Posted in God, Me

Profound vs Every day

For those of you who read this with any kind of regularity, you should have noticed by now that I am a bunch of different people stuck in one skin. There’s the deep-thinker, evidenced by my last post. Then there’s the sarcastic one, which is my regular persona. I struggle with it, honestly. I WANT to be sincere and kind and soft-spoken. What usually comes out in both my thoughts and out of my mouth is quite a bit less than that. Then there’s the griper, who complains about the kids, or my home, or the state of the world, or whatever happens to cross my mind.

All that to say, poor Jim is stuck with all of me! As are the kids. I’m a work in progress, as is everyone. Some days I do better, some days I don’t care and end up making other people (aka my family) miserable. I’d like to do less of the latter. Pastor Noah challenged us in Sunday school on Sunday about growth and the evidence thereof. The person I am versus the one that I and God want me to become.

I read an amazingly profound statement last night in a fiction book. Lisa Samson, who is a terrific writer–one of my top three or four of all time–said in her book Straight Up, “God wants us to live fulfilled and joyful. He knows how difficult the human existence can be. But our joy depends on doing what it is He’s made us to do. It’s never just for joy’s sake. Always keep in mind the bigger picture.”

That one sentence made me stop reading the book for a bit and just think. Other than being a mother to my children and a wife to Jim, I don’t know what it is He’s made me to do. I’ve lived that life for the past 7 years. All of a sudden, ok, not all of a sudden, but it sure seems that way, I’ll be obligated to do something else with a lot of my time. Once September starts I have HUGE gaping holes of time. Do I work? If I do, do I do it for someone else? Do I try and make a go of it with my own company? If I don’t work for money, which I do miss!, what else do I do? I sort of feel like I should volunteer–maybe at the Parkesburg Food Pantry. And then there’s the idea of working out at something like Curves or the YMCA, both of which require money.

I’m at a crossroads. And I honestly have no clue which way to go. That’s freaking me out.

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Posted in Thankfulness

The Internet’s Effect

I’m the first to admit that I’m addicted to the Internet. I can sit down at my computer and hours can literally go by without me noticing. I can watch videos on YouTube, catch up with my mothers of multiples or born in March boards, or my new parent-2-parent board. I often read blogs. Lots of blogs. And many times those blogs will put a link to another blog and I am hooked yet again into another story, another life.

Today one of those blogs was not a happy, funny, story. Melanie Miller, a precious, beautiful 13 year old Mennonite girl from Delaware, died from brain cancer. I found out about her from another blog of a 10 year old triplet boy in my mothers of multiples club who also has cancer. I started reading about Melanie and praying for her and her family. Today I prayed that God would introduce her to Connor.

I don’t pretend to understand why children die. Especially of cancer, which is a cruel, horrid, suffering-laden death. God created a perfect world. We chose sin instead of perfection. It seems the further we get away from that perfect–the more years away–the worse the suffering gets.

As I read another blog tonight, yet another link was offered and I followed it to a woman just returning from a trip to visit her Compassion International child in Uganda. We sponsor a boy in the Philippines. Anyways, her heartache spoke to me. She showed a music video by Sara Groves that made me cry and repent of my dissatisfaction with my STUFF. I struggle so much with being thankful and content with my home. I want bigger, better, nicely painted, a garage, cleaner, newer cabinets….the list goes on and on until God surely must want to throw up. “Rocks in my Dryer” talked about her CI child, who is an orphan living with sick relatives and whose home doesn’t have a fourth wall because it fell down after a lot of rain. And I’m griping about PAINT?!

Forgive me, Lord! And help me to hug my children tight in thankfulness for their continuing health instead of growing so impatient that I yell at them.

Posted in Cleaning

Getting Stuff Done

I’m currently being held hostage by my husband. He’s taking his shower in the middle of the day and I CAN’T DO LAUNDRY!! Or I COULD do it, but I’m too nice to do that. Why in the world do the manufacturers of homes make it so that flushing a toilet makes someone get scalded, or doing laundry makes them freezing? I don’t get it.

We’re having friends over today, so the house looks terrific. All three rooms of the “Ultimate Trifecta” are done. When my Kitchen, Living Room AND Play Room are clean, well, All is Well With the World! It rarely happens unless we are having company, but it’s so nice to enjoy those few moments of neatness. And when it’s Christmas or Easter and family is over for the “big” visit, and the WHOLE HOUSE is clean–Whoa!

I admit it. I’m great at the big gesture of cleaning on a grand scale. Keeping up with the kitchen counter, or sweeping the kitchen floor daily or even having my laundry up to date seems to be beyond me. It’s just not me. I’ve gotten better–many nights my sink is “shiny” ala FlyLady, but many nights it’s piled high with dishes and the dishwasher is full of clean dishes. And the counter top is full of paperwork and cereal boxes and the general effluvia of our lives.

That’s why I make such a good professional organizer. I’m not perfect and don’t expect others to be, either!!

Posted in Birth Story

Catherine Sarah Birth Story

Poor Catie! I promise that I never forget that I have her or that she gets eclipsed by the other three!

Catie was conceived when the triplets were 10 months old. Yes, we somehow managed to have “special alone time”. I had asked Jim to get the big V done, but he kept saying “It’s too soon!” I think he was still worried about losing another baby. In retrospect I wouldn’t change a thing, but I WAS NOT a HAPPY CAMPER that day I FIGURED IT OUT!

In between having the kids and conceiving Catie, I was actually somewhat ‘regular’ for the first time in my life. I had cycles every other month. I remember mentioning that we needed to “use something” and then got caught up in things and forgot. 10 days later I felt different. (both times I knew 10 days later!). I thought I was being silly, but bought a home pregnancy test anyway. on Day 14 I took the test at 6AM, while the night nurse was downstairs taking care of the other, while my mother slept in the then-spare room, while Jim was at work on an early day. Two blue lines and I scream “NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!” I’m so excited, you see, at the idea of adding another baby!!

I grab the phone and call my beloved husband. Not even a hello for him “I’m pregnant” I say in a “There will be no joy in my life ever again” voice.

“Wha….wha…huh…WHAT?” He managed to get out.

“And it’s YOUR FAULT!” He heard this frequently.

I call my sister and her husband. I show the nurse. I wake my mother, who’s response “OH TINA!!” made me feel like a knocked-up 16 year old.

I spend the next 37 weeks in various states of denial, anger, exhaustion, being upset, and wondering WHAT in the World God is doing bring a BABY into this CHAOS?!

The morning of March 13, 2003, Jim and I were up and out the door at 4:30 to get to the hospital by 5 for my scheduled c-section at 8. On the way down I am having Braxton Hicks. I think. They start getting regular, though and I end up being in labor. Thank goodness for the spinal! And for a good anesthesiologist, who not only didn’t have skeevy long nails like the last one (a man!), but didn’t give me too much and make it difficult for me to breathe. A nurse was by my head, gently keeping her hand on my forehead and making sure I was ok. Jim didn’t have to do it like last time. He got to really watch the birth and tape it so I can watch later.

For nine months I was dreading this moment, but the INSTANT they pulled her out–all 8 lbs 3 oz of her–I fell in love. Not even her whole body, just her head was enough to change my emotions immediately. Instantaneous Mother Love. She was healthy, crying and doing great. About an hour later I got to try nursing, which she loved and was great at.

Three days later we were home and working out this “having four kids” thing. The kids loved their new baby sister. Almost 5 years later I can’t imagine life without her. She’s such a blessing!

Thank you, God, for knowing what we needed even when we questioned you literally every single step!

Posted in Kids, Snow

Snow Day Today

I know it’s early in the day for me to post but I just had to vent: I HATE SNOW!!! I hate getting the kids into their multiples layers of clothes, fighting about boots and which gloves and who lost which hat and scarf so one child doesn’t have them, sending them out to have fun only to have them come back in the house 10 minutes later because “I’m cold” Well, duh! And then the wet spots in the kitchen, because I’m not one of those mom’s blessed with a “mud room” (oh, how I covet one of them!), which find their way quickly through your socks to shock you.

If I could choose my climate, I’d like two weeks of good, winter weather, 5 1/2 months of Spring, 2 weeks of good, summer weather and 5 1/2 months of Fall.

Everyone is happily in the kitchen, drinking hot chocolate, surrounded by coats, boots, mittens, gloves, scarves, hats and the aforementioned melting-snow-becoming-freezing-water puddles. Happy, happy, joy, joy!!

Posted in Birth Story

Quadruplet Birth Story

This is for “My Semblance of Sanity”‘s birth story. I don’t know if I will win–it’s half really amazing and half really sad. Be forewarned! (This is a copy of the email update I sent out on 8/28/2001 to friends and family)

Hello dear friends.

Some of you will know the following, but many of you don’t, so I’m sending to all.

I haven’t emailed an update in a long time because I went into the hospital on August 14th with a ruptured sac. Baby A, Connor John, had broken thru. Our local hospital didn’t have the nursing staff for 24 week old quads, so I was sent to Christiana hospital in Delaware (not even in my state). It was touch and go for a few days–I was on Magnesium Sulfate (very nasty), but came through ok. I settled in for the long haul of bedrest.

Saturday the 25th started like any other day. We monitored the babies around 10-10:30. Then I started having contractions. Before I knew it, they were 2 1/2 minutes apart and I was 4 cm dilated. They took me in for a c-section 2:00 ish.

Connor John came at 2:08 pm weighing 1 lb, 9 oz.
Bennett Quinn arrived at 2:09 pm weighing 1 lb, 11 oz.
Ethan James came at 2:10 pm weighing 1 lb, 11 oz, and
Laura Grace finally got pulled out at 2:13 pm weighing 1 lb, 10 oz.

They were immediately whisked away to the NICU admittance and I went to recovery. 5 hours later I was finally able to see them. Bennett, Ethan and Laura were ok, but Connor from the very beginning was having more problems. To shorten the next part of the story, fast forward 3 more hours to 10:30 pm, when the Neonatologist comes up and tells Jim and me that Connor will not make it through the night.

Jim went down to spend some time with him (I was still very drugged and was in and out of consciousness). He came back upstairs a little after midnight to see if I wanted to come downstairs. The NICU called and said that he needed to come downstairs NOW. So I gathered myself and moved onto a gurney and went to the NICU to hold my firstborn son and cry. He was SO tiny!! So fragile!! We cried so much! While Jim held him, he quietly left us to be in the loving arms of Jesus. Saying goodbye was the hardest and most emotional thing I have ever done.

Coming home today, Tuesday, to our playroom full of baby things, many in fours, was extremely difficult. It will take some time before I can face going in there without crying.

Our other three, like typical preemies, change from day to day. The two boys have heart murmurs, but are responding to meds. Laura was doing the best, but is now on a special ventilator called an oscillator. It pumps 300 breaths per minute into her tiny lungs. But all are holding their own. I have three journals to track their day to day improvements, which will be encouraging along the way.

The joy and hope of my three living children tempered with the sadness and grief of losing our son is a very difficult place to be. We are in the process of trying to decide whether to have a funeral and burial or cremate. I never thought to be in this position. Only God is sustaining me now, I can assure you. Jim is crying and grieving as much if not more than I am. We can only cling to each other and be there for each other as we work our way through this difficult time.

We still appreciate your prayers for both Mommy and Daddy and our three precious children. They will be in the NICU for at least 10 weeks, and we will be traveling 45-50 minutes each way to get to them. I will also be pumping to provide breast milk for the babies, so life is already revolving around them.

As I’m sure you can tell from the whole tone of this email, this is a very difficult time for both of us. Thank you all for your support, prayers and understanding. I will not be on email that often, and the phone will be answered as possible. Visitors are welcome, but we ask that you call first.

Much love,

Tina

(I’d like to add that 6 1/2 years later Bennett, Ethan and Laura are healthy, happy and wonderful children and have an almost-5 yr old sister).