Trying to Rest

Well, yesterday worry overtook me and I headed in to my doctor to make sure everything was still going well.  I’ve just had too many contractions that have taken too long to go away.  Everything is still going well, but he wanted me to take it really easy from here on out.  The definition of what that looks like, I’m not quite sure, but I got the impression that I need to cut back, and a lot. 

There’s just so many hurdles to cutting back and resting more that it’s a bit overwhelming.  I think the system that will probably work best with Knut being home a bit is that when he’s home, he does many of the standing things that I used to do.  (Dishes, getting drinks for the kids at supper, vacuuming, etc.)  When I’m the only adult at home, I do what absolutely needs to get done.  (Changing diapers, making food, etc.)  However, baskets of clothes get left at the bottom of the stairs for Knut to bring up once he gets home, or better yet, I can sometimes get the kids to take up hand fulls and put them away themselves.  It’s not as neat as I would do it, but somethings have to give.

I need to be disciplined to sit down more.  It’s such a mental battle that I know some of my readers who have been pregnant before may understand.  You don’t want to feel like you’re taking advantage of the situation.  It just feels wrong to sit at the table and let others clear my plate.  To ask someone to help me get the kids to the car feels embarrassing for some reason.  Trying to take it easy is a huge blow to the ego because it’s like admitting to everyone around you how weak and unable you are to do things over and over again.  It’s certainly humbling. 

It’s been experiences like this (this is not the first pregnancy I’ve had to cut back this much…in fact I was put on more severe restrictions when I was pregnant with Silje) that makes my heart go out to every woman on bedrest out there.  The biggest challenge of bedrest I believe, is the mental challenge on not feeling sick, yet having to willfully stay in bed.  Then there’s added to that the mental battle of questioning your body’s ability, as well as worry for your baby.  It’s completely a mental battle, and my prayers and empathy go out to every bedridden pregnant lady out there. 

Fortunately, I’m not at that point, and am hoping to avoid bedrest altogether this time around.  However, I was warned that if I don’t cut back enough, I will be. 

Honestly, though, I feel like I’m dealing with a whole cocktail of emotions and hormones that traditionally comes with the third trimester that I’m trying desperately to overcome.  I’m always tired.  I know I’m irrationally annoyed because Knut has been great and a huge help being home some this last week, and no matter how awesome he is without complaint, I feel annoyed.  I don’t think it’s him, and perhaps I’m just annoyed that I need his help.  At any rate, it seems to me to be an illogical annoyance, and that has me categorize it as another pregnancy symptom.

Add to that the overall worry, or dare I say fear, that this baby will come too early.  Only I can listen to my body and take its cues to sit more, and only I can communicate those needs to others, and if I don’t, and this baby comes too early, that will be on my shoulders.   Hmmm, just as I wrote that the verse came to mind from Matthew: “Come to me all ye who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me…” it’s been awhile since I’ve memorized that one, so pardon the mistakes if there are any.  Thank you Holy Spirit for that little reminder.

It’s funny how God says over and over again in the Scriptures how he wants to give us rest and he even commands us to rest, and yet we don’t take it.  We don’t do it.  I think that it boils down, like most sins, to the sin of pride.  We don’t like others seeing us rest, or admitting we need rest.  We like to appear strong and self sufficient.  Capable, able, responsible.  There’s something about taking rest that can be humbling, and perhaps that’s why God gives it/commands it.  We need that so badly. 

I have had very little joy in sewing lately, even though that usually relieves stress for me. I find myself bored and gaining more unfinished projects rather than finishing my pile of previously started projects.  I have some things that really need to be finished up within the next week for a swap that I’m doing with some friends and I just don’t feel like it.  What I’d like is to get some “mojo” back in the sewing area. I find myself dreaming of patterns and enjoying coming up with new projects, but my motivation to finish anything has been dried up.  I would like very much to overcome that.

Really, the only thing that seems to get me smiling and looking forward to doing things right now (besides looking forward to the birth of this little girl) is looking forward to Christmas this year.  Some of you may remember that last year around Thanksgiving/Christmas time, I miscarried a baby, and then we went to Phoenix for Christmas and while we were there I had my surgery to remove a huge ovarian tumor.  With all of that going on, I didn’t make any Christmas cookies, or send out Christmas cards.  We didn’t bother decorating the house much as we weren’t going to be home for Christmas.  No tree, no ornaments, no baking.  Even though it was good to be with my family, I was either in pain or doped up on pain meds, and it just wasn’t the same.

I’m so excited for Christmas this year.  So much so that I cry when I think about it.  (Think 3rd trimester pregnant hormones again.  Yes, I cry when I think of Christmas.)  This Christmas, we will have another stocking hung by the fire for our new little baby.  I can’t wait to get a tree and decorate it.  I can’t wait to make Christmas cookies this year and I’m pretty sure I’ll go overboard in decorating the house this year.  I can’t wait for my parents and Knut’s brother and sister-in-law to come up during the season.  Cozy fires in the fireplace, it all white outside.  I think I’ll just soak it all in this year. 

Sorry for all of the rambling thoughts.  That’s what blogs are for, right?  I just thought I’d let all my friends who have kindly reminded me to take it easy that I am doing my best to do so, even though mentally it’s very, very difficult to do.  I’d ask for prayer that I’d find joy in resting, instead of my grumbly annoyance, but that seems to be an even greater “cultural sin” in this part of America.  It’s one thing to have to rest…as if it’s the responsible thing to do, but it’s another thing to totally revel in it with joy.  Our mortal world is funny, isn’t it?

Through my rambling, though, I reminded myself that there is still so much to look forward too, and this is all just temporary.  I won’t be restricted forever, and joy will come.  I just need to hang in there.

Homeschool Friday

David has been wearing his ski boots with his pajamas for school lately. You never know when you might need them in case of emergency, you know.

I brought out our US map puzzle this last week which I’ve been saving for a few months so they didn’t get all of their new school things at once. Silje and David take turns putting it together over and over, and I’m surprised how quickly they’re learning their states and capitols.

School has been good this week. We’ve more interruptions than usual it seems, with Knut being home at odd times, and of course the snow. We went to homeschool group on Tuesday, although we were really late because I was determined to take it easy and not rush. Neither the kids nor the group seemed to mind, though. Silje’s choir practices seem to be progressing much faster now, although I’m not there for them to see with my own eyes. They’re working on some actions to songs, which Silje’s pretty excited about.
I snapped a shot of Silje pausing a moment during her piano practice. I’m looking at this picture and thinking I should have reminded her to keep her wrists up more. The reader I picked for her at the library this week has been “Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing” and she’s was hesitant, because the cover wasn’t that great. However, she has declared it her favorite book ever, and rushes to tell me everyday what Peter and his little brother “Fudge” have done each day.

We’re continuing on with our unit on ancient Egypt, and Silje loves spending her free time looking at our library books with pictures of artifacts found during that time.

Getting Nearer

Crossing into the 33 week point, I know things are getting closer. The closer I get, the more I pray that I make it to December this time. I was at the doctor last Friday and everything is going fine. Then Monday night I had “an episode.” It’s pretty common for me (and most pregnant ladies, I’m sure) to get mild contractions throughout the third trimester. It’s when they’re regular that you need to be concerned.

Well, Monday night, I was feeling sore. Mostly because I mopped the kitchen floor on my hands and knees earlier that day. I’m sorry, but the Swifter just doesn’t clean it good enough and it was really bothering me. It was stupid of me to do, and I think I’ll just have to rely on the Swifter for the rest of this pregnancy and deal with it.

All afternoon my back hurt, but around 6pm contractions started. 20 minute intervals quickly turned into 10 minute intervals, which got my attention. It didn’t help that Silje and David were constantly fighting, and hitting and yelling. Elias was in destruction mode and was going from room to room destroying something. I was trying to sit down and get my feet up, but my 3 little ones were making it basically impossible.

I got supper in them, and tried to sit down. No one was listening, or eating. This was not like them. My kids are normally pretty good. I put on a movie for them. (After supper? Gasp! They normally never get t.v. time then, but I was getting desperate.) Even that didn’t help much as they were kicking each other on the couch and pushing each other off and screaming about what the other did.

By 7, a few of the contractions were getting seriously close to 5-7 minutes apart and I started freaking out. With Knut gone, my mind was racing to figure out what to do with the children. Should I call his mom and have her watch the kids? Should I call the hospital without getting a chance to sit and rest to see if they go away first? I finally decided to just put the kids in their beds. Yes, it was seriously early. Lights were off by 7:30 (30 minutes before their regular bedtime), although no one was asleep. Knut came in for his supper at that point, and saw me in my “freaking out” mode. I’ve had some kind of preterm labor with each previous pregnancy, and I knew I needed to sit down and relax.

This wasn’t Knut’s first time dealing with me having preterm labor either, and he knew like I knew that we’d most likely end up in the hospital before the evening was over. So he took a moment to get me set up downstairs with a movie, a gallon of water, a bowl of ice cream, and he rubbed my neck for a minute, which always relaxes my body in a hurry.

I heard the kids running around upstairs, but ignored it and stubbornly kept my feet up. Eventually, everyone ended up back in their beds and were asleep. From that point on the contractions immediately slowed to every 20 minutes, and then disappeared altogether like we had hoped. So we decided not to go in.

However, when I woke up the next morning, the baby was decidedly lower. Wow, she’s sitting low. This worries me because I don’t want her sitting so low this early…possibly moving thing along faster than I want.

So just when I feel like my housework is caught up again, I have to mentally force myself to let it go and sit down as much as possible. Feet up, drinking water. It’s getting down to that tough part of the pregnancy where I have to say “no” a lot when everything in me wants to say “yes!” I always feel like I can do things, and it’s only after I do them that I feel the repercussions.

My kids have come sooner and sooner. Silje was born on her due date, right at 40 weeks. (Soooooo like her. Punctual and by the book.) David was at 37 weeks, and Elias barely slipped into the category of “preterm” at 36 weeks, and his lungs showed it, hence the week in the NICU and 2 hospitalizations since. Ironically, I didn’t have any preterm labor contractions with him. My water just broke spontaneously at 36 weeks with no warning.

Not only that, but David was born at 37 weeks and was just fine! It made us realize how very crucial every week in the womb is to a little baby.

So now at 33 weeks, I’m getting nervous. I’m getting jumpy. My mental goal is 38 weeks, although after going through the NICU, I’d go 2 weeks over with little complaint if it meant a healthy baby. I know girls tend to have more mature lungs at birth than boys, and so if she does come at 36 weeks, she’ll be less likely to have the lung issues that Elias did. That is a bit of a comfort.

I’m kicking myself for letting contractions continue on for an hour and a half that close together without getting them to stop. I’m hoping and praying I didn’t shave weeks off this pregnancy with that episode. I need to plan for what I’d do if that happened again, but soon I won’t have to worry. Evenings are the hardest for me, physically, and Knut will soon be home when it’s dark. I think this little snow storm which allowed him to be home a lot more for a couple of days is pretty well timed as well.

So say a prayer, and keep your fingers crossed for me that we’ll make it all the way to December this time! It’s coming up quick!

Outside Play

Well, after lunch, Daddy was home and since I had some help, even Elias got to come out.
David isn’t the only boy in the family eager to get on skis. He pulled out his “rock skis” (older non-racing skis) and said it was surprisingly good skiing in the front yard.
Elias and I mostly walked around in the snow that’s quickly turning to slush.

The boys raced back and forth, and down the “hill” (ditch) a few times.
It should be a good winter!

He doesn’t have them yet, but Knut is determined to get Elias on skis this year as well. I mean, he’s going to be 2 in a few weeks. It’s about time.
The girls (Silje and Lena) found a snow drift by the tire swing to dig in.
Stop growing already! When did she get so big??
Who says you can’t swing in the snow?
However, there’s a little reminder that winter isn’t here to stay yet. The tractor is just sitting in the snow and waiting for this weekend when the snow has melted and they can finish up the field work. Until then, it can just sit in the snow and look pretty.