Monday, May 30, 2011


my hair is unwashed, my teeth unbrushed, my toilet unscrubbed, and my milk-drenched shirts unlaundered. in all this physical world, i've never been so tangibly happy.
to have and to hold is marriage-speak, but i vow into this little one's existence as well. owen is here, and we are all in love.
we are in the foggy land of newborn, but it is a sweet, sweet time, and while i won't say it's a breeze, it's also not quite as hard as i expected it to be. i'm unmedicated (having run out) and yet happy to be so: all this love isn't chemical manufacturing, just oxytocin and mama-love dripping rich. he is a gem, and i can't let go of him right now. i think this is the first babe we've had where daddy has had to ask to hold him! this volumes for a mama who gets over-stimulated and out-touched very easily, and i'm so grateful to the Lord for this time of provision.
rickey and i held hands over owen's sleep last night, and i felt our arms had never been long enough til just that moment--the craving to stay connected despite all this external daze and busy. just the small touch, even those trickling hormonal tears, ground me in his home-arms, and though love looks different per season, it's as rich and full as these breasts that nourish the baby (answered prayer again--nursing has gone successfully from the start, and i can't believe we're doing so well!).

he is one week; it stretches long at 4 a.m. and so incredibly short by day! he was born on his due date, the longest i've ever gone and all that fullness is replaced with him-in-arms. did i mention i can't stop holding him? i might write his birth story here, but for now suffice to say welcome owen graham who was 10 lbs 10 oz and 22" long and practically delivered himself! we are tired, and we stretch into this family of now-six, and the Lord is gracious and Good. Rejoice with us!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Iron men

super heroes
equipped with webs
and guns,
(yes, even guns)
and strength hard to believe
yes, these men are in our house
and those little boys' brains
and it makes me smile
that he prefers the ones that
are real,
still human,
just more, somehow
not the ones that are
all hero
or even all villain
(is it natural for all
boys to love a good villan?)
and i think how
his daddy heart is
iron will
and sharpens iron willfulness
times three
and well, four, when i let him sharpen me.
we watch these cartoons
and even i catch my own interest
by surprise
and wonder
at the power of hero worship
and how, some crazy how,
oldest started praying more
out loud
and he believes it
and i humble on the whispers,
cry when he prays for this tired mama
that [baby's name] comes soon
and i think
today i will be iron-strong for them, too

unbelievably i'm still baking this fourth little boy with an iron will to stay inside. i'm in all new territory as i've never gone a day past 38 weeks, and yet here i am past 40 and miserable besides. if i may draw on you to pray: if we make it to my monday OB appointment, i will be induced, and i'm terrified of a repeat c-section. i'm also afraid of a NICU stay for the baby; we will be paying for this birth as we are uninsured, and really, we just need a nice, normal birth if at all possible. could you lift these with us and take our fears to the Father? i'm ready to have him out on the outside, and i'm in denial at how hard it's going to be, that initial stage of newborn!
i am eager, though, to meet him, to be in our next phase, and i can't wait to share him with you. thanks for hanging in there with me, especially as i've been so reticent in this space and yours. i treasure all my friends here.

Monday, May 9, 2011

When waiting is thankful

waiting is hard. waiting is wanting wrapped up in the veil of self; my college pastor would ask, "are you living for the dot, or for the line?" and waiting is merely one dot in eternal perspective.

three days. i've been in labor for three days. it feels eternal, but how dare i compare my three days to his where mine kicks and life squeezes anticipatory coming, the hint, and his was death's silence behind a stony wall before hope emerged again?

these contractions stall, but the hope of expectation, of bringing forth this new life does not. my faith fumbles like a stalled labor (now that i know what that is like): i lean hard and breathe deeply during the tightening, and i stumble around and grumble at swollen aching when there is relief. there is grace in waiting, when i can see it.

i came home from walking to her house last night (the mantra: walk, walk, walk: get that baby out!) to find them all piled wide in our bed. little boys anxious and over-tired, so he tucked them in with him. blonde all sprawled and arms high as he gave in full to sleep's overtaking, and oldest snuggled deeply on his side, thumb having fallen from his lips, and daddy stretched as long as king size and his arms reaching over both those little heads. in that moment standing in doorway i was glad we were waiting. i'd have missed all that boy sleep otherwise.

all the joys we get in the waiting for littlest to arrive, counting them as blessings with ann and others in the grace community:

291. a day of celebrating mothers
292. and sharpie-drawn scribbles to say i love you
293. and the tightening: 3, then 5, then 7, then 3 minutes apart. it's all progress, remind me!
294. all the phone calls to ask if he's here yet, the love wrapping me
295. his sympathy and sweet glances, the back rubs, the ordering food for me because at this point i simply refuse to cook anymore
296. the birth of another friend's little boy--she got to hold her first on mother's day
297. because all those little boys were asleep last night and my mind wouldn't shut, i got to watch an hour of uninterrupted food network, the novelty of it!
298. knowing that each day he spends inside he gets stronger
299. my three little outside loves playing games together and kissing big belly and asking when he's going to come
300. for husband love and grace as i grouch, cry, get impatient, and in all other ways experience the end of this pregnancy.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The scribbling

it's all in the scribbles, isn't it, this mother-love?

it's waking up, wishing to have newest here, him having planned nothing because we have hinged all hope on meeting tiny one; he's so afraid i'm disappointed, and i am, but only because wee one isn't here. he helped the boys scribble mother's day notes, and i couldn't be happier, couldn't be more excited about the little hands i've helped co-create, those little hands wrapped around sharpie markers, the scribbles of their little lives telling my story of grace to all who have eyes to see.

we scribble in this day-to-day. we scratch our puny efforts, all this mothering with eyes cried dry and arms stretched world-wide-love around these little ones. it's not the majestic hands of adam and God in michelangelo's painting; it's the chubby, dimpled hands of fat crayons making sense of a world perceived in young faith. yes, the lines go 'round and 'round most times, and maybe it's all the same color instead of utilizing vast palette. we can get bored with the monochromatic nonsense, or we can find grace in the intricate shapes that emerge.

and they always do, those shapes... i see the shape of lover's body imprinted into mine, even swollen as i am. i see the shape of my mother's hands who began me years ago. i see the shape of other women in this one-village, the knit-together of souls and geese, the lifting of prayers and laying on of christ-hands. motherhood is nothing but shapes and scribbles, our breathing out the honesty of failure and fruitless effort that imbibed with his grace turns to miracle of Testimony.

i am so thankful to be scribbling these 3-point-nine (!!) baby boys. i pray internal one emerges soon, and pray for my three little outside loves to know the weight of grace.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Grace in the grey

i am angry. i don't like angry words in this space, and still my heart struggles to see all His goodness, not because i don't see it, but because i'd rather dwell in flesh-folds of hurt and bitterness. i crunch on ice, and the metal taste of sin doesn't melt away.
nine months is a session of waiting, this i know, take some comfort, even. enjoy the internal flutters and the growing intimacy with this tiny babe in womb and the transformation to kicks that thump against my lover's side at night, a different intimacy to be sure.
i am not mad at the waiting or the discomfort or the fatigue i can't shake.
i'm angry because i can't stop insisting i'm right, and since when do my rights-as-liberties owe themselves to not-wrongs?
birth is natural. it HAS to be--weren't we created for life eternal? then why such a struggle to make normal what is normal? i've been labeled high-risk, the baby might just be large, and i was even asked if i could handle the work of labor because i'm overweight, and all i wanted to do yesterday post-appointment was cry. i carry this gestational diabetes teh fourth time, and this time i've done it well: limited weight gain and perfect post-meal glucose readings. but it's not enough for medical professionals. yes, this baby is large; so, too, my others and well-handled, birthed just fine. and yes, i'm overweight but my body can't stop the war of birth even if i wanted to. i know that primal urge and no "professional" can stop what has to happen.
discouragement is a hard garment to wear. i'm constricted, and it seems a veil covers my eyes, forcing me to see shadows instead of the play of light against dark.
His hand reaches out:
she rang our doorbell last week when i was so tired i couldn't think past the lying on bed, and he comes back to say she'd brought chicken noodle soup and strawberry pie. she rang the doorbell again yesterday after the almost four-hour appointment full of "no's" and "can'ts" and she offered yes and can with His hands cased in wrinkled fingers, meatloaf foil-wrapped and cold by now with apologies because we weren't home when it was hot yet. she didn't know how bare the fridge looked to these angry eyes. or how the giving of bread and nourishment un-worked-for by me was edible grace. she doesn't even know my name, but she asks husband every morning they're off at the same time how i am and if the baby is here yet.
anger begins to dissolve into humility. He is still in control. He has to be: weren't we meant for eternal life?
i watch these three play together this morning on a rain-prison day, and i'm still tired and still waiting and still sad that i have hurdles to jump. but Grace holds me close even in all the grey. there will be encouraging phone calls from precious friends, and fried meatloaf sandwiches for lunch, and this little one is Known. it is enough to stop angry words.