I Remember Those 10 Months…

My two experiences with pregnancy were not my favorite seasons of life. Both times I had polyhydramnios, which means my body produced way more amniotic fluid than needed. In layman’s terms – my babies were swimming in an Olympic-sized uterine pool. At first this was cause for possible alarm – it could indicate a serious birth defect. Was he peeing but not swallowing? Are his organs and systems developing properly? Most typical pregnancies only had 1 or 2 ultrasounds in those days (not sure how it is now?) but I had one almost every month. This allowed us to take a good look at baby and do

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Colin says hello 3/8/2002

regular measurements of the fluid and my belly. To give you a reference, when I was 30 weeks pregnant my belly measured 42 weeks! And I still had 10 weeks to go! It was uncomfortable to say the least. Uncomfortable with all the stares, with people asking “you haven’t had that baby yet?!” when I was barely halfway through! Uncomfortable with the weight and the strange way my body was changing. Uncomfortable being a spectacle, “Are you having triplets? … Are you sure?!” I was lucky to not have to deal with morning sickness, gestational diabetes, or other issues that lots of moms have to deal with. But the physical changes and attention it brought me made it not my favorite time of life. When the babies came, they were both big fellas. Healthy but big! Colin arrived at 38 weeks weighing 8 lbs and 8 oz. Sam arrived at 39 weeks week at 10 lbs and 2 oz. Thankfully I had c-sections both times. When Sam greeted the world the doctor said,  “This baby needs a manssier!” because he looked like a little sumo wrestler. I’m so grateful we were all healthy. But it was a difficult time.

As we follow our state and local Stay At Home orders right now, thanks to COVID-19 and the havoc it is wreaking in our community and country, I remind myself that this is temporary. Surely it will only last a few months (Dear Lord, 3 months or less, please!). I have been home since January when I was laid off, and now the kids are home from school, and Don’s employer has had to cut hours & salaries due to the virus’ economic impact so he is home some, too! I think we are managing (mostly) but this morning I thought, “I don’t know what I’ll do if this goes longer than 3 months!” It’s a scary thought. Not only because of the worry of someone I love getting sick, but also our mental health after being stuck at home for months on end. I bet you can relate.

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Sam announces his entry 12/29/2004

And then I remembered those 10 months. They were not my favorite. There was lots to dislike during that time. But now that I’m 18 years and 15 years out from them, those 10 months seem like a blink. I somehow managed. We somehow managed. I knew then that one day-at-a-time would get me closer to the end. Closer to the blessing of my baby. Closer to the joys and challenges of parenthood that Don and I signed up for. (More on that in blog posts past and future!) With that in mind, I think we can make it through this season of Stay At Home.

Connecting with family and friends virtually via phone calls, texts and Zoom has been so helpful. Seeing their faces, mostly smiling, sharing our angst and some laughter and some concerns helps me feel connected. Seeing live musical performances online via facebook or elsewhere has been a life saver for me. Tuning in to live-streamed worship services, online quick homilies, or thoughts of day have been comforting. The down time has been nice – time for podcasts, puzzles, dog walks, fires in the fire pit. I hope you and yours are able to take some deep breaths and try to embrace this new life. New for now, anyway. Remember, all we have to do is take it one-day-at-a-time. We can do this.

In the comments I’ll share some links to things that have brought me comfort and joy over these few weeks. Please add what you have found, too! So glad we are in this together.

Riding the Coronavirus Coaster

March 17, 2020

Well, here we are social distancing – hopefully like the rest of you. Nothing like a global pandemic to bring a family together, huh? I would love to hear how you are spending your time these days; please comment below with a few thoughts. 

A lot has happened since my last post. I will touch on most of it in the lists below. 

Things I am worried about: 

  • The impact of this pandemic. Will my family stay healthy? How many people in my community – in my circles near & far – will be affected? Will our hospitals be able to care for all of them? Will we survive the obvious recession that will come from all of this? Will my son and his fellow members of the Class of 2020 be able to have their graduation ceremony? 
  • I was laid off in January. I have come close to a few opportunities, but nothing has panned out yet. Now with the virus situation, and looming recession, the hiring environment will obviously change. How long will it take for me to find something? Should I take “anything” or should I hold out for the right thing? 
  • Colin has decided on UNC-Charlotte for his next academic step. He wants to study engineering. We are excited for him! Will we be able to get financial aid & loans so this will be a reality for him? 
  • Our governor has ordered schools to close for two weeks (at least) and I am guessing there is a strong likelihood it will last longer than that. This is hard, but it’s the right call. I worry about our teachers who have been thrown into this just like we have. I worry about my kids and other students – will they be able to keep up with their academics? 
  • Will my children and I drive each other up the wall before this is all over? 

Things I am grateful for:

  • Don has a stable job and as far as we can tell it should not be hugely impacted by the pandemic; or at least not immediately. Things are leaner than normal, but he can support us. 
  • My healthy family. Don’s diagnosis was three years ago this month! He is doing well, living with NETs but carrying on with life. 
  • Colin earned his Eagle Scout Award this month!
  • We lost my friend Elizabeth two years ago after a challenging battle with cancer. But I’m grateful that her amazing husband Bob is still blogging, still living life fully, along with their two precious daughters. I learn so much from them.
  • Pets who bring lots of entertainment and joy.
  • Finding Katie Churchwell and Pop-up Prayer on facebook. Look her up!
  • We celebrated 20 years of marriage on March 8, 2020!
  • Livestream worship services from my church – WestPresChurch.org, now that services are cancelled due to the virus impact.
  • My friends who share funny texts with me related to life, politics, and parenting. You know who you are!
  • I was able to take a fun & relaxing girls trip to Richmond in February with some special friends. 
  • Losing 22 lbs since Christmas! Thanks, Noom!
  • Having more time for the super-fun Jazzercise workouts since I’ve been home for a few months. Although they have now been cancelled due to the current climate, I can check out online Jazzercise workouts – yay!
  • My dad is feeling good, back to his old self, after some leukemia treatment. 
  • Favorite podcasts: NPR’s Up First, Hacks on Tap, For the Love with Jen Hatmaker, Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations, It’s Been a Minute with Sam Sanders, Poetry Unbound.
  • Teachers who care about my kids and their other students and are doing their best in less-than-ideal circumstances.
  • My sisters who are only a text away! And who are available to help my parents when needed.
  • My friend’s daughter finally made it home from her study abroad program in Italy that was cut short.
  • My adult coloring book – Beautiful Cities. My version of Florence, Italy is featured here.
  • Spotify and playlists it makes for me.
  • The childcare gig Colin and I have picked up this week & next week – caring for children of medical professionals who cannot get off work to care for their children, because they are caring for the community. It feels like a good way to help, plus I’ll be earning a little income which never hurts.
  • Being able to close my eyes and breathe when things seem like too much.

Do you see a trend? The worries are questions to which I don’t have answers. Isn’t that just like our darn human nature to obsess over things we cannot control? Things we don’t know or couldn’t know? And do you notice that my Gratitude list is much longer than my worries? This is a worrisome time, but I challenge you to list the things that you are grateful for. Even if you only consider the last 48 hours, I’m sure it will be a long list! 

Finally, I’m grateful for the wisdom of Maya Angelou. I’m counting on this!

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