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Posted on Jun 22, 2013 in Fertility, Parenting | 10 comments

Ten Things Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman with “Morning Sickness”

Ten Things Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman with “Morning Sickness”

DSC_0019 CROPPregnancy.  Ugh.  I’ve decided that the women who say they feel great and actually like being pregnant are lying.

Okay, so maybe they aren’t exactly lying, but they aren’t actually telling the truth.  Could they be?  Nah.  Pregnancy, as beautiful as the outcome may be, is not what I would ever call “fun.”

No, I’m not trying to announce that I’m pregnant. I just had a little trip down memory lane and thought that in my non-preggo, non-sicko state, I’d make a list to help you out when you encounter other women with that glow. And for the record, “morning sickness” is the most under-descriptive name for the all-encompassing, 24-hour, flu-like state of many pregnancies.

1. You should try ________ (fill in the blank – saltines, ginger, peppermint, etc.).
Do you want to know how bad those things taste coming back up?
Get me a trash can!

2. You just need a little fresh air. Go for a walk!
I puke when I walk to the bathroom and you expect me to make it outside and down the road?
Get me a trash can!

3. Everyone gets it. Suck it up.
Oh, that makes it so much better…
Get me a trash can!

4. I can’t believe you’re sleeping again.
I just grew a pinky finger in my womb. What did you do today?
Get me a trash can!

5. You think you’re sick now, just wait until labor and delivery! (Snort.) Let me tell you my horror story…
Thanks. Now I’m not just sick, I’m terrified.
Get me a trash can!

6. If you were busy enough, you wouldn’t have time to be sick.
Are you freaking kidding me?
Get me a trash can!

7. Do you want to have sex tonight?
Do you want to clean puke up off your face?
Get me a trash can!

8. I don’t smell anything. You’re imagining it.
How can you not smell that? It’s awful.
Oops! The trash can wasn’t close by enough. Sorry about the floor.

9. Why do you need a trash can? Just puke in the toilet.
Yes, because in my extremely nauseous, motion-sick, hyper-sensitive to smell state, I want to stick my face in the pot where we poo.
GET ME A TRASH CAN!

10. I don’t feel like going out to get the food you’re craving right now. You’ll just puke it up anyway.
If I can’t have [pickled bananas] right now, I’m going to claw your eyes out.
And yes, after eating the crazy food I requested, get me a trash can, please…

And now, for some encouragement on what you could say to a pregnant woman with “morning sickness” to help her through it.

• Tell me about what you’re looking forward to most when your baby is born. (Then remind her of that when she’s feeling the sickest.)

• Is there anything I can do for you? Clean? Cook? Get your groceries? Get you a cool cloth? Turn the heat/AC up or down?

• Your shoulders are probably aching from the constant strain of vomiting. Can I rub them for you?

• I see that it must be difficult to reach your feet these days. Would you like me to paint your toenails?

• How do you feel about epidurals? Isn’t it nice to think that after all this sickness, you won’t have to feel a thing when you deliver this baby?

• Here are some boxes of baking soda to absorb odors. Where all should I put them in your house?

To all of you who are going through this difficulty right now, my heart goes out to you.  Remember, there will come a day when you have a sweet reward.  What got me through some of the worst of it was imagining little baby toes, little baby fingers, a little baby nose, and the joy of it all sometimes helped me to smile through the nausea and exhaustion and discomfort.  It won’t last forever.  One day soon(ish), you’ll be rewarded with big smiles, adoring eyes, and chubby little arms wrapped around you tight.  Then, if you’re anything like me, you’ll wonder how quickly you can do it all again.

What dumb things did people say to you when you were pregnant?  And what brilliant things did they do to help?

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Posted on May 26, 2012 in Fertility | 54 comments

Big Announcement

Big Announcement

To my subscribers: you’re getting this post a day before it will be advertised on Facebook.  You’re the first to know.  Thank you for subscribing! 

During our wedding, I chose Psalm 40:1-5 as one of the verses we wanted to be shared with the congregation.  To me, it is a song of praise to God who has worked out marvelous things in our lives.  Today, as I get ready to share even more exciting news with you, I want to quote it again.

I waited patiently for the LORD;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the LORD.

Blessed is the man who makes
the LORD his trust,
who does not turn to the proud,
to those who go astray after a lie!
      You have multiplied, O LORD my God,
              your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
yet they are more than can be told.

God has truly multiplied His wondrous deeds toward us. I am more aware of this fact than ever before in my life. Today Rick and I are ready to share with the world that God has granted us the desire of both of our hearts – a baby!
Our baby is due to be born right around Christmas.  I have had every pregnancy symptom the books mention, right on schedule.  Rick is as excited as I am, matching my own desire for children with his own.  We had to laugh when we realized our plans to celebrate our one year anniversary with a return trip to our honeymoon cabin in Gatlinburg will have to be scrapped – unless we want to bring a newborn with us!

I was afraid because it took us so long to find one another.  I feared pregnancy would be as elusive as marriage had been for us.  My heart swells with joy at the relief I experienced when we discovered in our fourth month of marriage that the miraculous had happened!

Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
3 Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
4 Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
5 Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

8 The Lord is merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
9 He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities.

Psalm 103:1-5, 8-10

Here’s the first picture of our little peanut – at 8 weeks and 2 days old…

                       

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Posted on Apr 20, 2012 in Fertility, Marriage | 6 comments

Babies

Babies

Written at the beginning of April, 2012. 

When I was nearly eleven years old, my parents surprised everyone by announcing the birth of a son.  I wasn’t too sure how I felt about that until the first time I met him.  He was so small.  I could hold his tiny head in my hand and his body fit just right, coming to my elbow perfectly.  Watching him grow, seeing the joy he brought to our family, sealed the deal for me.  I wanted babies – lots and lots of babies.

I began babysitting, then was a nanny, and through it all my resolve has remained the same.  If I know anything, it’s that I’m called to be a mother.  I informed Rick of this fact long before we ever got serious.  He wants to be a father as well, enjoying the father-son relationship he has and seeing the beauty (that’s a girl word – he’d probably prefer I use something more manly here, but what?) of the father-son relationship his nephew has with his son.

We aren’t exactly spring chickens, so we both agreed that we’d have no problem if a baby came right away.  Today we start into our fourth month of marriage with no discernible pregnancy and it is often on our minds.

My sister's sweet daughter & son

Last month, when I discovered I wasn’t pregnant, my sister’s phone rang.  I was sad, but not devastated.  I know it can take a while, and I know how much stress we’ve been under as we set up the house and get used to being married.  I told her that I just want to know that we’re capable of having babies and that we will have them some day.  It’s the not knowing that’s bothering me.  I’ve prayed for our children for as long as I’ve been praying for my husband.  At eleven years old, I laid my hand on my womb and asked God to give us healthy, whole, happy, godly children who would bring glory to His name.  I asked for ease in childbirth too.  I repeatedly made these requests and continue to do so.  But I prayed for my husband for a really long time before he came around.

With all the answered prayers I’ve recently seen, you’d think I might feel confident that God would answer the prayers for children as well.  Instead, I’ve faced that sneaky fear that creeps in without me even realizing it, telling me nothing has ever come easy to me in this department.  Why will this answer come easy?  And what if the answer is “no”?  So please, please, please – could I just know for sure that we’ll have the babies we so desire???  THEN I can be at peace!

And in the middle of this tirade my sister was so patiently listening to, I believe I heard the voice of God.  He broke right through my tantrum with these words:  Kimberly, haven’t I promised you children?  And haven’t I kept all my promises to you so far? 

I got off the phone with my sister pretty quick.  Ashamed:  that’s what I felt.  Ashamed that I could so easily forget His promises to me.  God has promised me children, leading me over and over to Isaiah 54, which promises “more are the children of the barren”…  I really DO know how it will work out.  There’s no reason to be so afraid.

As I began to rest in that promise, doubt tried to return.  But how do you know God actually promised you that.  What if you made it up in your head?  Does God really speak to you at all, or have you just made up all of this? 

I really did consider this thought for a while.  But when these doubts come to me from time to time, I’ve found my answer for them.  I would rather look like a fool, believing the voice that sounds like God to me, than risk actually not believing God.  I can only do the best I know to do.  God knows my heart.  He knows I’m trying to following His voice (and not doing anything that contradicts Scripture).  If I get it wrong, there is tremendous grace for my failure.

So I will continue to believe God has promised us children.  I will continue to believe that this home, this husband, this life I am so enjoying, is an answer to prayer and a blessing from the Lord.  And I will wait until God gives us the promise, believing that His timing is perfect and He knows better than we do what we need.

Thy will be done.

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Posted on Apr 5, 2012 in Marriage | 8 comments

Ancestors

Ancestors

A few weeks after Rick and I were married, we were told by one of the elderly women in the community that we are fourth cousins.  HUH?  There had been some joking around before our marriage regarding our relation to one another because his sister is married to my uncle, but we didn’t have any idea of an actual family connection.  I tried to look through family books, spoke with my 91-year old grandmother, and tried to get to the bottom of this “relation.”  I didn’t have the patience to make the connections through our family books, so I finally joined http://www.ancestry.com to see what I could discover.

Within a couple hours of getting on the website (the first hour was dedicated to figuring out what I was doing), I had discovered it was true.  A few hours after that, I discovered that we’re also sixth cousins through another branch…  I thought it was kind of funny.  The ancestor who connected us had moved to another state to marry and only the oldest family member remembered the connection.  If not for her, we probably would’ve never known.

Great Aunts - Emma and Eliza Roth

In addition, I’ve also been told a little-known family secret that one of our ancestors was “a full-blooded Indian.”  This information has fascinated me, imagining some ancestor who went against all societal norms and married a Native American.  I was given this photo as proof of the ancestor.

Suddenly obsessed with our history, I began digging.  I traced my father’s father back to 1498 before the information ran out.  1498!  Isn’t that crazy?  I discovered that our ancestors had to flee religious persecution because they were Anabaptists, which is how they eventually ended up in America, traveling via covered wagon.  After weeks of searching, I have yet to encounter anyone Native American. We have a lot of German, French, and Swiss, and no explanation for the darker skin of the woman in this picture. I guess there’s only so much you can learn from reading…

But I’m not writing this blog to give you my personal family history.  In digging through record after record after record, I’ve discovered a theme.  Every single family all the way back (1498-about 1930ish) had an enormous amount of children by today’s standards.  Each family easily had 10-15 children and in my family line, there are about 25-30 names that are used over and over.  The same is true of my husband’s family as well.  Every once in a while a new name will pop up, but it doesn’t happen often and the “new” name is often a biblical name like Moses or Deborah.  Lastly, another theme I’ve observed is one that saddens my heart so much.  After having babies every year or every other year for two decades, a wife often died, leaving many young children.  Every time, the man remarried the very next year.  And who could blame him?  How is a man going to raise that many children alone?

I couldn’t help but think of the children that will someday look back at our records and wonder about us.  If the Lord tarries, in five hundred years I think our ancestors will look back at THIS time in history and say – Whoa!  What happened there???

Suddenly our families are much, much smaller.  (I would feel very bad for any family I ran across in my search who had less than five children.  I’d wonder what happened to them.)  Our names are different – names we think sound nice rather than those that honor our ancestors or biblical characters.  In the span of about 50 years, we have become drastically different people.  Those who still remain from the oldest generation, like my previously mentioned grandmother and my 92-year old WWII vet grandfather, must feel completely lost in this new generation.

Obviously, I am excited about technology and the way we can now communicate to vast audiences from our living rooms.  I’m excited about all the options available to me as a woman – job possibilities, travel, education, knowledge about health and fertility, and so much more.  I breathe a huge sigh of relief to know that I am not now forced to be pregnant or nursing until my body no longer allows it.  (Most of my ancestors were married by age 20 and had babies until their mid-40s.)  When I do have children, I have access to thousands of names, their meanings, and their origins.  I’m looking forward to choosing just the right name.  It is hugely relieving to me to be able to marry for the first time in my mid-30s, having completed my education, had a career, and seen much of the world.  I am healthy, well-rested, and capable of supporting myself.  There are tremendous benefits to the world we live in today.

I guess I’m just wondering what we’ve lost with all this newness.  Why is a family with six children stared at and questioned with things like, “You know how that happens, don’t you?”  Why are families like the Duggars (“19 Kids and Counting”) criticized for having their older children help with the younger children?  Isn’t that the way it was done for thousands of years?

We complain that “the kids these days” don’t have respect, they don’t follow through, they are spoiled, take things for granted.  Well, why not?  What real responsibility have they been given?  We want our kids to be able to be kids and not have to grow up too fast, but when they break their latest toy, we go out and buy them something even better to replace it.  How would “the kids these days” be different if they ever had some real responsibility – like the charge to make sure their little brother or sister is safe (a very important task when caring for a baby/toddler)?  How would they be different if they had known the hard work that goes into growing food, harvesting or butchering it, and preparing it without a microwave?  That the food that has been grown and processed must be shared with the fifteen other people in their family – and in order to get more, more must be grown and processed?

For the first twelve years of my life, I lived in the rural farming community I have returned to now.  My parents had a huge garden and my mom based many of our meals off what we grew, canned, and froze.  We didn’t buy steam-bag broccoli like I do today; we went down to the basement to get a jar of canned green beans; green beans that we had grown ourselves, canned ourselves.  We woke up early in the morning in the heat of summer to pick strawberries and raspberries.  I was regularly sent out to the garden to dig up some carrots and onions for dinner.  My sister and I sat on the back porch to shuck corn and shell peas.  We carried in fire wood for the stove that heated our house.  Even so, our life was a breeze compared with the way my dad was raised.

The other day I called my mother-in-law because a recipe I was making called for one more onion than I had purchased at the store the week before.  Rather than run out to the store, 10 miles away, for one onion, I checked with her first.  Oh my goodness!  She couldn’t believe I was BUYING onions.  She still had a stash left over from the summer AND there were some still in the ground in her garden.  She brought me a bag of them.  Hmmm…  I wondered if I could use summer onions in March?  Sure thing – they worked great.

When my family left the country and moved to the city, I was so relieved.  I promised myself that when I grew up I would NOT have a garden.  I would buy my food and not get all hot and sweaty and bug-bitten trying to grow and harvest it.  I couldn’t wait to be a grown-up and do exactly what I wanted.  But here I am, back in the farming community, and I can’t help but think about how nice it would be to be able to go out back and dig up some potatoes and onions for supper.  As for the sweating part, well, it’s amazing how well that burns calories, clears the pores, and keeps a person healthy.  Maybe our ancestors knew something after all?

One last comment about all the information I’ve discovered regarding our ancestors…  When I lived here as a child, I didn’t think we had any relatives in the area.  I felt our isolation on holidays when others went down the road and had meals with huge, extended families.  We tended to invite friends who also didn’t have families close by and made the best of it, which was fun.  But doing this research has shown me that my great-grandmother was born in the town I live in today.  I have many relatives in this area.  For some reason, finding that out makes me feel even more like I’m where I belong.

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Posted on Nov 14, 2011 in Before Marriage Blog, Love, Spiritual Life | 21 comments

You Will Forget

You Will Forget

Throughout my single years, I’ve dreamed about this time in my life – how I’d feel, what I’d say, things I’d do.  It seemed so far from my reality that I knew I’d be the most grateful, kind, gentle, and gracious girlfriend/fiancée/wife anyone could ever imagine.  I’ve often joked around with my family that when I’m finally pregnant, they’ll find me throwing up with a smile on my face, just so joyful to be having a baby of my own.

And yet, as I’ve settled into this relationship and this new role in my life, it feels completely natural and normal.  I’m the same woman I’ve always been, just with a new set of responsibilities and relationships to nurture.  I’m very thankful for Rick, but I don’t find myself trembling in gratitude and overlooking every little frustration because I’m so happy to have that promised mate.  In fact, I may speak my mind more often than a younger bride.  I know that this relationship is IT, so I want it to be right and good.  I don’t mind sharing my thoughts on that with Rick – setting the record straight, making my feelings known, and standing up for what I have come to know is true.

The funny thing is the near offense I have caught myself feeling when well-meaning friends who prayed with me for years to be connected to the man God had for me congratulate me, or indicate that this situation is unbelievably good.  Something inside me tenses up, wondering what they thought was so wrong with me that they now have to congratulate me for finally landing A MAN.  I want to snap at them, “Hey! I’ve turned down a number of marriage proposals.”

But I know that isn’t what they mean.  They were so gracious to listen to me whine and complain about my frustration and pain, never feeling peace that the man who was interested in me was the right one, and then dealing with my fears that God didn’t want me to get married.  They prayed for me, anguished with me, and now they are thrilled for me that the time has come.  I accept their joy and am so glad to be able to share the obvious answer to our prayers with them.

Being single this long brought with it a sense of shame and a feeling that I could be married if I would just work out whatever was wrong with me.  If I could just love God more, have a better figure, wear the right clothes, say the right things to men, and so on – THEN the magical moment would come and I could be a bride.  But that didn’t make any sense.  I had single friends with near perfect figures, great relationships with God, killer fashion sense, and great personalities – yet they faced the same struggles.  I knew married women who were terrible messes and whose husbands adored them anyway.

I rejected the idea that something about me needed to be better before the time would come for the right man to love me.  Even in my rejection of the idea, the feelings came back from time to time.  How did THAT woman find a husband before me?  Why did he pick HER and reject me?  If that woman would just fix that one thing about herself, she could find a husband.   Ugh.

God’s been leading me back repeatedly to a Scripture He laid on my heart several years ago.  It’s Isaiah 54, which begins, “Sing, oh barren! You who have not borne, break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who have not labored with child!  For more are the children of the desolate than those of the married woman,’ says the Lord.”

Believe me when I say I began to sing!  Every time I had an opportunity, I sang.  I sang loudly.  Sing, sing, sing!  I sang as I worked around the house, as I walked down halls at church, belting out the lyrics in services.  Judge me if you want, I thought, but my God has told me to sing and I’m not going to do it half-heartedly!  I sang and sang and sang, thinking there are more types of barrenness than just those who are physically unable to bear a child.

During my engagement, God has repeatedly drawn my heart back to this chapter.  It speaks to my heart and stirs my emotions.  It goes on to tell me not to be afraid because God will make sure I’m not ashamed.

“For you will forget the shame of your youth, and will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore.”

That phrase, you will forget, echoes through my mind.

God promised that I would forget the way I felt, ashamed and afraid, and He’s done it.  It’s hard to remember those feelings any longer.  I now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there was nothing wrong with me (or Rick), but God just had some things for us to do alone before we needed to be together.  God will make sure we have the things our hearts desire.  It’s just happening later than we expected it to, later than what many other people experience.

One final thought…  I was walking on the treadmill at the gym the other night.  There aren’t many treadmills there and they were all being used.  I kept having this thought that I was just taking up space for the real athletes as I plodded along, huffing and puffing at my slow speed.  But my heart rate was at a good pace, I was sweating nicely, and I was making personal progress even if I was moving much slower than most of the others.  I finally decided to tell the voices in my head to be quiet.  I made a choice to stop comparing my speed to the speed of those around me.  I decided just to pay attention to my own body and what I needed, do the best I could, and forget everyone else.

What I can remember about my years of singleness is that it was hard for me to make that same decision then.  It was hard to stop comparing myself, my progress, my barrenness to those around me.  Dear friends had been married for 10 years already and had gorgeous homes with handsome, faithful, hard-working husbands and several kids!  If I could’ve just told those voices to be quiet and focused on doing the best I could do, those years would’ve been much more pleasant.  I don’t think I would’ve gotten connected with Rick any sooner.  I do think I would’ve had a lot more joy in the journey to him.

I don’t want to forget it all.  I want to be able to encourage others who wait.  But I am thankful to forget the shame, the fear, and to move forward with my life.  I’m looking forward to getting married and filling our home with love and joy and yes, even at times, raised voices and challenging words.  It takes all those things to make a family.  I’m happy to have my chance.

In closing, I want to also acknowledge you all, my faithful readers.  I am so thankful for you.  I can see how many people read my blog every day, but I cannot tell who you are unless you specifically subscribe to my blog.  Then I only see your email address, so if I don’t recognize it, I still don’t know who you are.  But it’s such an encouragement to my heart when I run into someone who may have never commented on a post I’ve written, but who mentions something I wrote that touched them.

It’s such an encouragement when I see a jump in the number of typical readers in a day and I know that a group of you out there who I’ve never met are reading it together and discussing it.  It makes my day.  I haven’t been writing as much recently because I’ve been so busy preparing for married life and my upcoming move, but I plan to continue to blog and hope to have a lot more time to write once I’m a farmer’s wife.  I hope you’ll continue to read.

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