Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Octobers in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear.

When time is inching in on your sideview mirrors.

I know it's been awhile since I've posted any updates of great significance. Truth be told, I just don't have much to say these days.

I'm a basket of mixed emotions to be quite honest. I can't explain how I feel, so I'm not even going to attempt to do so. In the past months I've learned to just be honest. I've learned confirming feelings and denying nothing is the best path to survival. There's no sense in rationalizing what can't be rationalized.

On one hand I've made it this far, when doctors told me I wouldn't. Little Angel is still kicking around, happy as can be. I'm fine healthy and strong as ever. I count these blessings and give thanks every day. It's how I maintain my chance at hope.

I'm so excited to meet Baby and see what the future holds. On the other hand I never imagined I could be this scared of anything. I'm a brave a girl after all. Other than the opposums and rodents roaming the barnyard from time to time, not much sends chills down my spine. Except for my own baby.

Then there's the shock of having 58 (or less) days left. While I do the best to enjoy every last minute of this pregnancy while I'm still in control, all the same I just want the whole ordeal over with. I know I know...take my "Mom of the Year Award" away right there. After all, who essentially wishes a baby would just be "over with?" Who refers to their Miracle as an "ordeal." Lastly, Who feels scared of their own baby?

Well.....somedays I do. I won't deny it in the least.

Then the next minute I turn around and have big dreams Little Angel is going to be the greatest Miracle there ever was. I won't deny that in the least either.

As for the doctors, I'm learning to trust blindly. I've come to accept that every doctor has a different theory and a different plan. While some I agree with more than others, I just have to accept they're stating what they think is the best course of action for Little Angel. I can agree, disagree or agree to disagree, but ultimately it's mine and David's decision. It's our baby after all, and we know best in the long run.

The sense of control helps us survive countless doctors appointments, phone calls and pages of research information.

On the same note, everytime I have to speak to a doctor I could throw up. I hate visiting the hospital, I hate hearing about theories that may or may not be true. I hate hearing words like NICU, prenatal death, surgery, brain scan, echocardiogram. Then again, they are just words which will maybe lead us to the best possible outcome.

I'm sure the words on the page today seem like incessant rambling. They probably are. It's what happens when you're feelings are incessant rambling. I just do the best I can to realize my feelings, stay occupied and move forward one day at a time.

Or should I say one baby step at a time.

58 days will be gone before I know it, and with it will be feelings of hope and sorrow, pessimism and optimism, bravery and fear. It's simple faith and the reliance on the terms "we" and "us" that we will get through this.

We have to get through this, full speed ahead, until it's past us in the rearview mirror of Life.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Gratitude and Latitude.

Always appreciate what you have, turn to God for what you don't.

I've always had a soft spot in my heart for 7th and 8th graders. Junior high kids can definitely give me a run for my paycheck, but I enjoy their lessons in contradictions. They're all attitude on the outside; waiting for someone to love them on the inside. Want to be treated like adults and wanting to be told a lame joke at the same time. 12 and 13 year olds can come off as oblivious to the world while at the same posing moral dilemmas and questioning life issues most adults don't even think about.

As a former classroom teacher it was my job to help these students navigate life while being themselves. It was a challenge but I accomplished this through weekly journals. I posed a question and simply graded students on how well they defended their response. There was no right or wrong. There was nothing for me to disagree with. The students came to appreciate this and left me reading more honest answers than Aristotle or Socrates could have ever dreamed up.

I know. I know. Journal writing is a schoolkid's worst nightmare. It was a struggle for some but they did it anyway. The week I posed the questions "What are you greatful for? Where do you need latitude in life?" I had a 100% turn in rate.

When I left full time classroom teaching; being the glutton for punishment I am, I signed up to teach religion at my small-town country church. I asked for 7th and 8th graders.

7th and 8th graders are the same everywhere. They want to be heard and want their thinking challenged. In religion class I adopted my journal writing to the "Gratitude and Latitude List." It was small scale journal writing in a list form with a religious perspective. The Gratitude were things that we needed to give thanks to God for. The Latitude were things we needed to ask God to help us through or to accept us as we are. Some weeks the answers were obvious. The next they were so heartfelt and honest I couldn't believe they were written by the same 12 year old who came in snapping on her gum; testing me with the latest swear words.

As a classroom teacher and religion teacher I was doing what I do best; hoping I was making a difference.

I ran into a former student of mine earlier this week. The first thing he asked about was my very obvious baby belly. As I was telling him the story, he was listening intently. This student as an eighth grader was very intelligent, had a strong understanding of the important things in life but was rather reserved at the same time. Now as a junior in high school, he was a little taller, a little less awkward and a little more outspoken. When I finished with my story he said, "Miss. My thoughts are with you. Have you made your "Gratitude and Latitude List? I still do that sometimes when I'm worried about something."

After the shock wore off of a student remembering one simple assignment, I decided I should practice what I teach (or preach depending on who you ask).

In honor of every student of life who remembers a simple assignment; here is my Gratitude and Latitude List.


I am thankful for the strength to get through each day.
I am greatful to have access to some of the best medical care in the country.
I am happy to be surrounded by close friends and family who do anything for me
I am thankful for polka-dot wall decals that make my baby's room bright and cheery
I am greatful for the motherly intuition that keeps me fighting and hopeful.
I love baby kicks.
I love songs involving Big Green Tractors.
I appreciate my stockpile of chocolate chips.

Give me latitude because I'm not always as positive about the future as I could be.
Give me latitude because sometimes I fear the challenges ahead of me.
Give me latitude because sometimes 74 more days is a long wait.
Give me latitude with the aforementioned chocolate chips.
Give me latitude because sometimes I'm angry I don't have answers.
Give me latitude becuase I don't understand how people who don't want perfectly healthy beautiful babies receive them anyways.

It's the ebb and flow of gratitude and latitude that that gets us through everyday. Always be greatful but don't be ashamed to admit the latitude.