Saturday, June 30, 2012

7 quick takes Friday, on Saturday. Again.

 --- 1 ---
Soooo, week 2 of posting my 7 Quick takes Friday on a Saturday. I don't really love Fridays since my bed rest sentencing. Friday means the weekend is here. And while I love love having my husband home (and not just because he does everything. Because I miss him), the weekends are when people do fun stuff. They exercise and then meet a friend or a cute hubby for breakfast. They check out garage sales or go sit at the bookstore while baby gets some qt with daddy. They go out to Mexican for dinner. Weekends are events. Unless, of course, your weekend means more couch time. Insert whining.
--- 2 ---
The best thing about bed rest is the realization that for at least a week after I am released from this sentence, I will NOT take my life for granted. (Ross, please skip this part lest you decide to use it against me later.) I literally just read a post about the many uses of white vinegar and SO BADLY wanted to go clean our toilets. I want to oxyclean Mary Kate's pizza covered smocked outfits and mop our floors and Magic eraser our tubs. I want to RUN RUN RUN like I'm being chased. I want to make our bed and cook a meal. Well, maybe not cook a meal. Let's not get away with ourselves. But as most of us will find in our lifetimes, you don't miss something until it's gone. Including housework and exercise.
--- 3 ---
I realize that I am blogging a ridiculous amount. I feel that I need to mention the rest in the bed in every post so folks won't think I'm the biggest lame-o around. It helps keep me sane. I also do it out of love for my friends who spend naptime "talking" about needing to get housework done but read blogs the whole time, or those who are laid up in a recliner waiting on babies to be born, or those up at 3:30am with that new baby, or sweet LaNoral. See, I CAN serve others from my sofa!
--- 4 ---
I am allowed some brief adventures out of the house. Doc has given the okay for Sunday Mass, which is huge for my mental health. Thankfully the Gift of Grace has recliners in their living room. Wonder if more people would go to Mass if they could do it from a leather recliner? Not complainin'. Am also allowed out for quick interviews with host families since it involves sitting at a table. Last night, I met a precious family and loved talking to them About how their new au pair will enhance their lives. For a second, I felt like a social worker again, making someone's life just a wee better. But it could have also been from the "I am not in my house" endorphins. See, it's not all bad around here, despite how tired I get of it. Am thankful to still get to worship with my family and add a little income to whittle down those hospital bills!
--- 5 ---
In our effort to make it feel like a weekend, we have some delish food ready for a pool day. And since tonight is the only night we won't have someone living with us (since June 8 and until mid August!), we have a picnic date night on our living room floor. Ross is at the store with MK (hahahaha!) picking up cheese, crackers, french bread, fruit, and summer sausage. I will have a small glass of wine and probably wear something not sold at Nike. Super excited for a makeshift date night with my favorite date.
--- 6 ---
I had a very real dream last night that this baby is a girl and in the dream, fiiinally decided between our two girl names. Ross reminded me that Archbishop Gregory promised him a boy (if you recall, it was not from any divine inspiration but rather from Ross helping him scale the 90 degree angle driveway Of the Gift of Grace safely into the road.) So we'll see if my dream or the AB's promises ring true.
--- 7 ---
Age two is kicking my sedentary rear. HOLY COW. Please no comments about how 3 is the new 2 or I might not make it. Between what BETTER be incoming teeth resulting in weeks of night waking, an incapacitated mama, new faces every week, and general "my way or I'll scream so loudly one of your DFCS friends will come calling," it can get U.G.L.Y. Over here. I don't know that parenting her would be much easier from the upright position, but mama has spent some time sitting in the corner while MK screams into the wall for 10 minutes. That stubbornness is all her daddy, just so you know. Oh, did I mention she's not two for another week. I know my husband politely asked me to not kill time on Amazon any longer but I am about to order a white flag. And some Xanax.
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, June 28, 2012


95. 95 hundred prayers answered. 95 buckets of tears poured out. 95 questions of "how and why?" 95 percent chance of survival.

Today we saw the perinatologist again. And he told me that he fully believes we will get to full-term. Our baby is 2 lbs, 14 oz and my body is no longer actively trying to evict this little angel. If our baby were born today, there would be a 95 percent chance he or she would survive. It took some time to set in but as I explained all this to Ross, I began to cry. "Our baby's going to live. Our baby is going to live." I did not realize how much fear I was holding in until the relief flowed from my eyes.

We still have a journey ahead of us, another 2 months of bed rest, another 2 months of the possibility that we could be in the NICU with baby. We know we are not out of the woods yet. God has long ago decided the course of this little baby's life and we don't yet know what that is. Prayers should and must continue. They are the reason we have come this far.

20 days ago I sat in a hospital bed on my birthday trembling in fear. I sent a few emails and made one or two calls that first night to prayer warriors in my life. Since then, heaven has been stormed on behalf of this baby. Y'all, I talk a lot about prayer. I say I believe in it. I profess it. I do it. But never have I relied on it so heavily. Never have I depended on the results of it so profoundly. Never have I felt it so tangibly.

I marveled today, almost in disbelief. It worked. Their prayers worked. They prayed for me. And it worked. They honored ME, cared enough for ME to give ME their precious time and words. And it worked. HE answers prayers. (duh). But really, he does. My baby is going to live because THEY prayed and HE answered.

So to those of you who have gifted me with your prayers, THANK YOU! THANK YOU! I have a feeling that I will sleep easily tonight, not plagued by the persistent fear and thoughts that have kept me up at night. Again, I know that only one person knows what will happen to our little baby. But I also know that for the first time in 20 days, I have a renewed hope. That hope came from the generous and selfless prayers that have undeniably given this baby a fighting chance.

Monday, June 25, 2012


I read back at my last post and am realizing that I can be simultaneously thankful and aggravated by this bed rest business. The moments of frustration do not erase the gratitude or diminish all that we are learning from this season. Without the constant help we have had, I'd be riding this out in the hospital. I truly, truly get how blessed we are. I have no idea how people without such selfless family and loving community manage times like these. We would be lost. Lost.

That said, it is hard y'all. I fear that if I go into all the reasons I'm struggling today, I won't crawl out of that hole. But I also don't want to look back and see nothing but posts on all the good lessons. There's no transparency in that. Someone I knew in high school who is a facebook friend posts multiple times a day on how wonderful and perfect life is. Like anything in cyberworld, it can leave you wondering if you are the only one whose life isn't all roses or if there's a lack of authenticity. I hope that doesn't make me sound like a total jerk.

Anyway, while no one would deny that a chance at having a full-term baby as opposed to a premie is a wonderful gift to be cherished, I also don't think anyone would say that a sudden change in everyone's daily lives is a walk in the park. I miss everything. I miss making my own food instead of waiting for someone to ask if I need a meal or worse, me having to ask for a snack. I hate getting up to a baby crying for her mama only to be scolded by all parties for getting out of bed. I know I have to let go. I know I have to follow the rules to keep baby safe. But what I don't know is how any mother resists picking up her hurt toddler who very clearly misses being picked up by her mama. I don't know how a mother hears her baby crying her heart out, big crocodile tears for mama, and doesn't go to her. I know this is why many women bed rest in the hospital because it's sooooo hard to watch YOUR life happen, YOUR home be managed, YOUR child be parented, all while on the sidelines. I've been benched and I freaking don't like it.

Trusted friends have told me how fast this season goes by and how I will look back and think it happened in a blink. Just as they told me during those awful newborn months, I sit, unable to believe a word they say. But we'll keep the Pandora worship music playing, keep working on gratitude, and keep focusing on the end goal of a big fat, roly poly, full term baby Ninness. Even simply observing from the bench, I am damned lucky that this is my life.

an oldie but goodie, and kind of how mama feels today too! Everyone needs a good fit pitching every so often, right??

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Right in front of my face

I've been thinking a lot lately. After trashy tv and finishing my box of swiss cake rolls (thank you Natalie, you just earned a front row seat to the fall debut of the "whine about my weight" show), that's all that's left in the land of bedrest. But I have been thinking about how much more I really notice now. My new "job" has me taking more in, stopping to smell the "roses" de jour.  I wouldn't be surprised if that's been a part of the big guy's plan all along.

Tonight it was Mary Kate's little head. She climbed into my lap after Marita gave her a bath. I soaked in her little profile, completely enamored at the person she already is. A little less sugar than spice, a girl who is acutely aware of what she wants, a heart already tender- this is my girl. Unable to participate in the rush of the nighttime routine, I get to just sit back and wait for her to come to me, for me to brush her hair and smell her bathtime sweetness. When is the last time I stopped to do that?

Earlier today, it was watching 3 children run around the 'racetrack' of my house. Our living room is connected to the kitchen and hallway and it makes the perfect circle for children chasing each other with toy shopping carts and lawn mowers. Friends who have been on bedrest have told of their banishment to one floor of their home while life continued on the other floor. In the years before this little journey, I spent many a day lamenting these close walls. Today, I am thankful for them. And then I think of the housekeeping duties that have now been relegated to Ross after working 9-10 hour days and maybe one, unlucky mother's helper. While MAJORLY gifted with deep cleaning services from members of my wedding party, I am thankful that the day to day pickup involves just a few rooms of toddler tornado damage.

I recently looked at my thank you note list and sighed in total awe at how long it is. What was in the beginning almost painfully humbling has become a way for me to experience God's presence and love in the midst of some lonely hours indoors. It is as if each offer to take MK, or visit to sit and talk, or message or care package is another whisper "I am with you. I love you. I've got this." I can truly feel a spiritual comfort in every call and text and gesture and know that God is using so many beautiful people to make this journey bearable.

While I hope they are not too frequent, I am in a place of having to make requests for my needs and Mary Kate's. I have quickly seen how far a sincere 'please' and 'thank-you' go while at the same time learning to to assert my needs. I want so badly not to burden anyone but getting up to do it myself means breaking rules that are in place to protect our baby. I am having to be direct and specific with no time for sugar-coating. It's new territory but good practice.

Today we saw the perinatologist and he gave us a great report. Not great enough to lift the bedrest, but great enough to prove that the bedrest is working. Our baby is safe and growing and beautiful. The prayers of oh so many faithful are working. For as long as I am blessed to keep baking this babe,  I hope I continue to see the beauty that has been right in front of me all this time.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday on a Saturday because I am erasing Friday from this week.

--- 1 ---
With so much free time on my hands now, I may be blowing up the blogosphere. I hate to bore the pants off of anyone, but I also know that writing will keep me from going totally insane. It's a balance, though. I don't want this space to be my emotional wastebucket, spewing complaints about life, nor do I want it to get nauseating with declarations of all the blessings. I think what I want is to go back after 15 weeks and a healthy baby and see how God used this time to make me more of who I am supposed to become. Here's hoping.
--- 2 ---
Roo Roo. Roo is my sister (Katie). At a young age, I had a love for all things Winnie the Pooh and when she was born, I nicknamed her Roo and have seldom called her anything else. She had planned to be with us this weekend for Ross to go on a lake trip and help me get organized for baby. Instead, a week ago today, she was packing her car and dropping everything to come be with us. It was such a relief to have my sister here. I knew I could call and bark orders about important things like what color hairbow MK needed and to remind her to not even breathe aloud when babe is napping. She is my sister and has 22 years worth of experience with my irrational needs. There is no way to thank her (other than by letting her leave Thursday- that was all the thanks she needed!) for being here at the exact moment that I needed her. She loves me and my girl and even shows love to poor Mack. We may have tried to kill each other more than a few hundred times in life but I couldn't live without her.
Roo with a tiny Mary Kate

--- 3 ---
A few days ago, I knew Ross was on his way home. So I grabbed my makeup bag and quickly attempted a blind makeover. You know, because this whole sofa scene is uber sexy. He walked in and said "babe, you're wearing makeup!" I interpreted this as "whoa, so nice to see you not looking like a hag." Then I went to the restroom and realized the correct interpretation was more like "hi honey, bozo the clown wears less rouge." He confirmed interpretation 2 when I asked. All I can say is that this man has come a looong way from when we met and had zero filter. I also need a table top mirror if anyone is making a run to target. Thanks.
--- 4 ---
After a few days of feeling healthy , Ross and I made a gametime decision that he should continue his plans at the lake with some wonderful guys. With plenty of help in place and after a good bit of prayer on both our parts, it seemed doable. I am no saint for sending my husband on a guy's trip during this time. What I am is someone who knows those guys, and knows what my husband needs, especially not knowing what the coming weeks hold. Hearing his voice often throughout the day has confirmed that we made the right choice. I am so nurtured and encouraged by the women in my life and am thankful that he is getting the same from some stellar guys. It's a good reminder that the menfolk need their cups filled as much as their more emotional counterparts. Plus, I have my eye on some shoes that I want in exchange for my wifely sweetness! Selfless I am not.
Ross in his happy place (though this time with less baby and more beer)

and me with what I hope will be the happy place for my feet. (I'm sure I'm too neurotic to actually buy them but thinking about them on unswollen, unpregnant feet is nice!)

--- 5 ---
I am scared as living hell that this baby will come early and we will be spending our days in the NICU and facing big health hurdles. I am also scared as hell of 14 more weeks of the current routine. Thankfully, I'm more afraid of the former.
--- 6 ---
Yesterday was tough tough. Mary Kate had a terrible day and I was convinced that she is really starting to struggle with this set up. Having me near her but not able to care for her is awful on both of us. Naptime, bedtime, and middle of the night-time have been heinous. My level-headed husband reminded me that her day yesterday was probably more due to her exhaustion than adjustment issues but I am still sad to see her struggling. Last night was the worst night home, as she cried and cried for mama while Marita put her down. I finally couldn't take it anymore and went in the room. She threw herself on my chest and clutched my arms and I cried feeling for the first time what it is like to have to choose between the needs of your children. Unable to deny MK's emotional needs, I was sacrificing new baby's needs for me to stay in bed. I pray and pray that I have the courage to know Mary Kate is being held and loved ultimately by Jesus and that His mother is mothering her when I cannot. It is just so counter-intuitive to not run to my girl. And yesterday I ran to her too often and I can only hope that it wasn't at the expense of progressing any further with new babe.
--- 7 ---
Someone please tell me that mind-rotting is reversible. Because the bad timing of all this mess is that tv is on summer hiatus and I am watching a whole lot of trash. Big Fat American Gypsy, Say yes to the dress, all kinds of reality mind numbing. And my girl too- 4 bajillion 1 minute You Tube clips of ballons and old macdonald and babies crying (yes, weird obsession). Good thing her brother or sister is ensuring we can never afford to send her to Harvard anyway.  Oh, almost forgot. My one hiatus from terrible tv is Grace Patton. Please scroll to her "Simon Says" section. She will make you wet your pants. With 2 children in abour 4 minutes and a husband in OB residency, she is tired and crazy and hilarious. You won't be sorry.
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, June 14, 2012


I just posted a blog I wrote from the hospital. I waited a few days to post something that I knew was written from foggy eyes and a tired heart. But as I re-read it today, I realized I don't want to forget these days. I am confident of nothing more than the idea that there is great PURPOSE in all of this. As with any hard time in life, I know I will look back, read these posts, and watch the hand of God in every minute of this journey. We are praying hard hard hard that another hospital stay is not in our future, though my body keeps us guessing. I think the only thing that stopped an admission back to Piedmont yesterday was a full on meltdown on the phone with the nurse who gave me 24 hours to feel better. I'm sure it was out of sympathy for the antepartum nurses, too!

I am on day 2 of being at home on strict bed rest. As the nurses warned me, being home poses its own challenges. Watching life happen from the sofa and not being able to contribute (or intervene!) is hard. But today I am so thankful for my small, one level home that allows me to still be a part of the chaos. I am thankful for the delay in an answer to a prayer about Ross's job. Him being 5 minutes from home is an invaluable gift right now, enabling him to be home at lunch and to rescue us quickly if needed. I am so utterly thankful to be home.

The challenge now (other than keeping baby baking) is to keep my mind and heart strong. I am not being falsely humble when I say that I am not the strongest person alive. Strong willed, maybe, but not mentally strong. My husband comes from a long line of "put your head down and push through" type of people. I am more of the "if I cry enough it will surely get better" kind. There wasn't a nurse in the hospital who didn't get a big old dose of ugly cry from me this weekend. But since I've been home, I've kept it at bay for the most part. It seems terribly self-indulgent to cry when surrounded by a near constant influx of generosity, kindness and love. It would bore you to hear a litany of the blessings poured on our family in all forms, but let's just say I have a lot to pay forward when this season is finished. I will throw in a few bullets of things I am absolutely assured of since Friday.
  • I married the right man.
  • Community (MOPS, Cathedral Bible Study, Gift of Grace family) is essential to life
  • Close girlfriends are a necessity. Absolute necessity. Air. From texts to care packages, to emails, facebook and blog messages, to meals dropped and prayers said, these friends are light in moments of dreariness. 
  • Family should not be taken for granted. No matter how complex the relationships, they are to be valued. And their love is unmatched.
  • There is a purpose for this time and for this little trouble-making life inside of me.
  • The vocation to family life calls us to self-sacrifice every day (wisdom courtesy of Sister Brunetta). Lots of growing up going on at casa Ninness.
  • My j.o.b. is to stay in bed and protect this precious little life.
  • My daughter can not only survive without me, she is thriving with new people and new experiences (thank you, precious Natalie and Kristen). This season is not negatively affecting her and this may be the greatest gift to me of all.
I woke up today with a terrible headache (constant side effect of the meds I'm on) and whining to God about how I'd make it through another whole day. As recommended from a previous bed-rester, I took a quick bath. A crazy friend sent me half of Sephora's current stock so I threw on some make up and began the transformation to feeling human. I plopped myself on the sofa as my sister got MK ready for vbs. I looked over to Mary Kate running in holding her favorite Bible (thank you Saints and Shamrocks) , yelling "bibble bibble." Without hesitation, she crawled into my lap, ready for me to read about Joshua. There are certainly worse ways to spend a morning.

We'll take this little detour day by day, knowing how many thousands of women have done it before, and knowing that this little gremlin is worth every minute of inconvenience.

A birthday I won't soon forget.

I received a special birthday gift this year. I woke up and attended Mass at the Gift of Grace with my precious family, followed by chick-fil-a. My perfect morning despite not feeling well. After some initial cramping, I called my doc and ran in for what I was sure would be a "go home and rest" order. Oh how I wish... From my padded cell at Piedmont hospital, I write, wrapping ahead around our new normal. I will keep the details brief, lest the nurse choose to use the order for a tranquilizer that I'm certain is on my chart. Our new normal includes not lifting Mary Kate, or making her milk, or getting her one of 240 snacks a day, or laying her in her bed, or getting to see her sleepy eyes in the morning, saying "hiiiii" in that little country voice. Our new normal says no walking, no going to the zoo, no park play dates or secret afternoon trips to Mcentyre's bakery for a "coooookie." It means no dinners on the patio of St.Angelos or eating out. It will mean hearing my girl fall, cry, and not be the one to pick her up. It means not embracing Ross in the kitchen while MK smiles at us and says "mama, dada mwah!"  I miss my family. I miss their voices, their kisses, watching them dance in the kitchen. I am aching.... It is day 2.5, hour 4 million of my hospital stay, but thanks to the revelation that it requires 2 ambien to shut this over-working brain off, I slept last night. I received a Facebook message from a mops mom who said she knew my birthday wasn't what I'd hoped. I stopped cold and all of a sudden realized the alternative. During that birthday Mass, I had looked down at this big ole bulge and over at MK sitting on her daddy's lap eating her clif bar and whispered thank you for all these lives. On this birthday, I did not know that the life of the littlest Ninness was in danger of way too early an entrance. But I found out, and for these few days at least, have gotten to keep little baby exactly where he or she is. This life is protected, saved. Is there a better gift? I have grieved and grieved over the what's and why's and how's. Admittedly, until now, my tears have been for my girl and my guy and myself. But my best friend's mom called last night and told me a story I did not know. While pregnant with Katrina, with two little girls under foot, she, too, was placed on strict bed rest. She obviously looks back now knowing it was worth every second, but admits how brutal it was. But the little girl that she gave up all her comforts for, even the comfort of being a wife and mother, that little girl became one of the dearest people in my world. God willing, this little baby inside of me will become someone's best friend and make brighter their life the way Kat has made mine. There is great, great purpose for this next Ninness and I am humbled, honored, and privileged with the task of protecting him or her for the next 3 months, no matter what it takes. Never have I up been more grateful for my husband's servant's heart and strong arms or for my daughter's love of a new face to engage. Never have I been more thankful for family who drop everything to come care for my baby and her bigger baby of a mother. Never have I been more aware of friends who pretend to comprehend me through hysterical sobs and who send words of love, to remind me that I won't be alone from the confines of my bed. While I write, this little trouble maker is kicking me, as if to remind me that there is a beautiful, prayed for, desperately wanted little life in there. I am sad that the last few days have had me so focused on the souls in my home, and admittedly on my own pain and fear. This will be a difficult journey, for everyone. The introvert in me does not look forward to permanent houseguests in my little abode, no matter my great love for them. I so fear endless hours alone with my thoughts, as this head is a scary, scary place. But greater than all that fear is a love for my baby and a desire to grow my family, and an deep, deep faith in the One who orchestrated it all.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Happy Days

For my upcoming birthday, my husband sweetly obliged my desire to head to New York to see my best friend. Katrina and I are five days apart and she sweetly shared her actual birthday with me. We had a stay-cation in her parents' beautiful home and basically ate and laughed and ate our way through the weekend. Her home was definitely one of the places I spent the most time in high school, mooching whatever homemade goodness came from Kathy's oven or eating homemade ice cream. Her family continues to love on me today just like I am 16 years old and I couldn't be more thankful for their precious hearts.

I am excited to get more photos from Katrina's dad (hint hint) but truly felt rested and loved while I was there.

While I was gone, Mary Kate was clearly being mistreated. Ross promises she liked having 40 bows put in her hair. As I was not the one in charge of all 16 of her mealtimes, it didn't bother me a bit!

Notice the TV on the corner of the patio. We are all kinds of pimped out at casa Ninness. MK gets to play on the water table and spray the dog with the hose while the big kids watched the Braves game. Bad picture quality but good representation of summers in our little abode.

I really cannot thank my husband and in-laws more for coming to stay for the weekend. While I missed the heck out of my girl, I didn't worry about her for a minute (well, until I saw the bow picture). She has been asking for her aunt and sha-sha all day so I know she had a great time!

After a long day of traveling yesterday, we were up and at 'em to make it to 7am Mass at the Gift of Grace for a sad goodbye. I cried buckets as I hugged Sr. Dominque goodbye. She leaves after 5 years there to finish her novitiate in Washington D.C. Her last year is spent in near constant prayer and discernment on whether to continue her journey as a Missionary of Charity. She absolutely exemplifies Mother Teresa's commitment to the poor and has blessed my life in ways that I cannot even articulate. It has been 9 years since her first vows in Nairobi and we are honored to pray for this last year on her beautiful journey.

While I had tears all morning, Mary Kate had an absolute blast with "her sisters", looking at the fish, playing with that annoying pop-corn popper toy thingy and playing peekaboo with those silly nuns.

We love Sister Dominque (or affectionately known as Sister Shorty!)
"ish sister! ish!!"
peekaboo with Sister Brunetta!

I see you!

After such an early morning, we came home to spend some quality mommy-daughter time. In an outfit of her choosing, I rocked in the rocking chair and enjoyed watching my girl be just that, a little girl.

These truly are such happy, happy days!