Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hello December!

I went to confession last Saturday to jump-start my Advent and it has really helped to set me out on the right foot and to get my attitude more in line with the season.  My priest basically said the same thing that I've already been told!  "We all have dry times" and "You are being a little too hard on yourself" (in regards to my prayer life seeming to be lacking). 

He recommended that I use "less words" when I pray. 

I don't know what happens in the confessional, but I just start rambling sometimes (maybe trying to over-explain things) and as I was doing this, I could see in his eyes (I go face-to-face) that he was thinking, "Woah there, slowwww down." 

So now that I have a cleansed and renewed heart and soul, I really do feel refreshed and eager to prepare for Jesus! 

My Advent plans include:

*Advent Prayer Buddies:  I'm so happy to be able to pray for my assigned prayer buddy this season! 
*Advent Special Intention:  I'm praying for God to work some special blessings, and know that He alone can move hearts toward His will.
*Advent Prayer Tree:  This is a tradition that I grew up with as a child and have continued it since we have had Isabel.  I take a small Christmas tree and print out names of friends, family and other special people; tie them up with some red ribbon and we pick one scroll off the tree at dinner to pray for as a family.  I love that this teaches Isabel that during Advent we can do little things (like offer our prayers for other people), and that can help prepare our own heart for Jesus' birth!

*Decorating!  Okay so everyone does this, but I LOVE putting out all of our Christmas decor...and playing the Christmas music that goes along with it!  It feels so "right" to have the house decorated for Christmas.  All the work that goes into decorating reminds me that it is so worth the time and effort!  We are decorating for the coming of our Lord and Savior!  What a beautiful thing!  I think we're getting our Christmas tree on Thursday....can't wait!
*Teaching!...My little one that is, about the beauty and wonder of preparing our hearts and waiting with eager hope for Jesus!   Who knew that I would love homeschooling and watching her learn and grow so much??  My lesson plans for the next four weeks all revolve around Advent...I'm super excited about the laminated, traceable seasonal vocab words I made for her today (she is big into tracing her letters and probably loves dry erase markers a little too much). 

I mean, seriously, who wouldn't love to teach her?

I'm looking forward to it all, and hoping that in it all I can draw closer to God and better appreciate the reality of Christ our King, born to us as a little child. 

And for the pregnancy update:  

Here's my 21 1/2 week belly shot. 

I had an OBGYN appointment on the 11/29 and had gained *gasp* 8lbs in the last 4 weeks!  Okay, so that may be shocking to you, and while I was a little surprised it was that much, I wasn't very concerned.... I saw a new doc who was a little shocked and who clearly had no idea how much I gained with Isabel!  LOL!  Overall being up 15lbs from the beginning of my pregnancy is SUPER good in my opinion! ;) 

We are no closer to a name...in fact, it's become more of a game/battle between Rob and I to even discuss names.  So you are still in suspense, as we are! ;)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Pre-Advent Slump.

So I'm halfway there and I have so much to celebrate!  This baby is still growing inside me!  Things are going right.  The baby looks healthy.   It's a sweet little baby boy, a new chapter for our family in many ways!  And yet while I'm thankful and truly full of praise and wonder that God would allow us another opportunity to be parents to a little soul on earth, I'm also feeling farther from Him than I have in awhile.

I'll call it my "Pre-Advent Slump".

In my times of sorrow and grief, most especially after losing Mary Grace, I was so close to the Lord.  It felt as if he had nestled me right next to His heart and carried me for days and months.  I had a better understanding of suffering and how it brought me closer to Him, and how it was useful for other souls as well.

And now that I have crossed through that "valley of death" of loss and infertility, it is as if the Lord has set me back down to walk on my own again.  I don't feel His presence like I did in the valley.  I know that He is still there.  He hasn't stopped walking by my side.  But perhaps, now that I am in a "good place" in my life with things going amazingly well I have forgotten to turn to Him.  My suffering has been removed and replaced with great joy, but at the same time it is a lonely feeling.   To be carried by the Lord and then to be set down to walk on your own is more difficult than I had imagined. 

Some people won't understand this.  So let me clarify a few things.  I don't wish to be in the past.  I don't want to be stuck back in the pain of infertility, and I don't want to lose any more babies.  But it was in that suffering that the Lord drew me to Him in a new way...and it was the most beautiful place to be.  In a way I would almost explain it to be like those people who have had a near-death experience and seen the light of heaven, only to be sent back to their earthly life with disappointment that it wasn't their time to be with God.  I think it would be like that.  I have had that taste of closeness with the Lord and now I no longer have it and even joy seems muted.

Maybe it is something you only experience during suffering.  Or maybe after He set me back down, I stumbled from His path.  Different roads caught my eye and I was lured the wrong way, not necessarily into sin, but into complacency and self-reliance.  I know God doesn't push me away, so maybe I have been pushing Him away without even meaning to. 

And it's not as if I've been skipping Mass or jumping into huge piles of sin either.  It's more like my prayer life has faltered.  In these "good times" it is easier to be lacking in a complete and utter dependence on God.  I have been starting to subconsciously feel like I can do this on my own...see how well everything is going?  And while saying that out loud brings me to the quick realization that that is simply not so (I know in my heart that everything...every breath, every beat of my heart is because God allows it), my prayer life does not reflect that reality. 

I thank God during our morning prayer, mealtime prayers and Isabel's bedtime prayers and here and there throughout the day for that random baby kick, or Isabel's 4 year old humor, or Robert's patience with pregnant-old-me.  But there is nothing beyond that. 

What I know is that prayer life takes work and I have not been lifting any "spiritual weights" if you will.  I know there are times when I will feel spiritually "dry", but I've got to lift myself out of the rut of self-reliance and get back into completely relying on my Creator for all that goes on....the good and the bad. 

Somehow for me, it was easy to rely on Him in the bad....but is much tougher to rely on Him in the good. 

So on that note I'm glad that Advent is right around the corner!  Lent and Advent are my favorite liturgical seasons because as a Type-A I need to PREPARE!  And by the time that they get here, my heart is in deep need of new preparation...like soil that needs to be tilled. 

What are my plans for Advent to get my soul into better spiritual shape??  More about that in the next post, and I'll humor you then with a belly shot too.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Please lift this family up in prayer!

Megan at Heart of St. Monica alerted me to this sweet family's website several days ago, and I have been following the birth of their sweet little son, Jedidiah Joseph who was diagnosed in utero with Trisomy 13. 

He lived for 13 days, but passed away last night.  Please send a prayer to Our Most Holy Father for this family during the difficult days ahead. 

What a testament to the value of life and dignity of the human person this family has been!  Thank you for covering them in prayer!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Almost 19 weeks!

Good news!  I'm officially off my progesterone in oil shots!  (Which is really great because I only had like 1 more dose left before I would have had to refill it- another $75!).  Dr. C emailed me that my last progesterone draw showed levels at 58.6 at 18 weeks and 2 days.  I will recheck my levels in one month just to make sure they are still hanging in there!  But no more needles!  Hooray!

We hit another milestone which was Rob getting to feel baby boy Holmes kick for the first time (18 weeks 4 days).  The kicks and pokes are definitely getting stronger...in fact I remember thinking this with Isabel too that the kicks would gradually get strong, but no, it's just been a huge jump from weak movements to pretty significant ones!  Which makes everything so much more real.  I'm LOVE, LOVE, LOVING it!!!

I can tell Rob is very excited about having a boy, and he has started acting even more loving (as if that were possible ;) ) since finding out the gender of this little baby.  I'm getting the "you're just radiant today" and an increased number of random "I love you" comments and some belly rubbing too :)  It's quite adorable and I have to say that I don't mind all the extra attention. 

We are very slowly talking over some names....and I mean slowly.  Poor Rob...he has to deal with my Type A-need to make a list-need to have the name picked out 6 months in advance- personality!  He is very laid back and would not mind showing up to the hospital without a name, waiting to see what this baby looks like when he pops out and deciding on a name then.

The thought of it leaves me totally stressed out! 

I did compromise with him though.  If we had a list of names, I agreed we could take that list and out of those pre-chosen names we could select the official one once the baby is here.  I would definitely be able to do that, but not arrive to the hospital with nothing to go on!

In fact, I kind of prefer that idea...having a list of names which I'm all for not sharing!  It's funny with Isabel we picked her name out way in advance and we were not shy about letting others know!  But with this baby, I think it may have to do with that uncertainty that lingers about whether or not he will actually arrive.   So the name may be a secret until he gets here....I guess we will all just have to wait and see!

Tomorrow I will be 19 weeks!  Can't believe I'll be just a week away from the halfway point!  Thank you God!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Ultrasound Pictures :)

A picture of our family on this happy day!