Photographic evidence

While on my disappearing act from the internet world, I have been growing a baby and there is little evidence of it.  I kind of like it that way.

Because the Child is an awesome friend who just happens to be an aspiring photographer (I say she is one, she feels she needs appropriate education first, so fair enough).  Either way, she is good with a camera and she comes cheap (as in we paid her in ice cream and love), we did the whole cliche thing and had some “maternity photos” taken.

I love pictures.  I don’t love pictures of me.  And when you are 36 weeks pregnant, it is even more challenging to love pictures of yourself.  Just saying.  Plus, it isn’t like we are get photos taken people.  We are the kids that didn’t have engagement photo shoots and had the Child and Patrick’s Aunt take our wedding photos.  I wasn’t so sure about the whole pregnant belly picture thing.  The weekly belly picture thing was a definite no (although it would have maybe proved to some people sooner rather than later that I really do look pregnant).

Needless to say, after some peer pressure and parental convincing and some weird sort of gut feeling that told me I really should do this, we decided to do the photo shoot thing.

And you know what?  It was fun.  And not just because I got a nice scoop of peanut butter fudge crunch in the end.

So, here are a couple of the lovely photos from the adventure (photo credit to the Child who has a blog she doesn’t update here: https://everydaysnapsblog.wordpress.com).

24 Weeks!

Today is the magical 24 weeks.

Hello, “viability”!

What do I mean? I mean the point in gestation where most North American hospitals consider infants born to have enough potential to live that they will try to resuscitate them. It ranges from 22-26 weeks, but 23 or 24 is the point I was taught.  Plus, at 24 weeks, at least half of the little ones born survive with the help of modern medicine.

As a crazy medical person, this is significant. Because I like my kid and want to keep it around. And because I know how the medical system works and fear the choices I would have to make or have made for me before this point. And yes, there would still be tough choices now and even at 40 weeks. Things go wrong. I know too many bad things. But, I also know the probability of good things increases on a weekly basis from here on out.

So, hooray for babies the size of an ear of corn. Who kick and roll around and grow at a good pace. Who give their mothers lumberjack sized appetites.

I hope this little one keeps cooking.  Because we are literally nowhere near ready for a baby to actually be in the house.  And I still have rotations to finish (and have a (what some people consider) lofty goal of working to 40 weeks).  And like many others, I fear childbirth and want to put it off as long as reasonable.

On a related aside, I’m obviously not a photographic/blog pregnancy documentarian. Those sorts of posts were a strange mix of fascinating and heartbreaking to me before, so I am choosing to skip them.

But, this was a milestone I looked forward to most after the disappearance of the mind numbing morning sickness and the 20-ish week ultrasound. So, I thought I’d share my joy.

Positives in the Tunnel

I wish I could say there is a light at the end of my tunnel of insanity.

But alas, there isn’t one.

Sometimes being a resident and a wife and having a life is discouraging.  Sometimes because it is so hard to do it all.

But, on a bright side to my frustrations, I do have a supportive program.  I may have a million expectations and things to do.  But, it is also a place where the staff person I worked with on call this weekend offered (insisted, really) to take my pager overnight for a few hours so baby and I can get some sleep.  And where I get encouraged to go to appointments and eat.

And I have a supportive husband.  Who picks me up late and is okay with a haphazard supper (again).  Who puts up with my hours of studying and pauses the TV when the pager beeps and who lets me take the car when I have a chance to go to a church ladies’ movie night.

Plus, I have outside friends who try to get it.

And a kind of cuddly and entertaining cat (with a bald spot that is finally growing in (that is a story for another time)).

And of course, I have a great Saviour who is the reason I can do and be all of these things and get through the day.

There are lots of things to be thankful for amidst the crazy.

Merry Christmas from the M household

It is just about Christmas, which means it is time for a festive blogging holiday (I know, its not like I’ve been writing that much anyway).

This is the first year EVER (and likely the last for a long time) that Patrick and I are just the two of us for Christmas (and Jeter).  I’m excited.  I’m also a little sad because it is weird not being home, but it works out that I have a bit more time off this way somehow.

I’m on call for Christmas Eve.  How holly jolly of me.

But, that hasn’t stopped us from concocting and continuing traditions.

We decorated our tree a few weeks ago.  Our tree is a hand-me-down from my Grandmother with “built-in” lights.  Last year a small chunk of them around the back were burnt out.  This year, once we had the tree fully assembled and pretty looking it was a full strip around the lower middle.  The whole way around.  I freaked out.  I mean, it looked ugly and I tried my darndest to find the broken bulb, but eventually gave up in tears.  Patrick and I opted to decorate it anyway and maybe look at getting a new tree next year.  After the tree was fully assembled with decorations and everything, Jeter promptly settled in under it, then by the next day went back to his previous routine of chewing on the branches, chewing on the wires and knocking off ornaments.  One morning 5 were down.  About 3 days after we put the tree up, I turned on the lights and lo and behold, they all worked.  Then, a few days later a different chunk were out.  Then, I saw Jeter chewing on the tree (and the lights)… It hit me… It has been him.  There is some sort of short and he intermittently reconnects it by gnawing on it.  The lights are presently all on again, but who knows how long.

The tree with the lightless strip before Jeter "fixed" it.

The tree with the lightless strip before Jeter “fixed” it.

Jeter in his spot under the tree.

Jeter in his spot under the tree.

On a related note, we do try really hard to discourage him from chewing the electrical wires.  We know its bad.  We even gave him an object lesson with the cat from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, but he persists in causing all sorts of tree related troubles.

Image from thethoughtexperiment.wordpress.com.

Tonight, we went out and looked at lights.  In the rain.  Because nothing says Christmas like pouring rain.  Patrick downloaded 100 Christmas classics and we listened to some festive music and admired lights, much like I have done since I was a kid.

Tomorrow, despite the call, we are hoping to go to church (yay!) and I am cooking french onion soup for supper because it seemed like a good idea.  We always read the Christmas story to each other at bed time, so hopefully I’ll be home for that.

And for Christmas day, our master plan is to sleep in (or read in bed), relax, have pancakes and bacon for brunch and open the presents we have here.  I am being adventurous since this is the one year we probably get to be adventurous and making lamb for Christmas dinner (and all the hipsters should be proud because we bought it at a local butcher and it is local baby sheep).  Besides that, we will pack and watch movies and play board games and read books and all that good stuff.

It isn’t our usual multi-family epic tour full of turkey, but we are excited for celebrating a bit differently.  Patrick calls it the blip year (or something like that) because it is more of an anomaly because there wasn’t a year quite like it before and there probably won’t be again.

So, Merry Christmas from the M household.  Hope you have fun with your traditions or anti-traditions.

Waiting, Anticipation, Hope and Gifts

‘Tis the season of anticipation.

Anticipation of holidays, anticipation of time with family and friends, of presents and for some of us, for anticipation of a celebration of the birth of our Saviour.

Anticipation is a part of waiting. Waiting can be hard. But, sometimes the wait is well worth it.

Look at the Jewish people in the Bible before Jesus’s time. They waited a long time for a Saviour. So long that some had given up hope and many had ideas of how He should look or be.

And of course, in the way God only can do, Jesus came in an unexpected fashion. In a way that defies our human expectations. I think that is so cool.

Sometimes God makes our lives like that. The things we anticipate, that we long for sometimes come in ways that we don’t fully look for or expect. I think it is a good lesson when I look at the way the world is headed or when things aren’t going according to plan. God’s plans sometimes get a bit weird or outside our expectations.

I think anticipation and hope is a form of worship. As we look forward to the Christmas season, I see hope in all kinds of ways, and really if our hope is in the right place and our anticipation is looking forward to celebrating well, it is a good thing.

Our life has recently had some moments where our anticipation and waiting turned into a more discouraging time. As we waited and hoped for a baby to come into and stay in our lives, we began to learn what hoping and trusting looks like when things start to fall away from what we anticipated, when pain keeps creeping in. Sure, we trusted, but I can relate to those who started to think otherwise when waiting on God to do something big. Who let bitterness and distrust sneak in. Because it can be easier to let that happen sometimes. Even though so many awesome things happen every day.

But, cool stuff happens when God is involved. I found out about “the Creature” the day before Patrick’s birthday. I told him as a part of his birthday present. Because after this long waiting, news of a baby really is a birthday present. “The Creature” is due just a few days before my birthday. Pretty cool.

I was thankful for the nausea, for the fatigue. Because that meant something was happening. It was affirming what we had been waiting for. That being said, I then started hoping for it to stop, but continued to (oddly enough) thank God everyday for the barfing (but confirming that it could stop anytime).

Laying in bed one night praying, I came to the realization that so many people had been praying for us, for a maybe baby and how lucky we are to have so many people in our lives who support us and intervene for us. It blew my mind how this was planned by God and seemed so intentional now, even though for so long it just seemed like we were forgotten.

We had our first (and only) ultrasound so far just a couple days before what should have been Elim’s due date. Seeing a flickering heart and a tiny human at a point when my heart was breaking was a big gift in and of itself.

On Friday, we got to hear “the Creature’s” heartbeat galloping along. Merry Christmas. There really still is a tiny human in there who will eventually come out.

So the anticipation continues. For this child, probably for others and all kinds of other things.  And I know it will persist the rest of my life.

The wait was worth it. I see that now. I see the trust that grew from that wait, the witness that it was and the growth we experienced. We learned practical lessons about suffering well and waiting well. In retrospect, I’m glad for the wait. It has taught me about how to love others in the midst of waits.  I think it is helping me to celebrate well.

Sometimes the best gifts come in ways that weren’t planned or expected in our human put-things-in-a-box way. Sometimes our anticipation makes things even better. Although my baby pales in comparison to the epic beauty of the Christmas story, I can see how lessons in waiting and hoping and not putting God into my human realm box can parallel the story and make me get how big it really is to an even greater.

Day tripping with the parents

This past weekend, my Mom and Dad visited.  It has been awhile since they have been here and since we have seen them since our trips home have been limited as of late.

We got Starbucks one afternoon (mmm Peppermint Mochas) and went on a little adventure to a beautiful oceanside area not too far from where we live.

It was freezing cold out… No wonder, it is practically winter and we were by the ocean.  But it was quite lovely to have both the company and the scenery.

To Elim, On Your Estimated Due Date

Dear Elim,

I thought I would write to you on this, your estimated due date, to say a few things that have been on my heart. Had we not lived in this fallen world, you would be in my arms by now or I would be just itching to have you the heck out of me so we could cuddle and do all that newborn-mommy stuff. But alas, that was not how it was to be.

I want you to know first of all that I love you. And I always will. Even though I barely knew you, I know God made you and I will cherish our short time together before you went to heaven to be with Jesus. A lot of other people loved you and mourned your short life too.

I miss you. I miss what could have been. But, I am so happy you are in heaven now. That you are safe and protected and loved. One day, I’ll actually get to meet you and that will be awesome.

You are a gift. You are an answer to prayers and longings. And you were used by God to teach me big lessons about redemption, real love and how to celebrate well and suffer well.

Because of you, I appreciate new lives more. I appreciate the miracle that it is to see a pregnancy progress and babies be born and children who grow. I want to celebrate new lives instead of hiding them with secrets and fear. I will be honest and say, I also know how fragile life can be and it scares me a little and that is okay. I empathize better with other Moms and Dads who have to miss their kids until they see them again for all kinds of reasons.

Because of you, your Dad and I got to learn to lean on God and each other a whole lot more. We got to grow up more (which I’m sure sounds crazy because we are theoretically grown ups, but even grown ups have more growing to do).  We got to see God do amazing things with what seemed like a terrible situation.  That is what He does, but I suppose you had that figured out already.

I been counting down to this day for many months. Not because of some sick fascination or because I wanted to feel sad or bad. Just out of instinct. I like numbers and it is simple math to know where I would have been with you at any given point. Plus, today’s date has been etched in my mind. And to be honest, I wanted to remember when you would have hypothetically come into this world. Just like I will remember when I knew you went out. Because I care. These are important moments, even though others may not see them as such.

You will have brothers or sisters, maybe both someday. I will be grateful for each of them and know them as individuals. I pray every day that they get the chance to grow up and that it will hopefully be a long time before you meet them (no offense). I also pray that they will all one day meet you in heaven. Know that in my heart you will always have a special place and when they are ready and old enough to understand, I will tell them about you.

You count in my kid count in my heart. So, happy “birthday.”

Love you always and forever,

Mom

“Anniversary” antics

So, I wrote a post about how awesome my husband is here.

He is still awesome.  

Our “anniversary”, got ever so slightly less awesome, though.  Although it is a good story.

So, as I said before, our real anniversary isn’t until Friday, but I’m on call this weekend and Patrick’s brother is visiting, so we figured it is just a day, so we’ll celebrate early.

We were leaving town to go out to grab coffee and then supper and (surprise!) Inn (that I have been wanting to check out since we first drove past it a couple years ago) for the night when we stopped for a car stopping in front of us (on what is a really busy main city street).  I watched the van behind us stop just in time.  I then heard a car run into said van and said van ran into us.

Happy Anniversary, you’ve just been rear-ended.  In fact, you are the front car of a three car pile up.

Nobody was hurt, thank goodness.   Chuck wasn’t hurt either.  He just had a couple scratches on his bumper that buffed right out.   The van and the car behind us on the other hand were pretty dented up, but still drivable.  So, we had to wait for the police and the “quick” reports that took almost an hour.  

How festive.

And only minutes from the nearest Starbucks.  I could have walked there, but instead I just stood there and played 2048 (awesome game, by the way) and listened to the one of the passengers from the van behind us and the guy driving the car who hit us all catch up because as it turns out, they were neighbours (we seriously learned all the neighbourhood gossip from the old dude who had a heart attack the other night to who is going to college where). 

So, eventually, we get sent on our way and grab coffee and go get supper.  

I promptly feel terribly sick after supper.  It shouldn’t be that surprising, I wasn’t feeling well the day before or even that day, but it hit me like a ton of bricks after I ate (timing is impeccable).  It was bad enough Patrick had to go buy me Gravol.  And he had gotten us a room with a jacuzzi as a part of some last minute special.  We spent much of the night with me curled up hyperventilating (sometimes a change in your PaCO2 will alter vomiting signal in your brain… I really hate throwing up) and watching the Muppets movie (thankfully, this is one of Patrick’s favourites).  

Happy Anniversary.

I eventually felt well enough that I though the worst had passed and decided we should try out that jacuzzi.  Because that was a selling point for Patrick.  And because we were there now.  And I already ruined most of the night.  I hate hot water.  Between that and being still sick, I almost passed out.

Happy Anniversary.

The place we stayed was actually really nice and had a pool (that we didn’t use) and a good restaurant (that I feel I didn’t get to thoroughly enjoy).  I would like to one day go back not sick and not sore from being run into an enjoy it.  And getting to chill with the spouse and watch Muppets was actually a good night minus the blinding nausea.

We spent Saturday going for a short drive, then napping and reading until Child and D came over for games.  It was a much better day, even if I still wasn’t feeling great.   I read 2 books and we tried out our new Wii game.

If I believed in karma, I would say it was karma for winning rock paper scissors to get our own cabin when we were away last weekend (because we were one of two couples not doing anything special just the two of us this summer) and then going “away” for our anniversary after all (at least that is what my guilty conscience says).

Patrick joked that for 5 years, we just really wanted to give the “for better, for worse” and “in sickness and in health” thing a good run for its money.

Either way, it makes for a good and memorable story.

My Kind of Husband

I have the kind of husband who let’s me play in the waves at the beach for hours. Even if he’s cold.

He is also the kind who celebrates anniversaries a week early because Im on call on the real one.

My husband is also the kind who gives me cancer for our anniversary (the giant microbe kind) and is okay with the fact it is probably my favourite part of the gift.

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1 week to five years and we’re still alive!!

The Annual M Event

We went on mini vacation to the M family reunion this weekend. I do better with it every year.

I think I am getting used to bigger family. I also think I am learning my limits and not pushing myself to do everything with everyone.

I stayed at the cabin by myself after dropping Patrick off to meet his family for the second drive in movie. I found a hatchet in the cabin. I didn’t know whether to be comforted I had a weapon or terrified who left it there.

Saturday was a beach day. I hit the beach for a run first thing, then spent the day there with everyone reading and swimming and capturing marine life.

We played mini golf that night. I beat Patrick and tied for third. It was thrilling.

Sunday was a day for leisurely travel. Spent time relaxing in the morning. We even stopped at a wildlife park!

Good trip. Despite the sunburn that I got even though I applied my SPF 30 every 2 or 3 hours.

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