All My Arrows is now listed on topmommyblogs.com! Please vote!

Vote for me @ Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Ultimate Mother





Tomorrow is Mother's day, and I'm a mother. So I fully expect to be pampered and told how awesome I am. To be honest, if no one does anything for me and my kids don't say "Happy Mother's Day!" at least once, I will be pretty disappointed.

In honor of Mothers day, mothers around the globe will be playing martyr and making points about how they don't NEED to be celebrated today. We are all just mothers, doing what God called us to do. It's our job and one we will begrudgingly happily accept.
Well, I don't believe that. We as mothers are always going very far beyond what we are required or expected to do.
Today I have extra kids. I have my daughter (turning 8 tomorrow!) and my four boys who are 6, 4, 2, and 2 months. My friend who is living with us is at work so I have her 2 year old as well. Another friend needed a sitter as well so I have an extra 3 year old. Yep.. I have 7 kids today, 8 and under.
Why did I agree to this? Because I'm a mom. I have this thing instilled in me that I have to help everyone. I have to push myself to my limits and go above and beyond what I'm probably capable of. And the best part? I made excuses for why it is so easy with this many kids! I actually told my husband that the only hard part is the newborn, and it's hard to do anything with a newborn whether you have one other kid or ten.
My friend, whose 3 year old I am entertaining today, cannot fathom this many children at once. It seems too busy and hectic. She is currently running errands - flying to Juneau to get stuff done. She runs several businesses and is in charge of a LOT of employees. She has a teenage daughter and this toddler. To me, trying to accomplish *any* form of real work while having children at home is a joke. I could never do what she does, and to be honest, I'm more in my element chasing after more kids than I can count on one hand.



We are the same, her and I. We have both overbooked ourselves, as a stay-at-home mom and as a working mom. We're in too deep and we have too many people relying on us. We have too many tasks to accomplish and not enough time and people don't honestly expect us to be perfect, but we are going to try anyways. That's the mom curse (or maybe it's women, generally?), to do everything you possibly can and then a little more, and don't act surprised when you get no recognition for it.

Mary was a young virgin when she became pregnant with our Lord and savior. We all like to think of her as this poised, mature woman who totally had it all together and got stuff done. Somehow, realistically, I doubt that's what it was like. It's widely speculated that she was between 12-14 years old at the time.
I know. People were wayyy different back then. She was probably much more mature than I was at that age, right?
No. I don't care how old you are, if an angel visits you and tells you that you are going to have a baby and you've never had sex, that is gonna FREAK YOU OUT.
I think she handled it fairly well. There was the chance that she would get stoned to death, her fiance would leave her, her family would disown her... but she did the right thing. She could have had an abortion, too. Don't think for a second that there weren't ways back then to get rid of an unwanted pregnancy. I don't think people consider that she did in fact have options. But no, she allowed God to use her for one of the most important circumstances that we would ever learn about. Now, I'm not catholic. So I really don't believe that Mary was sinless. She was a screw-up like the rest of us but God favored her. He created her to be the ultimate mother; not in the sense that she was perfect, but that she carried and birthed a perfect vessel. That's amazing! God could have had Jesus be born into this world by growing on a tree. He could have been brought in swaddling clothes by a stork that dropped him on a doorstep. He could have magically appeared out of nowhere, just strolling into town like a drifter and being like "Hey, I'm Jesus!"
He was born from a mother. Look what the Lord can do through us horribly imperfect people using motherhood! It's because God created women to be so incredibly special... and then that woman is amplified by becoming a mother. The Lord made us with these awesome abilities to take on a million times more than any human should and somehow gives us that desire for Him to fill us so that we don't break. He has given us cellular miracles to keep us connected with the children He gives us. Oh my goodness, He really pulled out all the stops when He designed the idea of us mothers.

You are probably tired. You are probably so weary you can't stand it. Even if you have grown children (because I know how much I still stress my mom out!). Even if you only have one child. Even if you are pregnant for the first time and just the *thought* of preparing the way for your blessing fills you with equal parts determination and anxiety. You have crap to do today. For crying out loud, it took me three hours to write this blog post - simply because of the chaos. You will be overwhelmed. You will function for the rest of your life on not quite enough sleep but by God, you will live through it. You'll complain a little in passing to your friends because after all, you have such *mom* problems. But when push comes to shove and a stranger asks you how you like being a mom you will gush with pride and joy because that's who you are!
So tomorrow, when someone wants to buy you a coffee, or give you a back rub, or your child asks if they can bring you breakfast in bed - just accept it. Let them celebrate you this one day. It's not a lot to ask and people do *want* to recognize you this day. I know, your husband handing you the last bite of his brownie is not really all-encompassing recognition, but just take what you can get. Or better yet, ask someone to take the kids so you can treat yourself to something nice! Don't be a martyr. You are doing God's work raising the little souls he entrusted you with. You deserve one day to be celebrated, and you don't need to feel guilty about it.





Luke 1:46-55 (Mary's Song)

And Mary said:
"My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
even as he said to our fathers."









Thursday, April 9, 2015

Because We Believe

A little over three weeks ago, we were still very adamant about the FACT that the Lord controls the womb. He does not accidentally give you children that you aren't meant to have, and He doesn't sit back and watch your closed womb without purpose. We know He has His hand in everything and just like in the time of the Old Testament, He is in control of our childbearing.

We experienced a very traumatic birth. Our baby was born without a heartbeat, and I very nearly died afterward. I think many people would forgive us after this whole ordeal, if we decided that five kiddos is more than enough and it's time for a birth control solution.
In fact, the comments have already started.
My friend informed me that people are already asking her (why would they dare ask us to our faces? That would be far too honorable, of course) if we are done now. We should just be happy with the kids we have, and we shouldn't *risk* any more. That's the worldly wisdom, at work as always. There was a nurse, right when I got to Seattle, that felt so compelled to voice her concern; she went on and on about how she cares so much that I not have any more children... the very day after harrowing childbirth ordeal. Even as I was being wheeled away for my C-section the surgeon asked if I was interested in a tubal. This probably wasn't a reflection on the children I already have but I can't help but feel that bitter sting every time a doctor suggests my husband get a vasectomy or that I myself fix my entirely unbroken body.

So, suffering a medical emergency has changed day to day life for me. I was never that child who broke a bone or needed stitches for busting my head open. We were careful children and never suffered much of anything. So being 27 and suddenly being rushed into emergency surgery, especially when I've had anxiety most of my life, was downright scary. I've always had an illegitimate fear of being "put under" for surgery and never waking up, or of bleeding to death. The fact that I literally almost bled to death and then they did have to put me under caused me to face a lot of my fears of my own mortality. I'd love to say that I am no longer afraid, but it's proving to be quite a process for me. I believe I will come out on the other side with a much healthier outlook though. I'm just not quite there yet - and admittedly, I think I may be dealing with a degree of PTSD after this whole thing.

I don't think that many people were inspired by my ability to have unprotected sex with my husband and pop out babies left and right. Our lack of a foreseeable trial probably dampened that inspiration quite a bit. Never mind that Josh was likely to be sterile after chemo when he was 16. Our massive fertility is just a cause and affect to most people. I can see now how this trial of traumatic birth can be used for good though. Many people are expecting us to turn back to earthly wisdom and "be done." Logically, if anything scary happens, you should prevent anything scary like that from ever happening again.
But the truth is, we are never done or not done. Because our lifestyle and our faith isn't about us and our ability to have more pregnancies. It never has been, so why should that change now?
We don't try to get pregnant and we don't try not to because we believe that the Lord controls our womb. Surely, having unprotected sex makes you pregnant, right? Well, yes, that's the idea. Because the Lord designed it that way. Adam and Eve were doing that in the Garden. The Lord did not ever hand them a birth control prescription and say "this is the intelligent thing to do." I don't think it was ever God's intention to draw a line between the marital act of intimacy and the natural consequence of pregnancy. Obviously, I do *believe* we will get pregnant by not using protection. I also know, however, that sometimes it doesn't happen that way. I have plenty of close friends who have gone years waiting on another blessing that just never showed up. I don't pretend to know why some wombs are closed, and not every case of barrenness is attributable to the Lord, but I know He is attributable to some.

We are currently praying that God will give us a break long enough for me to heal before another baby. If it's His will for something else, then we are okay with that. Ultimately though, having a traumatic experience doesn't change anything. We live in faith that God knows our hearts and has preconceived every child He wishes to bless us with - but I will not refuse a blessing and expect Him to give it anyways. Because we really, truly believe every child is a blessing.

This is a podcast about a man who had a vasectomy. It was shared in my Christian Mom Group this morning when a woman was discussing her husband wanting a vasectomy. It made me cry several times - it is just a really beautiful testament to the Lord changing hearts. It's almost 30 minutes long, but I really encourage everyone to listen to it all the way to the end. At one point it really briefly touches on an idea I have tried to convey for a long time, about children being blessings.



Did you listen to it? Cause Jesus knows if you are lying. Also a lot of what I'm saying is probably irrelevant if you didn't.

Because we truly believe that every child is a blessing, we truly believe that the Lord WANTS to bless us this way and we won't prevent that for selfish reasons...and yes, my own fear is a selfish reason.
In all honesty, I'm at the point where I am terrified to get pregnant again. I am afraid something will go wrong, and I'll have to endure more medical trauma or worse - I will die. These fears aren't really all that rational. And to feel this way robs the Lord of his sovereignty over our lives. God could have taken Jericho and I both very easily. He could have taken Josh out of this world 20 years ago. And He didn't. There is nothing I could have done to change the outcome either way. I know as humans we think we are in control but guess what? We just aren't. And while I am here I want to acknowledge that. I want to live as though I trust the Lord with my life, until He calls me home. Our faith in Him controlling the womb CANNOT change just because I'm scared. That's not faith or trust if you stop believing when it becomes difficult!
Four years ago, the Lord dragged me out of bed in the middle of the night to confront me with a truth. He said "Do you really trust me?" I struggle with it, but in general, yes. I trust God with everything. That includes childbearing. Now that I have been confronted I have to always have an answer. I can say whatever I want and make any excuse I want. But it's cut and dry - we either trust or we don't. It is yes or it is no. It's perfectly human to say "yes, I do!" but not live that way. He can see in our hearts that our answer is no, and He can forgive that like any other sin. Personally, I am going to say yes. And I am going to keep saying yes, and despite my struggles I am going to try my hardest to live in a way that reflects my resounding YES, because we believe that we should step back and let the Lord be in control of EVERYTHING. And no matter what just happened to us, that hasn't changed.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Jericho David "Sammich" Huskey

 I don't know for sure that I even announced my most recent pregnancy here on my blog. I'm taking some time out however to tell my birth story. It' a good one! Sort of.









I had a normal, most uneventful pregnancy. I was anemic, I felt like crap. Everyone blamed me being older and already having four children. That wasn't the problem though. I was just due for a more typical pregnancy like typical women experience... since mine had been way too easy so far.
We were getting prenatal care at the birth center where we panned to have our baby, and as per our insurance stipulations, we were in Juneau in a motel at 37 weeks.

Juneau, AK 3/17/15

We spent almost four full weeks in the motel, my husband and I and our four kiddos. It was just awful and we were waiting and waiting for the baby to come so we could finally go home.
I was having intermittent contractions and at my 40 week appointment, my midwife informed me that I was dilated to 3 and it shouldn't be long. I had another appointment on the 16th, a few days later, and was 5cm. Still no active labor.
 After several days of prodromal labor, the real thing started happening on March 17th when my water broke very early in the morning... The contractions kept up (along with losing mucous and bloody show, which was strange for me) and I finally met my midwife at the birth center. I had been dilating for days with contractions 7-10 minutes apart and tolerable, so there was no doubt I was still making progress.
We had a nice, calm time in the birthing room with my kids and midwives. Things were slow going since my contractions did not get closer together, but nonetheless, I was progressing. It was so serene and amazing. It was the labor that every woman prays for (but few get to experience). Things finally picked up and my midwife broke my water fully and I was 9 cm fairly quickly.
Things started to slow down quite a bit here. Normally, 9cm plus broken water would mean about five minutes and then time to push. But things stopped progressing normally.
Baby's heart rate, which had been absolutely beautifully perfect even through contractions, was dropping. I know that decels are normal during labor to some degree. My baby was dropping to around 90. And my midwife did not hesitate to get me lying down for a few contractions after checking my cervix for a cord prolapse. Laying down did not help. Every contraction brought his heart rate down below the comfortable level. My midwife immediately called in transport to the hospital.
I have to be honest; I was not scared for my baby. I don't know why. I guess I just felt like we would get in and get it taken care of and everything would be fine. At this point, I was also stuck in transition. My body was done with labor and desperately trying to expel a baby that would not be coming out. I remember telling Josh that I just needed something for pain now.
The E.M.T.s came while I was laying there in my underwear and using an oxygen mask. Even in my pain I was mortified. They lifted me onto the stretcher and I remember mostly just closing my eyes and focusing on breathing as they wheeled me outside uncovered and put me in the ambulance.
It was kind of a blur going into the hospital since I was laying down when it happened. I had no sense of direction and I more or less just appeared in room with tons of nurses and probably a doctor around me. They kept trying to get me to change positions and it was excruciating. I could hardly even think through the pain. I kept thinking that they needed to just do the C-section and get it over with. At one point they forced me onto my back and shoved my legs apart to give me a catheter while I screamed. Fun times! They finally gave me terbutaline to stop the contractions and got me in a position that bought us some time, and the pain from transition subsided with a few more really intense contractions.
They wheeled me back into the O.R. and got me sitting up and hunched over for the epidural. I was really relieved that it was almost over, despite all my hopes and prayers that I would never need a C-section. I knew that this was a true emergency though - I was not being buffaloed into an unnecessary procedure under the guise of "emergency."
As soon as I was laying flat and was numb, Josh came back in and was there by my side. I could feel them cutting me open and pulling the baby out. I waited anxiously for the sound of my baby.
I found out several details of the surgery later. They had not cut far enough, and his shoulders were stuck. They had to really yank him out. The cord was wrapped tightly around his neck twice. He also wasn't breathing when they got him out, and his heart wasn't beating. His first apgar score was 1. He had to be resuscitated by nurses.


Jericho David "Sammich" Huskey
Born 3/17/15 weighing 8lbs 9oz and 21inches long

After a few minutes of awkward and frightening silence, we heard him crying and I knew he was okay. I didn't find out until much, much later what had happened. His second apgar score, taken at five minutes, was 9.
They brought him over to my face and I was able to see him for just a few minutes before they took me back to my room for recovery.
I only remember being there for a few minutes before I started getting really dizzy. They gave me oxygen and I was losing my vision. I felt like I was just fading away. I looked at Josh and he looked worried. He has really never looked worried - he always keeps calm in these situations. The nurses started bustling around me and panicking saying my blood pressure was dropping and they thought I was bleeding internally. I turned to Josh and told him he doesn't get to look nervous, because if he was nervous, I was going to lose it. I barely remember saying it.
They started wheeling me back into the O.R. which was again, a total blur. I was just breathing as deliberately as I could into my oxygen mask thinking that I had to make an effort not to die, because this is what that is. I knew they were putting me completely under too, which has probably always been my greatest fear in life.
I don't remember how they did it (they probably put something in my IV), I just remember waking up. I couldn't open my eyes, but I could hear people in the room talking about me. I finally managed to force my eyes open but it only lasted a few seconds. I was so heavily sedated still; I just couldn't make any part of my body do what I wanted. My throat hurt more than I ever imagined it could. I could hardly breathe and swallowing was horrible. When I tried to talk, my voice would not come out. Just raspy throat sounds.
It took a while before I could open me eyes all the way, and even then, it was only for a few minutes before I fell back asleep. The whole time I was there was like little bits and pieces that I have to fuse together in my mind. But it felt like that while it was happening, too.
Eventually I got my eyes open and was frightened when I saw according to the sign on the wall that I was in the ICU. I don't know why, but it made me feel scared. Didn't I have a baby somewhere? And a husband? For the first time since the E.M.T.s were called, I realized that my other four children had to be somewhere as well.
A nurse came in with my baby after a while and asked if I was breastfeeding. I was full of IVs and God knows what else, and unable to lift the top half of my body still. The nurse literally pulled out my boob and held the baby to me so he could nurse. That might sound weird to some people but I can't even describe how grateful I was that she did. I think it's amazing that they have such a level of dedication to breastfeeding. She (and other nurses) continued to bring him to me every few hours while I was there.
Josh made it in to see me and told me that the midwives had taken the kids back to the birth center and ate pizza with them during my C-section and that he and the baby were in an O.B. room in the hospital. I missed the children meeting their brother. And I still had not had a chance to hold my baby. Eventually he was able to bring each of the kids in to see me for roughly 2-3 minutes each.
That night (I'm assuming it was night because I hadn't seen Josh in a long time) I had nurses rush in and ask me if I was feeling dizzy again. As if on cue, things started getting blurry. I had started bleeding internally again.
I think they just gave me more blood, but I don't remember. Once I started feeling normal (ha!) I fell back asleep. I woke up barely several hours later and heard a doctor talking on a phone. He said something about a hysterectomy. No one said anything about it to me.
The next day when a nurse came in I told her what I had heard and asked if they were talking about me - they were.
Once Josh came in again, if I remember correctly, he has told me that Cheyenne (who had been watching our house for the last four weeks) was coming over to Juneau from Hoonah. I saw the kids again, and soon was alone again with my aching throat and an inability to stay awake.
The doctor came in that morning and said they wanted me in Seattle. Basically, I was still bleeding and they couldn't risk keeping me in Juneau. I had lost 4 litres of blood total, and they had given me 9 units plus plasma. There was nothing left there to give me. And there were no more procedures, short of a hysterectomy that probably wouldn't work. I asked them to get Josh because I couldn't even think clearly.
When he came in we went over all the information again and started making plans for the Medivac team to take me to seattle. I have always been terrified of flying and I almost told Josh I didn't want to go. But we decided (obviously) that in the best interest of keeping my uterus (and not dying) I should probably go. I got to see the kids for a few brief moments and Cheyenne when she got there, and we were able to quickly inform Josh's parents and my parents and sister - all of whom were in Oregon - that we would be in Seattle.
The Medivac team came in and started asking me questions and getting prepped to leave. They wanted to know everything about what had happened over the last 24 hours. They were very nice, and I may have acted a little silly since I was on.. well, I don't actually know what I was on at that point. I had a button that I was supposed to push and I just pushed it every time I could, and it did nothing.
Josh just informed me that it was delaudid...whatever that means.
I talked to the medivac team and informed them that I was terrified of flying, and they said they could give me something for the flight.
It took less than two hours for them to prep everything and throw me on a stretcher and begin to evacuate me from the hospital. Everyone involved seemed to forget that I had had abdominal surgery because they kept bumping my stomach, throwing me from one stretcher to another (which continued at the next hospital) and laying their papers and clipboards on me.
Josh had a few moments to grab a bag with stuff for the baby. He was able to grab some disposable diapers and from the hospital and they gave him some baby outfits. He grabbed a few outfits out of our diaper bag before meeting me at the airport. I was still wearing nothing but a hospital gown and had absolutely nothing of my own in my possession.
They gave me half a dose of Ativan in my IV and it calmed me down immediately. But once we were on the flight, which I had been told was a jet but was still absolutely tiny, I started freaking out. They gave me another half dose.
Apparently, they also gave me Fentanyl, for whatever reason, and once the plane took off I started to hallucinate. I was in and out of sleep and seeing all sorts of weird hilarious things that startled me and made my head jerk around. I would think the Medivac lady would have been weirded out except that I'm sure she's seen it all before.



Again, I didn't realize a lot of the details until much later. I found out that the midwives, when I went in for my Csection, that the midwives from the birth center, who had followed us to the hospital, nabbed my four children and took them back to the birth center and ordered pizza and kept them entertained for us. My husband also had all five children with him in an birth recovery room alone. The hospital called in an extra nurse just to sit with the kids or the baby when he wanted to come visit me in the ICU. I also found out later that one of the nurses handed Josh $100 before we took off, just to help us out. I also found out that the Best Western motel staff was rude to him about needing to get our stuff out of our room, despite Josh telling them what our situation was. I guess they just wanted their room free so they could rent it out.

Seattle, WA  3/18/15  

We landed in Seattle around 5 or 6 p.m. and they handed me off to a new team..who kindly threw my poor half sedated body from one stretcher to another and set their crap directly on my incision.
Josh had a taxi lined up and was meeting us in the hospital while I rode in the ambulance.
It's really uncomfortable and you feel very vulnerable being wheeled around on your back through the Emergency Room doors. But that's neither here nor there. Once I arrived in my room, it was a shift change and so there were twice as many nurses. I'm guessing they were probably also hanging around just in case. As they were reading things out loud off of my chart, it was obvious that in the chaos, each medical professional had gone retarded and forgotten how to take down information. They thought I was coming in in critical condition even though I had been stable for almost 24 hours. They also had information regarding the birth - that I was 6 cm when I came in and the baby had shoulder dystocia. Neither were remotely accurate.
One nurse was very rude. She needed to check my fundal height (which is fine) but she came in and admittedly pushed as hard as she could to hurt me and assess what my bleeding was like. That, and they of course tossed me from the stretcher to the bed. And on top of that, in order to get the pad beneath me, they forcefully rolled me onto each side. I don't know why, but it was excruciating. I think all of these things contributed to the bruising and why I feel like two weeks later, I still need to be on medication for pain.
After the extra nurses left, things settled down greatly. Josh helped me hold Jericho by myself for the first time and nurse him. It was REALLY difficult because I had so many IVs and a blood pressure cuff over one of them. And I still couldn't sit up really. Somehow though we made it work.
Josh's parents showed up that night,and it was lovely. It made me feel a MILLION times better to have family there for support. We had the pleasure (not really...) of going through the whole account again for them. I was finally becoming less groggy enough to actually speak - despite the fact that I could still feel extreme pain and discomfort from the intubation during my surgery.

I asked Josh to snap a pic of the Medivac flight.


3/19/15

The next morning they told me my platelets were still dropping. This meant I still had a slow bleed happening. In Juneau, this would have meant a hysterectomy because they had no blood left to give me. In Seattle, they took me into interventive radiology for a procedure called Uterine Artery Embolization.  The nurse at this point noticed that I didn't even have hospital panties. Which was both hilarious and depressing. They finally allowed me to maneuver myself to the new bed to wheel me away (no more painful throwing!) and Josh got to come in as far as the pre-op consultation. Basically, they put a catheter through my groin and injected me with ink to see where the bleed was. And then they put in a coil to stop it. It was successful and fairly quick - I was out before 1 p.m. The worst part was at the end of the procedure, the doctor had to put pressure on the area for ten minutes. Putting pressure apparently means that he was going to painfully dig his knuckle into my groin for eternity.

*smooching my baby*


Later that same day, my parents and my sister's family showed up. It suddenly felt like everything was going to be okay. Although I started to notice how badly my body was falling apart. I had not yet gotten up out of bed. My arms were sore from lifting my body weight (now over 206 with all the fluids they gave me) around in the hospital bed. I had numerous hep locks that were taped in place cause rashes and itching and hindering my breastfeeding. My milk had not come in yet and baby was having trouble latching. I had one IV right where my blood pressure cuff sat, and it was so irritated that the tape square it was secured with was constantly filling up with blood. My throat hurt so badly I couldn't swallow food properly and kept choking. I had a break out of hives (or something) on my butt from sitting in the hospital bed. I had bruises in places I should not have. I was so puffy it was scary. My oxygen was at 80 and I couldn't take a deep breath because of the pain. My catheter was still in place and I was getting so uncomfortable with it.
That night they wanted me to try to get up and move from my bed to a chair. I didn't feel ready, but they wanted to move me to another room with a better bed for Josh. So I gave it a try and managed to accomplish what they wanted to see despite being dizzy and short of breath.
We got moved to the new room and it seemed so much more peaceful. Josh got to sleep in a decent bed, and my bed was much more comfortable. I was starting to be able to eat really soft foods a little throughout the day, and I got my catheter removed (if I remember right). I lost a lot of the water weight. I was also being given tons of medication and vitamins. The nurse seemed to have something new every time she came in. Calcium, stool softener, milk of magnesia, percocet (we finally found something that helped with pain and didn't make me loopy or groggy), prilosec...
I spent the next few days just recovering. All the random things they were taking blood for constantly were looking better and better, and little by little they took the IVs out. On 3/21 they took out my staples a replaced them with steri-strips.


Removing my staples

 Josh had to go to Target and buy me an outfit because I had nothing. He couldn't get me any shoes though because my feet were too puffy. One of the days I tried really hard to get up and move around more, I ended up swelling horribly in my legs and belly to the point that I couldn't even walk anymore. After that I chose to spend more time sitting and lying down. Other than that, it was relaxing and peaceful just being around family and bonding with my baby knowing I was in good hands.

I'm puffy and bruised.


3/23/15

They finally bid us farewell and we were discharged to a Hotel until our commercial flight the following day. I had to leave the hospital in those fluffy hospital socks. It was raining outside so I had to get in the cab with soaking wet socks. To add insult to injury (injury meaning all the ridiculous stuff that had happened so far) I got three huge cold sores the day I left the hospital.


Jericho's second time leaving the hospital

When we checked into the Hotel, we left the baby with Josh's mom and we went over to the mall that was about a block away. I chose to go barefoot rather than in wet socks. We eventually found a pair of slip-on shoes and after we got back to the Hotel Nexus, we used our Medicaid food vouchers and ate at Saffron Grill. It's not all that related to the birth story, but for dinner I had hot Chai tea (which is delicious when it is authentic!) and a lava cake. I was still not able to eat much solids at this point. But it was also awesomely close to the Hotel so I could easily hobble over.

Sipping specialty coffee and Sassafrass or whatever it was called.


3/24/15

The final stretch was another misadventure as we left for the airport. We had to get up in time to drive across Seattle and check in for a 6 a.m. flight, having no ID for me or the baby. But at this point I was just glad to be going home in clothes. They actually got us through security and TSA let me off easy when we explained to them why I had no idea. I was in a wheelchair holding a newborn so I think it was obvious. He warned me to keep my arms in my lap if they frisked me, and I asked if they coul be gentle because I just had two abdominal surgeries. He ended up swabbing my hands quickly and letting me through. We were allowed to pre-board which is always awesome. I wasn't as nervous as usual so I was trying to avoid taking the two Ativan the doctor gave me for the flight. As it was, the percocet helped me feel more relaxed than I would normally be on an airplane. I fell asleep leaning on Josh.
About two hours later the pilot announced that we would be rolling back into station, because there was an issue with the landing gear. We ended up having to get off and transfer to another plane, which meant a wheelchair trip across the entire airport. We boarded the next plane and when the time came to take off, I absolutely lost it. I instantly had a severe panic attack and all but screamed at Josh to give me my pill for that. I am not proud of it.
From there on out, I was in and out of sleep. We were already three hours behind, and we hadn't slept the night before. I was on percocet and now ativan too, and I couldn't keep my eyes open. Unfortunately, we were on THE MILK RUN. Everyone in Southeast Alaska knows what this means. This is the flight that stops in every stupid place possible. We landed first in ketchikan, then Wrangell, then Petersberg before getting to Juneau. The funny part is, my least favorite part of flying is the take off. Which I now had to do five times instead of twice. And two of the towns we landed in had tiny, tiny runways which meant that landing entailed absolutely slamming to a stop and taking off entailed gaining speed as quickly as possible and going up at an alarming angle. Yay!
We got to Juneau eventually and Josh was able to get to our van and get our diaper bag with all our cloth diapers and baby stuff. Too bad the van had to be left behind until we could arrange to get it on a ferry.
I was starving and so we went to a little bar upstairs and were about to spend our last $12 on something quick to eat. I grabbed a little wrap and a soda and the man there rang it up as $10. I threw it back at him and said never mind, and got a $2 banana instead. I started crying as we walked out. I was so done with everything at this point and apparently I was emotional at the injustice of prices in Alaska. Also the guy was kind of a jerk.
Anyways, we got our flight home and made it back. It was amazing to see my kids in the parking lot as we landed, although it was crappy that I couldn't bend down to hug to them.


The bruising is healing up after a week

We've been home for a week now and I still start randomly crying sometimes when I think about what we went through. It's scary to think that we almost didn't make it here. We still don't have our van, but that's okay. We've had so much help from everyone around us since Josh wasn't able to work for six weeks. We have had donations of food, money, and baby items. It's been wonderful. God has really provided through all of this.


On top of everything that has happened, I've had several people ask me if we are going to stop having children now. That's really grossly inappropriate to ask considering what we all just went through. But I'll answer anyways. Josh and I are praying about it. I don't think this changes our commitment to Christ and trusting our fertility to Him. He can still open and close the womb. If I need a season without being pregnant in order to heal, that's what I will get. Because that's what we will pray for in His will. 










My amazing family started a GoFundMe account to help us get on our feet after all this. The help and support of friends, family, and community has been overwhelming.








Saturday, December 27, 2014

On the Christian Head Covering Movement






It's not all that recent of a conviction of mine to wear a head covering part-time. I've been doing it off and on for a while... like, two years I think? One of the most common questions I get is directly related to being Jewish or Muslim. It has become a common misconception that head covering is strictly a midde-Eastern practice. More and more Christians are head covering today (just as more and more Christians are allowing the Lord sovereignty of their wombs! Yay!) and for good reason usually.
It's also a misconception that head covering in Christianity is an outdated practice. There are many denominations that still practice optional headcovering, including some Protestants, Catholics, and Pentecostals. Most of them do not teach it as a salvation doctrine. If we can get past the that first notion that it is not a Christian practice, well then... we can move on to all these other misconceived ideas.
Many that choose to argue the significance of head covering begin with the "fact" that it was described by Paul due to being culturally relevant to that time period, and it isn't relevant any longer. But if you look at what Paul was trying to convey, the relevance may be greater today than ever. Paul was guiding the church of Corinth about many of their divisive issues...namely their paganism. I don't think that the purpose of the books of Corinthians should ever be lost to today's Christians. While the ideas presented in them are not rules for salvation, much can be gleaned from studying Corinthians and the points that Paul felt the need to address among his church. Otherwise, there would be no point in any of it being in the bible!
So in 1st Corinthians 11 Paul says;

Be imitators of me, even as I also am of Christ. 11:2 Now I praise you, brothers, that you remember me in all things, and hold firm the traditions, even as I delivered them to you. 11:3 But I would have you know that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is the man, and the head of Christ is God. 11:4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head. 11:5 But every woman praying or prophesying with her head unveiled dishonors her head. For it is one and the same thing as if she were shaved. 11:6 For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered. 11:7 For a man indeed ought not to have his head covered, because he is the image and glory of God, but the woman is the glory of the man. 11:8 For man is not from woman, but woman from man; 11:9 for neither was man created for the woman, but woman for the man. 11:10 For this cause the woman ought to have authority on her head, because of the angels.
11:11 Nevertheless, neither is the woman independent of the man, nor the man independent of the woman, in the Lord. 11:12 For as woman came from man, so a man also comes through a woman; but all things are from God. 11:13 Judge for yourselves. Is it appropriate that a woman pray to God unveiled? 11:14 Doesn’t even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him? 11:15 But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her, for her hair is given to her for a covering. 11:16 But if any man seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither do God’s assemblies. 

Paul devoted many verses to the subject of headship and covering. It was probably a huge issue in the church then, but why?
There are differing speculations about why the church was apparently rebelling from a custom they were supposed to be keeping (one really interesting theory HERE) but ultimately, the part that should take the most focus is the end: "But if one is inclined to be contentious, we have no other practice, nor have the churches of God." (I Corinthians 11:16—NASV) He sums up his entire discussion about head covering by announcing that if you disagree, there is no contrary custom in God's assemblies. For whatever reason, the church was trying to break away from the head covering command they had been practicing and Paul wanted no dissension about it! He even tried to appeal to their logical reasoning, saying that even nature (creation beyond commandment) was teaching them that women are to have long hair and men short. Again, I don't think this is a rule by any means. I don't think that you are going to hell if you are a woman with short hair or a man with long hair. But I do think it's important to consider *why* Paul needed to address his unruly church to convince them in these ways. Obviously, if it made it into the Holy Word, it's there for a reason. What is the example here that is still relevant today?

The verse describes in great depth the matter of headship, but back when Paul wrote it, that is where the symbolism was - a woman in church uncovered was thought to be rebelling from the headship of her husband or even the Holy authority in her church. Our customs today are MUCH different obviously. If I go to church in a mini-skirt, someone will probably think I am rebelling in some way. If I go to church with my hair showing, it definitely does need even turn a head. But that does NOT mean that this is a custom that should be thrown out by any means (HERE is a lovely article about church history and customs. Definitely a good read)!
While many argue the laws from Leviticus and so forth, saying that Christ's blood set us free to be saved by Grace, it doesn't change the *significance* of these things having their place and importance in the Bible!
The fact that it is not one of our current "customs" is actually the part I find to be the most irrelevant. We are called to be the Lord's peculiar people and to set ourselves apart from the world. So even though it no longer symbolizes headship for most people that I would wear a head covering, it definitely draws attention. Not necessarily unwanted attention - much like wearing skirts or having a lot of children! It's a means to minister to unbelievers as well. One interesting and accurate excerpt from a great article on the meaning of Paul's urge for head coverings:

"The third argument admits that Paul was talking about women wearing head coverings, most probably during congregational prayers, but asserts that this was only a social custom of the day and thus is not binding on the church today. The assumption behind this teaching is that if an action, even if it is commanded to be done, is found to have been a cultural trait, it does not have to be performed today. Using this assumption, one may disregard many teachings of the New Testament which to follow would make one a social misfit. There is no Biblical authority for such an assumption to this writer's knowledge. This is rather a case of "teaching as doctrines the precepts of men" (Mark 7:7). It may be argued that "common sense" says that cultural commands are not binding today. But "common sense" is merely human wisdom and Paul says in I Corinthians 2:3, "which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, . . ." (Also compare I Corinthians 2:5-6). We are to speak as God has spoken in His word, not as common sense would tell us."

 Read the rest of this amazing and in-depth article HERE!


 We were not called to follow "cultural norms" anyhow, were we? *smile*



Romans 12:2 ESV 

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

1 Peter 2:9 ESV

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

John 17:15-18 ESV 

I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.

There are apparently abundant myths about head covering as it relates to Christianity and once you weed through them, you will probably still be scratching your head. Ultimately, the mantra when it comes to issues that are not what most consider to be "salvation issues" (or just *not* typical Christian doctrine) is this; Who cares? We are not bound by legalism, we are saved by grace, we are not saved by works, so who cares if you cover your head? You don't *HAVE TO.* I agree! You don't have to.
I also probably don't have to go to church, because you aren't saved by magical Jesus Points of Church Attendance.
I don't *have* to give the Lord sovereignty of my womb - I could easily tell him no, I'm done having children because I want to be and I struggle too much with trusting to have a million babies.
I don't have to dress feminine in any way because it won't change the fact that I am saved because I have Christ in my heart.
Ultimately though, I don't want to be a bare-minimum Christian. I want to please and honor God in every possible way. If that means that, when faced with something, I have to make a choice that may not be the most comfortable to me, I have to be honest with myself. Am I going to be too afraid of what others will say if I have to tell them I am honoring my husband's headship by covering my hair? Or are my eyes set on eternal things to where I am storing p treasures for heaven?
I'm both alarmed and ever-grateful for being able to open my heart to the Lord and truly pray for convictions. He has changed me in a lot of ways and I am constantly becoming less and less of this world while I transform into His vessel.

 

2 Corinthians 5:17 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.




I don't want to be the same as I was yesterday. As difficult as it is to be stretched further beyond my comfort zone I know that the desire for new convictions from the Lord will ensure that I am always someone different tomorrow, and hopefully it is more honoring to the Lord than the day before.

 





Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Proverbs Wife is Honored for all her hands have done!

I have chickens. Lots of chickens.
Taking care of chickens is super easy for me because I love animals.
Just kidding.
I have 7 hens and a rooster that are outside. Then I have about 40ish (I think, I haven't counted) mixed chicks, 90 cockerels that will be butchered, and 8 ducks - all in the room we have dubbed "the chicken room." In. Side. My. House.
They smell. They are noisy. They cost a bit to feed. I have to worry about their survival. I have to clean out the brooders - there is a tri-level brooder, and two floor level brooders - refill water and food all day, get up in the night to make sure they aren't too warm or too cold, and then a couple times a week I have to clean EVERYTHING. Which means rinse out the duck's brooder and take the cloth bedding out and wash it and scoop out the bird poop and wash the feeders and waterers and wipe down the table and change out the plastic linings and sweep the floor and I've had to change light bulbs and every day the ducks have to be taken to the bathtub to swim....
Did I mention I'm incubating another 31 eggs too? That means that I have to check the temp and humidity on that and turn the eggs three times a day and candle them for growth and check their air cells and when they hatch - well, then the process of taking care of new chicks will start all over again. Did I mention that for the first two weeks you have to go through every chick and check it's butt to make sure it's butt is clean? And I have to protect my outdoor flock and make sure they are safe from predators as well.
So yeah.. it's super easy because I love animals.
No, not really. It is extremely difficult and takes up a large portion of my time. It's just not really all that fun.
Believe it or not though, this post is not about why you *shouldn't* have chickens!
I know so many women who don't homeschool because they don't have time or patience. I just don't think that's a good excuse. Likewise, I don't believe for a second that you should look at something in terms of how much work it will take when deciding whether or not you should do it. I'm not saying that you should dive into everything without thinking about it.  But obviously, if you are choosing not to do something out of laziness then you are probably making a poor choice.


She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.

She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.

She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.

She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.

She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.

In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.

She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.

Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.




It really is awesome if you think about it. The Lord does not expect a wife to sit around all day being helpless - and there is no excuse for her not to be a hard worker just like her husband! It doesn't simply encompass "being a mommy." We are called to do so much more than that. The Lord can put desires in your heart if you want Him to. I have felt convicted to be more in control of my family's needs. I enjoy my chickens, and ducks, and all of that. But more than anything, the Lord wants me to grow spiritually by learning how to provide for us. We have eggs every day, that have not been sprayed with harsh chemicals. By the end of Spring we will have plenty of free range, clean, healthy chicken for the rest of the year. It's worth the effort and hard work to reap the rewards.

It may not even be cost efficient for us once we factor in feed costs and everything. But that's not really my concern. I know that the Lord wants this busy work to take place and He will provide the funds for me to do it.

I am not saying "the Lord wants everyone to raise chickens!" Although, it's probably a good idea for anyone who is even remotely capable. 
Rather, I think it's really important for spiritual growth, as a wife, to put out effort and not be afraid of hard work. 
I homeschool. I make food from scratch whenever I can. I learn to make things. I raise animals for food. I am gardening (even though I am TERRIBLE at it and don't even remotely enjoy it!!). I build things from scraps. I repurpose things. I've learned to sew and knit. I'm learning to card raw wool and spin in into thread. I am not doing it to be "cool" or different (cause all the cool kids spin wool into thread). I know that the Lord wants me to be unafraid to get my hands dirty and do a little work! 

Challenge yourself this week! Take time to pray about new skills the Lord wants to reveal to you so that you can engage in hard work of your hands. Learn to make homemade bread. Plant some seeds for spring. Pick up some chicks from the feed store. Take on a DIY project in the yard. Or just pray for a conviction and open your heart to the truth. Let me know how it goes!






 



Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year! My one word is....

2013 was an exciting year for our family. Our youngest little babycakes, Archer Matthias, made his debut in February. He is our fourth child (third boy!) and our first bundle that came of letting the Lord control our fertility. Among other exciting things from last year was the institution of the One Word resolutions.
Instead of creating an in-depth resolution (or an entire list of them) that will fizzle out before valentines day, Only A Breath suggested praying about one word that the Lord would put on your heart for you to focus on and achieve throughout the year. My one word last year was SEEK. It was in fact quite a success. I feel that I really made it through the year coming back to my goal of seeking! Sometimes only intermittently, but still. I didn't go into detail much on my blog throughout the year simply because it pertained to personal daily struggles and nothing really blog worthy.
This year, I know what my word is.


I made it big. Really big. Why? Because I LOVE this word. And this word is not for me. This word is for my family. 
This word is for the time I waste, zoning out to my phone because I am mentally incapacitated by the lack of sleep and in my backwards reasoning, I tell myself this is "rest" that I need instead of reading a book to my children. 
 This word is for days I don't feel like cooking a hot breakfast because I feel like the dishes afterward would not be worth it. 
This word is for the moments when Royal starts with the Stewie-Griffin style "mom" dialogue and I push him away and beg him to stop asking me questions for five minutes. 
This word is for my husband, when he asks me to pay a bill or send out a letter or pick up something from the store and in all selfishness, I make an excuse for why it is too much on my agenda.
After my initial goal that I should seek Him first, and knowing that He fills the empty spaces like water poured over stones, I am ready to move on. And my motivator is loving. I have to practice love as it encompasses all that is expected from me. Loving my children doesn't mean saying the words but being too tired. It doesn't mean selfish justifications toward my husband. And it means being the disciple that the Lord has called me to be. 


1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
 
This year, may my love overflow and become evident to all those around me as I pray that Christ's love show through me. Amen.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Works without Faith: and other Spiritual Tantrums

I've had several people tell me that they appreciate the "honesty" of my blog; the fact that I don't sugar-coat my own life circumstances apparently makes it easier for more of the normal readers to relate. The truth is that most of the blogs we read or even just daily accounts we hear from other women show us how everyone else is so spiritual and perfect and how greatly we fall short of what God probably desires.
To that point, I see loads of people who call themselves christian but have no works or fruits to show for it. I know they love Christ but there is no evidence of it through what they do, only through what they say. The reciprocal of that is the work without the faith - which is much less evident to those around us. It's impossible to look at someone else and know if there is a true, holy motive behind their actions. If you are acting without faith, no one else is going to know except you.
Like most people, I have days, times, seasons where I throw my own spiritual tantrum. I stomp my feet, ball up my fists (spiritually of course), and shout "I don't wanna!" reminiscent of a spiritual little Rumpelstiltskin when someone has guessed his name. The earth doesn't open up and swallow me, but it is a fair bit dramatic, regardless. Sometimes these spiritual tantrums and feelings of "I don't wanna" coincide with my choice to continue to do the right thing. So on the outside, I appear to be a good little christian while on the inside it is for all the wrong reasons.
At times, I am so excited to have another little blessing in our family. I want my pregnant belly, the little kicks from inside, the sleepy little newborn and the baby clothes and the "you're pregnant again?" and the car seat and the stretchy clothes and the extra helping of dessert.... I could go on all day. Alternately there have been times when all I could think about was what if I am pregnant? What if I don't get to enjoy walking without a waddle? Or wearing clothes without looking swollen? Or being too tired to function? I am constantly preaching about the joys of children and how much of a blessing pregnancy is, but occasionally I get these feelings of just not wanting to do it right now. It's selfish, and it's wrong. My family's ministry is founded not on having a bunch of kids - It literally has nothing to do with the *number* as far as that aspect is concerned. It's about 1) faith that God can control the womb and support whatever blessings you are given and 2) Christ's love showing through when you speak about and interact with your many, challenging little blessings. When I am totally open about growing my family through this purpose but on the inside I am thinking something different, I'm basically lying; and I am working without faith. Once my motivation shifts, the "work" to my "faith" becomes something other than a spiritual work. The good deed becomes nothing; and although it is hidden from others that the motivation is impure there is One who sees it.

Hebrews 5
11 Concerning this we have much to say which is hard to explain, since you have become dull in your [spiritual] hearing and sluggish [even [f]slothful in achieving spiritual insight].
12 For even though by this time you ought to be teaching others, you actually need someone to teach you over again the very first principles of God’s Word. You have come to need milk, not solid food.
13 For everyone who continues to feed on milk is obviously inexperienced and unskilled in the doctrine of righteousness (of conformity to the divine will in purpose, thought, and action), for he is a mere infant [not able to talk yet]!
14 But solid food is for full-grown men, for those whose senses and mental faculties are trained by practice to discriminate and distinguish between what is morally good and noble and what is evil and contrary either to divine or human law.

Therefore let us go on and get past the elementary stage in the teachings and doctrine of Christ (the Messiah), advancing steadily toward the completeness and perfection that belong to spiritual maturity. Let us not again be laying the foundation of repentance and abandonment of dead works (dead formalism) and of the faith [by which you turned] to God,
With teachings about purifying, the laying on of hands, the resurrection from the dead, and eternal judgment and punishment. [These are all matters of which you should have been fully aware long, long ago.]
If indeed God permits, we will [now] proceed [to advanced teaching].

The book of Hebrews serves as an open letter to Christians. These chapters discuss the need for spiritual maturity - mentioning, specifically, moving beyond simply abandoning dead works. The principles mentioned are explained as being something we should have mastered a long time ago. This is not new, profound revelation in our walk with God. This is your face-palm moment. If you can't even understand the most basic principles of Christ's teachings, what kind of testimony do you have? It may not seem like a huge devastation to your spiritual well being but the scripture says otherwise. Stop laying a foundation on these simple procedures and move forward! I don't know about you, but I don't want to get "held back" in Kindergarten when I'm 26. If you continue to lay the same foundation, you will consistently look like a construction site with no finished buildings. That's obviously not the Lord's plan for us as witnesses to the world.
Now, it's easy to say, "It's not my fault I don't want to do what I'm supposed to. The enemy is ......" blah blah blah. You have to take accountability. The enemy may try to plant thoughts in your head or persuade you with temptation but it is up to you how you respond. The snake lied to Eve and she disobeyed God, but Adam disobeyed just from the words Eve spoke to him! They both had the ability to say yes or say no, regardless of their circumstances. You have to ultimately decide if you are willing to risk spiritual warfare because in your temporary worldly mindset, your motives are not actively pure.
Sometimes it's worthwhile to sit and pray, crack open your bible, and ask for healing of the mind :)

"Jesus cannot forget us; we have been graven on the palms of his hands." - Lois Picillo