Wow. In the last 36 hours I have had such a huge outpouring of support. So many folks who I had no clue were still reading the blog, or who I have never heard from before have posted comments, emailed, or sent me Facebook messages. I am truly grateful for each and every gesture of love and concern and especially for your continued prayers. I really do feel amazingly blessed to be surrounded by so many people who will pray for my daily needs. It’s one of the strange blessings and gifts that Clara has given me in all of this. I’ve begged for prayers on her behalf, but it always feels strange to ask people to pray for yourself. I’m so deeply thankful that you are willing to pray for me and my needs as readily as you have (and continue) to pray for Clara’s.
I feel like a different person today. Truly. When Clara was in the hospital and she had some really really bad days, we would post for prayer requests and you would fervently pray and time and time again we saw those prayers answered in the affirmative. It was the most humbling and empowering experience with prayer that we have ever had. I felt like today was another one of those incredible moments. I have physically felt the presence and powers of your prayers for me today and it has given me energy and peace and joy that I have not felt in quite some time. I know that there are many more hard days ahead. We’re still a long way from the end of this struggle. But today was like an oasis in the desert; it was the break I have so been longing for. So, thank you. Your prayers and the grace of God have renewed my energy and given me hope again.
Today, I was intentional about trying to focus a little on self-care. Here are some things I did today, for me, that did a lot towards transforming my attitude:
I exercised. For the first time in many many months. My friend Sarah bullied me into it (just for the mental health aspect). She was right. It was hard because I am horribly out of shape and carrying around far too many extra NICU pounds. My legs felt like jello and I was way out of breath. But it felt so good. I cancelled my Y membership when I was pregnant and puking every hour and totally unable to exercise anymore. I hadn’t worked out really hard in probably over a year. Those endorphins are a powerful thing. I need to try to find a way to make that fit into my life again.
I drank some coffee. Why is coffee so good? Oh, it is so good.
I ate lunch. With my mom. Both of those things are good for me. Yesterday (and many days) I forgot to eat. Low blood sugar doesn’t help anyone. Food is as good for me as it is for Clara.
I straightened my house. When my surroundings are messy, I feel messy. And my house was a disaster from an unexpectedly crazy week before Thanksgiving and then being out of town. Having things neater helps me face the things I don’t have control over….
I read emails and blog comments and other words of encouragement from so many people and felt encouraged and affirmed and comforted by all those who took the time to respond to me when they didn’t have to.
|watch out, Rufus!|
|SHE'S COMING AFTER YOU!!!|
|This baby is starting to crawl....|
I snapped a few photos of my sweet baby girl in the first of many Christmas outfits for the next few weeks. I love photography. I’m only really kind of average at it, but I’m thankful for a hobby that I enjoy and a precious subject to photograph.
We skipped solids. I did focus on trying to have a really good day of good bottle feedings with Clara today, but I just took one day off from battling the solids. Clara said she appreciated it. So did I. We’ll get back to it tomorrow and hopefully both feel a little more willing to tackle the task ahead of us.
I listened to Christmas music. I really love the Christmas season. I always have. It’s just magical. I love both the religious and the secular aspects of it. It’s such a wonderful time of year. Last year I hardly remember the Christmas season. We were still reeling from Clara’s diagnosis and I just barely went through the motions of it. I’m really excited that it’s Christmas and I want to soak up the joy of this season. My funk was kind of getting in the way of that, so I tried to remember how much I love Christmas today and enjoy all the fun and traditions that come with this time of year.
I left the house for two hours. The semester is almost over, but I did have class this afternoon. We hadn’t met in ten days which meant I really hadn’t left Clara’s side in ten days. It was good for me to get out of the house and have a small break from her. And honestly, I think Clara appreciates a break from me, too. Sometimes I think she gets really bored with me.
I made a big pot of delicious soup for dinner on a cold, rainy night.
I received beautiful flowers from my darling husband.
We enjoyed a fire in the fire place, drank hot chocolate and put up our Christmas tree. (thanks again, Robert.)
I prayed. So, I was thinking yesterday about how we always say a blessing before a meal. And when we’re all sitting around the table together, we do that with Clara, too. And I usually say a prayer with Clara at bedtime, but never really thought of approaching each one of her bottle feedings as a meal that we needed to give thanks for. When we ask a blessing before a meal we almost always thank God for the food itself. But for Clara, it’s not just the food, but the ability to eat it. So, before each of her feedings today, I stopped and said a blessing out loud. I thanked God for the milk she was about to drink and the miracle that my body is still making it after all of this. I thanked him for the powdered formula that we add to it for those extra calories. And I thanked him for the fact that Clara does have the ability to eat orally. And asked for calm and peace and patience during the feeding. Her feedings weren’t perfect today, but overall, she did much better than she’s been doing the past few days. And I did better, too. Instead of getting in the middle of a disastrous battle of a feeding and crying out to God in desperation and frustration and anger, I tried to look at each and every feeding as an opportunity and a gift from Him. And it helped my perspective.
My biggest spiritual struggle has always been control. I am such a control freak and I have such a difficult time handing things over to God. When Clara was really really sick, it was easy to give it over to God because there wasn't anything I could do anyways. The feeding issues are harder for me to hand over because I feel like I should DO something to fix them myself. Get creative, try a different strategy, work harder. So, today I tried to just give it over to God again and again and again. It's a hard hard lesson for me.
But, overall I’m a lot better today. Of course, I’d love for you to continue to remember us in your prayers. All those problems are still there and we still have obstacles to overcome. I appreciate you allowing me to be honest and vulnerable and share with you both the joys of motherhood with this special child and the inevitable challenges. I’m ready to face another day.