Monday, June 23, 2008

The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease...

... For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
(Lamentations 3:22-23)

Today we had our 20 week scan. As I have shared previously, when you have had a scan that brought very bad news before you never quite approach them again with the same easy excitement. I was not looking forward to today's visit to the hospital. It is not that we feared learning that our baby had a condition that would affect it for the rest of its life. What we feared was hearing again the news that our baby had a condition that would take its life.

But today we heard good news, and nothing but good.

According to every measure that the hospital takes to ascertain development, our baby is doing fine. The scan took quite a while because our little bean was bouncing around so much. I remarked to the technician how odd that was as I have felt very little movement from the baby. "That's just as well" she said "considering how much it is moving around". The detail of the scan was astonishing. We saw our baby's face full on and in profile, the little lips, the mouth opening and closing. Amazing.

We are so grateful to God for His mercy to us. I was in tears during the scan and have been like it for most of the day. Every concern we had regarding the scan has been answered. Even a fairly minor thing, God has taken care of. I was concerned that because this was a 20 week scan and not a 24 week one, they would not be able to see everything they wanted to. I dreaded being told "You'll have to come back in 4 weeks time" partly because I knew I would spend the next month in high anxiety and also because of the sheer difficulty we have in arranging for someone to look after the boys and for Rob to have time off work. This has happened to us in 2 previous pregnancies. But this time the scan was so clear and the baby so cooperative that we were told no, we didn't have to return. In the grand scheme of things this is so inconsequential, but it was really preying on my mind. The Lord took care of it for us. We have been abundantly blessed.

"The LORD is my portion," says my soul,
"Therefore I have hope in Him."
(Lamentations 3:24)

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Good News

The wonderful, amazing, glorious news is that, at the hospital visit yesterday, I heard a heart beat. Can there be a more wonderful sound?

The bad news is that my consultant has put me onto blood pressure medication (beta blockers) and aspirin because she believes I am at high risk for pre-eclampsia. I have my own feelings as to the wisdom of this but I have to get them into a more coherent and less emotional form before I blog about it more. It looks like there will be a lot more hospital visits in my immediate future. Ugh!

Six Unspectacular Quirks

Deputy Headmistress over at the wonderful Common Room has tagged me for a bit of internet whimsy: Six Unspectacular Quirks. I'm reminded of the picnic at Box Hill in Emma: only six at once?

The rules are these:
you have to mention who tagged you and link to them
you have to mention the rules
you have to nominate six other bloggers by linking to them.

I like to break the rules where I can (without harm to others) just for the sheer fun of it, so I will not be nominating six others. Well actually, I don't know six others well enough to nominate them. British reserve and all that. But if you are reading this and would like to participate, just leave a comment and I will link to you.

Six quirks were embarrassingly easy to find. My husband on the other hand hasn't any. Really, he hasn't. We racked our brains to try and think of one, but we couldn't. Maybe that in itself is a quirk?

1. I have to take a hot water bottle to bed with me every night. Every night without fail or I can't sleep. It doesn't matter what the temperature is or even if it is too hot to sleep with covers, I have to have it. Even in a hot Australian summer. It isn't about feeling cold (although I do feel the cold very easily) it is more of a comfort thing.

2. I don't read very much fiction and what I do read tends to be 'old favourites', but when I do read something new I always, always, always have to read the ending first. If I don't like the ending then of course I don't read the book and for me to like it the ending has to be happy. I get attached to fictional characters and I want the best for them. I know that I am excluding some of the greatest works of fiction by this practice but I really don't care. I know it is shallow but life for me is too short to read sad fiction. Just give me happy, happy, happy. The same holds true for films (fictional not documentary). It is almost physically impossible for me to sit through a film I don't know the ending to. Too much uncertainty. Thank goodness for

3. I can't eat a whole chocolate ( the kind that comes in a box) all at once. I watch in awe as someone makes their selection and then pops it whole into their mouth. What if there is something 'unsuspected' in there? What if you don't like the flavour? What if it is so delicious that you regret snaffling it in one mouthful?

4. I can't eat crisps/chips, nuts, snacks straight from the packet. I have to decant. I don't know why. It is just something about putting my hand into a packet. Odd because I've never had a bad experience doing this (or a bad experience eating a chocolate come to that).

5. I don't mind going to the dentist but I really, really, really don't like going to the hair dressers. Consequently I'm always in need of a hair cut. I feel intimidated by the whole hair cutting procedure, by the salon 'ambience' and I loathe having my hair washed (or even worse, my head massaged) by someone else. It is not a relaxing or enjoyable experience for me, even when the resulting haircut looks good. If I could cut it myself, I would.

6. Not sure if this last one is so much a quirk as good prudent common sense. I can only cross at a pedestrian crossing if the signal is 'Go'. Here in the UK that is indicated by 'The Green Man' which sounds deliciously pagan, but isn't. Well, of course, you are only supposed to cross if you have the green man, everyone knows that. In some countries, I believe, you can be fined for crossing a pedestrian crossing at the wrong time. You would be amazed how many people take the most unbelievable risks, however, crossing when the sinister 'Red Man' is showing. Even mothers with children. Even police officers! Even elderly residents with walking sticks who invariably make the traffic screech to a halt! I want to yank them back with a hook on the end of a big stick. Even if the road is completely clear in both directions I just can't do it. Who knows what may appear out of nowhere. I've had people actually smirk at me for waiting and waiting and waiting until the signal changes. Hah! I care not a jot. This has rubbed off on the children. Isaac has recently had to be reminded that it is not polite to reprimand complete strangers, very loudly, for crossing at the wrong time. It does give them a surprise though!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Thank You And An Update

Thank you all so much for your sweet comments and prayers. We really appreciate them. I'm sorry it took me so long to upload some of them - and to update this poor, neglected blog. I am now officially 17 weeks pregnant and the baby is due on or, more likely, around 10th November. This Wednesday I go to the hospital for a check up. This would normally be done at my GP (General Practitioner) surgery but the midwife who booked me in at the hospital wanted me seen by the consultant 'just in case' because of my history of high blood pressure. Later this month I go for my 20 week scan and from then on in it is just the usual round of blood tests and midwives' appointments, hopefully the fewer the better.

Well, those are the bald facts. I've seen on a number of blogs a jolly little widget that displays your mood for the day. 'Today I am mostly feeling ...' or something like that. I'm not sure such a widget could handle the range of emotions I am feeling at the moment. Overjoyed at being pregnant again without a doubt, elated, excited, hopeful, thankful, privileged, fearful, tearful, anxious, stressed ... The list could go on and on. That so many conflicting emotions can exist simultaneously is surely testament to the amazing flexibility of the human mind. Pregnancy after loss is a tricky thing. I know that many of you know this far better than I. I don't think you ever approach it with the same degree of relaxation or joyful anticipation as in those pre-loss pregnancies. The pregnancy books and sites speak calmingly of how the risk of miscarriage is much less after 12 weeks (and praise God this is true) but when you have lost a little one in your second or third trimester, you are not likely to gain much reassurance from this. At the moment I am battling anxiety and fear on a daily basis. On some days it threatens to overwhelm. I know from experience how destructive such anxiety is to me. Apart from anything else it prevents me from being the joyful mother of the children God has already blessed me with - and it isn't much fun for Rob either. I know with the Lord's strength we can make it through any eventuality. It isn't that I doubt. I just don't like the not knowing what will happen and my anticipating mind has a default setting that anticipates the worst.

So what have I been doing to counter this. I turn to things that have helped me in the past. I read Scripture passages that speak of God's faithfulness and goodness, verses that talk of the strength and joy that the Lord imparts. I meditate and pray these through. I listen to sermons and Christian broadcasts that focus on these things and I read inspiring Christian books, articles and (of course) blogs. I do all of these things fitfully and imperfectly and the Lord in His mercy does the rest.

I hope this doesn't sound too whiney and dreary. We are both truly overjoyed to be expecting again. It is very exciting and at the grand old age of 43, not something I had taken for granted would ever happen again. Rob and I can say with total confidence 'The Lord has blessed us!'. The awful vomiting (some days after every bite of food or drink - much, much worse than ever before) has stopped. Yippee! I still have the all day nausea but you cannot believe how bearable that is without the actual throwing up. I am anaemic - but have a good iron supplement. My blood pressure, according to our home monitor, remains out of the danger zone - despite the worries of the hospital midwife who managed to be both over zealous and utterly ineffectual at the same time. My cervix is showing no signs of its previous incompetence - so I am looking forward to avoiding bedrest. And, despite the nausea, I can even sit up for long enough to write a rambling blog post! At this rate I may even get some ironing done!