10 Fingers & 10 Toes

via Flickr”]20061126_DHo_baby feet (11)_B&W_ps

Often, in the “Do you want a boy or girl?” conversation, one innocent phrase pops up at the conclusion…

“As long as he or she has 10 fingers and 10 toes, right?”

or a phrase similar to it.  (“As long as it’s healthy, we don’t care what the gender.”)

A few weeks ago, I had such a phrase interjected into one of my conversations.  I smiled politely without thinking twice about the statement; but now I’m not so sure I agree.  Actually, I don’t agree with it all.

You see, I believe that even those people born with disabilities, diseases, abnormalities, and mental handicaps have been shaped and created by God.   I may not understand why God allows these things to exist, but I do know every person, no matter his capabilities or health, has a purpose in life and is cherished just as much as any healthy person.

I pray daily for our child’s health… but if our son or daughter should be born without 10 fingers or toes, or not “perfectly healthy”, my love for him or her will not diminish.

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Boy or Girl?

This baby is one month old.

Image via Wikipedia

Lately I’ve been asked quite frequently whether I feel the baby is a boy or girl.  It’s weird, but my feelings have changed.  In the beginning, I felt it was a girl and could only think of girl names and decorations.  However, about 6 weeks ago I started thinking “boy” and couldn’t focus on anything girly.  Either way, we’ll be happy.

Along with being asked what I think, I get a lot of guesses…”You seem to carrying low, so I think it’s a girl.”  (or, I’ve even heard the exact opposite…that since it seems I’m carrying low, I’ll probably have a boy).

“Craving sweets? – it’s a girl.”

“It’s a boy…I’ve dreamed it!”

And so it continues on.

I really do enjoy the guesses; it’s part of the fun.  So in keeping with spirit, I decided to go through the wives’ tales that are supposed to determine if the baby’s a girl or boy. Below is a list that I found on ivillage.com with the supposed gender determinants.  Next to each symptom I’ve placed a YES or NO depending on if I’ve experienced it.  (I’ve deleted a few really personal ones about my nipples and urine.  Not sure you really want to hear about that!)

It’s a boy if:

  • You didn’t experience morning sickness in early pregnancy.  YES
  • Your baby’s heart rate is less than 140 beats per minute.  NO
  • You are carrying the extra weight out front. (NOT SURE WHAT THIS MEANS REALLY…BUT, YES?)
  • Your belly looks like a basketball. UM…YES?  A SMALL ONE…
  • You are carrying low.  YES
  • You are craving salty or sour foods. YES
  • You are craving protein — meats and cheese. YES
  • Your feet are colder than they were before pregnancy. NO
  • The hair on your legs has grown faster during pregnancy. NOT REALLY, MY HAIR’S ALWAYS GROWN ANNOYINGLY FAST!
  • Your hands are very dry. NO
  • Your pillow faces north when you sleep.  WHAT?  BASED ON WHICH SIDE OF THE PILLOW?  IF IT’S BASED ON THE OPENING OF THE PILLOW COVER…THEN, YES.
  • Dad-to-be is gaining weight right along with you. DOESN’T LOOK LIKE IT, SO, NO.
  • Pregnancy has you looking better than ever. UM…NO… UNLESS YOU THINK OF A WIDENING BUTT AS “LOOKING BETTER”! (yes, I know I’m pregnant & it comes with the joy of becoming a mother…but it doesn’t mean I have to like the idea of the weight gain.  In fact, this has been the hardest part for me).
  • Your nose is spreading. OH NO!! DOES THIS HAPPEN IN PREGNANCY TOO?!?!  NOT YET FOR ME, AT LEAST.
  • You hang your wedding ring over your belly and it moves in circles. LOL!! I JUST DID THIS FOR THE FIRST TIME…AND IT WENT IN CIRCLES BUT THEN STOOD STILL WHEN I MOVED IT AWAY FROM MY BELLY!
  • You are having headaches. YES.  JUST RECENTLY STARTED.
  • You add your age at the time of conception and the number for the month you conceived and the sum is an even number. NOPEIT’S AN ODD #.

It’s a girl if:

  • You had morning sickness early in pregnancy. NO
  • Your baby’s heart rate is at least 140 beats per minute.  YES.
  • You are carrying the weight in your hips and rear. NO
  • Your left breast is larger than your right breast.  🙂   NO.
  • Your hair develops red highlights. NO
  • You are carrying high.    NO.
  • Your belly looks like a watermelon.  YES?  IDK…WHAT KIND OF WATERMELON? SOME ARE PRETTY ROUND LIKE A BASKETBALL!
  • You are craving sweets. YES!  CAN YOU SAY “BANANA SPLIT”?
  • You are craving fruit. YES!  EVEN GRAPES, WHICH I DON’T EVEN REALLY LIKE.
  • You crave orange juice. NOT REALLY. BUT I’VE ALWAYS DRANK A BUNCH OF JUICE SINCE I WAS A LITTLE GIRL.
  • You don’t look quite as good as normal during pregnancy.  YESMY FACE IS BREAKING OUT & I’VE ALWAYS HAVE CLEAR, CLEAR SKIN!
  • You are moodier than usual during pregnancy. YES.  MY HUSBAND, MOM AND STUDENTS WILL CONFIRM THIS ONE!
  • Your face breaks out more than usual. YES.  JUST RECENTLY.
  • You refuse to eat the heel of a loaf of bread.  YES.  BUT THIS IS NOTHING NEW; I’VE NEVER EATEN THE HEEL.
  • Your breasts have really blossomed!  NOPE. NOT YET.  😦
  • Your pillow faces south when you sleep.  AGAIN…IDK…BUT NO, BASED ON MY PREVIOUS CONCLUSION.
  • You hang your wedding ring over your belly and it moves from side.  NO
  • You add your age at the time of conception and the number for the month you conceived and the sum is an odd number. YES
Results:
Yeses for “boy”:  9
Yeses for “girl”:  9

I guess we’ll just have to wait for the conclusive sonogram scheduled for March 10!

It Seems So Surreal

Josh and I are excited to share with you that, after 10 1/2 yrs of infertility, we are pregnant!  Baby Parks is scheduled to arrive the first week of August 2011!!

Thanks for all your prayers and support.

Life to the Full

loneliness

Image by Ferran. via Flickr

Over the last few weeks months, I’ve been slipping into a depression.  With all the transitions and trials in my life, I rather expected the ever-looming dark cloud to pop up above my head & drench me in self-pity.  However, I’m quite acquainted with my gloomy shadow, and can usually kick it to the curb before I get too far into the pit of despair.  But, this cloud has lingered, and its shadow has darkened the goals I set for myself during this sabbatical from ministry.

I lived 15 years with a full plate…and now that that plate has been scrubbed clean and stored in a cabinet, I don’t know what to do with myself.

Overall, the transition has been refreshing.  I feel little stress and NO pressures to perform perfectly.  There’s no rushing around from one commitment to the next.  I do what I want, when I want, and how I wantand it feels good!

However, accompanied with these new luxuries of time and freedom comes boredom and loneliness.

I’m not surrounded with the abundance of friendships that used to envelope me weekly.  Phone calls & texts have stopped.  Facebook messages & comments have significantly decreased.  Invitations to dinners, parties, and game nights have ceased.  I know I still mean something to these friends, but it’s difficult to be on the outside.

And, because I’m not invited anywhere or involved in anything, I’ve got nothing to to do.  I’m bored.  Except for the occasional, once-a-month weekend activity, I do nothing but come home from work, get on the computer, cook dinner, get back on the computer, watch a movie, read a little bit, and then go to bed.  It was nice for a while.  But now it’s tedious and making me lazy…and when people only idle about, they become overwhelmed with feelings of uselessness…which leads to depression.

I’m not excusing my depression.  I’m quite aware that it’s unacceptable…and I’m working on it.  I’ve opened up with Josh and a few friends (and now to the world), and am making steps to lift myself back up.  I don’t expect it to be a quick process, but that’s why it’s called a process…it takes time to figure out solutions and implement them.

One of those friends who knows what I’ve been going through, sent me the following poem.  It has been a huge encouragement and is exactly what I needed to hear.  For so long I’ve lived a full life…but it’s time I figure out what it means to “live life to the full.”

For years I lived full.
Full schedule.
Full plate.
Full speed ahead.

I found myself weary, wondering,
“Is this really how it’s supposed to be?”
And then it seemed God asked me to learn to live differently.
To focus on love.
To make time to listen to His voice.
To embrace what He’s called me to do and let all else drop away.
“Isn’t that what I’ve already been doing?” I asked.”Don’t you want me to be busy, to push myself to the limit?”It seemed the heart of heaven smiled and these grace-words drifted into my day. “Daughter, I did not come to give you a full life. I came to give you life to the full.”
“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

–by Holley Gerth

Clomid Round 1

FAILED.

We’re upping the dosage

Rolling with the punches

Holding on to hope

The Long and Winding Road

I’ve decided to add an additional page to my blog dedicated solely to (in)fertility and our journey to parenthood.   I get tired of  searching through my archives to find all the posts I’ve written on our fertility issues.  The new page will be a place I keep them all in order so that I can easily look back over the things we’ve experienced and remember how God has guided us through each step.

This road we travel is a long one and full of unforeseen turns and detours.  Often, our journey is smooth, without so much a bump or turn.  We speed through our daily lives, waiting for the next obstacle or sign for what’s ahead.  Other times, we have to slow down and process all that we face.  It’s during those rough patches that we have to fully hold on to God’s grace, strength, and peace.

Today, we are on some of the smoother roads.  Yesterday, I mentioned the good news that our first procedure worked, and that today I would be meeting with my doctor to discuss the next steps in our pursuit of parenthood.  Well…here’s what was determined:

Warning!!:  The following will include very personal information about myself in regards to women’s issues.  If you don’t want to know these things about me…then skip over.  IF you choose to read on, I warned you! 🙂  I share this personal information b/c I know many women (and their spouses) currently going through infertility issues.  Infertility is a medical condition that NEEDS to be discussed.  I KNOW that my transparency in this journey has helped many of these women, and I also know that talking openly about it has helped ME cope as well.

Apparently, I don’t ovulate.  In simpler terms, my body does not release the egg needed for conception.  Why? I have no idea…but we won’t do any of the expensive, painful tests to find out.  Instead, my doc is starting with a more simpler solution, found in small, round pills called Clomid (or Clomiphene).  This ovulatory stimulant will (hopefully) kick my ovaries into gear and make them work the way they’re supposed to work.

I’ve done some research on this medicine and I have mixed feelings.  For many women, Clomid works…but often not until several rounds of treatment have occurred.  The side effects vary with each woman, but can include (but are not limited to) hot flashes, upset stomach, vomiting, weight gain, vision problems, breast discomfort, and increased risks of Ovarian Cancer.  Many women also say they get really moody and emotional.  None of that sounds fun…and I really hope not to experience them over and over again.  Additionally, I already have GI issues, so I pray that the medicine doesn’t wreak havoc on my stomach and reverse the many months of treatment that I’ve had with my GI doc.  Oh…and I really don’t want to vomit or emotionally break down while serving my seafood entrees at work!  That would be horrible. (although, it might get me some pity and extra tips!)

The worst part of the treatment is that, due to the other issues Josh and I have had in regards to fertility, there is still only a 1 in 4 chance that we’ll conceive, even if the Clomid works perfectly.  Those don’t seem like very good odds to me…but I’m leaving it all in God’s hands, “He who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine!” (Ephesians 3:20)

Day 2 Itinerary

Today we’ll trek into a tent city and do a variety of ministry – mobile clinic, food distribution, and then simply interacting with the people who are waiting for aide.

I expect that we’ll see things beyond what we’ve seen in the media or even imagined.   Along with being  physically intense, It has the potential to be an emotionally and spiritually challenging day…malnourished children, infected sores, “untreatable” illness…

Welvis, a 10-12 year old Haitian boy, has become an already familiar face around the house.  But you won’t see him playing soccer for hours, like the other boys.  He’ll try… but after only a short time (think 7-10 minutes), he’s exhausted.  Welvis is sick.  A lump, the size of a child’s fist, sits on his jawbone and he’s plagued with fever.  Our clinical nurses and doctors have done a great job taking care of him, but he needs much more.  When they initially met Welvis, they took him to the hospital, but he was turned away, being informed that there was nothing they could do.  That answer was not acceptable, so they kept looking for help.  This week, Welvis had a biopsy on the lump, but the results so far have been inconclusive.  His mother, Iphanette, who once saw a hopeless situation, now sees the possibilities of health…all because GCOM volunteers and staff showed love, offered encouragement, and have not given up on a precious boy.

As we go into the tent city today, please pray!

  • Pray for Welvis and all the other people who have medical need, but can’t find adequate help.
  • Pray for the nurses in our team who have the responsibility of treating the Haitians we encounter today.  We know we can’t treat everyone, so pray for wisdom, guidance, and discernment.
  • Pray for our health…we’ll be doing physically demanding work in the heat and pounding sunlight.  Also, there is no air circulation in the tent cities, which adds to the difficulties.
  • Pray that we’ll heed the Spirit’s guidance.  For boldness to speak, and discernment when we just need to stay quiet and listen.  That we are not passive with fear, but act in the power and confidence that Jesus Christ offers to us…because it’s not really us working, it’s HIM working through us.
  • Above all, that God is glorified today!

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