Help Me, Lord

This morning I read on Facebook that my third grade niece’s anxiety was kicking up and she was having a hard morning.  I wanted to call her and tell her, “I totally get it.  Let’s hide from the world and watch Cake Boss all day today.”  But of course, we can’t do that.  I have little ones that need me, a messy house to clean, food to cook, buses to catch, blogs to write and a life to live.  I have a faith to walk out too and some days that is harder than others.

I woke up and my heart was as messy as my bedroom.  Anxiety, stress, worry…all lurking in corners like the laundry piled up.  I had prayed the night before and went to bed peaceful…I don’t know what happened in my sleep to cause that peace to flee.

I worry, I worry about so many things.
I worry about funding for the Good Samaritan orphanage.
I worry about funding our family and our household. Seems like expenses grow but income doesn’t.
I worry about Julia’s safety when she’s not at home.
I worry about the big girls learning to drive- alternating between concerns for their safety and fear that they may never drive.
I worry about how Chase is faring in 10th grade and how his heart is and if he’s sleeping enough. (Mom stuff. I don’t see him everyday so while I know he is well cared for, I still worry.)
I worry about Lila at kindergarten because she’s there all day and I don’t know what’s going on.
I worry about Claire. Will she have tantrums every day for the rest of her life?
I worry about Nora. Will she be born at all? Will she be early? Will she be healthy and whole?
I worry about this pregnancy and hemorrhages and placenta previa and vasa previa and all that those things mean. Will I have to be hospitalized? Will my history of preterm labor become a present day concern?

And I don’t want to worry.  I know what the Lord says about worry.  Who, by worrying can add one hour to her life?  Consider the lilies…the birds of the air…has not your heavenly Father cared for them?  How much more will He care for me?

But sometimes I feel powerless to stop.  And that’s when I relate most to my little niece.  Because it’s like my heart goes back to eight years old and I feel afraid and out of control and even sometimes a little hopeless.  It’s the truth.

When I was in counseling, I told the doctor how I would help my niece.  I told her that I encouraged my niece to ask the Lord for help.  That I encouraged her to keep her gratitude journal.  That I encouraged her to do deep breathing until her stomach would settle and she felt more grounded.  And there have been times when my niece has said those things back to me.

So, today, I will take my own advice.  Even now, while Claire has a tantrum because I won’t let her eat the whole box of doughnuts that Meema brought over yesterday.   Even now, when my heart isn’t in it because it’s all just too much.  Even now, when the words feel hollow as I say them…they are just acts of obedience and my heart will catch up.

Help me Lord.

Thank you, Lord.

Steady my heart, Lord.

Asher

When I was a little girl, before years and stages of renovations, Paw’s house was one of my favorite places.  (It still is.)  It was a pieced together, rag tag place full of character. It seemed to have been built from leftover supplies by a visionary who thought, “This’ll work.” and who wasn’t a stickler for details.  Around the back, off the kitchen there was a back porch with a porch swing…three steps leading to the yard that had not been very well planned for. They were very short and it seemed like one or two were missing. You had to be careful…that first step was a doozy.  For all its asymmetry, it was a good and happy place.  I can still see the Phlox growing in the cracks and between the stairs and in the flower beds beside the porch.

This is what I was thinking about last night. Paw and me and sister and cousins snuggled on that porch swing, drinking Tang made with well water and listening to our Paw sing…

“Oh Jolly Playmate
Come out and play with me
And bring your dollies three
Climb up my apple tree
Yell down my rain barrel
Slide down my cellar door
And we’ll be jolly friends
Forevermore.”

Last night, while I was missing Baby B…I was thinking about my Paw and how loved and secure I felt snuggled against her as we rocked in that old porch swing.  Purple phlox poking up through the cracks.

I closed my eyes and told God of my sorrow and in my heart I could see Paw…bare feet pushing that old swing back and forth, holding our baby B.  Baby B gripping a handful of purple flowers.  Laughing with Paw, happy.

Yesterday, I found out that Baby B wouldn’t be part of our Earthly life, but that he had gone on to heaven…where there are siblings, friends, and our beloved Paw.  Where there is Jesus and love and joy and where his eternal significance will be played out with no sorrow, no tears and never any pain.

But we are surely feeling pain.

All along we’ve said that we’re surrendering this whole thing to God.  The whole thing.  The bleeding, the babies, our future…We laid it down over and over.  And all along we’ve said that no matter the outcome, God is still God and God is always Good.  He can’t change who He is.  And we felt so much peace about Baby A and the smaller Baby B.  I think we assumed that peace meant that we were going to get the outcome that we wanted.  Two whole, healthy babies born on schedule.

And now I know that we were wrong about that, because we lost Baby B…That peace did not mean we were going to get what we want.  No, what that peace meant and means is that God is still God.  He is still good.  He is still with us and in this.  He still brings peace.  I still feel peace…even in the midst of my grief.  I am so disappointed, so sad, so longing for a do-over…but still…peace.

About two weeks ago, I had a really big bleed and then began to bleed bright red again.  It was different than it had been before and it was discouraging.  On Friday, I went to the doctor for cramping and she saw and I saw two healthy, beautiful beating hearts.  On Friday.

Yesterday, I went to Maternal Fetal Medicine for a consult about my issues- my thyroid and my age and the twins and the bleed.  I waited for two and a half hours.  I finally saw a doctor and it was really closing time by then.  She hurriedly talked about my thyroid, said it was no big deal and was sending me on my way.  I was almost about to check out when they called me back.

“Let’s at least try to get heart beats.”

I wasn’t worried.

They couldn’t get them with their doppler, and I still wasn’t worried.  They did an abdominal ultrasound and got Baby A, but not Baby B.  I still wasn’t worried, but I could see the doctor was.

We switched to the Other Kind of Ultrasound (sparing you details) and again, Baby A looked perfect…but Baby B was so still.  I could see his little heart and could see it wasn’t beating.  They tried for about twenty minutes.  And they tried every button and bell and whistle on that fancy machine and they were grimly silent while they did so.  Nothing.

Baby B was gone.

I cried as she told me what I already knew. I cried as we discussed the risks to Baby A.  Apparently I have a whole extra bleed that either popped up along the way or was never diagnosed.  (The machines at MFM are a million times more sensitive and they are trained to look for complications in a way that regular OB/Gyns are not.)  I cried as the doctor explained that the hemorrhage is a huge threat to Baby A and that Baby A only has a 50/50 chance.  I cried as she explained that the babies didn’t actually attach very well, that Baby B in particular was not attached very well.  That his placenta was pulled away from the wall.  I cried as she apologized and offered condolences in that awkward, medical way that the doctors at MFM have.  Bless their hearts.  I appreciate their expertise, but at that moment, I longed to be at my usual doctor’s office where, no doubt, there would’ve been prayers and hugs and tears.

“This is not your fault.”  the doctor said as she handed me a box of tissues.  “There’s not a damn thing you could’ve done to prevent this.  It’s just one of those things.”

I nodded and I knew it already because I know something she may not know.  That God is the one who numbers our days.  Not mommies, not daddies, not doctors.

“Are you by yourself?  Are you okay to drive?”  the doctor asked.

Through tears I said that I was…I hadn’t brought John because I’d known it was going to be way too long an appointment.  I hadn’t expected this.  And I just wanted to get out of there.

I cried through check out and I told the lady I didn’t really care when my next appointment was scheduled for.  I cried in the elevator and as I walked across the parking lot and broke down and cried harder in my very hot car.  Through tears I texted John and gave him awful news in an awful way because I couldn’t speak.  I texted my sister.  I started the car.  I calmed down, took a deep breath and drove home.

And then I walked through telling my kids and seeing their tears and seeing their grief.  Seeing my husband’s sadness and disappointment because we really love Baby B a lot and we were in love with the idea of having twins.  Our hearts were all in.  We had names for two boys or two girls or a girl and a boy.  We had nursery ideas and we’d talked and laughed about how tired we’d be.  We are so disappointed.  We wanted this a lot.

I am heavy hearted.  I am grieving.  I am filled with sorrow.

I’m not really questioning why because I just feel like that won’t get me anywhere.  Whys aren’t going to change anything.  I will not understand why anyway…because I can’t see the end of the story.  I’m asking God for healing and miracles but I’m still saying…

God is God and God is good…even when we don’t get what we want.  We have to accept this truth either way.  When it’s raining and when the sun is shining.  When life is good and when life is awful.  It’s His plan we trust.  It’s His plan that we know is good.

I know this.  I’ve seen it.  When my friend Jen lost her son Carter, I saw it.  When my friend Jen’s son Silas became critically ill and remained ill, I saw it.  When I got divorced, I saw it.  When I miscarried last summer, I saw it.  In countless other difficult circumstances…I have seen it.

So, I am asking for prayer.  For miracles.  God can do miracles.  The Bible says so.  I’ve seen Him do them.  I am asking specifically for strength for baby A to pull through.  I am asking for healing from the subchorionic hemorrhage and for the bleeding to cease.  Quickly.  I am asking that the Lord would protect Baby A and the placenta from the hemorrhage.  That the two would have nothing to do with each other.  I am asking for God to soothe our broken hearts.

Please pray.

God gave me a picture of a little boy last night.  A little boy with blonde hair whose name is Asher.  Asher, happy and blessed.

Happy and blessed and present with God.

No Sulking Here

I am decidedly NOT sulking.

It’s a conscious choice.

I’m also NOT stressing.

It’s another conscious choice.

I’m not worried about Thing One and Thing Two.  They looked so good on Thursday and the hemorrhage is not actually a huge threat to them…if I follow these bed rest rules.  The things that threaten me with worry are these:
-Is the house going to fall to ruin?
-Is this just too much work for John? Is HE going to be stressed out?
-Is Aubrey going to have a crappy summer?
-Are the little girls too bored?
-Will I ever come up with a second boy name? (I think the answer to this one is probably no.)

These are the things that I think about while I rest in my bed.  Claire seems unfazed.  She brings me books to read and climbs all over me like it’s not the least bit unusual that I’m still in bed.  Lila brings in boxes of plastic animals and sets up villages on the floor.  Aubrey, Julia and Deanna visit me daily, sitting on the edge of my bed and telling me all about their days.  Everyone is coping Just Fine.

John is doing an admirable job managing the house and the little kids, though he’s said more than once, “I don’t know how you do this.”  But he’s doing it!

We’ve been blessed by community.  Friends to bring meals to feed my sheep and me and to take a little bit of the work load from John.  Mom, Dad, Sister and Nieces all came to see me yesterday and the rest of the week promises more visitors.

Apart from a  brief respite on Sunday that resulted in a relapse of bleeding…I’ve been in bed since Thursday last week.  That’s six days, with ten to go.  I am praying that the SBH is healing and will be completely gone by the time I go in on the 29th.  Praying and praying.  I want to do all the fun things we planned to do this summer.

In the meantime, I keep my eyes on the goal.  I read through the name book.  I pray.  I watch Netflix and check Facebook to see what people who are NOT on bed rest are doing.  I try to imagine what it’ll be like to have twins.  I don’t sleep because it’s impossible to sleep for long when you’re just in the bed all the time.

I’ve finished “Arrested Development” and need a new series to watch.  I tend towards the fun and light hearted and away from the serious or stressful.  Any suggestions?