Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Wednesday Word - Only He Knows

This is a story I seldom tell.  Not because it is painful or otherwise difficult, but because I just don't even think of it.  Yet, for some reason, it's been coming up a lot lately. 

I believe everyone and every event has a purpose.  Doctors have been given amazing gifts and skills that can show us miracles and put us on our knees.  But I do think that sometimes , when a Doctor has been around a while and seen the same things day-in and day-out conclusions may be jumped, people and symptoms maybe lumped into a category, and things can get a little...blazay.  Does that make any sense?  If you belong to Kaiser it probably does.  Wow, way to make a blanket statement, Kelly!  Okay, there are many Doctors who do not fit into that category at Kaiser.  I just haven't had the pleasure of meeting that Doctor yet.

When my son was learning to crawl my husband and I decided that he needed a sibling. We wanted them to be close in age so we started charting and trying. A few short months later I got that beautiful little + sign on that special little stick.  I immediately bought like 10 more sticks just to verify.  So over the moon!  I treasure that feeling of knowing a fresh, new being was growing in you.  Everything in the weeks before that test felt different, much different form my 1st pregnancy.  I knew I was pregnant about 1 week before the test told me.  And with the help of my charting, I called to set up the 1st appointment for when my little bean would be about 8 weeks old.

My bestie Kate came over to watch Little Man so I could have this appointment be special, just me and the new baby.  (The Hubbs was working a lot -something that is the norm now- and didn't get to go to the appointments for this baby).  I couldn't wait to see her heart and her little blobby shape.  I was already convinced it was a girl.  It just felt right.  My daughter, I was going to see my daughter!  I was also hoping to see pigtails in there:)  Ha ha.  This visit was nothing that I planned.

After some joyous 'Hello's' with the doctor and all the staff, it was time for the ultra-uncomfortable 1st ultrasound.  It is not the belly kind you get later on, its internal.  Moving on... the NP was really quiet as we were looking at the screen.  She kept moving the wand around and all I could see was a tiny circle inside of a big oval.  I was searching for her, but hadn't seen her yet.  She excused herself and said she'd be right back.  She came back with the doctor and had her try, this time also incorporating a belly wand. I thought, "hey, maybe the NP is not used to this machine and is learning or something".  Then came some of the most painful words I've ever heard.  It was all a blur but the summation was:  you've had a miscarriage.  More precisely, the baby never even really formed.  I would need to have a D&C to get the sac and placenta out (what we had seen on the monitor) so that I don't get an infection.  I should have "passed" it all by now. 

How could this be?  I felt force or soul or whatever you want to call it.  I felt her.  How could she not exist?  Stunned and devastated I told her I'd like to "pass" her naturally.  She said after 2 weeks I'd have to have it done or I could get a devastating infection.  She made it sound like I would die.  No pressure!  I left to go get blood work done, took my complimentary picture of my baby sack, and went home.  I don't remember driving.  I don't remember getting home.  I do remember being a blubbery mess to Kate after she asked me how it went.  I'm sure she had never been more uncomfortable.  I called my husband and he was devastated.  When he got home he held me and said we'll try again.  I didn't want to.  I felt like I had lost my son, someone I knew and loves, and had held.  And I still felt her.  I kept praying "God, how can this be?" over and over.

And who did I consult next? Google of course.  I googled "missed miscarriages" and all sorts of things came up, from what happens in a D&C (inspiration for this, my most popular post), to what it means, to this website for missed-diagnosis.  There I saw post, after post, after post where someone had been told they had a miscarriage and were instructed to do a D&C.  These women also paid for the remains to be examined to see the cause of non-development.  In the cases posted there, nothing was wrong and the baby had been alive and growing.  You read that right.  Alive.  Healthy.  Growing.  I felt that little twinge in my heart that you get that says - this is you.  I called Kaiser and set up another appointment for an ultrasound in 1 week.

Do you know what they saw at that appointment?  My daughter.  My teeny-tiny very alive heart beating daughter.  They didn't have an explanation.  They didn't have a reason.  They also had no shock or emotion about it.  Just, huh... that's interesting.  Interesting?  Try a miracle!  Try, that baby was there and you wanted me (with a lot of pressure) to get rid of her.

We, as normal people or extensively trained medical professionals, do not know everything.  We have a tiny glimpse into things and we are so quick to think we have all the answers.  God knows.  He knew her from the moment she was conceived.  He revealed to me that she was a girl early on and He helped me to feel that she was very much alive.  Something that should have been a part of my testimony I found joy in then sort-of "moved-on".  I didn't talk about it much and just found joy in her life.  I went into labor on my original, charted due-date and teeny 5lb 15oz Little Miss was born.  She's still very petite, but super smart and always been healthy.  Here she is, Mommy's little miscarriage:

God is in and about everything. Lean on Him, not man (no matter how well versed or knowledgeable).  He will answer you, in His own way and time. 

When we become believers we have the Holy Spirit descend upon us and live in us, making us one with Christ and securing our salvation.  Having the Spirit also helps us to know things that are of God, feel the things God has done, and have discernment between the world's thoughts and His.  Here is some insight into how we just know things differently sometimes:

1 Corinthians 2:6-16 (NIV... I know, I know) copied from
"We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 However, as it is written:
“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”[a]
the things God has prepared for those who love him—

10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.[b] 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for,
“Who has known the mind of the Lord
so as to instruct him?”[c]

But we have the mind of Christ.

I know that The "secret wisdom" speaks of Salvation, but this passage is also talking about how He guides us on paths where we can't see the destination, but He can.  Breathe easy, have faith, He know ALL things, someday we will, too.  Close your eyes, look deep into your soul and know He rests there.  And follow what He says.

Love you all!

Oh!  I'm flying to visit my parents for a long weekend, leaving toimorrow.  Please pray for our safety and minimal hang-ups when it comes to having 2 toddlers along :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Neighbor knock-knock-knocking on heaven's door. Err... our floor

 Since we have so much catching up to do, I want to rewind to a few months ago to October/November (2011). I deleted most of my "Debbie Downer" posts a while ago, so unless you have been reading for a while (or are a dear friend) you probably don't know about our neighbor issues. (Please enjoy this picture of Little Miss' 1st haircut as a visual of how cute my kids are as you read this, And, of course, the boy being adorably silly!)

Quick summary: we live on the 3rd floor of a building (Top Floor Family...get it?), meaning of course that we live above someone else.  I've lived here on and off for 10 years in the same unit and we purchased it over 5 years ago and changed the thin carpets to beautiful bamboo floating floors (you have to have a ton of padding underneath to be approved by the HOA to have wood floors).  I have never, ever had a problem with anyone.  But that all changed when we had our oldest and he started to crawl.  The young (30's), single woman who owns the unit below us was not a fan of the noise our baby was making.  By the time he could walk, and I was pregnant again, she started banging on the ceiling.  Only when he walked, or dropped a toy, or even *gasp* colored in his coloring book on the floor.  She couldn't care less about if I walked, our dogs ran (we had two at the time), listened to music, or watched a movie.  It was only centered around the budding toddler, and it was between the hours of 7:00am and 7:00pm.  He was not allowed to run, jump, or walk on his heels-only his toes. In the TWO years that followed it got progressively worse as our daughter was born and began to move, even after I talked to her, wrote her notes, etc trying to see what was up.  We started complaining to the HOA and after two years they decided to hold a meeting.  SO let's start there:

After years of her banging (violently banging) on our floor, her ceiling The Hubbs and I submitted an offer through the HOA.  We told her that if it would help her noise sensitivity and have us all live in peace she could install carpet in our unit at her expense.  We loved our floors.  They were beautiful and made a small space appear larger and less apartment-y.  But I was crying all the time, stressed out of my gourd, and honestly fearful of my families safety around her.  I was yelling at the kids for walking too much, talking too loud, or playing too much.  Crazy!  They should not be punished for being kids.  But me-being-me I did not want to make more noise to upset her and did not want things to escalate to dangerous places.  We never, ever, not even once banged back. And believe me, that took every fiber of my being to not do so.  I frequently had to drop on my knees and pray for what to do and to pray for our neighbor (who is a professed Christian).  We were prepared to just throw in our chips, amass a huge amount of debt and sell our condo for way below what's owed, because that is what it's worth on our lovely economy, and rent a house somewhere , ANYWHERE so that our family won't suffer anymore.

Anywhoo... they ended up fining her after seeing that we've done everything we can and having some 3rd party people who've heard the banging talk to them.  Our neighbor was furious.  She asked that an emergency meeting be held with the HOA and the council (or whatever you call it) about...get ready... our excessive noise.  What the what??  I, of course, was panicking.  What if they tell us our family is too loud?  What if they tell us we have to change our flooring?  How are we going to afford that?  What if they agree with her and she feels okay in banging more?  What if what if what if?????  And even though I could never hear it through my spirit of fear, my family and friends were saying, what if they tell her to stop?  What if they tell her you're in the right?  What if it all works out?

The meeting came, unexpected witnesses were there, it was very long and uncomfortable.  She denied having ever banged more than once, two years ago.  Witnesses came to say they had heard it as recently as that week.  She we signed up for the "condo lifestyle" and should not allow noise on the weekends before 10 so people can sleep.  She said she has emotional distress and can't work well because of us.  She also said she's never home to hear any noise (to try to say it was impossible for it to be her banging), while in the same breath saying the noise of our kids dropping things or walking is unbearable.  I was so blessed by the Lord because I was so calm and even-toned and my emotions didn't take me over.  The Hubbs was visibly upset at the things she was saying and was pretty upset. She was literally shaking with anger. Her sister was there to say she and her children had spent the night once and were woken up at 8:00am on a Saturday because of the kids playing and that it was inappropriate.  The council, all elderly men living in 1st floor units, are what some might initially describe as a stereotypical "crotchety" demeanor.  I thought for sure they were going to say "those dang kids" or something.  But do you know what I heard? 

"That sounds like kids being kids.  We live in a family community, not an adult-only community.  Their floors were installed to our specifications.  This is all happening during the day, when you say you aren't home.  We can check your installation to see if maybe it is inadequate, but that is all we can do for you."  I was relieved.  A wave of relief crashed all over me and I thought this was all over.

It wasn't.

Our neighbor was so mad, so upset that she was not the victor that she did something that I can't even imagine someone doing.  She found out what the Hubbs does for a living (law enforcement) and called to file a complaint saying he was harassing her and illegally investigating her.  She even threw around the word emotional distress.  That may not seem like a big deal, but it's huge.  Something like this could have gotten him fired and unable to find another job in law enforcement.  He is our only source of income so this would have left our family without money for food or a roof over our families head. Not to mention the defaming of his character!  God bless that everything my Hubbs does at work is documented on their computer.  They track everything (and I mean everything) their employees do.  If he had searched her name, driven to her work, looked up her license plate, address, etc, it would be there for all to see when it's researched.  Well, he is one of those black-and-white guy.  He doesn't believe in living in grey, it's either right or wrong and he stays in the right. Follows the rules to a T.  Makes him a very serious individual, but a very respectable one.  It took all of 5 minutes for them to find him innocent.  She was even still on the phone when they told her so. I'm so glad my husband doesn't read my blog because he would be so embarrassed by this...when he got home from work he erupted in tears.  Tears.  He is the strong, silent type (well, not so silent at home) and not ever the person you would think would break down.  He  knew he was in the right, he even went out of his way over those two years to never talk to the neighbor in case she would try to sue for harassment once she finds out what he does (happens a lot in that industry, unfortunately) and the hearing was the first time they had ever talked or been face to face.  It had to always be me before. 

Needless to say that relief was gone and my anxiety was through the roof.  Who would try to strip someone of their livelihood, risk an uncertain future for two little children, all for "revenge" for not getting her way?  I called a very kind friend who prayed with me over the phone and I felt immediate relief. She also gave me some advice on comforting my husband at this time that sort of shocked me as I'd never heard that before, and I'd heard it all.  No shame, but I won't repeat it :).  God had closed every door and window we tried to escape out of to leave this home.  He wants us here, at this time moving is just not an option.  So we ripped up our floors, put in super-de-dooper thick carpet and padding and decided we cannot let her actions bring down the kids.  We'll give our burden of this to the Lord, still not make excessive noise, and be kind to her if we see her (although not talk to her; attorney advice).  We've let the kids play, be kids, and have fun.  We've relinquished this whole thing from the neighbor to the house to the debt to where we live to the Lord- took it off our shoulders and I have never felt so much relief.  It's like a whole new world.  I can still tell that she does not like the kids' playing even after changing the floors.  She blasts her music or TV now and shouts at the top of her lungs.  But our places are built so well (concrete between floors) that we can just hear the faintest of noise and it doesn't bother us.  She's just hurting herself.  But after all of this , our familial relationship has never been better and we've never felt so settled in our home.  And I had no idea how much our other neighbors thought of us.  So many of them have rallied around us in support, some of whom we had never even talked to before.  Who knew?  This is definitely an instance of God refining us through the fire.  We had to go through years of uncertainty. hating where we live, fear for our children and selves (which sounds so petty for the situation, but was very real while living it), and lashing out at each other since we couldn't at her.  And because of it we're better people.

Moral of the story:  Once you stop focusing on what is going wrong in your life and see light through the stress and pain there is clarity and hope.  You just have to keep you eyes on Him and not on our own paper-cuts.

Who knows?  Maybe we are meant to be here as a witness to "the" neighbor.  Maybe through all of this she'll be saved.  Or maybe a neighbor?  OR... who knows!  But a plan is definitely in place.  I don't know what the future holds or when/if we'll be allowed to leave, but we'll take it a day at a time.  Oh, and this also means all my mommy friends are going to have to start doing play dates over here.  It's small, it's up some stairs, but it's our home.

Okay that's today's update.  Wednesday Word is (finally) back tomorrow!

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Crafty Place Mat

I got something awesome for Christmas. It was of epic proportions and I have been in HEAVEN!  It's called and Accuquilt Go! and it cuts perfect pieces of cloth.  It's similar to a paper dies cutter, but  much cooler :).  I also was given some moo-lah from a kind family I do learning-play dates with and I immediately took to eBay and won a ton of dies in a huge lot for super cheap, because apparently no one was bidding on Christmas eve.  The first thing I made was a lap quilt for my mother-in-law for her birthday (she got me the Accuquilt).  Second I made this, a place mat for the messiest eater I have ever daughter.  (excuse the picture quality, it was my phone).

Yeah, there are things I would do differently, for sure!  But it was my first one so give me a break :).  Just in case you are dying to make this, here's how I did it:

1. I let my son go through my fabric and choose 4 fabrics that had yellow in them.  I wanted it to be cheerful! I think he did a great job.

2. I took my fancy schmancy Accuquilt and used my 2 1/2 strip cutter to cut one strip of each fabric 37 1/2 inches long.  I cut them all at once and literally did a little jig at the accuracy.  I can't cut straight for beans.

3. I sewed all the strips together (side by side) with a 1/4 inch seam. I then pressed all the seams open.

4. I laid out my newly-sewn long fabric and used my rotary cutter to cut it into thirds.  Each section should be 12 1/2 inches tall.

5. Sew those sections together!  Make sure you press your seams!

6. My next step was my favorite.  When I first got my dies I had to try them all out so Little Man chose some fun colors and we went to town.  Some of the things we cut were these critters (butterfly, dragonfly, and bee) and a ton of flowers.  I decided to use some of my critters and one of the flowers and sew it on.  I had applied fusible web to the fabric before sitting the shapes so all I had to do was iron on the shapes, and sew around the edges with a zig-zag stitch. 

7.  I then cut a piece of fabric that was 24 1/2 inches wide by 12 1/2 inches tall for the backing, and the same size for a piece of thin batting.  I then made a "sandwich with the right sides of the fabric together and the batting on top. Stitch around the outsides with a 1/4" seam and left an opening about 2 inches wide at the bottom for turning.

8.  I turned my place mat inside out and topstiched around the edges, being careful to ensure it closes my opening on the bottom.  I then decided I wanted a more quilted look and proceeded to quilt about a 1/4" around all my shapes.  I don't know if I'd do that again.  My husband said maybe I shouldn't :)  It still looks really cute, but the extra quilting gives it a lumpy effect.

So I made a couple more, without quilting (or piecing strips- I just used a singular fabric for the background since it was for a gift and not everyone wants it so busy.  It still looked busy anyway, because I am apparently allergic to solid fabrics).  Also in the picture I made a bib in the shape of a hunter, a baby book (from a kit), and a burp cloth.

Making your eyes dizzy?  Yeah, I love it!!  But I really need to get some solids so everyone else can stand it.

What do you think?

Where have I been?!?!

Umm.... I have a problem.  Well, many I'm sure, but in relation to my blog I have a big problem.  Huge.  I haven't posted in... forever!  That was not my intention but life and time slipped away from me and before I knew it it had been months!  I want to thank all my followers for still coming to my blog.  I thought for sure I would have no hits during those months, but I had the same amount (some months more) coming to visit.  Alright, I get it, you want me to write.  Thank you all for caring!
Alright, I've been busy.  I've gotten more involved with my church.  I love this church and have been going for years, but felt like I needed to really get in there and help.  That is something that is so difficult for me.  My flesh is so comfortable sitting in the back, soaking in the lesson, then disappearing.  No one knows my name?  Fine.  I don't want church to be about me, something that I've found in the past is so easy for me to do.
I've also been crafting again!  So way back when I was pregnant with Little Miss I starting a blog to chronicle my learning to sew.  Last post on that blog was just before I had her.  She's nearly two. So I'm going to put my crafty-ness on this blog, too.  Hopefully you don't mind :).  Sewing is so relaxing to me.  It can be stressful because I mess up a lot, but it feels so good and I get a chance to worship and sing and talk to God and come out with a project.
The Hubbs has also been working a lot more, so I've been worn down for sure.  He just added another day of work to his already packed schedule. We'll see how this goes...
And the neighbor-chronicles came to a head while I was on my unintentional blogging-sabbatical. 

All these stories and more will be coming to your eyes!!!  Stay tuned... First story of 2012 starts       NOW!