Friday, March 28, 2008

The Big Day

Today's the day, the magical "due date" that we've looked to for so many months now. I know as well as anyone that babies come when they're ready and not according to some day marked on the calendar. Even so, it's a bit disappointing to have "arrived" at the day and not feel as if anything is happening!
I thought I'd post a little update on how I'm doing and also a request for prayer. Overall, I'm doing pretty well. Physically I'm feeling well for the most part. I'm easily tired out and have minor annoyances like swollen feet and some back aches, but am not super uncomfortable. I've had enough energy to keep my kids cared for and fed, the laundry done, etc. (And my family has been great, as always, with helping out, bringing a meal, etc.) Also, thankfully, I've been sleeping pretty well. (Other than frequent trips to the bathroom!)
Emotionally I'm feeling a bit brittle these days. I know that changing hormones and tiredness contribute to some of that, and I'm trying to rest as much as is reasonable. Some days that's more than others! I've struggled with fear a lot during this pregnancy, mostly at the beginning, as that was the period of time we lost the previous two babies to miscarriage. For several months I'd had a lot of peace, and then the last few weeks have been battling the fear again. It's not so much going through labor, although I'm not looking forward to it, but fear that everything will be okay and that our little boy will be okay. Please pray with me that I will cling to the Lord and look to Him and not give in to fear, but be able to rest and trust in Him.
I saw my doctor today and everything was fine, but nothing looks imminent as far as we can tell. I knew that it would, but didn't like that the discussion had to turn to what we'll do if he's not born by this time next week. I'm scheduled to go in next Thursday for a non-stress test and ultrasound just to check on our little guy and see how he's doing. Apparently medical protocol, for whatever it's worth, has changed it's mind and now recommends inducing at one week past due instead of two as it used to be. So, at that point, they will want to induce me, probably the next day. I tend to be pretty anti-intervention and really, really don't like the idea of being induced. On the other hand, Peregrine was born about two weeks past his due date, and the placenta showed signs of aging. The really scary part was that after he was born the umbilical cord broke in two pieces- it was very, very fragile. (I remember cutting the cord at one birth I attended, and normally they're very tough.) So, after seeing that, I know that there is some risk in waiting longer, and I'd rather not be put in a place to have to make the decision whether or not to induce. I know induction increases the likelihood of further intervention, but after seeing that with Peregrine I would tend to err on the side of caution and listen to my doctor's advice.
So, that's where we are now. Just for the record, I've had one baby born two weeks past due and another six days early. Also, Erik came from work yesterday feeling awful and slept for over four hours. He stayed home today and has been resting but still doesn't feel well and has a pretty bad sore throat. Obviously, it would be ideal if he feels strong and healthy when the time comes for our baby to be born.
So, here are some points for prayer:
  • That Erik will recover from this sickness and the rest of us will stay healthy.
  • That I will go into labor naturally before next Thursday.
  • That I will overcome this fear and be able to experience the peace and rest and joy of the Lord.
  • That the labor and delivery of this baby will go normally and quickly.
  • That baby will be healthy and strong.
I know that many of you have prayed faithfully for us during this pregnancy, and we're so thankful to each one of you. Please continue to remember us during this time, and we'll do our best to keep you posted when anything happens! Also, if you have any Scripture verses you'd like to share that might help me to focus on what is good and true that would be great.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Birthday Letter (To a Boy Who is Five)

To my Dearest Peregrine Boy,

You turned five, almost five months ago. I've been meaning to write you this, your birthday letter, ever since. Our life has been a bit on the busy side, and your baby brother will be born any day, so I figured I'd better not wait any longer. 

I really can almost not believe that you're five. Well, closer to five-and-a-half, really. Didn't you just turn four? You like to say you're almost six, and I think you really believe that November 1st is just around the corner. And, if the next several months are anything like the last, it'll be here before we know it. Five is not a little kid anymore. I look at you and wonder when you got so big, learned so many things, developed so many of your own opinions. You have an amazing imagination and you love to tell us stories and ideas that you come up with. You have big plans and big ideas, my boy, and I like that about you. 

We celebrated your birthday with a costume party, as we have now for five years. It's hard to believe we've thrown five of these parties, parties where Grandmas and Papas, Aunties and Uncles and Cousins and Friends all come to celebrate you. Where we eagerly watch out the window, waiting for "the guests to arrive" as you would say, anxious to see what kind of costumes everyone has chosen for the event. This year you were a knight. A knight in shining armor, and a red tunic with a dragon on it. You went to the fabric store with me and carefully helped me pick out the fabric for each part of your costume. You're a boy who cares about details, who notices- and remembers- and is able to describe- things in great detail. You are fully drawn in to stories of knights and dragons and far-away lands and adventure. You hear them, you think about them, and then you go to your dress-up box and become the characters from these stories. And it's not enough just for you to be someone else; you dress up your sister and get her into the story, and, when it's possible, you assign characters for Mama and Daddy too. 

You love your sister with a fierce sort of love. She is your darling, your best little friend. She adores you in return, and much of the time your play together is very sweet. At other times you get frustrated with her for not doing what you want, but she holds her own pretty well. You often draw her into your adventures, but you also enjoy playing with her things too- you help her care for her dolls, cook in her play kitchen, and (you'll be embarrassed about this someday) dress up like faeries together. You're all boy, but you do have an eye for beauty, and are known to practically swoon (you're a bit on the dramatic side) at the sight of a flower or a tree in blossom. That's something else I like about you though, that for all your boyness you see and appreciate what is lovely in the world.

You have a baby brother who will be born very soon. It could be today or it could be two weeks from now, and you are excited. A couple of months ago you could hardly wait for him to be born because you were so anxious to have a brother to sword fight with. I'm excited for you to have a brother too, but it's going to be a while before you can teach him to wield a sword! First there will be what will seem like ages of having to be very, very careful with him, and of giving Mama a lot of extra help. You're a good helper, and sometimes I'm amazed at just how many things you're able to do.

You've been learning a lot about self-control lately. Maybe it's partly your age, but we're glad to see this developing in you. You don't hide your feelings, which sometimes is hard, but we're glad too- you are transparent and easy to read most of the time. You have, and always have had, a real sensitivity to the things of God. We pray that this will continue as you grow, that you will grow ever more aware of the kingdom of God and that your heart will not be turned aside by the things of the world. You care very much about the poor, and often remember them and want to do things to help them. I hope you never lose that. 

Not long ago I was snuggled up with you in your bed and you told me that you want to have a heart like David, a heart after God. I encouraged you to pray and ask God for this, and here is part of what you prayed "Dear Lord, Please help me to have a heart like David's and the angels and the saints. Please help me when Mama gives me hard jobs to do to do them. Even if evil pagans kill me someday please help me never to turn back from you. And I won't ever take up the spear and sword but follow after you, and just be a humble monk and a missionary to foreign lands, an American missionary." 

Our prayer too, dear boy, is that you will follow after God with all your heart, that you will use your imagination and your creativity, your ability to tell stories, your desire to "lead people", your passion and compassion and love all for the glory of God. We are in awe of you, and very often feel completely at a loss as to how to raise you! But we are so incredibly thankful that God has blessed us with you, and we're very excited to see you becoming the boy God created you to be, a boy after His own heart.

I love you my Peregrine, my firstborn boy who has grown so very big. Thanks for being my boy.

With love,

Your own Mama

Monday, March 17, 2008


This weekend we finally got around to taking some pictures of "the belly", stretch marks and all! You can see The Belly (full of Peregrine) and The Belly (Alethea) by following the links. I don't know if I'm a lot bigger this time around, but I feel enormous! (Granted, these pictures were taken a few weeks later in the pregnancy.) 

Please join us in praying for a strong and healthy baby, an uncomplicated delivery, and that it will happen soon. I'd also appreciate prayers for my peace of mind as I wait. I've been struggling with fear that everything will be okay, and I want this time to be one of joy, not of fear, as we anticipate the birth of our son. Many of you have prayed for us through the ups and downs of the last few years, and we're so thankful. Please keep it up! 

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Nutrition Corner

We eat fairly healthy food around here, and here are a few recent conversations that have made me laugh:
My sister had both of the kids the other day and I don't recall exactly what happened, but Peregrine was warning Poppy of the dangers of some action. In typical five year old boy fashion, it wasn't simply "you could get hurt" but something along the lines of "and you would get squished, and all of your bones would be crushed and broken". Poppy, being a nutrition savvy girl of almost three replied promptly "then I would need lots of calcium!" 
There has been a bag of small packages of Gummi Savers in our pantry for oh, about five months now. Yesterday I handed one to each of the kids for a special treat, and not getting to eat a lot of candy, they were thrilled. Peregrine asked me the funniest questions about them, such as "Are these bagel shaped things healthy for us?" I loved that he had no context in which to place them, that he doesn't know what LifeSavers are, and that the closest connection he could make was bagels! 

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

In Which a Girl Turns Three (Sort of)

On Saturday we celebrated the birth and first three years of our sweet girl's life. Even though her real birthday isn't until the 30th we wanted to have her party early so it didn't get pushed aside by the birth of the new baby. It was a special time, and we're so thankful for our little girl, who is getting bigger all the time. Happy Birthday Alethea! 

Time for presents!

Whenever I asked her what kind of cake she wanted the answer was simply "pink'! 

I love this picture of her that Erik took.

A rare picture of all of us together.

Happily pushing her babies around in her new stroller! 

(The last two pictures were taken my Erik's mom- thanks Michele!)

Friday, March 07, 2008

A Long Ago Birthday

With Alethea's birthday just ahead, and another Birth coming soon, I thought it was high time I post pictures from Peregrine's fifth birthday, which was only a couple of months ago. I still need to write his birthday letter too. Soon. I hope. Each year we have had a costume party for Peregrine, and it's always great fun to see what everyone comes as. This year Peregrine came as a knight. 

A brave knight ready to ride out into battle...

....with a lovely, and almost-as-brave, lady at his side.

The knight and lady being presented with their horses.

Stay tuned for pictures of the upcoming "pink" birthday party. Even though Alethea's birthday isn't until the end of the month we are celebrating it tomorrow, as the baby is due just two days before her special day. And, of course, there will be lots of pictures from that day to look forward to as well!
Hope you all have a great weekend! 

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Martha in Me

The last several months of our lives have been busy. In November we had Peregrine's birthday, then went to Mexico for a couple of weeks. December was full of preparations and celebrations. I really thought things were going to settle down after that and I'd have a nice three months of quietness, hanging out with the kids, and getting ready for the birth of our baby. But January came and we all had the flu, then Poppy battled a stomach bug that left her weak and thin and whiny. And then there was February; I'm not really sure where it went, but I know I put a lot of time into stocking the freezer and just keeping up with real life. (Or trying to anyways!) I also got a lot of handwork projects done, made a Waldorf doll and a dress for Poppy's birthday, worked on our baby's quilt and one for my sister Gloria's baby. Now I'm feeling the crunch of time as my due date is only a couple of weeks away. There are baby clothes, diapers and bedding to be washed, things to be purchased, car seats and cribs to get out and get ready. 
I know the busyness isn't going away anytime soon, and I've thought often these past months of the story in the Bible of Mary and Martha. Far too often I've been like Martha, scurrying around "distracted with much serving" (or sewing or cooking or planning). In light of Jesus' words "And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward." In another place He tells us that whatever we do for the least of these, His brethren, we do unto Him. I find it difficult to balance being with my "little ones" (I mean really  being with them, paying attention to them, not just letting them roam the house) and getting my "stuff" done. Too often I, like Martha, am distracted and as a result they are getting into things they shouldn't or being unkind to one another. They I get frustrated with them, partly because of their behavior and partly because they've interrupted whatever I'm doing.  I like what the commentary in one of our Bibles says on the verses about Martha and Mary. "Martha was distracted and troubled about many things in providing hospitality for Jesus. But the one thing needed was for her to listen to Christ, to hear His words- a priority which certainly does not exclude serving Him." How difficult I find it to keep this balance, to get "stuff" done but to keep my priorities in order! 
I know that it's my job as Mama to keep my little ones constructively occupied, and to be continually loving, nurturing, and correcting them as needed. Both Erik and I have felt impressed to reread Raising Godly Tomatoes and to apply her principle of Tomato Staking our children. (Tomato Staking is basically keeping your little ones close at hand virtually all the time so that you can love, nurture, and correct, keeping them involved in what you're doing or otherwise occupied, and staying on top of attitudes and actions as they arise.)  I've been especially impressed, and convicted, with her admonition to always consider the training of, and relationship with, our children as our top priority. For me this means that no matter what I'm doing, if something happens that needs to be dealt with, I need to stop what I'm doing and deal with it immediately. Too often I've thought "oh, it's not that important" or "I really want to finish up what I'm working on" or "I'm just too tired to get off this couch and go deal with that." These are all sad excuses to neglect the training of my children, and I'm afraid I've used them all too many times. 
This is a big struggle for me, and this morning I remembered Jesus' words "Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." I need to learn to choose what is needed, what is better. While my projects may be worthwhile- surely my family needs dinner- nothing should take the place of a loving and attentive relationship with Peregrine and Alethea. I need to learn to keep them close to me, to involve them in what I'm doing and to get involved in the things that interest them. I need to know when to stop what I'm doing and get down on the floor to play, to tickle, to cuddle, or when to sit down, draw them close, and read a book together. I need wisdom to discern what is needful at the moment, to lay down my plans, to set down my projects, and just to be with my children. 
Please pray for me, as I seek to love and serve Christ, to sit at His feet and learn from Him by loving and serving my family. Pray that I will choose the better thing, that I will do the one thing that is needed and not get stressed out about all the other things, some of which will have to be left undone. Pray that I will not make excuses, that I will not neglect to disciple my precious little ones for less important things. Pray that I will have strength and resolve to get up off the couch when my body just feels too weary. Pray that I will put relationships first and have the grace to let other things go when necessary.
Thank you for your prayers. And if you too struggle with this, please let me know. I'd be happy to pray for you!