150 Hours

150 hours...that's how long it has been since I had a conversation with my OB about my pregnancy...that there is a baby, but it is smaller than originally thought and a heartbeat couldn't be found.  Six days...that's not a long time, but these last six days have been the longest that I can remember!  It's kind of hard to not think about it.  Wondering, thinking about too many scenarios, bouncing from grief to hope and back and forth again and again.  Trying to prepare myself for tomorrow morning when we'll repeat an ultrasound.  Some unusual circumstances at my physician's office mean that I have to go elsewhere for the ultrasound...and then wait again...for the radiologist to interpret the report and then for him to call my doctor and finally for him to call me and let me know what is going on.  I'm hopeful that the procedure won't seem quite so secretive tomorrow as it was last week and that I'll have the confidence to politely demand that I be included in what is happening.  I'm not approaching tomorrow in denial that we could receive bad news, but I am definitely hopeful.  Crazier things have happened!  I was just told of a mother who was repeatedly told that they couldn't find the baby or a heartbeat and she was certain she was pregnant and refused to undergo and procedures to remove any 'non-viable' tissue...she later delivered a healthy baby girl!  (I know that this is not the same, but it still gives me hope.)

I wrote the following last week:  ("Something Bigger")
All things happen for a reason...I know this. I've never really thought that God punishes us with unfortuneate events. I also realize that God allows things to happen that hurt. I may question it momentarily, but I honestly don't question Him. In the midst of my sadness and despair over the thought of losing a child whom I hadn't even gotten to meet or hold, I was showered with blessings. It didn't take me long to recognize the treasure that I have in friends--family members included in that category. Compassion, caring, sympathetic and empathetic, genuine friends. I write this as I am less than 24 hours from having been rocked with the thought that our baby that we grew more eager to meet with each day may not even have a heart beat. I'm not jumping to conclusions, but there are some amazing things that have happened in that time period that need to be remembered.

I sent messages to our closest friends, knowing they would pray diligently and specifically and storm heaven with their petitions on behalf of this little soul inside of me. Immediately, Nancy called me and we talked until she asked if I was at home and if I would come to the door. She had driven all the way out just to give me a hug...just to physically hug me and comfort me.

I called my mom to talk right before going to bed and she too offered me compassionate words and reassured me that they prayed everyday for me, the baby, our family and would continue to do so. I know it sounds silly, but I needed to hear that from my mom...not because for a minute I doubted, but because she's my mom and while she may sometimes think we're nuts (I mean that in a good way) with our choices and schedules and chaos, she also recognizes the love of a mother for her child...born or unborn.

I've cried more tears than I have for such a long time...distraught with the idea of all of our hopes associated with this child not being realized. I've thought about how I should handle my emotions...carried out debates in my head with imaginary people who don't think the life begins until a baby is born at full term and takes its first breath outside of the womb. This baby was already part of our family...IS part of our family. Should the news at the end of the week be dismal, we will name the baby and refer to him/her just as we would if we had met him and knew him.

We often ask for the intercession of saints and angels and our Heavenly Mother Mary to pray for us...to storm Heaven right along with each of us here on earth. St. Anne...patroness of mothers, St. Gerard...patron of pregnant women...St. Joseph, patron of families...St. Pio, patron of the unborn...St. Gianna, patroness of preborn children and the prolife movement. I know that these saints are being begged for their intercession. I also received an email containing the following:

you were very much on my heart all evening & this morning.
I am so glad you sent this note. You will most definitely continue to be in prayer, mama Andreasen! I am going to ask Archbishop Fulton Sheen to intercede, as I just read last night (!) they are officially investigating a miracle birth for his cause, plus I feel very close to him! (I assume this is related to his beatification.)

Just in case you're reading this and you're not familiar with asking for the intercession of saints and angels...consider the idea that we ask friends for their prayers...these Heavenly friends are already there!!

Friends called to check on me and talk which was certainly helpful. I was assured by a friend who has been through this that all that I'm feeling is ok...normal...probably necessary. That there will likely be more that I will feel, and those emotions are also ok. I know already what she is talking about. The ache of unpacking the prenatal vitamins that arrived by UPS this morning. The maternity clothes that I bought off the clearance rack for the summer that fell to the floor from the closet shelf this morning. The website that I bookmarked with the Moses basket that I decided to finally splurge on after wanting it for the past seven pregancies. All of those things bitter, not welcome! She remembered someone telling her that she should pray for the intercession of Our Lady of Sorrows...the Seven Sorrows Rosary which is a scriptural prayer meditation promoted by the Servite order. It consists of seven Hail Marys prayed while reflecting on each of the seven sorrows of Mary.

This caught me immediately because after breakfast Benjamin hugged me and told me he prayed a Rosary for the baby last night...but he prayed seven Hail Marys seven times instead of the "normal" way.

My brother commented the following on my initial post: "For some reason, it is easier to attend church services than quite simply to reverence the real - the (practice of the presence of God), as some have call it. Making this commitment doesn't demand alot of dogmatic wrangling or managerial support, just vigilance, desire, and willing to begin again and again. Living and accepting our own reality will not feel very spiritual. It will feel like we are on the edges rather than dealing with the essence. Thus, most run towards esoteric and dramatic postures instead of bearing the 'mystery of God's suffering and joy inside themselves.' But the edges of our lives - fully experienced, suffered, and enjoyed - lead us back to the center and the essence.

The street person feels cold and rejected and has to a deeper place for warmth and truth. The hero pushes against his own self-interested ambition and eventually discovers that it does not matter much anyway. The alcoholic woman recognizes how she has hurt her family and breaks through to a Compassion that is much bigger than she is. In each case, the edges that we call reality have suffered, informed, and partially self-destructed. Then they often show themselves to be unnecessary or even be part of the problem. Only then do we recognize and let go of the boundaries and edges surrounding our soul. No wonder that the saints and the mystics so often use those unpopular words of "surrender" and "suffering." As Jesus says, "Unless the grain of wheat dies, it remains just a grain of wheat." (John 12:24).
-from "Everything Belongs" by Richard Rohr

I've had friends offer their help if needed...their time if needed...they are as busy as we are. :)
I am blessed...and that's not just a saying. We truly are. God is so good...even when we don't understand. He has reminded me just today of the love that surrounds me. Of the deep faith and trust in Him that I share with many. Of the hope...the real hope and belief in a miracle and the support that if that miracle doesn't happen that it doesn't mean that God didn't hear our prayers...that His will be done.

I wanted to treat this week like any other, but I haven't.  Yes, I've taken my vitamins and my progesterone, but I haven't worked out, I haven't made my kids lunches, I haven't really cooked anything or cleaned anything.  I have held my little ones a little more.  I have stayed up later, keeping myself busy with some sewing projects.  I've kind of stumbled through the things that had to be done...getting up, picking up kids from school, feeding them all something!  I've answered lots of questions and silently asked even more of them.  I finally opened up all of the windows and curtains to let the fresh air and sun come in.  I cleaned up last night's HyVee pizza and this mornings toast, shuffled the laundry around and insisted that we go outside to play.  I needed to...Joe and Millie needed to.  With only one more day to wait, I had already waited long enough to resume.  That's been the hardest part...the not knowing.  I know there is a chance we will still not know tomorrow, but I'll deal with that tomorrow.
Before all of this, I was compelled to go outside to photograph the full moon...because the behavior of every creature in my house indicated that there was indeed a full moon!! 

It must have been the moon that caused everyone to be out of sorts...I think that I'll use that excuse for why I drove right into the back end of a pickup stopped at a stoplight!  Yep!  No distractions in my vehicle...maybe that's why I was distracted!!  :)  We're currently driving a new Suburban...just a little taste of nice and new and NICE...but I'm eager to have my Big Red one back.  It's kind of fun to see this one parked in the driveway though.  I kind of feel like secret service!

The moon is certainly beautiful even if lunar (looney) behavior accompanies it!  I do love the fall and I'm so glad we took the time to enjoy it today because tomorrow is supposed to be COLD.  How could anyone not love the fall? 

Everything is brilliant!  BRILLIANT!! 

Watching harvest go on around me warms my heart and takes me back to my childhood.  I had to stop and take pictures of this particular operation.  These are the kind of trucks my dad and grandpa had for harvests, but today most of the fields are filled with big semis waiting to be filled with grain or beans. 

I'm reminded pretty quickly of such good things and seasons and how everything is a process.  The ground is becoming bare and soon the fields will all be prepared for next years crop and before we know it the ground will be green and growing again.  I find beauty in all of it!

Whatever our news tomorrow...there is a season for everything.  I'm sure we stand to learn much as life continues to unfold, and this is all just part of it.

That is MY coffee by the way!