heart, pumping along in the 140’s or 150’s. Bliss.

A friend of mine was a couple weeks further along in her pregnancy than me. It was kind of neat to have a buddy at almost the same stage as myself. Until last Friday, when they found out that their little one had died. She birthed him at home early last Saturday morning. My sorrow for my friends has been a thread running through my emotions all this week, and they are in my thoughts and prayers regularly. Even in my joy, they are in my thoughts. What a complex mix our emotions can be.

I’m starting to gain more energy and am hopeful that I’ll get back to blogging more regularly soon. I have lots to tell you!

Compassionate and Gracious

This morning, when a friend mentioned on Facebook that she was praying for “strength to get through this day with grace and kindness,” I was reminded of Psalm 103.8, “The LORD is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.” It’s one of my most and least favorite verses, especially when it comes to parenting!

When I went to find the reference at biblegateway.com, I was reminded of how that expression is repeated in Scripture. Here are the four uses I found:

The LORD descended in the cloud and stood there with him as he called upon the name of the LORD. Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished…
Exodus 34.5-7

“But they, our fathers, acted arrogantly; They became stubborn and would not listen to Your commandments. They refused to listen, And did not remember Your wondrous deeds which You had performed among them; So they became stubborn and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt
But You are a God of forgiveness,
Gracious and compassionate,
Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness;
And You did not forsake them.
Even when they made for themselves A calf of molten metal And said, ‘This is your God Who brought you up from Egypt,’…”

Nehemiah 9:16-18

He made known His ways to Moses,
His acts to the sons of Israel.
The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.
He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.

Psalm 103:7-9

“Yet even now,” declares the LORD,
“Return to Me with all your heart,
And with fasting, weeping and mourning;
And rend your heart and not your garments “
Now return to the LORD your God,
For He is gracious and compassionate,
Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness
And relenting of evil.

Joel 2.12,13

“…for I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity.”
Jonah 4.2

May I be a woman/wife/mother/daughter/friend/sister/etc who is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness!!

I Have a Shelter

Shawna recently shared a wonderful song with me. Here are the lyrics:

I Have a Shelter
I have a shelter in the storm
When troubles pour upon me
Though fears are rising like a flood
My soul can rest securely
O Jesus, I will hide in You
My place of peace and solace
No trial is deeper than Your love
That comforts all my sorrows

I have a shelter in the storm
When all my sins accuse me
Though justice charges me with guilt
Your grace will not refuse me
O Jesus, I will hide in You
Who bore my condemnation
I find my refuge in Your wounds
For there I find salvation

I have a shelter in the storm
When constant winds would break me
For in my weakness, I have learned
Your strength will not forsake me
O Jesus, I will hide in You
The One who bears my burdens
With faithful hands that cannot fail
You’ll bring me home to heaven

Isn’t that beautiful? Sovereign Grace Music has made a free download of the song available here.