Friday, August 31, 2012

Motherly Musing

This little guy has me physically exhausted and mentally spent from trying to convince him to eat... some days my chief accomplishment is getting enough ounces into him to keep him gaining weight.  There's a lot of shushing, singing, dancing, swaying, and trying of innumerable positions on my part and a lot of crying, face-burying, choking, spitting and thrashing on his part.  My back and arms are so tired from holding him, my neck is aching from trying to see what he's doing, my patience is tried to its limit, and my mind is working overtime trying to remember all the therapies and exercises I'm supposed to be doing even as I try and weigh the options for care (second revision? pursuing the specialist out of state? cranio-sacral therapy? OT? suck training? letting him sleep?  pushing to eat? bottle? try nursing? correct his latch?  let him eat however so long as he eats?).  It's a lot of responsibility for one person to carry.

And yet.

When I think of today, what first of all comes to mind is his little hand reaching out and grabbing at a toy for the first time-- a giraffe on his swing tray.  I remember the joy I felt at seeing him reach this developmental milestone.  Next I remember the sweet smile and coos he gave me-- the way his eyes connected with mine and it seemed like he was genuinely talking to me.  And then I think of his joy at finding his thumb no matter what his position.  My mind is full of his baby-smell, nestled slurping away on said thumb against my shoulder.  I think of the joy of him, my son.  I'll take all the long hours- for the rest of his life- gladly, for the sake of having him.

And I wonder.

Isn't this how the Lord thinks of me?  Not of the tremendous trouble I put Him through-- not of all my failings and illogicalities and weaknesses.  Not all the ways I make my own life difficult.  Not all the ways my weaknesses trip me up.  But the joy of me, His daughter?  I can't imagine Job was a perfect man, and yet we overhear Him bragging "Have you considered My servant, Job? There is no one like him!"  God describes Himself as "taking great delight in me, quieting me with His love, rejoicing over me with loud singing!"(Zephaniah 3:17)

It's mind-blowing, incomprehensible. It'd be heresy to say things like this about how the God of the universe feels about a warped fragile insignificant creature like me if He didn't say it first. "Oh Love incomprehensible, that made Thee bleed for me!  The Judge of all has suffered death to set His prisoner free!" (hymn by Augustus Toplady & Anne Steele)

Like I said, pregnancy and child-bearing is good for my soul. :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Joy in Our Hearts-- Lots of It

I listened to music while laboring with both my babies. With Eowyn, the song I most remember (the one playing as she was born, actually) is Sandra McCracken's "Close of the Day"-- fittingly a song about all the simple blessings of life -- "close of the day/ fireworks and rain, feels like a holiday/ unburdens my frame"-- as well as the deep blessings of the Gospel-- " the marks of my name/ torn into Your Hands" --with the refrain "and this is not what I deserve." Really perfect to remember as I contemplated the joy of bringing forth a child contrasted with the Hell I'd have earned myself with all my sin, as well as the far greater pain He went through for me!

Anyway... the song that will always remind me of Liam's birth is Sara Groves' "Joy is in Our Hearts." It's got a great tempo, great contemplative, calm, intense vibe that is perfect for the work of labor. And the words... wow, the words are great for the discomfort, pain and trial of waiting that is the last stage of pregnancy and all of labor. It's also been perfect for me as a new mom full of fears: once you've been given such a precious gift, it's easy to fall prey to the temptation that it will be taken from you. This song helps me remember that even if I lost my little son or worse, I would have Christ, and Him for all eternity!- and that would be reason enough to sing for joy. This song was written, I think, with the persecuted church in mind.

 I pray this little montage encourages you! I get teary just watching it. :) Pregnancy and labor are good for my spiritual condition. Which means we'll probably be having more kids.

"We were pressed on every side,
Full of fear and troubled thoughts;
For good reason we carried heavy hearts

"It is good to come together
In our friendship to remember
All the reasons hope is in our hearts:
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Christ our joy and strength!

"Now with patience in our suffering,
Perseverance in our prayers,
With good reason this hope is in our hearts:
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Christ our joy and strength!

"Oh, we saw the face of angels--
Many good things well-secured
For good reason this joy is in our hearts:
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Christ our joy and strength!

For good reason joy is in our hearts."

Friday, August 10, 2012

Liam One Month Update

How are you already 6 weeks old, Little Man?  Sorry this month's update comes a little bit late; my life is even fuller than it was in your sister's first month of life. I don't like being on the computer while you kids are awake, and when you both are asleep, well, you'd better bet I try to be too.  So blogging has taken quite the nose-dive. But back to you.  At 1 month I measured you as 13 lbs (fully clothed).  The next day you were a bit under 13 lbs naked, rashy and skimping on meals at the doctor's office.  I can't button your 0-3 month onesies anymore, so I know you're growing... my left shoulder attests to your increasing weight.  You fit solidly into 3-6 month clothes now, especially in cloth diapers.  Your arms remain unbelievably long.  Daddy thinks this means you'll be taller than both of us someday.

You're a generally stern little fellow-- the sleepiest baby I've ever seen.  I think you're going to be even more of a Drama King than your sister is Queen, though.  We joke about your ability to go from totally content to completely red-faced and shrieking at the top of your lungs as "going from 0 to 60 in .2 seconds."  You do this frequently.  You detest being naked and love being swaddled.  Doctors have commented on your resistance to being "messed with" and your strength.  Mommy's arms are the only acceptable place for you much of the day.  Partly this is your acid reflux talking (screaming)-- it hurts you to be on your back, just like it did your sister-- but it's also a clear preference.  You want to be held, especially with your arms draped over my shoulder.

It's been precious to me that you are beginning to respond to my voice (once you calmed down at my motor-boating).  I love that you coo, smile at me, and are the noisiest eater & sleeper I've ever heard!  You change "looks" every day-- one night I think I've basically had the same baby twice, and the very next morning, you look completely different.  It's fun.

You rolled over front-to-back at 12 days old, and have repeated the feat several times.  You also "scoot" in your sleep all over the bed.  At least you can't roll back-to-front yet!  I can tell you can see a bit further now and you've been tracking our movements with your eyes since 1 month.  You delight in your play gym toys for about 15 minutes, and then let me know you've been stimulated enough, thank you!

Feeding is difficult.  You've got some "issues" with your tongue and latch; we've tried to get to the bottom of them, but so far it seems you're just going to have to grow out of them.  I hope there's something we find we can do to help speed up that process, because nursing is often frustrating for you instead of comforting.  However, you do get enough to keep being solidly chunky, and you are able to make good work of a bottle when you have to, though you are FAR slower at bottle-feeding that nursing!  Your "fussy time" is often from 2-4 and/or 8-11 pm, usually stemming from your love-hate relationship with nursing.  Thankfully, you usually nurse just fine during the night.  Though you don't have a definite schedule yet- largely because of your difficulty nursing- I do generally try to keep you awake after you eat, and you eat about every 3 hours, cluster feeding regularly in the evenings.

The one other concern I have about your health is this persistant rash you've had.  I'm fairly certain you've got sensitive skin and react to any detergent but soap nuts, Rockin' Green, or homemade soap, but besides that you've been rashy for the past 2 weeks solid.  Your doctor thinks it's a viral rash just working its way out of your system, but I am not so sure something else isn't going on.  Guess we'll see!

We love you Bubbie, Little Man, Liam, William, or, as your sister calls you "Cute Man!"  I shuddered when she declared "sometimes, I call him Bub." but the two of you sure are cute together!  The Lord's been impressing deeply on me just how much the both of you are my most precious earthly treasures. You are such little dears, so eternally weighty in worth.  May you look back one day and be able to say that I gave you the best of every thing I have-- my years, my time, my creativity, my patience, my effort, my resourcefulness and my intellect.  

Your Mommy