Wednesday, December 28, 2011

On the brink of motherhood

I have now been on rest mode for over 12 weeks and in hospital for one month and 2 days of that time. I never knew I would end up having a (generally) good attitude throughout this season which has surprisingly gone by pretty quickly. God has been with me. I have experienced His Grace firsthand in a very real way. Because knowing myself and how I imagined I would be is completely different to how I have found this experience. I definitely have had my meltdown moments where I would cope by considering discharging myself and releasing my sassy side on my family or hospital staff. I have gone through stages of disappointment and grief surrounding my first pregnancy experience, questioning God and wondering why this had to even happen in the first place, why prayers weren't answered and my placenta didn't move out the way...etc etc. It has forced me to be very honest before God. At times fears and worries have consumed me. But during such an intense roller coaster ride where the pressure is on and there is no where to hide, no distractions to bury myself in I am faced with a choice - turning to God and finding out if His Grace is truly enough to sustain me. I have found that it is. I have had no other choice but to lean on His strength when I am feeling broken, beyond myself with nothing left in me.

After being admitted to hospital knowing that I was going to be there until delivery day I became so scared at the idea of just waiting for the next bleed. This fear would come and go but would always be lingering in the back of my mind. So when the next two bleeds did come (on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) I was surprised at how it actually went. My biggest worry was that it would happen when I was away from the hospital. I had leave for Christmas Day and so I was pleased that it happened before I left (even if that did mean missing out on Christmas). The circumstances surrounding it made it less scary than I had imagined it to be. Cody happened to be there, there was no need to panic since the amount wasn't huge and the staff that were on were really amazing. God cushioned me all the way. Christmas Day was a lot harder since the second bleed was bigger and the doctors presented us with the decision to deliver that day with them advising us to. Both Cody and I felt peace to hold off and we are so happy we did because it has now been 5 days with no bleeding! I now have my c-section date booked for next Wednesday the 4th of January with the possibility of it happening sooner. I am so pleased to say I will be 36.5 weeks by then, which is a long way to come from the first bleed at 23 weeks.

I have learnt so much during this time. I have felt so loved by my friends and family who continually come to visit me and cheer me up. I have seen the most amazing love shown by my husband who has been by my side every moment he can. I have seen how God has lead every step of the way. Although I didn't see any miracles regarding the position of the placenta moving, I know that God leading us to New Zealand when He did was a big enough miracle for me to dwell on forever. Had we stayed in the States like we had originally planned we would be up to our eyeballs in debt. Thank God for free healthcare! Next thing to face is the scary operation (which I'm trying to not think about)...and then motherhood!!!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Day 6

Amazing friends giving the two pregnant gals hand and foot massages!!

Its interesting where life takes us. Life has never taken me to hospital...up until now. And now in its (recently) typically dramatic fashion, life has lead me to take up residence in hospital for at least 6 weeks. Since one of the challenges I face on a daily basis is to come up with ways to consume my time, I have decided to resort back to blogging as one thing to occupy myself with. Thank God for computers. I don't care about having to spend a bit of money to pay for the internet. I don't care that I am relying (probably too much) on being connected to the world through a computer. I am using anything I can...Facebook, emails, pinterest, online Christmas shopping, books, trashy magazines, my cousins hard-drive which contains almost 100 movies, journalling, texting, walking round the ward etc etc. Its funny the things that I would usually be monitoring more just goes flying out the window when my priority is just about getting through each day.

Family and friends have been so amazingly supportive. An appreciation for my loved ones has deepened so significantly through realising its the people connections that keep my head afloat. Having visitors come and go keep me sane. My husband is my rock and his strength, support and love never ceases to amaze me. Its in these hard times that one's character shines forth. I have to pinch myself sometimes because I can't believe I got to marry such an incredible man. My Mum and Dad will keep reminding me that all of this will be worth it when I am holding my baby boy. Each visitor brings their own gift by simply coming - a reminder that I haven't been forgotten, that people are walking alongside me through this rough journey. I can look out of my hospital room window and feel so isolated and wonder what everyone is up to out there in the big wide world. This can produce such a loss of perspective. I need reminding of the truth. We all need to be reminded of the truth. That's why I know the Lord describes the church as a body, because we all need each other to function at our fullest. Its often in the hard times that this becomes clearer.

These blogs are probably going to be a bit of a ramble at times since I'm really just wanting an outlet to express my thoughts. Since I began reading a book called One Thousand Gifts, I have been making more of an effort to be thankful. It seems the further I get through the book the more resistance I face in being thankful. Its like the temptation is to allow my circumstances to snuff out any ounce of thankfulness. I think I will start jotting down the things I am thankful - I wonder if I can get to a 1000 before I get out of this hospital?

1 - being in NZ as opposed to the States to receive free medical care
2 - Charlie and I are both healthy and safe
3 - I have a window bed with a view of the park
4 - I have a computer and internet
5 - I have the Lord
6 - a loving husband :)
7 - visiting friends who give me hand and foot massages!!!!

Dinner time now. I have a pile of pale mash awaiting me.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Our Baby

We had an ultrasound (done by Cody's Mum) the other day. We don't want to find out the sex so we were just there to have a look and to make sure the baby hasn't disappeared. Once I was there watching the baby move about I can't say I wasn't trying my hardest to spot something in between the legs. There were moments when I was convinced I had seen a 'hamburger' and then also moments when I was positive I had seen a wee 'sausage'. For some reason I was okay with stumbling upon the sex of the child 'accidentally' rather than deliberately. Discovering the mystery of the sex of our baby started to become a challenge and maybe it was like this for all of us there because I was being scanned for almost an hour! He or she just didn't want to show us. Oh well, I'm glad its still going to be a surprise.

When I first found out I was pregnant, Cody was away for a show. I tried calling him but he was in the middle of sound check and it was too loud to talk. So I ended up taking a picture of the pregnancy test stick, emailing it to him and then texting him to look at his emails.

I found it fun looking at Cody's and my baby photos and wondering what the mix of the two of us will produce. What will the child of a fiery sassy girl and a kind-hearted boy be like???

CODY.... what a cutie!!!!

Older brother, Lloyd and Cody

Rockstar in the making....

Cody off to school for the first time along with little sis Bets


Me with my Dad and Mum

Me, Jacob, Dad, James

Me with my older brother Jacob

Younger brother James

Me, James and cousin Billie

Not a pretty sight...I had a habit of doing this to in the following photo

This is my response to a boy who splashed me

Friday, August 12, 2011

Grace For the Moment

I'm sitting in a Christian cafe in Rapid City, South Dakota trying hard to ignore the continual blast of (forgive me) terrible Christian music coming from the speaker above me. Cody is away for the morning working at the Harley Davidson rally. I don't think I ever would have imagined being here 2 years ago. We sure have been on a very long, interesting journey these last 8 months. I'm reminiscing about the adventures and changes that have taken place over this last year:

Cody and I get married in January in Christchurch, New Zealand (this seems like a decade ago). We move to Boise, Idaho 10 days later. We get legally married before a judge in a court. Two weeks later we pack as much of our belongings as we can into our hired Escort and take a 36 hour drive across the States to Charlotte, North Carolina. We are homeless for a few days until friends offer their condo to live in for an unknown amount of time. This condo was simply a dream place for a newly married couple to live and we were blessed to stay there for 4 months. My hometown experiences a 2nd massive earthquake centering a few kilometres from my parents home, this time killing about 170 people. I get pregnant. We move out of the condo into an insect-infested apartment. Cody and I take the green-card interview after a long immigration process and pass! We take a trip to California for a wedding, I drive 18 hours to Denver and meet Cody there a few days later since he had a show to perform. We stay with family in Denver and then drive to Rapid City, South Dakota where we have been for the last month and a half.

Throughout these months there has been a constant question mark over what we are doing and why we are in the place we are in. Nothing has really made much sense because its been one of those seasons where we want clear direction and probably easy circumstances to confirm the path we feel lead to take. But we seem to get neither. There have been battles with trying to find work so we have enough for food and rent. And then in the midst of this, I am going through a mini quarter life crisis because I have suddenly found myself uprooted from everything familiar and placed in the midst of total instability (from the outside), unable to replant myself because of this period of limbo. My identity has been stripped from all angles since everything I knew and thought I was seemed to be taken from me. I was working as a teacher, with a great supportive community of family and friends to suddenly someone with no job, no friends or family close by and no one who really knew me prior to becoming a married woman. I'm not saying any of this to have a pity party or to ask for sympathy, its more for myself to process and to help me see what God is doing. Trust me, I've had enough pity parties, meltdowns and tantrums to last me a lifetime and they never got me anywhere except amazement at how Cody can still love me in the midst of them. Sometimes I'm the most stubborn brat and won't want to let go but it'll only be a matter of time before I'm forced to since holding on just makes me more miserable.

Being in a different country definitely can be a challenge. Even though New Zealand and America are both Westernised countries, that does not mean the cultures are the same. For example its not fun to venture out of one self into unfamiliar territory and say something that may be considered funny back home only to receive a few smiles or at the most an attempted snigger in response. After experiencing a few similar situations like this a girl can start to lose a bit of self-esteem and question whether she has much of a personality at all. I'm sure ultimately all of this 'losing myself' stuff is good for me but in the process it sure is painful.

Cody does a great job at reminding me of what God is doing since I don't always see it - He is stripping me of false comforts and things that I found my identity in. Also, the foundational stuff that God is instilling in our relationship will over time prove to be invaluable. He wants me to find myself in Him only (not my job, not my family or friends, not my church, not my reputation not even Cody). I know in my heart He is definitely at work somewhere amongst all of this. I know I will see more sometime further down the track. I just pray that in spite of myself, I can still glean from what God had intended for me during this season. Because I think that I may have failed every 'test' that has come my way.

So right now I am preparing myself to become a Mama - well sort of, mostly just trying to find foods that I can eat that don't make me feel sick. I am slowly getting through a parenting book which is awesome (called Grace Based Parenting). I'm even doing "mama" type things like learning how to make bread, looking at baby clothes online...I guess that's about it for now, but it sure is a start! I am getting excited about heading home to have the little one, having my Mum and Dad around me while I get ready, and just being back in the comforts of my hometown. I know things will be different (not just the city landscape), but I am learning to accept that change will always be apart of life. I was recently emailing a friend back and forth and she was telling me what God had been teaching her in this season of her life and it really struck something in me. It is so simple yet so profound. God's grace is for the moment and the challenge is to rest in that and allow God's grace to envelop me, not to be too focused on looking ahead and getting outside of the Grace that He has to enable me for the NOW.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Making do with what you have

Recently we moved into a new apartment. I was very sad about having to move in the first place. I was uninspired and unmotivated to look at anything since I believed we couldn't afford anything I wanted anyway, particularly in the area we wanted. There had been a place round the corner from the amazing apartment we had been living in that we had talked about. I had refused to even check it out because of the outside appearance. Cody went ahead and did his research on it anyway. We found out that the rent was surprisingly reasonable considering the location and it was month to month lease which was exactly what we needed. When Cody took me to see it (5 days before we had to move) lets just say I wasn't exactly thrilled about it but I was (reluctant to admit it) pleasantly surprised at the inside layout of the place. It did smell. Really bad. This alone was enough to put me off. The walls were unusual (I have come to love them now) and it was just plain filthy especially compared to the nice modern place we had been living in. But as usual my very optimistic husband saw the potential in it. He really has a gift of being able to see the beauty in anything. Since we had about 5 days to find a place and no other hopeful prospects I reluctantly agreed it was the best option for us since the other was living out of our borrowed mini-van.

Once we started moving in and putting our mark on the place, I started to have more and more hope. Cody worked so hard to get moved in as soon as possible so we could feel settled in our new home. We had fun working out the composition of the rooms together and figuring out the cheapest way of organising our things in a very small kitchen and a bedroom that has a tiny closet. I really didn't think we were able to make this place look as amazing as it does. Cody has taught me so much about not being hindered by the obstacles that always speak louder but seeing the potential in everything and simply making do with what we have. Even the amount of ants, cockroaches and fruit flies hasn't put me off, or the fact that I have to heat the kettle to get hot water to do our dishes, or that our shower takes 10 minutes to heat, not even the smell has turned me away (I'm sure some of this is normal when renting but since I lived at home up until I got married, I have never experienced any of this. Ohh woe is me). It has become such a cozy home that I am very proud of. I am so proud of my husband too for not allowing the initial hindrances (or the attitude of his wife) to deter him. Like my Mum said "even if you guys had to live in a container you would make it look like a designer container".

Our lounge with about 10 scented candles burning the gross smells away

Our cheap clothes storage hanging mechanism from Ikea

Charlie's spot!

I had to add a photo of me baking cookies in the new kitchen

This cabinet is my fave part of the kitchen

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Created to create

Time to write again. I shouldn't leave it so long to blog. Its those pesky thoughts that always stop me from starting things I really love to do. I find it so therapeutic making myself dive deep inside what can sometimes feel like the messiness of life to try and make sense of everything. And when I do, I always resurface with some nugget of truth that is so beautifully simple and uncomplicated. Blogging seems to help me make sense of what God is doing.

God just doesn't stop working is us. I am astounded at the never-ending lessons there are to learn in life, no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. There never will be a point of arrival when we can say to ourselves "I've done it, I think I look enough like Christ, I'm just gonna sit back and enjoy these last years on earth". The cool thing is that life would be so boring if we weren't being continually challenged and changed.

God's breathing life into areas that have been seemingly dead for quite a number of years. This sounds great (and it is) but it can also be a bit scary. The main one is in the area of creativity. I have always loved to create. I just get overwhelmed at how to go about it. There seems to be so much that gets in the way....So, often I just won't do anything. This has been my attitude for a looooooong time. As a wee girl I always had a project on the go but after ignoring this part of me for so many years and taking life so seriously during my time at University and Grad School, it seemed like it shriveled up and died. I am in a phase which is totally conducive to allowing those things to come alive again. And that is exactly what God seems to be doing. It has been a battle to get to this point. I just couldn't seem to get myself to really start anything because of fears of failing and the possibility of discovering that I really wasn't very creative after all. In my heart I know this is ridiculous, I should be doing these things simply because I enjoy doing them, and I shouldn't take it so seriously. There is this ugly perfectionist monster in me that enjoys raising its unwelcome head to stifle and shut out the desire inside me to create.

My amazing husband who is always encouraging me told me to simply start. Get out the paper and paints, put some music on and use my gifts (doesn't matter how good/bad I think they are) as an act of faith and worship towards God. Somehow, this doesn't seem so daunting. No standard to reach, no result to obtain, no judgments being made. So I am taking baby steps toward allowing this part of me to come alive by acting on it despite my thoughts and feelings. So, I have started making cards. I got my paints out and begun painting. I got my drawing pencils out and their nice sharp tips are actually becoming a bit blunt! I don't even know if I like what I'm creating, but I know I am enjoying the process. I love getting so wrapped up and focused on what I am doing that I forget about everything else. It feels like I come alive and that has to be a good thing. I feel like everyone is a creator in one way or another. It can seem like there are so many obstacles that lie in the path of creativity. I feel like letting go is a major key to enjoying the freedom we have to create. I'm thankful I have a God that leads me and points me in the direction toward finding joy and fulfillment in creating...just like Him. After all, we are created in His image.

Some things I have started to do...

These things we did awhile back when I had a small spurt of inspiration...

An example of some spilled frustration...

My teacherness coming through with an interactive method of choosing a date: