Friday, July 29, 2011

Be Careful What You Ask For

I probably won't write while I am on vacation, so I thought I would finish the week with a funny story.  This is a true case of "be careful what you ask for, because you just might get it!"

I know my mother-in-law reads this blog, so I will start by saying that I know she meant this in the best possible way (aka just trying to give me what I'd asked for), and I truly did think it was funny.

So, one of the things the doctor keeps saying is that one of the best signs we can have that Gracie is okay is that she keeps growing on track.  So, being the crazy person I am, I have become obsessed with her getting bigger and stronger.  I am practically begging this child to kick me so hard it brings me to my knees.

I am also practically begging everyone I see to tell me how much bigger I have gotten.  Parke in particular has been very reluctant about doing so (apparently valuing his life a great deal) but after a few weird looks I can usually get my audience to tell me that yes, my belly does look a lot bigger than yesterday...last week...what have you.

The other day I was visiting my mother-in-law and told her about my newest quirk.  I proudly put my hand on my belly and she obligingly told me that Gracie was looking large and in-charge.  We chatted, caught up on life, and after I while I got up to make my exit.  It was as I was walking away, belly to the door and fanny to her face that she exclaimed, "WOW! You really ARE getting huge!!!"

Like I said, be careful what you ask for, you just might get it!  Time to get me and my huge self to the beach!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

This Time Next Year...

Next week, I will be on my much anticipated, always relaxing, absolutely wonderful annual beach vacation with my family (and no, all of those burglars out there who everyone assures me are trolling the internet for just this sort of information...our house will NOT be empty...and I am sure that you are enjoying the blog.)

I literally cannot wait to get my ever-expanding rear in a beach chair with a book in my hand and my feet in the water.  My motto for the week is Eat, Sleep, Read. That's about as close to heaven as I get here on earth.

The other night I was talking to my mom, and she said "Can you believe this time next year we will have a baby at the beach with us?"

And I remembered us saying the same thing last year.  And that is hard.

But I feel different this time.  I can honestly say "yes we will!" this year, something I was always too scared to do last year.  I really believe we will having a laughing, crawling baby girl with us next year, that my rear will probably never even get near a chair for all of the running after I will be doing.  And THAT will really be as close to heaven as I get here on earth.

And in some ways, we were not wrong.  Rip is with us this year.  Of course not in the way we would have wanted, but I never doubt for a minute that he is always with us... and his little presence will make itself known in countless wonderful ways.

Yeah, I feel pretty good about this time next year...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I Promise I've Done Better on My Marriage Vows

Okay, I slipped.  It is the end of the day, I started innocently looking at some "baby stuff" on the internet...and of course found something that scared me half to death.  It's not worth it, and I think I've learned my lesson now...but a vow is a vow, and I am making myself confess.  I promise I've done better on my marriage vows.

As an aside, if the power of prayer has anything to do with the health of Miss Gracie, I don't have a THING to be worried about.  Thanks so much to everyone who has told/emailed/texted that she is in their prayers.  I promise I trust y'all more than the scary internet ladies!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Things I Know

The past eight months have taught me a lot, I figured I better write some of them down in case I forget...

Once a parent, always a parent...no earthly thing, death included, can change that

Loving a child changes you forever

There is nothing in the world more important than family

Friends are family

There is a reason it's called faith

People are going to say the wrong thing

There is no right thing

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and you are entitled to think their opinion stinks

Don't hold grudges...the people you are holding them against either don't know better or are better not knowing

It is always okay to cry

Sometimes, it is much easier to cry alone than to have to explain why you are crying

Laughter really is the best medicine

It's okay to find something to laugh about even in the worst times

Doctors know a lot, but not everything

Most days, you have a choice to be happy or sad...you don't always have to choose happy

Joy comes in the most unexpected places

It's okay to be mad at God and to feel like He is your only hope at the same time

People will surprise you in good ways

Escapism is a crucial part of healing

Looking bad never helps anything

Knowledge is power, but the person on the internet with the situation like yours is not you, your husband, or your child

Some things just aren't going to make sense

You can't explain the whys and hows of peace

Always trust your instincts, but be smart enough to know they can be tampered with

Stopping at any given moment to put your hand on your belly to feel the baby move is always okay

It's okay to take a page from Scarlett O'Hara and not think about it right now

The world is going to seem like a scary or wonderful place depending on your circumstance...it is both

There will be times when you feel doomed

It's okay to be tired...mentally, physically, and emotionally

There are times when things seem like they will never get better

They will

There is more good than bad

Savor the good

Communication is key, but so is a night on the couch with a funny movie and a pizza

The greatest of these really is love

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I Really Never HAVE Liked Airplanes...

Yesterday, my mom came up with an analogy about what this pregnancy is like for me and I thought it was worth writing down...so after it is all over and I am home with Gracie, I can look back and be proud of what we survived.

Imagine if you were in a terrible plane crash and then, for the next nine months, day and night, you were made to get back on a plane.  Even though everyone would tell you that everything will be fine, the plane will not crash, all you can think is "that's what you said the last time."

Now, clearly the pay-off here is much greater than anything I would get on a plane, and technically I did board this plane voluntarily, but regardless...it's gonna be a bumpy ride.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Yeah, they aren't looking because they like what they see

Imagine you were a pregnant woman, a ways into your second trimester.  You are not quite waddling yet, but there is a definite shuffle to your step.  Its 400 degrees outside, so yes, you are "glowing" a bit and the heat is not helping the swelling of your ankles, which is currently rivaling the swelling in your belly (and thighs).

So, when you notice a few construction workers and delivery men staring you down, you don't take offense.  No, you think, "well hey, maybe I've still got it!"

That is until you reach the restroom and get the first full-length mirror view you have had of yourself all day.  Yeah, they aren't looking because they like what they see.  They, and probably everyone else, is looking because your Big Fat Purple Granny Panties are on display for their viewing pleasure.

The lesson: Buy a full-length mirror and some thicker clothes (and ditch the purple panties).

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Confession and a Vow

Wow, three posts in one day...even I am sick of me.

I have a confession to make.  Instead of enjoying this day, the day after we found out that we are having a beautiful little girl, I have spent all of my free time googling every single thing that could possibly be wrong with her.  Several times, I have worked myself up into such a panic I almost (almost) could not eat my lunch.

So here is my vow...I will no longer be doing anything except for concentrating on all of the wonderful, exciting, miraculous things about this pregnancy and my daughter.  Furthermore, if I do even one more search about something that is not wonderful, exciting, and miraculous, I will have to confess to it on this blog.  I am hoping that the humiliating prospect of having to do that fifty times a day will be enough to dissuade me all together.

I claim to have faith that baby is going to be fine, so my actions need to speak at least as loud as my words. I can either spend the next six months worrying or I can spend them fat and happy.  I am hoping my pride alone will keep me fat and happy.

So I have confessed, I have vowed, and let's all hope this is the last we hear of it.

And Just So You Know Who You Are Praying For...

It's a GIRL!!! Grace Louise Harris or Gracie, as she is known around here, is just beautiful (well, as beautiful as someone can be when you can still see all of their insides...I feel sure by the time she gets here that will no longer be the case.)

We love our Gracie-girl and thank you all for your support.  Pink Tutus here we come!!

For This Child I Prayed

Every time I go to the doctor, they think of something else for me to worry about.  I am honestly at the point where I feel like running when they come in the room.  They have given me percentages on every syndrome and previa in the book, things I would never have even thought to be worried about.  I understand that technology saves lives, but it is about to kill one very stressed out pregnant lady I know.

But I am trying so hard to remember, it was for this child I prayed.  It was this child who was my Easter miracle.  It was this child who is my rainbow baby...who, when I got on my knees and prayed, a rainbow literally appeared in the sky for this child.

Doctors are smart people, and I am thankful to have the best in the bunch.  But they don't know everything about this child.

It was for this child I prayed...I hope you will too.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Oh Joy!

Last night as I climbed in the bed after a long day, I put my hand on my belly and had a moment of just pure joy (I guess these mood swings can go either way).  I was thinking about my day: my first prenatal yoga class, what I accomplished at work, the good friends I spoke to for the first time in weeks, the happy conversation I had with my mom on the way home, the comforting sounds of my husband and dog playing downstairs, the little jumping bean in my stomach, and that angel I feel with me wherever I go.

I also had a very vivid memory of lying in this same bed almost eight months ago: hand on an empty belly, quiet house, eyes so swollen I could hardly see, the thought of ever getting up again seeming like the hardest thing in the world...wondering if joy would ever find me again.

So it's not that I have forgotten the pain and the sadness or the fear of the unknown, it is just that I have learned that when you have those moments of pure joy you enjoy Every. Single. Minute.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I Like the Way You Move

Yep, today was the big day...I felt "her" move for the first time (and it WASN'T gas!!!).

A girl after my own heart, all it took was a cupcake roughly the size of Texas and off she went.

THIS is what it is all about!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Fear, Faith, Trust, Belief...Hope?

Sometimes I am so afraid that I can't put it into words.  It is the kind of fear that takes your breath away, almost like falling flat on your back, and it comes out of nowhere.  One minute I am fine, the next all I stand to lose and have lost hits me and bam, I'm seeing stars.

I know the only way out of that fear is through faith...faith got me through losing Rip, and it is what will get me through this pregnancy.

To have faith you have to be able to trust.  I still have problems with that one, a tendency towards the "fool me once" mentality.  I trusted once, and after everything that has happened, how can I truly believe that it is gong to be okay this time.

But I have to believe...just like I had and have to believe Rip is safe, I have to believe this baby is part of a plan.  I have to believe that someone is in charge, and it isn't me.  Even when it seems easier just to give into the fear, somehow I have to make myself believe.

Fear, Faith, Trust, Belief...how did it all get so complicated?

But somehow if I get through that cycle every day, I get a little glimpse of what I want most...Hope.

Friday, July 8, 2011

No Use Crying Over Spilled Cereal

Somewhere around 6th grade, my entire class had to memorize the poem "Attitude" by Charles Swindoll.  It goes like this:

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.

Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home.

The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.

And so it is with you... we are in charge of our attitudes



For some reason it really stuck with me, and every time someone I knew was going through I rough patch, I would send it to them, pointing out in particular the line " I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it".

Looking back I am sure they all wanted to give me a good slap for doing it.

Because, even though I still agree with a majority of the poem, there are some things in life that are not meant to be handled with a good attitude.  I have been more at peace since I realized that in no way shape or form should I expect myself to feel good about what happened to Rip and to us.  It is one of those life-changing traumatic events that, as long as I am still putting one foot in front of the other, I am doing the best I can.

I think the hard part is knowing how to separate those few events in life that should not be expected to be met with a smile from those every day nuisances that can seem  huge after a major loss.

For instance, this morning I was really, really looking forward to some cereal...I was all ready to take my first bite when I spilled the whole thing.  The absolute despair I felt afterwards was probably overkill.  Everyone spills cereal.  Thankfully, most of life's ups and downs, in the end, amount to a cup of spilled cereal.

So, it's still a choice.  Nobody should be expected to react to the very worst with good cheer, but there is no use crying over spilled cereal. As old Charles says, "we are in charge of our attitudes".

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Look

There is a Look...and anybody who has ever lost somebody close to them knows what I am talking about...the Look is supposed to convey sympathy but in reality just makes you feel like slapping someone.  I've heard it called the "hair too heavy on one side" look and the "wounded puppy" look...whatever you want to call it, I can see it coming from a mile away.

It starts when the somebody (usually a somebody you don't know well) spots you from across the room, parking lot, football field.  No matter the distance, no matter how hard you try to avoid eye contact, the Look will find you.  The determination of the Look is not to be underestimated.

There is a certain slackening of features, sometimes accompanied with a welling of the eyes...the head cocks to one side, maybe even slowly shaking back in forth...careful, the Looker will want to touch you, move carefully, because the Looker will grab on... and the Looker will not be happy Until.You.Cry.

Don't get me wrong, I greatly appreciate 99% of the people who stop and say such kind words about our loss, friends and strangers who somehow know just what to say...but so help me God, I will spend the rest of my life trying to dodge THE LOOK.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Little Sursy

Growing up, whenever we had to do something really unpleasant (like going to the doctor) or really pleasant (all A's...I think it happened once, in the second grade) we got a little "sursy".  Just a little surprise to let you know someone cared.
Going to the doctor with this pregnancy is equal parts joy and fear.  Even though I am so thankful to be able to see a high risk doctor this time around, sometimes I think that their part-time job is to scare the living daylights out of you...every time we leave the office I don't know whether to laugh or cry.
To make it a little easier on us (by us, I mean the baby and myself), I decided that after every appointment we needed a little sursy.
I did not buy a single baby thing for Rip, I just didn't...I couldn't make myself.  I was determined to let that fear go this time, and let's just say I've succeeded.
With all of the doctors appointments we have had, Baby Harris # 2 has collected quite a few sursys...and as I said, I decided that we needed a little something after each appointment, so her mama isn't doing so bad herself!