Thursday, June 30, 2011

Desires of My Heart

There's this wonderful verse in the Bible that says that God gives us the "hidden desires of our hearts." Now, I'm no theologian, but I don't think that that means that he's some cosmic genie who grants us our every wish or dream. Instead, I think that it means that when we're walking with Him, our desires become HIS desires and the things that our on our hearts are from Him.

With that being said, I just cannot shake the desire to go back to school to get my nursing degree. This has been on my heart since Adrienne was a baby but I've kept passing it off as some silly little dream of mine. It all stems from my love of people, specifically new mothers, and my passion for breastfeeding and teaching other women what I've learned. I'm so drawn to women in that stage of their lives and I so desire to love them and affirm them the way that need to be. My long term dream would be to work as a labor and delivery nurse and maybe even become lactation consultant one day far down the road.

I really feel like my place is in the home now and that the girls need to be my number one responsibility. Because of that, I definitely don't see myself going to school full time or anything while the girls are still home all day. I would ideally like to get my prerequisites out of the way online or perhaps start taking one evening class a semester while John stays home with the girls. Then, when Bailey goes to kindergarten I can think about doing the hardcore nursing classes.

John keeps encouraging me to go to the local community college to talk to them about the best course to take for this dream of mine but I keep doubting myself. I was NEVER a student. In fact, I was the student who had to try hard for B's and C's and I had a very hard time concentrating and staying focused in class. Also, I think of the expense that this will bring upon us and with our conviction to not go into debt, this would mean that we would have to save up before this could even take place. Then I wonder if this isn't really a desire from God but instead, a selfish desire for me to fulfill my own dreams and not His.

All I know is that my children are going to grow- Quicker than I can possibly even fathom right now. While waiting tables and serving in the lunch line at school are all fine and dandy, I'll never be qualified to do anything more than that if I don't go out on this very far limb. If I follow through with this, I could potentially work part time and as the girls need me less and less I could work more.

Maybe this post sounds like an impossible plan or maybe you're reading this thinking I'm nuts? Who knows. I just want to do the very best thing for not only my future by for that of my family. As of now, I'm prayerfully considering what God would have me to do and I'm thankful that it is He who leads and guides me and that I don't have to merely speculate about what's best here!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Slow Down, Bailey!!

Doesn't babyhood go by so quickly? It's amazing how much growth takes place in the first year of a child's life, especially the newborn months. I tell ya- Bailey isn't even three months yet and I hardly remember her as a tiny, lethargic newborn. She's so full of life and personality now and it's hard to believe that a few short months ago all she did was sleep.

On Father's Day two very important things happened that I forgot to make note of... For starters, she rolled from her back to her belly. It was the weirdest thing because she hasn't even rolled from her belly to her back yet, which babies usually do first. It was a completely unexpected surprise!! My mom and John were right there to observe this exciting happening in our house, too, so it was extra special. Watching my babies accomplish new things will never grow old! Also, that same night my girl slept completely through the night!!!! She was waking up once a night to eat (though she was hardly eating much) and she decided that she was going to kick that habit to the curb. I'm loving not having to get up at night anymore!

The new medicine that the doctor in Syracuse put her on has given us a baby that is a MILLION times more content and happy. She spends most of her awake time kicking her feet, smiling, and making deep conversations. She's a talker and a cooer and she absolutely captivates me! Being a mommy is the hardest job on the planet but oh so worth it.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

I don't have any clue how old I was when it started but my dad and I had a nightly ritual while I was growing up. In fact, it lasted until my last night home before getting married. Wow, that made me feel a little teary eyed! Anyways, here's how it went:

Dad: Do I love you when you're a good girl?
Me: Yes.
Dad: Do I love you when you're a bad girl?
Me: Yes.
Dad: How come I love you?
Me: Because God gave me to you.
Dad: What did God tell me to do?
Me: Love me and take care of me
Dad: Everything okay in your life?
Me: Yes.
Dad: Anything you want to take about?
Me: No.
Dad: Boys?
Me: NO! (Even when I was engaged I didn't admit it!)
Dad: Guess what?
Me: I'm the guy!

When I look back on my childhood and remember this special nightly routine that we shared I feel so blessed. Each night, for the whole sixty seconds this process took, I knew that I had my Daddy's undivided attention as he tucked me into bed. I love how he constantly left the door to communication wide opened for me and how this time daily reconnected us. It's funny to me that I've been on my own for over five years now but I will never, ever forget this. My Daddy was the person who understood me to the fullest extent and I felt so much pride having him for my father.

Thanks to an amazing Daddy, the man I would marry had large shoes to fill. I wanted someone to adore me and be as sensitive to my quirky, scatterbrained ways as he was and before meeting John, I wasn't sure if that was possible. I am so thankful that God sent him into my life to not only be my husband but also, the incredible, adoring father to our girls that my father always was to me. As I think of the ways my dad loved me as a little girl (and all throughout my life) and how secure that made me feel, I feel so blessed to know that that's how our girls will feel when they look at John!

Happy Father's Day to my wonderful Dad and amazing husband. They are special to me in so many ways on everyday of the year but this special "Hallmark" holiday simply gives me an excuse to brag on them! :-)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Back in Town

We got in last night from our short trip to Syracuse. It was a quick, yet refreshing, trip for my little family! Sometimes just getting away for a bit is all you need.

Bailey's appointment was pretty uneventful. The doctor said that it's just a severe case of reflux, which I'm having a hard time believing. She doesn't spit up like my other reflux babies- She vomits. It's frustrating but I keep telling myself that she's the doctor and she came very highly recommended so I should just trust her. I guess the reason I was a little upset was because she didn't even look at any of her labs or X-Rays from when Bailey was in the hospital. Instead she asked, "What did they say about her X-Rays?" I would have felt much better having her look them over. Anyways, she put her on a stronger dose of Pepcid and I'm happy to report that Bailey is at least more content now. I'm thrilled about that! On the other hand, she suggested that I express my milk and thicken her feedings with rice cereal. I'm really not into feeding my babies anything but breastmilk until they are at least 6 months old so that was hard to hear. She said that the more often I can feed her this way, the better. This is hard for me because Bailey won't take a bottle and also, I want the closeness of nursing her, not just the nutritional benefits. I'm not quite sure how this will all work out...

As for the rest of the trip, we had a great time! The zoo was a lot of fun and it was the perfect sized zoo to not be overwhelming or too extremely time consuming for the girls. I lost our camera charger so unfortunately I couldn't catch any pictures. It's so typical me!

This was our first overnight outing since Bailey's been here and I'm amazed at the amount of work it was to pack for just one night. Her vomiting issues only add to that because not only does SHE go through lots of clothes, so do we. Lol. She's so worth it though:-)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Birth Envy

I've always said that having a natural, med-free delivery is something that you have to want with all of your heart. It's incredibly challenging and if you don't want to go and get it, forget about it. Well, with Brooke, I wanted it. I wanted it so very bad and I tried extremely hard. Long story short, I labored for about 15 hours and pushed for three hours without any medication whatsoever, only to result in a C-Section delivery. She had aspirated meconium so she was taken from me in the OR to be suctioned out and all and it was about 30 minutes or so before I met her.

Then, Adrienne came along. I reluctantly opted for the a repeat C-Section just because my doctor didn't think I was a good candidate for a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) and truthfully, I didn't think I could handle another "failure" if I tried again. During the months leading up to her delivery I really prayed about my emotions and fears regarding the impending C-Section and dealt with a lot of my issues with it. I finally got over being jealous of others who just popped babies out and realized that so many women out there were probably jealous of MY ability to simply have babies. When Adrienne came out she was sick and they quickly whisked her away to the special care nursery, where I wouldn't get to meet her until about 8 hours later. The first time I held her was when she was hooked up to wires and IV's and monitors and I didn't even get to nurse her on the day of her birth.

I finally got over having to have C-Section and not having my babies get put on my chest directly after their births, like they would be in a natural delivery, and after time, I got over not even getting to meet my baby after her entrance into the world. When it was time for Bailey to be born everyone assured me that it would be "the birth I always wanted" and so many said that "nothing would go wrong." However, she came out even sicker than Adrienne had been and she was shipped off to another hospital. Just knowing that I really didn't even meet my baby until she was over 48 hours old still breaks my heart. In fact, there's a song that says, "On the day of your first breath, a brand new life on your mama's chest" and I can't even listen to it because I never had Bailey's precious body on my chest on the day of her birth- Or Adrienne's, for that matter.

I'm honestly over the simple truth that I had three deliveries and all of them weren't what I wanted. I know that my struggles don't compare to those of women who can't get pregnant or those that deliver babies who aren't even alive. I try to focus on just how healthy and amazing my girls are, despite their less-than-wonderful debuts, but every so often it hits me. In fact, what prompted me to spill all of these thoughts is that somebody on Facebook just posted pictures of their baby on their chest right after birth. That just gets me every time because I wanted that so bad. It's not that I don't want it for others but it's that I want it too.

I'm not sure if the fact that I'm not having anymore babies makes it better or worse. Part of me feels worse because I know that there really won't ever be a "better birth." I think that I'm mostly relieved though because I can't imagine going through all of those experiences again. It's probably best to stop while I'm ahead with my three precious girls! I definitely need to count my blessing instead of focusing on these things that don't matter.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Help Is On the Way

Bailey's vomiting issues have been out of control lately. She will soak through an entire bath towel in seconds during one of her spells. It's also forceful and frequent and it's just running the poor girl's life. My heart breaks for my girl.

Our pediatrician spoke to one of his colleagues in Syracuse (which is a little over an hour drive from here) and he got Bailey an appointment with her on Wednesday. I am so thankful for this because I'm not sure how much more of this we can take. We've tried a multitude of medicines- Axid, Previcid and Pepcid. We've tried various styles of feedings- Small and frequent, large and infrequent. We've tried different positions- Holding her still, holding her upright, not laying her flat after eating. The bottom line is that nothing but nothing works.

I'm going through about 2 or 3 outfits a day caring for this child. She's drenching outfit after outfit, burp cloth after burp cloth, and blanket after blanket. My couches, my carpets, and sheets are constant targets as well and it's A LOT of work. Her issues make feeding her a neverending task because as soon as she throws up she wants to eat again. It's a constant stream or frustration. However, that's not what bothers me the most. Her crying and restlessness and obvious discomfort is what gets to me. I just look at her big blue eyes so filled with pain and it makes me want to cry every single time.

My other girls had reflux as babies but there were so many differences between them and Bailey. I'm kind of convinced that something else is going on in there because of how awful things are but am hoping to be wrong. Regardless, I will feel world's better after speaking to the specialist.

As an added bonus to this much needed appointment, we're making a trip of this appointment. We're going to get a hotel, go to a nice dinner, and then take the girls to the zoo the next day. You would think we were going Disney World or something because they are so excited. It doesn't take much to make them happy and I love that about them:-)

So wish us luck. I'm hoping to have some solid answers on what's going on with Miss Bailey in just a few days. Let's hope this doctor is a miracle worker!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Letting Go of Fear

In a nearby county, a police officer walked into a home to handle a domestic disturbance- as my husband often does- and he was instantly shot in the head and killed. To make the story even more tragic, he left behind an 18-month-old and a wife who was 9 months pregnant. In fact, the news of his death was so horrible for her that she actually went into labor that day. Does it get much more awful than that?

Every time a police officer dies, whether it be in California or Texas or anywhere else, it shakes me. Then, when a police officer dies in New York it feels a little bit more scary. When it's several counties away, like this was, it's magnified by about 100. We like to think of these things as being "isolated incidents"- but they're not. We also like to believe that they're so far away that they'll never happen- but again, they're just not.

I quickly learned that this police officer was also a youth pastor for a church that partners with our church's association and it devastated me even more. He was apparently a wonderful man who was impacting so many around him through his service to the Lord. A member of our church actually knew him had worked with him previously and his death has shaken so many that knew him- and even those that didn't.

I can't really go into a lot of detail but my husband has been in situations where the very fact that he came home alive was a miracle. One of these incidents happened the weekend before Adrienne was born and I distinctly remember saying to him, "What if you hadn't have come home? How would I have brought another child into the world alone, let alone raise her?" When I think of the fear that I had over something that didn't happen, I am brought to tears over that man's poor widow who is facing my absolute worst fear, and I'm sure hers, as well.

What a reminder that nothing should be taken for granted. Each night that I send my man out the door I pray for his safety that God would look over him. I make sure that we never leave one another with harsh words or without saying, "I love you." Both of us strive to do that. Sometimes I try to ignore the dangers of my husband's job for my own peace of mind but that's just ignorance on my part. True peace of mind only comes from laying my burdens down at the feet of Jesus and leaving them there. I do the first part pretty well but then I always seem to pick them back up again every time I feel like my security has been shaken. That's not true faith, though, and as I'm finding, the only way to ever feel unmoved and unshaken by the craziness around us is through absolute, total, and complete faith.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Unplanned Potty Training

It has always been my theory that children will potty train easily when they are completely ready. I didn't force the issue with Brooke and lo and behold... She just picked it up one day. That was my plan with Adrienne, too, and I expected her to be in diapers for at least a few more months. That was completely fine with me because honestly speaking, when you have a newborn, it's kind of easier not having to monitor potty trips and bathroom visits for another child!

I was in complete shock on Monday morning when Adrienne said, "I don't wear diapers. I wear Nancy." To explain.. We bought her Fancy Nancy panties on her birthday to perhaps spark some interest in potty training. I put them on her because we were going to be home all day and I expected the day to be disastrous. However, my little girl SHOCKED me by finishing out the day with not one single accident. It was pretty incredible.

She had another good day today, as well. We had to go to gymnastics for Brooke and then we had a picnic with my sister and sister-in-law. The picnic wasn't the best setting for a newly potty training toddler but my girl still managed to not wet her pants! After we left the picnic she dribbled a little in her panties because she didn't make it to the potty on time but all things considered, that's not bad! This afternoon at home she did poop her pants but I expected that. That's was a big hurdle for Brooke for a bit when she became potty trained. I'm just trying to be patient and loving, despite feeling completely overwhelmed by this latest project! It's hard work to be in the midst of potty training and feeling like you constantly have to be on watch for the next potty break.

I keep telling myself that if we tough this week out and don't put diapers back on her that it will be worth it. She's doing great but it's even still a huge undertaking for me during this stage of our lives!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Shift Work

My husband has been a cop for just shy of 5 and a half years now. The hours have obviously not been ideal through the years and we've had to make sacrifices but it's what we signed up for when John went into this profession. After spending the past 3 years or more on the overnight shift, John's body is finally saying "enough" and he's completely worn down.

I just feel so bad for my husband... He gets awful headaches, is unable to sleep well during the day, and feels altogether weak, exhausted, and dizzy. This started about 2 months ago and after going to the doctor twice for this, nobody can figure what's going on. All his blood work comes back normal as well as a Cat-Scan and EKG. What gives?

If he's physically in good health then it's looks like this shift is just not cutting it anymore. He doesn't have enough seniority to get the coveted day shift so the only alternative is the dreaded evening shift, which is from 3 in the afternoon until 11 at night. This is the shift where we don't have dinner as a family, the girls don't have their Daddy tuck him in, and where John misses out on family-get -togethers, parties, etc... What's worse, though... Being present in body but not in mind because you're so exhausted or just not being there because you're working? That's a hard thing to chose between because they both are difficult.

I'm trying so hard to support my husband in whatever decision he makes. I'll admit, the evening shift is a very lonely shift for me. It's hard to make friends because all the women I know have husbands with "regular" jobs and don't want to hang out at 3 or 4 in the afternoon. However, my husband's health and well being has got to come first. It won't always be so hard... I mean ONE day he'll get to be on the day shift.

Do any of you fellow police wives out there have any advice for me? Did any of your husband go through this? I would give anything to help him and find an answer to stop this madness.