Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Ever-Elusive Route to Family…

We really did have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. And, I think I had a decent excuse for not posting for the last 2 weeks - I finally really went into labor on the 18th.

Clearly, this is between contractions... lol
But, really - an exciting moment!

It is now December 1st, meaning that I had a baby last month.  Okay, our blessing was born on November 19, and she is now 12 days old.  Almost exactly, at the time of this post.  She was born at 12:53 pm.  And in a way that I had honestly come to think would never happen – from me. 

She's perfect... Aw.

She is the perfect combination of my husband and I.  Taylor (the hubs) says that she got the best parts of each of us.  I don’t know if that’s true, but our features mixed together on her little body do seem quite perfect.  And she can do things that I never imagined a newborn can do.  She can smile and coo (okay, so I knew they could do that; although I thought it was always just gas – she does it in response to our voices), she can copy our expressions (including sticking her tongue out – so funny!), and she can make me want to laugh and cry and sing all at the same time.

And then there were 3... :)

I’ve come to the conclusion that many people take their children for granted.  For some, it was as easy as granted, and still others - easier! - little accidents turned surprises.  (You know the difference between an accident and a surprise?  An accident is something that you would change if you had it to do over again.  Therefore, all "accidents" should be viewed as amazing surprises!)  I know that there are many people who say that once you have your child, you can’t imagine your life without them.  For me, I just feel like she’s been here for a lot longer than she has (at the same time as hardly being able to believe that she is already almost 2 weeks old!).  For me though, it’s not about imagining my life without her.  I did that.  I went through a time where I had to imagine a life without her – a life in which my husband and I could not ever have the joy that comes from having a beautiful child to call our own.  So for me, it’s not so much that feeling of not being able to imagine life without them as it is that I could never have imagined how much bigger my heart feels, how much fuller my life is – just because she is in it.

Sprinkled with rose petals from one of the
roses her daddy gave me.

People who have never had to experience the torture of infertility may not understand where I am coming from.  I’ve kind of thought about it as an analogy:  you hear about all these people going to Australia.  You hear it’s an awesome place to go and visit.  You listen in awe at the stories people share of their trials and triumphs once they get to Australia.  You hear people talk about how easy it is to get there.  Some people simply say they plan to visit and bam!  They’re there.  Like there’s some secret back door from where we are that magically opens for some people to get there.  They don’t have to spend any time or money getting there (of course, once you’re there, no matter how you got there – there are expenses, but I’m talking about getting there).   These people have no idea how difficult the journey can be for others.  I don’t begrudge them the happiness they get, but I won’t lie and say it doesn’t encourage a twinge of jealousy and sometimes even, heartbreak for those who can't find that easy passage.

Anyway, next there are those who have to work a little harder – those that have to plan and schedule and buy plane tickets and arrange and re-arrange flights and connectors.  For these, it is a bit more frustrating.  It takes a little more time.  It takes a little more expense.  But, they get there.  And because it is a different trek, these are the people who experience the trip quite differently than the previous crowd.  (For example, these people may go through a round of infertility or may choose adoption.)  But still, they get to Australia and get there without too many interruptions or heartaches. 

Then, there’s a third group of people - people like us, I think.  And maybe I’m being a tad melodramatic, but it’s my blog, and therefore my prerogative.  But, the final group (that actually make it to Australia) are those that travel by boat.  This is a long, hard journey.  It has dips, twists, and turns.  Sometimes, you even have to go back and start over at the beginning.  (Adoptions fall through, foster children go back to birth parents, infertility treatments that appear to succeed result in miscarriages, etc.)  Those that have experienced these things – they are the ones who know my journey.  But alas, as I look into the eyes of my newborn baby girl… who already has the most awesome unconditional love, both from me and for me… I know – I have made it to Australia.

I'm sure that I am still an over-emotional wreck from my recent delivery (and my lack of sleep, of course), but I know that my husband and I are lucky, and we couldn’t love her more if this love bursting from us were on purpose.  But, you can’t control it.  It’s almost as if you didn’t even know that the place they fill in your heart existed.  I think I got a glimpse of it during pregnancy.  Well, looking back, I know I did – I loved her before I met her.  But I didn’t know how deep that place in my heart ran… not until the first moment that they held her up over the sheet, and I got to lay my unworthy eyes on her.

She... is our miracle.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

You're planning to do what?!?

I’m huge.  You can lie and say I’m not, but my belly is in the way of everything I do; and for whatever reason, you people keep taking pictures of me (proof!).  I’m very aware of my huge-ness.  And so ready for my baby girl to get here.

Oh, my - it's even worse than I thought!
If you look, you can see where the skirt (which,
btw , is adjustable and is on the setting where it
is not tightened at all!) is binding my belly.  Yuck.

So, before I describe my latest freak-out, I have to explain a little.  I had some medical issues in college that had to do with my brain.  This means that my pregnancy has been closely watched.  The doctors aren’t worried or anything, but there is still the risk of repercussions if I have to deal with too much physical stress (i.e. pushing).  Therefore, the doctor is doing a c-section.  Plus, my body won’t be able to handle the pregnancy if she gets too big.  So, if she doesn’t come before then (amazingly, she’s still in there after having contractions starting on October 6), then the doctor is going to do the c-section when she is exactly 38 weeks.  That’s long enough that she will have plenty of time for all her normal, healthy developments – early enough that we aren’t concerned with me having an aneurysm or something. 

So, Monday at my appointment, my doctor told me the plan for our c-section would be the 26th (next Friday, as in the day after Thanksgiving – my mom said we should ask at the hospital for a Black Friday discount-ha!).  My doctor joked that he could escape his family Thanksgiving chaos long enough to do a quick c-section before it’s even time for leftover turkey.  He’s about as sarcastic as me; we have a great doctor-patient relationship because of that!  Love him as an OB!!  Anyway, so he told me to call his office the next day to make sure that they could schedule me that day.  Okay, no problem.  Or so I thought…

Well, I called.  An overly chipper woman comes on the phone and tells me that they have me down.  I was excited… until these words came from her annoyingly happy voice – “you’re the third induction on the 30th, and we have you down for your tubal.”  ...I choked on my own tongue.  “Wait, what?!” 

I tried to collect myself calmly, but found the only voice I could muster that wouldn’t be me yelling was an unbelievably meek-sounding, hoarse voice -- “Um, could you double check for me?  I’m supposed to be having a c-section on the 26th, I think…?”   And at this point, I realize I can’t breathe.  She comes back, still super happy to be alive and scheduling life-threatening deliveries with random sterilization, apparently, “And did you want to schedule a tubal?”  I couldn’t hold the voice and almost shouted “no” at her as I imagined her happy-go-lucky toothy grin.  She then told me that she would look into everything and speak to me in the afternoon.

Well, it was worked out, of course.  I mean, if it didn’t, I wouldn’t be writing this blog post – I’d still be breathing into a paper bag trying to keep my face from turning blue.

Here’s the thing.  We don’t know if we can get pregnant again.  We don’t even know if we should get pregnant again.  My body may not be able to handle another pregnancy.  We don’t know yet; we’ll know more after Natalie’s delivery.  But, I’m sure as all goodness not going to have my tubes tied!  I get that it was probably a paperwork mistake… but it makes me wonder if that happens often.  Do people get to the stressful level of the delivery room, only to be asked if they’re ready to cut off the baby-making factory?  Or worse, are there people that have them done unwillingly?  Probably not, but that’s just a personal nightmare, no wait – full-fledged horror film, to me.  “Freddy” and “Jason” have nothing on someone taking away my ability to even TRY to make a family.  I’m still shuddering a little bit…

But, luckily, it appears that the shivering will come to an end.  I guess my husband’s guilt-trip voicemail worked.  The guy called us back and is planning to come and fix the furnace this weekend.  I’m still not convinced that the guy will keep his word, but I am praying about it.  My baby needs to be able to come home to a warm house, and we need to not have one more thing to worry about. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"You're adorable!" ... Who, me?

So, I guess you think that's cute?  This picture of me looking utterly happy, with my baby's loving grandmothers-to-be?  You bet your happy little hiney that's cute!  And if you don't think so, then as my sister-in-law Mandy says, “Sorry 'bout your bad luck" cuz that’s the kind of mushy-gushy, love-like-there’s-no-tomorrow stuff I want to post on here.  Nothing you can do about it.  

Gotta love friends that are more like family!!

Okay, to be fair, I do understand that the blunders and complaints are probably much more interesting to read about… but, I don’t want to seem like a whiny brat (all the time, anyway) so, I guess in between the lovely of the lovely horror moments (there is one at the bottom of this post, if you were hoping for that), I’ll post some of the awesome things that happen every once in a while.  Like baby showers.  

Well, let me back up a bit and clarify some things.  Yes, I am unashamedly the most goo-goo-ga-ga, new mom-to-be that you have ever met.  But, I haven’t always been this person.  I was actually told at one point or another that I was an interesting person to be around.  I could talk about things other than babies, nap nannies (so flippin’ awesome!), and cloth diapers.  I could, really, but even when I was not obsessed with diaper champs and crib bedding, I desperately wanted my life to revolve around these things.

In fact, I was probably the opposite type of person.  I was an Ag teacher… my life revolved around stock shows, animals, trailers, students, contests, and the busiest schedule out of all the busy schedules you’ve ever seen! That might be a slight exaggeration, but I was never home, and it was all pretty much on purpose.  After having gone through so many trials with infertility, adoption, and foster care… I was tired of focusing all my energy on it.  You may think I’m horrible for giving up for a minute, but please understand:  I needed to feel like I wasn’t just a failure (failed fertility treatments, failed adoptions, failed…, failed…).  Being an FFA advisor and Ag teacher was something that I could do and be successful (I made a difference in some students’ lives, and we had some state-qualifying teams, too!)  I selfishly gave myself to it.  And even though it was one of the hardest years of my life, it was SO worth it! 

But, once we settled in our new positions and home, we went back to the fertility specialist.  We didn’t expect much, honestly.  It was too hard to get our hopes up again.  But, after vigorous treatment options (which they said had failed, but surprise!), we were pregnant.  

Sonogram picture they gave me at the fertility ultrasound. 
I was being checked for mature eggs - Surprise!!
It was like a light-switch went off.  I was a mother already, needing to do anything I could to make sure that I didn’t screw up this little life that we had worked so hard to create!  My husband, Taylor, immediately wanted me to consider being a stay-at-home mom.  Not that working and being a mom is impossible… or even that being an Ag teacher and a mom is impossible… but it wouldn’t be easy.  My loving husband told me that we deserved to be able to give our baby the best possible start we could.  Just reminding me of how hard we worked to get here.  (I remember thinking, has it really been three years??)

So, I immediately turned in my resignation.  And we made plans to move closer to family for support.  This meant that we were starting over.  New job for Taylor, living in a new community, with a new church family, and now hours from the life we had been putting together.  I honestly didn’t think we would have a baby shower at all.  It’s just a side effect of moving around – people can’t keep up with you!

That brings me back to my post of awesome things that happen.  Because then, we had some great friends start planning showers, and some amazing ladies at our new church asked if they could throw us one, too.  So, we went from no baby shower… to having three of them!  The one at the church ended up being our main one with the majority of our family and lots of new people who are just as excited to meet our baby as if they were family – and they are.  Can’t wait to introduce our baby to the family, including the church family!  The other two showers were amazing, too.  They included people that we hadn’t seen in so long and people who mean the world to us whom we may not have seen if they had been asked to drive to our new town for the church shower.  We have truly been blessed, and there really isn’t much left that we need (or even want) for our little angel!  A huge thank you to everyone… but especially those who remember me as a human, and not just an ushy-gushy mom, who apparently is the type of person who claps for a nap nanny (that’s right, I did that… And I’m only slightly ashamed :) ).

An older sonogram picture, just for good measure...
Well, she's making a much happier face than she did yesterday. 
It wasn't good enough to get a copy of the picture to
share with you, but I saw her little grimace - poor baby!

Okay, so now that I’ve completely bored you with how awesome things are, I’ll give you a little tidbit of misery to cling to until my next post.  My baby will be here sometime within the next 10 days now.  You’d think I’d be excited, and I am… except for one tiny detail.  I can see my breath... INSIDE!  We hired someone to install central heat and air in our house back in August.  We never messed with the furnace before now because it has been HOT (yay, pregnancy).  But now it’s cold enough to need heat… and the thing isn’t hooked up right!  And, to make matters even lovelier, we are getting no response from the install guy.  After calling him and leaving tons of unanswered messages, Taylor left a message last night shaming him for leaving his wife and soon-to-be newborn baby in the cold because he didn’t finish his job.  We’ll see if we get a response.  And while I’m thankful for the roof over our head, I am simply dreading this baby being ready to come home before we get the heat situation under control.  Yay -- “Mommy of the Year,” here I come.  My parents have offered to let us borrow a stand-alone heater, which we are picking up this evening.  That doesn’t fix my furnace, though, does it??  Cheers for people who don’t keep their word or follow through on their work.  :(

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Another Ridiculous Experience.............. Only the Norvells

Well, I thought today was not going to be completely consumed with pregnancy.  I mean, I know I am couch-bound, and I’m not allowed to do much of anything – but I thought I could get away with talking about, or thinking about, ANYTHING other than pregnancy and pregnancy-related symptoms for just today.  But, then… my water broke.

Or did it?  Well, I thought it did.  I was just lying in bed with my husband, visiting a bit before he had to get ready for work and gush!  I called my doctor’s nurse practitioner, who after my description also thought it broke.  So, my dad offered to drive me to the hospital so that my husband could continue on to work and get things in order before heading to meet me if the tests confirmed that my water did, in fact, break.  An hour-and-a-half drive later, I’m feeling contractions.  You’d think after 5 weeks of contractions, I would let them slide and not be concerned, but NO-O-OH.  Not me.  I convinced myself over the course of the drive that they were worse.  Then, it dawned on me  -- I haven’t felt the baby move all morning!  And so, by the time I get to the hospital, I am completely convinced that either something is wrong or I am in full-fledged labor. 

NOT!  The tests came back that my amniotic fluid sac did not rupture.  The probability is that it was the outer bag of water, called the chorion (which I just learned about today!  You’d think as a pregnant woman approaching the ninth month of pregnancy that somebody, somewhere, would inform you of something that seems kind of important like this), but it’s not important.  It doesn’t matter.  Has nothing to do with going into labor.  And their response to contractions that are 4 minutes apart?  “Yeah, we don’t care – you’ve been doing that for 5 weeks and the kid still hasn’t spilled out… SO not worried.”  Get an annoying eye roll in there, and it’s the perfect impression of my discharge nurse.

So, my day became about spending some time with my Daddy, who took me out to eat for lunch.  I appreciate him more than he knows for doing that!  But then, he told me to stop worrying so much about everything.  Okay Dad, sure.  I’ll stop worrying… in exchange for the promise that you won’t stress or worry when you’re pregnant.  Oh, wait!  Tha-at’s right…  So, please don’t tell me not to worry.  You can tell me that you’re praying for me.  You can tell me that you’re there no matter what happens.  You can comfort me in all kinds of ways.  BUT you, or anyone else for that matter, telling me not to worry is like stepping on some sacred rite of passage to mommy-dom.  The worry must go on.  There’s nothing you, I, or anyone else can do about it.

Let’s just hope that some more things can be accomplished so that the next time I leave the house to try to have this baby I won’t feel like I’ll be coming home to a tornado's path of destruction (okay, it's not dirty or destroyed so much as just a lot of undone projects - we live in an old house with lots of problems, what more can I say?).  *Just a side note:  I hate the term “nesting”.  I am not forming little twigs into a comfy place for my kid to sleep  -- I just wonder, is it too much to ask that there not be stacks of stuff left unpacked and partial projects everywhere I look when I come home from the hospital??  Pretty sure that’s just good sense, less to overwhelm someone recovering from surgery.  The fact that I am pregnant and about to have a baby:  irrelevant.  Just sayin’.

*** Since all I've done is rant about the mishaps and complain about things (just a tad), I would like to take the time to say that I thank God that I have an amazing husband who does so much for me.  Just this past weekend, he cleaned the fan and windows and moved furniture in our baby's nursery, repainted her dresser with hutch so that as a changing table it would match the crib, did all the laundry (including a load of diapers to get them ready for the baby), hung curtains in our bedroom, and installed a new ceiling fan in the kitchen.  Yesterday, he hung our baby's new blinds, and he cooked me a home cooked dinner.  He always does all the dishes and cleans up around the house, trying his best to make me do nothing since I am supposed to be on bed rest...  So, he's doing everything here at home, including all the little projects that I keep adding to the list, plus maintaining his full-time job teaching math to snot-nosed junior high kids.  And on top of that, he is working on his master's degree, and is able to keep his grades of A's in his current graduate classes.  I hope my complaints and rantings don't make me sound ungrateful.  I love my husband very much and appreciate all he does. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Norvells Plus One... Almost

I’ve had so many friends who’ve said I need to start a blog. I guess this is my attempt…

So, for my title. Well, we are a work in progress. In more than a million ways, but who has time for a million? So, here are those I’ll list –working toward a better relationship with God, working toward a family, working toward a bit of sanity in this crazy world. And now for my random rantings…

Well, right now I'm consumed with one big change that is happening in our family - our baby! I’ve decided that the worst (and most absolutely overwhelming) symptom of pregnancy is not in the books. It’s not the incapacitating nausea, the double-you-over back pain, or the fire-breathing dragon heartburn… it’s IMPATIENCE. And I have so got a bad case of the pregnant-and-impatient blues.

I realized yesterday that I had known about my pregnancy for seven months, and I had another symptom of pregnancy – emotional overload. I got all mushy and wrote a sweet note to the baby, which I proceeded to post as my status update on Facebook, thereby bringing tears to many of my friends and family’s eyes. Well, at least my pregnancy isn’t just making me emotional. I’m surrounded by tons of other people who cry at the drop of an emotional symbol in MY pregnancy. HA!

Anyway, I guess I say all that to say that I am very excited about the baby – this baby girl, this life that my husband and I were able to create. *Side note: if you’ve met us, you’ll understand just how scary the thought of a combination of my husband and I may be – dear God, please make her smart! If not, I fear she doesn’t stand a chance!* So, yeah… on the one hand, excited… on the other hand – scared out of my mind! Another of what I think is a “normal” sign of the end of pregnancy – fear. I’m scared for her to come early and be born with some form of brain deformity (in case you didn’t catch my point earlier, this kid needs as much opportunity brain-wise as possible – with my husband and I’s genes, I’m not thinking Miss America is in the cards… just saying, but of course don’t ask me once she gets here, I’m sure my rose-colored glasses will be awesome).

To top off all of the normal emotions, I’ve also been in pre-term labor for over a MONTH now. That’s right – I first went into labor on Oct 6th, and I still don’t have a baby. So, some part of me (no matter how small), really is getting anxious to have a kid already. Not really looking forward to looking like I’m pregnant without a baby in my belly, or to having to be up at all hours of the night, or to having the lovely extra expenses that are going to add up (oh, by the way our expense statement says we’ve already spent twice the amount this month than we spent last month… that includes hospital deductibles paid in advance, but still!)… no, not looking forward to any of that. But, I can’t wait to hold an adorable little baby girl in my arms. And this time, I’ll know that it won’t matter if we move, it won’t matter if we have a perfect temperature reading in our refrigerator, or the excessive number of smoke alarms strategically placed throughout the house that have to meet somebody's approval for adoption. No, it won’t matter – she’ll be all ours. And nothing will ever change that.