Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A New Faith Experience

As expected, I'm busy enjoying my new baby (who is now two months old! GAH!), so the blog piece of my world is somewhat dormant. I don't care. :D
But I have thought about all of the blogs I follow, and I've even written posts in my mind.
I haven't forgotten my monthly Creations (in keeping with my New Year's resolutions), I'm just taking my time. Like a good girl.
(And sometimes it is HARD to slow down like this; I'm very pleased with myself).

But I feel like sharing today, at least as long as Scarlett stays happy resting her beautiful head on my arm while I type.

Monday came with a chunk of stress wrapped up in the middle. We started our schedule kind of late, but it wasn't a big deal since we still managed to get our full our of exercise at the gym. After dropping Michael off at school, the kids and I left for our errands. Between a couple of them, I took a wrong turn.
Complete surprise! I'm fine with directions, and when I get lost, I neither panic nor stay lost for long. It's just not a big deal. But that day, it all seemed so unfair and crazy that I couldn't orient myself. And what luck: I'd forgotten my phone that morning.
I saw that I was on the right road, but I couldn't tell which direction I was heading (except that it was unfamiliar and wrong). But before I could correct myself, the lane turned into a left-turn lane, and I was suddenly on I-15.
I could feel the stress seeping into my mind. I prayed in my mind-- constantly, actually-- and still couldn't seem to shake the awful feeling of being in the WRONG direction.
I figured I'd take the first exit I saw, no problem. The first exit didn't come along until I was two cities away from where I needed to be in under an hour for Scarlett's 2-month appointment. And that exit was closed for construction.
I finally decided to pray aloud, which might be a great lesson for Ender...except that with Scarlett crying (and a window secretly open a half-inch that I had no idea about, adding so much wind noise to everything), I had to yell a few times before Ender understood that I wanted to pray...and then he just didn't care. He didn't want to pray. So I felt a bit lonely in my prayer, lonely depending on my faith alone. I'd wanted Ender's perfect little simple prayer to help us get unlost. But I had to say it (yell it, practically).
The strangest thing to me in all this is that I experienced a new flavor of faith. I don't think I have ever felt this way, and it's almost embarrassing to admit. All my life, the way I've understood faith and life and the gospel, I've been able to calm myself with the belief that everything will work out. I pray, and even if things don't go the way I hope, it works. It just does. Sometimes it works in rough ways, but it WORKS. So I don't have to worry, stress or be afraid.
Monday, I couldn't shake the stress. I actually cried about being lost. I never stopped praying, but I also never waited for the feeling of peace to come, the assurance that I wouldn't stay lost forever. I prayed and prayed. I felt so awfully helpless.
But right after praying aloud (and trying not to let Ender know I was crying--enough that my chin wobbled, guys, and I rarely cry to begin with), I felt like my attention was tugged towards a sign that said a familiar street name with the next exit. Saved!
I kept praying my thanks, and still I felt like I wasn't finished being lost yet. I had to get there before I could feel the relief. Scarlett's appointment time was growing closer, and I couldn't predict yet how far I was from getting there.
When I told Ender finally that we weren't lost anymore, he didn't really care. He didn't know the difference, he was just enjoying looking out his window (so like me as a kid). I said a thank-you prayer aloud and kept saying more in my mind.
We had time for the briefest stop at home so I could run in and grab my phone before we headed to Scarlett's appointment (we were 10 minutes early).
My phone wouldn't turn on. That was just dumb.

So everything seemed fine. Oh yeah, except that Ender accidentally peed on his clothes while trying to pee in the toilet (and I mean a LOT), so he had to wear one of Scarlett's diapers stretched over his bum (poor guy. He was such a good sport about it, not in least embarrassed even though I knew he hated it).

I don't know if the doctor was inspired, but it was so good to hear what he had to say. We talked about how Scarlett still nurses every 2 hours but how I was sure that was normal since she sleeps through the night and has for a month now (shhh! Pretend you didn't hear that if it makes you hate me). He said he thinks that babies kind of feed off their moms--ha, literally!--in the way that if mom is calm, baby is calm. He said I seemed really calm and comfortable and that it must play a part in how I feel like Scarlett is such an easy baby, easy to comfort and easy to care for.
I laughed a bit about how I hadn't been so calm that day, but I knew what he said was true. Our family is not a very stressful one. Even when we do feel the stress (and we do), we seem to handle it alright. But I really needed that reminder, that compliment. I had felt so wound up until then.
I suppose I needed the assurance, too, that I hadn't lacked faith. I still felt apologetic to Heavenly Father about how I hadn't really left room in myself for comfort, but I did pray. I knew He could help me, so even if I didn't know whether He WOULD or not, I knew He was the one to turn to. That is faith. It just felt scarier. And today I'm grateful for Monday.

To wax even longer, I'll tell you a bit about Scarlett, if you don't mind. :)

Scarlett is patient. When she is hungry, she does cry, but as soon as she understands that I'm about to feed her (holding her, getting the boppy, sitting down), she is quiet. She waits. And this morning she even grinned before she latched on, which made me burst with happiness.

Scarlett loves music. I can tell she's listening. She gets such an intelligent, deep look in her eyes. I held her while I taught a harp lesson yesterday, and she furrowed her brows thoughtfully and held absolutely still. I expected her to be asleep every time I glanced at her. She had a look on her face that seemed to say "I know this sound!" I would love it if she wants to be a harpist...

Scarlett loves her brother and already seems content to let him be her leader and protector. He talks sweetly to her and laughs at her smiles, and she doesn't mind at all when he squishes her face or pats her tummy to burp her. She's not just tolerating it...she may even like that he's playing with her!

Scarlett is happy. She is easy to comfort; she responds immediately to us when we hold her and help her. This, I think, is a gift for all of us. She smiles so often. Michael got her to laugh when he was being goofy for her, and it was such a cute intake of breath (not a belly laugh yet) I heard it from another room. She seems to enjoy us.

Michael and I have talked about possible reasons my pregnancy with Scarlett was so easy...the labor was better, too (even though I love my birth stories equally, I prefer the unmedicated experience I had with Scarlett). Nursing is a new experience the way it's going so well, and she's a very different baby. I'm sure my confidence is much higher, and I realize that makes a considerable difference. But Michael and I have pondered the way things went with Ender, and we feel like our blessings are not chance.

When I was pregnant with Ender, I had some really serious kidney problems. I was induced because my doctor worried that if I went any longer, we might be looking at an emergency kidney transplant following the birth. I don't usually mention that part because things obviously went well, and my kidneys healed perfectly. But we realized that if I my next pregnancy went the same, it would be unwise to have more children. And we wanted more.
Knowing what we might be getting into, we prayed and felt sure about having another baby. We prepared by studying special kidney diets and talking with the eurologist and OB-GYN. I ate well and exercised. I practiced the kidney diet before I was pregnant to be sure I had the discipline to do it (and so that it wouldn't be too scary/weird of a change later). We prayed and prayed. In priesthood blessings, I was assured that if I kept taking care of myself, we would have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
At the very beginning of my second pregnancy, I felt the slightest bits of pain in my kidneys and was careful to be less lenient with my diet. The pains never came back.
I threw up a total of ten times, and nearly every time I knew the reason (I'd gone too long without food).
I felt good. I felt flexible, I felt energetic, I felt happy. I was more emotional, that's for sure. But those times came and went with little or no damage. :) And there was about a week that I had some extremely uncomfortable heart-burn-like sensations. I had air trapped in my throat, and I do not wish that on anyone. I suspect I have a small esophagus like my papa. It's a good thing I eat slowly and chew my food as diligently as a cow! ;)
The labor also went well, and perhaps just as significantly, so did my recovery. After I had Ender, I couldn't get up without passing out (is this normal? Seems to be). It was so bad, though, that they wouldn't let me have Ender with me. Can't tell you how annoying that was. Anyway, after Scarlett was born, I got out of bed just fine, and I felt fantastic. I was ready to go home! Ready to show Scarlett off! Ready to do anything I wanted!
Not climb Mount Everest. I'm not that crazy. Besides, I don't really want to climb that mountain.
Nursing Ender was a pretty difficult experience. I never even realized until now that I never felt my milk let down (too graphic for a blog? Go away!). And how weird is that! I had milk, but I wonder now if I ever had very much, because I never got engorged, and I was never able to pump more than about two or three ounces. I nursed him for long periods because I was never sure he was getting enough (and he fussed SO much if I stopped before he felt ready). All of that, and nursing hurt. I'm grateful (and rightfully proud) that I kept it up until he was 9 months. And I'm grateful, too, that I supplemented with formula-- it gave me a break and comforted me that at least somehow I'd know he was getting enough. It may have played a part in my drying up (which could be why Ender stopped at 9 months).
So! Nursing Scarlett? Easy. SO easy. And so wonderful. I never really felt that whole "bonding" thing through nursing before, and I absolutely love it.
And...Ender cried a lot as a baby. He spit up a lot, he fussed a lot, bla bla bla. Scarlett doesn't fuss much at all. And of course I love both my babies and I'm not comparing their...I don't know, their Coolness. They are awesome kids.

But in all? We wonder if Heavenly Father has rewarded us for having the faith to have more children while knowing it could be quite the trial.

That's all very personal, but I hope you understand what I mean. Things may not work like that for other families--but that makes sense because the gospel really is personal. Because Heavenly Father knows us perfectly.

Even if my next pregnancy is rough like the first, I feel so happy to have had it easy this time. Now I know what it can be like on the other side of the spectrum, and that's enough for me. And I feel like I believe with even more conviction that I am meant to be a mother, meant to have these children. I always knew, but now I feel even more suited for the task.
I love it.

I'm fairly busy loving it, too, so you may not hear from me again soon. Who knows? So I hope that was a big enough chunk to fill the void in my blogging (not that you've noticed, but I have).

1 comment:

  1. Qait, this is beautiful! It makes me miss you and the kids (and Michael) even more! I tell anyone who will listen that you are a wonderful mother. You'll have to teach me your ways when I start my family. :) I love you!


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