Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Adding sickness to the exhaustion stew

It's been quite a week. I mean, every week with toddlers is, I suppose :)

Jake caught some nasty bug at school and within a few days we were all feeling like crap. The cough got so scary I was afraid he'd brought strep or bronchitis into the home so Saturday we loaded up the fam and headed to Urgent Care, only to discover that not a single Urgent Care type place takes our insurance. So, then we had to go to the ER. *Sidenote- America is so messed up. Hospitals say non-emergent care in the ER is a huge time and resource waster, yet those of us with State supplied insurance have no other choice for urgent/non-emergent care. Messed up!*

3 1/2 hours in the ER later Jake tested negative for strep, Eliana was negative for a UTI and we were told they likely just had some really bad upper respiratory infection. Ugh. Then we raced to the ball fields because Jake insisted he wanted to play still only to find out that we somehow had an older version of the schedule and there were no games. Went back home, gave everybody Tylenol and spent the rest of the evening feeling like poo in front of the tv. Until 6pm when Jake magically remembered a huge science project due Monday morning that he'd never even told us about (this is a frequent and very frustrating occurrence). Assignments are supposed to be posted on the online system, but not everything makes it on there and it's a bit weird to navigate, so basically we end up in the dark a lot and have to watch Jake like a hawk otherwise things just don't get done. I mean, literally just missing assignments that he'll get zero credit for and we don't find about until after the fact when things are finally posted online.  It's exhausting and non-stop and a daily frustration. Craig and I are both glad that Thursday is the end of this school year! As a parent it becomes hard to enjoy your teenager and want to do fun things when the relationship becomes nothing but babysitting them and disciplining them. Not fun at all!

With getting sick the girls started 'sleeping in' til 6am instead of getting up at 5am. The extra hour is nice but getting up at 6 when everyone is sick still sucks. They have started napping in the midst of the illness, so I'll take that as long as it lasts!

Monday, June 10, 2013

32 Weeks

Time is flying with this pregnancy. It's crazy to think little man will be here in 6-10 weeks!

28 weeks
28 weeks again

29 weeks

30 weeks

31 weeks

32 weeks

Pregnancy stats 6-7-13, 32 weeks
Weight gain: approx 24lbs
Baby's size: somewhere over 4lbs by now
Little man has decided he likes to be breech and stick his head up between my ribs. I've been seeing a Webster Chiropractor to try and turn him. A breech baby means no home birth :( There is still time and hopefully he'll get cozy and head down.
Pregnancy symptoms: lots of braxton hicks, hard to breathe when he's head up, lots of peeing, more moody, hungry a lot.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Still not sleeping...

Well friends, I wish I could say there's been an improvement in the sleeping situation...but so far, no.

I've had to give Evangeline .50mg of melatonin just to get her to fall asleep at night without getting out of bed 20 times. A few times a week, at least, she's waking in the middle of the night with a terrified scream and of course waking up Eliana, too. And the very early morning wake ups have not only continued, but hit a new level of horribleness. Yesterday the girls got up at 4:50am and nothing would get them to stay in their beds for more than 10 minutes at a time. As a parent, it's a very lonely and helpless feeling. Craig sleeps through his alarm going off several times and then leaves for work around 5:30am and he's gone almost every night at sports stuff with Jake, so most of the time I really do feel like a single parent. I have no help when it comes to anything sleep related with the girls. He would sleep through an atom bomb. When Eliana was a baby and screamed every night for hours with colic, I could be sitting in bed next to him, holding her while she screamed and he'd continue snoring. If only I was so lucky, right? And yes, it can be infuriating.

Friday makes it an entire month of this. I think that for anyone, this would be a tough situation. Then add being nearly 32 weeks pregnant...it feels like a horrible nightmare that I just can't wake up from. Every night I hope and pray that this will be the night that my kids sleep well and sleep til even just 7am. It hasn't happened yet. I never feel like myself. I feel like I'm in a constant haze and just staying awake to drive kids to errands and appointments is hard. Trying to nicely respond to missed calls, emails, comments, and scheduling appointments for all 5 of us is taking every ounce of me. I can't survive the 5am wake ups without caffeine, but then the possibility of any kind of nap or doze during the day is screwed if I do have caffeine. And I've never been a napper anyway. It makes the whole day feel awful for me. I can't win.

I feel isolated because it seems only my little terrors pull this kind of crap, to this extent, and for such a long period of time. I have been told probably 416 times that I just need blackout curtains and a sound machine. I am told several times a day that I "just need to put Evie in a separate room". Well, here's the deal, she's in a separate room for naps and it's not helping AT ALL. And we have always had blackout curtains and a sound machine. And the clock that turns green at a certain time. And structured bedtime routines. And no drinks after a certain time. And my kids have never been allowed caffeine. There isn't a magic fix and some easy solution that I somehow haven't thought of yet. I am doing the absolute best that I can, especially doing it all alone and pregnant.

The crazy thing about how early they wake up is that I can't outsmart them. I can't just go to bed early and wake well rested. I tried to go to bed at 9pm a few nights ago, which gives me approximately zero minutes of the day without any kids or time with my husband (which is the usual these days). I finally fell asleep at 9:30 and then 10 minutes later Evangeline was screaming bloody murder in her bed and woke up Eliana. I didn't get back to sleep til 10:30 and then they were up by 5am again. I got a whopping 6 1/2 hours of sleep- and that was a good night.

I worry I'll fall down the large flight of stairs as I make one of a bazillion trips up and down them. I worry I'll go into preterm labor or something else terrible will happen to the baby. I worry my kids will never sleep anywhere close to 'normal' again. I worry I'll have PPD or issues with milk supply because of being so chronically exhausted. I worry I won't be able to physically handle a natural birth because I have no energy just to do laundry, let alone the marathon of labor. Basically, I just worry.

I don't like to take my kids anywhere because their behavior is really unpredictable right now. They trip, fall and get hurt really easily because they are so tired. They argue and hit and do things they'd never do in a well-rested state. I have to remind Evangeline frequently to go to the potty because this non-sleeping has really messed up the fact that she's already potty trained.

Yesterday I really pondered just making her bed a crib again. But that's a tough one because she's a climber and was climbing out/falling out of her crib before we made it a toddler bed. There were many loud thumps and a screaming toddler and I envisioned broken arms and concussions. I could try to take them somewhere for a sleep study, but that feels like it would take so much energy just in the calling, scheduling, appointments, overnight stay, etc...and I can barely make sure there is dinner on the table at night right now.

This month has been really traumatic for me. There is definitely a torture-like element to sleep deprivation. I've started waking up and starting at the ceiling with fear right before 5am because my brain knows in a matter of minutes they'll be up and hollering. I wake up to every little thing at night, like my body doesn't know how to even find a deep sleep pattern anymore. It's not pregnancy or my bladder waking me, it's PTSD from my freaking kids. The same thing happened after the horrible 4 months with Eliana's colic. It took me a long time to be able to fall asleep normally and stay asleep after dealing with hours and hours of screaming every night. I start to wonder if it's even worth it to try and sleep. And part of me feels anger that God made our bodies to need sleep in the first place.

It's frustrating when I know and believe that God could make it all stop if he wanted to. He could make them sleep til 8am every single day. But He's not. I don't understand why He's allowing it to continue this way. I don't really feel heard or cared for right in this moment. I know This Too Shall Pass and I know things could get worse...trust me, I know that. I'm just honestly not sure how I'm supposed to prepare physically and emotionally for this next home birth when the most basic need, sleep, isn't happening.

This is my reality.

Monday, June 3, 2013

"God Never Gives You More Than You Can Handle"

There is something I've been thinking about for a long time. It's been rolling around in my brain, sort of marinating as I try to sort it out. It's this statement, "God never gives you more than you can handle."

I would be surprised if there was a single one of us who has not heard it said. People say it when it a family member dies, a car breaks down, there's a miscarriage or infertility, our kids are being troublesome, a spouse is being a pain in the butt, etc. To me, it's always come across as either rude, like "well, God wouldn't have let your dad die if you couldn't handle it!" Or prideful, like "well you're so awesome and tough that of course God will let you go through all this- you can totally handle it!"

 I've also heard people say it about themselves after they rack up debt and 'have' to file bankruptcy or they have an affair and are facing a very hurt and angry spouse or they made some other bad choice that is negatively impacting their life. As though their bad choices were nothing but a lesson God gave them....it takes the responsibility and weight of consequences off of them. Like, "see, God wouldn't have let it happen if I couldn't handle it!"

The statement is quoted as though it's a Bible verse. Here's the deal, it's not. The Bible does not say, "God never gives you more than you can handle." Especially not in the above context. It seems perhaps the phrase started after a game of telephone of this verse, "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it (1 Cor. 10:13 NASB).

I like this explanation from www.livingtruthcorona.org, "The promise in 1 Corinthians 10:13 is not about God not giving us more than we can handle it is about God not allowing temptation to overwhelm us without Him providing a way of escape so that we can endure the temptation and not fall into sin (like Israel did).

I think this is very critical to understand because many people may feel that when life gives them more than they can (honestly) handle they may conclude that God has let them down. They may even repeat this phrase “God won’t give you (or me) any more than you (I) can handle.” But I do not believe that God has promised this. I think that this is one of those phrases much like “God helps them who help themselves” that people repeat so often that they assume it is in the Bible but it actually is not!"

For me, I'm bothered by the phrase because I believe us living a life with more than we can handle is sort of the whole point. Life is not easy and sometimes it's just down right hard. Sometimes it's hard because of reasons out of our control (hello, motherhood!), sometimes it's hard because we made a poor choice at some point and are paying the consequences, even years later. The difficulty of life points to our great need for someone bigger, stronger, more capable than we are. Our challenges put us in a position to cry out for help and allow God to reveal himself and His glory. We can let our life point to Him. I don't think the point is that others can say, "wow, you're so strong....you've been through so much and YOU are amazing." Yeah, a kudos is nice because it's validation, but I can honestly say I've never made it through anything without God being right there with me. Craig's accident, infertility, financial troubles, taking on a stepson full time, raising my toddlers, losing 3 family members in a year, and the ups and downs of marriage. It can become a wedge in our trust of the Father when we really buy into this idea that He won't give us more than we can handle....as though he's purposely dumping crap on our lives and making things hard simply because "we can handle it." Like it's a game to Him to see how much weight we can carry before we break. I just simply won't buy into that. 

That's not the loving and just Savior that scripture speaks of. That's not the gentle and healing Savior that I know. There are natural consequences to our choices and our lifestyles. That is part of life. It might feel like punishment, but I really think punishment and consequences are not the same thing. I might put my girls in timeout for mistreating each other and that's punishment. But when they burn their hand grabbing at the hot stove- I would NEVER purposely make that happen. That's a natural consequence to them ignoring my warning of HOT! 
 Sometimes poo hits the fan and we can't see or find a reason. It does not mean God is playing Russian Roulette with us and seeing which time the gun will actually go off. 

I do think that He hopes and desires that in every circumstance, we'll praise Him. That in every challenge and hurt, we'll seek Him....hide in Him....trust Him. Is that easy? No, not always. But I think it gets easier as our relationship deepens and sadly, as we face more hardship. 

The last few years have really sucked. It's been SO much hardship and death and it's been anything but easy. Somewhere in that mess I reached a point where I realized it wasn't helpful to blame or question God at all. I need Him just to get through the day. It's more than OK, and heck yeah He can handle our questions and anger, but I don't have the energy to yell at and question Him and also lean into Him. Most days I only have enough energy for one position and a nonstop torrent of hardship does serve to exhaust us to the point that we pick our stance. It might vary a bit from day to day, but we realize we aren't going to make it to bedtime without Him. Our marriage won't see another anniversary without Him. Our children won't have pleasant memories or a future to build on without Him. Our bills won't get paid without Him. For me, that realization has also served to allow me to see the victories...the times He's stepped in and done miracles. It is very hard to think that after a lifetime of not really knowing her, my husband's mom was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Immediately she had a tracheotomy and was confined to a hospital bed until she died. BUT, she was able to write journals and dozens of letters and share her heart. She accepted Jesus and she came to understand her value and importance. I learned more about her in that 7 months than I'd been able to know in the 7 years prior. That was so God! Cancer was a natural consequence of decades of smoking and drinking. He didn't have to allow such emotional and spiritual healing to take place- but He did. That is a gracious and loving God. Not a God laughing from his throne touting, "well, you can handle it!" No, of course we can't handle it! Cancer is a beast....a horrible and terrifying beast. We absolutely can't handle it. We need God. I need God.

I hope that whatever you're facing, you can feel loved and cared for throughout it. That you'll allow your Savior to be your ally and support. He is powerful and loving and gracious. He is Truth and Justice and Mercy. Even in the natural consequences to our lives and our sin, He is still love. His love is not dependent on us deserving it! You don't have to buck up and try to handle it. Whether it's surviving the day with little kids or dealing with and grieving the loss of someone, you don't have to try and handle it. Allow your Savior to love you...to save you. Life gets simpler when we realize we can't handle it.

~ Diana