Sunday, March 15, 2015

Pregnancy Wrap-Up

Prior to posting about Kate's birth, I wanted to record my feelings and experiences with this pregnancy for Kate and for myself, in case I'm ever crazy enough to attempt this again. I really love being a mom and I believe strongly that there are many Spirits who need a safe home where they can be loved. Each child in our home has come with their own unique qualities and each brings new interest and joy to our family. For those reasons, I would love to have more children. Plus, I have this feeling that our family is not yet complete.

On the other hand, pregnancy is tough and scary and it's getting harder with each child. A few months before this pregnancy began and at the suggestion of my doctor I had some laser surgeries on my legs to close down the worse of the damaged veins, the veins that had clotted during Lily's pregnancy. The theory behind the surgeries was that it would prevent clotting in those same veins and would likely lessen the varicosities and pain in my legs during future pregnancy. Sadly, this was not the case. While I'm glad those veins were removed because of the danger of their clotting, the pain was not any less. The legs didn't look quite as ugly as they did with Lily but the pain was just as intense.

With the pain in my legs and it's debilitating effects came much discouragement. I would come to the end of each day in so much pain I couldn't walk. By about November I was feeling really depressed. It seemed like forever until delivery and my other children are each at ages that require so much help. None of them are old enough to really care for themselves, so my inability to care for them made me feel like a failure all the time. Plus, because of the constant pain I found myself easily annoyed and frustrated with my little children who need and deserve all the patience I can possibly muster.

It was about then that BJ and I had some serious discussions about how we were going to make it through this time. We made some lifestyle changes that really helped. The long and short of it was that I needed to slow down a lot!

At BJ's strong urging as well as that of my mom and sister, I took Winter semester off from Dixie State. I didn't direct the Women's Chorus and I didn't teach any students on campus. I stopped singing in Lieto Voices and stopped as much of the running around as I could.

My mom and BJ started making trips to the grocery store for me. Mom started making dinner for us at least twice a week and the rest of the time we ate easily prepared meals that didn't require me to be on my feet for long.

Mom also took care of the kids two days a week during the day so I could rest and my friend Kari took them for a few hours another day, plus Sue and my sisters-in-law would take the kids for play dates, all of which really helped.

BJ made arrangements to do dental trade for house-cleaning, so Lupe, a sweet wonderful lady, began coming to help with the cleaning once a week. This both relieved my legs and lifted my spirits to be able to be in a clean house and not have the guilt of constantly feeling like I should be cleaning.

I also faithfully wore the medical-grade compression hose. Without them I couldn't make it through the day. They were so annoying and took about 5 minutes to wrestle on but they saved me from a lot of pain and from blood clots. My doctor also had me take a baby Asprin every day to keep the blood thin. I admit, I wasn't as diligent about this as I could have been, but I did often take it and again, it seemed to help.

All of these changes helped immensely and, while I felt embarrassed at needing so much extra help, I am so grateful for the willing hands who took over so many of my responsibilities during this time so that I could survive.

I also know that the Lord was mindful of me during this time. As January came around and through the remainder of the pregnancy, something amazing happened. In previous pregnancies as the pregnancy progressed the pain would intensify. I fully anticipated this and was dreading the last trimester, as the pain was already so intense during the second trimester. However, from January to the end of the pregnancy, I began to realize that the pain was more bearable. I know that some of this change was due to the lifestyle changes but I also know that it was in answer to prayer.

I was talking to my mom one Sunday in January and mentioned how I had felt my spirits really lifted that day. She commented that it must be in answer to the family fast. Apparently, though I didn't know it, my siblings, their spouses, and my parents and BJ had fasted for me. I later found out from my sister that these amazing family members were praying for me every morning and night and fasting for me each fast Sunday. My sister-in-law Angie said, "We wish we were closer so we could help you more but since we're far away this is how we can help."

I am certain that the blessing of some relief came as an answer to the fasting and prayer of my family, as well as in answer to so many of my own prayers for strength to endure. I feel unworthy of such blessing but so deeply grateful that so many faithful people were petitioning Heaven for me. I know it is not because I was deserving but because of my family's faith and the Lord's mercy that I finished this pregnancy without any blood clots and with a manageable amount of pain.

I'm so grateful that during this difficult time in my life I could feel the Lord's love and see His hand helping me bear the load both through the service of others and through His tender mercy and grace.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Kate- one day old

Kate and Mommy spent one day in the hospital following her all-night delivery. She was tuckered out after such an ordeal and, after a couple hours of awake time right after delivery, became a pretty sleeping little thing.

She's still a little swollen from delivery but what a sweet little face!