The First Sunday of Advent

It’s here.  Christmas time.

Sound systems are radiating with bells of good cheer while disgruntled customers push and shove.  Parking lots are full, stacked with greed.  American consumerism has monopolized a time meant for hope, peace, joy, and love.  Idol hands gripping material gifts are simply a distraction.  If we pine after this empty world than we don’t have to face the reality of life.  We don’t have to encounter intimacy with friends and family.  If we shove a gift in someone’s face we don’t have to have the awkward conversation about recent aggravations.

Now, giving gifts is a beautiful thing.  I’m not dismissing the necessity of giving.  Christ has given to us.  No, I’m battling against the insincere smile.  Reconciliation begins with conversation.  We can’t sweep anger or hurt under the tree skirt.  We must face the uncomfortable discussion with friends we have wronged.  We must be willing to be vulnerable and express our distress.  If we don’t, we’ll implode.

It is in forgiving, truly, others and ourselves, through Christ, that we’ll encounter fulfillment.

We have a hope.

1hope

verb \ˈhōp\

: to want something to happen or be true and think that it could happen or be true

So we wait expectantly for Christ’s coming.  In the meantime, we are active in our faith.  We forgive as Christ forgives us.  We remind ourselves that those we lost, who knew the Lord, in fact, are not.  They, with angel choirs sing.  We are sustained through our emotional and physical wounds because he who is Lord scarred himself for us.  The gentle babe rocking in a cradle rocked us with life’s greatest love when he willing took a marring of his flesh upon a cross.

The cross gives us hope.  Hope that we have been made new.  Hope that life is being restored.  Hope that there is something more to this season, to this side of heaven.

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Down Under…An Illness, not an Exotic Getaway

I had every intention of writing as soon as we returned. Then I got sick.

We had an excellent vacation. It truly was a trip of a lifetime. I will record the positives of the trip soon. For now, I’m feeling miserable and I think it is okay to be honest. I’m allowing myself to put my frustrations into the nether-sphere of the World Wide Web.

So to conclude our trip I was sunburned and riddled with bug bites. I tried not scratching them. Then I resorted to one tablet, with pleas that I’d feel kicking in the morning, of anti-histamine. I couldn’t take it. Of course this makes me wonder how I’m going to manage labor pain free if I can’t handle some simple itch pain.

Friday night or Saturday, not sure which, I woke up at 2 am gurgling blood as my nostrils dripped red. A pool of blood soaked the sheets. Frank, bless his servant heart, woke up, and as I was soaking through a handkerchief, he cleaned the bed and sheets.

Pregnancy usually results in constipation. This is more than you need to know probably, but I must have eaten something that has resulted in Blitzkrieg on my bowels.

I’ve had a sore throat for a few days. I went to the doctor and got tested for strep. The test was negative. It is a viral cold.

I got violently sick at work yesterday. As I was typing in sample information into the software the room started to spin. My supervisors grew concerned as they watched my pale face and staggering body race to the bathroom. I had a headache, dizziness, and nausea. Thankfully the nausea ebbed once my morning morsels were expelled.

I’ve suffered swollen feet. For the first time in my life I have suffered cankles. Sometimes I can’t even get my shoes on.

Where is this glow they keep telling me about? Frank keeps telling me how beautiful I am. My hair won’t cooperate. I have this odd wave in my curls which I haven’t had before. I’m constantly blowing my nose. I’m sleeping all the time since we’ve gotten back (roughly 12 hours or so). My eyes are puffy. Where is this woman he’s talking about?

I hate pregnancy. I feel guilty saying it since it took us 3+ years to achieve it, but still I hate it. Thankfully, I was a bit relieved to know I am not alone. If you are feeling it, you aren’t alone either. Also, here is the article that I read to make me feel better. Evangelical friends say pray and that helps somewhat, but sometimes its better knowing you aren’t crazy for how you are feeling.
http://pregnant.thebump.com/pregnancy/pregnancy-symptoms/articles/pregnant-and-miserable-prenatal-depression.aspx?cm_ven=Responsys&cm_cat=BumpNews&cm_ite=November%2025,%202014&MsdVisit=1

Down Under

I don’t have that much to do at work right now.  I prepared all the samples and washed the glassware.  There were issues with the instrument and the service engineer was repairing the instrument.  My supervisor allowed an early dismissal for me since I completed everything to the best of my ability and there wasn’t really anything left for me to do.

I’ll relax for an hour or so and then clean the apartment, pack, and organize items for mine and Frank’s trip Down Under.

In June of 2014 we had a miscarriage.  As part of the grieving process, and needing to visit another continent as part of my bucket list, we, or I rather, booked a trip for the two of us for February 2015.  It was the perfect time for our trip.  February would have been right around the time when our first child would have been born.  It is also the month of our anniversary.  My birthday is just a month later.  We were making it our anniversary/grieving/early birthday gift trip.

Then since God has a funny sense of humor, we found out I’d be 8 months pregnant right around that time. We conceived our second child, without missing a beat, after the miscarriage.  According to the guidelines, we had to use the airplane tickets prior to July 2015.  There was no way I was going to bring a 3-4 month old on this trip with me.  So we decided to shift our schedules around and now the trip is planned for Nov. 6-19th.  Yes, we leave tomorrow.

I’ll be down under, taking a hiatus from all social media, and enjoying two fun filled weeks with my hubby.

Thus begins one of the most amazing babymoon trips EVER!

The Comfort of Home

Last night we had an appointment with our midwife.

I’m adamant about wanting an un-medicated birth unless absolutely necessary. I much prefer the midwifery model of care to the medical model. I was under the impression that hospitals dictated the care. I wanted to be able to state my preferences and have my birth plan implemented.

I learned that it’ll be significantly cheaper for us to have a birth at Morristown Hospital than it will be to have a homebirth. I can still have my midwife and she’ll be my advocate. Apparently we’ll be charged 6k for a homebirth even if I have to transfer to a hospital in the event of an emergency transfer. We’ll still have to pay 6k if Tricare doesn’t cover the birth. However, if we did it through the hospital, the midwives will accept whatever Tricare gives as payment and we won’t be billed further.

I don’t have an issue with hospitals per se. I actually quite enjoy them. I’ve been in them so often that I’m not uncomfortable. I build a rapport with the staff and try to take things enthusiastically. However, I often see hospitals as something I should go to if I’m ill or in need of emergency care.

Wasn’t I designed to do this?

I’ve already been concerned about finances. It looks like Morristown will be cheaper. I perused their website and ensured that their birth philosophy aligned with mine. Apparently it is the care professionals there that determine the care and interventions, not the hospital itself. The midwives of NJ apparently have a pretty big voice at that hospital.

There are no birth centers in NJ. This should change. From the website however, it appears that Morristown is like a birth center.

If I can get the same care I would at home for cheaper at Morristown than this is perhaps the route I should go. I’m divided though. Somehow I feel like I am saying that there will be an emergency, I’m going to have to rely on interventions. I’m afraid that I’ll reach for the medicine more readily because it’s more accessible at a hospital. I’m torn.

Frank and I have a lot to discuss and pray about. Also, we don’t really have a home yet. We have an apartment and a home purchase is making me panic and I feel pressure to buy a house already since we contacted a realtor two years ago or so now and I feel like I’ve been wasting her time. We need two bedrooms eventually, why not now? I didn’t want to settle in NJ but that’s what looks like is happening.

I want to be a stay at home mom. Maybe that’s a part of why a homebirth appeals to me—it looks like I can’t stay home full time so why not bring my child into the world at home, to get a taste of an aspiration that seems unattainable. Jersey is just so dang expensive and I’ve given permission for Frank to look across the US for a job and he gets one here. I’ll be thankful for the support that we have here, but at the cost of wanting a certain lifestyle I wanted for myself and my children.

I’ve got to learn to be thankful and content. Sometimes it is easier said than done.