Monday, October 27, 2014

It's Been Ten Years...and God is Still Faithful

Oh Friends, very honestly, I have been in such a funk lately and it has frustrated me to no end. I have been praying about it and soul searching and finally came upon this article and while I know quite a bit about narcissistic abuse now, for some reason, I hadn't connected the "abused symptoms" as what my funk was. Signs That You Have Been Abused by a Narcissist

And how do I deal with my own special brand of crazy? By sorting out my thoughts for a few days on my blog of course! ;)

So once I discovered that my problem wasn't just postpartum hormones and stress, (although they certainly don't help) it really frustrated me. I have been here...done this...had PTSD before...why am I here again?

Well, I think Darby's death (my mother's husband who died last month after a motorcycle accident) really brought up everything again from the death of my first step-dad, Eddie (the one who raised me and also was killed in a motorcycle accident, although he was driving drunk.) On top of that, today is the 10th anniversary of dad's (Eddie's) death. That always hangs over me emotionally during mine and Chase's wedding anniversary in September. Our wedding was the last time I saw him alive- he died the next month. So this anniversary hasn't been different, unfortunately it has been on my mind more because it has been ten whole years. Crazy!

So...don't think I am insane, but here are some of my thoughts in letter form to the step-dad who raised me:

Dear Dad,

In a few days, we will come upon the tenth anniversary of your death. I still feel sick thinking about it; a motorcycle accident. You were driving suuuuuuper drunk and probably passed out. You died all by yourself in the middle of the night on the side of the road. Awful for anyone to go that way.

Well ten years later a weird thing happened. When Darby passed away, it reminded me of you. I really didn't want it to- I liked Darby. He was similar to you in ways but different in many good ways. When he passed, I asked God why so soon. When you passed, I asked Him why He waited so long. (I'm not being hateful, I am sure by now you know the truth about what kind of person you were back then. You were a monster, plain and simple.)

I still don't know the answers to my questions about God's timing and really that is okay. I don't have to know. God has proven Himself (not that He needs to) to have perfect timing and knowledge of pictures much bigger than I can fathom.

But losing Darby the way we did, so close to the tenth anniversary of your death (Oct 27, 2004) reminded me of you and brought up an unimaginable river of memories and emotions that have resulted in the resurrection of nightmares, panic attacks in my sleep and every other symptom of PTSD. Honestly, I am so frustrated by it. I thought I was over these things and wouldn't have to deal with them anymore! But here I am. Really, I suppose it was naive to think I would just be "done" by and large with what consumed my life for such a big chunk of it.
And thankfully it is not nearly as severe as when I mucked through it eight years ago in counseling but it is sucking my life dry right now. And it makes me angry with you and devastated for us all, all over again.

On the other hand though, ten years later, this time is different in a few ways: I daily remember that I chose and still choose forgiveness for you when I'm angry. I remember that I decided it was not my place to be your judge and jury and God would handle it perfectly and to leave it with Him. God is gracious to remind me.

Ten years later and this time around I don't hate you, I am angry in new ways, I am finding- but I don't hate you.
I don't understand why you never allowed the Bible to do anything in your life other than use it as a powerful weapon to steal, kill and destroy. I am upset that I don't have much in the way of childhood happy stories and as my kids get older and ask me questions about my life, I only have broken stories to share and they can't even comprehend my childhood. (I am SO thankful for that!!!)
On the flip-side, my happy stories of God's redemption and making beauty out of ashes are more powerful, and those are the stories on which I like to focus and share. He has revealed and taught me that He is not a man- I went from believing He was just like you to knowing He is better than *any* man, even the best kind! His Word taught me that and healthy, godly men modeled it (the way men who truly love Him, serve Him and earnestly study His Word do.)
I truly feel like The Lord has restored the years the locust had eaten. Only God could make the truly vile and dead into something beautiful!

I guess my current anger deals mostly with how it all ripples into the lives of my children and husband (still and again) and also being angry with those who twist the Bible and use it to hurt and control those that would be under their care. I pray that that would be one sin of which I am never guilty.

So anyway, I am going through a refresher course of everything I learned about Who God really is, who I really am according to what HE says and not what you said. I am remembering what it is to rest in His Sovereignty-even in the worst situations. I have faith in His character and His promises of grace now and tomorrow. I am also remembering how beautiful my crazy life is now and not to take it for granted-it is a gift for which I am thankful.

~~~~~

Today I learned not to waste this "down time" by being angry about it or asking God, "Why?" (Although He can certainly handle the question) but asking Him, "What? What am I supposed to be learning and gleaning during this time?" And to just rest in Him and His faithfulness. He has got this. He has perfect timing and nothing escapes His notice. Joy comes in the morning. Instead of being angry I can choose to be thankful for whatever grand thing He will make of this-even if for some reason, I don't see it.

So for now, Dad...here I am.  I'm thankful for the time you rescued my stuffed bunny when I dropped it in the road while riding your motorcycle on the way to preschool. I'm thankful you scared all the boys away and helped me wait for Chase and I'm truly, truly, thankful you raised me in church. Thank you. <3 p="">
I still choose forgiveness, not because I am great like that but because He is and He is forever forgiving me. I love you, Dad. I hope you found true Peace and Truth and are also resting in Him. I hope to one day see you again-the new you and share a hug and the knowledge of what He has done for us both.

Love,
Gina

So, dear Reader, if you can relate to my life right now at all (or even if you can't!) please check these out! They have been SO helpful to me the past couple of days!

Sunday's Sermon at our church:
To hear: Living by Faith, not Gratitude? Simple but revolutionary!!! Aaaah! So good!

Fabulous video:
To watch: Struggles With Depression

Another good one:

I hope you are encouraged. I know it is cliche but it is true, God is good. All the time.

Love, 
Gina

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Phoebe's Birth Story- Part Two

So if you read Part One, you know we are waiting on this baby!

At this point we have now hit week 42 and are officially overdue.
Both Dr. Bo and Kathleen talked to me about fearing labor or having an emotional barrier that was keeping me from going into labor but thanks to Hypnobabies I had never been so unafraid about labor! As I thought about it and prayed about it though, I realized I had quite a bit of hurt and disappointment with different things that I had not let myself really experience and I needed to deal with some things.
Kathleen told me to go home and have a good cry and I thought that was probably a good idea. The next day Chase took the kids to work with him and I watched a sad movie and bawled my eyes out. That really didn't do it for me though. When Chase got home we talked about the things I hadn't let myself mourn. I needed to mourn the fact that I was bringing this sweet baby home to a travel trailer. I grieved the loss of a not-yet home and that I was disappointed. It was part of God's plan but I really, really, really didn't like it. :)
I mourned for a situation with adopted family and our old church where Chase and I were married that was really going through some hard things and I grieved over a church home that I felt would never be the same even if it was still good and I just didn't understand any of it. Just hard things. I knew God was in control and that everyone there had peace about it, but it was hard. 
And oh my, I hate to cry but when I finally let myself...boy do the flood gates open!!! So after a good cry and Chase comforting me, I felt much better. 

Our dear friend Steve had been offering to let me ride the lawnmower for awhile in an effort to jostle that baby out! Haha! And that evening I took him up on it! There is a bit of property around where we were staying so I rode that lawnmower up and down and around and fast!!! Suuuuper bumpy too! It was a lot of fun actually. Then I slowed down a little and mowed the fields for awhile. 
I had a lot of contractions but no labor. That was a Friday.



The next day Kathleen said that if baby didn't come by Monday we would go in and start pitocin to try to get me dilated past a three. 
I. Was. So. Upset. 
I totally understood the reasons but I haaaaaaate pitocin!!! Everyone else was relieved we were finally going to do something but I was ticked. This was nothing like what I had wanted or looked forward to or prayed for or prepared for. "Lord, what the heck???" Yeah. I'm pretty sure I said it to Him like that. More than once. 
Saturday night we went to church at Imago Dei. They use a different church's facilities so they have services on Saturday night. I was really glad to be there because I love that church and I needed to spend some time worshiping and being encouraged and strengthened. The sermon was really great and it was convicting and encouraging but what got me most was a woman sitting next to me. She came all by herself and was visiting the church. She just hugged me as we exchanged names and started telling me what a great job I was doing (????) and that she was praying for me. She was so sweet, going on about what blessings children are. She was very strangely calming to me and really encouraged me. After the service she hugged me and held me tight and said I was heavy on her heart and that she had been praying for me during the service and would continue to keep me in her prayers. :) 



The next morning came and still no baby but since it was Mother's Day we decided to go to my Aunt's church, Frisco Bible and surprise her! We had a great service there with great teaching and I had come to a "Que Sera Sera" kind of place with the birth situation. I prayed we would go into labor naturally but if not, the Lord was going to help me handle it.
We had a great lunch with my Aunt and her family, did some walking and headed back to the trailer. 
I rested a little bit then decided to finish the mowing I started. I mowed and rode some fast, bumpy laps before going inside to take a shower. On the property where we were staying Steve has a BIG garage with a few bays and an apartment attached. I went inside the apartment to shower, jumped in and my water broke! At least I was pretty sure it did, since I had a big gush and then nothing for a bit. It was 6:15 pm and texted Chase (in the trailer with the kids) and Kathleen and finished my shower. Kathleen finished her dinner and ran down to the birthing center. I wasn't having contractions yet so Chase brought the kids in to get showered quickly before we left. 
My water had definitely broken and I sat on the potty as much as I could while I helped the kids get in and out of the shower and dressed. Captain Awesome grabbed everything I would need and got it all in the car, got the kids in the car, brought me more clothes and yet another towel and got me in the car. At this point I was wondering if we were going to make it to the birthing center. Almost immediately after I got off the phone with Kathleen and told her I wasn't having contractions, they started! Big hairy ones and every two minutes and while my hypnobabies techniques made them feel like no big deal, I knew baby would be here soon! I prayed again to make it to the birthing center and in the water! 
Suddenly my contractions stopped totally for the drive until we pulled onto the road where the clinic was and then up they started again, every couple of minutes! :)

We got there and inside about 7 pm and Chase got the kids situated in the next room while I was examined and they filled the tub. Kathleen said it would take about 15 minutes to fill the tub so I labored on the bed with my labor track playing and me just relaxing through my contractions. It was such an odd sensation to feel my body work SO powerfully but not have it hurt. At all. 
The track kept using the "peace" cue word, which I told you before I had changed to "The Prince of Peace" and wow, I told you before I had just pictured him standing next to me and giving me peace but instead I physically and spiritually felt fully wrapped in His arms. Sounds weird and is still a little touchy-feely for me to even type it out, but it was true. The Prince of Peace that I knew Him to be and verses that taught me those things, the Powerful, Mighty to Save, God of Power and Majesty was there. Just like always only I realized it like never before. He was indeed my Hiding Place and Rock that is Higher than I. I can't even fully explain what it was like, but I feel like I got a glimpse of Heaven-during labor no less! Lol!
Chase would come in and check on me and hold my hand. I couldn't believe the contractions were REALLY picking up but still no pain! I kept waiting for the real contractions to kick in and hurt...I think everyone else did too. :)
The tub was filled and I could get in! I wanted to use the potty chair first, just to be sure we didn't repeat the last birth! (Haha!) On the potty I felt the need to push and told Kathleen. She very sweetly and excitedly said, "Well, we can use the tub of water for your herbal bath afterward." And some other worldly creature came out of me and said "OHHHHH NO! I AM HAVING THIS BABY IN THE WATER! I AM GETTING IN IN JUST A SEC!"
"Oh, okay!" Kathleen said as she backed away from me a little and smiled. So glad she doesn't scare easily at this point and is totally a trooper! :)
So I got in the water...the wonderful, fabulous, amazing water. Had some more nothing contractions...they were taking a LOT more concentration but they still didn't hurt.
And thennnn...the pushing happened. Honestly the pushing totally took me by surprise. I was not in charge of the pushing like my other births, the pushing was in control of me.  It felt like a bus was sitting on top of me and squeezing me nearly to death. It jarred me and I lost concentration and it got SO painful! I suddenly realized that this huge baby was coming out of me and fast. I got very worried about tearing and full-on flipped out. The midwives, Kathleen and Lisa tried to calm me down and reassure me and then I heard my track playing again and heard "peace." Chase squeezed my shoulders, spoke some relaxation cue words in my ear, prayed for me and I was good again. I calmed down again between pushes and waited for a piano to land on me. Suddenly I was completely exhausted and didn't feel like I could push anymore but like I said- I was not in charge of the pushing. It just happened. A crazy powerful force would come over me and baby would come out more. My midwives mouths kinda dropped when I was talking to Chase and the baby and smiling in between pushes. We felt her little head in the water and got excited. Then a push would happen and it was all business. Very pressurized business, lol. I don't know how else to describe it. Pushing wasn't as easy as contractions, obviously but it still didn't really hurt...just was mega powerful. Then, tada! She was out! I pulled her up out of the water and then it gets blurry in my mind for a few minutes. Phoebe Mae was born at 7:54 pm. We called the kids in and they couldn't believe she was here and there had been NO screaming like last time! I was so proud and thankful and happy! We were supposed to sit in the water for a few minutes and were delaying cord clamping but my placenta detached early and we had to cut the cord and get out of the water to be sure to check blood loss.

Phoebe Mae 10lbs 2oz,  22 inches long


We got me in the bed and I got a shot of pit and another one to control the bleeding. Since we knew I am prone to hemorrhaging, the midwives got it under control right away with minimal uterus massaging. Also, there was no tearing!!! It was really fabulous. I got to nurse Phoebe right away and it was a little rough since she kept chewing on me. Kathleen noticed during Phoebe's exam that she had both a lip tie and a tongue tie and that is why she was chewing on me. She wasn't able to latch! She wasn't a happy baby her first couple of days but we had tie revision done and voila! She was a new baby-able to latch and nurse well and finally sleep. :)


Sidenote: We discovered while researching ties for Phoebs that Harmony had a tongue tie also and THAT was responsible for her speech issues! We had it fixed also and she is talking SO much better! :D

So...that is my birth story. So much answered prayer, if you remember the first post where I shared alllll the stuff I was worried about and/or wanted from this birth. This time I felt like a rockstar. It amazes me how God cares about what are my silly birth prayers in the grand scheme of things. 

There is nothing better than to have a care provider that wants what you want, is very very competent and is compassionate. We have found that at Bella Births twice now and are so thankful for them!

Chase is stinking awesome. I say it all the time and it just keeps getting more true. This experience brought us closer still. I will see if I can have him share his side of the story sometime...I am interested to see what he will say.

Aunt Lisa the Fabulous!
 It was so fun to have family come right away and see us!!!

My cousins came to meet Phoebe! Or "Fifi" as Tony calls her. :)

Another blissful part of the Birthing Center is the glorious herbal bath. Honestly it is kind of like sitting in tea. But it is awesome, lol! It just feels so good after labor! If you didn't get one after your birth I am sorry.
Dr. Bo finally gets to meet Phoebe and give her first adjustment. 
After the bath and more checkups, we were given our discharge information and left around mindnight or one a.m. Some people think that is weird but it is so nice to go home to your own bed and spend the next morning as a family- at least if there is no medical reason not too!

So the whole birth and pregnancy was quite an experience. A lot of drama but it ended with a happy and healthy Momma, baby and family and THAT is quite a wonderful answer to prayer. :)

Thanks for letting me share with you guys!!!
Love,
Gina